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September 2, 2021

Mel Reid

Leona Maguire

Charley Hull

Toledo, Ohio, USA

Inverness Club

Press Conference

THE MODERATOR: Good afternoon. Welcome to day two of Solheim Cup press conferences. I'm joined by England's Mel Reid and Ireland's Leona Maguire. Welcome to the room.

Mel, last time out in Gleneagles you were our vice captain. This time you're back in the team. What does it feel like to be back playing at the Solheim Cup?

MEL REID: It's nicer than giving out water bottles, if I'm being honest, to most of the players. So, yeah, you know what, I was -- being an assistant captain or vice captain, I think that it gave me a different perspective of the Solheim Cup, which I think is what I needed.

It made me realize I didn't really want to be apart from this team again. Obviously a huge honor being asked to play that role, but I'm definitely happy that I'm now playing, I'm teeing it up inside the ropes instead.

I think we've got a fantastic team. I think it's the strongest team we've had in years. So yeah, I'm honestly very, very excited for the week, and all the girls are just great girls. As usual it's one of my favorite weeks of the year every two years.

THE MODERATOR: Is there anything you learnt as an assistant captain in 2019 that you're bringing through to this year?

MEL REID: I think honestly a little bit about communication. I think that's vital. I think some players are kind of scared to say something in case they get left out in the team, but communication is huge.

The more that you communicate with the captains, I think that they again get a better idea of pairings, how you're feeling. You've just got to be completely honest. I feel like that's important.

I feel like especially for the rookies they do have to speak up and say -- feel comfortable in speaking up and saying if something doesn't feel right or if they really love this, and that's probably one of the things I took away from playing that role aside from different even from being a player.

THE MODERATOR: Earlier in the week you spoke about more of a leadership role this week. Have you spoken to rookies such as Leona, Matilda, Nanna, and Sophia?

MEL REID: Yeah, I'm trying to. I played with Leona today. Fantastic player. Haven't honestly spent much time with Leona. You know what tour life is like, if you don't get paired with them you can kind of miss people.

I've obviously been keeping an eye on Leona because she has had a fantastic amateur career. She's obviously progressed, and naturally progressed as we all expected into LPGA and played some fantastic golf this year.

Honestly it was really nice playing with her today, getting to know her a little bit better, and she's a great girl. Yeah, I mean, she's just a great girl, great player.

Matilda, again, fantastic girl, fantastic player. I really know Sophia pretty well anyway. Nanna I know quite well anyway, as well.

Honestly, the rookies, they're fearless. They're not like rookies when I first started playing Solheim Cups that were just playing on the LET. Not discrediting that at all, but they are playing against the American girls week in and week out and they're just not scared, and that's exactly what you want in a rookie.

THE MODERATOR: Leona, what's your week been like in Team Europe colors?

LEONA MAGUIRE: Yeah, it's been amazing. This is something I've looked forward to for a long time. Got a little glimpse of it when I played the Junior Solheims, and yeah, really good to be part of the big team now.

I think there will be a lot of good memories after this week, and hopefully some of them will be on the golf course, but I think a lot of them will be off the golf course, too.

THE MODERATOR: What does it mean to be the first Irish woman to play in the Solheim Cup for Europe?

LEONA MAGUIRE: Yeah, it's obviously a huge honor. I think it's something I'll probably not dwell on too much right now. I'll look back probably in 20, 30 years when I'm done playing and realize how special it was.

Hopefully it inspires more young girls in Ireland to take up the game, realize that if they believe in themselves and work hard that anything is possible. Hopefully we'll have many, many more Irish girls on the team in the future.

THE MODERATOR: How have you found the course this week, both of you?

LEONA MAGUIRE: I think it's a great golf course. Obviously Donald Ross knows what he's doing. It's played a little different every day, depending on the wind, and it's firming up, which is going to make things interesting.

You're just going to have to hit really good quality golf shots, which is exactly what you want.

MEL REID: Yeah, I mean, I think a lot of 3-woods, a lot of 5-woods. I think you're going to see girls playing on different fairways if I'm completely honest. I don't think they're going to put it completely out of bounds. I think you're going to be seeing completely different angles from a lot of players, especially the longer hitters.

It's easier for kind of -- I'm in the lower section of that, but it's easier to hit other fairways and have better angles in than hitting 3-wood and 5-wood everywhere, so I think that will be a little bit different for people to see. I don't know how that's going to go during the singles with 12 groups out there.

I also think that the greens are firming up. It was windy yesterday. I don't think we're going to get that wind in the next few days, but the greens are certainly firming up. They're real slopey, like very, very slopey.

If you're on the wrong side of the hole I think you're going to struggle to kind of keep it within, as we say in England, a dust bin lid. Yeah, it's just about positioning yourself properly off the tee. Once you do that, you really do need to position yourself properly on your approach shots.

It's a really good test, and it's in incredible shape. I'm really impressed with the way that it's shaping up.

THE MODERATOR: The 1st and 10th tee being on the same tee box, what have you found of that when you've been out there on the practice rounds?

MEL REID: I think it's awesome. I think to have two atmospheres like that -- you know, I was kind of saying this to Leona when we were teeing off today. I said, You're not going to experience anything like it, and especially this year with -- obviously we're not going to have as many supporters from Europe with the whole protocols and everything, so it's going to be even louder, I think, with Americans, which we do kind of have to block out a little bit.

But to have a grandstand that big, it's not even going to be full, it's going to be absolutely jam packed. To have that kind of twice during the round I think is going to be an incredible experience.

I'm just excited to see what it kind of feels like on Saturday morning.

THE MODERATOR: We're also joined by England's Charley Hull. How have you found the week and how have your practice rounds gone over the past couple of days?

CHARLEY HULL: Yeah, really good. I like the golf course. It's the first time I seen it yesterday. I didn't play in the tournament here last year, but it's real good and the golf course is in great shape. I feel like we've got a good team this year and everyone gets on and it's really nice.

Q. Mel, when we spoke on Monday you said the first thing you were going to do was kind of go and embrace Leona and Matilda and bring them in as part of the team. How has that worked out and how did they receive that?

MEL REID: I don't know. She's right here. I actually gave her a nickname today, so I said she is officially part of the team now I've gave her a nickname.

Listen, I'm also I don't want to encroach on their space, as well. It's quite overwhelming to start with, but I feel like people say I'm intimidating; I'm completely opposite. I think I'm soft as butter, but maybe someone else will have a different opinion.

But if they want advice, like me and Leona were just talking on the range this morning, Matilda I've actually played with yesterday, got a little bit of time with her. Just trying to integrate a dinner.

Yeah, honestly, like you're just trying to make the rookies feel as part of the team as quickly as possible.

I think they're our biggest asset, especially this year. There's always a strong American team. The only way we are going to win this thing, especially with the amount of fans that are going to be cheering USA, is if we become a unit. I think that's very important from the setoff.

I think that's something that Catriona has drilled into our heads from the start, and as quickly as we get accumulated, I guess, with everybody, then the more chances we have to win.

I'm really pleased with the way it's been going in the team room. I feel like, as Charley just said, everybody is getting on. It's a great team. It's the strongest one we've had. So yeah, I really think by Saturday we're definitely going to be ready.

Q. Leona, is she intimidating or is she just as soft as a teddy bear?

LEONA MAGUIRE: She's been great. I didn't really know her that well going into this week. Obviously grew up watching her on TV and all that and seeing her heroics over the Solheim Cups in the past.

Yeah, it's cool to get a little insight into how she does things. Like she said, had a little chat this morning and played nine holes, which was fun. Maybe we'll have a few ping-pong matches or games of pool before the week is over, as well.

Q. Charley, you were part of the team that won this event on U.S. soil the last time in Colorado; how are you different now than you were then?

CHARLEY HULL: I don't know really. Just a bit more older and -- I wouldn't say wiser (laughing).

MEL REID: Got longer eyelashes and longer hair.

CHARLEY HULL: Yeah, I think actually I'm wiser. Like I don't know, I feel like a lot more confident now. Back then as my first Solheim Cup I didn't know what I was getting myself into, so I found it was almost easier in a way because I didn't feel the pressure.

But then I'm actually looking forward to this year to not having as many Europe fans because I actually quite like being the underdog coming into the event, and I enjoy that. I kind of bounce off that more.

Q. Charley, looking back to 2013, what was it about that team you think that enabled you to have such great success on American soil?

CHARLEY HULL: I think everyone got on that year really well. I don't know, I think everyone was playing well, as well. It just clicked for us that week. But yeah, again, like this week, as well, I just feel like everyone gets on. This probably is one of the most enjoyable teams that I've played in. Yeah, I like everyone on it. I think it's great.

Q. I'm wondering who's with you from your family given the pandemic and who would have been here if things were different or normal?

CHARLEY HULL: Yeah, my dad would have been here, my mom, my sisters, my best mate, James. They would have all been here, but obviously it's unfortunate with the COVID, so they'll be at home watching it.

It's just a shame because obviously I like my dad being here at Solheim Cups because when we won in 2013 I actually won my first ever point on his birthday, so it's always nice to have him at the Solheim.

LEONA MAGUIRE: I mean, my sister, Lisa, is here, so it's obviously fun having her here. There's already been a bit of confusion, people mixing us up. Yeah, she's here. Obviously the rest of my family aren't here. Mom and dad and my brother probably would have come over. My coach would have come over and probably a lot of Irish people, as well.

But I know I'll have a lot of support cheering on from home. Would have been nice if they were here, maybe a few Irish Americans from Chicago and New York and that will make the trip down. I was chatting to the Irish ambassador next week. He said he was going to try and make an appearance, so we'll see.

MEL REID: I don't even think my dad knows I'm playing Solheim Cup this week, so he probably wouldn't have come (laughing).

No, I'm joking. I think.

Yeah, I think some of my family might have shown up, but I've got like 20 of my mates coming, a lot of my friends from Jupiter. I live down there. There's like 20 of them. And then I think Carly has got most of her family coming, so I'm making them wear yellow and blue this week. There's no American chants -- they're coming to our side for that this week. Yeah, we're going to have a few rowdy fans, I think.

Q. Mel, can I take you back to Gleneagles and your role as assistant captain, and can you talk about the qualities Catriona showed as a captain on that occasion, and was there anything that surprised you about Catriona that week?

MEL REID: Catriona is so laid back. I think one of her biggest assets is she lets the players do what they want. I think we have had captains in the past that have tried to do what they want, like the captain does things, so they make the players do that.

I think that's a big no-no as a captain. I think that's why Catriona is so good. Like, hey, you want to play 18, play 18; you want to play nine, play nine; you want to play 12, play 12.

She knows we all know how to prepare. Obviously she's -- I just think she does it so well in creating a team, but allowing the players to be individual at the same time and prepare how they would normally prepare.

Obviously she's a very approachable lady. Like she's just one of the nicest, she's surprisingly funny for a Scottish. But yeah, she's just a fantastic captain. Honestly, she's by far the best captain that I've ever been part of as a team, and was just hugely impressed with her at Gleneagles. I texted her straight after saying I want to be a player with you as a captain.

I tried my hardest to get in this team, and luckily I did. She's just honestly a huge honor to play under. She's just a fantastic woman, fantastic career, and a fantastic Solheim Cup captain.

Q. Charley, you've played certainly alongside Catriona and now she's your captain. What impresses you about Catriona?

CHARLEY HULL: Yeah, I think this is my fifth Solheim Cup, and as I say, she's probably my favorite Solheim Cup captain because she's so relaxed. She's got good banter. She has, hasn't she?


CHARLEY HULL: She's a good woman. I like her. She's cool.

Q. Leona, what nickname have you been given this week? Can you reveal that? What do you think you and the team think is going to be the key to being the second European team to win on U.S. soil?

LEONA MAGUIRE: The nickname is Mags for now. I don't know if it's set in stone, but that's what we're going with for now.

In terms of what we need to do, I think we just need to play for each other. We've got a lot of really good players, a lot of players in really good form. Hopefully we can build off the momentum from the British Open.

But yeah, everybody is getting along so well and just getting the most out of each other and really rooting for each other and cheering each other on. We're going to have to be each other's No. 1 fans this week, especially with not as many crowds in our favor, and just embracing that and I think the girls with it.

Really looking forward to it. I think it's a great team. It's a really strong team and everybody is getting along really well.

Q. What have you learned over the years from your team play that can help you this week? It's just a very different kettle of fish to playing Curtis Cup at 15 years of age or collegiate golf in America? Is there something from that that can stand to you this week?

LEONA MAGUIRE: Yeah, you try and pick up as much as you can from every different event you play. Obviously the first Curtis Cup I played was on American soil, and that was my first experience of that sort of hostile crowd and the USA chants.

As a 15 year old I probably wasn't that well equipped to deal with it, but got more comfortable the next two I played.

Yeah, I mean, you just have to try and stay in your own little bubble. I have a lot of great teammates that can support me this week and pick their brains. Obviously our assistant captains have some incredible experience, as well, as Beanie, and really fortunate to have them alongside us this week helping us in any way that they can.

Q. Has your role been defined already? Do you already know how many matches you're going to play or is that all up in the air?

LEONA MAGUIRE: Top secret. You're always digging a little bit. No, it is what it is. I'll do whatever Beanie wants me to do, whatever role she wants me to play, as will everybody on this team.

I think there's not very many egos on this team, which is really nice and really important. Everyone just wants to do what's best for the team and whatever it's going to take to bring that Cup back the right side of the Atlantic.

Q. Leona, what are you most anxious or nervous about in this first Solheim Cup experience and what are you most looking forward to?

LEONA MAGUIRE: Yeah, everybody talks about the first tee, so there's definitely going to be some butterflies I'm sure. Try and embrace it as much as I can, the adrenaline and everything that goes with it. It's just going to be a really cool experience.

It's going to be like nothing else I've ever played before, I'm sure, and yeah, just excited to get going. There's been a lot of buildup. We've had a lot of practice days already, more practice days than tournament days, which is a little weird.

Just really looking forward to getting started now almost and getting out there and competing. I love match play, so yeah, just excited to get going.

Q. Mel and Charley, the team has played well over in Europe. What do you think has been the biggest challenge that's kept Team Europe from winning more over here on American soil?

CHARLEY HULL: I don't know. I've played one -- well, once won over here and once lost. I just think that year we -- I don't know, what year did we lose? Des Moines. I can't remember. I don't know.

I just think you've got to play better than them, and that year we didn't. Again, as I said, I feel like the whole team gels and everyone is playing quite well. Obviously Anna won a few weeks ago at the British Open, so that gives a lot of momentum to the team.

Yeah, I think we've got a good chance this year.

MEL REID: I also think the rookies this year, like I kind of said before, they've played on the LPGA, they've won on the LPGA, they've played fantastic golf on the LPGA against these American girls.

I think in previous years like just the way the system is, we've not really had that with some of the rookies. So yeah, this is -- we keep going back to this. This is by far the strongest team I really do think we've had. If I was to write 12 players, this is the 12 players I would have picked.

Yeah, I mean, listen, they're going to play great. We know that. We have to play better if we're going to win. That's all there is to it. It's whoever plays better.

But I do truly, truly, truly believe -- you have to believe that you can do it. Like I said, we've just got a great foundation for it. We're really United as a team. We're just going to have to see what it is like over the weekend, but there's no reason why we can't take this Cup back our side again.

Q. With not as many fans expected for the European side, what impact do you think that'll have on the team or what influence has that had in years past those fans?

MEL REID: I mean, you guys are loud. That's what we want. Obviously it's going to be very American dominated. We understand that. The golf ball can't hear anything. That's kind of the message that Ally Nick kind of came into the team room last night and kind of said that to a few of us, and she's a hundred percent right.

The way we're going to quiet the fan down is by holing all putts, hitting shots closer. That's the only way we're going to quiet the spectators down is by doing that.

I truly believe the spectators will be extremely respectful, but they're going to be loud, and the only way we can quiet them down is to play a little bit better golf.

We are going to have some support out here. It's not going to be 100 percent American. We're going to make sure we find those European fans somewhere in the crowd and give them a little bit of a look, and yeah, we're just going to -- hopefully it's going to be a great showcase of women's golf.

I really do believe it's one of the best sporting events to be taking place, and just really, really proud to be part of it. Yeah, I think it's going to be a fantastic showcase, honestly.

Q. Mel, you mentioned in 2019 being a vice captain, it's rare for them to come back and play. Did you feel like your game was close back then? Did you understand why you weren't on the team? Were you upset?

MEL REID: Yeah, I was pissed. I wanted to be on the team, obviously, but, I mean, I wasn't playing great, but I didn't feel I was playing -- I probably wasn't playing great, but I just feel like Solheim Cup just brings something different out in myself. I do really believe that I would have played well at Solheim Cup.

But listen, there was other players in that team that probably did deserve a pick more than me. At the end of the day if you're not actually in the automatic qualification, you shouldn't really expect a pick. That's kind of my attitude is you should have got yourself, you should have played well enough to get yourself in the automatic qualification.

But yeah, obviously it hurt. When she first called me I said no and then i rang her back quite literally probably 30 seconds later and I was like, I am really sorry. Actually I will do it.

I think in a situation like that you've just got to put yourself -- it's an ego thing really and you've got to put your ego aside.

I know that I can be an asset to the team. I know that I can help players on the team, even if I was playing a slightly different role.

You know what, it did give me a different perspective, it gave me a perspective how hard the captain, the captains, the helpers, the LET staff, like we would not be able to function as smoothly as we do without all of their help.

These guys work a tremendous amount much hours and work so hard for us and we're so appreciative of it, and it actually gave me a different perspective on that.

So yeah, but I certainly was honored to play that role, but I would much rather be teeing it up inside the ropes than, like I said, having a radio in my ear. I'm just grateful that I'm able to be here this time.

Q. Did your background in team sports maybe help you accept taking on that role than if you had just been somebody who had been handed a golf club when they were six and had just been an individual and not necessarily understand the bigger concept there?

MEL REID: Yeah, 100 percent. I feel like I'm a little bit different golfer in the sense I grew up playing multiple sports. A lot of these -- I'm not talking about everybody, but a lot of the girls on the LPGA have only played golf. For me, I understand what it takes to be a winning team.

I do think that helps me. I think that that background -- I only just stopped playing football at like 26, so I understand that you don't necessarily have to be the strongest on paper to win a match, a game. There's a lot more to it than that. That's something that I do try and bring to the team.

So yeah, I mean, I do certainly think that that's one of my assets is being able to play, growing up playing multiple sports, and I think that's where Carlota is so strong, as well. She's very similar background to me, and that is why she gets so fired up for stuff like this, because she just knows it's not necessarily who's hitting it the best, it's the one who wants it the most.

And that's kind of what we're trying to get through to the team, is listen, if you want it more than them, then we've got it. Yeah, I certainly think it's an asset of mine.

Q. Is there something about this format as opposed to a stroke-play event that maybe brings something out in your game? I heard Catriona talking about your grittiness, Leona, was something that attracted her to you. Is there something about this format in Europe that maybe allows you guys to thrive regardless if this was some random stroke-play event?

LEONA MAGUIRE: Yeah, I mean, I think we're all very passionate people. We have a lot of pride in our country, and then obviously representing Europe, as well. It's just that never-say-die mentality. We just really, really want to win. Doesn't matter what it is.

I think if it's ping-pong in the team room or whatever it is, we just all love to compete. There's something different about that one-on-one in match play that is just you and that other person rather than you out on the golf course.

Yeah, you just do whatever it takes, whether it's hitting -- all it takes sometimes is one shot to swing that momentum back in your direction, hole that one putt, maybe chip in, something just to turn the tables a little bit.

Yeah, I mean, sometimes you just have to will the ball in the hole. You might seem out of it, but you just do absolutely everything you can to try and keep yourself in it and ultimately end up on top.

MEL REID: I certainly putt better just because I know I'm not the one holing the one after it, so I feel like I putt a little bit more aggressively and then just let my partner figure out the four-footer coming back.

I think what Leona said was a great point. I feel like I will the ball a little bit more than I do in a regular event. Obviously when you're in contention you can will the ball, but it's hard to get in that mentality straight off a Thursday morning. It's difficult.

You're just trying to set yourself up or the weekend and be in contention on the back nine on Sunday. In this slightly different format, you're certainly willing the ball in straight away from the word get-go, and that's something that I've just found that happens with a lot of players, the majority of players at Solheim Cup.

Q. Mel, you've said a couple times now that this is the strongest team; could you from an analysis standpoint say why?

MEL REID: I think because -- again, this is probably not going to come off incorrectly. I think it's because the majority of our players play on the LPGA. Like I said, they've played against the best in the world and they're not intimidated.

And then we've got Emily who basically won everything in Europe. She's still playing in a certain amount of events in America.

All these girls, they're not scared of the American team. I think before we've had a few players who have never played against a Jess Korda, never played against a Danielle Kang, whereas these girls all have.

That's why I feel like it is the strongest team. We've had a few rookies win already on Tour that are in this team. I just think that goes miles.

I think the belief in the rookies, I think they're completely fearless, and that's just amazing to have on a team. And then we've obviously got the players like Charley, Georgia, Carlota, Anna, I mean, the British Open could not have set up any better for us.

Obviously I missed the cut, but a lot of these players finished in the top 10 and they're just playing great golf. So that's why I do think we have the strongest team that we've ever had.

Q. Have you ever had a chance to talk to Leona about the fact that like in 2011 when you first played, you didn't have a great Solheim Cup but the team won, the importance of the fact that it doesn't really matter how good or bad you play, as long as at the end of the day you're taking the Cup home?

MEL REID: Because at the end of the day you're a team, right? Obviously everyone has to play well at some point. Like there's always going to be a couple players that don't play well, but you just can manage to win the Cup.

As long as you're part of the team and you bring something to the team, it's just a -- that's kind of a tricky question because it's just a funny one. You obviously want to get as many points, but nobody cares -- honestly nobody cares of your record in the Solheim Cup.

I couldn't even tell you my record. I couldn't even tell you Catriona's record. All I know is I've been on a winning side twice. I can tell you that. That's all that people matter, is whether the whole team brings the Cup home. Nobody really pays attention to individual points system. They just don't.

So I think that's important, that obviously everybody is trying their absolute best. Sometimes you're just going to come up against someone who honestly just is playing out of their mind and just playing really, really good. You could be playing exactly the same way with somebody else and win that match 5 & 4.

That's just match play. At the end of the day people only care about whether you win the Cup or not, and that's something that I think is important, give your best. We're a team at the end of the day, and if we bring that Cup home, amazing.

Q. Did you actually feel that way after you left in 2011?

MEL REID: Yeah, I didn't care. We won the Cup. I still managed to put points up. I didn't care. As long as the team won -- obviously I try my best. It was my first Solheim Cup, whatever I win, one point, I think I played four times, won a half point, something like that, I don't know.

See, I don't even know my record. As long as the team won I never felt like, oh, I let the team down. I didn't feel anything like that. I just felt like, this is sick, we've won the Cup.

I think that's an important message to get across. It wasn't like I wasn't trying. We're all trying our absolute best. Sometimes you just come up against someone who's unbeatable on that day, literally unbeatable.

Yeah, me and Carlota was saying today we've got a pretty good record together, but we came up against the two Brittanys and they were something like 14-under, 15-under in best ball and we lost on the 18th.

People are, oh, they lost, and I'm like, maybe with 12-under in a best ball. Sometimes you just lose that point.

At the end of the day we're a team. There's no individuals here in my opinion. Everybody has to play their part in whatever way that is, and if we bring the Cup home, amazing. If we don't, we're still a team. We're still going to have that party on Monday night that we're known for, and it's still going to be one of the most memorable weeks for everybody on this team.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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