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Neumann, Sorenstam and Koch reflect on Europe’s stunning Ryder Cup victory
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The 2013 European Solheim Cup Captain Liselotte Neumann

We asked the 2013 European Solheim Cup Captain Liselotte Neumann and her assistant captains Annika Sorenstam and Carin Koch to give their thoughts on the incredible European Ryder Cup victory at Medinah.

1.       In your opinion, what was the key to this extraordinary European victory?

  • LN: The key was that they never gave up and they believed that they could still win it after Saturday's matches.  Also, they played for something bigger, which was Seve's memory.
  • AS: Patience, trust, teamwork, persistence and guts.
  • CK: Incredible determination!  Everyone believed and tried to win their point. Putts dropped for the US the first two days and for the Euros Sunday.

2.       Who do you think were the most important European players during the event? And gave the best performance?

  • LN: Ian Poulter was probably the key player and delivered the last match on Saturday, which kept them in it.
  • CK: Poulter for turning the match on Saturday and Sunday, just what the team needed!   I also think Rose winning on Sunday was at a critical time in the matches.

3.       Who do you think has been the most important USA players during the event? And best performance?

  • LN: Keegan Bradley and Phil Mickelson were a great team and Dustin Johnson won all of his matches.

4.       Is there any player (Europe or USA) who you would expect a better performance from?

  • LN: Surprisingly Stricker and Woods delivered only delivered 1/2 point between them. 
  • AS: A few, for the US Team Stricker, Woods and Furyk and the Euros Westwood, Hanson and Sergio
  • CK: Tiger

5.       Did you like the European strategy and pairings? USA’s strategy?

  • LN: Yes, I liked the European strategy.  Olazabal didn't have a choice but to stack it on Sunday.  However, I was surprised that Tiger was in the last match with the US being up four points.
  • AS: I thought the first two days were pretty predictable. Maybe a few more different combinations than necessary from both teams. I like the Euro singles set up and was a little surprised with the USA line up. I know it’s easy to second guess, but I think it cost them the win. I was also surprised about the course set up and lesser rough.
  • CK: Europe: it is hard to criticise after a win. Personally I was not 100% happy on day one and two, when players that were not performing their best; played every match and others did not get a chance to play. USA: It is always easy afterwards, but I would not have kept playing Stricker/Tiger when they kept losing

6.       If you were Jose Maria Olazabal, is there anything you would have done differently?

  • LN: No (which is easy to say after they won!)

7.       If you were Davis Love III, is there anything you would have done differently?

  • LN: I was surprised to see the Stricker-Woods pairing three times after they lost the first two matches.  
  • AS: Probably just a different singles line up. You can always say that Phil and Keagan should have played the last match Saturday, but who knows if they would have won if they were tired.   

8.       Your speech to players before the final day; if you were Jose Maria Olazabal what would you tell your players to help them face the final day?

  • LN: I would tell them that momentum plays a huge role in match play and to never give up.  This most recent Ryder Cup and the last Solheim Cup prove that it's never over.
  • AS: Never give up, win your point, the US Team has everything to lose. Just play!
  • CK: To get your point. Believe you will win and everyone else will too.  Every player can beat their opponent on any day, everything is possible! Believe in every shot, one at a time.

9.       Did you think that after day 2 and with the score at 6-10, the victory was still possible?

  • LN: Of course, anything is possible since it has been done before.
  • AS: Yes, you always have a chance. But I admit I thought it was slim.

10.   Describe your favourite moment/moments.

  • LN: The strong play on Saturday afternoon by Poulter and his great approach shot into 18 on Sunday.  I also loved Justin Rose's putt on 17, which he made after Mickelson almost chipped it in.  And then of course the clutch winning putt by Kaymer after watching the replay of Langer's missed putt at Kiawah Island.
  • CK: There were 3 moments:
    • Mickelson applauded and gave thumbs up when Rose made his putt I think it was on 16 to stay one down. Very classy!
    • The winning putt of course!
    • When Rose won his match Sunday!

11.   Is there anything that you have learnt from Jose Maria Olazabal? And from Davis Love III?

  • LN: The ability of Olazabal to get the team to play with such passion for Europe and for the memory of Seve.
  • AS: I really liked their approaches. They both seemed very friendly and accommodating for media, fans, etc. The sportsmanship they showed in their interviews carried over to each team. It was nice to see.
  • CK: Even the best players can skip a match if they are not performing.

12.   Is there anything that we should learn from this edition that we could apply to the next Solheim Cup?

  • LN: We should be prepared to play in front of a vocal US crowd with the belief that victory is possible on US soil.
  • AS: Europe can win on US soil.
  • CK: Make sure the players are on time!
Carin Koch and Annika Sorenstam at The 2003 Solheim Cup in Sweden
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