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May 29, 2008

Jodi Ewart Shadoff

Mary McKenna

Michele Thomson


STEWART McDOUGALL: Ladies and gentlemen, we have Jodi Ewart and Mary McKenna, and on this side Michele Thomson. Ladies, if you don't mind, I will start with a question. How does it feel to know the match starts tomorrow morning?
MICHELE THOMSON: I think it feels great to get it started. The practice has been for the past few days. It's been different shots, we and can't wait to get it started.
JODI EWART: It feels good to finally get it underway, and I'm ready to go, and I think the whole team is ready for tomorrow. And the wind has changed from the way we've been playing it for the last three days, so it was good to play different shots on all the holes today.

Q. Captain, changing format this year, you're going to three days, four balls. Do you think that works to your advantage or does it help the American team?
MARY McKENNA: I don't think it's an advantage for either. I think it's great for the players because they know starting off they're all going to play at least once, which is important. I think -- I honestly don't know whether it's an advantage to either. They're all good players, they've all got -- it gives extra points to play for.

Q. The fact that the Americans have dominated the match in recent years and they have more players to choose from, so if you're going to have more ties in the match, that might be an advantage to the stronger nation. But you don't see it that way?
MARY McKENNA: I don't -- I don't think of the advantages or the disadvantages; it's the players, and I have my super eight, and they've been playing for two or three days, you know. They're well capable of getting more than enough points. But I think the fact that everybody does play is good, because they know they're going to get to play.

Q. Talk about Sunday. Do you have a policy about who is playing how many times? Carol Semple Thompson told us she is going to try to play everyone.
MARY McKENNA: We're taking it one day at a time. It's not who I play, the difficulty is -- I just wish I could play the whole eight, you know? So, I mean, yes, I have to think on those terms, but I would hope to play everybody tomorrow.

Q. (No microphone.)
MARY McKENNA: Thank you.

Q. (No microphone.)
MARY McKENNA: It's a young team with lots of experience. I think in earlier years when we had young players -- we have two at college in the States, two at school in the States, Liz has done her college in the States, and they have so much more experience. They've played against the Americans, and they know they're as good as them, and we wouldn't have known about them in our day.
We would have thought, oh, they're so much better than us. I think the fact that the girls have been around and played so much overseas, and this is why we gave them the opportunity to go to Florida in January and try and play and compete.

Q. Ian Poulter designed outfits for the team. Can you tell us about that?
MARY McKENNA: I don't know about it. I have to think it was a media thing. I spoke to nobody about it, and nobody spoke to me about it. And with the contract with Greenland, there might have been talk about it, and the press just went with it, but I'm happy with what we have.

Q. Can you tell us about the outfits?
MARY McKENNA: They're lovely. (Chuckles.) Different colored sweaters, sweaters, shirts, what else can you play in?

Q. How is Carly's throat?
MARY McKENNA: She just played a full round, yeah, she's great.

Q. Is she talking?
MARY McKENNA: Is she talking? She never stopped! It was difficult to keep her -- it was more with the weather the last couple of days, and fortunately I had two days to give her off. You know, we said this morning, go out, play two holes, see how you feel. She just came off the 18th green, and she's happy, and she's been striking the ball super, so thankfully it's okay.

Q. (No microphone.)
MARY McKENNA: I think -- well, yes, I do, actually. It wasn't even so much the rest, but I think it kept her away from the media a little bit and just gave her -- you know, she's only 15, and it's a huge drag on her from media and from everybody. And the fact that she didn't have that for two days, she comes back now raring to go, and she'll be ready for the week. But, you know, she's grand, just precaution more than anything to catch it early, and thankfully it worked!

Q. (No microphone.)
MARY McKENNA: Try stopping her, yeah, yeah! She certainly is. I mean, she motored around the 18th today, and I said to her going out, play as many as you feel you want to. She never talked about coming in. I think at 9 we thought we would bring her in, and she was fine.

Q. The format has changed this year. Were you a fan of the old format?
MARY McKENNA: I think --

Q. Would you have liked to have played this format?
MARY McKENNA: I would have loved to have played this format; I love four balls. I would have loved to have played the four balls, foursome, singles, yeah. I think I would have been apprehensive when I played, because I'm a traditionalist, and I probably would have been slower to change, but I think the girls are looking forward to it.
There's more team playing because it's foursome, four balls, and they know they have to play to kill the last day, and it probably takes pressure off me.

Q. Why?
MARY McKENNA: Because you don't have to leave people on the side. Everybody goes out and plays, and it gives me an opportunity to switch pairings and, you know, probably trying to get three matches each for everybody.

Q. It does take away one of the pieces of the U.S., the Curtis Cup, and it's gone headlong into The Ryder Cup fashion, hasn't it? Unique selling points?
MARY McKENNA: What do you mean?

