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July 28, 2006

Amanda Blumenherst

Jane Park

Carol Semple Thompson


CRAIG SMITH: We have Amanda Blumenherst in the middle, Jane Park on the far side and Captain Carol Semple Thompson near us. And care /OL, I don't know, why don't you just tell us what your team's like.

JANE PARK: We're a nightmare.

CRAIG SMITH: It's a little different being on this side of the fence, but what's it been like for you. Tell us what your team is like and what you've been going through in terms of the process.

CAROL SEMPLE THOMPSON: Well, my team is young, energetic, enthusiastic, a lot of fun, we do a lot of laughing in our private times.

Certainly it's a very talented team. I think we have a lot of depth. And I know Jane and Amanda played so beautifully in the Women's Open a few weeks ago but certainly before that they proved themselves in so many ways in competition. I can't say enough about these young women. They're just all playing well. They're all healthy, they're enthusiastic, it's just been a great week so far and I know that going into the competition tomorrow we're going to have even more fun.

CRAIG SMITH: Jane, and Amanda, is it time to play against the competition instead of just practicing to get better among yourselves or are you feeling that urge to play the game?

AMANDA BLUMENHERST: Well, definitely it's always, you play the golf course, not your opponent. So we're going to go out today and/or tomorrow and play our hardest and see what the day brings, but we have been practicing all week and we came out here at the beginning of July and to prepare for this. So we definitely have been stepping our games up the last few months and to get ready for this event.

JANE PARK: Getting our wind game on. Keeping it below the wind and the caddies taught us where to hit the ball and where not to. I think we're really prepared to go out there and shoot good numbers and be real competitive out there.

CRAIG SMITH: Let's open it up.

Q. This seems like an odd venue for an American team to have an advantage at. Can you tell me why you do have an advantage or don't have an advantage here?

CAROL SEMPLE THOMPSON: Well, I think that it would be considered an odd venue for us to have an advantage. And I don't know that we have an advantage. But I think that the strength of the team is such that we're going to play well enough to win. And they certainly have played the golf course enough to know some of the bounces, to expect some of those, I think they have learned that links golf is not always what it looks like it should be. We have to expect bad bounces.

I don't think these players are going to be rattled by that. I don't think they're concerned about playing in the wind. I think they realize that both sides are playing in the wind. And I think most of these players have played enough in the wind to not worry about that. So it may not be an advantage on our side, but I don't think we're at a disadvantage. If that makes any sense.

Q. Philosophically, the GB&I captain was in here saying that their approach is to basically play par golf. Maybe a U.S. Open type theory. How is that something that you espouse and from the players' standpoint, how do you guys feel about that?

AMANDA BLUMENHERST: Well, I think no matter what case course I play, even if it's a little executive course or Bandon Dunes, you go out and try to play one shot, one hole at a time and play your best. And you try to go for the birdies. And you try to play your hardest. And drivers down the middle and irons on the green and 2 putt or 1 putt, so definitely you want, you don't try to play super conservative, you just try to play your game and whatever that brings.

JANE PARK: Play one shot at a time like she said and definitely par golf is going to be great out there. Especially with this wind.

Q. Had you played out here before you took the trip out here in July and if not, what were your initial reactions of the course and what were your thoughts on it?

AMANDA BLUMENHERST: Well, this was my first time.

JANE PARK: My first time too.

AMANDA BLUMENHERST: That was in July. And I've actually never been in Oregon before. Or before in July. And I was very surprised to come here and see that it looked so different from what I was used to. Definitely the links style and the ocean's absolutely beautiful. I'm from Arizona, it's a little landlocked. So we don't get much ocean view. But it was a great change and it's an absolutely beautiful course.

JANE PARK: Compared to when we played in 2004 at Formby, this is actually more of a links style course. So definitely didn't have this kind of rolling, no rough around the greens and stuff like that. But here we just have total links style golf course. And we practiced a lot of those bump and runs up the hills and stuff. So I think that I personally think it's one of the most beautiful golf courses I've ever seen. I really like it.

Q. Question for Carol and Jane, on the experience factor. And you're a leading voice on that. How important is it to have experience in this event. Because there's only three players total who have played in Curtis Cups before?

CAROL SEMPLE THOMPSON: Well, I think experience is always helpful. But I don't know that it's paramount. We could go back to Formby in 2004 and say that nobody on the American side had experience. And they did just fine.

I think that it's in the mindset. I don't think that experience has to be there. Because they're seasoned players as I said. They have done a lot of college golf, they have played in the Women's Open, they have played a lot. I don't think it's going to be that important to have the experience.

JANE PARK: We have accomplished a lot to get to this point, so all of us have played match play and alternate shot, so I don't think experience is going to play that much of a role. Just go out there and play like we know how to play.

Q. Have you lent any support or help to the other members on the team that don't have the experience?

JANE PARK: No. I just kind of do my own thing and if they want to ask me questions then I'm open for it. But these girls know what they're doings.

AMANDA BLUMENHERST: I think the question is like how high can our skirts go and stuff like that, so.


AMANDA BLUMENHERST: No. They brush the tops of the knees.

JANE PARK: Tops of the knees.

CAROL SEMPLE THOMPSON: We have had the questions about when can they wear jeans.



JANE PARK: Never ever.

Q. Carol, you've obviously had a lot of experience in this and had a lot of different events where you've probably taken something away from one day guiding the team yourself, is there something in particular that you do use to try to help this week from your stand point of overseeing the team that you've taken from your different experiences as being a player?

CAROL SEMPLE THOMPSON: Well, actually, I think that this is probably not where you would think you would go with this, but I think in my approach to being a captain I've decided that I'm, I don't want everybody to be tired. And I have not pushed for a lot of practice rounds this week. Some days we have just played nine holes, we have rested. I've given all the players their choice on whether they wanted to play morning or afternoon or practice or not practice. So to that extent we're being very casual, if you will. Because I think it's so important to be well rested going into tomorrow's two day, two grueling days. If the wind comes up it's even more tiring. And I think we have been pretty good on the social things. We haven't had that many social obligations this week unlike in Britain often times there's something every night that you have to get dressed up and go to. But as far as anything that I've I really haven't been giving much advice this week. Because as I said before, I really think these players know what they're doing. And they're not needy in any way. So we're just going to go play our best golf and win the Curtis Cup.

Q. How tough has it been for you to make the transition in the captaincy whereas you probably would much prefer to be on the course swinging a club?

CAROL SEMPLE THOMPSON: Well, I've been on the course swinging the club with the players for something like nine rounds. And I know exactly why I'm a non playing captain.

(Laughter.) Because I'm 30, 40 and 50 yards behind them off the tee. And that's it's a little hard to swallow, but that's the way it is. And I'm in the position where I should be. As a non playing captain. And it really hasn't been a huge transition. It's been helpful that I've had some experience and I know what to expect from obligations of the team, social obligations. How grueling the next couple of days will be. So to that extent past experience is helpful. But I'm where I should be.

Q. Can you talk about how different this is compared to Formby when in other words obviously thousands of people that came out and a big buzz around Michelle. Are you less nervous?

JANE PARK: I usually don't get nervous during or before a competition. It's just always been that way. I don't know why. But definitely the team bonding is the same as we had in 2004. In 2004 we all came in as a team and we just got stronger as the bond just got stronger as the week went on. But here we came in, we all play on the same circuit, and we came in as a team and we're going, we're just bonding more and more every day and it's just so much fun to be with these girls. And they just become your best friend during the week. And it's a lot of fun. It's a lot of fun.

Q. You guys have been together a lot, are you tired from your whole Japan?

JANE PARK: I'm sick of her.


AMANDA BLUMENHERST: Japan was more of a vacation than a real golf trip. It was a blast.

JANE PARK: Yeah, it was a vacation.

AMANDA BLUMENHERST: We had Tiffany and eight guys who were just, I mean, so much fun. It was never a dull moment.

JANE PARK: It was so much fun.

AMANDA BLUMENHERST: So that was kind of a nice little break.

JANE PARK: A little site seeing and a little different culture and it was just a lot of fun going to Japan. That was a great time.

AMANDA BLUMENHERST: And then winning never hurts.

JANE PARK: Yeah. That too. Yeah.

CRAIG SMITH: Carol, just from the standpoint of your team members as you observe them, who is maybe at the top of their game, not it would be easier to just say they're all playing well, but is there someone that's really, really at the top of their game right now at the right time.

CAROL SEMPLE THOMPSON: Well, I think my standard answer would be that everybody's playing well. Certainly Amanda and Jane had spectacular U.S. Opens, so I know they're swinging well and feeling confident and they have just come from Japan and winning there. So probably I would have to say these two are at the top of their games for sure. But really, truly I believe everybody is playing well. And that's, that hasn't always been the case on some teams that I've played on.

CRAIG SMITH: And what have you done with parings, not to give out names at this point, but have you exercised length and how have you done that.

CAROL SEMPLE THOMPSON: Well, I think that my general philosophy as far as foursomes partners was to look pretty much at length, I think it's difficult for a short player to play with a longer player. Because they're not in the same position on the green or on the fairways as they would be playing their own ball. Personalities, I think I've tried to fit together somewhat. I had to get some input from some of the players on who they wanted to play with and I've gone for the most part with that, I think. Just seemed to mesh with the way I felt. I don't know how you guys felt, but.

AMANDA BLUMENHERST: She did a great job.

JANE PARK: She did a good job.

CAROL SEMPLE THOMPSON: But we have our foursomes partners set, although I've said that there are probably two partners that people could expect to play with. It's not just, we're not locked into one partner. So if we don't like the way things go tomorrow morning, then things could be switched around for Sunday morning. And they understand that. And I think everybody's pretty comfortable with that of the.




CRAIG SMITH: I guess how important is it to get off to a fast start to take away a confidence building start for your opponents?

AMANDA BLUMENHERST: Well, we're just going to start probably tomorrow we're just going to focus on our match. We're going to definitely support all the girls that are playing, but when you are going out to play, we are focusing on what our partner, how she's playing and how we're playing. And just focus on one match and try to get as many points as we can just to kind of get the ball rolling.

JANE PARK: Yeah, in 2004 we were really slow out of the gate. We lost all of our alternate shot matches in the morning. But then we ended up winning all of our singles matches in the afternoon. The same with Sunday. I think we won one alternate shot match in the morning and then won a quite a few singles matches. So it doesn't, I think we just need to stay in the present and even if we get off to a slow start tomorrow or on Sunday, it really doesn't matter, because we have got those matches in the afternoon and the USA girls, we're good at singles, so.

Q. Do any of you get the sense that the GB&I team is a little bit hungrier this time around with how everything turned out at Formby?

CAROL SEMPLE THOMPSON: I would say that they are hungry, certainly. They don't like not having the cup over there for eight years. I must admit that I don't know the GB&I players as well as I would like to. So I really haven't had too much interaction with them this week, unfortunately.

But I would certainly assume that they are ready and raring to go.

CRAIG SMITH: I think it was probably more the way that it slipped their hands last time at Formby that doesn't feel so good.

CAROL SEMPLE THOMPSON: Because they got off to such a good start?


CAROL SEMPLE THOMPSON: Well, I'm sure that's true. But I think we're hungry too. This is a brand new team, except for Jane and Virginia, from a couple of years ago, but I think that we're pretty determined and hungry.

Q. Is there ever a concern about an unknown quantity, since you don't really know that team very well.

CAROL SEMPLE THOMPSON: Well, yeah, certainly, there's always that concern. But I really have a lot of confidence in my team and their abilities and their attitudes and I think that we have great talent. And I think that will come through.

Q. From the historical perspective why is the American side been so successful?

CAROL SEMPLE THOMPSON: Well, I think that we do have a lot more players to choose from and generally I think that our players are stronger players. Or maybe there's more depth in each team. They may have two or three really good players, but we might have five or six really good players. So that probably has just made that little bit of difference in matches, because the matches have been very close. In recent years. It can always go one way or the other. We're planning to make it not so close.

Q. Was there a particular thing that you all got out of specifically of the scouting at this course when you came before this week? Any of the three of you, but Carol in particular, that you came away that week not necessarily realizing that it would be as important or as influential as it is perhaps in your thinking this week now?

CAROL SEMPLE THOMPSON: Not sure I quite understand your question, but when we came here for the practice three weeks ago, I was bemoaning the fact that we had three perfect days to play golf. We had very little wind. But in hindsight, I can say that I think it was probably a good thing that we didn't have severe conditions then because it really gave the players a chance to realize that they could play the course relatively easily. You mean that it wasn't unplayable. And they could hit the ball a little off line and maybe not be totally unplayable. So this week of practice has been much better because the wind has come up and it's still they feel comfortable on the golf course. So I don't know if that answers the question.

