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May 28, 2008

Amanda Blumenherst

Tiffany Joh

Carol Semple Thompson


STEWART McDOUGALL: Can I welcome, first of all, Carol Semple Thompson, the captain of the U.S. Team, and then Tiffany Joh on the far left, and Amanda Blumenherst on the right. Carol, thanks for coming across. We asked Mary some questions, but can you tell us how preparations have gone so far since you came across here?
CAROL SEMPLE THOMPSON: Well, I've been very pleased with our preparations. I haven't been that pleased with the wind, but we played two rounds on Monday after arriving on Sunday, and we played yesterday, we played today, and the conditions have been actually pretty consistent, except we got a little rain today.
But I think my players are getting quite accustomed to the golf course. I think after four rounds, they feel a lot more comfortable than they did Monday morning. So I'm pleased with the preparations. But maybe Tiffany and Amanda can flesh that out a little bit.
AMANDA BLUMENHERST: Well, we had nationals last week for college, and the conditions actually were quite similar to what we have today and for the last two days. Coming into it, we were a little bit more prepared than we thought we'd be, just having the last week of practise in really tough wind, and it rained, as well. It wasn't quite as cold, but we kind of get that throughout the winter, as well. Coming here and being able to see the golf course, definitely new shots to hit, but it didn't take too long to adapt, and we've had four rounds now.
TIFFANY JOH: Yeah, Amanda and I are actually from pretty warm, dry climates; she's from Arizona and I'm from the sunny, beachy part of the California. But nationals definitely helped us out a lot. It's funny because last week when we were at nationals we were all upset and disappointed that we had all these wind and weather delays, but we didn't actually know that it was going to help us in preparation for this week.

Q. Just checking where the nationals were played last week.
AMANDA BLUMENHERST: Albuquerque, New Mexico. It was weird because of the wind, and it was cold, too. It was 90 degrees one day, and then I think at one point -- it was probably, what, 60?
TIFFANY JOH: Yeah, maybe like 55, around there.
CAROL SEMPLE THOMPSON: But they actually had wind delays.
AMANDA BLUMENHERST: We had a wind cancellation, actually.
TIFFANY JOH: Because the ball was just blowing off the greens.
AMANDA BLUMENHERST: You couldn't put your ball down to putt, it was so strong.

Q. You said you hit some new shots this week. Can you be specific about what new shots you hit?
AMANDA BLUMENHERST: Well, today I actually hit a bump-and-run with an 8-iron. I think I was about 80 yards away, which in the States never would happen. But this course, definitely that shot comes into play. Really long putts, for us it could be a flop shot or a bump-and-run, but a putter here works so well from almost anywhere. On 17, the road hole, we practised hitting putts off of the road and it actually worked real well, too. Just using the putter and also just lower shots.

Q. Are you having fun?
AMANDA BLUMENHERST: Oh, it's awesome. It's so much fun. We play a lot of golf throughout the year just because of college golf, and by the time the summer rolls around we're all a little bit tired. But this is just -- you can almost get bored, as well.
But here it's just completely almost a different -- not a different game, but such different shots that it keeps it really interesting, and we were having a blast today chipping it against a wall and having it come back or having flop shots out of a bunker. It just keeps it completely new and different, but it's so much fun, learning new shots. It keeps it interesting.
TIFFANY JOH: About the hitting the ball against the wall, we were talking about how Tom Watson that one year while Seve was making the putt on the last hole to win or something, he was right up again the wall and hit it off the wall and on the green to save bogey, and we were all like, let's try doing that, too. I think we almost hit ourselves. I think I pulled a double chip a couple times, too, so I'll be busting that one out.

Q. Carol, how many of your team have played links golf before this week?
CAROL SEMPLE THOMPSON: Well, none of the members of the team have been here to Scotland. I don't think any of them have actually played links -- I'm sorry, the Curtis Cup two years ago was at Pacific Dunes, which was a links course in Oregon. But I don't think it really totally compared with the Old Course.

Q. Do you view that as a disadvantage?
CAROL SEMPLE THOMPSON: No, I don't, because I think my players are so good that they've been able to adapt quite nicely, and I think they really have made an effort to keep the ball on the ground, so to speak, and I think they're adapting well.
I suppose it is some disadvantage, but I really don't expect it to be too much of a problem.

Q. Do you expect the cold to be a problem?
CAROL SEMPLE THOMPSON: I think the cold is a little bit of a problem for anybody. That makes it a lot more difficult to wear enough clothes and swing properly. But again, I think all of my players are quite experienced and will be able to adapt. I think we have the right clothes with us. We just have to figure out when to wear our mittens and when to use the hand warmers, and I do think that the weather is going to improve, so this may be the worst of our days.

Q. Can you give us some insight as to why the U.S. has dominated the Cup in recent years?
CAROL SEMPLE THOMPSON: I'm not sure why that is. I think we've had strong players. We have a lot of college players coming up and playing on the team. We've just been able to pull ourselves together at the right time.
But we have had depth in all of our teams recently, and I think again this year we have eight solid players. That's not true every year because I was on the team a lot and I was usually the lesser player and everybody else was pretty good. But I really think that our teams have had eight strong individuals for a number of years now, and that's made the difference.

Q. Who do you think are the favourites this year?
CAROL SEMPLE THOMPSON: The favourite players or the favourite --

Q. Who is the favourite team to win?
CAROL SEMPLE THOMPSON: Well, I would certainly think the U.S. would be favoured (laughing). No, I don't know. I think it'll be a great contest. I think that the Old Course will be a challenge for us; these new shots that we're learning and forcing ourselves to play will be definitely a challenge. I know they're saying it's fun now, but under pressure it's a little more difficult. But I think it should be a well-contested match.
I think we're probably pretty even in terms of some similar talent. The GB & I team may have a little bit of an advantage playing links golf, but I think we can certainly give them a good battle.

Q. I was wondering about the players' reaction to the Old Course.
AMANDA BLUMENHERST: It's absolutely beautiful, too. We came out on I think it was Sunday, and we just walked, and we took our cameras out and took pictures of the ocean and just the village or the town around St. Andrews. It's absolutely gorgeous, and the history surrounding St. Andrews is remarkable, as well. It's an awesome experience to come here when you're a golfer, probably something every golfer wants to do, and being able to come here and really play as many rounds really as we want to, having that opportunity, going into the clubhouse, having lunch every day, it's just a wonderful experience. And the course itself is just remarkable.
TIFFANY JOH: Well, I think when you see the course on TV and you see the pictures, it just really doesn't do it justice until you're here and breathing in that sea air and touching the grass and everything. I think definitely the golf, the type of golf that you get to play here is just -- at one point I was going a little overboard and I was putting from like 150 yards, and my caddie was like, okay, that's enough.
But it's just a whole new kind of like dream to live here. My caddie actually has his business card, and on it, it says "realise a dream," and that's pretty much what we're doing here, I think, is we're realising every golfer's dream.

Q. You have taken local caddies?
CAROL SEMPLE THOMPSON: Yes. Actually the LGU had 16 caddies chosen, and we had a blind draw. So actually the two captains sat there and we would draw a player's name and a caddie's name, so we're using all St. Andrews caddies. And I think all of our caddies -- I think my players like all of their caddies, which is not always the case. But I'm pleased that the relationships have worked out.
STEWART McDOUGALL: Carol, Tiffany and Amanda, thank you very much.

End of FastScripts

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