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May 29, 2008

Meghan Bolger

Carol Semple Thompson

Alison Walshe


STEWART McDOUGALL: Ladies and gentlemen, can I introduce first of all, Captain Carol Semple Thompson. In the middle is Alison Walshe, and on the right-hand side Meghan Bolger.
Meghan, I know you perhaps are the senior player on the American team. How do you fit in with the younger girls who are under 20? How has this gone so far?
MEGHAN BOLGER: They've adapted to me very well so I appreciate that. No, it's been an absolute blast with the girls. I had the fortunate for several years playing against them over the summertime and coaching against them, so I know them very well.
STEWART McDOUGALL: Alison, you find no problem with somebody who is older?
ALISON WALSHE: No, not at all. She's great, and we all get along so well, and we all know each other through amateur competition so it hasn't been unfamiliar at all.

Q. (No microphone.)
MEGHAN BOLGER: I was a college coach for seven years so I was able to see them throughout the summertime, recruit and go also when we were playing against them in college events.

Q. Which college?
MEGHAN BOLGER: The University of Mississippi.

Q. Alison, can you tell us about your background? You were born in Ireland, weren't you?
ALISON WALSHE: Yeah. I was born in Galway, Ireland and I moved to the States when I was five years old. All of my family is from Ireland, but I've basically grown up just outside Boston, Massachusetts for the last 17 years.

Q. (No microphone.)
ALISON WALSHE: Pretty much. Boston is very Irish.

Q. What took you to the States in the first place?
ALISON WALSHE: My father's job at the time placed him outside Boston.

Q. (No microphone.)
ALISON WALSHE: All of my dad's side of the family is pretty much in the Galway area.

Q. So you go to Galway?
ALISON WALSHE: Haven't been to Ireland in four years, but I did go quite often when I was younger.

Q. Do you speak Irish? (Speaking Gaelic).
ALISON WALSHE: Not a word.

Q. All right. And do you feel Irish in any respect?
ALISON WALSHE: Definitely. My whole background and my family, my grandparents, aunts, uncles, everyone is very Irish, and Boston is very Irish, and I'm proud of my Irish heritage, but obviously I am playing for the U.S., and I feel strongly about that.

Q. Any chance of you playing for Ireland, or geographically is it impossible?
ALISON WALSHE: No, I haven't played golf for Ireland, just for the U.S.

Q. What was it that your father did or does that took him from Ireland to Boston?
ALISON WALSHE: At the time he worked for Digital, but he's long left that company. Now he works for Sun Microsystems as an operations manager.

Q. Can you talk about what you think of the old course compared to what you've seen on TV and what you find difficult?
MEGHAN BOLGER: I think having a week of practice has been very, very good for us. We've been able to practice a lot of shots. We have excellent caddies who know the golf course, and I'll let Alison talk about their events from last week with the wind, but we're getting acclimated with the shots that we've been trying to practice preparing for this tournament.
ALISON WALSHE: Yeah, and like she was saying, last week five of us were in the -- in America, the College National Championship, and we experienced similar weather, which was not expected for that part of the country, but strong winds and cool weather.
Obviously coming over here and playing in that same weather, we were comfortable with it, but like she said we've played bump and runs, putters from 30, 40 yards off the green, and we had a lot of time to work on that, so hopefully it will go well.

Q. Sorry, back to the former topic. Did either of your parents or grandparents play for Ireland in any sport?
ALISON WALSHE: Not that I know of. At least.

Q. How familiar are you with the format?
MEGHAN BOLGER: Familiar in the sense we've played it a lot in practice, and we've done it a lot, but there is not a lot of tournaments that are set up that way, so we've tried to do it as much as we can, practicewise.

Q. (No microphone.)
MEGHAN BOLGER: I have yes, but it doesn't happen very often.
ALISON WALSHE: We had a practice session where we did a lot of that format to get accustomed to it.

Q. (No microphone.)
ALISON WALSHE: First reaction was a big "wow!"
Coming back to the home of golf is all surreal, and the same thing when you tee off on the first hole, and especially under the circumstances. You feel that much better about it and very proud to be here, but taking everything in is very overwhelming. It's nice.

Q. How much do you know about the history of the course and I guess the British Open?
ALISON WALSHE: Obviously I've learned about it through the British Open and going to the museum and talking to the caddies, of course, but just the general history of it all.

Q. Can I ask you about the fact that the match has been expanded, introducing four balls, do you think -- America has been dominant in this competition already, if you have more strength and more matches, the easier you should win. Do you think this helps you that the match is longer?
CAROL SEMPLE THOMPSON: That hadn't occurred to me, but I like it a lot. As far as my own personal reaction, I've had a terrible time figuring out my pairings, because I'm trying to let everybody play three times in the first two days, so it's sort of like a jigsaw puzzle trying to figure it out.
But you could have a point there, so I'm going to relay that to my team and tell them that it's going to be to our advantage!

