|The European Team took the early 3-1 lead on Friday in their bid to win the Solheim Cup for the first time on U.S. soil.
Anna Nordqvist, Caroline Hedwall
Beatriz Recari, Suzann Pettersen
Azahara Munoz, Karine Icher
Jessica Korda, Morgan Pressel
Paula Creamer, Cristie Kerr
Team Europe, Anna Nordqvist & Caroline Hedwall
Q. First tee shot was perfect. Tell us how nerve wracking was that first tee shot for you?
ANNA NORDQVIST: I wasn’t really that nervous. I was just so excited. I’ve been looking forward to this day for so long, and we all worked so hard to get here, so it was just so exciting to see that many people on the first tee.
Q. Caroline, you played perfect golf, you two, today. Just tell us about the two 3‑putts. Because for us watching, the greens seemed ludicrously quick. Explain how quick they are.
CAROLINE HEDWALL: You can’t really describe how quick they are. I think I hit it pretty soft, and it still just rolls out forever.
Q. Have either of you ever putted on greens this quick?
CAROLINE HEDWALL: Definitely not.
This is the quickest I’ve ever played.
Q. So you got the team off to the perfect spot. Do you hope you play again in the afternoon?
CAROLINE HEDWALL: I don’t know, we felt pretty good this morning and whatever the captains pick for this afternoon will be perfect.
Q. How important was it to get that first point on the board?
CAROLINE HEDWALL: Any point we can get is important and I think, I mean, for our teammates coming behind us, it’s just nice to see a European point early.
Q. Did you watch what was going on behind you? Did you see the momentum rolling back?
CAROLINE HEDWALL: Yeah, I know the standings.
Q. How important was it for you to get that first point? Was that a goal?
CAROLINE HEDWALL: Absolutely, we’re all trying to take care of our own match and definitely getting off to a good start really helps.
Team Europe, Suzann Pettersen & Beatriz Recari
Q. First experience of Solheim Cup. Describe the thrill for me.
BEATRIZ RECARI: Incredible thrill. I have won before, but this tops it. This is so amazing to be able to be part of a team and to get a point, I mean this is just a lot more than just the satisfaction you get for a personal win.
And it was an honor to play with such an amazing player as Suzann. She – you can always count on her, and she really putted incredibly well. And so I think that we’re just really happy to get the first points or another point for Europe today.
Q. Suzann, you have had a number of partners, you played 20 matches and only lost five. How good was this one?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: She’s a rock star. She’s so solid. She’s the one you can count on when it really matters. She stepped it up today. I’m really proud of her.
I got goose bumps. For her to get her first point on American soil is massive and a great start and I think that it’s worked out pretty well. So we trust each other and we just deliver for each other and it’s just an amazing feeling.
Q. Most people say they never feel any pressure like Solheim Cup pressure. How was it out there?
BEATRIZ RECARI: It’s the most pressure I ever felt. Because it’s not only for you, it’s for a team and it’s for something greater than yourself. So you have a little extra pressure to hit the shots.
But again, it was great to play with her. And like I said, you can always count on her, but always just having her by your side, it calms you down as well. So just I think it was a solid match.
Team Europe, Azahara Munoz & Karine Icher
Q. What an unbelievable display of putting, golf, you guys were fantastic. Aza, Karine, how do you feel about this moment right now?
AZAHARA MUNOZ: It feels amazing. It’s always nerve wracking to get on the first tee. But we played well from the beginning and we had an amazing stretch on 8, 9 and 10 making bombs. So that was huge for us.
And then after that we just kept plugging along and we just did our job.
KARINE ICHER: They’re really good players. We played against the number, what? They’re in the top‑10 in the world. So it was great to win this match and I think that I found a friend forever.
AZAHARA MUNOZ: Karine played amazing. So I couldn’t miss that one.
Q. Do you feel this was a great partnership? It sure looked as though you were having a lot of fun out there.
AZAHARA MUNOZ: We did really well. My boyfriend and her husband get along really well. So it was fun to be out there. And we trust each other and can talk about anything out on the course. So it was really nice.
KARINE ICHER: Yeah, it was a good team, a good pairing.
AZAHARA MUNOZ: Thanks, Lotta.
KARINE ICHER: Yeah, thanks, Lotta.
An Interview with:
AZAHARA MUNOZ & KARINE ICHER
THE MODERATOR: Congratulations, at that Aza and Karine, you had a fantastic victory this morning in the foursomes. Obviously 1‑2‑1 over the top U.S. players, Paula Creamer and Cristie Kerr. Can you just talk about how that felt to pull off that victory this morning.
AZAHARA MUNOZ: It felt amazing. I think it's really important for us to get going with a strong start, and we all did it. We were 3‑1. It was really nice from the beginning seeing all the blue on the leaderboard. So I think that we kind of fed off each other and it kept us going.
THE MODERATOR: Same question.
KARINE ICHER: Same way, yeah. It was important to win the first hole and we were up for many holes, until we had a good stretch on 7, 8, 9, 10.
AZAHARA MUNOZ: 8, 9, 10.
KARINE ICHER: 8, 9, 10. Yeah.
THE MODERATOR: So what's the feeling in the team room now? You holed a great putt on 17 to get the European team 3‑1 ahead. What's the feeling in the team room?
KARINE ICHER: Confidence.
AZAHARA MUNOZ: Yeah, it's really good. But it's only the morning. We still have so many more golf to play and everything can change really quickly. So it's really good to feel confident about what we did and feel that we can beat the Americans. But at the same time we just have to keep playing how we are and just focus on the present.
THE MODERATOR: Questions?
Q. Talk about the putt on 17. It seemed like they had so much momentum that if it went to 18 it was going to be even tougher. So for Karine, how difficult was it to get that ball even remotely close to the hole from where you were and then at that for holing it?
KARINE ICHER: The greens were super fast. On the 17th I had no way to put it closer or just to play with the slope and get the ball dead exactly where you have to be. So I thought, okay, I have to give her like the opportunity to make the second putt. So give her a putt uphill on the second putt. So I did it. And she had a really good putt.
AZAHARA MUNOZ: She left it in the easiest spot to make it. And as she said, the putt was really long and it was breaking so much that there was no way she was going to hit it any closer. So she did the best she could. It was just a really tough putt.
KARINE ICHER: Even on the tee shot it was super hard to be pin high. Cristie had a really good shot and the ball ran forever. And then so Aza, she tried to play with the slope and the ball stopped, so.
Q. Did you guys speak French or Spanish out there?
KARINE ICHER: English.
AZAHARA MUNOZ: We tried, but English.
Q. The putts on 8, 9 and 10 all looked like they were above the hole. Could you guys just go down the list and tell us what you were looking at on those three?
AZAHARA MUNOZ: Yeah, on 8 it wasn't that much downhill, but you go through that one.
KARINE ICHER: Yeah, I told her I'm going to go with the speed and just focus on the speed. And I thought Paula had a really hard bunker shot to do and she played it perfectly. So then, maybe I changed a little bit my mind, and tried to make it. And I did. So it was lucky. And on 9, you had almost same putt.
AZAHARA MUNOZ: Yeah, on 9 it was really downhill, so the good thing about it, I knew just that I literally hit it like if it was a 2‑footer. So just put it in movement and it was going in, it wasn't even bring breaking that much. She got lucky, because if it went that much shorter it would have gone all the way back. But it just got struck on the front. So I just put it in play and it went in.
Q. The one on 10?
KARINE ICHER: The one on 10, it was a good putt. A little bit uphill, but.
(Laughter.) Not like the 8 or 9 where like you try to find the speed and then the ball went in. On 10 it was just like a good putt, and she put the ball so close to the hole, it was not easy to make, but it was easier than the chip that she had.
Q. Karine, if you can remember from 2002 at Interlachen did it seem louder there because of a smaller golf course than here which is so big?
KARINE ICHER: It's loud. Yeah. It's about the same. I can remember Interlachen, it was very loud too, it was my second year on tour and I was a rookie for the Solheim Cup.
So I was very impressed, but it's fun to play with this crowd and so much people singing or crying or saying your name. It's nice. One time per year it's nice. Should be like this every week on tour. But maybe one day.
Q. Talking of the noise, and we know that the Americans have the sort of big guns out against you, how did you feel going to the first tee and knowing that they were a very strong pairing and they would have so much support?
AZAHARA MUNOZ: I know we played with maybe the best foursome, but you never know. Match play is different. And anybody could play good or bad any day.
So we both knew what we had to play really well and sometimes that's enough and sometimes it's not. But today it was. We played really well and they played well too. They just didn't make enough birdies until the end. Cristie hit amazing shots on 15, 16 and 17.
KARINE ICHER: 16 was really good.
AZAHARA MUNOZ: 14, 15 and 16. So we were getting kind of worried out there, but we made par on 17 to close it out. But, yeah, every match is really hard. Not just because we were playing against Cristie or Paula. You're going to try to give your best, you give your best, it doesn't matter who they are, all 12 of them are really good players.
Q. Who is your favorite Ryder Cup player of all time?
AZAHARA MUNOZ: Ryder Cup? I think I have to say Seve. Otherwise they will kick me out of my country.
AZAHARA MUNOZ: Sergio is probably my favorite, just because I grew up with him. So I love watching him play and in Ryder Cup he always brings his best.
Q. Tell us more about growing up with him.
AZAHARA MUNOZ: Well, when I started playing golf, Sergio was an amateur, but he was winning everything in Europe. So even though he was an amateur, I don't know why, I always liked him a lot. Even if I didn't know him I only knew his name because obviously he wasn't on TV.
And then, when he turned pro he was really young, and then played really well at the PGA, so everybody was always following him. And I've always really liked him.
Q. Do you know him?
AZAHARA MUNOZ: Yeah, a little bit.
Q. Can you talk about the greens a little bit more and did you learn anything today or anything surprise you on the speed of them that you didn't realize the past three days of practice rounds?
KARINE ICHER: They're fast. Very fast. And I think that they're as quick as Tuesday, or Tuesday everybody was surprised that the greens were very fast. And today was the case too. And especially because it's really hot now, and a little bit windy, they're going to dry out and I think that this afternoon they're going to be even quicker.
AZAHARA MUNOZ: It's just so hard to read them because they're so quick and then they have such a subtle breaks that I read a couple completely the wrong way today. So it just, you just have to be patient out there, because no one is really going to make those many putts, it's just really tough.
Q. You said you would like to play this kind of match play all the time? Do you think that we could use more of this in golf in general, more of the match play?
KARINE ICHER: Match play is different, but it's fun to play match play. I think that you don't have any more of the score in your mind and you just go with it and you can make a bogey and win the hole. And that's why everything can happen until the match is done.
We were 4‑up on the 15th tee and 2‑up and 17. So, I mean, and especially on this golf course, where you need sometimes a little bit of luck or a good bounce or a good kick, everything can happen.
Q. Are there more European fans out here than you anticipated?
KARINE ICHER: Yes. Yes.
AZAHARA MUNOZ: They are louder than I anticipated. They're pretty good. I mean, you guys are way many more than us, but they were pretty good out there.
KARINE ICHER: Especially the juniors. The juniors are really, really excited and very good, very loud, and it's bringing us some good energy.
Q. For either one of you, with so many new faces on the team this year, there's not a lot of history in any of the pairings, it's not like they have played together. Can you talk about how you feel like your captain's done in pairing everybody up. Obviously you liked your pairing.
AZAHARA MUNOZ: Obviously I have to say right now that she did really well. But I don't like to say that the captains did well or bad according to the result, because that's how you play that day. It could be the best pairing in the world and then you play bad and you lose.
So for us it worked out really well and I feel like Karine and I are really good to play with each other, because we get along really well and our games are super similar. We hit it maybe the same. Me maybe a little farther from the tee, but very similar.
And I think that, I don't know, I think that Lotta, we tried a few different things and I was actually surprised with some of the foursomes that we did, but they all make sense. So I think she did a really good job.
Q. Who decides whether you paint a flag on your face or not?
AZAHARA MUNOZ: It's a sticker. We decided. They don't make us do it. I just like it.
Q. Before going out did you sort of talk together for a few minutes and sort of have a game plan how you were going to reinforce each other or advise each other?
AZAHARA MUNOZ: Yeah. We knew it was going to be really tough out there. We were playing against Paula and Cristie and Americans love ‑‑ well everybody loves Paula and Cristie ‑‑ so we knew it was going to be really loud out there. But the good thing about it, if you are up, then they can't be so loud. So we just said, let's start playing our best and if we are up, then they won't be so loud and it will be better for us.
But we just said to just keep it to ourself. I know it's going to be tough out there and obviously Americans are going to support the USA team, but we know that coming in here, so we just have to accept it and have fun with it.
KARINE ICHER: And stick on our game plan. We know it's different to play match play and foursome, but she knows what she has to do and I know what I have to do, sometimes on some putts we can talk a little bit and say okay.
Q. Did you ever change each other's mind on something?
AZAHARA MUNOZ: We read couple putts together.
KARINE ICHER: A few putts.
AZAHARA MUNOZ: But we're used to doing things separately and we have our caddies. So we talked before this morning, if we were in doubt, then we would call each other, but then otherwise we would do it with our caddies.
And then on like on 14, she asked me, how far you want in or things like that. But if it's just a shot, then she goes or I go.
KARINE ICHER: We talk a little bit of strategy, but that's it. In English.
Team USA, Jessica Korda & Morgan Pressel
Q. What really got it going for you guys today?
MORGAN PRESSEL: We both played really solid. We made a lot of pars. Alternate shot is a tough to format and a tough golf course.
And Beany and Jodi did not play their best golf, but we were able to capitalize on that and made a lot of good par saves, and some really strong 5‑footers. And I mean that clutch putt she made to win the match, that’s my partner.
Q. Talk about, you’re a rookie, this is your first match. Talk about that experience and just what Morgan was like as a partner.
JESSICA KORDA: I don’t think I would ever want to share this with anybody, but she’s my big little sister. She was great out there. Kept me calm always, like with conversation. And the crowd is unbelievable. This is – it gives me chills walking down every fairway. You hear USA chants all the time and this is a great first experience.
Q. Talk about the first tee. I know you may have been a little nervous, were you as nervous as they said you were going to be?
JESSICA KORDA: No, I was more nervous on the second shot when Morgan was hitting than when I was actually hitting myself. But after I got past the first hole I was pretty okay.
MORGAN PRESSEL: We both struggled a little bit this morning. It’s been two years since I played in the Solheim Cup, playing on home soil, I had a little jitters this morning and I think that’s normal. I think that if you don’t feel that here at this kind of an event, you’re not human.
Team USA, Paula Creamer & Cristie Kerr
Q. You guys were awfully quiet here in the aftermath of defeat. What was the difference in your rounds today?
PAULA CREAMER: We just didn’t make a putt. Started off hitting the ball well, it’s one of those things with this golf course.
Once you start seeing some putts go in, you can make some birdies out there. But we had so many lipouts and it’s just, that’s the way it was. It’s very unfortunate, we grinded it the last several holes, we’re a great team, and we went up against a good team as well. And I think she’s going to look for some revenge this afternoon.
Q. You guys were undefeated up to this point as partners, you hit some great putts today that didn’t go in. Is it one of those things where you start pressing after awhile?
CRISTIE KERR: Just didn’t seem to get any momentum right off the bat. I just couldn’t seem to get any of them to drop. And then missed a couple greens, and they seemed to throw three really long bombs at us on 8, 9 and 10, and we really didn’t get the momentum until our last couple holes and then it’s too late. So you got to get a good start in foursomes.
Q. Just seemed like Korda, one of the rookies, kind of stepped up and played well this afternoon. How big is that?
PAULA CREAMER: Everybody has their role out here of the we’re all here for a reason. As a rookie, your first match out is always a great experience and she’s going to feel a lot more confident going into tomorrow and comfortable. And it’s awesome to see a point up on the board.