August 2, 2002
RHONDA GLENN: Ladies and gentlemen, the United States of America team representatives beginning with on my right Captain Mary Budke. She's the 1972 United States Women's Amateur champion and a member of the 1974 Curtis Cup team.
Next we have Meredith Duncan, 22, of Shreveport, Louisiana. She goes to LSU. She is the reigning U.S. women's Amateur champion, a two-time winner of the Women's Western Amateur, and also the North and South Women's Amateur.
Leigh Anne Hardin is 20 from Martinsville, Indiana. She's a student at Duke University. She won the United States Girls Junior Championship in 1998. And she was medalist in the 2000 U.S. women's Amateur championship.
Carol Semple Thompson, 53, of Sewickley, Pennsylvania. She's on her record 12th United States of America Curtis Cup team, she's also won her record 16 matches in Curtis Cup competition. She has six USGA titles and she also won the 1974 British Ladies Open Amateur Championship.
So welcome. We're glad you are here. I will start off the questions first with you, Mary, do you prefer being a player or a Captain? You have seen both sides of it now.
CAPTAIN BUDKE: : The playing is much easier. I believe I was asked the same question before this week and I said - because I don't play very well anymore - that I thought Captaining would be easier. But I'd rather an playing actually.
RHONDA GLENN: Meredith, you have been, I would say, the supreme Match Play competitor in this country for the past two years. Are you just sort of mashing your teeth ready to go, let's go get them, this week.
MEREDITH DUNCAN: Yeah, I am ready to go. I have had such good year last year and it's good to come off something like that and come into this kind of competition where you represent your country and so yeah, I am ready to go. Let's go now.
RHONDA GLENN: Leigh Anne, in college you played mostly stroke-play. You have played a lot of Match Play as an amateur in other championships, but now how about foursomes play, that's something completely different. How do you like that.
LEIGH ANNE HARDIN: It's completely different. I really like it. I sort of been familiar with the format because when I was playing junior golf we played in some events, the team competition is kind of like this, but not to this level, obviously. But we have played some alternate shot so I have kind of had a little bit of experience. It's definitely a different way of playing golf, but it's still golf.
RHONDA GLENN: A lot of people certainly have looked at your gesture to the DB&I team when you went to the plane to greet them, you had a party for them at your home, then took them to your home course to play in. Weren't you maybe going a little bit too far?
CAROL SEMPLE THOMPSON: I probably was going way too far. No, they are very nice young women and we had a great weekend. They came in on Friday day afternoon, and they played at Allegheny for two days, came to our house for dinner after driving for an hour for a 6-minute drive. They finally found us. But we have had a great time and I have seen very little of them since the weekend. We had dinner with them last night, but they are just great kids.
RHONDA GLENN: What inspired you to do that to be the hostest ?
CAROL SEMPLE THOMPSON: I would say that Judy Bell inspired me to- (Laughs) The request actually came from Maureen Garrett who was looking for a place to spend weekend around Pittsburgh. It was suggested that someone talk to me, and I was able to work it all out.
RHONDA GLENN: Questions, ladies and gentlemen.
Q. Carol, Pam was in here before she said it is a shame that the fun has to end and now the serious side, that's kind of a bit of a paradox here, the hospitality, that's gone, now let's go play.
CAROL SEMPLE THOMPSON: Well I would have sort of agree with Pam in that it is a shame that the fun, so to speak, has to end. But I think there will be a lot of fun in the matches too. At least I have always had a wonderful time playing in these matches, so I plan to have a lot of fun and if the rest of my team doesn't have fun, it's their fault.
Q. I have to ask the obvious question which is Carol, you are surrounded by all of the college girls and what does that feel like? Have you -- has it been fun, funny, strange, --
CAROL SEMPLE THOMPSON: Well I would say being surrounded by all college kids has to be fun, funny and strange. No, it's great. All these young people are so accomplished and I am so proud to be in the same group with them. I just know that they are seasoned players and they are serious about their business this week. But we have also had a great time with everything that we have done from having dinner together to riding in a van with driver Bob, and we went to the baseball game. We have just had a great time. But at the same time we have been very serious. So I think -- they have been really nice to me as the old bag on the team.
Q. Also I mean, girls, what have -- have you looked at Carol for some guidance, been able to pick her brain on things, or has --
MEREDITH DUNCAN: I was just going to say that it's funny because if we're talking -- you know if I am asking Leigh Anne something I will say, you know, what should we do here. It's like, well, when in doubt, ask Carol. That's kind of what we have said all week is: Got a question, Carol knows, just go ask her. So that's kind of what we have laughed about all week.
CAPTAIN BUDKE: That would be even true for me, I will go and ask Carol.
Q. What happens when you talk about your boyfriends, does Carol --
LEIGH ANNE HARDIN: She has good advice there too.
CAROL SEMPLE THOMPSON: Yes, I have had a lot advice in that area this week.
Q. When you get into a match, what is the significant differences to you between playing in Match Play and stroke-play?
MEREDITH DUNCAN: I don't really know what the actual difference is. But I know one thing is I am very competitive and whenever I can see my actual competitor, I don't know for some reason it just makes it more competitive for me for some reason, I don't know why, but whenever I could actually see my competitor, it just makes it a whole lot more fun. Fun is not the right word, but I don't know, more competitive, I guess.
Q. Did you ever think about having how many more Curtis Cups you have in you?
CAROL SEMPLE THOMPSON: I haven't really pinned myself down in that department. I suppose I will keep trying play in competition for a few more years and we'll see what happens. I can't really say that I am setting a 13th Curtis Cup team as a goal. But on the other hand, I wouldn't mind playing in one. So I really -- I am sort of coasting at this point. This was a definite goal for me to make this team, but I don't know what is going to happen from here on out.
Q. I read something that I am not sure how accurate is you have played Fox Chapel maybe 50 times or so. If that's anywhere close to being accurate, what do you know about this golf course that somebody playing it three or four times?
CAROL SEMPLE THOMPSON: Well, I think it probably is fairly accurate that I have probably played Fox Chapel maybe 50 times in my life, but I have played in various championships here through the years. That was starting back in the early '70s, '80s, and '90s. So I have been out here a lot. But I haven't necessarily played in it under these conditions that mean times. I think probably playing the golf course five times this week for these players is enough to know as much as I know. I don't know all the rolls on the greens. I expect the greens to be fairly fast and they were not that fast earlier in the week. But I can remember when they have been like lightning out here. So maybe that's a bad thing that-- remember certain different conditions. But I would certainly be willing to play a few more practice rounds out here just to get some more breaks in the greens. I think they are very tricky.
Q. GB&I team really targeted the last stretch of the three holes to be -- they expect -- they said they expected a lot of matches to go that far and those could be really a turning point for the matches. Do you guys see the same thing?
CAROL SEMPLE THOMPSON: I would certainly say we have talked about that, yes, the last six holes are very important and that was one reason we wanted to play the last six today to work on those holes. I think 16 is certainly a challenge. It is a long hole for -- it is a long hole for me maybe not for some other players, but -- and 17 is long, and 18 is a great finishing hole. So I do think the last three holes will be important but I think the last six will also enter into a lot of matches.
Q. Have you been able to get across the (inaudible) on 18 on 2 or is that just a lay-up on this side on 18?
CAROL SEMPLE THOMPSON: I have been laying up.
LEIGH ANNE HARDIN: I think we could all probably get over but it's really not worth it because we are all hitting is that narrow strip so for me I have been laying up as well.
MEREDITH DUNCAN: I remember when we were here in June we were all going over it. I was going over it. But I think now I am laying up for sure. But just depends on where the match is, and if you want to be aggressive or if you want to be smart or -- I think it really just depends on where the match is.
Q. When you played your first can Curtis Cup are you still hitting it the same distance now as then?
CAROL SEMPLE THOMPSON: My length through the years -- when I hit the ball well these days I am hitting it probably as far as I used to, probably because of technology. I used to be on the longer end of the drivers and now I am on the shorter end of the drivers. Because so many of the young players are very strong, they have the modern swing, they have the new technology they are working out, I think a lot of things are contributing to them hitting it farther. So I think I am basically the same, but younger people have passed me by.
Q. By how much?
CAROL SEMPLE THOMPSON: Well, the longer hitters are probably out driving me by 15 to 20 yards on the Amateur circuit. With the pros, some of them outhit me by 40 yards.
Q. How would you characterize your team, the personality that's emerged and how they have gelled together?
CAPTAIN BUDKE: They have really been a dream team for me, not that I have had the experience before, but there's lots of talent here and they are ready. And there is an individual self confidence in every one of these players and yet there is a wonderful collective inclusion of everyone else. They keep track of each other, and they have a good time and it's pretty magical and they can play.
RHONDA GLENN: As you probably, Captain Budke is an M.D., thinking of the conditions out here, the extreme heat and high humidity, have you been able to, as an M.D., come up with some recommendations for your players?
CAPTAIN BUDKE: (Laughs) no, I have mostly told them E. R. Stories. (Laughs).
I would say -- well certainly they probably taught me more, you know, they are athletes. The golfers today in college are athletes and they work out and they know diet. They know hydration, and in this heat going 36 holes, I love having a young team that's in great shape.
RHONDA GLENN: If I may, I'd also like to ask you when you were on the Curtis Cup team did your Captain ever advise you on a particular approach to a certain shot, or anything like that? And on the other hand, do you plan to if one of your players ask you, to give them any kind of advice.
CAPTAIN BUDKE: Well, reflecting back on my team which is 1974 our Captain was from the Women's Committee and in my estimation not a player. And I think things evolved to where they felt that a Captain should be a player and I strongly agree. You have the perspective of player so, no, we have no advice that I recall. Now, of course, the Captain may feel differently. I am sure my team would say the same, she didn't tell me anything, but (laughs) we have talked and actually when-- I do recall some of the things I have said about -- so we have talked strategy and I talked strategy about the holes, and the keys to the holes, and you know, if the pins such and such on this hole and you can get there in 2, that particular pin, let's stay back, little bit like that. It's still the same old scheme, hit the tee ball in the fairway and hit the next one on the green and make the putt. Put the ball in the place where you want to putt from. And they have followed directions pretty good actually.
Q. Since you have played here so often you have played 17 before the front part of that swell was actually part of the putting surface. Do you have an opinion on which way you like that hole better?
CAROL SEMPLE THOMPSON: I never have played the 17th with that front area cut to green height. And I don't particularly like the front part of the green. I can't reach the back part of the green, but that's beside the point. I have putted out of the swell a lot this week. But I just don't -- I don't see a hole location being very effective being on the front of that green.
Q. You said you have putted on the swell, did you try -- did you use putter or what is the play from the trough?
MEREDITH DUNCAN: It's putter, you know, it's all -- it's green length down there, and so you just got to putt it and whack it on up there.
Q. Teams closer than they used to be when you first played the matches, is there more emphasis on team spirit?
CAROL SEMPLE THOMPSON: I think we have had team spirit on almost every team that I have played on. I think back in 1974 we had a lot of fun but we were also very serious about our golf. I think it has been that way every year. Some teams have more cohesiveness than -- oh, I think this year we have very cohesive as a group, and all the personalities mesh quite nicely. So it's really been mostly laughs this year.
Q. Can you explain what the significant differences are between the GB&I team in recent years and the teams that came from Great Britain and Ireland in the earlier years in your time -- (inaudible)?
CAROL SEMPLE THOMPSON: I have always -- through the years I have made the assumption that GB&I has come up with a wonderful training program, which also leads to cohesiveness of the team in -- the squad of 20 or so is named, and those 20 players spend a lot of time together, going on training missions, I don't know what they are, but I understand they went on an outward bound week, or weekend. I think that's absolutely great. And I think it would be terrific if the United States would think about doing that. It seems to be a problem for us to get all of our players together even for a three- or four-day practice because of the timing. Because of our selection process in that the team is named the 8 players are named very late before the match, so there's not a lot of time in between. So maybe something like a training squad would make sense. But I think it would go back to the effort that has been put into the British and Irish players, and pulling them together as a group.
Q. Aspect of play or style of play that you see as they are able to do now that they were not -- (inaudible) --
CAROL SEMPLE THOMPSON: I think some of these British and Irish players have come over here to the states and played college golf. They are hitting the ball maybe higher than they used to. I know it used to be that when we went over to Britain or Scotland, England, Wales, it was important for us to learn the running shots and it was maybe a little easier for us to learning the running shots than it was for the British and Irish players coming over here to know the high shots, the high-lofted shots everybody is playing. So I think that the opposition has moved more in our direction as far as style of play.
Q. You have seen technically more correct looking swings now?
CAROL SEMPLE THOMPSON: Yes, I would agree that the swings are technically better.
RHONDA GLENN: We will excuse the players and we'll ask Mary to stay for a few minutes to discuss foursomes. Good luck to you all and thanks very much for being with us.
You have all seen the pairings. Would you like to ask her any questions about her pairings?
Q. Did you want to make sure that you had Carol on, a veteran name maybe to have the calming influence or what (inaudible) ---
CAPTAIN BUDKE: Yes, all three or all two (laughs) I think maybe two things that factor in, actually, but always the hardest part is who to leave out. The minute you are named Captain you immediately go, oh, boy, how am I going to deal with who I am not going to play and the other thing is who I am going to pair with whom. It is like when they called me in February I said yes, I mean, it's like the next thing I am thinking about. But I probably paid attention a bit to Carol being from Pittsburgh and I wanted her out there first, but from the standpoint of the team she really is a wonderful anchor and she needs to be there right in the middle. And I also paid attention to Meredith Duncan being the United States champion.
Q. From what I know about the players Leigh Anne and Emma, they are two of the shorter hitters on your squad. Is that a factor?
CAPTAIN BUDKE: Not in the least. Maybe I went the path of least resistance. They are so nice (laughs). I could play all 8 every round, I really mean that, they are so talented including those two, and it just is so very little weakness here, so it was a difficulty that I didn't put them out.
Q. Will you try to make sure that they play in the singles or will that not necessarily be a factor just to get them out there?
CAPTAIN BUDKE: I have made that decision. I am not sure if I should answer that. They will play in the Singles, absolutely. So I just answered it. I can also answer because I have told them the most points are in the singles and you win this match I think by winning the singles but the heart and soul to me is -- there's something really wonderful about the Foursomes and I want all of these players to play foursomes. So Emily and Leigh Anne are playing foursomes the next day.
RHONDA GLENN: I believe it's Angela we were talking about this a little earlier who has had problems with nose bleeds.
CAPTAIN BUDKE: Not yet.
RHONDA GLENN: Was it Angela in the Women's Amateur I believe?
CAPTAIN BUDKE: Yes Angela Jerman actually had a nose bleed in Kansas at the U.S. Amateur one year ago and this year at the U.S. Open in the third round, I believe. She had -- it was of longer duration a year ago and it was a little shorter duration this year. I did actually -- I am not sure how much I factor in there, but I emailed her -- I watched the first two rounds of the U.S. Open at Kansas, then home -- and I was able on Sunday to follow her, what you call it on the computer when -- what is the word -- real time scoring. Then I read the USGA site and read that they had -- she had a nose bleed. I emailed her from a medical standpoint, from a doctor's standpoint -- there's two nose bleeds, one from the front, called anterior and one from the back, posterior. And posterior is usually related to high blood pressure. Front is usually -- it's raw and usually needs to be cauterized. I said, whichever one you have if you have the front one you might have to go get it cauterized. She actually did. Perhaps we won't need to use it.
Q. What is the charm in Foursomes? Why do you like it so? Why is that the heart and soul?
CAPTAIN BUDKE: This is a team event and that's the ultimate in playing with a teammate. It's just -- it is a different format and it's just a special format. But I think it's the aspect that you actually have a teammate and we're a team, and that's what you do.
Q. You mentioned earlier you felt comfortable playing all of your players in ---
CAPTAIN BUDKE: -- all four rounds.
Q. Do the potential conditions at all concern you? Supposed to be mid-90s both days, if you really felt like --
CAPTAIN BUDKE: If it concerned me the most it would be Carol, probably. Sure.
Q. That's what I am saying?
CAPTAIN BUDKE: Sure.
Q. Knowing that these women don't have many opportunities to play the foursomes, how do you -- what is your advice as far as how they should approach that format?
CAPTAIN BUDKE: Well Carol has been helpful. I have given them a few book quotes and different things, and Barbara has a whole list of Foursomes that mean never -- that wasn't her line, but Foursomes means never having to say you're sorry. That's it. I mean, I told them when they see me coming, whether it was in the practice session, or when we're playing, that when they see me if they want some information I will give them information. I am not going to tell them do this or do that or anything like that. When they see me, that means this shot is your shot and you played this shot, and refocus that this -- you play each shot, and whether that's Foursomes or Singles, each shot is played and you have a series of good shots and then that's how you win. The only other preparation is that we locked into our partners on Tuesday night. We played nine Wednesday afternoon -- excuse me Wednesday morning we did it in the way that Wednesday morning would match up with Foursomes in the morning. Then we played singles in the afternoon. We played nine hole matches with each other and in the practice session, these players played Foursomes against the best -- the men members here so they played some. They actually did some on their own before coming here.
RHONDA GLENN: If I may, it interests me the diverse personality in your second pairing Carol with Mollie. Mollie has an earing in her nose and Carol doesn't. How different are they as people, as personalities?
CAPTAIN BUDKE: Well actually they are a wonderful match because. Mollie is a great tease. She teases everyone and she draws, I don't know, she draws the humor out of everyone and Carol plays the great straight role and I think Carol -- actually I don't know if you heard about the blonde wig that the other team gave Carol at the dinner and it's a big blonde wig with a ponytail and to mimic her other players. I don't think Carol would have any problem -- maybe she would mechanically have trouble getting the thing her nose but she would be willing to do it.
RHONDA GLENN: Thank you so much for being with us and good luck.
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