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September 18, 2002

Amanda Blumenherst

Marta Figueras-Dotti

Sherri Steinhauer


MODERATOR: First I just want to say thanks, all of you guys, for coming out for our PING Junior Solheim Cup press conference.

First I want to introduce our American players up here. We have Jennifer Pandolfi from Navarre, Florida, we have Amanda Blumenherst from Scottsdale, Arizona, and then we have our US captain, Sherri Steinhauer, and our European captain, Marti -- Marta Figueras-Dotti.

So, first, the US won 17 to 7, so if we can just get some opening comments from Sherri and Marta.

SHERRI STEINHAUER: The last two days have been a wonderful form of competition for these junior players. They actually emulated the actual Solheim Cup event that takes place every two years, and we use the same format, with the foursome matches in the morning, or it was the four ball in the morning, foursome in the afternoon, and went on to have singles the next day.

It was an extremely exciting event that pitted some great European players against our American players, and the competition was truly exciting. To watch both teams and how far they hit it, that was probably the most amazing for me. You guys were incredible with your distance, and I can assure the LPGA that we better start lengthening the golf courses now.

But both teams played very well, and it was just a camaraderie, and friendships developed. It's incredible to see how much fun these two teams are actually having together, and they are actually starting to fight already. So we had a brawl.

MARTA FIGUERAS-DOTTI: That's a good sign.

SHERRI STEINHAUER: Yeah, in the parking lot. But no, we got through that, and a lot of friendships developed. Okay, Marta.

MARTA FIGUERAS-DOTTI: Well, what can I say when you lose 7-17? It was a great experience, though. I know that it was hard for some of my players to come out here for the first time to the United States and play such a beautiful gorgeous golf course.

Like I said, the conditions were absolutely magnificent and, you know, they just need to learn to putt on the short game a little better, but I know they are having a great time, like Sherri said, they are developing a lot of friends and they are enjoying every minute of it.

And they are enjoying Minneapolis and being here, certainly being here, and, you know, I know some of them will probably have hopes of being here in a few years ahead from now, and this -- you know, we are thankful that we have the opportunity to be here and experience all this.

MODERATOR: We will just open it up to questions, if anyone has any questions.

Q. Nongolfing questions. I suppose you had a quite busy itinerary. Did you go sight-seeing or did you stay mainly on the golf course?

SHERRI STEINHAUER: Actually, I think that's coming up. I think the Mall of America is definitely on the schedule of things to do.


SHERRI STEINHAUER: Otherwise, we will be in big trouble.

MARTA FIGUERAS-DOTTI: Yes, Europeans will get me in big trouble, but yeah, we haven't had a lot of time, especially for us. We just arrived Saturday evening, and we have been practicing out on the golf course ever since. But we are staying here until Sunday night, so, you know, we are hoping to get some sight-seeing.

Q. Sherri, you have played in one of these Solheim Cups. How close is this experience for these young people to the real -- to the main event?

SHERRI STEINHAUER: Well, the format is identical, less one day. You know, here we play -- we play the two days. It's very similar in terms of the competition. You know, the differences are probably that they don't get as many spectators and, hopefully, as this tournament grows, we can draw some more people and get the feel of the chanting when you go to the first tee, and -- because that definitely raises the nerve level and, hopefully, over the years, that will increase to make it more similar for them.

But, you know, it's -- I think it's very much the same, you have got the same format, so you are experiencing the same feelings and emotions out there, and -- with the match play experience.

Q. Does this go to Europe next year?

MODERATOR: It's Sweden.

Q. Amanda, you want to just talk a little bit about your experiences this week.

AMANDA BLUMENHERST: All right. I just had so much fun, and I really enjoyed myself out there, and I had so much support, not only from my teammates, but also from my family. They drove out in Indiana, about nine hours, and some got lost along the way, but they all got there, and I had a big crowd, at least for me, following, so that was a lot of fun. And it was something that I will never forget.

JENNIFER PANDOLFI: This event, unlike any other event during the year, you had team emotions, and you want your fellow team members to do well when, as you said earlier, you don't really want them to play well, but not necessarily beat you, so the team camaraderie and just the feelings were amazing, and I really enjoyed that.

MODERATOR: Any other questions?

Q. Do the captains -- did you guys speak to your expectations of the players and the quality and caliber of their play and how it related actual versus what you expected.

MARTA FIGUERAS-DOTTI: Well, I expected a little more than that, but I honestly didn't really know what to expect from the US side because I didn't know many of you. I mean, I have lived here for 22 years and I know the quality of play in this country, so I knew that you were going to be good, I mean, I don't know how good, and I didn't know you personally, but I knew they were going to be good.

My team, I feel, didn't really -- doesn't really reflect the quality of play, but I also expected that somehow, because coming to a foreign country, golf courses, like probably Sherri knows, are much different -- very different in Europe than in United States, and I knew, you know, a couple days was going to be a little time to get used to the fast greens and the high rough and all the situations that we have encountered.

So I know they are all great players. I -- you know, I mean, I am not disappointed about this because I know that we will keep fighting and I know they will be there next year, most of them, and, you know, they are very much looking forward to it.

So I -- I am happy.

Q. Marta, I am not sure what the age range of these girls is, but how many of these girls play AJGA events a year and how many of them plan to come to the states and go to school.

MARTA FIGUERAS-DOTTI: I know there are two that have played in AJGA events from Spain, maybe a player -- have you played? Maybe three. One event or something. Carmen Alonso from Spain has played a couple times, Emma Cabrera from Spain has played a couple times.

The rest is -- most for the rest is the first time to the United States. I know of one of them, for sure, that is coming to the states this winter, Carmen Alonso, she is going to attend an academy, and I know her hopes are to turn pro soon.

And there are a couple of them, also, that are looking to that. The ages -- I mean, we have 18 and we have -- Azamara Munoz right there, who is 14, and she just won the national amateur championship in Spain last week, so she is -- she doesn't even know what she is doing next week, so ask her what she is going to do in her future.

But no, they are all great players, and I think this has been a great, great week as far as experience to get a feel of what other countries, and especially in the United States, which is really the best golf found in the world, I think.

Q. We all know about the Swedish junior program, and I get a sense that there is a very good junior program in Spain because we are seeing some very good Spanish players playing the United States universities, and now in the LPGA; Paula Marti, of course, is doing very well, just with qualifying school last week.

Can you tell us a little bit about the Spanish junior program.

MARTA FIGUERAS-DOTTI: Well, unfortunately, we don't have -- well, we don't have any college programs, okay. I think, really, the job that is -- the reason why there is so many juniors and kids and, you know, young players coming out is it's the programs that they do at their clubs. They have great, you know, kids' programs at their own clubs where they have like weekend camps and organizations that just allows the kids to really play on the golf courses and things like that. I have to say that we have the advantage of the weather in Europe, you know, that is a great plus for us.

Once they become, you know, fairly good, the Spanish Golf Federation has a good setup as far as -- there is a committee that takes care of the age group from 12 to 14, then 14 to 16, 16 to 18. I mean, for us juniors, it's under 21 years of age, not 18. All over Europe it's under 21.


I think the job well done is really at the club level, and I have to say that the parents are a huge influence on these kids. I mean, if it wasn't for the parents and the families that driving back and forth and here and there, you know, it wouldn't happen.

I mean, my job in the federation is really the easy job. I mean, you know, I get these kids 14, 15, 16 years of age that come to me, I mean, I coach the national team, but they are already made, really.

I can teach them all the other aspects of the game, of course, the mental strategy and everything, but the job is really done at age six, age ten, at the clubs.

And hopefully, like a lot of them will be coming over here, because, like I said, unfortunately, once they hit college, it's either you study or you play golf, and that's -- you know, I give them a lot of credit because it would still have a lot -- they won every European championship this year, and there are some girls out there, and juniors that are attending college and they are trying to do both at the same time, and they really work hard.

MODERATOR: Do we have any other questions? Thank you, you guys.

End of FastScripts....

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