September 7, 2005
Q. We're joined by Juli Inkster and Beth Daniel, two members of the LPGA Tour and the World Golf Hall of Fame.
Juli, this is your sixth Solheim Cup appearance. Talk about the experience so far.
JULI INKSTER: It's been great. Every Solheim Cup is different because you've got different Captains and philosophies. Nancy has been awesome. She's been very motherly and compassionate. She's been great so, to me, this is probably the most fun, because we have the younger players, and they bring a new sense of energy to our team, and they're very gullible. You can tell them anything and they believe it. So far the experience has been awesome.
Q. Beth, this is your eighth appearance at the Solheim Cup. Can you talk about your experience.
BETH DANIEL: It's been fantastic. I didn't know what was going to happen as far as the picture went. When Nancy picked me I was absolutely thrilled, and for her to give me the opportunity to play on another Solheim Cup team is great. Nancy is we have competed against each other most of our careers and it's been great for me to get to know Nancy in a different way.
We have played on two different teams together, the Curtis Cup I won't tell you what year it was.
JULI INKSTER: Did they have it then?
BETH DANIEL: I think it dates back to about 1900, doesn't it?
And we also played the first Solheim Cup in 1990 as teammates, but other than that, we've always kind of gone head to head throughout our careers, junior golf, college, professionally.
It's been fantastic to get to know her in the way I have been able to this week.
Q. We'll take questions, and once again, please remember to use the microphone that's brought to you.
Did she cry on the Curtis Cup team, too?
BETH DANIEL: I don't remember her crying on the Curtis Cup or the first Solheim Cup either, I don't remember her crying.
Q. Having played as many of these things, you have a frame of reference. What are your thoughts on the size and enthusiasm of the crowds?
JULI INKSTER: I signed a lot of autographs. I think they're good. They're very energetic. You're feeling the love out there. That's good. Hopefully by Friday, we'll get the full crowds out here and we'll hopefully give them something to cheer about.
BETH DANIEL: I'll just add that Barsebac two years ago, the crowds were phenomenal, and I think that this is going to be pretty equal, judging from what we've seen thus far this week.
Q. To both of you, having seen players come up in the game, what Paula Creamer has done this year, can you talk about where you think it comes from? Is it the junior programs, something innate, her parents?
BETH DANIEL: Well, I'll just say that Paula Creamer is one of those rare athletes that has it. She gets it, and she has it. You know, you see those athletes come along every once in awhile and she plays with a lot of heart and a lot of determination.
JULI INKSTER: She wills the ball in the hole.
BETH DANIEL: She does.
JULI INKSTER: She knows it's going there, and it better go there, and if it doesn't, then it's not staying out there very long. She's got a lot of spunk, and she believes in herself. That says a lot.
Q. Do you think the junior program that the Junior Solheim Cup is going on right now that Paula went through, do you think that's part of what's helped her so far?
BETH DANIEL: Well you know, I don't know. I'm sure her junior career has helped her quite a bit as far as playing in events and competing, and that's sort of what it's about. You have to be comfortable in your own skin when your adrenaline is flowing and your heart is pounding through your chest.
You have to learn to be able to handle that in those types of situations. Paula has been there through junior golf and she's been there this year on Tour. She's raring to go this week.
JULI INKSTER: She was raring to go Monday.
BETH DANIEL: It's like, okay, Paula, it doesn't start until Thursday. I think she was raring to go last week.
It's great to see that kind of enthusiasm, and she hasn't been to a Solheim Cup before, but I don't think that really matters for someone like her, because she's been in the position where she's experienced what her body feels like when it's under pressure.
Q. Did she not play in a Junior Solheim Cup?
BETH DANIEL: She did. I can't really comment on the Junior Solheim Cup because I don't know if it's the same type of pressure or situation or if they feel that. I never played in one so I don't know.
Q. This week you haven't had anything to do with the Junior Solheim Cup that's going on at Bridgewater?
JULI INKSTER: I saw a few of them down in the lobby yesterday and introduced myself, we had a little chat. They're really spunky. They're my daughter's age.
Q. I think one of them is 13.
BETH DANIEL: They're great, but you know, with all that we are doing early in the week, we are on such a strict schedule. We actually tried to get over there for a little while yesterday and it didn't work out, because we had the photo call in the afternoon and things like that.
So, really, this is a different event for all of us because our schedule, we don't have our own time this week. We are told that we are here at this time, we are eating dinner at this time. You know, you get very little sleep this week. So, you know, it's a very, very tiring week, and I think that's one of the reasons you see emotions run so high, because people are tired.
Q. Can you guys comment on your two 4 ball matches that you played together last Solheim Cup and, really, kind of how it amazed all of us that with all the Solheims you guys played. You never had been teammates in a doubles match.
JULI INKSTER: Yeah, it's funny. I've never played with Rosie either, but I did get the opportunity to play with Beth in the last Solheim Cup, and, you know, Beth is very calm out there. It's kind of hard to believe I'm calling Beth calm.
BETH DANIEL: Was it really me?
JULI INKSTER: It was an out of body experience. She didn't yell at any marshals. I'm just kidding. She was, she was really into the match, but she was very confident that, you know, we were going to play well. You know, you could see it in her eyes. We did. We played very well.
Beth took charge as far as putts and stuff like that. But I thought our chemistry was great.
BETH DANIEL: I would agree. It was an absolute thrill for me to be able to play with Juli two years ago at Barsebac. You know, Patty told me, "I'm going to put you two together." I'm like great, and it was amazing to me that in all the Solheim Cups, I never played with Juli. I think our games match up very well, particularly for the foursomes, but, you know, that's the Captain's choice, and they have to put a team together the best way they can, and it worked out well for us last year.
Q. Do you think the mental attitude with Captains in general with players of your caliber, you don't want to double up two great players, they would rather split them up apart and put them with perhaps a weaker player, newer player?
JULI INKSTER: I think that's really hard for the Captains. That's where they earn all their cash, making those pairings. You don't want to leave someone out there that's not feeling real comfortable, or maybe two of them out there by themselves.
My feeling is you've got to put four strong teams out there, whether they're veterans together or rookies together or whatever, to try to get the points. Come Friday you can't be baby sitting. You've got to go out there and play, and believe me, everyone on this team knows how to play. It's just I think this is the first year I really think you can put anybody with anybody and they would feel comfortable.
We have had a lot of practice rounds together and dinners, and the camaraderie has been unbelievable.
So, I feel that everybody is feeling a lot more comfortable with each other. I think we're not as worried to leave somebody hanging. I think that's our problem is we try too hard for everything instead of going out there playing our game of golf.
Q. It seems like for a long time the 40 somethings on the LPGA Tour on the American side, we kind of look for you guys to step up, you and Meg and Rosie, the two of you.
How personally satisfied are you to see some of these young Americans step up and have that "fire in their belly" that I've heard so many of you say, what's wrong with these guys, don't they have what we used to feel?
BETH DANIEL: Well, it's great. I think the future of American women's golf is great. Look at some of these players on the Junior Solheim Cup team, this week, too, it's pretty incredible. They brought the age the average age of the LPGA down considerably, but it's fun. It's fun to watch them, and it's you know, Christina Kim is the greatest. She has the biggest heart in the world. She's just the greatest kid, and Natalie Gulbis and Paula Creamer, I've been able to be around Paula Creamer in a whole different way through these practice rounds and dinners, and I tell you what, I'm like the biggest Paula Creamer fan there is now. I might turn into a groupie, and I didn't know her at all.
You know, all year on Tour it's like "Hi, Paula," and "Hi, Beth," and she went about her business, but, you know, that's what's so great about the Solheim Cup is that you work really hard for two years to get into this situation, and it really is about the camaraderie, and about having those 11 teammates there that will do anything for you, and they'll do anything for you after the Solheim Cup is over as well.
You become very, very, very good friends, and that's really that's one of the great things about golf is the people that you get to become friends with, and, you know, this is just one example of that.
Q. Beth and Juli both, what specifically have you offered, and what will be your legacy to these young players on the team, and what have you personally done or comments made to them?
JULI INKSTER: I sang to them last night.
Q. I knew there would be something like that.
JULI INKSTER: I did.
BETH DANIEL: They didn't know the song because they weren't born yet.
JULI INKSTER: That was very disappointing. Paula and Natalie played yesterday and they just wanted to know stories. They wanted to know the history of who played with who, and they wanted to know what goes on in team dinners. They just wanted to know stuff, and it was great.
I can't remember anything, but I tried to just make up some stuff. They liked it. They didn't know one way or another.
BETH DANIEL: We told a Val Skinner story on the bus coming out this morning. No one is left out.
JULI INKSTER: So, I mean, you know, it's just the thing I like about those three, too, Christina, Natalie and Paula, is they want to know the history. They want to know how it got started, who was the first who played on the first one, and how did it happen, and, you know, they want to embrace it and be a part of it.
We have been Rosie, you know Rosie, she's been telling some stories. I think she's making half of them up, but, I mean, it's great, and it's great to see their eyes wide open and taking it all in.
