Featured Golf News
Solheim Cup Captains Speak Their Piece
USA captain Meg Mallon and European captain Lisolotte Neumann of Sweden met with reporters Wednesday to discuss their teams and strategies for this year's Solheim Cup. The biennial competition pitting the best women professional golfers from the U.S. and the Continent starts Friday at Colorado Golf Club in Parker, Colo.
The 12 players on Team USA include Stacey Lewis, Paula Creamer, Cristie Kerr, Angela Stanford, Brittany Lincicome, Lexi Thompson, Jessica Korda, Brittany Lang, Lizette Salas, Morgan Pressel, Gerina Piller and Michelle Wie; the latter two were Mallon's captain's picks.
The European contingent includes Suzann Pettersen, Catriona Matthew, Carlota Ciganda, Caroline Masson, Beatriz Recari, Anna Nordqvist, Karine Icher and Azahara Munoz. Neumann had four picks, and they are Jodi Ewart Shadoff, Caroline Hedwall, Giulia Sergas and Charley Hull.
Mallon said during her media session that she was going to lean on Lewis - who won the Women's British Open a week and a half ago at St. Andrews - for her competitiveness and leadership. "Stacy Lewis has come out here and played this course, I don't know, she's come on five or six, six or seven visits, I think, before this week. That leadership in itself is invaluable to me. If your No. 1 player is coming out here to get that prepared, then everyone else is looking at that.
"I definitely talked to my players that have been on multiple Solheim Cup teams and I've expect their leadership," added Mallon, an eight-time Solheim Cup participant. "The younger players look up to them, not only on tour, but now they're in a team environment and I'm relying on them. Every action they make this week, the younger players are watching that. And I reminded them of that. So they're very aware of it and they're ready to take that leadership role."
Neumann's team only needs to accrue 14 points as they're the defending champion after winning the Cup two years ago at Killeen Castle in Ireland. As the visiting squad, the six-time Solheim Cup participant knows she'll be facing a pro-American gallery - one expected to top over 125,000 attendees this week, but is pleased with the makeup of her European team.
"It's obviously going to be difficult," Neumann said in a press session held separately from Mallon's. "But I think even for the players that have been here before, it's always a little bit that feeling, walking up on that first tee box with the crowds and being here in America. It's obviously going to be a lot of people cheering for the Americans. But I don't know, someone told me this morning we've got about 30,000 Europeans coming over.
"So I'm pretty happy about that. I don't know if that's true or not, but we just hope that our fans are going to be loud and cheer us on. I think for the rookies, or any player in the tournament like this, it's just important to really try to just focus on your game and stay the one shot at a time, and don't worry so much about what has happened. Don't know what the future holds, so you just sort of got to stick to your game and stick to your game plan."
Here's what else the two captains had to tell reporters on Wednesday from Colorado Golf Club.
MODERATOR: Good morning and welcome back to the 2013 Solheim Cup. It is my pleasure to have Liselotte Neumann, the captain of the European team here with us. Thank you for joining us this morning.
LISELOTTE NEUMANN: Thank you. Good to be here.
MODERATOR: So I hear the Europeans are playing really well out there on the course.
LISELOTTE NEUMANN: I think so. I feel like this morning - I just went out to watch the last group for a couple of holes, but overall, just felt this morning that everyone on our team is a little bit more relaxed. Yesterday was a little bit of tension, but it's kind of the first time they're out on the golf course and today they seemed quite relaxed and looked like they were enjoying themselves.
MODERATOR: So you're looking to lead Team Europe to the first win in America. How are you approaching that task?
LISELOTTE NEUMANN: Obviously that's why I took this job. I like the challenge and trying to make some history here and being the first European team to win. Obviously a lot of thought went into picking the team, trying to pick the right players. I tried to pick some young players, some sort of fearless players, some long hitters. This week now we're just obviously looking to trying to find the right combinations, who is going to play with whom, who gets along well, looking at both the four ball matches and the foursome matches, trying to figure out, do you put two long hitters together, do you put someone that's more accurate with a long hitter and all that. So we put up quite a lot of different groups and pairings so far, and it's kind of a good time for the girls to see who do I feel like my game compares with best, who do I get along with the best on the golf course. So it's a little bit of testing going on right now out there.
MODERATOR: Questions, please raise your hand.
Q. How do you convince this team that they're the ones that can break through and win for the first time on American soil?
LISELOTTE NEUMANN: I think that they all sort of have a good feeling about it. Some of the players that were on the team in 2011, obviously they have some confidence, they won the last time, why would we not win again? And I think a lot of the rookies on our team, they were there, they were watching it, they were home watching it on TV, so I feel everybody sort of feels like it's time. I mean you got to win in the U.S. at some point and let's just do it this time.
Q. Can you just talk about the how much statistics plays into you making decisions, how much do you sort of pour over those, both when you're making the picks and then as you go about this whole competition?
LISELOTTE NEUMANN: Yeah, leading up to, obviously, doing the picks, I did look a lot at the statistics. Even though, I mean, I was out on tour, I watched quite a few tournaments here and there, but it's hard to follow everybody, every week. So, yeah, you do rely on stats and watching to see who is a good putter and who hits the ball a long way, who hits a lots of fairways and greens. And where are they on the Money List. Do they make a lot of birdies. All those things, obviously, play a role.
Now when we are here practicing we're doing stats on their practice rounds and we're trying to get them really into the Tournament mood. Yesterday we had them in some four ball matches out there, trying out a couple of pairings to see how that was working out. And we have quite a few helpers here that are helping us out. They're keeping track on their scores and fairways and greens and how they get along and all that. So we do rely quite a lot on the stats, but obviously it's also a communication with the players. I'm not only going to go on the stats, but I think the stats tells us a little bit at least who will now, after three days, be sort of consistently playing well. But we will also have a lot of communication and talking to the players who they're happy being out there on the golf course with.
Q. Obviously it's a young team, but so how much - what kind of key roles with Catriona Matthew and Susan the two most experienced players play?
LISELOTTE NEUMANN: Yeah, I think both Susan and Catriona are stepping in a little bit to the leader role. They do have a lot of experience and I feel like, so far, they have been really great with the other players. We have paired them up with some of the rookies and just to kind of get a feel for how everything is working out. But I think they're handling the role well. They know that they have the experience and so far they have really stepped into their position and they're doing a good job.
Q. Meg was talking about the different balls and how they're flying through the air. Have you found that with the players and judging the flight and distance?
LISELOTTE NEUMANN: Yeah, that's also one of the - when we do our stats thing you check who is playing what golf ball, and especially, obviously for the foursome matches that's obviously could be an important thing. A little bit how the ball is flying, but also I think that I just remember from playing myself, just putting on the different golf ball that you're not used to putting on could be a little tricky. I tell you what, these greens are some of the fastest greens I've seen. We were just down on No. 1 and we did the Stimpmeter test, because they left it on the green down there, and right, at least that green was rolling about 13, 13 and a half this morning. So that's fast. So I don't know if all the greens are like that, but they're quick.
Q. What are you telling the rookies what to expect, the pageantry, the excitement, and maybe particularly on the first hole, the first tee box?
LISELOTTE NEUMANN: Yeah, I think that just talking about them really trying to stay within themselves, and it's obviously going to be difficult. But I think even for the players that have been here before, it's always a little bit that feeling, walking up on that first tee box with the crowds and being here in America. It's obviously going to be a lot of people cheering for the Americans. But I don't know, someone told me this morning we've got about 30,000 Europeans coming over. So I'm pretty happy about that. I don't know if that's true or not, but we just hope that our fans are going to be loud and cheer us on.
I think for the rookies, or any player in the tournament like this, it's just important to really try to just focus on your game and stay the one shot at a time, and don't worry so much about what has happened. Don't know what the future holds, so you just sort of got to stick to your game and stick to your game plan.
Q. Talk about Charley and your thoughts on picking her. How do you think she's coping?
LISELOTTE NEUMANN: Charley was on my Junior Solheim Cup team two years ago in Ireland in 2011. And already then she was quite impressive at 15. So she's had a great year on the European Tour. She has those five runner up finishes, she obviously hasn't won yet. She was in some of the tournaments in Europe where, got shortened because of rain delay and so on, but she does shoot in the 60s about 30 percent of the time, which is sort of a good stat to look at. So it will be good for match play. She obviously can go low. She makes quite a lot of birdies when you lack at those stats. She has that kind of good attitude. She doesn't seem like she's very scared. She sort of plays that fearless golf, she's a great ball striker. I think this golf course fits her game quite well. She's quite a long hitter. And I think she will do fine. She has really good energy. I know she's young, but so far she's been handling herself great and she's really enjoying it and having a good time.
Q. How important is nationalities when you're making your pairings, do you think?
LISELOTTE NEUMANN: To be honest, I look more at their games than their nationalities, actually. Even though I know it is, obviously, a little bit of a tricky part with the European team that so many players come from all these different countries and were brought up different and all that, but I think the one good thing is that a lot of the girls now they do play on the U.S. tour, a lot of them know each other. They do go back to European play, so they know the girls that come from Europe and so on. So I think that we'll do fine as a team. It is a little challenging, but the key is to just sort of bring everybody together and we'll have a good time together.
Q. Talk about you and your advice captains, all Swedes, and you guys really represent the best of your country's golf history. Maybe talk a little bit about the friendships, how far they go back, and how you guys communicate and relate to each other and how that's going to help this kind of young team.
LISELOTTE NEUMANN: Yeah, both Annika and Karin have obviously played on a lot of Solheim Cup teams together in the past. It's been good for us to being able to speak in Swedish here. We sneak off in a corner and we can chat. We don't have to leave the room, we can have our little conversations together. Just from all of us have a lot of experience. Annika is really into her stats and all that and it's been really helpful. She sort of is keeping track on things and just kind of double-checking on things so we make sure we don't forget anything. I think we're all three have pretty relaxed and pretty calm personalities and just sort of trying to get that out to the rest of the team. Just trying to be really supportive of them. But yeah, I just feel that the three of us are really working well together. It's been really good week so far.
Q. What nationalities merge best? If you had to sort of, looking at Europe as a whole, which nationalities usually get on with others better than some?
LISELOTTE NEUMANN: So far it's been pretty easy. Sometimes I guess just when it comes to the language, it's the Spanish, Italian, French, are a little bit closer and then obviously maybe the Swedes, I think, Norwegian, so maybe tends to be a little closer when it comes to a language, when you're talking about speaking to each other and so on.
Q. And it's also different in terms of passion, isn't it. The Mediterranean countries are probably more excitable than Swedes, are they not?
LISELOTTE NEUMANN: I don't know if you can just throw everybody over there. (Laughter.) We got some good Spanish blood on our team, put it that way, but we got some feisty Norwegians in there too, so I don't know, I think we got a little bit of both. It's good.
MODERATOR: I understand you've had some video messages from Olazabal, McGinley, Monty, G Mac, can you share a few?
LISELOTTE NEUMANN: Yeah, they're all wishing us good luck and talking about how it's a great feeling for them when they're picked for the Ryder Cup, and what it means to represent your country and your continent. And they're all just really wishing us the best of luck, and I think it's really nice for the girls. We put together some videos with some great clips and putting these messages in between. So I think it's important for the girls, they know that all the players over in Europe, both on the women's side and the men's side are cheering for us and pulling for us to pull this off.
MODERATOR: Did you get any special advice from Ollie or any other captains?
LISELOTTE NEUMANN: We got some advice, I don't know if I can say that on air here. (Laughter.)
MODERATOR: Also you have very experienced team around you. Obviously with your advice captains, but obviously your helpers and Sophie Gustafson, I understand is a helper. So that must be brilliant to have someone so close to the players.
LISELOTTE NEUMANN: Yeah, Sophie is here and obviously she would obviously have loved to be on the team, but just hasn't played that great the last two years. But she just insisted. She called me up and asked if, do you need any help, do you need anything from me, and I would love to be a part of it, even though I'm not playing. And I think that just tells you what the Solheim Cup is all about, that we have a player that actually doesn't qualify for the team, but they still want to be here and just be part of it and help the other players.
I think it's great for our players. They also see that a former Solheim Cup player is there bending backwards and forwards for them and helping them out in any way. So it's just great support. And actually a lot of our helpers, Pam Wright, Kathyrn Imrie, they have been on the team, obviously played on the team before, they're here to help, so a lot of experience there. Even all the other helpers, they have been part of being helpers before. So we try to get all different nationalities, too. We got a French girl, we got the Spanish, we got the Scots, the English, so we got it all covered, I think.
Q. How much do you or have you been in communication with past captains in terms of them maybe giving you some advice or things that worked for them or do you communicate very much with them or have you?
LISELOTTE NEUMANN: I talked to Helen a little bit and she was also at the British. We had quite a lot of discussions when it came to the picks. The same with Alison Nicholas and Pia was also out there, so I think the three of them were really helpful during the British Open when it came down to making those picks. It obviously, I mean, I always had a gut feeling about what I wanted to do, but sometimes you just need someone to sort of bounce your ideas off and hear their opinions about it. And all the three of them were very helpful to me. I really appreciate that.
MODERATOR: Slightly different, we hear there are a lot of Liselotte Neumanns walking around the course this morning. Can you tell us about that?
LISELOTTE NEUMANN: Last night we had a little party in our team room and then all of a sudden these little facemasks of my face showed up and I'm sure you heard about that song the Gangnam Style, so we got, some of the caddies put those masks on and then they started dancing to this music. So it was pretty funny. And they were actually on the first tee box this morning too. So I got lots of pictures with them. So I just hope the players won't be sick and tired of my face before the tournament starts. (Laughter.)
MODERATOR: And they also got a lot of gifts in the team room and from you personally. What's the reasoning behind that?
LISELOTTE NEUMANN: Yeah, we tried to just put a little gift on their bed every evening when they come back to their room they get a little something. So we had a nice little bracelet the other day that we picked out it says Europe on there. It has the little blue thing with little yellow gold or stones on there. It says Colorado on there. Just like things that will be a good memory for them. And obviously more gifts to come this week. But it's kind of fun for them to know that we want to treat them special and I think that it means a lot to them. So it's fun to be able to give them a little something extra this week.
Q. Several of you live full time or mostly full time in the United States. Does Solheim Cup sort of make you harken back or kind of go back to your roots a little bit and have some pride both in country and Europe that maybe it's just sort of a special feeling for this weekend?
LISELOTTE NEUMANN: Yeah, I love being in America and I will probably never move back to Sweden. I lived longer in America than I have in Sweden, actually. I love this country. Actually, Colorado is probably one of my favorite states. I've been here many times skiing and hiking and playing golf and so on. So in that way it's great to be here. But when it comes to the Solheim Cup, I'm so European that you probably would have a hard time finding someone more Euro than me. I just love this event, being part of the first one in 1990 and just to see how this event has grown into what it is today, it's quite amazing. I think that the Solheim family and Ping and everybody behind it, Rolex, they have just done a really wonderful job of growing this event. And I look at this tournament as one of the best women's sporting events in the world. Just the excitement behind it and everything, it's really an amazing week.
MODERATOR: Obviously the European team hasn't yet won in America, what would it mean to you to be the first European captain to achieve that?
LISELOTTE NEUMANN: For me it will be just a topping of the cake, I think. Just being, obviously, playing on the team six times, being a vice captain, doing the Junior Solheim Cup and then finally get to be here as a captain, I mean some people have a hard time convincing me of being the captain, but then the more I started thinking about it, it's kind of a one time opportunity and to actually be able to come to America and try to make some history. And I think that's how I talked Annika and Karin into it as well, I said, we need to go to America, we need to make history. No team has ever won here before, let's do this. So that's our goal and that's why I took on the job and here we are.
MODERATOR: All right. Thank you very much.
LISELOTTE NEUMANN: All right. Thank you so much. Thank you.
MODERATOR: Good morning. Welcome to the 2013 Solheim Cup here at Colorado Golf Club. Pleasure to be joined with Meg Mallon, the captain for the United States. Great to see you.
MEG MALLON: Thank you.
MODERATOR: You're all smiles yet again. Things are good. Maybe that's because it's morning.
MEG MALLON: Yeah, I finally got some sleep last night. I feel good. We got all the groups off and for their practice rounds today and it's a little quiet right now. It's kind of nice.
MODERATOR: I know the pairings are difficult when you get playing going Friday, Saturday, Sunday, etc. Is it tough to figure these things out earlier in the week when it's just practice rounds?
MEG MALLON: It is, but it isn't as tough as it would have been if I hadn't brought players in before this week. I think we have got a good idea of what our pairings are going to be and who is going to play with who and the biggest challenge for us. And this is a challenge of being in Colorado is you not only have the altitude and adrenaline, but with the alternate shot you have a golf ball issue. So working through those things the last couple of days and last week, it's been very helpful and so everybody's on board with it right now.
MODERATOR: Altitude or golf ball, which one's bigger.
MEG MALLON: Well, you can't separate them. Because you could have a golf ball that's two to three yards difference, add the altitude, Jessica Korda probably is closer to a 12 percent, Morgan Pressel would be about an 8 percent. Stacy Lewis would be a 10 percent. So everyone's different. They have to figure out their altitude. And then you throw a different golf ball in there and their brains are working pretty hard right now.
MODERATOR: Remind me to ask you about pace of play in just a little bit; about all those different things. One more question from me, eight appearances as a player and now this. Now this week in particular. So now this over the last year and a half, and now this week. How is it different?
MEG MALLON: It's completely different. It's - when it's just yourself you're worried about the golf course, your partners, your just playing golf. For this, this has been a two year process of planning for 12 people. And it's been amazing experience and I want everything to slow down this week right now, because you've waited so long for it and I just want to take it all in. But everything's going really well so far. Colorado Golf Club has done a great job for us, the staff, so we're ready to go.
MODERATOR: You're saying all the right things, come on, there's got to be a little stress here. You're smiling. Either you're putting on a great front or you're the calmest captain I've ever seen.
MEG MALLON: If you talked to me yesterday after no sleep the night before, it would have been different. I think getting some sleep has helped. My players are great. They don't stay up late. They want to get to bed early. So that helps the captain too. So it's a good bunch of kids and they have been really fun to be around.
MODERATOR: Let's take some questions.
Q. Two questions, the first is, I know you're a huge sports fan. How much are you into advance statistics, because I was talking to Dottie earlier about how thick the book of stats was that you have been studying. So that's the first question and then the second is, how much of other captain's philosophies and personalities or whatever you tried to incorporate or have you tried to just sort of do completely your own thing?
MEG MALLON: Well, to answer the first question about stats, we definitely had poured over a lot of stats. I think it's very helpful to look at stats. Birdies per round, where they are in putting. Things like that for match play. Match play is a different deal. You could have a player that makes five, six birdies around, that's sheeting even par whatever. That's a good match play person to have on your team. So just the stats were very helpful.
I got a great suggestion from actually Curtis Strange last week that said, you always trusted your gut and your instincts when you played golf. You should do the same thing as a captain. And that was excellent advice because it was exactly what happened to me on Sunday when I made the picks. I had all these stats in front of me, but it really came down to my instincts. So there's a little bit of that. As far as the captains I've had, I've had great captains. I have talked to all of them. I've learned from them when I played with them and they have been wonderful in helping me, for sure.
Q. You've got along association with this golf club and when it started. How much does that give you a sort of feel good factor going into this tournament?
MEG MALLON: Yes, I do. My teacher Mike McGetrick was one of the original founders of the Colorado Golf Club. So I was out here with him before there was even a hole put in the ground. He would, we would be - he was teaching me over at Meridian and he said I'm going to build a golf course on that hill over there and I'm like, yeah, Mike, what's the position in the back? So he drove me over here and we drove around the property and as you can see, it's a beautiful piece of property. And what Crenshaw and Coore did to this place is exceptional. And really I think it's going to shine in match play. The risk/reward out there is just great. So it's fun for me to be here and be a part of this place since I've been here since the origins of it. So it's exciting for me. I have Mike back here for the week. He's one of my helpers and so it's going to be good to have him around.
MODERATOR: I want to get back to your gut instinct and I want to give you the floor. Obviously there was a lot of chatter about your selections as with any captain making their picks; you're second guess or you're lauded for great selection. Let's go one by one. Gerina has already been in here, Michelle is going to come in as well. Let's start with Michelle Wie. Because obviously she was kind of a lightning rod for debate or questioning. Why?
MEG MALLON: Well, let me go back. I'm glad I stayed consistent with the comments I made when they asked me about my captains picks long ago and I said, if you don't make the team on points, then don't expect to be on the team. And captains picks are the captains picks, it's who you want to fit in with the 10 players that you have. And I also had said being a captain's pick it's tough being a captain's pick. There's a lot of pressure that that player puts on themselves being a pick.
So Michelle Wie for me was a no brainer in that position. Looking at the list that I had, she has Solheim Cup experience. She lives on this stage almost every day that she plays. So walking into this environment is not going to affect her. I needed another player like that on the team. I had three rookies already. So and like I said earlier, do I want five to six birdies a day at home sitting on the couch? So for me that was a pretty easy decision to pick Michelle. Gerina was my instinct. That was, that was - that came from my gut, really. I watched her play so much this year, she's a super talented player. The only thing I was worried about her was a lack of experience. All the reasons why I picked Michelle, Gerina was that factor of how will she handle it here? She has a great support network and some of her best friends are on this team. So I knew that she was going to be taken care of for the week. She's having a blast this week by the way. The smile has not left her face.
MODERATOR: It showed yesterday here.
MEG MALLON: Yeah. Yeah. And the golf course. She hits the ball a long way and she hits it straight. This golf course is perfect for that. Her attitude, her game, she - the way she grinded it out coming in those last few tournaments, the way she grinded it out at the British Open, it just showed me a lot. So that was really a gut instinct move for me on Sunday.
