With a year to go until The 2013 Solheim Cup, US Team Captain Meg Mallon and past players Stacy Lewis and Angela Stanford joined European Captain Liselotte Neumann and former players Anna Nordqvist and Sandra Gal for a media day at Colorado Golf Club in the USA.
|US Captain Meg Mallon
Kraig Kann: MEG MALLON, your thoughts on being a captain and what it means to you personally and professionally.
MEG MALLON: Well it obviously means the world to me. Having been in eight Solheim Cup teams and an assistant captain to Beth Daniel, it’s truly my favorite event in golf. We play an individual sport and to not only play for a team but also your country is an amazing experience. When you hear to the national anthem and when you tee up on the first hole, there’s nothing like it. We get to come to Colorado and the Colorado Golf Club, I worked with Mike McGetrick a long time teaching here in Denver and was a big part of this golf course so this is a great full circle moment for me and I’m just thrilled to be a part of it.
Kraig Kann: Liselotte you’re the captain of the team and you’re going to try to repeat the feat, which is not an easy thing to do. It’s something that’s never been done for a European team to come here to the U.S. and win. How do you feel about that?
LISELOTTE NEUMANN: Well it’s going to be a challenge. I think we are all up for it. We’re here to try to make history and it’ll be the first time so we’re putting in a lot of time to make a good team. We’re really looking forward to playing at the Colorado Golf Club and try to defend our title and make history.
Kraig Kann: What does it mean to you personally? You have a terrific career.
LISELOTTE NEUMANN: Yeah, I mean it’s been awesome. I was assistant captain in 2009 and to be captain this year, I mean that’s a very special feeling and just an honor and the topping on the cake for my career after playing. It’s great timing.
Kraig Kann: So let me set the record straight, we told you on our live chat yesterday on LPGA.com, Liselotte and Meg are good friends. There’s no animosity there, it’s going to be a competitive battle, we know that. Less than a year to the 2013 Solheim Cup, we mentioned that already, but the points cut off and the team announcements for both sides will actually occur at next year’s RICOH British Open. So that will be July 28, very close up to here coming here to Colorado, which might create a build up for next year. So that will be interesting.
Let’s get to Anna and Sandra, what’s the recipe that Liselotte needs as captain because you all were there last time on a victorious team. Let’s go with the recipe for success, the most important things that you all learned from the last go around that you think you need to duplicate.
ANNA NORDQVIST: I think team Europe had great team chemistry, and obviously playing on home soil and playing their hearts out. I think it’s very important to have that.
SANDRA GAL: I don’t have much to add on to what Anna said. I was amazed how well we stuck together as a team and we had so much fun at the tournament when everyone was together. We were all just fighting for one thing and I think if we can keep that going for next year, which will be more important playing on U.S. soil. We’ll make a good run for it.
Kraig Kann: Stacy you are No. 2 in the world right now, which is quite a feat. You’ve had a tremendous season, so there are a lot of stories being written about you as an individual and your great talent. This is a team game. What’s that like to join together with 11 other and try to earn something special?
STACY LEWIS: It’s completely different. Last year was my first team and to be able to play with your teammates. It’s different because you want to win it for them, you’re not just playing for yourself. It was a lot of fun even though things didn’t end the way we wanted them to last year. I know I’m trying to get points every week and try to be on the team for next year so we can take it back.
Kraig Kann: Angela, you’re the most experienced player on this stage and probably one of the players on the Solheim Cup for the next go around. What was it like flying home without the cup? Give folks a sense of the feelings that you all had.
ANGELA STANFORD: Well I always said it’s a lot like the Super Bowl. People try so hard to get there and it’s such an amazing time and it’s a great event. When you lose, all of the sudden it doesn’t matter. So that’s the ultimate goal. I remember telling Paula Creamer, “You’re never going to want that feeling.” So I’d like to keep playing on the teams and not have that feeling. And she said “you’re right, I never want to have this feeling again.” It’s amazing how much we enjoy the week of Solheim but in the end, if you’re not holding that cup, you want the next two years to go by quick because you want another chance.
Kraig Kann: We’re expecting more than 100,000 spectators. We’ll take 200,000 if you bring a lot of friends to the event. How much do fans impact in a home game for you?
MEG MALLON: Tremendous impact. If you’ve ever been to a Solheim Cup you’ll see it on the first tee. It’s even different than the Ryder Cup. The Ryder Cup has a wonderful atmosphere but we have one of our own unique experience, like we’re singing on the first tee. And they’re singing songs in Europe and singing songs in American. As soon as that first person tees off you can hear a pin drop. And as soon as they hit it, they are singing and chanting again. So there’re nothing like it.
Kraig Kann: I think we can expect you all to bring your own spectators across the pond. Playing I front of everybody, what’s that like from a visitors side?
LISELOTTE NEUMANN: We it’s hard to bring a lot of people over from Europe, obviously. But we’ve actually made some connections and met a lot of people here so maybe we turned them into fans. Maybe we’ll put in an ad and try to get some fans out here.
Kraig Kann: How would you describe the rivalry on both sides. You’ve played on one Solheim Cup. What was that like for you as a rookie last year?
SANDRA GAL: We’ll it was very intense actually. I think we get along quite well off the course during regular events but I think that’s the only field that adds tension. Once the Solheim Cup came around, we stayed at the same hotel but different floors and we never crossed those boarders. So it will probably be the same next year.
But I thought it was very special definitely a huge rivalry comes with big stars. Everyone just wants that cup.
Kraig Kann: Do you guys want to say something to the other side?
|Angela Stanford and Stacy Lewis
ANGELA STANFORD: I think it’s the same. We see each other week in and week out on Tour and it is kind of a good feeling. We play against each other all year and that one week, you get to come together as 12 and you root for those people that you want to beat every week. It’s a different feeling and by far my favorite event also. Those lines are definitely drawn and it’s fun to have that rivalry.
Kraig Kann: By the way we do have some breaking news this morning involving one of the captain here on this stage, which we will get to in a few moments. Are there any questions from the audience?
Q. We heard a little bit from Meg on this, but for people in Colorado who may not have seen any major team events. How do they differ from a Tour event or championship?
SANDRA GAL: I personally think it’s the biggest event, you really can’t compare it to a regular Tour event or major. Obviously coming from inside the ropes but you can see how involved the fans are in the tournament. They dress up and chant songs like Meg was saying. You get goose bumps when you’re there. You just have to see it.
Q. All four on the stage participated at the Broadmoor. How tough it is to play in this altitude?
STACY LEWIS: I would say that within a couple days you can usually adjust to it. The first day is usually pretty tough. Angela and I actually came out in July and played twice. I think by the second round we kind of had it figured out. The ball even goes a little bit further here than it did at the Broadmoor. It’ll definitely be a challenge. But once you get in the groove, by the end of the week we’ll be fine.
Q. How are the teams coming along?
MEG MALLON: Well the top five are pretty solid on our team right now but after that it’s wide open. It’s fair game. For the young Americans and there’s a lot of points still to get. So I’m really looking forward to seeing who sets up. We have a really good young crop of Americans coming up. We were captains for the Junior Solheim Cup in Ireland last year so we saw a lot of great, young talent for both Europe and the United States. It’s a pretty exciting time for women’s golf. We’ve got veterans like ANGELA STANFORD and Cristie Kerr playing and then we’ve got young players like Lexi Thompson that are trying to earn some points and play as well. It’s going to be fun.
Q. I’m curious what you all think about having this course as a venue for a match play event.
STACY LEWIS: I think this course it great for match play. There’s so much risk-reward at the golf course. Especially with those reachable par 5s you’ll definitely see a few eagles out there. I think down the stretch when matches are tight you’re going to see a lot happen through 15, 16, 17, 18 stretch.
Kraig Kann: Liselotte has an announcement to make.
LISELOTTE NEUMANN: I thought I would do the announcement of my vice captains right now. And I picked both of them. The first one is Carin Koch from Sweden and my second will be Annika Sorenstam.
Kraig Kann: Meg thoughts on these choices.
MEG MALLON: Wow. I fully expected Carin Koch. She’s had a tremendous history at the Solheim Cup and very involved with Swedish golf. Annika, obviously involved in Ireland as an assistant and great that she’ll get to do that again. That’s a wonderful boost for the event.