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September 11, 2007
BETHAN CUTLER: I'd like to welcome you, Linda Wessberg and Maria Hjorth, both on home soil in Sweden playing in the Solheim Cup. Great captain's picks and both in very good form. Can you start by giving some comments about how it feels to go back here and also your thoughts on the course?
MARIA HJORTH: Yeah. It's great to be back here. This is my first Solheim Cup on European soil. Especially being in Sweden is better. It's really exciting. It's always great to get together as a team and kind of team spirit when you're out there by yourself all the time, so it's a lot of fun.
The course is playing great. It's playing right now as long as it can be played. It's soft and the tees are way back, but, you know, we'll see how the week is turning out, and I think the course will suit us all and lay longer. The greens are absolutely perfect. Great to be in the course like this.
BETHAN CUTLER: Linda, how do you find the course?
LINDA WESSBERG: I think the course is in great shape. You know, like Maria said, it's playing long. I think that will be in our favor, actually. So, I don't know.
BETHAN CUTLER: How do you find the captain, Helen Alfredsson? She seems to be quite an energetic captain. Do you know her quite well from growing up, all that kind of thing?
LINDA WESSBERG: I think Maria noticed her a lot more than I did. I think Helen is great. She's hilarious.
I can tell you she's going to get us in a great mood here. I'm not worried about that.
MARIA HJORTH: Alfie is really good. I think even though -- she's very funny and crazy at times. You're going to see her in a very competitive and great captain mood as well and definitely not over the top. Just a good spirit in all of us and does a very good job.
BETHAN CUTLER: Okay. Do we have any questions?
Q. Do you see any difference in Helen compared to how she is on the Tour now that she's a coach?
MARIA HJORTH: Yeah. I think a bit of both. She's got her funny, crazy side, but she also has, as a captain, you know, someone you can look up and someone you listen to. If she's got something to say that is important, and she will listen to you, what you feel you need out there. She'll talk to you about who you want to play, what you need to make the teams really good.
I think she's very, very good that way. She will listen to you, what you're after, but she also has a very strong mind of what she wants to get done.
Q. Linda, has Helen said anything to you? Being a rookie, has she given you any advice, or have any of the other members given you any advice what to expect this week?
LINDA WESSBERG: Actually, no. You know, I know it's going to be a tough week. I guess that's what people have been telling me. It's going to be a long week but also a very fun week. I'm going to take every second of it and try to enjoy it as much as possible.
BETHAN CUTLER: Do you have a lot of supporters coming to the matches?
LINDA WESSBERG: Yeah. I live an hour and a half north of here, so a lot of my family and friends are going to come down. I'm excited.
MARIA HJORTH: Yeah. I have my family coming down as well, my parents and my sisters with all their families and some other club members from where I'm from. Seven hour drive from here. It's a bit of a drive for them, but I still think there's quite a few coming down to watch.
BETHAN CUTLER: How do you rate Europe's chances against America?
MARIA HJORTH: I think they're very, very high. I think if you look at paper, the Americans are definitely favored, but I think with, you know, with the team spirit we have and, you know, just looking at the success that the European girl teams have had this year and all girls playing on the LPGA, there's a lot of girls up on the 2007 in the money list, we have a very strong team, and being on home soil definitely helps.
BETHAN CUTLER: Any more questions?
Q. Could you describe what it felt like when you were told, you were informed you're going to be on the team?
LINDA WESSBERG: Well, I thought my chances were kind of screwed when I didn't finish in the Top-10 in the U.S. You know, Becky, I should say, finished second, and she kind of pushed both me and Annika down on the list. I was pretty sure that Helen was going to pick another rookie, but when I learned I got the word and I was pretty sure she was eager to get all people who were natives. So I was pretty happy.
MARIA HJORTH: You never know until you get picked and you are actually going to play. I felt like I had a good chance to get picked because I've been playing well and did well in the HSBC Match Play Tournament and was in the world ranking pretty much until Annika got knocked out in Wales. So I knew I was close to getting on the team, and I hoped that definitely I would get a call. So it's a big relief to get the call from Alfie.
