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THE SOLHEIM CUP MEDIA CONFERENCE
June 9, 2002
Q. Hi everyone. We are pleased to have Patty Sheehan here.
PATTY SHEEHAN: I feel like Edith Ann.
Q. We are very excited for the 2002 Solheim Cup September 20 to 22 at Interlachen Country Club in Edina, Minnesota and wanted to have Patty Sheehan come in to share some updates and exciting news, and then we will go from there.
PATTY SHEEHAN: Well, first of all, I want to thank you all for taking the time to come in here this morning. I know you are very excited to get out on the golf course and watch the leaders, so I will make it pretty short and sweet.
I have been very excited about the Solheim Cup ever since I was named last March. Being the captain has been a lot of fun for me, and I am enjoying every minute of it. I am having a blast with the players, the players are having a lot of fun with me, so I expect to have a very successful week.
The reason why I wanted to come in here today and talk to you is just to let you know that I have chosen my assistant captain, and she will be here momentarily, she is on her way from the airport.
But I am very excited about her. She is a former player. She was one of my partners in one of the Solheim Cups, and she will be a great asset, and her name is
Jane Geddes, so Jane and I are good pals, and we are going to have a good time at the Solheim Cup.
And she is going to be helping me make a lot of decisions, and I respect her opinions and judgments, and she and I get along great, and here she is. Fresh from the freeway.
JANE GEDDES: Fresh from it. Hi everybody.
PATTY SHEEHAN: In case you don't know Jane, this is Jane Geddes. I know you all know who she is. She is my pal, my assistant now, so here is Jane.
JANE GEDDES: Sorry about that everybody. Photo finish to the end. I apologize.
Wow, I am very excited. Patty called me the other day, and when she asked me, I asked her if she was serious, if she really thought serious about it. I thought she was joking because she had seen me around the last couple days, but I am thrilled.
You know, to be a part of the Solheim, any part of it, is fantastic, and the fact that Patty asked me to do this and has the faith in me, and our friendship, and whatnot, and the respect for me, too, to ask me to do something like this, it is very exciting and great feeling for me. I am honored that she asked me to do it, so I am really looking forward to it, and I think it's going to be a great year for the American team, especially on our soil.
Q. What, specifically, do you expect she will do?
PATTY SHEEHAN: She will be calling me in the morning, waking me up.
Q. Besides the obvious.
PATTY SHEEHAN: Besides the obvious of helping me make decisions on who my two picks will be, I will be -- she will be my eyes and ears, basically, out on tour when I am not out here playing full time anymore, and she is going to help me with decisions on who is getting paired together, where we are going to put them out, who is going to play in the morning, who is going to play in the afternoon, et cetera, et cetera.
She is going to be a great asset, and I have a lot of respect for Jane in that she knows the players, she has been out here with them full time, and I haven't, so I needed somebody out here that really is in touch with the players, and she is a very good friend of a lot of the players that will be on the team, so we all get along great, and she is going to be an integral part of whatever happens.
Q. Jane, what's the status of school and possibly graduate school?
JANE GEDDES: I am playing full time right now. School is kind of -- school fit in when the tour schedule at the end of last year just kind of changed, so for me, that's how I filled my time, and so I am filling in -- I am playing a full schedule this summer, all the way through until Solheim, and I will go to school after that when the season ends this year, and then I am done, then I graduate.
Q. Do you still have hopes of going to law school?
JANE GEDDES: Yeah, it's still in the future, down the road, that's there, but it would be -- the soonest would be 2004, and probably later than that, but I have already taken the LSAT and done everything I need to do, so I just need to make a decision on whether I need to do it or not.
Q. What do you remember about playing in the Solheim Cup with Patty, Jane?
JANE GEDDES: We have decided we stunk as a team, but other than that, we had a good time. I was fortunate, I had Meg as one of my partners, and Patty, so two of my really good friends, so that's really what I remember about the Solheim. And it's a high-pressure situation.
And Patty and I have talked a little bit about this year's team and starting to think about pairing people and how important it is for people to gel, not only as friends but as players and whatnot. That's sort of what I got from my experience there.
You know, it's high pressure and it takes -- it's a tall task to stand up for every player, but I think being a part of that once, and feeling that pressure, and understanding it is an asset, because it's very unique.
Q. Jane, oddly enough, just yesterday, a player was telling us a story about the end of the Solheim Cup in Wales where I guess you and some other players went to a par 3 and played it in the dark.
Q. Do you recall that?
JANE GEDDES: I do remember, believe it or not. It was very late at night. Yeah, that was kind of how we celebrated, because it was the par 3 that we couldn't hit the green during the day, so we decided we were going to try to see if we could hit it at night. It was a very long, difficult par 3, and it happened to be right near where we were staying.
Q. Is that your most memorable --
JANE GEDDES: It's one of my memories. That was part of our celebration that night.
PATTY SHEEHAN: That was the same night that Beth Daniel fell off the cart and hit herself so she didn't get to play.
Q. Just being curious, was Beth at all on your radar screen coming into this week, and how has her play this week changed your thinking about her in the Solheim Cup?
PATTY SHEEHAN: I have always thought of Beth Daniel as one of the best match play players that I have known in my life, and I have been certainly watching what's been going on, and she, right now, is in the 16th spot. If she holds on and wins or finishes up there high, then she will certainly zoom up there in the points.
I am hoping that she will hang on and win, and I am hoping that she wins in great style, like she knows how.
You can't count a player like Beth Daniel out of the thinking, out of the mix. So yeah, you know, it's a little early to really be pinpointing players that I am going to pick, but certainly it would help Beth out tremendously if she were to win and zoom up, and she would be on the team.
Q. If both of you could comment, I am wondering, Beth Daniel has been around now as a pro golfer for a long, long time, and I know you have both known her. Could you give me your thoughts, each of you, on her being in contention here and possibly winning this tournament at
PATTY SHEEHAN: Well, I have the utmost respect for Beth and her abilities, and as a player, in my mind, she was the best player that I played against on tour, above and over anybody else. She was the best. If she had not had as many injuries as she had had in her career, she certainly would have won many, many more tournaments, and she, by far, to me, was the best that I played against.
JANE GEDDES: I can't disagree, obviously, with Patty on that, but I was paired with Beth last week in Chicago, and every time you play with her, it -- I am always in awe.
And I have known Beth since I was 17 years old, and I have watched her swing at the ball for a very, very long time, and I am still in awe, and she was amazing last week. She shot a very simple 3 under par that could have probably been 6 or 7 under, and I watched her all day yesterday on TV and watched her swing at it, and it's amazing.
Once she gets going like she is going right now, I think if she doesn't make mistakes and she kind of keeps up that sort of attitude, and keeps the putter going, rolling well like she is this week, and I think she feels very good with her putter right now.
Last week she looked great with her, which is a big feat for her, which makes her feel that much better about her game and herself. When she gets like this, she looks and plays unbeatable.
Q. Patty, what is it that she has that other people don't have?
JANE GEDDES: She has the most beautiful golf swing ever, for one thing.
PATTY SHEEHAN: Yeah, she is a great competitor. She hits the ball extremely solid, you know, time after time. She hits a high ball, which I know is helping her this week, and, you know, when you have firm, fast greens, you need to hit the ball up in the air a great deal and drop it. The low-ball hitters are not going to be too successful on courses like these.
But she is -- she repeats her golf swing, her golf swing has not changed at all, from what I remember, as a young amateur. She is very good, she knows the game inside and out, she knows the rules, she knows the etiquette, she knows just about everything there is to know about the game of golf, and she has a tremendous amount of respect for the game where some of the other players may not have as much hutzpa as she has.
Q. For like the older generation of golfers, for someone -- you know, Beth, at age 45, to win, would this be like a huge boost?
PATTY SHEEHAN: She would be my hero, I will tell you. 45, she would be the oldest major winner by a couple years, wouldn't she? I mean, that's pretty amazing. And it doesn't surprise me one bit that she is playing as well as she is right now. She is -- like I said, she is by far the best that I have seen.
Q. Because, I mean, you hear so much about, like, all these young up-and-coming golfers and stuff who are taking the tour by storm. Would this kind of, I don't know, I don't want to say "put them in their place," but be something like that?
PATTY SHEEHAN: For a week it might. They don't like to be put down too often, and they bounce back pretty quickly, but it would be tremendous for her to win, and I don't know what more I can say about Beth Daniel other than I just think she is one of the best I have ever seen.
Q. Could you explain maybe why the public wouldn't have recognized how exceptional she is? If I went out to the public and asked, I don't think they would mention Beth Daniel as the player in women's golf.
PATTY SHEEHAN: Well, you have to look at one other person that has overshadowed's Beth Daniel's career, and that's Nancy Lopez. And I have always said that Beth was a better player than Nancy, it's just that Nancy had the support from the galleries, and it's amazing how much of a difference it makes in your game and your attitude and your self-worth when people go out and root for you, and I know that Beth has been unfairly in the shadow of Nancy Lopez, and it's unfortunate for Beth because she really deserves a lot more respect and admiration than she has gotten in her career.
Q. Does Betsy King also fit into the radar, the way she is --
PATTY SHEEHAN: You know, Betsy played extremely well for a period of time. It took her a little while to get going on tour before she won tournaments. Betsy is -- Betsy has not had the injury problems that I know of that Beth has had. She is also one of the best competitors that I have ever played with.
You know, I don't want to say anything derogatory. Betsy has been a great player and I have always respected her abilities and the way that she has handled herself on the tour tremendously. She really is a -- she is just -- she is a very classy person, and Beth is a little bit more emotional than -- outwardly, than Betsy, so sometimes -- because of her emotion and her desire to do well and win tournaments, some people saw that as possibly a negative, but it was always a positive from my point of view for her.
Q. Well, I was wondering more as far as her also being for the Solheim. Would she -- she has won within the last year, and she is 45, and --
PATTY SHEEHAN: 40-something.
Q. Yeah, 40-something.
PATTY SHEEHAN: Well, you know, like I said, it's hard to discount a player like a Beth Daniel or Betsy King, for that matter, and if Betsy starts playing better, then certainly we will be looking at her.
Q. What do you think of the team that, as it shapes up with, let's say, the younger players, 20-something?
PATTY SHEEHAN: We have got young players in there, we have got like young ones and older ones, and not a lot in between. Very exciting for the younger players, and they are all jazzed, they are really excited and stoked to come and play the Solheim Cup. They have been watching it for years, and some of them have played the golf course, they know what it's all about, and they are going to be -- they are going to be so excited. They don't understand what it's all about yet.
JANE GEDDES: I think it's a big transition year for the LPGA, really. I think with the younger players -- these younger players, they have been kind of there for the last few years, and I think these are the players that you guys are going to be talking about in the next ten years, and they are going to be the older players after a while.
These girls, they are the real things. They can play and they are -- like Patty said, they are ready to go, and they are competitive, and it's serious, and they want to be on the team, they are not just happening into it, they are working hard to be on the team, and I think it's a great transition for the LPGA, and I think the combination of older and younger players on this team is very interesting, and I think it will really define the next couple years for the tour.
Q. Well, how important is it to have an older player or two in the mix?
JANE GEDDES: I think it's very important. I think the experience playing -- like Patty said, these players don't even really know what they got themselves into yet. I don't think you know that until you get there, and you experience the pressure, and everything that goes along with the Solheim and the team aspect of it.
It's just a totally different atmosphere than what we play week in and week out. It's the greatest experience of any golfer's career, I would say. I would say if anybody said it wasn't, I would be very surprised, so I think the combination of people that have been there and the younger players is a very, very important mix for success.
Q. How much easier is it to make your debut at home, do you think, than away? Or how much easier is it to play at home or away?
JANE GEDDES: I think it would always be easier to play at home. I mean, the support from the American crowd will be, obviously, important to the success of the team, and I know when I played on it, the one time, I played away, and it was different. It wasn't really what -- you know, you have to be a lot stronger, and you have to be stronger mentally, and you have to be sort of prepared for that, whereas when you are there and you are getting the support from the crowd, it helps. As Patty said, with Nancy, anytime you have the support of the crowd and people backing you, it certainly makes for a more positive experience.
Q. What is the word on Dottie? Is she going to be fit?
JANE GEDDES: She is playing first week -- in Rochester, I think.
PATTY SHEEHAN: No, what I heard was ShopRite. I haven't heard a lot about Dottie, and I have talked to her periodically, but she says she is rehabbing wonderfully, and she is getting ready to start. I know she -- as everyone knows, she is very excited about playing golf again, and I know that she has spent enough time rehabbing and healing from her surgery, that she is doing it the right way, and not come out too soon.
And I know that she will be very ready to start, and that's probably putting it lightly. She is probably eating raw meat every night, you know, as we know Dottie. Maybe even a big leg bone from a cow or something. I don't know. Might be a big thing.
Q. Are there any more questions?
PATTY SHEEHAN: Thanks again for coming, I appreciate it, and go out and enjoy the day and come to the Solheim Cup.
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