September 19, 2002
MODERATOR: Thanks for coming in. We will just get some comments from each of you, maybe talk about the course and how it's playing, and then Kelli and Emilee, how the experience of your first Solheim Cup is going so far, and I am going to have to get you guys to shout your questions, I have lost my wireless for the time being.
KELLY KUEHNE: It's a shock they give me the microphone first. The course is absolutely impeccable. Emilee Klein is in excellent shape. The fairways are very tight and trim, the rough is thick. Obviously, if it rains, it's going to be thicker.
The greens are rolling awesome. The course is in excellent shape. I think we have had a huge amount of support already, practice rounds on Tuesday, Wednesday, going into today, from people in the Minnesota area -- or Minneapolis area. I think we have had a lot of support, a lot of chants for the USA, which, of course, makes us proud and gets us fired up. Me, personally, I am incredibly excited to be here and I am looking forward to a great Solheim Cup.
MICHELE REDMAN: Well, I am really excited to be here, because this is where I am from. The course, like Kelli said, is awesome. It's in great shape. I knew it was going to be because I was here a couple weeks ago, but the fans -- it's amazing how many people we have out here already, just for a practice round. I think it's going to be more than we had anticipated, you know, at the beginning of the week. And I can't wait to get out there and start competing, I mean, I have been waiting on this for a while, and I am just really proud to be here. I am playing with 11 of the greatest golfers in the United States and we are going to kick some butt out there, hopefully.
EMILEE KLEIN: Well, I think the course is just unbelievable. It's one of those tight old traditional golf courses that you wish you could play every week. And it's in unbelievable condition. And it's so exciting to be here. The fans will be wonderful. I feel the energy kind of surging today, which is really making it fun. I keep getting goose bumps. I had to keep wearing my sweater so I don't get cold, but it's real exciting to be here for my first Solheim Cup. It's really kind of bittersweet, and just great to be here.
Q. Why is it bittersweet?
EMILEE KLEIN: Well, because a few years back when I would have liked to have been here, and I wasn't, so now I worked hard, and it just feels great to be here, and to play my way on a few weeks ago. I still haven't quite had it sunk in yet.
People have asked me how it feels and if it's what I expected. I didn't know what to expect, so I just kind of came here and have just been taking it in slowly, and it's been so exciting.
Q. Kelli, outwardly you are a very confident person, that's how we see -- think you are in Europe. When you get there on Friday morning or Friday afternoon, whenever you are picked, how do you think you are going to be feeling when you are standing on that first tee?
KELLY KUEHNE: I think there is no question about it, I believe in my abilities and I believe in myself, I am a very confident person. The other 11 golfers are. If we weren't, we wouldn't be in this position. Will I be nervous? Absolutely. I am not going to sit here and lie to you and tell you I won't be, but I think it's the kind of charge and the kind of energy that gets you fired up.
And I am so looking forward to it. I mean, I competed in the 1996 Curtis Cup, and that was a rush then. The magnitude of it, like Emilee said, this week I don't really know what it all means yet, because you walk into your room on Sunday night when I got here, and it's like Christmas in your room, it hits you, you see your USA bag and you freak out. Emilee's reaction was priceless.
Q. Would you like to share that with us?
KELLY KUEHNE: I was on the other side of the hotel and I was looking over to Emilee's room, and I have known Emilee since we were little -- do you mind if I say? Emilee walks into her room, turns around, walks down the wall, takes three or four steps, walks in the room, and her mouth drops open, and she starts bawling.
I am like "Oh, my gosh, what has happened, she has been here 30 minutes, what's happened?" See, look at her. It's like you see your bag and you can't believe it. The USA bag with the Solheim Cup head covers, I mean, it freaked me out, as it did her. I think we are all going to be incredibly excited. I know the US team is totally fired up about it, it's definitely a mission for us to bring the cup back home.
It's a personal issue for us, a lot of veterans here, like at Loch Lomand, I can't speak for them, but the rookies are as determined as anyone on the team to bring the cup home because we feel this is where it belongs.
Q. Why is it a personal issue?
KELLY KUEHNE: It's a personal issue since 911, I think it's very personal. You have got 12 Americans here and this is our Olympics. We don't have the opportunity to play for our country very often where it's not stroke play, it's not one against one.
I mean, this is 12 girls going as hard as they can go for one common goal, to bring the cup to the United States of America, and there is nothing -- there is nothing that can compare to the week that I have had so far because it's been incredible.
Q. You guys kind of had a funky situation last week with some unfortunate comments that I gather you are able to laugh about now.
Just for clarification, you know, was that initially shocking, and is it funny now, and is it over with?
MICHELE REDMAN: You know, we have had a lot of support from both the Europeans and the whole team. I think that right now our main focus is to win this cup back, and those are just words, and like I said, our main focus is to win the cup back, and we aren't really talking about them, it's the past, and that's the way we are leaving it.
EMILEE KLEIN: I was just going to say I think, if anything, it's something that brought us closer together, you know, as a team. It helped us bond together and just -- it makes us want to fight it out.
Q. Kelli got a chance to talk about how she feels. How do you feel being here? I know you said it's bittersweet, but when you step onto the tee on Friday, what's going to be going through your mind?
EMILEE KLEIN: I don't know if I will know that until I get there on Friday. It's so exciting to be here and it's so emotional. I have been very emotional all week. And it's just -- it's just great. We have got such a great team, and to get up there and hear everyone cheer for us, I will probably have more goose bumps and probably shed some more tears and smile and laugh a lot. I don't know, I am looking forward to it.
Q. Are you the emotional member of the team?
EMILEE KLEIN: I don't know. Am I? I don't think I am.
KELLY KUEHNE: I wouldn't typically classify Emilee as being the emotional -- I mean, emotional, yes, and passionate, absolutely, but the emotional, the type who cries a lot, I have known her my whole life, she is not that type. I don't mean that in a bad way, but some ladies get excited and they weep. I wouldn't say Emilee is really that way.
I think it strikes all of us differently. I mean, it's hit Patty a certain way. Patty gave a speech yesterday, it wasn't even to us, it was for the caddies. It changed -- in my opinion, it like -- the hairs on the back of my neck stood up. I mean, it had nothing to do with us, but Patty, from her own personal point of view, what she said to the guys standing in the room, "the guys" being our caddies, it was like, this is it, it's time to hit it and get it, and it's getting pretty serious. So I think everyone is showing their emotions differently.
Q. Michele, how long have you lived in Minnesota? Long enough to consider yourself a Minnesotan? Do you spend the winter here? What do you do for kicks? Do you go to Timberwolves games in the winter?
MICHELE REDMAN: I do a lot of stuff. I have lived here for seven years now. I feel like I am part of the community here. You know, I travel between here and Orlando in the wintertime when we are not playing, but, actually, my game has gotten better since I moved up here. I have met a lot of really great people that have helped me along the way, and I take in all the winter sports. You have to embrace the winter here or you are not going to like it, and I happen to like it.
I think the people up here are great. Sometimes I have been gone for three or four weeks and I come back and I am really glad to be home because the people are great here. You can feel that and see that. I think even my teammates have noticed that this week with how Interlachen has treated us and how the fans have been treating us, it's been great.
Q. How do you practice here in the winter? Do you go to the golf dome?
MICHELE REDMAN: Yeah, I go to a dome, and like I said, I fly down to Orlando. That's good for me because I have a tendency to be a pretty hard worker, so I think it's good for me to live in a climate like this at times. I feel like if it's hot out, I should be out there playing.
Q. Kelli, all week long the US team has seemed so much looser, a little more spirited than the European Team, they seem to be a little more serious. Is it a conscious effort on you guy's part to stay loose or has it just been the way it's evolved?
KELLY KUEHNE: I can't speak for the morale and the manner in which the Europeans are going about their business this week. I think our team, in general, when you get 12 of us together, it's a different environment for us. Week in, week out, we are playing on tour. Golf is an individual game. Once every two years we have an opportunity for 13 of us, including Dorothy Delasin, to lean on each other, to count on each other, and I think you have to embrace that.
It's almost like you have got a 22-year old out here, Dorothy, a 44-year old with Beth Daniel, but the age gaps are not an issue. The veterans are showing us what to do or what to expect. You may hear this, you may hear that, there is some chanting going on. It's kind of like a football environment going on, from what we hear, but you ride people, you laugh at people, you make fun. I think that's all just part of it. We have this opportunity once every two years, and I think it's been great. A lot of us really want to embrace the week, and embracing the week, I think, it's the 12 of us, or 13 of us, have been really, really close.
EMILEE KLEIN: And we have a lot of different personalities out here which have really meshed well together. From Day 1 when we got here, it was just one of those environments that you felt so comfortable in, and if you, like me, started crying, everyone came and gave me a hug, and if you did something else, it was -- you know, it's just been great. We all joke and have a good time and we really have fit in together well, and I think that makes it a lot more comfortable, and I don't know -- I can't speak for the Europeans. I don't know what their camaraderie is, but ours has been just wonderful.
Q. Have you spent any time at all with the Europeans or are you guys all kind of always doing --
EMILEE KLEIN: We have been pretty separate.
KELLY KUEHNE: We have had a lot of functions where it's been US team functions, Europeans got the same sort of thing. Last night was the gala and we were all in the same room, but it's not -- this is a time you pretty much bond with your teammates and, I mean, it's getting down to crunch time. You have 12 people to depend on, and we are all kind of bouncing off and depending on each other.
Q. Is it kind of weird in that you guys are all sort of mixed up most of the year, and then this one time every two years is kind of like this line and you are separated?
MICHELE REDMAN: You know, it is, but I think the thing, especially for me, that I have learned is I think -- and I think everybody does this, you anticipate somebody being different than they really are, and when you get to know them, you really like them, and I think Kelli, and I think Emilee, are great, and I don't spend a lot of time with them during the season, but what I have spent with them this week, I have really enjoyed, and I think that's the big key.
Q. Kelli, give me thoughts on the Connecticut woman who qualified for the Greater Hartford Open. Do you think she should play in the event next year? She has got the chance to now.
KELLY KUEHNE: I think it's pretty much a personal decision. I haven't -- I am not 100 percent familiar with -- we talked about it a little bit today. I don't know all the facts and all the details. She is a 15-year old, right?
Q. No, she is a 35-year old.
KELLY KUEHNE: Oh, okay. I am actually not very familiar with what you are talking about. I mean, if a girl can qualify for an event, and if she can qualify, meet the criteria necessary, I think that's a great thing. It's an opinion, an option that's left up to her. If she wants to put herself in that situation and is comfortable, let her play. Why not?
MICHELE REDMAN: You know, I saw that on TV last night, that's the first I heard about it. I think it's up to her, whatever she wants to decide. I think the thing that's pretty cool is that she actually thought about how it would affect women's golf as a whole, not just her individually, and I think that's really neat.
EMILEE KLEIN: You want to know from me, too? I think if that's what she chooses to do, then that's great. It's whatever we all want to do. But, you know, we are here to talk about the Solheim Cup, so that's what we are here for.
Q. Michele, a lot of 20-year olds walking right out with a lot of game ready to play. Was it a process for you to get to this point?
MICHELE REDMAN: Yeah, for me, I think I would probably consider myself a late bloomer. I have been on the tour 11 years but, you know, like Dorothy, she is young, and I am not -- Kelli, how old are you? I mean, Kelli had a great amateur career, I know Emilee did, but like I said, I was kind of a late bloomer. I had to go through Q school like four times to get here, I made it on my fourth try.
Q. What did you do, the whole thing got her or --
MICHELE REDMAN: I think I got better mentally. I got away from my college coach for a few years and I think that hurt me a little bit, and I think I really started working on myself as a person mentally, you know, on and off the golf course, and I definitely think that's what's turned me around and made me a better player. I think a lot of it was winning my first event, also.
Q. How was this experience -- granted, you are not into it yet, but so far, how has this been different or similar to your experience at Loch Lomand?
MICHELE REDMAN: Well, you know, this year I feel like it's different, because it's my second time, not my first time. And I feel like if somebody asked me something, that my opinion is valuable, whereas I was doing the asking last year, and I am hoping, and I have had all the rookies ask if they needed anything, and I am willing to answer the questions. But I learned a lot last time and I am going to definitely use that to my advantage this time, but match play is match play, and I think the team -- I feel like we are bonding a little bit better this time.
Q. Michele, have you gotten to play Interlachen very much over the last few years, just for fun?
MICHELE REDMAN: Well, what I did was I waited until about a couple weeks ago and I played it twice, and then I played it once the week that I was home before because I was trying to get rested because I know how busy this week is, and I felt like that really kind of gives me a little bit of an edge because these greens are really difficult to read out here, so I have played it quite a few times. Kelli has played it more than I have.
Q. Which green do you think is the wildest, 18, 7, what?
MICHELE REDMAN: I am sorry, what?
Q. Which green do you think is the wildest, 18 or 7 --
MICHELE REDMAN: I think 6 is a little difficult. I think 18. If you ask, I guarantee a majority of the people are going to say 9.
Q. I am talking -- you are playing it backwards.
KELLY KUEHNE: 9 is the original 18.
MICHELE REDMAN: Yeah.
Q. Do you think everybody will say that one?
MICHELE REDMAN: I think a majority of people, but I think there is some quick greens out there. I don't think 9 is the only difficult one. I think the obvious thing about 9 is we all know the pin is going to have to be at the top.
Q. Kelli and Emilee, Meg Mallon and Juli were in here yesterday and they were joking about how much fun it is to be with the younger players but somehow Juli will break into song and you guys won't even know what song she is doing. (Inaudible)?
KELLY KUEHNE: Well, Juli likes the rookies because she likes to pick on people. That's why she likes us. But the good thing about a rookie group is we are not the silent type, that's what's made it fun because we go back and forth. Juli was in charge of the radio at 6:30 this morning on the way to the golf course, and I've got to be honest, I recognized Elton John, but I didn't know the song, and I know Benny and the Jets, and Rocketman, and all that, but I was not familiar with whatever tune was playing.
Now, Meg has got some style when it comes to picking tunes, she is a little bit more on my wavelength and my page. I am not going to -- I mean, Emilee and I haven't -- we haven't had control of the radio yet. It's definitely been fun with Juli and Meg and Beth, and even Michele being in her second year playing the Solheim Cup, that's what's neat about it is because you learn when to push buttons and when to pull, and that's been fun.
We have that type of camaraderie this year, and I didn't know what to expect coming in, but that's made it really special. You even get it from Sheehan. I mean, we do break into song. I mean, I was singing Eye of the Tiger today. My caddy goes, "Who sings that? I have no idea. Meg, who sings that?" She goes "Survivor." I am like, "I don't know. I thought it was "Whitesnake." I don't know, I couldn't remember who it was. Survivor. So it's a good mix.
Q. Do you ever feel like a Girl Scout troop leader trying to keep your kids in line on a field trip?
MICHELE REDMAN: No, they can take care of themselves really well, and when it comes to the teasing, they stuck up for themselves really well, too, they give it back pretty good.
Q. Emilee, how much does the fact that you guys both had some really strong amateur careers, how much does that help in the match play of the Solheim Cup?
EMILEE KLEIN: I think it helps quite a bit because you have confidence that you know what you are doing out there, you've been in these positions, maybe not on this high of scale, maybe nothing as big as this. You play in the Curtis Cup and you think it's the biggest thing ever, but it's not even close.
But, you know, when you are 16, it's unbelievable, or 18, or however old. But, anyway, you know, but I think it's just going to be a lot of fun, and you just go out there and it definitely will help, though, in the confidence level.
KELLY KUEHNE: I mean, for me, as far as my amateur record and my amateur career, I definitely think that's going to do nothing but help me in this experience. It's been quite a long time since Emilee and I have played that much match play, as well as everyone else on the team, so match play is not something we get to do week in, week out.
You get the opportunity to do it very few and far between, so I think our past experiences can do nothing but help us.
EMILEE KLEIN: Match play is so much fun, too. It's exciting, it's such a different feeling, and you get such a different rush from match play. Like last year, we had our first match play tournament since I have been on tour, and I just got a thrill out of it when I played it.
Q. Did you and the hubby ever own anything here while he was with the Vikings?
KELLI KUEHNE: No, my husband with the Vikings for more or less two and a half years. We never owned a place. We owned a house in Texas, in Dallas; we lease a place until he signs a multi-year deal. Until we find a solid home with his NFL team, we will not buy anything unless he signs a long-term deal.
Q. Where is he at now?
KELLY KUEHNE: With Carolina.
Q. Is he active?
KELLY KUEHNE: No, he is on the practice squad right now in Carolina.
Q. Emilee and Kelli, where did you first meet?
EMILEE KLEIN: I think she was about this big (indicating).
KELLY KUEHNE: She was maybe this much bigger than I was (indicating), maybe.
EMILEE KLEIN: I think I was 14 and you were 11.
KELLY KUEHNE: 12.
EMILEE KLEIN: In Texas. I am 28 --
KELLY KUEHNE: I was 11.
EMILEE KLEIN: I worked with Hank Haney for a long time. I don't work with him anymore, she still does, but I used to go to Texas all the time to take lessons so we spent a lot of time together.
KELLY KUEHNE: She used to get me in trouble.
EMILEE KLEIN: I did not.
KELLY KUEHNE: See? I was 11, she was 14, I was kind of goofy, she worked really hard and chewed her tongue back then -- she still does that now -- but it's one of those things where I was not quite as serious about it, the golf bug bit me when I was 10 or 11, but it really bit me when I was 13 or 14, so she was a couple years ahead of me, and we would go out and play, and we would let a group behind us go through at my club in McKinney, Texas, and I pretended like a ball was coming, I am like, "look out, a ball is come at us," and Emilee goes and says, "Kelli was goofing off. She didn't mean to be."
EMILEE KLEIN: She always makes me out to be this tattletale, and I don't remember this stuff.
KELLY KUEHNE: She has been dealing with me for almost 14 years.
EMILEE KLEIN: We always had a good time together so it's a lot of fun. We have been having putting contests this week, and we play a lot of practice rounds on a regular basis together, too, so it's fun.
Q. Have you talked about what it might be like to play together this week?
EMILEE KLEIN: Oh, it would be great if we got to play together. We have a really good rapport. So if that was a possibility, it would be a lot of fun.
Q. Did you ask?
KELLY KUEHNE: We played a junior -- it used to be called the Big Red Team Championship in the AJGA, we played it two years, we won it twice, so we definitely have experience playing together in our junior golf days, but we will see, maybe we will be lucky enough to be paired together. If not, no big deal.
Q. You haven't asked?
EMILEE KLEIN: We haven't asked. Patty has her own ideas and whatever Patty decides will be the best thing for the team. She is a great captain.
Q. Michele, are you surprised how big of thing momentum becomes in a team match play? I mean, when Europe got it going, you guys couldn't stop things last time, even if you are not involved in the match.
MICHELE REDMAN: It is. The crowd has a lot to do with that, too, the momentum and the cheering out there. But that's what golf is. I mean, not just in match play, stroke play. So --
MODERATOR: We are going to bring our next set of US team members up so thanks, girls.
End of FastScripts....