Q. I was curious if there was something that came out of that week that you were going to use?

AMANDA BLUMENHERST: I would say that's from the player's perspective definitely seeing the golf course when it wasn't windy helped, but also we got to play with the almost every girl in alternate shot. And I could see I had a great time with each one, but I could tell which one our games meshed a little bit more or okay, how we played or how far under we went and in alternate shot. You know, just to get a feel for everyone's game and have confidence in the other girl and when we played, because I never played with some of them.

JANE PARK: I think that it was just a great week to get to know your teammates a little better and just to introduce yourself to the golf course, so. It was a very good week.

Q. You talked about that you think your players are maybe better and you think that you're not worried about as much about their players and your players are good and you have a lot of confidence. A, does the venue equalize some of that; and B, match play sometimes equalizes some of that as well versus stroke play. Do you think at the end of the day that might, those two factors might make a difference?

CAROL SEMPLE THOMPSON: Yeah, they could make a difference. I think the venue is more of an equalizer. And certainly if the weather were really severe, that could be an equalizer, although I don't think that's predicted for this weekend. But I, for me, it's more comfortable to focus on my team rather than thinking about the opposition. And I'm just planning on my players playing good golf, making their putts and that's what I choose to focus on. So that's what I'm going to encourage them to do, to not worry about the opposition, because in much play, I think it's important to play against the golf course. As they have been saying. So really, in the U.S. Amateur and any match play, the best way to get through matches in my mind is to play against the golf course.

Q. When the GB&I captain was here, she seemed to feel the same way about her team at Formby and everything did go that way until the final afternoon. Is there any way to protect yourself against something like that happening as a captain?

CAROL SEMPLE THOMPSON: I don't know of anyway to protect myself. Except to get my players to play good, solid golf and to fight for every half point and point that there is available. Which I know they will do.

CRAIG SMITH: Amanda, just from the I asked this to you and then maybe Jane can chime in too but the blend of camaraderie, playfulness, and yet the respect for your captain whose played on 12 Curtis Cup teams, can you just throw something out there that makes me think of that deference for her, but yet you can pick on her at the same time?

AMANDA BLUMENHERST: Well, we tell her that 12 Curtis Cups, that's 22 years, some of us aren't even that old, so.


AMANDA BLUMENHERST: But, no, we love having fun with her, but definitely when she's talking we'll listen and hear what she has to say and definitely take her advice. And she's great with our schedule, because we have a lot of things going on, they're nicely spaced out so we don't feel overwhelmed. But we need to be like here at 4:30 or dressed like this. So she has everything under control and definitely it's nice to know that we're being taken care of and know that we can go out and just worry about how we have to play and not what our outfit is going to be or if we're going to be fed. Just little stuff that she's definitely taken care of.

JANE PARK: Yeah, she's definitely been a great captain so far and we, she's a lot of fun. I don't know you guys know her, but she's got a great sense of humor. We joke around all the time, it's just like she's one of the girls.

Q. Break out the blond pig tail this year?

CAROL SEMPLE THOMPSON: I wasn't planning to.

Q. Jane, after having gone through this two years ago, does this experience mean more now to you than it did then?

JANE PARK: I think each one is equally as special. Any time you play on something like this or representing your country, it's definitely an honor. And just playing on this Curtis Cup team twice it's definitely a great experience both times. And it's also great that I can play it with two different teams. And with a great captain like Carol, so. It's definitely a great experience for both.

Q. And same for you, Amanda, your first experience this time, I mean what are you feeling?

AMANDA BLUMENHERST: Oh, I mean it's just an honor to be picked and to come here and be able to play. And growing up you I remember wanting to be on the Junior Solheim Cup team as a junior and then thinking that the Curtis Cup would be great as an amateur and then hopefully turn pro and to play on the Solheim Cup, it's just like little steps that you take. And each step is equal in its importance and just a lot of fun and it's a great goal to reach.

CRAIG SMITH: Anything else? That does it. Thank you so much.

End of FastScripts.

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