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September 18, 2002

Juli Inkster

Meg Mallon

Kelly Robbins


Q. Kelly Robbins, Juli Inkster just serenaded you and Meg Mallon. If we could go down the line, talk about your impressions of the golf course and how you feel coming into this week, starting with Kelly.

KELLY ROBBINS: All right. Well, it is my first -- these last couple days have been the first time I have been on the golf course. It speaks for itself. I don't know if all of you have been out there or not, but it is definitely an excellent venue for an event like this, and I have just had a ball walking around and getting used to the course and seeing what needs to be done this week, so overall, I am very pleased with where we are and what's going on, and I am very excited to have a chance to play this week.

JULI INKSTER: I am also with Kelly. This is the first time I have seen the golf course, been on the golf course. You know, I think it's a great golf course because it requires you to hit a lot of different shots and pretty much use all your clubs in your bag. And, you know, it's really hard these days to get golf courses like that.

I mean, most of them are just really long. Here you got a lot of short par 4's that have a lot of character, that are tough.

And I just think it's going to be a great venue for match play and I am looking forward to the week.

MEG MALLON: I absolutely love this golf course. I am a Donald Ross fan, and I guess he did the redesign of this course, and it's got his signature all over it, and I just -- I love playing every hole. There is a classic design of his on the 15th hole, there is a tree hanging out about probably 120 yards away to the left side that guards the part of the fairway you want to get into, and then about 180, 190 yards down the right side the rough comes in, so you have to hit a draw on that hole. You have no choice, you have to hit a draw.

And it's just, you know, note to golf course architects, modern golf course architects, Donald Ross can flat out design a golf course, and this is just a classic, it's an enjoyable golf course to play.

Q. Questions? Juli, do you see yourself having to be sort of the leader of this team?

JULI INKSTER: I am far from the leader here. These guys tell me what to wear. You know, I think everybody leads, and I think even though it's a team event, still, you have to take care of your business. You know, we had a lot of rookies on this team, but we have a lot of veterans, too, and I think everybody is chipping in, and I think that's the way it should be.

I think I am the leader when it comes to singing, I think I lead with my singing, but I don't feel like I am -- I mean, I feel like I am 1 of 12, and I think that's the way everybody looks at it.

Q. What sort of singing do you do? Could you give us a --

JULI INKSTER: That's all I got.

MEG MALLON: Let's put it this way, the younger players have no idea what artist she is singing.

JULI INKSTER: That's true, they don't.

MEG MALLON: Hip hop is not in Juli Inkster's repertoire.

Q. You all seem rather loose today, especially compared to the European group that was just in here. Is that kind of important at this point, I mean, to be loose and look forward to this in kind of a fun light?

JULI INKSTER: Well, I think the Solheim Cup is -- you know, we would love to win, they would love to win, but on the other hand, we are going to have fun, and it's not too often that you get to play with 12 players and root for 12 players, and have the camaraderie that we have, and, you know, when Friday comes, we will be business, we will be ready to go, but we are trying to enjoy ourself as the week goes on, and, really, get to know each other. You know, we have Dorothy Delasin, who is the alternate.

And then we have Beth Daniel who is -- uh-oh, so we got a big difference, too.

MEG MALLON: You are close to that uh-oh age, too.

JULI INKSTER: And we all know each other, we have played a long time together, and we are friends, and if you can't enjoy that, then I think you are missing the whole concept of this format.

Q. My turn, Juli, and I want to talk to you about your golf game. Undeniably, the great moment of your career came at the US Open this year, and what a fantastic thing it was there in Kansas when you had won the US Amateur, and you came back and won the United States Women's Open. So let's talk about your game as it comes to this, to match play now.

JULI INKSTER: Well, I mean, match play is completely different than meadow play, and it's a different mind-set, it's a different game. I love match play. It's unfortunate we don't get to play it more often. But, you know, I feel like my game is coming along. I feel like my short game is in good shape.

My swing is not as good as I like it, but if it was good today, I would be worried that it was too good, so there is a fine line.

But, you know, it was a great moment for me to win the US Open, it was something I will never forget, I mean, to come back there twenty-two years later and even have the chance to win it, and then to beat the best player in the world on a given day, it was great, it was great for me, but, again, this is -- it's not about me, this is about a team, and we have got a lot of great players here that have had a lot of great moments, too.

Q. All three of you were on the team last time. Can you tell me the difference coming in this team when you are coming in to try and win the cup back as opposed to last time when you were --

JULI INKSTER: We don't have our rain gear on.

Q. Not yet.

MEG MALLON: Yes, not yet. At the Greenbrier we had that, where we had that feeling to get it back because we had lost in Scotland the first time, and there is a lot -- there was a lot of pressure on us, because that -- at that point it was a surprise for the Americans to win, it was an upset, it was billed as an upset, and we wanted to get the cup back, and there was a lot of pressure on us to do that, and it was an exciting match at the Greenbrier. I expect the same thing here, a very competitive exciting match. But we want to get that cup back.

Q. And also, can I ask, how much advantage do you think being on home soil is?

KELLY ROBBINS: I am sorry, what was that?

Q. How much of an advantage is it to be on home soil?

KELLY ROBBINS: You would like to think that there is, and I think as the years have gone on, and I have been able to help watch this tournament grow from the popularity standpoint and the crowds that come out, honestly -- there is a home advantage, I hope, but I don't know if you know anymore. I mean, so many people are making the trips to and from between us and Europe, and you would like to think there is, but when it comes down to this week, it is amazing the things that can take place and the golf that's played.

It's something, I think, that is hard to predict who really does have the home turf. I mean, obviously when you are in your own country, you would like to think that you have that in your corner, but it always turns into a very interesting competition.

JULI INKSTER: I think that's the beauty of it. I mean, it gets -- it's very boisterous, you really don't have another golf tournament like this where you are on the first tee and people are singing, and it's --


JULI INKSTER: You make a putt and USA, USA, you know, and I think the fans are really going to be behind us, and they will be rooting for us, and you only have four matches, you know, you only have four matches each segment, so I think that's pretty unique in itself, too.

Q. What a fantastic career, Juli Inkster, you have had, you have had some great ones, we followed you from many, many -- all the way from California, around the world, and back to a cornfield in Kansas. But, hey, we are looking at a difficult golf course. They tell me that the differences in the greens is that you cannot learn to play this golf course in two practice rounds. How do you feel?

JULI INKSTER: Well, I mean, the course is difficult and the greens are very difficult, very undulated. You can have a 4-footer that breaks a foot and a half, or 2 feet. And they are very difficult. But I think getting to the greens are difficult, too, because everything kind of slopes one way or the other. I think it's a great match play course, and I think you are going to have a lot of 4-footers to brush in for pars.

And, you know, hopefully we will be brushing them in for birdies, but -- and I think that's what makes this golf course very unique in itself. The greens are very small, very undulated, if you hit the green you are going to have a birdie putt, but it might break 6 feet.

Q. Juli, a two-part question now. Number 1, have you played Augusta National; number 2, would you like to join Augusta National and how do you feel about the controversy there?

JULI INKSTER: That's three questions, but I am going to go with --

Q. I threw that one extra in.

JULI INKSTER: Well, I have not ever been to Augusta National, I think it's a great tournament, it's a great venue. Would I like to become a member? You know, I hope someday that they will have a member, a woman member, and I think in this day and age, I can't believe we are still fighting this stuff, but -- even racism or gender equality or whatever, but that's life, I guess, and, you know, I feel very strongly that -- I mean, I can see a club, a private club, having their own set of rules and stuff, but I think when a tournament comes there, a PGA, LPGA, and they have rules, and even though they say it's not, in, quote, a "sanctioned PGA tournament," it counts on their money list, and, to me, that's a sanctioned PGA event, and if they are going to boycott it for racism and not boycott it for gender, to me, it's the same thing.

But you know what? It's not going to change overnight, it's not going to change tomorrow, but hopefully in the coming years it will change. I mean, Hootie Johnson has four daughters, and I just can't believe that he wouldn't want the same thing for his daughters that people have for their sons.

And I have two daughters, and I want them to have every advantage they can. So, I mean, that's the way I feel. I am not -- I don't live or die by it, I don't lose any sleep over it. I have got other issues that, you know, I feel more strongly about, but I just hope, you know, it can change and people can be open minded enough to change it.

Q. Meg?

MEG MALLON: I said amen to that, an ism is an ism is an ism, and I don't care what you put in front of it, it's the same issue. Augusta made itself a public facility, they are no longer a private facility, although they like to use that as their cover. I have no problem with Pine Valley being an all male club. It keeps itself private. It doesn't have public events. That's a different story.

So, you know, I hope someday that they will figure that out, that, you know -- you know, my question is: Why is it okay for a black man to bully his way into Augusta and it's not okay for a black woman to bully her way into Augusta? That's just how I feel about it.

KELLY ROBBINS: Ditto. I was fortunate, I did play Augusta earlier this year, and had a great time, played, obviously, as a guest of a member. I, personally, did not feel any type of animosity being in that situation. Obviously, things have progressed quite a bit since then as far as the type of situation that's taking place there. I think it's a shame. I do. I agree with both these gals on their opinion and what goes on, and like Meg said, it is a shame that we still have to deal with that, but so be it, and who knows, maybe in the future we will all get to see something done about it.

JULI INKSTER: And I think it's a great tournament, I am there on Sunday watching it, Saturday watching it, I think it's an awesome tournament, and I would really hate to see it go, and hopefully it won't go. And to put the onus on the men to say they shouldn't play, I don't think that's right, either. I think it's a corporation decision that they need to do and, you know, hopefully it will change.

Q. Dottie has been quite an important player on the US side since the Solheim started, so how do you feel about her not playing this week, and what is her role? She is here, obviously, supporting the team.

KELLY ROBBINS: Well, I think -- obviously, Dottie will be missed, but like you said, she is here. You know, you really can't replace a Dottie Pepper, as you all know, you love having her on your team, and you are glad she is on your team type of thing, but just seeing her this week, I know it's been a long time since any of us have got to speak to her and talk to her, she looks great, she has been helping out an awful lot, giving us -- she has also had gifts for us.

JULI INKSTER: She ironed my slacks. Only Dottie Pepper ever ironed my slacks. I got a picture of it, too. But you know what? Dottie is here, and she wanted to be here, and she has been great with the rookies, you know, because we are trying to get ready, too, and the rookies have a lot of questions, and they have been firing them at Dottie and she has been handling it and she has been great.

MEG MALLON: We are going to miss her points on the board. Her record speaks for itself, and that is definitely going to be missed on this team, but she is making a great contribution inside the clubhouse which will be invaluable to us.

JULI INKSTER: It would be almost like Europeans losing Laura, Dottie has played on every one of them, she is a great player, and we are truly going to miss that.

Q. Juli, you beat Annika two years ago, and she is playing so well now. Do you look forward to a rematch if it so happens in the singles, and how much of an influence do you think she will be on these matches?

JULI INKSTER: Well, I mean, she is the best player in the world, but, you know, I think on any given day, I think any one of us could match up with her. She has had a great year, and we really respect that, but I would love to play her on Sunday. And I think she is going to be very influential in her matches, and she is, I think, just like all their players. Their team, they have a very strong team, very -- a lot of length, a lot of strength, a lot of experience.

So, I mean, I look at Annika as one of 12 on that team that are going to be tough, and this is a perfect golf course for her because she is very accurate, great with her irons, but, you know, come Sunday, if I am matched up with Annika, I am not going to give her the point. I would like to play and see how I do.

KELLY ROBBINS: We would like you to do that, too, Juli. Get out there and play hard.

Q. Kelly, I think when you played at the Greenbrier you had just turned 25, it was your first Solheim Cup. Can you sort of relate to some of the younger -- Cristie and Kelli, who are about their age, mid 20s and playing for the first time?

MEG MALLON: They are nothing alike.

Q. But sort of their experience, what they are going through. And second question, can you talk about how good you have been as a singles player in the Solheim Cup.

KELLY ROBBINS: Well, like Meg said, that's a very good question. It's been great seeing these girls, these kids, enjoy themselves and become comfortable amongst us, and, you know, like we talked before, Juli said we are just getting to know each other. There is -- you know, we have such a diversity of age on this team right now that you just don't spend a lot of time -- we see each other a lot, but we don't spend a lot of time with each other, so all of a sudden we are spending a lot of time with people we don't know too well, and it's been absolutely wonderful, it's been very entertaining.

They are really good kids and they are very excited, they are great golfers, they just can't wait to get their feet wet and to see what everything is all about, and, you know, I just remember, I was pretty scared, to say the least, and I just hope that they can enjoy it and take in every moment, whether it's good or bad, because they deserve to be here, and we all know that, we all respect that, and I just really hope that they can enjoy where they are and enjoy the moment.

Q. Juli, did Sunday at the Open feel like a match play situation? And the second question, how many times do you think Patty is going to put you out?

JULI INKSTER: Well, Sunday, getting down to the last, you know, five or six holes, it definitely felt like a match play situation. But I was in a great situation. I mean, really, no one expected me to win; all the pressure was on Annika. And I was the group ahead and I thought, if I could get off to a good start, you never know what happens, and the last probably nine holes was definitely a match play situation, but it's kind of hard to have a match play situation when the player you are playing is behind you. I was just trying to keep doing the same thing I was doing, and, you know, go from there. So it just turned out great.

And as far as how many times I am going to be out there, I am not quite sure on that. I know I will probably play in the first match Friday, and then from then on out, I think she is just going to see how things go.

Q. Could you play five?

JULI INKSTER: Could I play five? Sure. I could play ten. I am not that old.

Q. All right. Then that leads us right in to the next question. Let's go down to three of you, very quickly. Look into your Pepsi cups there and make a prediction. It takes 14 and a half points to win the cup. How many points total is this team going to score for America?

JULI INKSTER: I have no idea. I have no idea. I am bad with judging scores, age and weights -- and directions. So, I mean, you can't look at it this way. That's like when someone asks me what's it going to take to win this tournament? You know, you got weather, you got match play.

KELLY ROBBINS: It's going to take one better than everybody else.

MEG MALLON: We will take 14 and a half.

Q. 14 and a half? All right. I got a 14 and a half. Have I got a better offer?

JULI INKSTER: I don't know. I am going to skip that question.

Q. Quick question. What's the character of this team and how has Patty been as your captain?

JULI INKSTER: Patty has been great. You know, she is very -- you know Patty, she is very loose, very -- you know, whatever you guys need to do to get ready to go, just do it, you know, and everybody out here has their own schedule, has their own system to get ready, and we have all been here before, you know, I think the younger players, we are just trying to let them not wear themselves out before they start, and it's easy to do.

I mean, it's easy to get up there, I want to play 18 holes every day and practice and everything I have done for the last two days.

But I think the character of this team is -- I think we got a lot of different personalities, but you know what? We are all getting along great, we are having a good time, we are enjoying each other's company, we are playing with different people, you know, it's like Kelly said, even though we see each other at the golf course, we don't really know a lot about each other, and we are getting to know a lot about each other and it's been great.

Q. Thanks, guys.

End of FastScripts....

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