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September 12, 2019
Gleneagles, Scotland, United Kingdom
THE MODERATOR: I'm happy to be here with Lexi Thompson and Brittany Altomare for Team USA. Lexi is playing in her fourth Solheim Cup, and Brittany is making her debut this week. Brittany, I'll start with you and say welcome to Team USA. This has to be an amazing whirlwind of a week for you. What's the experience been like so far representing the U.S.A.?
BRITTANY ALTOMARE: It's been really great. I've really enjoyed the team aspect of it, getting to know these players a lot better. On the LPGA, we don't get to spend as much time together. So it's been really nice. I feel like we're all forming pretty big, special bonds.
THE MODERATOR: Lexi, you haven't lost at a Solheim Cup since 2013 in an individual match I should say. What is it about this event that really seems to bring out the best in your game and agree with you?
LEXI THOMPSON: I think it's just overall the experience. Playing the team format, being surrounded by all my teammates, the captains and assistant captains, there's absolutely nothing like it. It's the highest honor; I always say it's my number one goal to be always on this team.
And it's the one event that I look forward to so much out of every two years. And there's nothing like a Solheim Cup.
THE MODERATOR: Now for either of you, you've had several days out to practice, out to see Gleneagles and out to get used to it. What's it look like out there; how is it shaping up for the Solheim Cup week itself?
LEXI THOMPSON: Well, they got some rain earlier in the week. It was a bit wet yesterday, I believe, but we went out today and it's dried up so much. The course is in great shape for us.
It's playing pretty long. It will be a challenge for everybody. But the course is great. I've never been here and I've heard nothing but great things about it. So I'm really looking forward to getting it started with my team.
BRITTANY ALTOMARE: The same. The course is definitely playing long, but like she said, it's drying up nicely. The greens are in perfect shape. I mean, they couldn't be in any better shape. So I'm just excited to get out there.
THE MODERATOR: Questions?
Q. Lexi, you and Cristie Kerr have developed quite a good bond in these team events. What's it been like not having her here? And then, secondly, how do the two of your games kind of complement each other in the foursome and fourball?
LEXI THOMPSON: It's definitely different not having Cristie Kerr here, but she's always a special part of the team aspect in Solheim Cup. She's definitely missed but we know she's here in spirit, cheering us on.
But I've played with my pod and my teammates and compared games, and see which ones mesh together the best. And we've been talking about it, and just really getting to know each other more. It's big on personalities, too, not just games and team format.
So, yeah, we'll see. We don't know exactly the pairings yet. So we're going to talk about it tonight and get everything ready.
Q. Brittany, you were at Virginia prior to the NCAA, going to match play. So can you tell us what both your team experience has been like and what your match play experience has been like coming into this?
BRITTANY ALTOMARE: In amateur golf, we played a lot of match play. I think the USGA, all their events are match play. That was a lot of fun. I got to be on a team for four years at Virginia. And I just loved being on a team. I loved having teammates, because I think it makes you play harder and it makes you play better.
You're playing for something more than just yourself, which I think is what this week is about. So I'm really looking forward to playing on a team again and playing for more than just myself.
Q. When you do that at Virginia, you have four years to get to know players. This week you've got a week to kind of gel as a team. How has that worked?
BRITTANY ALTOMARE: Well, I mean, even at Virginia, I didn't spend this much time with my team. So I feel like it's enough time. We get to spend every minute pretty much of every day together. So you really get to know somebody really well.
Q. Lexi, as the top-ranked American on this team, how do you feel that your role as a leader has evolved over the years?
LEXI THOMPSON: My role as a leader? I don't know if I really consider it that. Yes, this is my fourth Solheim Cup, but, you know, we're all trying to make a team as one. None of us are really a leader.
I would say Morgan Pressel is a leader in our group text message. (Laughter.) She's a leader on getting everything together. But I'm not in that aspect.
But we all want to gel as a team as best we can. So we don't want to overpower anybody. It's all about just coming together as a team and not being an individual focussing just on ourselves.
Q. I'm wondering if your pod had a name?
LEXI THOMPSON: We have too many names. And, yeah, we'd rather keep this private. A lot of inside jokes. It changes every day. (Laughter.)
BRITTANY ALTOMARE: We have, like, a couple of group text messages and each one is labeled like a different team name.
Q. And when Juli is creating the pods, does she talk to you guys about like what pod you want to be in, or is it more she just kind of creates the pods and then you guys go and play together?
LEXI THOMPSON: We talk about it before with Juli, obviously before the team's picked and everything. But we do personality tests as well and see who meshes together the best.
But we know each other's personalities and who we get along with. And I mean all of us, we're very lucky we all get along pretty well. So whoever we're paired with, we knew it would be fine. But it's a great system, the pod system.
Q. Could you explain a little bit the balance between like personality tests and type of game as like how those two things work together within a pod?
BRITTANY ALTOMARE: Well, I mean, I think everybody knows I'm pretty introverted, and I think that shows when I'm playing golf. I don't show much emotion. I think I keep to myself and I guess that might be how it meshes up, but I don't really know exactly.
LEXI THOMPSON: I mean, everybody's different personality-wise, game-wise, and it's just important to find the right connection between that, because if we were paired together -- we get along very well, so that's never a problem.
But some people are very quiet on the golf course, that you want somebody in your ear pumping you up. So it's all a matter of balance I think personality-wise. And then game-wise, it really comes out more in best ball, I think, somebody who plays safe and somebody who plays aggressive and kind of meshing that up the best.
Q. Lexi, looking at this course, there are obviously several risk/reward par-5s. There's the drivable par-4, I think the 14. And then given the fact that it's match play and you're aggressive, do you feel like a kid in a candy store? Just being able to be even more aggressive and take some risks that you can't take in stroke play given this venue?
LEXI THOMPSON: Yeah, like I said earlier, it is such a great venue especially for that. There's a few par-5s that are reachable. Some really aren't or kind of worth going for.
But in best ball, it can definitely come out the aggressive side because sometimes when you're just playing on your own you're, like, ah, kind of questioning it, is it worth it, or should I just play it safe?
If you have a partner by your side, either lay it up, basically lay it up; you know you can go for it and take that risk or if you want to go before them so that can free them up.
So, it's definitely nice to be able to have a little bit more aggressive side come out this week. But I'm trying to get my overall game to be that way anyway.
Q. Trying to figure out this course, obviously you've had several days to prepare. Is the front nine trickier? What's the key? Do you really need to get off to a fast start? Is the back a little more simplistic? What's your take on it?
BRITTANY ALTOMARE: I think they both play pretty similar. I don't know, I think in match play in general you probably want to get off to a fast start, just to get ahead. But I thought they played pretty similar. But it may be different for me because I don't hit it as far. (Laughter.)
LEXI THOMPSON: I mean they do. Obviously it's great to get off to a fast start, especially in match play -- just golf in general, really. But really I think both sides have difficult holes, that pars are good on those holes, especially alternate shot, pars can win. But at the same time there are a few gettable holes on each side. But a good start's good.
Q. Brittany, your surname, Altomare, I assume that's Italian decent. How close was it? Was there a chance you could have been playing for Team Europe this week?
BRITTANY ALTOMARE: No.
Q. Where is it in your family then going back --
BRITTANY ALTOMARE: My dad's dad's parents came from Italy.
Q. So, we're talking 100 years ago?
BRITTANY ALTOMARE: So, pretty well removed, yeah.
Q. The other thing, on your relationship, Lexi and Brittany together, how well did you know each other before this week and being put in the pods?
BRITTANY ALTOMARE: We knew each other decent. But I think I've definitely got to know her a lot better this week, which has been nice because, like I said, I think on the LPGA -- yeah, we all have our really close friends, but it's a lot more individual. And it's been really nice having team dinners and getting to know and having inside jokes with people, too. It just makes it special and more fun.
Q. Since you don't show a whole lot of emotion on the golf course, but if you were nervous, is there a tell? Is there any way we could know that this situation felt big?
BRITTANY ALTOMARE: I have no idea.
LEXI THOMPSON: No. (Laughter) you're not going to see it.
Q. Have you ever felt overwhelmed on a golf course?
BRITTANY ALTOMARE: Have I? I mean, I get adrenaline rushes and I get butterflies every time on the first tee. And I don't think I've ever been overwhelmed, but I'm always very excited -- even though I don't show it, I am really excited and I'm happy to be out there. I promise you. (Laughter).
Q. Lexi, do you prefer to have a partner who hits it comparably in terms of distance or does it really matter?
LEXI THOMPSON: I'm guessing you're talking about best ball?
LEXI THOMPSON: Honestly, it doesn't really matter to me. You have your partner by your side. If they keep it -- I always say, keep it in the fairway, I'm good.
You just want a partner that's never going to give up. That's, like, my biggest thing. If I have a partner by my side, if she's struggling, just to see that she'll never give up, that's all I ask for. All you can do is try your best and give it your all.
Q. Lexi, when the Americans came here for the 2014 Ryder Cup, there didn't seem to be as much team unity. Phil Mickelson threw Tom Watson under the bus at the end. But it seems that the team unity this week is totally different in the American camp. Is that correct?
LEXI THOMPSON: Are you just talking about our bond with each other? Yeah.
I think we make a great team this year. The personalities on it are a lot different than the past years, but we get along so well. Like Brittany said, we've been spending basically every minute with each other. We always have team meetings, team dinners.
Even though we have a lot of stuff going on the golf course -- media-wise, opening ceremonies and gala dinners -- we make sure we have time to have fun with each other at night -- play ping-pong and foosball, and just having a good time getting to know each other.
And we don't get the opportunity very often when we're playing in regular events. That's what's so great about this event; we come together as a team and we learn so much about each other and build relationships that we never thought were possible.
Q. There's no danger anyone throwing Captain Inkster under the bus on Sunday?
LEXI THOMPSON: I didn't get that. That was really fast what you just said.
Q. There's no danger of anyone throwing Captain Inkster under the bus like Phil Mickelson did?
LEXI THOMPSON: No.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports