September 7, 2005
Q. We're joined by Meg Mallon, Christina Kim and Rosie Jones from the United States team. Start with opening comments. Meg, talk about the experience so far and what it like to play again.
MEG MALLON: It's my eighth but it feels like my first. It's been an exciting week. I haven't slept well at night. I'm living through these young players in this one, just watching it through their eyes and having a ball doing it so far. Everything is set up great.
Nancy Lopez has done a wonderful job for us. She's so organized and excited and emotional. We're having a lot of fun with her this week. Part of the memory banks for me. I can't believe it's my eighth Solheim Cup. I can't believe I have been out here this long. I'm happy I'm a part of this one. I think it will be very special.
Q. Christina, you're one of the three rookies?
CHRISTINA KIM: I don't know what Meg's talking about. I have been sleeping like the dead. This is such an unbelievable experience to know that I'm able to play and sit next to the girls I have looked up to my entire life, my heroes, my idols, knowing I'm playing for this country, it's an unbelievable experience. Nancy has been more like the cool aunt, because she tells stories.
MEG MALLON: Don't say grandmother.
CHRISTINA KIM: But to know I can bond with these girls and be able I can say I'm one of the 12 best in the nation, and going head to head against the girls in Europe, it's the best experience.
Q. Rosie, your thoughts?
ROSIE JONES: This is really exciting for me. I can remember the first Solheim in 1990, comparing that tournament and here, it's like night and day. We had media but that was the only thing. There was no hoopla. Lots of things have changed. It's so exciting.
When we got to the hotel and the first thing you do is walk on our floor and our Captain and Co captain have been so great decorating our rooms, all the materials and presents, it's just so exciting. That's the very beginning when you walk into this tournament.
The rest of it is just bonding with each other as players and our caddies. Our Captain has been an idol of mine since I grew up in New Mexico and I couldn't wait to get on Tour to play against her.
I was telling the story last night how my first win was against her, head on against her, sink the last putt on the 18th hole at the rail in 1987, I think.
And that's so cool because, you know, I'm playing with players that weren't even born when I was first walking on the fairways on the LPGA, and my first Solheim, I think a lot of them were probably about 4 or 6 years old.
And to see the progress of these players and the caliber of player that they can play at such a young age now and under the pressure they do to get here, this was incredible for such young players to be here and to watch them, like I said, to watch this tournament in their eyes for the first time has just made it really fun for us.
I'm more excited about this event than any other Solheim. I know it's because it's my last, but also because it's home here in the States, and we have such a great team, and fun loving team, and that's what's really great for me this year.
Q. Rosie or Meg, either one, when did you sense that the Solheim Cup arrived, what would you say is a pivotal turning point?
MEG MALLON: You mean over time?
ROSIE JONES: For me, when I played the 1990, I didn't play the '92 or '94, but in 96, I believe, when we were in Wales, and that was the first time the greatest comeback in US history, but when I got there, all of a sudden, it was in the first rounds, I was walking the fairways, and Laura and there was people climbing over the ropes going "Laura, Laura," and it was just crazy, all the people, and the fans were just crazy and yelling and singing and all this stuff.
I was like, man, what is going on? I have been gone for four years and I didn't realize how the competition had changed, and how the depth of this tournament had enhanced itself, and for me, all I wanted to do was be on the next Solheim team back in the States. That's all I wanted out of my career at that point. For me, it was then in '96.
MEG MALLON: You want to know mine?
Q. I would like to.
MEG MALLON: '92 was my first, and it was quite an experience, but I think for me the arrival was them beating us, and these guys crushed them in 1990, and you realize then that two years of being defeated like that creates quite a beast, and the European team was so ready and prepared for us in '92, and we were like the favorite on paper, and just, you know, thought it was going to be like the 1990 experience, and we got killed in '92.
Unfortunately, it was on my match that won the Solheim Cup, I was playing against Catrin Nilsmark, and having them dance all around me was quite an experience. I think that's for me when the Solheim Cup began, when Europe, it was a huge defeat. They were the big underdog, and they beat us. I think that's when it all started.
Q. Are they still the underdog this week?
MEG MALLON: The only way I would call them an underdog is because we have home field advantage. Otherwise on paper it's pretty even.
Q. How much did you care on that occasion? Were you thinking, oh, well, we'll get them the next time, or was it a lingering pain?
MEG MALLON: Absolutely lingering, just like Sweden has been a lingering pain for me and the players that were there. You want to have fun. It's a great experience, but winning is a lot more fun. We didn't bring it to the table in Sweden and we know we need to bring our games this time.
Q. Question for you two veteran players. There's been a lot of talk and a lot of excitement about the new generation.
Carin Koch said golf has become more of a sport, and the young players are more athletes, and there is a commitment to the gym that Annika has probably helped foster. Having been around awhile, do you see a big difference in the players coming in, their fitness, approach?
MEG MALLON: The thing with the fitness thing, women invented it. Every since the first calorie started, women have been working out. The difference for me is, when we grew up, we were not supposed to lift weights, it was supposed to be against the game of golf. Now it's a big part of it. We have been working out our whole lives. The difference is how the workout has changed and how they've incorporated, basically, muscles into the fitness of the game.
It's funny to hear that, as you guys know, they're saying that working out is just starting out in golf. It's just become more specialized, and you can see it through the change being in the bodies of the players on Tour now.
Q. Rosie, any thoughts?
ROSIE JONES: I felt like I was an athlete when I started playing golf. I was playing a lot of other sports as a young kid, track, softball, basketball. That conditioned me for golf, even though I didn't know I was doing it at the time. That's why I encourage other kids to play sports, not just golf.
They're not really getting the conditioning they need to strengthen their back. We're finding most of us have back and neck problems due to lack of core strength.
So, now, the focus with the young players is or the young athletes is to really condition ahead of time, because they're not playing all those sports. They're doing computer things, and they skipped soccer because they're playing golf at 8 years old.
So, they have to supplement this part of their body workout by actually working out. To me, I think it's great. Like Meg said, when we were growing up we didn't want to lift a lot of weights. We didn't want to get tight. It was all about flexibility. The swings were even taught differently back there, do the C curve in your back.
MEG MALLON: The equipment has changed.
ROSIE JONES: Yeah. You know, I think it's great. The young players have a better sense of how to condition their body, what it is to they have the training and the trainers out there to help them strengthen those muscles and get the flexibility they need going into the sport at a young age.
MEG MALLON: She has no idea how far a Persimmon wood can go off line.
ROSIE JONES: Do you even know what a Persimmon looks like?
CHRISTINA KIM: It's a fruit.
Q. One last one, appearance is one of the five points of celebrity. Christina's outfits are a manifestation of that, and players are marketing that aspect. You're working on your Web site, Christina, a lot of players, Natalie Gulbis comes to mind. Is there any potential downside to that, or no, as long as they put the golf first?
MEG MALLON: I think they're smart women, and I think it's getting to be more of a business. We were just talking about, you know, how it used to be more of a family atmosphere out here. It's become a business now. It's a money making machine out here, and I think you have to take advantage of all your opportunities, and, you know, promote yourself and put yourself out there, and I think they're doing a wonderful job, the younger players, of doing that.
You can ask Christina, do you think it's taken more time away from your golf to do that kind of stuff. They have so much energy, they can do all of these things.
CHRISTINA KIM: Are you seriously asking me?
MEG MALLON: Yes.
CHRISTINA KIM: You know, I think, in my opinion, I honestly don't have a lot of those. I don't have any sponsors right now. I'm not looking for that. I'm still trying to stay connected with the golf. For me, fashion is just my thing. I don't try to say anything. I wear it because it makes me feel comfortable. It makes me feel like myself, Christina.
I know that Natalie and Paula and Cristie, everyone out here, they do put a lot of time and effort into things other than just golf, and but you have got 24 hours in a day, there is quite a bit you can do.
MEG MALLON: There is a lot of energy in these guys.
Q. Who's the best dresser? Not this week, you all look the same.
CHRISTINA KIM: Are you saying that because I'm Asian? Sorry, that wasn't PC.
Q. Strike that.
CHRISTINA KIM: I think that everyone on Tour is, in their own right, just so beautiful, and it's just so hard really to point a finger, because someone's body type is different than another. I'm a lover, not a fighter. I love them all.
ROSIE JONES: What's great about women is there is so many different personalities, and the way they bring themselves out with those personalities, the way they dress and act, the way they perform. It's not a glamour show for a lot of us. It's entertainment. I'm not a glamour girl, but you know what? I'm fun. I can play good golf and I have fun doing that, and that's the beauty of me.
CHRISTINA KIM: Rosie, you're a bombshell.
MEG MALLON: We didn't have a lot of fashion choices. It's great to see it coming into the fashion industry. If you had a clothing sponsor it was your basic cut golf clothes. Now it's so fun to see fashion coming into golf.
ROSIE JONES: If we had followed Jan Stephenson and Marlene Hagge's look, where would we be now?
Q. I want to ask you about thoughts and perceptions on the other side that Laura brought up, that they seem to have more fun than the Americans. They don't know what's going on in your team room?
CHRISTINA KIM: And she never will.
ROSIE JONES: How can she have that perception if she doesn't see our team room, team bus or dinners?
Q. The other part was carrying into team play. Her take was that the Americans tend to be individual players who battle each other all year, and then they try to come together.
ROSIE JONES: But that doesn't prove that we're not incapable of bonding.
CHRISTINA KIM: I think what she's saying, she sees that we have bonded now.
ROSIE JONES: She doesn't see that? Well, you know what? Let her think that.
MEG MALLON: It seems like that subject comes up every Solheim Cup and we wonder where that comes from.
ROSIE JONES: Did you see us on the range yesterday morning?
MEG MALLON: In my career it's been the most fun and the greatest time I have had in playing golf, and it is because of this, you know, more than two week period of getting to know these players you usually compete against and getting to know them as the people they are. We have the best time.
ROSIE JONES: I think that goes to Nancy Lopez for really putting us together several times during the year. Having meetings, having parties, dinners.
Q. Motor home?
ROSIE JONES: Motor home trip over to here, those have all contributed to our ability to get to know each other better and have fun. A lot of us are good friends anyways within ourselves. As a group it's all melded together as a good unit. I think it's because of the preliminary activities that we've done to get here.
Q. So, if you're saying that Rosie, are you suggesting in the past it wasn't that good? When you started, what was the atmosphere like among the Americans?
ROSIE JONES: It's not that we don't know each other, but maybe we didn't have the opportunities to bond as well, and there is a lot of different players that are have played on Solheims in the past. Some teams mesh better than others. We always felt like we're together and we're a family. This year it's even more so.
MEG MALLON: I have always had a great time. This one is no different than the other ones as far as how much fun we have.
Q. Did Laura's comments upset you along the way?
MEG MALLON: I don't think upset. I don't understand where it comes from. Like I said, she's not a part of our team room. She doesn't know what goes on there. It's okay if that's the perception. It is certainly not the reality.
Q. Pete Dye built into this course a lot of fairways with a little rise in them where a shorter hitter might hit into that hill, the longer hitter can carry it to the down slope. Number 2 is an example.
Will there be a lot of players hitting gap wedges in there? How big of an advantage do the long hitters have on this golf course?
ROSIE JONES: Not any more than they always do. Every golf course is built similar to that. For the longer hitters, that's a piece of cake. For me, I have to be a little more precise with my driving. I have to you know, I have to play the course how it plays for me, and, you know what, my game got me here. My game has gotten me through my whole career, and I'm not intimidated by this golf course, and I'm just going to play it just the way I would play any other golf course and any other tournament.
Q. The Europeans have tended to do better in the foursomes. Has Nancy had you practicing more foursomes?
MEG MALLON: Yes, because it's leant an opportunity to do it. Also, our schedules we have been able to practice more. Nancy felt it was very important to get more of a comfort zone with the foursomes. We have had a lot of practice with that.
Q. Back to what Laura Davies was saying. We hear that at the Ryder Cup, too. Is there something different with you guys at the Solheim?
