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July 28, 2006

Breanne Loucks

Tricia Mangan

Ada O'Sullivan


CRAIG SMITH: We'd like to welcome the GB&I team to the interview room here at the 34th Curtis Cup at Bandon Dunes. We have Breanne Loucks, Tricia Mangan, and Ada O'Sullivan. Ada, maybe you could maybe just start by telling us what you think of the golf course and if it is more than what you expected or about what you expected and how much of it looks like home.

ADA O'SULLIVAN: The best way to describe is when I came here last August to view and see what Bandon Dunes was about, obviously we had a lot of research and reading done on the course, but to me it's a magnificent, it's truly a magnificent masterpiece. It's hard to believe that you have a course of this standard here in the United States.

As regards feeling at home, we feel very much at home. It's a true links golf course and it's not something that people have said to us, does it look like links or feel like links, it is links, as anybody whose had the opportunity to play it. And the beauty of this course is that all 18 holes offers an individual challenge. You can't say there's one weak hole on the course.

For our players, most of our training has been done on links golf courses, and a lot of them would have grown up on those kind of golf courses, so when you ask, do we feel at home, we do. We don't believe for one moment from the clubhouse, absent the clubhouse and the American accent, that we're actually some place different.

CRAIG SMITH: I wanted to ask you, Breanne and Tricia, what have you experienced so far in terms of the wind, the golf course, the playability, Tricia?

TRICIA MANGAN: Yeah, it's a good challenge. It is a fabulous golf course. Really enjoy it. The wind first couple of days we practiced it was very strong. Gets very strong in the afternoon. I suppose at home we would consider that quite a gale. He had a few championships this year and we have played in wind that's been that difficult. So, yeah, it's, I love it. It's fantastic. And the greens are speeding up a little bit today, so it's good. They're rolling out a little bit more. So we like it.

BREANNE LOUCKS: Yeah, pretty much what she said. The course is very much like home. It's a lot like Scotland. Scotland, Ireland. We played quite a few links courses this year and a lot of training in Kingsbarns, it's quite like that. Along the coast there. Gorgeous, beautiful. Loving it. Greens have quickened up today. Course is looking in great condition. Yeah, it's lovely.

CRAIG SMITH: Questions. Let's open it up.

Q. Do you believe then that you're so at home here that it gives you an advantage?

ADA O'SULLIVAN: Certainly it will give us an advantage. It's an advantage in the sense that I think our feeling on the first tee will be, yeah, we're more at home. For one moment I'm not dismissing the Americans. The Americans I know are going to offer a very tough challenge to us. But I just feel that with the way we have prepared, if we play the course the way we have or administer it the way we want to play the course, then I do believe we are unbeatable.

Q. You mentioned the way you prepared and then you talked about played at Kingsbarns and I'm guessing some other links venues as well. Could you give us an outline of what your preparation was coming into the event?

ADA O'SULLIVAN: Sure. We were awaiting, the team wasn't selected until the 17th of June. But having been here, as I say, last year, and having gone back home, we realized someplace like St. Andrews wouldn't actually suffice because it's too flat. We needed to go somewhere with hills. So we looked at courses in Ireland, we looked at Kingsbarns, tried to see where we would go. So Kingsbarns was the one that won out and won through. But we played most of our championships, like the Irish championship and the Scottish championship, and the British Amateur championship was played at Royal County Down, so any of the players here are used to playing on links golf courses.

Q. Where were the other two played?

ADA O'SULLIVAN: The Irish was played where?

TRICIA MANGAN: At the European club.

ADA O'SULLIVAN: I can't, I can't remember where the actual Scottish one was played. It was in Scotland, somewhere.

Q. Did you, when the selection process goes on, did you think about the fact that it was this type of golf course, not a normal American course where you have to hit it high and was that something in regards to your selection process and who you picked?

ADA O'SULLIVAN: Absolutely. We were looking for, prior to the selection process, obviously, looking at a lot of people who played in a tournament played at Troon. There's also a tournament played at St. Andrews. These two particular tournaments were looked at very, very closely. Also the player's ability to have a good short game, which is what's really needed to play links. They're ability to get up and down from difficult situations, good bunker play. And I say all these here have that. And, but that was part of the selection process. We weren't looking for people with big carries off the tee. Because when you come to links golf courses it's not necessarily big carries off the tee, it's somebody good around the greens.

Q. So if this would have been at Oakland Hills or Seminole or any kind of traditional U.S. course, that this team might have been different?

ADA O'SULLIVAN: Probably from about one or two. Other than that, no.

Q. How long were you, when you practiced at Kingsbarns, how many days were you there and was there something in particular that you wanted to get out of that time?

ADA O'SULLIVAN: There were. We were there for four days.

Q. When was that?

ADA O'SULLIVAN: When? The 24th of June. There we basically did foursomes, get people together, people bonding. People think because we're coming from four home countries that we all know each other. A lot of the players play opposite one another, but wouldn't necessarily know one another to get to know one another. So that was one of the key areas that we used. So we played foursomes play, we did Texas scramble, to get used to shooting low scores. We put different challenges on the golf course. But we basically played about six rounds at Kingsbarns. And it is very, very similar. A lot of the holes, the elevated greens, the long greens, the narrow greens, the shallow greens. All those type of shots were offered to us.

Q. Excluding the captains I believe there's only three players here with Curtis Cup experience, how important is it to have experience in an event like this?

ADA O'SULLIVAN: I would think again it's going to be very much an individual for what each player expects to get from the Curtis Cup. You're trying to keep each player familiar and keep it low key. The Curtis Cup was, as we said, it's what most amateur players dream of playing. They have come here, they have reached the pinnacle of their career, they want to perform well. So it's like getting the horse ready to go. You got to hold them back. That's what I learned from last year. They want to hit shots 24 hours a day. We tell them certain times, no, there's no more golf, that's it. That's the end of it for today. Curtis Cup, obviously it's going to be very individual, I think that these are two new caps here on either side of me, maybe perhaps you can ask the question to them. But you have three I think, obviously it will help having played on a big stage for people who played at Formby and they're playing in front of crowds, 10, 12 thousand people, which amateur golfers in our side of the world are not used to doing. But I don't think we're going to get those kind of type of crowds here.

Q. Can you talk about you said there's going to be challenges, obviously the wind is a challenge here. But can you just go into what the different challenges you face on this golf course versus maybe a non links venue?

TRICIA MANGAN: Well, I think that with the links golf course the ball often you're dependent on bounces and you're going to get some good, some bad. But you just got to be patient with it. And that's definitely part and parcel of links golf, I think. So that adds to the challenge definitely. Because you might hit a great shot and get a bad bounce and that's it. So I think that's really what I would be talking about.

BREANNE LOUCKS: Definitely patience. You're going to be very lucky out there, you can be very unlucky as well. But you just got to keep it going and just keep the patience going. On to the next tee, making pars. And it's going to be a big, tough course out there. It's long, it's playing long and it's very windy. So you just got to be patient and steady. Keep it straight.

Q. Do you think that's part of the advantage of the fact that you know, you going into a links venue, you know what could happen out there at any given time, it could go bad, good; where the American team generally probably hasn't played that much links golf. Is that the biggest part of the advantage?

ADA O'SULLIVAN: Yes and no. As I say at the same time you have to give the Americans respect. They came to Formby and we had done so much homework there and in the end of the matches it wasn't the Americans won, we lost. Players on the last afternoon change their game plan, didn't play the way we had discussed. Whether it was because you're talking, I don't know what, adrenaline, or what got into players. It's something we will never know. We questioned the players and they didn't know. I think a lot of it out there it's shot making. Americans generally speaking are used to playing what we call target golf, from our side of the world. Whereas out here it's not the normal, you can't say, I'm going to hit a 5 iron 150 yards and it stops. You might be playing a 5 iron 150 and it rolls another 30. It's trying to play those type of shots and that should give us an advantage.

Q. It sounds like it took you a long time to get over Formby.

ADA O'SULLIVAN: It did take me a long time to get over Formby, yeah. And that Formby, basically I think we felt that from the players that we had, you're talking about that we should win at Formby. It wasn't ever felt we were going to win easily, but we felt we should have won. Particularly when we won five out of six foursomes. But to win three out of 12 singles was a disaster. That's the only way I could describe it.

Q. Is there anything you do differently here except for pounding in that they have to follow the plan?

ADA O'SULLIVAN: We have a different game plan, which I can't discuss with you. But we have a different game plan.

Q. Maybe later.

ADA O'SULLIVAN: Later, yeah. Exactly.

TRICIA MANGAN: When she writes her book.

Q. You mentioned not having them maybe practice so much during the week. What have you done then this week with the team to maybe not get them too over excited, if you will, come tomorrow? Have you had them play less or what types of things have you had them do?

ADA O'SULLIVAN: Yes, definitely they have played less on the golf course. Initially when we came Sunday night, late Sunday night, and I'm a firm believer that you play a golf course for the first time and it's amazing, whatever you play that time, whatever thoughts you have, that thought process you carry with you for the rest of the week. So I didn't want anybody going out on that golf course playing tired. So we walked as a group with our nine caddies and the eight players. And we walked and all did all our course yardages and measurements Monday. Then we played Monday afternoon. They were fresh. They knew where they were going, rather than coming and doing it differently. We played, we limited, we haven't played 36 holes any day. Which we would have done at Formby. We played most cases between 24, 27 holes we might have just played 18 even. Wednesday was what we call our chill out day which I never done before. Even though it was chill out, we still spent three hours out on the golf course around one green chipping and putting, if you know what I mean. So that's exactly what we did.

Q. Are you two players, are you chomping at the bit to go now?

BREANNE LOUCKS: Yeah, definitely. Can't wait. So excited. Everything you can being out there today, everything is coming together and everybody seems to be playing really well. It's very exciting. I think we're all cheering each other one and it's great team spirit. Can't wait to get out there.

Q. How do you guys stay relaxed?

TRICIA MANGAN: Oh, we just I suppose there's good banter in the team room. I think, you know, we just slag each other out and that keeps us relaxed. We have a nice team room upstairs and even last night we were looking at a few photos from Kingsbarns, we played a bit of football and we had a bit of fun. We were slagging each other off and that kind of stuff. But I think there's a great team atmosphere here, which is good. We're all having great fun and that's what it's about as much as anything else.

Q. Are there any players on the team that are here in the states for the first time?

TRICIA MANGAN: Don't know.

BREANNE LOUCKS: I've not played in the states before, no. But I've been over here. I haven't played though.

TRICIA MANGAN: First time you do get to play it's links, so that's great.

CRAIG SMITH: Ada, can you just go through a little bit of your team and without giving away too much, who is playing exceptionally well? You're always going to have good days and bad days, but who is on top of her game?

ADA O'SULLIVAN: I would say, and this isn't giving anything way. I'm having an extremely difficult task for tomorrow because I can honestly say all eight players are playing great. The best I've ever been involved with of any of the five GB&I teams I've been in charge of. All eight players are playing fantastic golf. All of them as they have started, everybody comes Monday a little bit worried because they're not hitting the ball great, trying to relax and I say, look, there's a long way to go. It's not a race, it's a marathon. And we're waiting for Saturday and Sunday. Everybody seems to be peaking, if you know what I mean, together. Everybody even this morning walking around was getting the pace of the greens an awful lot more. I can honestly say everybody is striking the ball great. I have a difficult case. I know the pairs, but it's going to be which three do I put there, you know. And the same will apply to me in the singles. Come tomorrow afternoon you're looking and saying, who goes one and who goes six, and I have an idea who I want to put in, but at the same time it's not cemented in stone in my mind at the moment as of yet.

CRAIG SMITH: What kind of a pep talk do you offer, do you have a fiery speech, do you

ADA O'SULLIVAN: No, I think people who know me I'm very calm. I'm the type of person that basically trying to boost up your team, get them to believe in themselves. And they know they're going out against a quality opposition. We know we're going to go out against you talk about Carol Semple Thompson, fantastic. She's a great ambassador for USA golf. We honestly believe golf has to be the winner this weekend. We want the players to make as many friends as they can. Curtis Cup is very special. It's basically going to be trying to make as many pars as you can on this golf course. Because I said at the start, the test, its an extremely difficult test and the Bandon Dunes course here and you're talking about the Pacific Dunes, definitely, is the course, I'm delighted that we're on that course. And as I say, I can foresee you're talking about bigger tournaments in the future and I think in the not too distant future, there's no doubt about that.

Q. The par philosophy, is that something that has evolved over with the conditions or is that something that when you were here a year ago you decided that?

ADA O'SULLIVAN: It's typical Curtis Cup. An awful lot of players believe that they have to raise the standard of their game when they come here. They believe they have to go around in level par or better. You speak to any past player or captain, they will tell you generally speaking you go around level par in the Curtis Cup here and you're winning. And it's the pressure that's put on people to go out and actually perform. And so therefore you're trying to play par golf. That's literally, you're okay, we're not saying you're not trying to make birdies, but you're trying to make pars.

Q. Is there anything you could do, I'm looking back obviously at Formby and the singles play, is there anything you can do to try to remedy that? Conversely, the Americans often have trouble with foursomes and the question always is, what do you do to try to fix that. Is there anything that you see that you could have done or can do with them to try to help improve their, the outcome of the singles?

ADA O'SULLIVAN: Yes, it's, that's what we talk about or have been speaking about at our team meetings. And for the players, without giving too much away, but basically just getting the players to believe in themselves. A lot of the home country players like to have the camaraderie of somebody else to chat to. And that's where they get on so much better, they're not as individuals as the Americans. We're talking about in the singles they're out there technically on their own. They need to knuckle down and get involved literally from the very first hole. That's about as much as I would say.

Q. But to follow up to that question is, is there something that you can do during that day that maybe would have may

ADA O'SULLIVAN: During the day itself?

Q. Yes.

ADA O'SULLIVAN: No, not necessarily. I know the players extremely well. I know what the thought process was. I know by the body language what way they are. So if I see somebody doing something that I feel then it's straight on to me. Also I think the caddies are this time around are absolutely fantastic. And they say they're loyal to the bag and I have no reason to disbelieve them. And most of them are like big daddies, you know what I mean, or big brothers to any of the girls out there. They come and tell you, they call you over and tell you different things that are happening or you need to say this or that and is it okay if I say this to her or whatever else, but, no.

Q. And in this case who can talk to players out on the course?

ADA O'SULLIVAN: Just the captain.

Q. So not the assistant captain?


Q. Or team manager. Just you?


Q. And you can, can you delegate that responsibility if you want?

ADA O'SULLIVAN: I can. I would have to make that very clear.

Q. To the other side?


Q. Can you give an assessment of the GB&I side, I guess what I'm trying to ask is, looking at the last six Curtis Cup matches, you guys won two and then dropped four. But it seems like you guys are getting closer where you're starting to hold the upper hand in some regards. Can you just assess that and the mindset there.

ADA O'SULLIVAN: Well, basically why GB&I golf has improved vastly is that there's been a whole different approach to the training process in each of the four home countries. And you have dieticians involved, you're talking about sports psychologists involved, people now go to their own we're talking about weight training. They have their own people. The gym, players have are being looked after player. Getting better grants. They can travel more. Play against better opposition. So that's the big, big focus is the players need to go out and play on a big field, rather than just on their own four countries. A lot of players will travel to European events as well as to most of the events that they have in GB&I golf. As a result of that what you find happening is that a lot of the players their golf has improved dramatically. Scoring average has dropped. The players like that, they feel better, they're scoring better. So that's, it's mainly due to training and everything else around that problem. I hope that answered it.

Q. You mentioned that you did a lot of research when you found out the Curtis Cup was going to be here. Before you got here. I'm curious, for the two players, had you heard a lot about Bandon Dunes and before you were chosen for the team and as a resort setting, not just because it's a links course, has it met or exceeded expectations or what are your reaction now that you've been here for a week about the resort and the courses here?

BREANNE LOUCKS: Well, we were shown a DVD and some pictures when Ada came out here last year. She had taken photos and they made a DVD of the course. We saw that before we came out here. And on the photos it looked much different than it looks much trickier. And it looked much tighter. But when we come out here, it has, it's actually much prettier than what we, what I expected personally. Like the coast is gorgeous and the course is in fantastic condition. It is definitely what we expected. Well, we probably expected parkland at the start, but when we came out here, links is what we got and it's good.

TRICIA MANGAN: Probably didn't believe it until we actually saw it. Like anything, you don't believe it until you see it. But, yeah, it's a fantastic course, definitely exceeded my expectations. And down by the sea it's fabulous. It's really beautiful. You stand there this morning with blue sky and mist. And I mean where else would you want to be? It's very challenging. I played a lot of links golf and this is as tough as I've played. But it's a great course. And a great challenge.

CRAIG SMITH: Tricia, to continue that one, you've played a lot, you've won a lot, where does this rank? You've waited a long time to represent the GB&I team. And as Ada said, everyone's getting better and younger, better at a younger age, and yet there you are, and I was just wondering if you could put into words the meaning of representing the squad.

TRICIA MANGAN: Well, it means everything for me I suppose. I was second reserve a couple years ago. So it was disappointing not to get on. So it was hard there. It was hard training myself to go for it again and put two more years effort in, because I had given it a lot that time. So yeah, it means everything to me. I won the Irish again this year, but besides that, this is definitely the greatest achievement in golf and I'm really looking forward to getting going now because this is what I've been waiting for.

CRAIG SMITH: Breanne, you tackle that same question, please.

BREANNE LOUCKS: Well, I almost can't believe it. It's so exciting and every amateur, woman amateur works towards this. And so lucky and excited to be here and I just can't wait. Can't wait to get out there tomorrow. Definitely. Excited to get out there tomorrow. I think we all are. Definitely.

CRAIG SMITH: Anything else? Thank you so much and we'll see you tomorrow.

End of FastScripts.

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