September 1, 2021
Toledo, Ohio, USA
THE MODERATOR: We'll get started. Pat, we'll start with you. It's finally here. I think we have been waiting for this week for so long and certainly no one more than you. How does it feel to finally be here at Inverness for the Solheim Cup?
PAT HURST: It's awesome. I was here about a month and a half ago and they were just putting up the structures and now when you get here and you see everything, it just, it's all coming together. So it's a lot of fun and we just can't wait for the week, for the matches to start.
THE MODERATOR: Do you maybe feel a little bit of relief now that you're finally here?
PAT HURST: Definitely. With everything that was going on, there was always the uncertainty of not playing. So we are here. We're going to do it and it's going to be awesome.
THE MODERATOR: Angela, I'm going to go down to you. You were the first of the assistant captains to get named a little over a year ago. What has this process been like as you worked with Pat and then Michelle and with Stacy to finally get here and bring this team together?
ANGELA STANFORD: It's been a lot of fun. I think Pat had a plan and we've, it feels like we're really prepared. It's a different feeling than being a player, obviously, but just knowing that we have put in the work and we have done our homework, and it's been a year, year and a half that we have been kind of putting things together, so it's nice to be here and not feel like you're trying to play catchup or, your plan's in place and we followed it step by step and Pat's done a great job keeping us focused and it's been a lot of fun.
THE MODERATOR: Is it more of a problem keeping the captains focused or the players focused?
PAT HURST: It's a tossup. It's a little bit of both.
THE MODERATOR: Michelle, your first time really on this side of the table. You've been a player for so many years, now as a captain, what's been the most eye opening part of this for you since you joined the team?
MICHELLE WIE WEST: It's just been so much fun because I feel like as a player coming to Solheim you're so focused. As much as it's a team event, you're still so focused on your own game that it's been so amazing being able to watch all the players play. Inverness is such an amazing golf course and just being able to appreciate more of the beauty of it and not just about strategy and whatnot.
And also more just behind the scenes, just learning how much goes into building this event and all the helpers and everyone. As a player you're obviously appreciative of all the work that everyone has done, but definitely being on this other side having to deal with a lot more of the operational side as well, I'm just so grateful for everything that has gotten this together.
THE MODERATOR: Stacy, we hear the booming music. We see the fans and great media turnout here. You were instrumental in getting this tournament here, having been born here, so many connections here. Can you talk us through that?
STACY LEWIS: Yeah. So it started playing in a pro-am with the CEO of Marathon, Gary Heminger, and he was actually the one I was trying to get the Marathon Classic to go to, to come here every year, and he said, Well, what if we bring the Solheim Cup? And I said, Well, that would be unreal.
Because traditionally this tournament's done really well in like kind of your small, a little bit smaller markets and, because I think for this area this is one of the biggest events they're probably ever going to have, and you can tell by the way people have showed up today. They're excited. They want to see it. And so it's been really cool to see the build and see what this golf course looks like. The first tee's amazing. It's going to be an awesome week.
THE MODERATOR: Pat, you're here. You have your team. You have your assistant captains. How are you attacking this week, your strategy, and making sure you've got your players prepped, ready to go, but without burnout before we hit that first tee ball on Saturday?
PAT HURST: Yeah, you just, I mean, with the pod system, we're just, we're telling the players, Hey, it's a long week, just kind of take your time and prepare the way that you would want to prepare yourself. So the thing is that they're doing it in their PODS, but they're still trying to prepare the same way as if they were playing a tournament.
THE MODERATOR: Questions?
Q. Can you talk about the decision to not put Stacy on the team, because obviously there are so many ties here and what that decision was like and what that conversation was like?
PAT HURST: Can you step outside for a moment? (Laughing) No. You know, I just went with the hottest players. I mean we had, Brittany played well in 2019, and so we agreed that we wanted to Brittany on the team. And then Yealimi and Mina, if you look at the last two months, they're playing really hot, and so that's what I went with.
Stacy took it well. I wanted her here no matter what. And like I said, she took it well. Like Angela was saying, we had a plan in place and we stuck to it and that's what we were doing.
Q. How difficult are those conversations, with the few that are kind of on the brink right there at the edge, how difficult are those conversations to break that news to them?
PAT HURST: It's really hard. I don't know anybody that likes to disappoint others and that's what it feels like. I started a year and a half ago watching these girls, watching the top 20, and anytime you have to get to this point, it's hard. They become like, to me, they become like family. They may not know that, but I'm watching them all the time. And it's like my kids, I'm watching them all the time. I try to let them do what they want to do, but I'm still mom and I'm still looking over them. And that was the hardest part was having to tell them that I wasn't picking them.
And so it's the disappointment that you have to tell them and it's, it was, it's probably the hardest day, the hardest day for Solheim for any of the captains.
Q. I know you guys obviously have some input in the course setup. What are maybe some of the tweaks you have in mind just to maybe favor the American team? What kind of goes into that thinking when you're talking to the crew and setting up the course?
PAT HURST: We're not really, we don't have that much control over setting up the golf course. Basically what's out there is what both team USA and Team Europe is seeing. They're giving us the tee placements and we don't have any say on the pin placements during the event. So we're just going out and trying to prepare ourselves with the tees that they did give us.
Q. For all of you, including Pat, obviously Inverness is such an iconic venue, such great history. How cool is it to come to a place like this but also knowing that you guys have a chance to write a new chapter of history at such a place with so much history?
STACY LEWIS: One of the caddies told me this place could host a major championship today. That's how good shape it's in. And that's just something that, maybe the guys get spoiled with, but we don't get all the time. And so that's what this week is like for us. We're getting something that we're not normally getting, and these girls are, it's a treat to play this golf course. I mean, it's unbelievable.
And so you walk, we're in the men's locker room. You see all the history there, all the pictures of the guys everywhere. It's just going to be nice to make them put some pictures up of some females too.
Q. I saw that Bubba Watson's on-site. I'm curious as to kind of how he ended up, it looks like maybe kind of advising or helping in some way, what exactly he's doing and how he's helped.
PAT HURST: Bubba called a couple weeks ago wanting to be, just wanting to help women's golf out. He's got a wife, he's got a daughter, and he loves golf and he loves, like I said, he just wants to support women's golf. And so I was all for it. I asked the assistants. They were all for it and it's been great. He's been a lot of fun having him in the locker room hearing his take on a lot of the things, and a lot of times we have to tell him that, Hey, men and women are a little bit different and I think he's definitely seeing that.
But we're all enjoying him around, players, caddies. We're asking him a ton of questions and it looks like, it seems like he's having just as much fun as we are with him around.
Q. Was there any specific piece of advice that he's given so far that stuck out?
PAT HURST: Not for me, but I know his presence is huge. So I don't know if you guys have heard any advice from him. We're asking him a whole bunch of stuff, his shot at the Masters to win in the playoff, and I mean, we're just asking a whole bunch of stuff. So do you guys, has any advice stuck out from him.
ANGELA STANFORD: He was out walking a couple holes and, I mean, he was talking to Danielle about a chip shot. They were talking about different ways how to hit different shots, and I think that's really cool. I mean, I think it's, he's available, and I think that's what makes it so special is you just have, you have a major champion, multiple major champion, another one walking around and being helpful. So I think that was the cool part. I just kind of stood back and watched that and watched them interact and it was really cool.
Q. Pat, the three groups that are coming in here in the interview room, are those officially your three different pods and if so, how did you determine who was going to play with whom?
PAT HURST: We haven't determined who is going to play with who yet in the different formats, but, yeah, of course you can tell kind of, if they're coming in in 4s what the pods are going to be. I don't think we're going to split them up. So, yes, they are our pods, but we don't know which formats we're going to put them in.
Q. How did you determine who was going to be in which pod?
PAT HURST: We did a behavior profile and basically went with that and, I mean, that's basically how we put the pods together, for the most part, that's probably 75 percent of it.
Q. Which assistant is with which pod?
PAT HURST: Say that again.
Q. Which assistant is associated with which pod?
STACY LEWIS: I'm with the one, the Kordas that is coming in today. Michelle is tomorrow and then -- Angela's is tomorrow. Michelle is Friday.
Q. Could you share what you remember about your rookie experience in the Solheim Cup and what sort of advice you've shared with the first timers on the team?
