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September 11, 2019

Azahara Munoz

Carlota Ciganda

Gleneagles, Scotland, United Kingdom

THE MODERATOR: Delighted to welcome Carlota Ciganda and Azahara Munoz, two stars of the European Solheim Cup team. Both making your fourth appearance in competition. And obviously, Carlota, you were part of the winning team in your rookie year, 2013. Azahara, you were on two winning teams in '11 and '13, but missed out last time, two years ago. First question, how does it feel to be back?

AZAHARA MUNOZ: It feels amazing. Obviously I think I speak for both of us, we love playing as a team. And Solheim Cups weeks have been my favorite weeks of my golfing career. So missing out two years ago was pretty hurtful, but I was determined to be back here. And I'm really happy to be on this team.

THE MODERATOR: Carlota, this event gets bigger and better every time. Have you noticed any differences about the setup and the course this year.

CARLOTA CIGANDA: Yeah, I'm very happy to be here in Scotland. I think they've done a great job so far. I love the course. It's just so nice to stay on site because we can have a little bit more rest, it's been a busy week. Everything is very good so far. And I can't wait for Friday and start playing.

THE MODERATOR: As the top-ranked European player, do you feel any additional pressure or do you think you have a special will to play?

CARLOTA CIGANDA: Not really. I think we are a team. We're all together. We're all the same. I feel we all get along very good. Great atmosphere in the team room. I think we are all ready and excited to start playing on Friday.

We have a great captain, vice. I mean, I think it's going to be a great week for Europe. I can't wait for that.

THE MODERATOR: I think both being Spanish, people might think that the natural tendency of the captain would be to pair you together, but actually you have very different personalities. Would you agree?

AZAHARA MUNOZ: Not really. I think the main thing, I'm more outgoing, she's more quiet. But deep down we're very similar, actually, I think. She's a bit more laid back than I am. But I think we have the same values actually and we like to do the same things.

And I am more like, as I said, outgoing and I move more. But I'm also more laid back than people think I am. So I think we're both quite similar. We've done really well together in the past.

THE MODERATOR: Would you say you're both very passionate?

AZAHARA MUNOZ: I would say so, yeah.


Q. What do you all like about this golf course and what do you see as the biggest challenges?
CARLOTA CIGANDA: Obviously the golf course is quite wet. I think it's going to play long. To be honest, I like that. I like playing tough courses. I think it's going to be windy as well; we're in Scotland. So I think the wind is going to play -- it's going to be a big factor here.

I mean the greens are really nice. I think in foursomes you want to try to hit as many fairways and greens, give yourself as many chances as you can. And fourballs, you can be a little more aggressive because you have two balls every hole.

I think it's a great match play course and hopefully we can see the sun and have some fun out there.

AZAHARA MUNOZ: I think we all really like the setup of the course. As Carlota said, it's playing quite long. And the greens are still not super firm but they're firm. We're coming in with pretty long clubs, so I think that's going to be the biggest challenge.

And I think hitting fairways because the rough is not thick but it's quite juicy and wet. It feels super thick. Hitting lots of fairways and lots of greens is going to be the key at this golf course.

Q. Quick follow-on, given the conditions, wet, you called it juicy, the rough, do you think it favors you being used to these types of conditions?
CARLOTA CIGANDA: I think it's pretty similar, to be honest. The U.S. team, they have some great players. They've been playing great all year. So it's going to be -- it's always very tough to beat them.

We are playing good, too, but it's not easy to win, to beat the Americans.

About the rough, I think it's very similar on both sides. We have some long hitters with more strength on both teams. I think it's going to be very similar on that.

Q. What do you think about emotional factors? Do you think that "vamos" is more important than ever this weekend?
CARLOTA CIGANDA: As you all know, I'm very passionate. I love the Solheim Cup. It's one of my favorite events. I love making putts and screaming "vamos!"

But I think you have to conserve your energy. It's a long three days. I think I want to be a little more calm on the first few holes.

But, yeah, I think you'll see some "vamos" and some passion because that's just us -- we're from Spain and we love that. We can't wait to hole some putts and be like that.

AZAHARA MUNOZ: We talk about it, actually. I mean, it's my fourth and both of us, fourth Solheim, and I think being super passionate is great, but as she said you kind of have to be careful because these tournaments drain so much energy out of you.

You just have to keep it calm out there. Obviously if you make a putt you're going to fist pump and get a little wild, but you still need to be calm and save your energy a lot.

Q. You've both played in four of these matches. How would you say that the attitudes of the Americans and the Europeans differ. How would you say that the attitude of the two teams differ?
AZAHARA MUNOZ: To be honest, I think that playing as a team comes very natural to Europeans. As soon as we came four weeks ago to play a practice round here, we all get along so good. We enjoy each other's company so much. And I think that's what we have going for us.

I feel that maybe because we grew up playing as a team a lot and American is more of an individualistic lifestyle, I guess. And we are all -- we do everything together. We're more family-oriented -- not that they're not; that sounded terrible. Sorry. I didn't mean that.

We tend to do everything in groups type of thing. And I think that really helps us. We get out there and it's -- just a lot of people have been asking me, what do you do to make the team better. And we don't try anything. We just do.

You get out there -- and Carlota and I were talking last night I don't remember the last time I laughed so much. Every dinner is just nonstop.

Like, we were joking how we had to get the physio to work on our faces because I was sore here from laughing. We just get along so great and we have so much fun together. So I think we really have that going on for us.

CARLOTA CIGANDA: I think some of us, we played enough golf together with our different countries. So that helps, too. And I mean, we all get along. We are a team. It's just all one.

We love playing for Europe or the captain. It's such a fun time, and we don't really need to do anything. It comes very natural and we love this week.

Q. Are you saying that it doesn't come quite so naturally to the Americans?
CARLOTA CIGANDA: I think maybe you have to ask them that. I don't really know. I can tell you about Europe. Americans, they are great players. I think, as Azahara said, they're more individual. They like to do their own thing. They like to be the best at anything they do, and I think that's really good. I think that's why in singles they're always very good.

I think it's just the lifestyle. I think Europeans, we're more used to playing as a team. And we love that. I think you have to like that, have to love that.

I think Americans, they want to be more -- maybe more leaders or more -- I don't know what's the word. We're just all one. We're all the same. We are a team and we are Europe.

Q. Now that you're both so experienced, if you could go back in time and speak to each other before you made your rookie appearance, what would be the words of encouragement and advice you would give to yourselves?
AZAHARA MUNOZ: I think for me, just whatever I was told. I remember my first one in 2011, you know, I was so excited, so nervous. I didn't know what to expect. But everybody just said just embrace it. Everybody's going to be nervous on the first tee. Just because it's my fourth doesn't mean I'm not going to be nervous.

Every one of them I've been really nervous. So you just have to embrace it. It's such a special week, it doesn't happen very often. So you just have to go along with it and enjoy it as much as you can, just take it all in. That's my advice to all the rookies.

CARLOTA CIGANDA: What I do with that for sure, I think it's important to enjoy every moment. I think it's a week you make so many friendships for life. And it's such a great week to enjoy, have fun in the team room. We play ping-pong. We play so many games. We laugh so much.

And I think it's important to remember those memories because usually you want to play golf -- that's Friday, Saturday and Sunday -- but I think it's such a fun week, the entire week, I think it's important, as Azahara said, to embrace every moment and enjoy it.


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