September 11, 2005
Q. First of all, congratulations to all of you, thanks for coming in. I know we want to get right to the good stuff, but as you guys will notice, Meg Mallon and Beth Daniel are not with us. Nancy will explain that and we'll then move on to questions about the actual competition.
NANCY LOPEZ: She was kind of overwhelmed. The doctor thinks she doesn't have much potassium, which makes her feel kind of faint. A lot of excitement going on. We have been in the heat all day long. We went to the ceremonies and she didn't feel very well, kind of dizzy. They decided to take her to the hospital and see how everything is doing in her body and check her potassium, but she's fine. Of course, we were worried. We love her, and we don't anything to happen to her.
Q. I know you're worried, but you did win the Cup. Nancy, start us off talking about that.
NANCY LOPEZ: Thrilled. I'm thrilled. This team worked their butt off, and they deserved to win this cup. They went out there the last two years, especially the last couple months, and played hard to make this team. You've got the best players in the whole world sitting at this table, and I'm proud to be their Captail. I'm proud to take this Cup back. They deserve it. They won it, and I hope I can say I just held their hand along the way as we accomplished this wonderful goal.
Nancy, can you just talk about the start, it was pretty dominating? Nancy, I'm from Boston, so
NANCY LOPEZ: The what?
Q. The start.
NANCY LOPEZ: Like Friday? Okay. Well, I mean, I think people questioned why I played my rookies that first day, and, you know, I've
JULI INKSTER: 9 points.
NANCY LOPEZ: I watched these ladies play last year and I watched Paula Creamer and the other young ladies and rookies play this year, and I think doing that really helped me to learn more and more about each player's game by watching them.
So, I had to really I'm not saying I was taking my chances. I had total confidence in them. I think putting them out there, I put them with some veteran players that I think could have held their hand if they needed. I know they were all nervous.
That's how it is in the Solheim Cup, even the veterans are nervous. I felt like if they were the players that I really thought they were after one or two holes, they would be okay. They surely did not disappoint me. They got comfortable and they went on and played great golf.
I really felt like if they were going to play in the Solheim Cup and win some points, I had to throw them in the fire that first morning, but I didn't expect them to not do what I thought they were going to do. They did great.
Q. Along the same lines, I wonder if the three rookies could just each briefly say, how did you cope with the chaos that you were thrust into and perform so productively?
PAULA CREAMER: Well, for me, definitely, this was a huge goal of mine to get here, and, you know, to get here, that's just half of the battle. You know, we all wanted to win this week, and that was a big goal of mine was to win, and, you know, what better to do it than with the ladies on this team. It was amazing, and I think that we all played our hearts out out there. Everybody knows it.
They all showed it on their sleeves, and to have the players and to have I mean, I played with two veterans and Cristie Kerr. What better than to have a first Solheim Cup like that?
NATALIE GULBIS: I had players like Juli Inkster and Wendy Ward and all the veteran players that were rooting me on throughout the year, and Rosie Jones.
ROSIE JONES: I took your money.
NATALIE GULBIS: She did, she took a lot of my money in the practice rounds to get me ready for some competition. It's sad the week is over.
You know, we definitely had a really close team, and I think it really showed how close of team we actually were today.
CHRISTINA KIM: There are really no more words to say. These two girls said it. Sure, we don't have any experience, but to an extent, that might have given us an advantage. We didn't really know what we were stepping into.
Players of the likes of Juli, Rosie, Michele, Pat, Nancy, Meg, Beth, all of them, they came in and told us of their past experiences, so we could try to absorb through osmosis some of the stuff they had gone through, we kind of had that feeling like, hey, we have been here before, but we've been here before, and we all came out today with the knowledge of there is no tomorrow, and played our hearts out and look what happened.
Q. Rosie, from your perspective, and I don't know if you could see it from the first tee, but when you teed off, I don't think Europe was leading in a single match at that point. I'm curious what it was like as you went along in the opening holes and saw a board that was a wash of red; and secondly, what it was like listening to them celebrate and you still had to play golf?
ROSIE JONES: Well, it's nice to go out last. I like that, and when I got out there, I felt like there were a lot of matches that were still maybe we were up, 1 up or halved or all square, and I just kept it in my mind that my point will count, so be there.
And, you know, don't look at the board and see a lot of red in front of me and think I'm going to breeze through this. I had a tough match, and I had to keep my nose into my business and make sure that I was there in case she needed me, and that was my job, so, I kind of kept my, you know kept into the grind and stayed with it for as long as I could, and then on 16 I was walking up the fairway, and when I saw everybody celebrating on the 16th green and 17, Meg's walk was beautiful, I enjoyed it on the fairway from 16, and was chanting for her, and everyone around me was yelling, and when everybody came up on the green, we felt like we were left out on the tee box, so we got everybody going there and celebrated with you all.
You didn't know it, but I was like, "I miss you guys." It was fun, and I had my moment in Interlachen when I had my moment on the green, so I was really happy for Meg having hers, and it's just a great walk. I looked at my caddy and said, "That's a great walk Meg's having right now. It's nice to know, whatever happens, we got the Cup."
Now we're finishing the hole. It was hard to keep focused, but I had some of my best and worst swings coming down 18. It was fun.
Q. Juli, number 10 could have been a real turning point for you, you had gone in the water and had a tough time. You then birdied 11, and was one foot from a hole in one on 13. What was your mind set?
JULI INKSTER: Even though I felt like I was 6 down, I was only 1 down. You know, I usually don't give anybody any holes. I felt like I gave her a few holes. I was hitting the ball good. I was hitting it in the middle. I was hitting my irons good. I had a little pep talk from my Captain, and she set me straight, and then I just, you know, it was a big putt on 11 making birdie there, even though she made birdie, too, and then I just was stuffing it coming on in, so it was stuffed.
Q. This is a question for Rosie, Juli and Captain Lopez, if you want to talk about this, too.
All three of you, and Beth and Meg, are part of an generation that really defined the LPGA Tour for many years. Today we saw three rookies who may define it for the next 20 years.
Can you talk about that meeting of generations and what that means to the LPGA Tour?
ROSIE JONES: I'll start. Well, personally, I feel blessed that I'm still playing and experiencing playing with these great young players. It's I've played with Kathy Whitworth, and I've played with Paula Creamer and Christina Kim and Natalie Gulbis.
NATALIE GULBIS: Taking my money.
ROSIE JONES: And I'm still taking their money, yeah. I never got any money from Kathy Whitworth.
NATALIE GULBIS: You still owe me $5.
ROSIE JONES: I'll give you a chance next week.
My career has spanned some great golf. I'm looking forward to sitting down soon and watching these girls take it on here for the next 20 years, and I know my friends with me will we feel good about our participation on tour, and where we were when we first got here, and where it is now, and feel like we do have a part of that, and I'm proud of that, and I'm proud of where our tour is and where it's going to go.
We've got it in the hands of these girls, and everybody else on this team care about this tour more than anything.
Q. Nancy, when the Europeans started to the slight revival towards the end, can I ask how you felt, and were you getting nervous?
NANCY LOPEZ: I really wasn't getting nervous. I wanted to figure out which hole I could go to to root for what player. I felt I had my strong players at the end that had the experience to deal with the pressure, and they did what they had to do. I wasn't worried, but I never count my chickens before they hatch. I always try to stay calm. I never say, "Oh, we're winning, or we're going to win."
I believe we can win, I'll always say that, because I truly believed that at the beginning of this week. There was too much power from my team that I was feeling from them. There was something special I was feeling. I knew they had the motivation, and I said if you play with your heart, I always did, and I know they have that kind of heart to go out there and win a golf event like this, because the players that are up here, they're first class, they're quality, and they have been in the LPGA for years, they're the players, the veteran players especially, that made the LPGA what it is today, and with their personality, their golf games, you know, they care about the LPGA, and those are the ones that are going to make it successful. They did.
I played with Donna Caponi and Mickey Wright. Those were great, great, players, and you look now, with the young players, these new rookies, for a few years I was worried about the LPGA. Now I can say I was, because we had Annika, but as she said, the next best thing would be to be if she was American. That's true. If she had been American, it would have been even greater for us. She played some great golf and set wonderful goals she was trying to reach.
Now we've got these young Americans that are going to keep this tour going for a long time, and they have energy and personality and, you know, I'm not worried about the LPGA at all, and they're good with people, and they do stuff for the LPGA and they promote the LPGA and that's what keeps an organization going and growing with these young players?
Q. Paula, I think you're only four years older than the Solheim Cup actually is. I wonder if you could look back. Do you remember the first time you watched the competition or when you first maybe thought about that was something you aspired to do? Do you remember how old you were?
PAULA CREAMER: I didn't start playing golf until I was 10, and then when I was 12 I got really serious and quit all my other sports. I think the real first time I ever wanted to be on the Solheim Cup team was when I was in Minnesota when I watched it, and
JULI INKSTER: You carried my bag.
PAULA CREAMER: I carried her wagon one hole, and that was the highlight of my life.
JULI INKSTER: She carried me this week.
CRISTIE KERR: She carried me, too.
PAULA CREAMER: I will never forget moments like that, and watching that and cheering for them, I think, was the best thing I've ever done for golf for myself. They said some things that I will never forget, motivated me and supported my decisions.
That was probably the first time I was like, "This is what I want to do," and going over to Sweden and watching them as well was another incredible moment.
Q. I asked the Europeans if they felt this was one of the stronger US Solheim Cup stronger teams they ever faced. The captain felt it was the strongest one.
How would you rate the overall strength of this team?
JULI INKSTER: I would say it was strong, but I think we have had strong teams, too. I think what won us the Cup this year was practicing alternate shot. For myself, I felt so much more comfortable out there doing it.
PAULA CREAMER: It's because I was your partner.
JULI INKSTER: That was it. She was my partner.
But, I just think, before, it's hard to believe we never even played in a practice round. All of a sudden, come Friday, it's alternate shot, and we've never done any of that. You feel out of sorts, and I think practicing it, we did it in the practice rounds, and we did it in when we came before, we did it, and I just think it helped us a lot to do that. I think everybody feels that way.
Q. Juli, a couple weeks ago, I'm sorry, I put you on the spotlight here Paula, but she makes the statement, "All I can say is, they better get ready because they're going to get beat." What was going through your mind when she said that?
JULI INKSTER: It was so me. It was something I would have said. She's right, if we don't believe in ourselves, who's going to believe in us. If they took that personally, then they're going to have a long week. It's Paula talking.
PAULA CREAMER: You're lucky you're sitting down there.
CRISTIE KERR: Then again, you heard Catrin Nilsmark at the opening ceremonies, it's going to be 14 and a half to 13 and a half, so she's essentially saying it the same thing, but they're going to try to distinguish between Paula and the European Captain.
Q. Having not played these matches as a rookie how important or impressed were you that she would pick up 3 and a half points this week?
JULI INKSTER: Well, you know, this is another thing, my philosophy, if you make the team, you play. How are they going to learn what the Solheim is about if you just sit them out and play one match and play the singles. These girls are great players, and as Nancy said, you put them out there with a veteran or somebody that's been there before, they're going to learn.
This is our future, and if we don't teach them what the Solheim Cup is about, and how to, you know, handle the pressure and how to deal with playing with opponents, you know, the respect you have to have for your opponents. It's not a do or die match. You go out there and play golf, and the best team wins, and how are they going to learn that if they're sitting on the sidelines cheering.
I think Nancy did the right thing. There is nothing worse on Friday morning, because I sat out Friday morning, sitting there and you're ready to go. They would have been more nervous. I think that's the exact thing I would have done, I would have put them out there. It's not like they're bad players. These girls are great players, and, you know, she put them out there with some experience, and, you know, all of them had winning records, and that's you know, that bodes well for in two years.
Q. This is for Pat: I believe you and Paula were the only two Americans to play all five matches. Were you expecting to play all five?
And also if you could look back at your doubles afternoon match with Michele Saturday morning, how important that point that you guys had to fight back to get, how important that ended up being?
PAT HURST: I think that was very important. We were down probably 3 down at one point, and Nancy came over and gave us a little pep talk. She's great at doing that actually. And then, you know, so, that was I'm lost on my days. That was Saturday. Saturday morning, Friday night, somewhere around there, Nancy and Donna asked me if I can go another 36.
You know, I'm here, I want to play. You know, I felt like I was playing well. I felt like my best shot, if I was going to play any match, it would probably be best ball. I was making a lot of birdies and I have been putting pretty good.
I felt like, hey, if she wants to put me in alternate shot, yes, I'm going to take that. I was up for the challenge, and I felt like I wasn't going to let my team down, and I felt like I can do it. I worked two years to get here, and I wanted to do it.
JULI INKSTER: Yeah.
Q. Pat, back to the match play, I think I read somewhere that you really liked the big match play event that you guys did in New Jersey this year.
How is this event different from that, and what is it about match play you like so much?
PAT HURST: It's fun. I'm the type of player that can make big numbers, but I can also make a lot of birdies. You know, I have been that type of player ever since I've started, so, you know, I love match play.
Match play is different, you're playing with one player, and it's hole by hole, and that match play, we played early in the year, the pressure wasn't nearly as much as this. This is, you know, we're not playing for any money. We're playing for pride. We're playing for the United States of America. We're playing for each and every one of us that made it. We're playing for Nancy and Donna. That's a lot of pressure.
I'm not just playing for myself anymore, and that it's tough. It's a lot harder to play here than it is just to go out and play match play for yourself.
Q. Rosie, you no doubt played in the Mayflower Classic a number of times years back. Juli, maybe the last couple of years.
Given what you've seen here this week, there is a group working pretty hard to bring the LPGA here on an annual basis. Would you like to see the Tour come back here?
ROSIE JONES: Yeah, obviously the fans are hungry for women's golf. They showed us that this week. We always had really good crowds when we played the Mayflower, and, you know, it would be really great if we can get back here. Our Commissioner was right in the back of the room here, and she just left.
Q. Juli, any thoughts on that?
JULI INKSTER: Yeah, I remember we played at Indianapolis Country Club, and that was a really narrow golf course.
ROSIE JONES: Wind swirled everywhere, it was really weird.
JULI INKSTER: Yeah, it would be great to get back here. The fans, I'll tell you, standing on that first tee this morning, first out, I felt like I was at a football game. It was loud, and it was impressive. The fans really, they won at least a couple of points for us out there this week.
Q. Paula, can you say how today rates compared to your victories you have had this year and everything else you've done this year?
PAULA CREAMER: Oh, there is nothing better than representing the United States of America and winning. There is nothing in golf that can make that a better feeling. Winning events is huge, but playing on a team and representing your country is a whole nother league. It's a whole nother level that you don't get to experience it as much. I think with that, this makes this one of the highlights of my golf career.
JULI INKSTER: All in one year.
PAULA CREAMER: Thank you, Juli. That's my partner, everybody.
JULI INKSTER: Bonded for life.
Q. Laura, you're maternity match was also fairly pivotal in the morning in terms of getting a big lead, getting that momentum going, and I'm curious if you had you had two not so good results going into today, and yet I think you're still 3 and 0 now in singles.
If you can talk about that, if you're relatively proud of that mark or what?
LAURA DIAZ: You know, we didn't win either of the matches the last two days, but I have to say that both the partners I had, we both played hard, and, you know, we got beat by birdies, so, it was definitely hard to go in yesterday and feel like I didn't contribute, but I have 11 great teammates, and they gave me a lot of support, and Meg gave me a great speech last night that I went to sleep on, and I have to say really affected me.
And so, that was a lot of help going into today, and, you know, we have a great team here, and I just went out and tried to make birdies today, and.
WENDY WARD: And eagles.
LAURA DIAZ: I got lucky they went in.
CHRISTINA KIM: What are you talking about? You're good.
Q. Any more questions? All right, girls
NANCY LOPEZ: Can I just say one more thing? I missed saying thank you to Donna Caponi. She was a great Assistant Captain. She made my job easy. She did everything. She ironed my clothes, she was getting water, she got our clothes ready. She was making sure everything was organized.
LAURA DIAZ: She found all the Porta Potties.
NANCY LOPEZ: I just really want to thank her. She was a huge part of the team, and I didn't thank her over there. We want to thank her really.
Q. Congratulations again. Thank you.
End of FastScripts.