PAT HURST: I'll go first. I remember walking up to that first tee and how much my heart started pounding and how much fun it was and just, I remember Kelly Robbins and I were playing an alternate shot or the foursomes, and we just kind of looked at her and she's like, You're odds. And I'm like, Really? I mean, yeah, I have to tee off first? Yeah. And I'm like, Yeah, I can tell that you're the veteran because you're the one who put me on odds.
So, no, it's just the first tee's electrifying. I've said that over and over and over, and this is going to be just the same here. So that's the thing that I remember and you don't get those feelings anywhere else in the world in any other venue that I've played in.
STACY LEWIS: My first was Ireland and I just remember being on the range in the dark warming up and I start hearing all these songs and chanting going on, and I think Angela was my first partner, actually.
ANGELA STANFORD: I was waiting for you to throw me under the bus.
STACY LEWIS: She made me hit that first tee shot too and I hit a horrendous drive.
ANGELA STANFORD: That is one of my greatest regrets. I should have just stepped up and hit it, but she's like, Who's going to go first? I'm like, You.
STACY LEWIS: I remember the songs and I was like, that first tee is really far away and we can hear it way over here on this range. Like, this is something different than anything I've ever played in. So that will forever stick out as my first memory.
And advice, I don't know if we're quite to the advice part. We're trying to keep the rookies relaxed and not get in their way too much and things have been pretty relaxed so far.
MICHELLE WIE WEST: My first year was in 2009, Rich Harvest Farm and, first tee story again, Cristie said she would hit the first tee shot. She stepped up. But I always get there and I, back story, I never use a No. 4 ball, it's just like a weird thing, and I always use it all up in the practice rounds and I had forgot to switch the balls. And I got to the first tee and we decided to use my ball and I was about to give Cristie the golf ball and it was a No. 4 ball and I started like panicking, like full-on panicking because I'm also like about to have a nervous breakdown on the first tee. And they were all radio -- which I get now, being on the other side, hearing the SOS call come through the radio, Michelle needs golf balls, you know, and everyone one scrambling, they got golf balls within five minutes and that was my first time and we won that match. All thanks to the helpers, so...
ANGELA STANFORD: Mine was way back in 2003. I've always said I feel really blessed because on that team you had Beth Daniel, Meg Mallon, Rosie, Juli, Kelly Kuehne, like -- and then I also got to play with Michelle and Stacy and Jessica Korda, Paula. So I feel like I was very blessed in that I got to see, I got to play with some Hall of Famers, legends. Pat, I played with Pat a couple times. So I've seen it all kind of grow and I've, my first memory was a practice round with Juli and Meg and I was nervous, I was hitting it all over the place. And I think it was number 7 Juli said, All right, let's play a match coming in the last few holes. And I think I took their money and they were so mad because they were like, Juli's like, You've been hitting it like crap all day and then you take my money? But if you ask she won't remember that story. So it's funny, Hall of Famers have short memories, so...
And, you know, I think advice this week, it's been same thing, try to keep people relaxed and it's fun being on this side. And you sense when the rookies are kind of getting tense and it's kind of nice to be like, I remember that, and this is what I wanted to hear. So hopefully we're being helpful, but it's been a lot of fun.
Q. Michelle, did you need a certain number ball or just anything but 4?
MICHELLE WIE WEST: Anything but 4. And 8 won't do either. But anything but 4 and 8. (Laughing.)
Q. You are all representing the United States of America on a global stage. Every time you have done that in your career, every time you've put it on the red, white and blue, how do you describe the feeling of pride that you have and does that feeling ever get old?
PAT HURST: The feeling never gets old when you represent your country. I love it. I love standing up on the tee, knowing when they say, United States of America, it's the proudest moment for me, and just wearing the red, white and blue, that, it's nothing that, I mean, it's just, it's an awesome feeling.
STACY LEWIS: Nothing compares to these events and Solheim Cup, specifically the first tee and that experience. I've done the International Crown, I've done the Olympics, and Solheim Cup is just different. I love opening ceremonies when the flags are being raised. It's just, we don't get that, we get it a couple, you're lucky if you get it every two years. So it's just different, it's an unbelievable honor and it's a team that everybody wants to be on.
ANGELA STANFORD: There's nothing like opening ceremonies when that flag goes up. I got chills just when you were asking the question. So there's just absolutely nothing like it.
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