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September 10, 2019

Juli Inkster

Stacy Lewis

Gleneagles, Scotland, United Kingdom

THE MODERATOR: We're joined today by U.S.A. captain Juli Inkster, alongside Stacy Lewis. As many of you heard this morning, Stacy unfortunately has had to withdraw from competition, but will be remaining with the team as a team assistant. Juli, talk us through what transpired over the last 24 hours as the decision was made.

JULI INSKTER: Well, Stacy can probably tell you a little bit more about the injury, but she called me on Thursday and said that she's having some issues with her back. And when I said: Issues, like what kind of issues? Like issues you can play or issues that you might not be able to play?

She goes, well, I haven't taken a shot. I've just been doing some putting. My back hasn't improved at all since Portland. So she goes, I'm giving you the heads-up, so if you need to bring Ally over, you should probably let her know.

So I called Dennis, and we talked to Ally. Ally said she'll come on Sunday. She was going to come on Wednesday. She came on Sunday. Got her caddie out of the river in Montana; we got him here.

Stacy's been very up front, very honest with me. She realized it's a team event. She realizes we need 12 players. And she realizes also Ally needs to get a feel for the golf course.

So she said -- we decided on Tuesday -- it's kind of a day that we would decide on whether she was going to play or not.

She went out and hit a couple shots yesterday. And it didn't go well. And I think we both kind of knew that it wasn't going to go well. And it's just a hard decision because I picked Stacy because she's one of our leaders. And I really wanted her to play. But I feel like I really have the best of both worlds right now; I've got a healthy player and I have Stacy helping us out.

So it's disappointing for her, but I said 10 years from now it's going to be a little blip in your life. You've got a lot more Solheim Cups. And you've got a lot more golf this year that you need to think about.

So that's how we came to the conclusion. That was the Readers Digest version, if you guys want to know.

THE MODERATOR: Stacy, I know that had to be a tough decision to make yesterday. What was going through your mind as you were thinking things through?

STACY LEWIS: It's really been a tough, I guess, week and a half. It started Friday in Portland. And I thought it would be something, I'd give it a couple of days and it would get better. I know my back and I know my body really well. It's not the first time I've had back issues.

So I just thought it would be a couple days. And when it wasn't a couple days that's when I called Juli. And I just wanted Ally to be here -- kind of peace of mind for the team and for everybody.

And just with our working with physios at home and physios here, yesterday, it just didn't go well. And I felt it was like something in two or three days I wasn't going to be able to be ripping drivers.

So it was leading -- I didn't even have to say anything to Juli. I think we both just kind of knew that was the decision to make. And told Ally to get ready. And that's really all it was.

It was just -- I didn't want to have to make that decision, but it's what's best for the team and what's best for me going forward with my body.

THE MODERATOR: But you'll still be sticking around for the week and stay with the team.

STACY LEWIS: I will. I'll be by Ally's side through the week, and all the rookies. But just being around the team as much as I can and helping Juli out, too.

JULI INSKTER: She didn't want to miss the gala, too. (Laughter).

Q. Stacy, is it skeletal, musculature? And what's happened medically to get you to this point, in terms of the diagnoses you've gotten?
STACY LEWIS: I've had MRIs, X-rays, ultrasounds and we haven't really been able to pinpoint it. We think it's muscular but we don't really know. And it's something that when I'm walking around it doesn't really hurt but the rotation of the golf swing really just fires it up.

And I think it's one of those things it needs rest more than anything. So it's just -- I can't go out there to "try" on Friday. It's not just fair to the teammates. And I don't want to put Juli and the girls into a situation where they've got 11 on Sunday, because that's -- Sunday is the most important day of this entire week.

Q. Stacy, when was the last time your back kept you from competing?
STACY LEWIS: I had a little bit of a rib injury, like, a year and a half ago, but my back was -- gosh, it's been 15, 16 years. So I've been pretty lucky with the metal and all surgeries I've had along the way that I haven't had injuries like this.

I think this is -- I've had to pull out of a tournament my junior year in college because of my back. And this is the second time since. So I've really been lucky. It's just the timing is pretty horrible.

Q. We don't often see you very emotional and I saw an emotional picture taken yesterday. Can you talk about where this ranks in disappointments in your career to have to do this?
STACY LEWIS: It's up there pretty high. I was glad we didn't do this press conference yesterday because I don't think I could have gotten a word out.

So I've had time to process it and the team's been super supportive. The girls have been great. They've helped me a lot through it. It's just really, really disappointing because this is my favorite tournament we have. And that first tee, there's nothing like it. So I'm just disappointed I don't get to hit that shot. But I'll be watching.

Q. Today you were walking virtually step for step with Ally. Can you just tell us what today was about for you in that way? And then maybe, Juli, can you comment on that also?
STACY LEWIS: It was just about being around the girls. Juli's divided us into these pods and it's about helping each other out, helping them kind of figure out pairings and who is going to play together and golf balls and how the golf course is playing and odds versus evens.

We're talking a lot of strategy today and just getting them comfortable of what the week's going to be like. And just being there when they have questions. And, I don't know, just trying to be there for them, that's really it.

JULI INSKTER: Stacy has a huge presence on and off the golf course. She's been here before. She knows what it's about. And we have a very young team, and they're wide-eyed and we're just trying to answer their questions. And she's been great at that.

And we've got Nancy, Pat and Wendy and myself. And we're picking Stacy's brain about pairings and what she sees out there, because she's kind of got a little more of a pulse of the players than we do -- even though I'm out there a little bit, she plays with them. So we're kind of getting a little bit of the inside.

Q. Juli, you already have spoken about the team being young and raw. You're up to six rookies now. Is that a tough task to win a Solheim Cup with six rookies?
JULI INSKTER: You know what? We've got six great rookies. They've made the team. They've qualified. I put Ally in the hat because I think she was the most deserving player to be the next one up.

And when I asked her, it was very disappointing for me. She's probably the hardest one to tell she didn't make the team because she really did everything to make the team but she came up just a little bit short. And it was hard for me to tell her. And she took it hard emotionally because I think she put everything into that Canadian tournament and she played very well.

But I asked her I said: Listen, we have to take an alternate and you would be my first pick. And I understand if, you know, you don't want to be an alternate.

But she didn't hesitate. She goes, I'd love to go; I'd love to come. I know I'll be on more Solheim Cup's teams and I'd love to learn.

She had a great attitude right from the get go, and we're happy to have her.

Q. You had a look at the course the last couple of days. Can you give your thoughts on the course? And the weather forecast is favorable. You were worried that the weather might not be too great.
THE MODERATOR: We're joined by TEAM USA captain

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