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April 23, 2014
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA
MODERATOR:¬† We'd like to welcome two very special guests into the interview room at the 2014 Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic.¬† For any of you from the Bay Area, they should be two very familiar faces.¬† We are welcoming them home this week.
First of all, to my immediate left LPGA and World Golf Hall of Fame member, Juli Inkster.¬† To her left, Paula Creamer Rolex Rankings No. 9.
First of all, women home, ladies.¬† I know it's always great to be back in the Bay Area.¬† For you guys I'm sure this is especially nice.
I will ask each one of you, what does it mean to have an event back here in the Bay Area?
JULI INKSTER:¬† Well, I think it's great, and Swinging Skirts brought it to a great golf course.¬† I just hope that we can build a foundation and keep it here for many years.¬† I think the community will support it.¬† It's just all about building it, and every year getting better and better.
You have all the amenities here.¬† Now we just need to get fans out here and the fan base, and I think it's going to be a success.
PAULA CREAMER:¬† Yeah, for me, coming home, it's always exciting being able to come and play such a great golf course.¬† It's not only are we back in the Bay Area, but Lake Merced, my goodness, I played this golf course when was about 11 years old.¬† That was the last time, and I don't really remember it quite that match.
It is such a good track.¬† I know that there will be a lot of people coming out on the weekend.¬† So far the weather has been great.
More importantly, I think with the Swinging Skirts and the organization, taking it from Taiwan, to move it here, it couldn't be more perfect.¬† The match is right there.¬† It's written on paper.¬† Swinging Skirts, the Golden Gate Bridge with the trophy, everything with Taipei 101 involved.
I think it's going to be an exciting week, and couldn't be on the a more perfect venue.
MODERATOR:¬† I was going to ask you, Swinging Skirts is one of your sponsors.¬† To see a company or group that is like that is coming from Asia ‑ and we've seen the growth of women's golf in Asia ‑ but to have them bring an event to the United States and help grow the number of events we have here, how special is that to have?
PAULA CREAMER:¬† To be an ambassador of such a great, you know, just movement for women just in general and being part of that organization.
To have it be brought back to my hometown, the Bay Area, Juli's hometown, it just means a lot how much they support women's golf.¬† We always try as players to do the best we can to promote the game.
But when you get these amazing people that want to take it from their home and bring it to another place, I can't take my hat off more to them.
Chairman did a speech last night all in English.¬† Things like that I think people take granted.¬† But they are truly trying to grow the game of golf in the States as much as in Asia.
To bring it here and wear the logo on my left sleeve is very special.
MODERATOR:¬† Three and a half years since we've been here.¬† LPGA has changed a lot in those three and a half years.¬† If you had to describe to people what's different about the LPGA now compared to the past time they saw it here, what would you tell people?
JULI INKSTER:¬† I think we've grown a lot as an organization.¬† I think the kids out here, the girls are young.¬† They got spunk.¬† They dress really cool.
The golf is what they do, but they love to be just teenagers and young 20 year olds off the golf course.¬† And they can play.¬† They can hit the ball.¬† They got a little bit of attitude.
So, you know, golf in this area, we have the AT&T down at Pebble.¬† We always seem to have the Open or something at Olympic Club.¬† We have the Presidents Cup or something at Harding Park.
I think it's important that the LPGA gets out here and represents women's golf.¬† Because women's golf in this area is growing rapidly, and I think it's very important for young girls and boys to see girls and ladies and young women come out here play golf so they have role models.
I think it's great that we're playing here on Lake Merced.¬† I think it's going to be a challenging golf course.¬† It'll challenge these players.¬† I think everybody is open arms and ready to go.
MODERATOR:¬† You've been around the LPGA for a little bit of time now.¬† One of the cool things you're getting to do, something special now.¬† You've been a part of many Solheim Cup teams, but now you get to be captain in 2006.
JULI INKSTER:¬† Yes.
MODERATOR:¬† What was that moment like for you when you found out that you were going to be Solheim Cup captain?¬† What is this new challenge bringing to you now as you prepare in the captain role?
JULI INKSTER:¬† Well, I was very excited.¬† I mean, it's such an honor to be the captain.¬† I'm a little bit nervous just because, I mean, it's a big responsibility.¬† Golf, all you have to do is really worry about yourself.
Now I got 12 little chickadees I got to worry about.¬† But you know what?¬† I love being around these girls.¬† I love the way that I play.¬† I love their heart.
I'm not going to have to do much I think if I can just if I put them out there with who they want to play with.¬† I'm pretty sure if we play our game and have fun and don't worry about the outcome we're going to do okay.
My job is to make it easy for them.¬† I want them to enjoy the experience, because I haven't enjoyed every one of them.¬† That's my job, is to just make sure we get on the plane and we get home.
MODERATOR:¬† Paula, you were partners with Juli for a lot of these Solheim Cups.¬† What is it going to be like now to have her as your a captain, and what do you think she will bring to this team as you guys look to rebound from back‑‑ to‑back losses?
PAULA CREAMER:¬† It'll be the same:¬† She'll just boss me around like she always does.
JULI INKSTER:¬† Make that 12‑footer, would ya?
PAULA CREAMER:¬† On and off the golf course.¬† No, I mean, a lot of my points came with Juli.¬† She's a great partner and obviously has been a role model and mentor to me out on tour.
To have her being our captain, I couldn't see it going to anybody else but her.¬† I have the utmost respect for her, and I know everybody on the team does.
I think it's really neat when you get to play with somebody that then is going to be a captain.¬† I never got to play with Betsy King; never really got to play with Nancy.
But those are such an exciting times.¬† When they speak, you listen.¬† All of the captains have been that way with Beth and Meg and Rosie.¬† It just shows that we're going to have a good team.¬† It's just going to be good golf.¬† That's what we need to do, get back on track with playing our games.
There is a reason why we're on the team.¬† I think that Juli knows that better than anybody.¬† Not have all the things going on with it and it's just going to be about putting the best teams out there and getting the job done.
MODERATOR:¬† I know we've always enjoyed watching both of you play in Solheim Cup.¬† Talking about emotion, you guys bring it every time.
Q.¬† Kind of stole my question asking what kind of captain Juli would be.¬† So are you going to be one of the trouble making chickadees, to borrow her word?
JULI INKSTER:¬† No, I don't have to worry about this one.
Q.¬† What do you expect the dynamic to be like on the team with Juli leading?
PAULA CREAMER:¬† Like I said, it's going to be about business.¬† Not just Juli, too, but her assistant, Pat.¬† They're two peas in a pod.¬† They both fit each other.¬† What Juli doesn't do, Pat is awesome and vice versa.
Once again, you get two players that Solheim has been‑‑ has meant so much to them.¬† Every captain it does.¬† But this particular one, you know, we haven't had the Cup for the last two.¬† It's important to get that back.¬† I couldn't see a better job and a better captaincy for Juli to be a part of and to be the head leader.
Every one of us will listen to her.¬† Like I said, she bosses us on and off the golf course, and it'll be no different during that week.
Q.¬† In Ron's story in the Chronicle about you the other day.¬† That was a great story.¬† Talk about the Solheim Cup captaincy.¬† You said the event needs a little bit more camaraderie and needs to be a little more fun.¬† Can you elaborate on that?¬† And Paula, what is your reaction to that?
JULI INKSTER:¬† Well, I just think the last few years‑‑ I mean, I've been involved in a couple of them too where it's ‑‑ I mean, I remember probably three or four of them ago if someone, a European or somebody would chip‑in on me, I would go up there and give them a high five and say, Good on it.
The bottom line, it's goal.¬† It's a golf match.¬† It's very competitive, we both want to win, but I think you can do that and still enjoy your competitor.
I think the last couple times it's gotten to be a little bit‑‑ they don't say anything, we don't say anything.¬† It's gotten to be a job.¬† It shouldn't be a job.¬† It should be that you're going out there and I'm teeing it up with Paula and playing against Caroline Hedwall and Suzann Pettersen.¬† You know what?¬† They're good.¬† And we're good.
Let's just go out for 18 holes, tee it up, play against each other, and we know we get done, I'll shake your hand, you shake my hand.¬† Because really, the bottom line is you play ten matches, they're going to win five and we're going to win five.¬† It's golf.¬† They're good; we're good.
I would love to see a little more camaraderie, both sides.¬† I think with that, I think a little more fun will come with it.¬† I just think it's gotten to be a lot of pressure on the girls.¬† And the guys.¬† Even the Ryder Cup.¬† You know, it's taken a little bit of the fun away.
I would just like to see a little more excitement and fun and not so much life or death.¬† At the end of the day, we're still going to be getting on that plane going home.
PAULA CREAMER:¬† I agree.¬† My first Solheim Cup I made it in four months out on tour.¬† Got on the team on my own.¬† I'm playing with Beth Daniel my first match, and the last matches I played with Juli.¬† I was taught that way.
I was groomed you can say, in a sense, because I was‑‑ I think I turned 19 right before that.
You know, they said, You go out there, yeah, you have a lot of heart, but you respect your opponent like you would in a normal 18‑hole match and you say, Good shot to somebody when they hit a good shot.
Just because you're both representing your country and you're both doing it, you still have to do it with class.
I think the last several years it has gone a little bit downhill on both parts.¬† We just need to make it aware.¬† Those rookies and girls that are on those teams for the first time, you want them to be taught that, too.¬† You want them to be taught this is how you play the game; this how you do it.
I feel very blessed and lucky.¬† I've only played with Lexi last time, and I hope that I kind of carried that on with her, too.¬† Same with ‑‑ Stacy is obviously not a rookie by any sense, but that was her rookie time in the States playing.¬† It's very different overseas and at home.¬† It's just a different pressure.
But you still have to remember that you're not just wearing your name on your sleeve, you're wearing the United States. ¬†You have to do that with pride as well as class.
Q.¬† Paula, can you share a story of playing with Juli or vice versa?¬† Just trying to get a sense besides her bossiness of the camaraderie.
PAULA CREAMER:¬† Well, jeez, my first experience out there, Juli had an ingrown fingernail.
JULI INKSTER:¬† Yeah, I did.
PAULA CREAMER:¬† She did.¬† I was supposed to go out first match with her.¬† We played every practice round together.¬† She came out.¬† Doctor came in and helped her.¬† It got infected.¬† Obviously a finger injury or anything on your hand playing golf is one of the harder things you can do.
She came out and she still putted and chipped with me holding her finger above her heart like this walking around.¬† I'm like, Man, okay.¬† So then we get the‑‑ Nancy came and said, Okay, you're not going to play with Juli your first match.¬† You're going to play with Beth Daniel.¬† I'm like, Oh, my goodness.
So we played nine holes together and I'm thinking, holy smokes, I prepared everything with Jules and she goes and has this...
JULI INKSTER:¬† She won.
PAULA CREAMER:¬† Yeah, but then we come back out and her dance and everything that she's done in the past Solheim Cup, you know, the most pivotal moment of golf I think.¬† I got see that.¬† On the 10th hole she chipped in.¬† It was one of most exciting times I think I've ever had on a golf course.
Just being able to watch that, not just to see it on film and to say, Oh, yeah, afterwards in the team room or even years down the road, Remember when Juli chipped in on 10?¬† I was there and I got to watch it and see it.¬† It was just such a cool moment.
That's who now is going to be our captain.¬† To me, that's so...
JULI INKSTER:¬† I want to see some dancing from you.
PAULA CREAMER:¬† I'll dance.
JULI INKSTER:¬† You know, Paula, I was fortunate enough to play a lot of great matches with Paula.¬† The thing I love about Paula is, you know, a lot of ways we're different, but a lot of ways on the golf course we're alike.
She hates to lose and I hate to lose.¬† She never gives up.¬† I don't care if she's four or five, whatever down, she grinds.¬† I've always had admiration for that.¬† I can see myself in that.
So when we played together as partners, best ball and alternate shot, it was just kind of a natural fit.¬† You know, believe me, I hit some ugly shots and put her in some ugly spots.¬† She never once said anything.¬† She just got up there and hit it and said, I'll take good care of you.¬† Which she did.
We won a lot of matches.¬† Her parents were out there.¬† My parents were out there.¬† I don't know, it was just kind of fun.
PAULA CREAMER:¬† You sure you don't want to play in the next one?
JULI INKSTER:¬† No, I know.¬† But, you know, those are the things you remember.¬† As Paula said, she was 18, 19.¬† She's my kids' age, or a little older.
So I just love her competitiveness and fire.¬† I love the way she respects the game of golf.¬† You know, you really can't teach that.¬† She honors the game golf and the people before her.
That's a great trait about her.
Q.¬† Paula, you're back home here.¬† Have you been getting bombarded with a bunch of ticket requests?¬† How much family are you expecting to come out?¬† Is there added excitement or pressure playing in front of a lot family and friends?
PAULA CREAMER:¬† Yeah, I feel bad for the tournament office.¬† They have had to deal with me and my family.¬† My dad has been in there the last couple days 10 times dealing with tickets and this and that.
But it is, it's great.¬† I've definitely taken my past experiences being home, when we were on Blackhawk, taking it here an, trying to learn.
I always used to put such an enormous amount of pressure when I came home.¬† For me right now, I feel like I'm in a great place.¬† I really love this golf course a lot.¬† I liked Blackhawk, but it didn't fit my eye quite as well as this place does.
This is a golfer's paradise.¬† Someone who wants to hit every shot in your bag.¬† Needs to make those 4‑ or 5‑footer breaking putts.¬† I just feel really good when I walked out here.¬† Having my family being able to come out and support, I think it's going to be great.
Just the friends and my very first coach, Larry O'Leary came out and watched me yesterday.¬† He got me introduced to the game of golf, and he came out and watched.¬† He met my coach now, David, who I've been with since I was 16.
It's just pretty cool to be able to come home and have that.¬† Not a lot of people can do that, can have that experience.
MODERATOR:¬† Juli, I wanted to ask you one question.¬† Paula was talking about being in a good place, and I've asked her a lot about the difference we've seen in her this year, her great play, how happy she is.¬† What have you seen in Paula?
JULI INKSTER:¬† Well, it is, I can see it.¬† I've been there.¬† You know, Paula started so young and moved to Florida, moved out of her hometown, and golf was everything.
That's what she wanted to do and wanted to be.¬† You know, you get to a point where golf is great, it's your job, but you want a life.¬† She's met a great guy in Derek and they're engaged.
She just seems more at peace.¬† That's what you want.¬† As a parent, that's what you want for your daughters.
I just think it's great.¬† I think it's a new chapter.¬† I think she's just going to play her best golf ever.¬† And then have someone to share it with, it doesn't get any better than that.
So I'm very happy for her.
MODERATOR:¬† Paula, we will let you go.
PAULA CREAMER:¬† If I miss my tee time I can't play in the tournament, so...
MODERATOR:¬† Any other questions for Juli?
JULI INKSTER:¬† I knew once she left it was over.¬† (Laughter.)
Q.¬† We've got Harding Park that had the Presidents Cup and Charles Schwab.¬† U.S. Open over at the Olympic Club.¬† San Francisco Club has sponsored qualifying.¬† Now Lake Merced Club.¬† Is there any other place on tour that has so many great courses right near each other with all the different tours coming through?
JULI INKSTER:¬† Well, not many.¬† And not only tours, but real top‑notch tournaments:¬† the Presidents Cup, the U.S. Open, and Charles Schwab, then the qualifiers.¬† They're not ever‑year tournaments, but they're high‑quality tournaments.
I mean, when you talk great golf courses this area right here, you got this area, and you drive an hour and a half and you got Monterrey area.¬† I mean, it's pretty tough to beat.
I'm just happy and very happy that Lake Merced has decided to host this thing.¬† Everybody has asked me all year, What is Lake Merced like?¬† It's not a country club.¬† It's a golf course.¬† It's going to be all you can bring.
And I haven't heard one bad thing about it.¬† Everybody has been very happy about the way it's set up and how hard it's playing.
MODERATOR:¬† One last question I have for you, and that is on Friday night we get to have LPGA night at the ballpark.¬† I know what a huge San Francisco Giants fan you are.¬† All players this week get tickets to go to the ballpark?¬† What does it mean for you to get to showcase AT&T Park where your Hall of Fame party was held?
JULI INKSTER:¬† I think it's great.¬† I think it's great that the Giants are doing this.¬† Most of these girls out here are huge baseball fans.¬† If you haven't gone to AT&T Park, you need to go.¬† It's one of the top, probably the top 5 ballparks in the United States.
So I'm very happy.¬† Paula and I are going to do a little chippy thing.¬† Being the captain, I've already designated her as the chipper.¬† I'm the caddie.¬† Then I get to go up in the booth with Jon Miller and Dave Fleming a little bit, so it's big night for me.¬† I love baseball and talking baseball, so I'm excited.
MODERATOR:¬† I know every time I see you looking at a sports section I know exactly what you're reading about.¬† And if you're on your phone, you're usually checking the Giants' scores, so...
JULI INKSTER:¬† Yeah.
MODERATOR:¬† Thank you so much for joining us up here today.¬† Wish you best of luck this week.
JULI INKSTER:¬† Thank you.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports