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September 10, 2019
Gleneagles, Scotland, United Kingdom
THE MODERATOR: We're joined by the European team: Catriona Matthew, Kathryn Imrie, Laura Davies and Mel Reid.
Catriona, when you were named captain three years ago you said it was a dream come true. Has it been everything you thought it would be up to this point so far?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: I didn't know what to expect, but yes, I've enjoyed it. I've enjoyed the whole process so far. It's probably been a bit busier than maybe I anticipated at first. But I think once we got the team picked that was obviously a stressful kind of tough time, but nice to have that done.
And just loving this week. And it's great that it's finally here. It's been, in some respects, a quick two years. And I think these next couple of days will just fly past.
Q. Juli Inkster and the U.S. team is looking for a hat trip -- Europe hasn't won since 2013. Where would a victory rank in terms of your career?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: I think it would be right at the top. I've always loved the Solheim Cup. It's been the highlight of my career every two years when it comes around. Some of my best moments have been in the Solheim, and I think to be a winning captain at Gleneagles in Scotland would rank just about above my British Open win.
Q. Between you, you have so much experience, 25 Solheim Cup appearances. How do you transmit that to the team and particularly the rookie, and what practical advice have you given them?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: I think as we've said, we're just here to keep them loose, keep them relaxed. Once Friday comes it's stressful enough. You can try and tell someone who has never been on that first tee what it's like. But really until you get there and experience it for yourself, you don't know how you're going to react.
Obviously we're just trying to help them and give them advice. But it's just one of these things you have to do.
But they're all good players. They've played in big events. I'm sure they'll cope with it. I think just trying to tell them to enjoy it. If you don't enjoy this you're doing the wrong thing.
Q. Laura, what's your role now and what will you be doing during the matches?
LAURA DAVIES: I've got no idea. I'm just here having fun. Beany has got everything organized, the great back team, the team behind her that are making everything flow easy for the players and us as well.
Just support. If Beany needs anything, or the players or caddies need anything, just to be there to answer any questions -- to help, just generally help the team along. And that's all we can really do.
Q. Kathryn, you've known Catriona a long time. What's it like working together?
KATHRYN IMRIE: I would just say, a couple weeks ago, I think it's brought us closer together the last couple of years. We even got out to get our nails done, so it's mission accomplished -- and Laura, by the way. It's been great to see her doing such a good job and it would be capped off on Sunday based on the ending.
Q. Mel, what's it been like for you, obviously different this time, not playing. Have you got the urge to go grab a club?
MEL REID: Yeah, I want to go and watch the girls practice, I just want to have a little go. But obviously my role is obviously very different, but I'm very proud to be, I guess, thankful that these guys asked me to be a vice captain and really enjoying it.
Again, I'm a bit like Laura, I don't really know exactly what I'm doing but -- honestly, everything is solid, we're just here to support. Feel quite important I get to put an ear piece in. Just really, really enjoying it.
Q. Catriona, the Americans have got off to a disappointing start with Stacy Lewis. Can you give us your thoughts and what impact that will have on their team?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: Obviously that's tough for them and disappointing. Obviously we were in the same situation last year with Suzann. I feel sorry for Stacy. You have that kind of relation of getting on the team, being picked, and then not being able to play because you're injured is unlucky for them. Obviously Ally McDonald is a good player, solid player. They have an able replacement there.
Q. Catriona, you mentioned that it felt like a quick two years in preparations, but feels like a long time, so many discussions and interviews. But now that the event is finally upon us what's the feeling like with the squads going into the weekend and how are you all feeling?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: Feeling is great on the squad. Like Laura said, I think we've got a great team here. We've got a real mix of personalities. And maybe I'm oversimplifying this but we're really just here to keep them happy, as I said, keep them loose, obviously do the pairings and things like that. But it's really to give the players support, try and help them as much as we can with our experience.
And then once they're on the golf course there's really not much we can do. We are just cheerleaders on the side hoping they hole the putts.
Q. Laura, I'm curious in your mind which team do you think is the favorite? And how important is it that Europe wins this one?
LAURA DAVIES: Well, for the captain and the rest of us, it's very important we win it, but not for any other reason we want to win and we don't want the Americans to do their three-peat; they keep going on about. So it's very important we get out there put up a good showing.
I don't really think -- we haven't really got an agenda, just want to do our best.
And as for the price, I think we're two to one outsiders, which I think is a good bet because I think our squad, as Beany said, is really strong.
The American team is incredibly good. But I think home soil, possibly a bit chillier, that evens it out a bit and hopefully our girls will step on -- because it will come down to Sunday afternoon; it always does. And I think we've got the right players that can step up and do the job under the most extreme pressure. I think we've got a great chance.
But they've got a great chance too. That's why we're here because no one actually knows.
Q. Catriona, the players won't have a lot of down time do you have anything planned for them? Do you have any motivational things, anyone going to be speaking, or are there sessions you've got planned.
CATRIONA MATTHEW: We had a quiz night last night just with the team together. And like you said, it's just busy. We have a team dinner tonight where it's just the players, not the whole team together.
Tomorrow -- Wednesday is a gala dinner we don't have a whole lot of time. But we've got a couple of motivational videos. We showed down last night which went down really well. They don't really need a ton of motivation. But it was good.
It was good, it was nice. All the kind of players' family were saying good luck messages to them, which none of them knew about. It was a big surprise. So I think they really liked that one.
Q. Catriona and Laura, what did the two of you do better after playing in a few of these things? In other words once you had experience under your belt?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: I would say I think the more times I played in it the more I realized perhaps -- when you come in, first of all, you're desperate. You want to play every match. You want to contribute. You want to be out there all the time.
I think the more times I played in it I realized that playing every session isn't the be all and end all. At the end it's the team result. I struggle to remember my individual performances in some of the Solheim Cups. You just remember whether the team won or lost.
And one of my best memories was Colorado watching, I wasn't playing on a Saturday afternoon, and watching the others coming in, I think Suzann and Anna and Graeme and myself, we were sitting at the 18th green watching.
I think it's an experience or maturity realizing that you're not going to play every game and not to get kind of down or annoyed if you're rested, as they say, if you're not playing a session.
LAURA DAVIES: I think you try and learn the first tee is not as terrifying as you thought it was the first time around, but that doesn't go away. So you're more used to what's coming, and you know there's a lot goes around the Solheim Cup, not just the golf, all the things that go along with the sponsors that make this tournament possible and commitments to them. You just learn to manage your time.
Just like Beany said, it's a long week and you don't have to play in every game. You're disappointed when you're dropped -- I call it dropped, not rested. But you just pick up little bits up on the way, but it's nothing dramatic because it is, when you step on the first tee the pressure is always there.
Q. Catriona, have you decided on your opening pairings yet and if so how much --
CATRIONA MATTHEW: I'm not going to tell you (laughter).
Q. I know you won't, but have you decided if you have and how much input do you have from your vice captains?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: I think we've had some good discussions about the pairings. Obviously we're still a couple days out. But I think we've got -- we've got a fairly good idea in our minds what we all seem to be pretty much on the same page. But we've got a good plan in place, I think.
Q. Catriona, given what you just said about experience, is the fact that the Americans might have six rookies in their squad, is that significant in any way?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: I think with rookies, I suppose being a rookie it's a slight unknown quantity. They're all good players, but you've seen in the past some rookies kind of come in and excel. Look at obviously Charley and Georgia came in as rookies and did really well. And then other rookies who unfortunately just have found it a little all a little too much.
I suppose that's one thing with being a rookie; you don't quite know what you're going to get from them perhaps on the first day.
Q. Laura, you mentioned the price, 2-to-1 there. Why do you think the book makers have that price slightly wrong? Do they just look at the World Rankings and go from there?
LAURA DAVIES: I think World Rankings has a lot to do with it. I just think home soil outweighs most things. We've won, I don't know the exact stats, but we haven't won away from home much, but we've done most of our winning on European soil, and that has such a huge bearing.
And if the weather stays, if the weather is good for the week, the galleries will be really noisy. And that's what we need. Everyone says we want a bit of rain for the Americans. No, we want it beautiful weather so the galleries can get out there and enjoy themselves and just cheer us on and be the 13th man out there, because that's what the home soil advantage gives you.
That's why I'm surprised that the Americans are such strong favorites. But having said that they've won the last two.
Q. Obviously the previous two times it's been held in Scotland, Europe's won. So nice to do the Scottish hat trick.
LAURA DAVIES: Yes, we'll try a three-peat as well, get a three-peat going. That's it: Scotland is a great place and the galleries -- I know they're coming all over the world this week to see this, but probably most of the galleries will be Scottish, and they love their golf and hopefully we'll put on a show for them.
Q. Laura and Mel, to those of us on the outside, Catriona is like Clark Kent. From what we understand from you guys in the team room she's a little bit like Superman. Could you tell us what special things she brings to the team that we don't see?
LAURA DAVIES: To me it's just the calmness. She's always been very calm. She's a fierce competitor, make no mistake about that. She wants to win this more than any of us. She's put a lot into this the last two years. She never shows anything. She's just calm and cruises along. And Graeme obviously keeps her calm as well. He's a very placid character. But behind it all, you know, fierce competitors, I think that's a great combination.
MEL REID: I think obviously -- I mean, obviously every single player in there respects Beany, not just for what she's done in her career but what she's done in Solheim Cups. And, yeah, we all want to win, but especially Catriona. Catriona really wants to win. So I just think it's a great dynamic on the team all around from a support staff, from the helpers, from everything. The dynamic in the team room is a little bit different this year.
I think gotta give credit to Catriona for that, and she's doing a really, really good job.
Q. Catriona, can you just enlighten us a bit more on how the quiz night went and what was some of the more motivational things as you said in the video what was involved?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: Well, we certainly didn't win. We were, in fact, pathetic. I couldn't even recognize myself and Laura didn't know how many points she had won. We weren't doing very well.
Q. Just the motivational videos, and was it going to be people speaking?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: We've got a couple haven't shown the other one yet. The first one we showed last night, it was quite a personal one actually. Players' families saying things to them. And in fact no one had seen it. I hadn't seen it either. I think it was really good. A few tears shed in the room. I think it was a nice one.
Q. Was that your idea to get something like that?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: I don't know if I could take a whole lot of credit. A lot of the workers behind -- it was the LET staff came out with that one.
Q. Catriona, could I ask you about the fact that you're following in after an Irishman leading the Ryder Cup team to victory here. Last year three of you, at least I know, will have been at Adare Manor in the opposite situation with the Ryder Cup going back there. Wonder had Paul McGinley offered you any assistance or anything about here and vice versa, would three of you be able to pass some information to the future Ryder Cup who might be going to Deer Manor and help to keep them out of the water at the 18th?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: Well, Deer Manor, I think I played with you, Kathryn, in the World Cup. That was many years ago. I think it's perhaps changed a little bit since then. I think they've redone the course maybe a little bit. In that respect I don't know that I would be an overly amount of help there to Paul.
But I've spoken to him couple times, he's been the Ryder Cup captain here. Had some good insight into the course and his philosophy and how he put his pairings together and different things like that. As everyone knows, and it's been seen, he was very meticulous in his preparation. So, yeah, he's been very interesting to talk to and picked up some things from him.
Q. With Deer Manor (inaudible)?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: Let's hope so.
Q. Laura, your thoughts on what we can expect from Suzann this week and why you like her as a pick?
LAURA DAVIES: I think her Solheim Cup record and her game and her attitude is just fantastic for Solheim Cup. And I've heard people say that, oh, she's a surprise pick. Not to us, because as soon as it was over, she fancied -- she'd been practicing hard enough and let it be known that if she was in the chance for a pick, she'd love to play.
Beany asked us all and we all said yes. Why wouldn't you want Suzann Pettersen on your team? She hasn't played a huge amount of tournaments, but match play is very different. Don't have to string together 72 holes. In the end it might be hard for someone who hasn't played, but 18 hole match play I'd back Suzann every time. The Americans, you'd have to ask them, if you have Suzann or another player on the sheet, you might rather play the other player. Not through the golf is not as good, but Suzann can be quite tricky out there. It's great for us. It's great that she brings that reputation to our team, and I'd never doubt Suzann Pettersen ever.
Q. What type of golf player does this golf course favor and what's the aspect of it?
KATHRYN IMRIE: Play long -- it's really wet out there. So longer hitters have a bigger advantage coming in with shorter irons. But greens are great. Definitely length. It's huge.
Q. Mel, you said the team room feels different this year, how so?
MEL REID: I just think it's a really good dynamic. I think, like I said, it doesn't just go from the players, but the back room staff. I feel the personalities are just very, very good.
We've had a WhatsApp group going on for a month, which have included us and the players, and I think that's certainly helped. I think the main thing is, especially for some of the quieter characters, I think it's important to make everybody feel a huge part of it. I think that's what we've done this year very well as a team. Nobody feels uncomfortable. Nobody's left out. That's where it feels the dynamic feels a little bit different this year. I just feel like everybody's just connecting really well.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports