September 2, 2021
Toledo, Ohio, USA
THE MODERATOR: I'm joined by Denmark's Emily Pedersen and Nanna Koerstz Madsen, and Spain's Carlota Ciganda. Welcome to the media center. How have you found this week, Emily? Obviously you played in 2017 in the States. What's it been like in comparison to this week?
EMILY PEDERSEN: I think I feel a lot more comfortable this year. I know all the girls well. We're having a lot of fun, and I just feel like I belong a little bit more on the team this year.
THE MODERATOR: Carlota, it's your fifth Solheim Cup. You know the team pretty well, as Mel was saying before. How have you found it being with the rookies on the team? Have you been talking to them in terms of your experience and a bit of leadership?
CARLOTA CIGANDA: Yeah, I think we have a great team. I think it's a great mix of some experienced people, some rookies that they bring the energy that the team needs. I mean, I think -- I wouldn't say they are rookies because they are great players. They've been playing great all year. So I think the 12 players that we have is the best team that Europe can have, and I think we are very happy, as Emily said, having a great time inside the golf course, outside, and I think that's the key for this week.
THE MODERATOR: Nanna, it's your first time pulling on Team Europe colors here at the Solheim Cup. How have you found the first few days here?
NANNA KOERSTZ MADSEN: It's been a fun couple of days. Great to meet the team and the girls. Yeah, it's a great atmosphere just being here, so yeah, it's been a little fun so far.
THE MODERATOR: You've been practicing over the last couple days. How have you found the course?
EMILY PEDERSEN: It's playing pretty tough. It's like -- kind of feels a little bit like a major. It doesn't feel like too much of a birdie-fest. You really have to be sharp on your game, sharp on your landing zones, but I think it suits the European team well, so I think that's good.
THE MODERATOR: The 1st and 10th tees here are on the same tee box; what are you expecting from the 1st and 10th tee?
CARLOTA CIGANDA: Yeah, expecting lots of noise, lots of U.S. fans. I think it's a great 1st and 10th tee having both fairways there, and I think it's going to be fun. I think the first tee in the Solheim Cup is special. I think you have to embrace the moment, enjoy, and you're going to feel nervous, I think all of us, but I think it's important to really enjoy that moment.
THE MODERATOR: Nanna and Emily, obviously two Danish players on the Solheim Cup team. How important is it for golf back in Denmark to have you both here representing Europe?
EMILY PEDERSEN: I think it's great. There's never been two Danish girls before, and it shows that the Danish Golf Federation and especially the girls are doing super well. I think it's something to be proud of in Denmark, and I'm proud. I'm sure Nanna is proud, as well, to be here and represent the red and white.
Q. Emily, I'm curious how you think you're a different player now than you were your first Solheim Cup and maybe how that experience changed you?
EMILY PEDERSEN: I think I'm a lot more mature now than I was four years ago. I think obviously I've grown from going through a bit of a tough time after the last Solheim. I think more sure of myself, more confident in myself. I feel like I've also played some better golf than I had before the last Solheim. I've had four wins since then. So yeah.
Q. Do you feel more like a leader on this team in any way?
EMILY PEDERSEN: I don't know if I'm a leader. I feel like I try and bring a lot of good energy. I try and talk to everyone, be happy, be positive, create a bit of atmosphere. Obviously I'm still looking up to Carlota, Anna, Mel and the girls that's been here quite a few times. I still feel like they're kind of our leaders.
I try and be a bit more comfortable with the rookies because they're a little bit closer to me. This is still only my second. But I try to bring energy to the team the best I can.
Q. Carlota, how would you compare this golf course to all the other venues that you've played the Solheim Cup on?
CARLOTA CIGANDA: I think it's a great golf course. I think it's playing tough. I think it's supposed to play firm, and it's going to be dry, no rain, so I think it's going to be playing firm and fast.
As Emily said, I think it's playing, yeah, close to a major. I think if you miss greens, it's hard to make up-and-downs. If you can hit greens and give yourself chances for birdie, I think that's really good.
At the end it's match play, so you just want to beat whoever you have in front of you, and the golf course, everything is great. I think the Solheim Cups here in the USA are always very well run and they do a great job, so we are happy to be here and we are ready to compete.
Q. Who's here with you, and then who would have been here if not for the pandemic protocols? Who's missing from your family, friends, things like that?
CARLOTA CIGANDA: Yeah, so it's just myself and my boyfriend here. My family, they would have loved to come but we couldn't get any waivers because of COVID, so I think it's a lot of us with the same issue, so it's sad not having them here and not having European fans because of COVID and the borders that are closed.
At the same time, we just want to fight. We know they are watching from home. We know that everyone is supporting us. We're just going to give everything to win this week.
EMILY PEDERSEN: Yeah, same. We would have loved to have the family and friends here, but we know they're watching from home, cheering the best they can and sending us messages, sending us videos.
It's obviously a shame, and we know that there's going to be a lot of American fans, but I feel like we have each other and we've got a great team around us. We have a great team of helpers, significant others that are here that are super great.
I just feel like that's kind of bringing us together a bit more that it's just a small group.
NANNA KOERSTZ MADSEN: Same for me. I have my boyfriend, he's caddying for me, with me. My family would have loved to come, as well, but unfortunately because of COVID they couldn't. I have collected a couple of Americans, families I know around here that will come and cheer for us, so hopefully they will give some good energy.
Q. Nanna, what's some of the best advice you've received from your team about this rookie experience?
NANNA KOERSTZ MADSEN: I think just to soak it in and enjoy being here. The obvious things that you're always going to hear. But yeah, just enjoy it, enjoy the first tee and beat the Americans.
CARLOTA CIGANDA: I don't think she needs much. She knows how to compete.
Q. Nanna, what are you most looking forward to in this experience, and what else are you most anxious or nervous about?
NANNA KOERSTZ MADSEN: I'm most looking forward to the first tee and seeing how the crowd is going to be. Just today it was really cool with the music and some people there. So that's what I'm looking most forward to.
I know it's going to be exciting to play out there. I'm probably going to be a little nervous, which everyone else is going to be, so I just hope I can cope with those emotions, which I'm sure I will.
Q. Carlota and Emily, can you describe what it's like playing a Solheim Cup on American soil?
CARLOTA CIGANDA: It's always fun. I mean, I love Solheim Cups. It's my favorite week of the year. I love playing for Europe, for the team, for the Cup. I love the environment. I love the atmosphere that we have in the team room, outside, playing on the course.
Obviously a lot of American fans this year, so we know it's not going to be easy, but we're going to try our best, and we're going to compete hard. I think we have one of the best teams Europe ever had, and I think we're all excited. We are all happy to be here, and we are ready to tee it up on Saturday.
EMILY PEDERSEN: Yeah, obviously I wouldn't say we're underdogs because we have a great team, but obviously there's a lot of people rooting against us. Even today there was. But I think it's just what it is.
Golf is massive in America, and I feel like there's going to be so much crowd here because I think everyone has been anxious to come out and just watch golf, and I feel like even ever since we played in Des Moines, women's golf is growing, and I feel like it's gotten a lot more attention, and there's a lot more people watching it, so I feel like there's going to be a lot of spectators.
It's obviously something -- I mean, I was just so happy to see people again out here today, so even though they're not root are for us, I think it's just great to be here.
It's always a bit different in America, but at the end of the day it's still about beating the opponent. It's still about doing the best we can, and I do think we have a strong team and that we're ready for whatever we're going to face on Saturday.
Q. Carlota, Mel also said she felt like you guys had the strongest team. Why do you feel that way?
CARLOTA CIGANDA: I mean, I feel everyone is playing pretty good at the moment. At the British Open I think four of the girls finished top 5, so you can see that right there. Then I feel all of us, we play in the States, so I think that's a big thing, especially playing in the U.S.
Like when all the girls are playing in the LPGA and they are playing with Americans and all the best players in the world, I think you just become a better player because you are playing in tough courses, you are playing against the best players, all the Koreans, everyone here.
I think it's one of the best teams we ever had. I mean, the Americans, they have a great team. I think they're always really good and really hard to beat. But I think we can win.
Q. Carlota, our European juniors have just won the PING Junior Solheim Cup. You were on the last team to win the PING Junior Solheim Cup back in 2007. Can you talk me through some of the experiences you had as part of that winning team?
CARLOTA CIGANDA: Yeah. From the Junior Solheim Cup? Yeah, as I said, I love playing as a team, so playing the Junior Solheim Cup, it was so much fun. I think we had at one point four or five Spanish players. One of them is right there, Belen. I love playing as a team. I love playing for Europe, for Spain.
I wish we had more tournaments like this, more team events. I think it's just my thing because I really enjoy it, and everything -- when I think about all these events, it's just fun, friends, good friends for life.
I think we really have to enjoy because it's very special.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports