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September 11, 2019
Gleneagles, Scotland, United Kingdom
THE MODERATOR: We're back with Megan Khang and Annie Park. Both players make their Solheim Cup debuts and both in their fourth seasons on the LPGA Tour. Megan, what has this experience at Gleneagles been like so far? Is it what you were expecting?
MEGAN KHANG: Definitely being here in Gleneagles and being my first Solheim Cup, it's definitely everything and more than I imagined the Solheim Cup being. It's super cool seeing people out there on practice rounds, and like seeing all the junior kids walking around.
It's an incredible feeling knowing that it's only Wednesday and this many people are here. So I'm excited for the week.
THE MODERATOR: Annie, you've got two veterans in your pod here. We just had Lizette and Danielle in. I know you guys are rookies. A lot is being said about the rookies -- you're not rookies, but you're new to the Solheim Cup. What kind of advice have they been giving to you, and what do you think you guys as rookies and the other four rookies have to bring to the table here for Team USA.
ANNIE PARK: A lot of the advice, comments and advice is just to embrace it, just enjoy the crowd, the pressure, the anxiety. The more you enjoy it, you're going to have fun out there. And it's all about having fun. So those are like the best advice that they've been giving us.
THE MODERATOR: You've been out on the golf course. I believe you played nine holes today. What is Gleneagles setting up for you? Is it a challenge certainly or what are you expecting?
ANNIE PARK: I think for both of us, you know, growing up in the Northeast, we're kind of used to this weather. We had to practice in this growing up in the wintertime. We're used to the cold, the rain, the snow even.
So I think for us like we're pretty accustomed to it. But it is a challenge for sure, because of the wind, the new golf course. It's Megan's first time in Scotland. It's my second time in Scotland. We're just going to try to have some fun.
THE MODERATOR: Questions?
Q. Continuing the theme on the golf course, you mentioned the winds and obviously it's going to blow. But being out there on the golf course, it has some elevated greens, a lot of forced carries. How difficult is that? Juli said yesterday it's definitely a second-shot course.
MEGAN KHANG: I'd have to agree it's a second-shot course. But overall this course requires you to hit a lot of good tee shots, especially you've got to pick your line and trust that the wind is either going to help or not. And it may be a second-shot course but it's going to be a challenge overall in my opinion.
ANNIE PARK: I think at the end of the day it all comes down to putting. So whoever makes the most putts out there is probably going to have a good day.
Q. Does this course, speaking of the course, does it kind of remind you more of what you'd see back in the states than what you may have expected, not having been to Scotland or having been here only twice?
MEGAN KHANG: Definitely, when I thought of Scotland I thought more so of a links course. And obviously when I came here and I saw Gleneagles, it wasn't quite as links style. And I think, in my opinion, I was kind of happy to see a non-links course because I know how challenging a links golf course can be, especially when the wind does pick up.
But overall I think Gleneagles is still going to be a treat and we're still going to have to hit solid shots to keep them in the fairway and on the green.
ANNIE PARK: I'd say growing up on Long Island, there's a lot of links-style golf courses. My home golf course on Long Island is Colonial Springs, very similar, fescues, very windy.
I spent the week there before coming here and played Friar's Head and the Bridge. And I'm just kind of like preparing myself for the wind and a little bit of the style.
And I think growing up, we're both pretty used to playing links golf courses in junior golf, amateur golf as well. So I would say definitely for sure.
Q. Do you think it helps being a rookie, the fact that there are six rookies on the team? Does it help you to be a rookie considering there's so many other rookies on the team, strength in numbers?
ANNIE PARK: Yeah, for sure. It also helps having six veterans on the team as well. So there's some good balance. At the end of the day we're all playing golf, the same golf, the same conditions.
We're thankful and grateful for having the veteran and Juli as our captain and Pat, Wendy and Nancy giving us great advice. So it does help having six rookies on the team but also veterans and some legendary players as our captains.
Q. Have you had any classic rookie moments where you just didn't know what was going on or made a classic mistake?
MEGAN KHANG: Like, the whole round today. (Laughter) it was the whole round today. No, I mean the veterans have been really good about laying out what the plans are and what to wear and stuff like that. So, again, thankful for the veterans, for the great communication they've been doing to make it a little easier on us.
Overall, I mean, they're doing so much that we as rookies don't really have to think too much about it. We just have to kind of read the text and kind of wear what they tell us.
ANNIE PARK: I think it also helps being in a pod of having two veterans in our pod, making sure two rookies of us, making sure we're having the right outfits, making sure the right time. So it does really help the pod system in that way. So it will be interesting this week.
Q. Megan, I'm not sure if you saw, did you see the very nice article about your parents on the Golf Channel website?
MEGAN KHANG: Yes, about their journey to the States?
Q. Can you talk about how proud you are of it and what you knew about it when you were growing up?
MEGAN KHANG: If I'm going to be honest, I did not know too much about my parents' history of how they got to the States. I knew why -- I knew the brief story. But when Randall Mell did the story on my family, I kind of got a deeper version of the story.
And honestly, I'm so proud of my dad. I don't tell him enough. I mean, I'm his kid, so I'm not going to tell him enough. But I'm very proud of both my parents. My mom took a risk of having my dad quit his job to focus on golf and coaching myself. It was a risk she was willing to take. And if she hadn't been so willing, I probably would not be here today. I probably wouldn't be playing golf. And we would not be here.
