USA captain Rosie Jones, playing assistant captain, Juli Inkster, and top U.S. Team point scorer, Morgan Pressell, spoke of their feelings after a tumultuous Solheim Cup that was ripped from their grasp in the final hour’s play at Killeen Castle.
ROSIE JONES: This was really a great week. I couldn't ask for a better team, better experience, a better golf course. Just a lot of fun.
I think our gals played their hearts out. We couldn't ask any more of them. Europe just played better than us in that last 35 minutes. I mean, they played good all week, but they just played better and just took it away, just stripped it. Just took it away in the last 35 minutes of the Solheim Cup.
MIKE SCANLAN: Juli, some thoughts from you as the first ever playing assistant and how you were able to juggle your role.
JULI INKSTER: Rosie's going to say not well (laughing). It's hard because you're a player, and in some ways I kind of felt like I let Rosie down because I can't be two places at once. I never really expected to make this team, and I ended up making it.
I just felt like in the honor of the Solheim Cup that it would be not right to not play and my teammates. So it was a tough decision. I don't think I really helped that much on the golf course, and sometimes I didn't feel like I helped that much off the golf course. But it is what it is, and I tried to do my best.
Rosie did a phenomenal job as captain. She captained just like she played, with a lot of passion, and a lot of heart. Sometimes you just come up a little short. Like she said, the last 35 minutes, they took it away. So you've got to hand it to them. They played well coming down the stretch.
MIKE SCANLAN: Morgan, finally to you. On a very long golf course, you were able to be quite successful. Four points for the U.S. Team. Just talk about the week from the players' perspective?
MORGAN PRESSEL: Yeah, I mean, it was obviously a very disappointing finish, but I do feel like I played well. But Rosie put me out there four times, and I took care of each one of those points, and that was my job.
Everybody had a job this week to go out and get as many points as they could, and I'm definitely very happy with the way I played on this course. I love the tournament. I love the passion and playing for my country, and you know, I ‑‑ I'm done.
ROSIE JONES: Nobody has more heart and wants it more than Morgan. I think just to jump in there, she was ‑‑ she was upset when I didn't play her that first match in foursomes, and we had some long discussions with my assistants on that.
I know that hurt Morgan, but to watch her come back and make those four points after that ‑‑ because we have every intention to get her on that golf course as much as we could. We just didn't think that first day was the right place for her, and it worked out perfectly for her and worked out great for us. She played some great golf.
Q. Just on the Cristie Kerr situation. How much of a blow was that to your team? Are you second guessing yourself a little bit about perhaps not resting her yesterday? I believe you said something about that earlier?
ROSIE JONES: Not second guessing myself. Cristie and I were in cahoots the entire time, the entire tournament, basically, about her wrist. She let me know about it, and we were doing everything we could to make sure that she was in tip top shape to play. When it came down to playing, she was ready. She felt good. She played well, and she wanted to go again.
I checked with her every single match to make sure. Right before, that was my last thing I did right before I submitted my pairings was to check on Cristie, because she was playing in some of the last matches, to make sure she was ready to go. She felt good. She played well.
Unfortunately, overnight the inflammation was too much and we lost the opportunity for her to play today. You know, you never know when that's going to happen. I've been injured a lot in the last ten years in my career and sometimes you wake up and you just have a new little kink. Her little kink got worse overnight, and that's basically what happened.
Q. The quality of play, especially today, was really awesome, and matches were won and not lost, and there were a lot of birdies out there. Can you talk a little bit about what that says in the state of the women's game right now, and the state of this event?
ROSIE JONES: Well, like you said, they were won and not lost. There was some great golf. Pettersen finishing three birdies to take that match. So many matches like Hedwall just playing, just keep playing, just picking at it coming down to the very end. It's very difficult to watch that happen.
At the same time, I applaud both teams for the great play they did, not only just today in all this crummy weather and the delays that we had, the long golf course, the tough greens, to see all those great shots coming into those greens and under the extreme pressure that this tournament gives you, it was awesome to watch. It's like a great tribute to women's golf, like you said.
These gals always step it up. They always amplify their game when it comes to the Solheim Cup, and that's how much they love this event and they want to play for their country.
Q. Rosie, I saw you go over and talk to Ryann right after the match. Can you just share a little bit about what you said to encourage her? And second question, is it harder to lose as a captain like this than coming up short as a player individually?
ROSIE JONES: What was the second part? It's always harder to lose.
JULI INKSTER: As a captain or a player.
ROSIE JONES: Oh, you know what? Let's go to the first part. Ryann ‑‑ I saw in Ryann who she was this week, and I knew that she could be that player. It was really fun to watch that come out here and to be a part of our team, this team, her team. It was unbelievable.
You want every young player to have that, are and I applaud Vicky Hurst too. She came out after I sat her down yesterday. That's a hard thing to do, sit down all day long. Then she came out and won her match.
I am so proud of those picks because they had a lot of pressure on them to come in as rookies and to give to this team, and that's what they did.
Second part of your question is I think it's really hard to lose no matter what. You know, as a player you're going to come back and have a chance at it again. And you know what, I don't think I'm going to have that. There are too many great captains behind me.
It was just a proud, proud way to end my career with the LPGA and representing this team. I know that those captains and those players behind me are going to bring this cup back in 2013. 13 happens to be my favorite number, and that's how many points we had today, and I just can't believe it. I was born on Friday the 13th, and I have 13 wins, and now we've got 13 points.
But, it is, it's not fun to lose any way. But I'm proud. I'm still proud of the job I did, the job this team did, and I'm proud to be associated with this tournament.
Q. So, Juli, I have to ask. We're going to see you on this team again in two more years?
ROSIE JONES: She's got points.
MORGAN PRESSEL: I will say it was one of the greatest moments watching Juli finish her match today with that unbelievable bunker shot. Afterwards she walked over to us and said, "I am never playing again ."
JULI INKSTER: Ever.
MORGAN PRESSEL: That's what she said last year.
JULI INKSTER: No, last time it was no, I'm not playing. This time ever.
Q. I think I first wrote that in '03.
MORGAN PRESSEL: I can't wait to play for her.
ROSIE JONES: Maybe I'll be playing in 2013 (laughing).
JULI INKSTER: There you go. There you go. Bring it on. It's your lucky number. A captain's pick.
ROSIE JONES: You can hit it a long way in Denver.
JULI INKSTER: But no, no, the answer to that question is no. You know what? I have thoroughly enjoyed every Solheim, and every Solheim has been different. I love these kids that are on this team. I mean, they're classics. They're a lot of fun. They make sure that I'm straight and narrow and I make sure they're straight and narrow.
You know, it's just time for the younger players to start playing. Just looking at Ryann O'Toole and Vicky Hurst, and you know, Morgan. Morgan played with Ryann.
ROSIE JONES: She used to be the young player.
JULI INKSTER: Did you play best ball or alternate shot?
MORGAN PRESSEL: Alternate shot.
JULI INKSTER: I said to Morgan, you're 23 and you've got a lead out there. I'm like what am I saying? 23. But it's great to see the young American golfers coming up and playing so well. It's fun.