MEG MALLON: Well, I don't know. I can't speak for the men because they say they have a great time, too. I don't know if that's something that makes it interesting for everybody to talk about. I have always had a good time. I have my best friends for life because of Solheim Cups. These guys will develop that, too.
You're right, we go out and try to beat each other individually week in and week out. When you're playing for your country and come together, it's a tremendous bonding experience, and I have always had a great time at Solheim Cups and enjoyed getting to know every player, and we always have that special bond, and it will always be there. I'm glad for that reason, otherwise, we wouldn't get to know each other that way.
This is our country. We're living in our own homes. The European players travel with each other a lot more. We finish on Sunday and can go home. Those guys can't. I think that's where they think that our bonding doesn't happen. I don't know, but I hate to wear out the subject, it's like we're being defensive, but we're having a good time.
Q. Rosie or Christina?
ROSIE JONES: I think it's absolutely false. I have never felt our team has been separated or not united. I think it's something that the European team likes to think we're like that. It makes them feel more together themselves or something, I'm not sure, but it's not the truth. It's not our truth, and only we know where we stand with each other and how we feel about our team and our spirit for our country, and it's very high right now. We're very high, and we're going to stay there.
CHRISTINA KIM: My opinion on that, this is my first Solheim Cup team, and to see how well this team not has bonded, but how well bonded we are. It's frightening to think of us getting closer than we are.
When I heard that, (indicating) I didn't understand what they were saying. I didn't understand what Laura was saying. As close as I've gotten with these girls, it's frightening to think if that's how close if they're closer than we are, because I can't see you stand us together, there is no spaces in between is what I see.
ROSIE JONES: What I don't understand is that Laura sees she plays on our tours, we don't just get together for Solheim. We have lots of times in the locker rooms, out on the range, go to dinners together. I don't see how we cannot be bonded as a team, knowing how we get together, sit in locker rooms. It's not like we just sit with Americans or something like that, but we have a special feeling towards each other, especially if we know we're playing on the Solheim together. We start bonding way before the tournament. It continues way past it, whether we win or lose. We always have that bond.
Just like Meg says, these special relationships that we have from the Solheim team and the tournaments that we have played in from Solheim will last us a lifetime.
Q. How much of that, Rosie, do you think is the nature of your Tour?
ROSIE JONES: Well, that's what we really are trying to elevate. It's important for us on all aspects of the game, like you said, with our appearances, our game, our fan friendliness. That's what we want to do, because we want our Tour to succeed and elevate itself to new horizons out there. The young players are going to take it there and reap the benefits.
MEG MALLON: And they get it.
Q. Do you think it could be a case of Laura being mischievous?
ROSIE JONES: Yes.
MEG MALLON: We know Laura is mischievous.
ROSIE JONES: I think she wants to believe that. There is always someone from the European team that wants to believe that. It's just their way of trying to make us look not like them or disconnected.
Q. Christina, I was curious, when was the last time you played foursomes in the practice?
CHRISTINA KIM: You mean alternate ball?
MEG MALLON: It's called foursomes.
CHRISTINA KIM: To be honest with you, I used to dink around with my friends. We would never actually finish a round or anything like that, to be honest with you. This is actually my first experience of doing a four ball match.
MEG MALLON: Foursome.
CHRISTINA KIM: Sorry.
MEG MALLON: I got your back.
CHRISTINA KIM: And this is it's indescribable. I can't really say how I feel about it or how I'm going to perform. All I know is I'm going to put every ounce of my being into it and hopefully come out victorious, but from what I've experienced so far, I kind of get the feeling I would like to do a little more alternate shot throughout the Tour and season.
Q. How much has Nancy emphasized the importance of Friday morning, given what happened last time and you never really caught up?
MEG MALLON: In her mind, it's huge. Friday is a big day for us, and we are prepared, and we will be prepared for Friday, and, you know, Nancy has put a lot of hard work into this, and hopefully we'll perform for her.
ROSIE JONES: What are we on, 11?
MEG MALLON: It's a tension releaser.
ROSIE JONES: It's good a lot of us cry. We had a big cry last night.
MEG MALLON: We had fun last night.
Q. Any more questions? Thank you, ladies. Good luck this week.
End of FastScripts.