Q. It was -- the way it was prior to this event, and it was one of the few events played over two days.

Q. Now it's much more like The Ryder Cup.
MARY McKENNA: Yeah, gives the spectators an extra day. I think you will have more people over because there's three days of golf to watch. No, I think we've got to go with it. It's the way it's going. I suppose we -- you can't comment until it's over whether it's right or wrong, but I certainly think the girls are happy with it, and I'm happy with it.
Apart from the fact that I get three days of nerve-wraking experience instead of two. The girls have worked the last two years, so giving them three days of this competitive play has got to be good, got to be good for them. The first day is always the settling in day and getting on, hopefully the golf will improve and we'll be sparking.

Q. Michele, am I right in thinking you play some with Paul Lawrie?

Q. When would that be?
MICHELE THOMSON: He has a foundation where he has eight players who he gives advice to. He works the same course I do. I've seen him, and he's given me tips on short game, and played 9 holes with him and gotten a lot of experience from him, which has helped coming toward this.

Q. Mary, last few games that we have lost we have had difficulty on the first day. I think the last time you won, the first day you --
MARY McKENNA: I think we did foursomes; we did great in the morning, and then suddenly --

Q. (No microphone.)
MARY McKENNA: This is a different match, different team, different girls, different attitude. I think we have had a great amount of experience playing in the States. Jodi competes all of the time. I don't think -- I'm not one for comparing, I've got a different team, we've got a different course, a different venue. We're going to have huge support! So like there's a whole lot --

Q. (No microphone.)
MARY McKENNA: Oh, absolutely! Oh, gosh, yeah, irrespective of how we've ever done, yes, definitely.

Q. Michele, can I ask, maybe to both players, do you feel that you have an advantage because you're playing links golf this week, and the American girls I don't think have ever visited Scotland before.
So do you see that as an advantage with your knowledge of links golf and the different shots you have to play? Do you feel that will be a big asset for you over the next few days?
MICHELE THOMSON: Obviously, we've played it a lot more than they have. We're used to playing here; we've played St. Andrews many times. I think it plays well during the day. I don't think there is an advantage at all. They have been out here for the past, what, four days. I think it's enough to know how to play the course, I think.
JODI EWART: Being out in America, and I'm playing regularly against five of the girls, so I know exactly how they play, and playing in America you almost are conditioned to play normal shots all the time. It's rare that you get gusts of wind that you do here, so I needed to be able to play the shots and the chip-and-runs, and you need to be able to control it, so it gives us a slight advantage because we're used to playing like that.

Q. Mary, how about your foursome pairings? Who will you be pairing? Scots to Scots, for example, English to English, or will they be mixed?
MARY McKENNA: They could be mixed. But, I mean, quite honestly, it's a team that -- I don't think we have English girls and Welsh on the team. It just doesn't come into it. They're all mixed together, and I think I could pick their names out of a hat and they would probably be fine. Obviously, the fact that the Scots have played together, that may be an advantage, but I haven't put the team together so have to wait and see.

Q. (No microphone.)
MARY McKENNA: You'll have to wait until the team goes in. It's a pity, actually, that the Scottish is being played this weekend.

Q. You played in the winning cup teams --

Q. The '86 team was particularly notable winning in America, wasn't is it?

Q. Two aspects. How do you take anything from nearly 20 years ago that you would consider very --
MARY McKENNA: We were proactive. And that's all been done for us, because they have the fitness and the nutrition and the testing and everything so -- which we wouldn't have had to the same extent, and we were playing in the very hot weather, and we had to drink this perform stuff which was awful but --

Q. Things have moved on is what you're saying?
MARY McKENNA: Things have moved on but the girls have all of this as well.

Q. The other thing, only Breanne Loucks has played before in the Curtis Cup. Do you think her experience will help, and she is a bubbly character as well, and will it --
MARY McKENNA: Oh, yeah, that's all helped. She's been telling stories and such, yes, yes!

Q. One final point. You've always had a Great Britain team and you don't believe in Scottish or Irish or --

Q. Are you deep down disappointed? After all, there is no Irish player --
MARY McKENNA: No, I am not. Honestly, we picked the 8 best players, and if they were all Scottish or all Welsh or all English, I would be happy.

Q. Would you change --
MARY McKENNA: I wouldn't change a one of them. Absolutely not!

Q. (No microphone.) (Chuckles.)
MARY McKENNA: I have no idea. You know, I said to the girls yesterday, I said we're going to take this on half days and deal with the first three points tomorrow morning, and I said there's three points on the table to win. You can only win one each, and I think when you boil it down to that, and if they focus on the win and equally have an important match, even if they don't win, it's nearly like a win.
And that's what we've been thinking about. We've been thinking nothing at rounds and pars, just taking each half day as it comes, because that's the way it goes. But I have to say the girls have given it 100%. They've worked very hard this week. They've been super, they really have, and I just hope for their sake that the weather just stays like it is today, that it doesn't get too, too windy and spoil the course, really, because yesterday's wind was a little bit tough, you know?
STEWART McDOUGALL: Mary, Jodi, Michele, thanks very much.

End of FastScripts

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