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August 14, 2013

Paula Creamer

Cristie Kerr

Lexi Thompson


THE MODERATOR:  Good afternoon.  Welcome to the 2013 Solheim Cup here at Colorado Golf Club.  We are joined by Paula Creamer, Cristie Kerr, and Lexi Thompson.  Lexi, let's start with you first.  Get the rookie impressions, kind of put you on the spot.  Is your mind running wild?  Are you calm, having fun, what's going on?
LEXI THOMPSON:  I would say I'm pretty calm right now.  There's a lot going on the last few days.  A busy schedule for all of us.  But it's great to be here and to see all the fans.  It's quite amazing.
THE MODERATOR:  You've known for quite some time you were going to be here as a part of this team.  How have you prepared for it, not only with your play, but also between the ears?
LEXI THOMPSON:  Well, last two years this has been one of my goals, to make the Solheim Cup team.  To represent my country.  There's no higher honor than that.  And to be part of such an amazing team it's even better.  So I'm grateful to be here and that I've gotten this opportunity.
THE MODERATOR:  Get some comments from everybody.  I'm going to get a couple from each player.  Cristie, most experienced player on the team, part of four winning teams.  We asked a couple players about this yesterday.  Can you give us a sense, or do you get a sense for how a team might compete on Friday based on kind of the lead up camaraderie and all that sort of stuff?
CRISTIE KERR:  I think so. I think we're all pretty comfortable with ourselves.  We have had a lot of time to do team bonding.  And we have had so much fun leading up to this Solheim Cup.  I don't think I've ever been apart of a team where we have laughed more.  I think that really shows that we're comfortable with one another and I think everybody will be ready come Friday to play.  We're excited to play this golf course, it's in spectacular shape, and we're looking forward to it.
THE MODERATOR:  I have to ask you about what's on your elbow.  You're all wrapped up and are you okay?
CRISTIE KERR:  Honestly my arm's not, has not been this good since the early part of the year.  I have been struggling with tendonitis, but it's really started to turn the corner.  I played at the British with no pain and I felt nothing this week.  So I feel great and I am ready to go.
THE MODERATOR:  Paula, 11‑3‑5 in Solheim Cup competition.  I heard it many times, I'm going to let you take the stage and tell them.  You talk about what this thing means to you and you wait two years and then you come out.  What's this week been like and what's it like to go back into the team room and all that sort of stuff?
PAULA CREAMER:  This is‑‑ you can't compare it to anything.  This week is just so special.  There's just so many wonderful memories that you have.  And in coming into it, I've always been on very lucky I've been on some great teams.  And I've had a lot of really good veterans kind of look out for me when I was ‑‑ the first couple ones that I played in.
I can't tell you how much bonding we have done this week and I think we're all as a team, just really one.  Everybody says you have to become united and all this, but we really have.  And Cristie is right, I don't think I've ever laughed this much and have felt just so much at ease in a sense.  I think that's because of Meg, and Meg's doing a really good job of kind of just letting us do our own thing at the same time as, obviously we have things also going on in the background that we have to do.  But we're really just doing what we normally do at tournaments.  I think that we are stepping in the right direction with that.
There's nothing better than this week.  Whenever you get to represent your country, we are here just to do that.  And be ‑‑ have patriotism and do it with class, is something that I think is very important for all of us.
THE MODERATOR:  We had four players in here yesterday from Team U.S.A and the minute Meg's name came up everybody put a smile on their faces, and I just saw you Cristie, you started nodding your head the minute she said Meg.  So share your thoughts on the captain.  Because you played with her for quite a few.
CRISTIE KERR:  Meg was always one of those players I idolized growing up.  She just had such a beautiful golf swing and a beautiful way about her around the golf course and off the golf course.  Just really have always admired her.
I think that everybody on this team really admires her and respects her, and when she speaks you listen.  So I think we have learned a lot from her and as Paula said, it really has united us as a team.  So it's going to be great.
THE MODERATOR:  What's she done for you, Lexi?
LEXI THOMPSON:  Well she's just really inspiring.  Just the way she is, not for what she's done for the game of golf, just the way she is as a person.  I've gotten to know her since I played in her and Beth Daniel's event down in South Florida.  So it's been quite an honor to get to know her and especially have her pretty much as our mom for the week.
THE MODERATOR:  Take some questions.

Q.  First question, Paula, were you 18 or 19 when you first played?  You were a teenager when you first played.
THE MODERATOR:  So as it relates to two teenagers we have playing this week there's a little bit of naivete when you're young.  Curious how your nerves or your feelings were different your first year compared with your second year.
PAULA CREAMER:  Well my first year I only had just one year to make the team.  And that was my No. 1 goal was I'm going to make this team on my only.  I didn't want to be a captain's pick.  I wanted to make it.  And if I did that, I kind of felt like, okay, I have a little bit behind me.  I can go out and play good match play and an event.
But I thought I knew what it was like to walk out on the first tee and I was like I got it, everybody's saying you're going to be nervous, you're going to be nervous, and I can't tell you how nervous I really was.  I thought I felt everything that you could feel at 18 years old, but I was very wrong.
My second year was obviously over in Europe.  I didn't know what to expect going over there either.  That's just a whole other ball game.  Being here, Lexi's really lucky to be this is her first one here in the States.  There's nothing better than having the home field advantage.  You really understand that when you do go over to Europe.  So it's kind of a whole new experience for my second one.

Q.  Second one, sticking on the youth team, so I'll go to Cristie on this one?
CHRISTIE KERR:  Sticking on the youth theme you're going to go to me?

Q.  Since all of you turned pro at 18 or younger, and we have had so many young people coming through, Lydia Ko coming in at whatever age she is.  The way golf is now, at what point does someone, at what age does someone have to be where you go wow, she's young?
CRISTIE KERR:  I think that we have seen that with Lydia when Michelle came on the scene she was an amateur and competing and almost winning tournaments, we're pushing the limits.  We definitely are.
Starting not even in high school is pretty young.  So I would say that's pretty young.
PAULA CREAMER:  Wasn't there a 10 year old at the U.S. Amateur that qualified?
CRISTIE KERR:  10 year old?  Wow.

Q.  Is she playing this week?
THE MODERATOR:  But yet out here this week, let's talk about Lexi and I'll get you guys‑‑ you can't expect her to be young out there and she probably doesn't feel that young out there I'm guessing.  You probably would love to have Lexi out there as your partner each of you.
PAULA CREAMER:  Age is obviously just a number in a sense.  She has so much maturity and I think that Lexi‑‑ there's a reason why she's here, it's her golf game, it's not because of how old she is.  She's deserved it, she's won, she's ready to play.
I think that golf, in general, has given so many young players the opportunity now to come out and play and show your stuff and she's proved it.  And there's no reason why she can't come out and she's going to show it again.  Starting Friday.
CRISTIE KERR:  Definitely.  I think not only her game, but Lexi has that element of mental toughness that you need to play in a Solheim Cup, and she has us if she has questions or needs to come and talk to us or whatever it is.
But she has got it.  She's here.  She's sitting in the seat the next to us and we all kind of feel like rookies on the first tee, so she's not alone.

Q.  We heard chants of USA, USA, as you walked off the 18th green.  And I wonder, how big a deal is home course advantage?  Is that kind of energy from the crowd something you all can feed off of?
PAULA CREAMER:  For sure.  I think that's why we have always done so well here.  It's just the fans are‑‑ they're the reason behind us, why we come back from two down and have a match.  That's just pure adrenaline from them and supporting us.  And there's nothing better than having that behind you.  Why not?
And we're lucky that they are so boisterous, because you can hear the USA chants, this is a big place and you can hear it all over.  And that's going to be‑‑ it's already started yesterday, on Tuesday.  I don't know of a place before where you could ‑‑ it was pretty going on a Tuesday and a Wednesday.  And it's only going to get bigger come the weekend.
CRISTIE KERR:  And the autographs.  I don't think we ever signed this many autographs in the practice rounds.  I've already gone through‑‑ I played two nine hole practice rounds because I came here a couple weeks ago.  And I went through three Sharpies in two nine hole practice rounds.  So I think everybody has.
So it's been pretty amazing, the response that we have had and the crowds that we have had.  And it's not an easy walk out there for them, so it's great that they're sticking through it with us.

Q.  Cristie, playing on the stars and stripes each time may be different, but does it get more exciting each time that you put on the stars and stripes, knowing that you represent the USA?
CRISTIE KERR:  I think it does.  There really is no higher honor than to be able to play for your country.  And play for your teammates and yourself.  And your captain.  There really is no higher honor than that.  I think that that's why we work so hard for two years to make the team and it's just really exciting.
THE MODERATOR:  Both Cristie and Paula, because you were there two years ago, having lost the last Solheim Cup.  It's 8‑4 right now and then coming to the UnitedStates to play at home you talked about the Sharpies and the signing and all the chants of USA, you never lost at home.  Is that a huge advantage having never lost at home or something that adds a little bit of pressure?
PAULA CREAMER:  Like I said, it's one of the reasons why I feel like we never lost at home because we have such a big advantage with the crowds.  And just coming together after the last Solheim Cup, that was by far one of the hardest things I ever had to go through.  I wanted to play Monday.  I was ready to go.  I didn't care if it was pouring sideways or windy, anything, I wanted to get back out there and play.  It was a tough loss for me on Sunday.
You win, you lose all the time, but I just didn't have my A game that day and Beanie played awesome and I felt like I let my team down.  Being first out in singles you have the lead job and that's to get that point up there as soon as you can.
And I'm ready to do that this week, but at the same time I think as a team it was actually kind of a good thing, because we all got to kind of got to lose together at that moment.  We were all just sitting there and all of a sudden we lost.  When we thought we won, but we lost.  And I think that kind of has united us even more coming into this week.
CRISTIE KERR:  I think so.  It happened the last time, it was very difficult the last time.  Especially with what happened to me on Sunday in the singles.
The last time when I was not able to play.  Nobody knows but me how much I gave that week and how much I played through, but yet again, you got to play singles.  So it was very disappointing and nobody has‑‑ I don't think, everybody has incredible motivation, but I have a little extra.  So I am looking for some special stuff out there this week and I am going to be there for my team.  So I'm looking forward to it.

Q.  As you know, you are the favorites this week, is there any one of your opponents you would like to put some extra pressure on like the two most experienced girls, for instance?
THE MODERATOR:  What was the question?

Q.  Because obviously you have the biggest pressure as U.S. team never lost on home soil.  But if you would like to put some pressure on one of your opponents this weekend, like one of the most experienced girls, Suzann Pettersen, for instance.
CRISTIE KERR:  Honestly, I think that we're going to try and put pressure on everybody that we play.  We're not discriminatory.

Q.  A follow‑up to that, as the favorites to win this event here this year, how do you assess the strength of the challenge that the European team will put up against you here this week?
PAULA CREAMER:  Going in we're not necessarily the favorites.  They have the cup right now.  So I think that if we all go in with just the mentality of here we go, we're on an equal playing field and may the best team win.
LEXI THOMPSON:  Exactly.  We're just going in and playing our own game and obviously trying to win every match, but mainly just trying to do our best.  That's all we can do.  It's match play, anything can really happen, so you just have to take one shot at a time.

Q.  Lexi, what kind of advice, what pieces of advice have Paula and Cristie given you about how to handle the pressure, the inexperience and how to play well on this golf course even?
LEXI THOMPSON:  They have helped me out a lot in the last few days and the other practice sessions that we had.  So just telling me what to expect walking to the first tee and the first tee shot, pretty much how nervous I'm going to be.  But other than that, just how to take the matches.  Everything's going to speed up, the tempo of yourself and just the pace, so you just have to slow things down and just really focus on doing your routine on every shot and not get ahead of yourself.

Q.  Paula, you talked about the incredible feeling that you get when you walk up to the first tee at the Solheim Cup each time.  It's so different from an individual event, obviously.  Can you compare the feeling of doing that versus walking up to that first tee on the final day of a Major and how the emotions may differ and how will you just feel differently, if you do.
PAULA CREAMER:  It's a little louder when you walk up here to the first tee.  It's a long walk here.  It's hard enough getting there and then we got to go up‑and‑down all these stairs I'm thinking, oh boy, my legs are going to be like this when we get there.
But it's just, when you put this hat on, when you put your shirt on, and have you this feeling of representing your country, wearing the red and blue, it's not our normally goes, it's not, this isn't Paula Creamer going out representing California, it's representing our country.  And when you're on a team and you have your partner there, you have your other girls that are behind you and waiting to tee off and they're out there on that first tee with you, it's just so exciting.  It's just, as an athlete, like Cristie said, it is your highest honor here is wearing red, white and blue and playing for your country and you cannot compare it to anything else.  I don't care what Major it is, you really can't.
THE MODERATOR:  Team Europe's out there waiting.  Last thing from me and we're going to cut this off.  Lexi, the one thing and same question to all of you, the one thing you feel most positive about, about Team USA after a few days here?
LEXI THOMPSON:  The most positive thing?  I would just say obviously we're all playing really well right now, but I would say just how much we get along with each other and just what kind of personalities we have.  We're all very positive, just on and off the golf course, and I think that really overall we bring out the best in each other I think that's the most important thing on a team.
CRISTIE KERR:  And once the rookies play that first hole they're in the battle, they're in the heat and they know what to do.
PAULA CREAMER:  Just with Meg.  It's really, it really feels good to have a great captain knowing what to do with us all.  Taking care of 12 girls has got to be a tough job.  I'm glad I'm not sitting there right now with the captain hat on, but I think that with what she's doing with us is the most positive.
PAULA CREAMER:  Some day.  Not any time soon.
THE MODERATOR:  See you all later.  Thank you very much.

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