Q. Is it a greater desire when you're trying to get The Cup back than when you're defending champions, and have you told the rookies how bad it feels when they lose?
JULI INKSTER: I hope they don't ever have to feel that. It's not fun to lose, but it's not all about winning and losing to me. It's about building these relationships, as Beth said. That's why we're here, the number one reason.
Win or lose, we're going to have 11 very good friends, really, 13 with Donna and Nancy, and, you know golf, you play one week and have it going, and next week not have it going. It's who's going to make the putts this week and get the ball in the hole, and who's going to win this thing. Our youngsters are ready to go. I think we've got a great team.
Q. Aside from lack of sleep, why do you think emotions seem to be running so high between the two teams, and can you compare it or does it run higher than a Ryder Cup situation?
BETH DANIEL: Well, I wouldn't be able to comment on what a Ryder Cup situation feels like. I know we were talking at lunch today, and Pat Hurst and I were talking, and Pat said, you know the match play tournament this year on our Tour, the HSBC event, it was just like regular match play, it was nothing like that.
Of course, you know, Pat just lives for match play. She loves it. The emotions do run very high, it's true. We are representing the LPGA Tour and we're representing the United States of America, you're not just playing for yourself. You're playing for your country, you're playing for your Tour. You're playing for these other players, and your Captain and assistant Captain. Of course that's going to be emotional because you don't want to let anyone down.
Q. These matches have been close, really, from the get go, from the second year on, and Laura said the other day that it's probably only a matter of time before Europe wins one over here. How big a deal is it for you to keep that from happening on your watch?
BETH DANIEL: Well, I mean, we don't want to lose. We talked about that earlier. I mean, it feels awful to lose. It really does. We're all very competitive. You know, all 24 of the players that are out there, and the two Captains are extremely competitive people. We would not be here if we weren't. We all hate to lose, so we give it our all. It's all out there, and I think that's one of the greatest things about this event is it's all laid right out there.
Q. Is it sort of a point of pride that you guys are unbeaten here?
JULI INKSTER: Yeah, I think our fans have helped us out a lot in that way, rooting for us. It's like playing on home court. I mean, you want the advantage. That's the advantage you have, and we want to make sure it's really noisy and really loud and, you know, we're going to go out there and play our hardest, but come Monday morning the sun is still going to come up and we still have people that love us whether we win or lose.
Q. Lastly, how would you describe your relationship with the Europeans this week?
JULI INKSTER: Well, I'm fine. I don't know about them. I mean, you guys know me, I treat everybody the same, whether they're European or American, and if they have a problem with us, you know, whatever, but I'm going to treat, you know, Laura like I always treat Laura, I'm going to give her grief. I'm going to treat Carin, a couple of them, I don't know, but the ones I know, I'll be myself. That's just me. I can't turn it on or turn it off. I've got to be myself.
BETH DANIEL: I feel exactly the same way. We see these players throughout the year. We're friends with them. Why be an enemy for one week? I can understand that someone is competitive and they want to be a competitor and beat me. I want to beat them, too. I totally understand that, but to have an attitude that I have to hate them this week is absurd. I don't feel that way at all.
A lot of the players that I have played against in Solheim Cups are friends of mine that I go out to dinner with on Tour.
But, you know, going out to dinner with someone on Tour and being friends with them, and you tee it up in a tournament, everybody wants to win, so it's just a whole different ball game. I mean, I've never been a person that had to hate someone to beat them.
Q. Has anyone ever annoyed you?
JULI INKSTER: Helen. If she was here, I would tell her right now. She annoys me.
BETH DANIEL: You look good, though, Helen.
JULI INKSTER: But I love her. She annoys me.
BETH DANIEL: There are things that happen, but I think that's the nature of match play as well. It gets blown out of proportion a little bit. Match play is very, very different, and I think that's why things have kind of gone towards playing more medal play, because it's kind of not as controversial.
Even amateur events have started to go towards medal play because it's less controversial. There are things within the nature of match play that people are like, well, that's not right, she should give her that 2 footer. You don't have to give anything.
I mean, match play, when you're away from the hole, you control the match. There are things that happen in match play that are different, and they create controversy.
Q. You came here to Crooked Stick twice to have practice sessions. Do you feel that perhaps this Solheim Cup team is better prepared than some of the previous teams?
JULI INKSTER: Well, I know we're more comfortable with the alternate shot. I know I am. I feel, you know, it's hard to believe that out of every Solheim Cup I've played, we haven't even played a 9 hole practice round, which is unbelievable to me. You got four days to practice, you think you would play at least 9 holes to get a feel of what you want to do.