Q. America wins so often in this match, do you feel an extra pressure not to lose?
CAROL SEMPLE THOMPSON: Well, I think both sides feel that tremendous pressure. I don't know that I feel any extra pressure one way or the other. I'm trying to get my players to play as consistently and well as they can and let the chips fall where they may.

Q. Do you think, Carol, when you discovered that it was going from two to three days and into the new format, you having played as you did under the other format, did you think it was a good idea?
CAROL SEMPLE THOMPSON: I think it's a fine idea, yes. Because it's such a big build up to the match and for two days it seems to go so quickly. I also very much like the idea of being able to play all my players in the singles round on Sunday. So I think the new format will be -- will work well.

Q. Obviously you are aware that America dominated early on, and then for ten years there was Great Britain domination, and the last ten years American domination again. Do you think that's because American golf has become stronger over the last ten years or British golf weaker?
CAROL SEMPLE THOMPSON: I'm not sure. We have had close matches over the last ten years, even though we ended up winning the Cup, whatever is, the last five matches. I don't know that shows how close the matches have been. I think American golfers are strong, college players certainly are getting a tremendous amount of playing time, junior players are playing in the American Junior Golf Association events.
They're seasoned players, so we should be stronger, I think. Of course our numbers are in our favor, too. But I don't think that Great Britain and Ireland is getting any weaker, and I don't expect them to be weak in the next three days.

Q. Carol, at this stage what do you think will be the hallmark of your team?
CAROL SEMPLE THOMPSON: Well, I think we have eight strong players, which is not always the case, and some of the years I played I was the weak player. But I believe we have eight strong players, and I think we have a lot of depth. If I had to pick a hallmark, I would say that the complete -- the whole team is strong.

Q. Changing the subject, have you ever been in the Iron 8 Clubhouse before this week?
CAROL SEMPLE THOMPSON: Yes, I had. I played in the British Women's Amateur, and we used the clubhouse in the summer of '75.

Q. And have you roamed around Peter Dawson's office and looked through the binoculars?
CAROL SEMPLE THOMPSON: I haven't been in Peter Dawson's office this week, but I was in his office in October when I came for a visit.

Q. Can I ask the two of you what you thought about it, and what was the coolest place or thing about it?
MEGHAN BOLGER: I liked the telescope from the balcony, so you could see so many things from there, and the chair there. Great view.

Q. (No microphone.)
CAROL SEMPLE THOMPSON: Well, in 1974 we had completed in Great Britain and Ireland, and it was a total eye-opening experience for me then. So I came to know and love links golf at that point. But playing here at St. Andrews is the ultimate test for me, and I'm glad my players are enjoying the bump-and-run game and what have you. They're experiencing what I did 30 years ago.

Q. Wondering if you guys have done any sight-seeing or anything fun?
MEGHAN BOLGER: I think we have photographs of Kim from every single thing we've done. It's been great. We have been able to do a couple of different walking tours on our own, but it's been a lot about the golf and meeting the people that have provided us to be here all week. It's very important for them and very important for us to meet them as well.
CAROL SEMPLE THOMPSON: I think our time really has been very limited here since we didn't get here until Sunday midday, and we couldn't play the golf course that day, and walked around the course and recovered a little bit. I didn't feel we had time for sightseeing, specific trips, if you will, but they have walked around the town a fair amount.

Q. Did you say it was your intention to play everybody before Sunday, or your hope to play everyone before Sunday?
CAROL SEMPLE THOMPSON: It's my hope and my intention, but it's my hope.

Q. I see. That's not quite a guarantee.
CAROL SEMPLE THOMPSON: It's not quite a guarantee, but it is my hope to do that.

Q. Everybody three times?

Q. (No microphone.)
CAROL SEMPLE THOMPSON: That's a good question. If my arithmetic is right, but I think it could work.

Q. Alison, could you tell us what you call your captain?
ALISON WALSHE: We found a new word yesterday. We call her the Skipper.
CAROL SEMPLE THOMPSON: They haven't had the courage to say that!
MEGHAN BOLGER: No, just Carol.

Q. Meghan, I know you have family with you, but can you talk about what it's like to share this experience with them and have them here supporting you?
MEGHAN BOLGER: Most of them did not bring their golf clubs, and they're here to support me and the team, and that's more than anything, because we know they're going to come back. It's not like they don't play, but we have 20 people, and two surprised me today, which is pretty exciting as well. It means more than anything.
ALISON WALSHE: Same. Mine on the other hand did bring their golf clubs, but it's really special for me, too, because I have a lot of family, like I said, in Ireland, and I got to see a lot of my family I haven't seen in years, and they're all coming over to support.
Kind of mixed feelings, because they're on the Irish side as well as the U.S. side, but it means something to have everybody here.

Q. How many from Ireland?
ALISON WALSHE: Probably about ten.

Q. From Galway?
ALISON WALSHE: All over, Dublin, Galway, Mayo.

Q. (No microphone.)
ALISON WALSHE: They came over on the ferry to take their cars with them.
STEWART McDOUGALL: Thank you very much ladies.

End of FastScripts

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