Q. When did you book your tickets?
MARIA HJORTH: I didn't get them until I got the phone call from Alfie. You never know.
There's always, you know, pending on who the captain is after, she might not always be after -- of course, she wants someone who is playing well. But you never know with the team spirit and everything, it might be someone else she wants in the team. So you still have to wait until you get the definite call.
Q. If you compare the spirit, the team spirit, now, compare it to the other two times you played the Solheim Cup, how does it feel? What's the difference?
MARIA HJORTH: I think it's a great team spirit. It's been very, very good. We all got in yesterday, so we haven't really spent a huge amount of time together yet. But I think right from the start, everybody is just so into it and so enthusiastic, and I think it's a great energy and I think because of that, we're going to do really well this week.
I don't know if it's any different really to other years. I mean, we have -- of course, a few rookies, but you always have rookies, and the rookies are almost always energetic and more enthusiastic than the other players on the team.
I think everybody pushes each other, so we're in very good spirit.
Q. So how do you feel since this is your third Solheim Cup? How do you feel compared to when you made the first one?
MARIA HJORTH: It's a huge difference even -- I think even two years ago, but my game is so much better now than when I played the Solheim before.
I feel a lot more confident with myself and my game, so that makes a big difference, and I'm not a huge experienced player on the team. This is my third one. At least I know a little bit about what it is about and what to expect, and, you know, you don't really get much time to practice and, you know, there's dinners, cocktails and everything that's going on. So you just have to take it, you know, take it as it is and just follow the stream and see where it's going to go.
Q. Maria, can you explain why your game has come on so much in the last couple of years? I mean, obviously you're a much better player than you have been, but what's caused that to happen?
MARIA HJORTH: I think, first of all, I changed to a long putter more than two years ago, and that really, really helped me a lot in my putt, for example.
My game was still not great, but I changed coach about three and a half years ago to Ian Andricks with Karrie Webb as well. He's helped me a lot with my swing, and when he makes changes, it's always hard to get it out on the course. But he's a great coach in the way that he helps you get the best out of your game, even if you're not swinging great.
Now, when I started to swing better and play better, I could also feel a lot more confident taking it out on the course and really trusting it there. And I guess it's just, you know, one thing lead to another. You go out there and have confidence, and you can strike the ball better, you can trust yourself, and because of that, you hit better shots and get more confidence, and it just builds up on top of each other.
I just think the biggest thing is taking the game out on the course and performing in tournaments and trusting it and also being -- not looking too far ahead, which sometimes that's my problem, and that always helps in match play. You don't look too far ahead. You play a hole at a time.
That's helped me a little, too, to forget bad things or even good things. If you make three birdies in a row, forget about that. This is the next hole.
Q. Has Ian helped you with that?
MARIA HJORTH: He's helped me a lot with that. He's very, very good, even on the mental side a lot, just getting you in a really great frame of mind every time you go out and play and seeing yourself as the best player out there, and that has really, really helped me a lot.
Q. Is he here this week?
MARIA HJORTH: No, he's not here this week. No.
BETHAN CUTLER: Anything else?
Q. I have a question. You both chose to play last weekend before Solheim Cup. How much does it matter in which way you performed your last week, do you think?
MARIA HJORTH: For me, it's kind of more of a preparation for this week. It's just getting out, getting competitive tournament in. Now, unfortunately we only got 18 holes, but it wasn't too much, but I think that's just the way I look into it. Rather than -- I don't want to play too much before this week because everybody knows it's a very exhausting week, but I want to play at least one tournament before just to get into competitive mode.
LINDA WESSBERG: Well, you know, I played a lot during the spring and the summer, and I kind of needed a few weeks off. I decided to take the week after Wells off and go back to the States to Portland.
When Helen called me, I figured I kind of needed one more week after that, as well. So the first week wasn't really golf. It was very busy. So, you know, I figure I'd rather play over in the States because I think the courses are set up more like that here than it does in Denmark so -- with the speed on the greens and all that stuff, but, one round took me three days, though. Yeah.
Q. Is there any reason to be worried because three of the four players in the team that played in Denmark missed the cut?
MARIA HJORTH: No. I don't think it's got anything to do with this week. It's a totally different week and playing match play this week. I know that everybody always raises their game this week. I don't think there's anything to worry about.
LINDA WESSBERG: Sometimes when you prepare for tournament, it's really hard to perform. You have a big goal in the distance and it's really hard to perform, you know, the weeks before because your mind is really toward that special week. I'm not worried at all.
Q. Can I ask both of you, really, this is your third Cup and, Linda, your first. How important in terms of achievement is it, A, being on the team and, B, being on a winning team? How big would that be in terms of your overall career?
MARIA HJORTH: Well, I think it's -- you know, it's hard. Everybody asks -- yeah, you play -- your goal is to be on the Solheim team but it's also hard to put a goal saying you want to be on the Solheim team. I think the goal is to play well especially in the year leading up to the Solheim because that usually takes you into the Solheim team and it's like, A, winning a tournament, getting to the Solheim. It's an achievement. You've been playing well and solid, and that's how you get on the team. Rather than planning for the Solheim and, you know, you're playing to play well and planning to play well in tournaments. When you reach the Solheim, I've done everything I can to get on the team, and I know I played well.
Winning would, you know, of course it would be so much better. Unfortunately, I'll be on two losing teams. So for me it would be great, great success if we can win and especially home here in Sweden, it would be just unbelievable. I think, too, definitely for the future, just to get the feeling on how it is to win over a win in the Solheim would be great just to get the experience and take it with you in the future.
Q. Linda, how big was it for you to play on the Solheim team, especially this one being in Sweden?
LINDA WESSBERG: It wasn't actually a goal for me this year. I went to the States to try to get my card in December, and I missed it by one shot. So I have a pretty good conditional card over there that would get me into a few events. So I kind of set my goal to just try to get my card over there, and, you know, being here today is really, really a bonus for me. But it's great, though.
BETHAN CUTLER: Okay. Any more questions?
Q. Could you please tell us something about, you know, the different outfits you have for this week? How much is it? Do you like it? Is your hotel room all crowded with boxes of shirts and hats?
LINDA WESSBERG: I didn't know where to sleep when I got in there. You know, I really like the clothes we have. Annika has done a great job for us.
We got fitted in Evian; right?
If there wasn't a size we could use right away, we had seamstress -- seamstress that changed the clothes for us. You know, I think it's great. I really like it.
Q. How much -- how many different kind of different ones?
LINDA WESSBERG: One outfit for each day. Okay. We have like these (indicating) and, you know, like short sleeves and long sleeves and rain gear and wind stoppers and vests. Yeah, we're not going to freeze.
MARIA HJORTH: It's always fun. Since it's now the third time playing Solheim, every time, you know, you're going to open the doors to the hotel rooms and all the stuff is placed in the room with gadgets and speakers and iPods. So much stuff in there. You'll have bags and golf covers, computer bags, and there's -- chair, producer chair. We have one of them this year and -- with the name on it. Lot of stuff, but it's always fun.
Q. What do you do with the outfits afterwards? Do you wear them to golf, do you think? Have you done that?
LINDA WESSBERG: We sell on eBay? No.
MARIA HJORTH: I think -- yeah, I think -- it's up to the captain to always pick every year and they pick colors, and they pick whatever we're going to wear everyday, and I think Alfie, and I guess they've done a great job with the color coordination and everything. Yeah, I think this year is definitely something I would wear after this week.
Q. What's the best gift that you got in your room?
LINDA WESSBERG: Oh. Speakers, the iPod.
MARIA HJORTH: Yeah, I'll be looking for that for so long. I don't want to buy it.
LINDA WESSBERG: Got some glasses that you can actually watch. If you have a movie on your iPod you don't want to watch it on that little screen, you can just put these glasses on and watch it there.
MARIA HJORTH: Glasses for your iPod. It's really an important thing.
BETHAN CUTLER: Okay. Thank you, and good luck the rest of the week. Thank you.
End of FastScripts