I didn't play the first practice round, but I played last Monday or two Mondays ago, and I think Nancy has done a great job. One, getting everybody here, and doing a little alternate shot. I think everybody feels a lot more comfortable, whether we played with a partner or not. We feel more comfortable with the format. Whether it helps us or not, it's not going to hurt us and it's going to help us, I think, in the long run.
Q. With all of your experiences would either one of you someday like to be a US Captain?
BETH DANIEL: Sure, absolutely.
JULI INKSTER: Love to.
BETH DANIEL: I think it's one of the greatest honors that you could have is to be a Captain, and, you know, every Captain has been completely different, and that's what's so great about it from a team standpoint, every Captain is completely different.
I'll just add to what Juli's said. Nancy has been fantastic. She really has. This may be has been the most fun I have had on a Solheim Cup team this week, the way she's bonded this thing.
JULI INKSTER: Communicated very well.
BETH DANIEL: Very good communication. It's really, really been great.
Q. Has anything surprised you about Nancy?
JULI INKSTER: She knows our names.
BETH DANIEL: That's better than you. Hey, you're playing the alternate shot with her.
Q. Organization, communication?
JULI INKSTER: I've known Nancy I know Nancy, but I don't know Nancy up close and personal, and, you know, she's just been so open and so organized and stats, and I'm calling her Billy Bean. She's like the stats queen but, on the other hand, I think that's really regimented. On the other hand, she says, you know, you guys know what you need to do. No really set pairings and you just, you know, good, do your thing, get out there and work. It's been great.
Q. In the match play, I think it is the four ball, is that like the best ball or is that the foursome?
BETH DANIEL: The four ball is best ball, yes.
Q. In that you have some like you said, you control the match when you're furthest
BETH DANIEL: It's the way match play is played.
JULI INKSTER: Strategy.
Q. What are the strategies, if there are instances where the player who's farthest out has control of the green, but they aren't necessarily the one that has to putt, their partner can actually putt first?
JULI INKSTER: Right.
BETH DANIEL: That's right.
Q. Is that to either prevent from showing your opponent the line?
JULI INKSTER: Could be.
BETH DANIEL: Could be, that's one situation that may occur, or you just want to try to get the ball in the hole faster than the other team. If you had say I'm 20 feet, Juli is 5 feet, a European the two European players are 15 and 14 feet, and Juli wants to try to make that 5 footer and get the birdie first, and it putts pressure on them. It's not gamesmanship, it's strategy.
Q. Compared to your visits here before this week, how much faster is the golf course, and do you feel it amping up a little bit each day?
BETH DANIEL: Well, Juli wasn't here the very first time we came for a couple of days, and the course, we were picking up a lot of mud on our balls in the fairways off the tee shots at that point in time. The last time we were here the fairways had firmed up slightly, but they are getting a little harder and faster as we go on.
And, you know, the greens, I think they have talked about wanting to have them where, you know, if you're hitting out of the rough, it's going to be hard to hold the green. If you're hitting out of the fairway and can kind of nip the ball out of the fairways, they're going to one hop and stop.
That's the ultimate on how you want a golf course set up. The people that are hitting the ball on the fairway and hitting solid are probably going to play the best in that situation. I think they've done a fantastic job getting the course ready for us.
Q. It's just whoever is playing well will succeed?
BETH DANIEL: You can look at whatever you want to try to favor whatever team. The bottom line is match play, anything can happen.
JULI INKSTER: Amen.
Q. Are there any more questions?
Do you think the Solheim Cup has arrived, if you know what I mean by that?
JULI INKSTER: Yeah, it's arrived. I think
Q. When did that happen?
JULI INKSTER: I think '98 at Muirfield.
BETH DANIEL: Yeah, '98 was pretty awesome.
JULI INKSTER: The venue, the golf, it was
JULI INKSTER: Yeah, I think the galleries there, they were so, you know, they know golf, and they were unbelievable, and I think that's when you can play a golf course that people know and turn it on and say they're playing Muirfield Village, that's where the guys play, that's gives us a lot of credibility. Same as playing here. I think '98 is really when people started embracing it.
BETH DANIEL: I mean, I can't emphasize enough how awesome Barsebac was. There was a par 3 on the front side was it the 8th hole? It's an elevated tee, and literally you look down and see Denmark, and it was just a sea of people. It was just awesome, and the crowds were fantastic there.
JULI INKSTER: They were very, very courteous.
BETH DANIEL: And I hope the American crowds are very courteous to the European players as well.
JULI INKSTER: But if they're not I'm kidding, I'm kidding, I'm kidding.
Q. Are there any more questions?
Beth, Juli, thank you. Good luck this week.
End of FastScripts.