But overall it was a family sacrifice. And because of the huge sacrifice that they both took, I'm able to do what I love and my parents are here to travel with me around the world. And it's just an incredible journey up until this point and we're still writing our story.
Q. Do you feel like you represent more than America now? You represent the community and this great story and this great dream?
MEGAN KHANG: I'm sorry, I heard half that question.
Q. Do you feel you represent more than just America, because you talked about your dad talked about getting the citizenship and everything?
MEGAN KHANG: I mean, I definitely represent -- I feel like we represent America and stuff like that. And I'm very proud to wear the red, white and blue, stars and stripes.
But overall I want to be someone who I am confident in and I want young kids or anyone to look up to me. And so I hope to kind of inspire or just kind of motivate kids who may have this background as my family did and say, hey, if they can do it I can do it.
It's not just myself and this country, it's I want to put an impact on the next future generations.
Q. When did you actually read the article? And did you like -- when you read it did you go, wow, I didn't know that?
MEGAN KHANG: Randall Mell was very fortunate. He sent us the link as soon as the article came out. I read it as soon as it came out. And I can say he did a really good job on the article and wouldn't have asked anyone else to do it.
Q. Your parents, have they arrived yet?
MEGAN KHANG: My parents, they landed this morning. They're currently shopping.
Q. Annie, you said how important putting is in this. We don't see the long putter very much anymore. Can you tell us the how and the why of that for you?
ANNIE PARK: To rephrase that question, how I started it and why? So going back, I struggled with my back injury. Because of that tried to change my swing. I was struggling with golf.
Kind of continued into losing my card pretty much and having conditional status for 2018. And to be honest, in 2017 I was going to quit golf. I was thinking about possible other professions that I wanted to do.
And I was like, you know what? I'm going to give this one last try. So a friend recommended me, why don't you try the long putter. So I tried it. I was very close on some.
The Mondays, and thankfully in San Francisco I got in, and got reshuffled and ShopRite happened. I was like, you know what, maybe I'm okay at this sport.
So that's kind of the long putter for me was kind of the turning point in my career, I guess, just because I went from almost quitting golf to winning a golf event, and this week making it to the Solheim. So it's huge.
Q. You guys went from five rookies to six this week. I just wondered about Ally coming into the team. Do you have any specific ways in which you embraced her? And what was the whole process like of her coming in?
MEGAN KHANG: I mean, having Ally here was definitely fun. Having her here before we even knew the situation, it was definitely something that we all acknowledged and we fully supported her coming in. We tried to make sure that she was part of our team already.
And I think Ally is a great fit for the team, even if she was alternate. But happy she's playing. I'm not -- is it bummed? But it's unfortunate that Stacy had her back injury at this time, but overall I think Ally is going to step up to the occasion and it's going to be a great event.
ANNIE PARK: Yeah, I mean, I feel for Stacy just because I've been in that situation two years ago and kind of went through it minorly in May, so I kind of know exactly what she's going through.
And it's tough, but I know Ally is also a great asset to the team. We were teammates for the Curtis Cup. We were partners. And we won our match then. So she's a great person -- she has a great personality. Not only that, a great golfer. So we'll have a lot of fun this week with her.
Q. So why is it exactly that the long putter works technically for you? What is it that you like about it?
ANNIE PARK: The longest time, long game was my strength. And going through the back injury, it took me a long time to figure out my new swing and how not to recur the flare-up.
So just because my whole attention was on my swing, I wasn't really focused on my putting. And my putting, my whole golf game overall wasn't clicking.
And going to the long putter, it was -- I kind of clicked from that instant. So not only that, but when I was struggling with my long game, my putting became my strength. And I feel like my long game is coming around. And so we'll see how this week goes and the rest of the year goes.
Q. A question about how much you've thought about the opening tee shot and how you'll approach it and whether you're deliberately thinking about it or not thinking about it?
MEGAN KHANG: So when we did our practice round on Monday, I walked through the little tunnel to get to the first tee and the first thing I thought of was, wow, I can't wait until these crowds are filled. And I turned around and I kind of went "Let's go!" (Laughter).
ANNIE PARK: She literally practiced it today.
MEGAN KHANG: Literally practiced it. I can't wait for the crowd. My parents will be sitting up there. So I'm really looking forward to the first tee. And I know everyone, all the veterans tell us that it's nothing we've ever felt before. So I'm both nervous, excited and, like, I'm really looking forward to it.
ANNIE PARK: I guess, well, Megan pretty much hit on every topic I was going to say. But adding on to that, I've been thinking about what song they're going to play and what dance we should do. But I can't wait. I can't wait for Friday.
MEGAN KHANG: We're going to mix it up. Gotta keep people on their toes.
Q. Are you surprised by anything this week or multiple things? What are you most surprised about?
ANNIE PARK: Just how much swag we got. Like the hats, the clothes.
MEGAN KHANG: The bag.
ANNIE PARK: The bag is pretty cool. The golf bag is pretty cool. Just so much stuff. Like, I don't know how we're going to bring it all back. Coming here I did pack about 60 pounds of stuff. So it's a little concerning for me.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports