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August 18, 2009

Paula Creamer

Natalie Gulbis

Juli Inkster


MIKE SCANLAN: Thanks for coming in. Welcome to the 2009 Solheim Cup at Rich Harvest Farms. This is the first press conference of the week. On my immediate left, Natalie Gulbis, a three-time U.S. Solheim Cup team member; on my next left, Paula Creamer, also a three-time member from California; and all the way at the end, Juli Inkster making her eighth appearance, a World Golf Hall-of-Famer, and she's tied with Meg Mallon for the most points scored by a U.S. player in Solheim Cup history. So Juli, as the veteran, how does it feel to be here in Sugar Grove this week?
JULI INKSTER: It feels great. We're having a great time. Meg and Beth are doing a great job keeping us loose, a lot of activities. We have "Pin the Tail on the Donkey" and "Ring Around the Rosy," so it's kind of great. (Laughter).
No, we've had a lot of fun. It's a great group of gals, and the course, the whole setup being right out here at the golf course is fun, having some late-night putting contests, some putting, some talks, so it's been good.
MIKE SCANLAN: Paula, your third Solheim Cup. Everybody knows you love playing for the USA. Just talk about being back here.
PAULA CREAMER: This is always the highlight of my career and always has been. I look forward to this every two years.
It's exciting. This is a great golf course. It's a great match play event, and like Juli said, being on -- we call it campus, being on campus is really neat, being able to walk out on the driving range, walk out onto the putting green, just the whole atmosphere, it's just a great venue.
MIKE SCANLAN: Nat, also a third time on the team, if you would, just talk about being here and what this means to you.
NATALIE GULBIS: I think being on the team is the best part of this week. We play an individual sport where we're competing against each other week in and week out, and to be able to come together and play with these best players in the world and be wearing the American colors and playing for the United States and playing in front of these fans, but it's all the interaction stuff with the team, from the practice rounds to coming up here in a couple days to the matches.

Q. For any and all who want to address this, how would you describe this property for somebody who's never seen it? Not the golf course so much, but everything around it.
JULI INKSTER: A lot. It's a lot of property. (Laughter).
It's very spread out. You know, he has a lot of different things. He has a car warehouse, he's got a horse farm, he's got a plantation house. He's got the rooms we're staying in, plus he's got a clubhouse. He's got a lot of property. He's got three or four ponds out there that are stocked with fish. So it's kind of like a vacation retreat, so you can do pretty much whatever you want.
NATALIE GULBIS: It has everything out here. I know some of the girls have done everything from horseback riding. We went and fished, some of the girls went and took bike rides around. We had our opening party last night at a car museum that had these amazing cars, and then it's got this great golf course, too. It's really beautiful, this whole area. Everywhere you look it's just really, really pretty.

Q. Because you're staying so close together, is there interaction with the Europeans? What's it like when we're not around here? Does that make for a better rivalry kind of thing?
JULI INKSTER: You know, they're on the other side. We're in the step houses over there (laughter), so we try not to interact with the little people (laughter).
But no, we haven't seen them much. They're kind of doing their own thing and we're doing our own thing, and we kind of meet on the driving range and on the putting green.
PAULA CREAMER: The first time we saw them was probably today on the driving range. We haven't really run into each other at all.
JULI INKSTER: Like I said, the place is so big, so they have their team room where they eat, so...

Q. Juli, this is the longest course to stage a Solheim Cup. With the heavy rains over the weekend, how much longer is it playing in practice, and do you think it favors one team more than the other?
JULI INKSTER: Well, it is drying out. You know, they've got some good holes out there. But they're the type of holes you've got to shape the shot.
You know, I think -- well, the Europeans have a very long team. They all hit the ball -- most of them hit the ball extremely long. So it would probably favor them on the par-5s. But we've got a few girls that can bomb it, too.
Basically in match play it comes down to who makes the most putts. They've got a great -- they've got I think one of their best teams they've ever had is this year.

Q. If you could just describe the course itself. Does it remind you of any other courses you guys might play on Tour or any other courses?
PAULA CREAMER: It's a pretty wide-open golf course. You miss the fairways, you're in very thick rough. These greens are humongous. I think it comes down to somebody with great iron, the ability to take a little off, put a little bit more on irons, put them in the right sections of these greens. The speed of these greens, hopefully by Friday they want them to be around a 12. They can definitely get to that. I think that they're very close.
But it's all going to come down to who gives themselves more chances for birdies; somebody that can drive the ball is going to be able to put themselves in position the most.

Q. Also for whoever wants to address this, how does the atmosphere of the Solheim Cup differ from a regular Tour event, not so much -- maybe you'll be more nervous from the team aspect, but in terms of interaction with the fans and how involved the fans get how much red, white and blue is all over the place?
PAULA CREAMER: Solheim Cup for me is all about the fans. It's unbelievable the interaction you can have as team players. When you're standing on the tee box and in the fairway, you can motivate everybody so much by just hands in the air, whereas normally you're walking down the fairway you're focused on what you're doing, but we need the fans. It's all about that camaraderie and that patriotism we're going out there and playing for.
JULI INKSTER: They're our sixth man out there this week. We need them out there.

Q. Just to follow up on fans, I understand at least half the people who are going to be here this week are actually from out of state. Juli, you've played in a bunch of these, and this is your third for the other two. Do you recognize the same fans?
JULI INKSTER: I'm not that good, no.

Q. The group has a following, though.
JULI INKSTER: Yeah, they say we haven't missed one, this is our whatever Solheim. You kind of see the same -- some of the same people out here, but there's so many people out here that it's hard to recognize even your family. (Laughter).
They tell you how many they've been to, and then you say, "thanks for coming," "thanks for coming out and supporting us."

Q. Can you talk about how this event, how this is your eighth one, how it has evolved as far as the following and the atmosphere since playing your first one?
JULI INKSTER: It's been great. It's great that the Solheims give us this opportunity to have this opportunity. I think it's very important for women's golf to have a tournament like this and to keep it going.
Like Paula said, here she's one or two or three in the world, and she said this is her favorite tournament to play in. It's great for Michelle Wie just having her first tournament, to give them the opportunity to play in something like this for your country besides playing for yourself. There's no greater reward or thrill than doing that and doing that with 11 other teammates.
We don't get to play team sports, so this is our team sport. The Solheims have been awesome. They've dumped a lot of money in starting out to get this thing going, and it's our job to keep it going. With your help and with the fans and the players' compassion for this tournament, hopefully it'll live on for a long time.

Q. Paula, you've had quite a bit of a journey already to the Solheim Cup. How important was it on your debut in '05 to have someone of that experience in your corner, and do you remember how nervous you were when you hit your first shot?
PAULA CREAMER: Luckily my first shot was in the fairway. I didn't have to tee off that day. Actually my first couple matches were with veterans. My first one was with Beth Daniel and then I played with Juli that afternoon.
But it was very important. I was 19. I felt like this was just the highlight of my career. My goal was to make that team. I wanted to make it outright, and I did. Being paired with Juli and Beth was probably one of the coolest moments I've ever had on the golf course. Just being out there watching her dance, you see this growing up and you see Juli out there on the green.
But it's an amazing week, it really is. There's so many memories that we have that we can all take. It really means so much to everybody in red, white and blue.

Q. Any highlights from the practice round in terms of anything funny or interesting? Any good interaction with fans or anybody young, anything like that?
JULI INKSTER: I won some money from Natalie today.
NATALIE GULBIS: I haven't paid up yet.

Q. How much?
JULI INKSTER: Fast payments, fast friends.
NATALIE GULBIS: We cannot disclose amounts, but I will be dipping into the wallet today. (Laughter).
PAULA CREAMER: There hasn't been any -- I played with Christina today. That's always very entertaining.
NATALIE GULBIS: I think one of the cool things about this week is not only do we have our practice rounds together, but we do everything together as a team, whether it's having team dinners, or last night people are playing games.
We had half of them in the team trailer that were playing games, and the other half of us were on the putting green until the very last moment when we had a team meeting, and we just do everything as a team. It's not like when we get off the golf course we go into the room by ourselves. We love this week.
JULI INKSTER: I mean, it's like last night, we're on the putting green, and Morgan brings out her computer, and we're playing some songs, and Michelle is breaking it down. It was pretty funny. Just stuff like that, you can't put a price on, just little things like that that you get to share with your teammates.
NATALIE GULBIS: We're saying how great would it be if we played together as a team every single week. It's a great week.
MIKE SCANLAN: All right, ladies, thanks so much.

End of FastScripts

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