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September 12, 2007

Beth Daniel

Betsy King


DANA GROSS-RHODE: I want to thank everyone again for coming in. We have with us the captain of the U.S. team, Betsy King.
And, Betsy, obviously what's it been like this week? You've been working for a year now to get your team --
BETSY KING: Almost two years.
DANA GROSS-RHODE: It has been almost two years. Working to get this team put together. You brought the team here. They've come together. How has it been this week?
BETSY KING: It's been a lot of fun. I said before this has been a very enjoyable experience. Some of the younger players I didn't know that well, and I'm very impressed by all of them.
I was telling Paula today, you know, you guys are so much better at the things outside the ropes than we were as far as dealing with the media and reaching out to your fans and being willing to make appearances for the LPGA. I think it's made a big difference in the growth of the Tour, and I think it will only get better.
For me this is kind of my last hurrah, I think. As a woman, you can you can always change your mind, but I think at this point in time this is my last hurrah. And it's been a very enjoyable experience, and I hope it continues to be so.
DANA GROSS-RHODE: Okay. Great. We'll take questions for Betsy.

Q. I'm interested in what you're saying about Paula, the young ones reaching out to the fans. In what way are you noticing that?
BETSY KING: I told her -- I was relating an experience because she asked me -- she asked me to sign something. And when I signed it, she goes, "Is that the way you've always signed it?"
I mean, I said, "I've always written 'Betsy King.'" (laughter) She meant more like had I worked on my autograph. I never even thought of anything about worrying about what my autograph looked like, and she mentioned how Arnold Palmer said you should always sign it so people can read it.
I related the story, sometime I had someone actually mail me something in the mail that I had signed and he said I ruined his book because I didn't sign it legibly.
She, you know, was concerned, said, "I want to make sure that everybody can read it when I write it." Just little things like that and being willing to appear for the LPGA. They went out to the Oscars -- I think it was Paula and Natalie, I don't know who else -- last year and took two days out of their time to go out to L.A. so they could be dressed up and make an appearance at some of the Oscar parties. They just go the extra mile.
You know, Paula said, "You know, when you do things like that, you sign things for people, then people can relate to you better. They kind get the whole picture." Obviously, it benefits them personally, but it also benefits the Tour and they're interested in helping the Tour as a whole.

Q. Outside the ropes, what are they like inside the ropes?
BETSY KING: It's the amazing thing. They're very competitive. You know, they want to do well. I've said it's going to be a tough week, I think in a number of ways. We're the away team. I think it will be a new experience for someone like a Paula or a Natalie, who they're a fan favorite everywhere they go, but I know they're going to come out and give it their best shot.
Hopefully the weather will cooperate a little bit. It could be cold and rainy. That's always a factor in the tournament. I think that's the most amazing thing is that they are competitive and can play good golf and do all the other things as well. That doesn't come along very often.

Q. Earlier today Morgan was in here talking about how she wished that she could have played at Crooked Stick along side Paula. Can you talk a little bit about how she's adapted this week and how Morgan will fare under the pressure?
BETSY KING: Morgan has a lot of experience, even though she's only 19. She's probably hit as many balls in her life time as I have at 52. I think she'll do fine. You know, I think the fact that she played the Junior Solheim Cup will be helpful, and she was at Crooked Stick and was outside the ropes and kind of saw what it's all about. I think that will be helpful for her.
The first time you're still a rookie, but I think even though you classify her as a rookie, she has much more experience than I would have had, say as a rookie the first time playing Solheim.

Q. Betsy, do you agree with -- there seems to be a general consensus that the length of the course favors the Europeans. Do you agree with that? And the other question is: Where does wind and rain fit into that whole formula?
BETSY KING: Well, obviously if it's rainy, it will make the course play even longer. I think the golf course is set up a little bit longer than the average course that we play on Tour. This is more like an Open golf course, maybe. I think it's close to the same yardage that it was at Pine Needles this year. And with the rain that they've had here, you're not getting a lot of run on the golf course.
You know, there's two sides to that story. Obviously there are some longer European players, but then, you know, we may be hitting first into the greens. And in match play, you know, if you hit a good shot up there, that kind of puts the pressure back on the other side.
I think most of the -- I think, is it 5 that's the par 5, I think that will be unreachable for everybody here no matter how far you can hit. I don't know is going to get there in two.
So, I don't know. We'll find out. I think we'll find out by the end of the weekend if it works out. We're going to go out and give it our best shot. As I said, win or lose, we'll have fun. Obviously you have more fun if you win, but already we've had a great week. So we're just looking forward to going out and representing the United States the best way we can.

Q. Betsy, you seem very calm and collected. Is this just a front for the media, or have you mellowed over the years?
BETSY KING: Well, I've never been a really emotional player. I would say I'm passionate, but I'm not emotional. You know, if I believe in something, I can get very passionate about causes or my Christian faith. But as a player, I always felt it was important to stay calm.
Golf, I don't know, I was a phys ed major. We learned in motor learning that in a fine motor skill, the calmer you are, the better you produce. And, you know, whereas football is a gross motor skill, you're tackling. If you get more emotional, it's a help.
But in a fine skill like sewing, if you're calmer, you can do better. I always felt golf kind fell between those two; that you want to stay as calm and even keeled as you can. So I was always trying to do that.
Having said that, I think everybody gets nervous when you get out there to play and you just want to -- when you get more experience, you don't want to miss a shot because you're nervous. You know, you don't mind missing a shot if you didn't hit a good shot. You don't want your nerves the affect your play. If you can get to that point, then you play better.

Q. How important can the captain be during the three days?
BETSY KING: How important? To be honest, I think the captain gets more credit when you win -- gets too much of the credit when you win and too much of the credit when you lose, both ways. I really don't think particularly in golf that the captain makes that much of a difference.
It's nice to have -- you know, I look back on the experiences that I had, the personalities of each captain that I played under was fun. They were different, and it was a lot of fun. But as far as really making a difference on whether or not we won or lost, I don't think they really made that much of a difference. They made the experience fun, but as far as if they weren't captain, would we have still won? I think probably we won the ones that we won and lost the ones we lost. I was on one losing team. I think probably so. I think it just boils down to which players play the best that week, which team.
They talk a lot about the comradery. It makes somewhat of a difference. I think it comes down to how everybody plays. It's hard because you can't really affect -- I played basketball, field hockey. You can have a direct impact on your opponent. In golf you really don't. You try to hit a good shot and put pressure on someone, but I can't get in front them and block their shot. So it's a little different. It's a different animal, different sport.

Q. Several players have talked about how you actually are one of the most competitive people that they've ever met.
You don't really come across that way. How do they see that side of you since you're no longer out there competing? How do you present that to them?
BETSY KING: I think I'm trying to present to them just to go out and really give it your best. I felt when I played I always wanted to make sure I gave a hundred percent on every shot, and that's all that I want them to do. You'd be surprised when you play, you know, for 28 years and hit thousands of golf shots, that's a hard thing to do. You see players that really didn't do that.
So I think maybe they see that side of me. I was a very hard worker when I did play. I felt like I made myself into a better player, that maybe I didn't have the talent level that some of the other players that came out and won on the Tour right away. And so I'm just trying to, you know, show that side to them.
But, I think all the players today, that's one of the things that has changed. If you want to be a top player, you have talent but you also are one of the most dedicated players.
When I first came out, there were a few people that got by on their talent and maybe didn't practice as hard as or reach their full potential, and I think everybody today practices hard so that the ones with the most talent come out on top.

Q. Paula was in here and said they're a pretty rowdy bunch, but they shut up when you speak. Have you worked on that?
BETSY KING: I don't know if they do that or not. You know -- well, when I was walking with Paula, you know, she asked how old I was and I told her. She goes, "Gee, my mom is that same age." It is literally a different generation.
They do like to have a lot of fun, but they listen to what you have to say, and so that's really refreshing. I mean, they respect your experience and they do listen, but they are -- Paula worked out last night. Natalie got up at 5:00 in the morning to work out. They really are dedicated. Obviously not just for this week but, you know, for their careers.
DANA GROSS-RHODE: Any other questions for Betsy at all? Okay. Thank you all very much.
BETSY KING: See you tomorrow, or see you Friday, I guess.

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