MODERATOR: Follow up on that, team room was brought up by Gerina and also by Lizette and so the two players that you picked, it seems like just speculation on my part, you don't have to force anything, they're going to fit right in. Was that also something that went into personality play?
MEG MALLON: First of all, just the fact of the team chemistry. It definitely helped in team chemistry. But performance is big. Gerina, let's hope that she performs the way I think she's going to perform. She's a late bloomer in the game, she's a great athlete. She played all state high school volleyball player. She learned the game at 15. But the way she's improved and how she's played I think you guys are going to be really surprised at this game you're going to see.
Q. When you decided to bring Dottie and Laura together as assistants, somewhat risky and bold move. Can you tell us why that was important to you and how it's worked out.
MEG MALLON: Well, when I got the call from Commissioner Mike Whan about being captain, the first thing you start thinking about is who you want to surround you. You have to look at what you're weaknesses are. I am not the most media, not media savvy, but social media savvy person. As far as being in tune to all of that and organized. The first person I thought of was Dottie Pepper. I mean she is, as anybody that knows her, is just an uber organized human being. So when I started thinking about Dottie and thinking about her being by my side, we spent our whole careers together. We played on Solheim Cups together. We have a great rapport with each other.So then I had to go kind of backwards and work out how we're going to get her back into the followed in the Solheim Cup.
Really all the phone calls that I made a long the way and I had talked to Dottie pretty soon about it, to feel how she felt about it. Because she also had to step back into that place of what happened in 2007 and whether she wanted to go through that again. And she was on board right away. It was an emotional moment for her, but then it was making some key phone calls to people that I needed to talk to about it. The best response I got from everyone that I talked to is we trust you, Meg, and we know you'll do the right thing. And I really appreciated that, because it just made it that much easier to go forward with everything else.
Laura Diaz, I needed a player that was playing on tour that was in tune to the players. I wasn't out on tour any more, although I played probably with nine of these players. So I needed someone out there who was playing with them, Laura has been has been on four Solheim Cups, and she's so passionate about the event. That was a touchy thing because I knew she wanted to make the team. So I felt like she was a person that could also be a playing assistant captain at that point. And as far as Laura and Dottie coming together - Laura and Dottie have been friends since Laura was 10 or 12 years old. So that was an easy reunion to make that. The families are close, and it was really kind of a neat thing to see that come back together.
Q. Can you go back and talk about Michelle and what you maybe talked with her about this week and about the course and how to approach it and then also a quick follow up on that, how will you schedule tomorrow's practice round?
MEG MALLON: Actually today and tomorrow I've got a lot of my players just playing nine holes. This is a hard - this golf course is a little - it's a hard walking golf course and with the altitude and everything, and also all the activities that are going on this week. That was also important for me to have them come for their practice sessions early because I knew that they would be exhausted this week itself would be exhausting. So most of them are probably only playing nine holes tomorrow, just to go over maybe some things with their partners or some things on the golf course that they want to go over. So it's more important for them to be rested for Friday.
Q. You were talking about the sort of tangible things that Dottie brings. I want to know if it was in your mind at all when you - that wasn't an easy thing to embark upon, I'm sure, that maybe it was just time to bring somebody with that much history and love for this back into it. Was that part of your thinking to try to get things back on line?
MEG MALLON: Well, I just thought it was important for Dottie to be back involved with the Solheim Cup. Arguably she was the face of the Solheim Cup in the '90s. And I was on all those teams with her. And not being a part of it for her it wasn't right. And for the reasons too. I mean honestly, what happened, it was definitely a mountain out of a molehill. So and it just, people just needed to talk. And that's all I did was just facilitate that. Where they were coming from on either side. It was, for me, seven years later, I thought it was silly that it was still going on. So it just, it was just a matter of getting them to come together and say, you know, listen, that was silly, let's move on. And it's been easy to move on from that. So I'm happy that's happened. I wasn't surprised that it has, and it's good to have her around.
MODERATOR: You've got two capable assistants, obviously, that you're leaning on this week and have been for the last year and a half basically, not to play favorites here, but are there two players on your team that you've really leaned on for counsel, advice, and that you really need this week, not just to step up as competitors but leaders.
MEG MALLON: Absolutely. I, well, Stacy Lewis has come out here and played this course, I don't know, she's come on five or six, six or seven visits, I think, before this week. That leadership in itself is invaluable to me. If your No. 1 player is coming out here to get that prepared, then everyone else is looking at that. I definitely talked to my players that have been on multiple Solheim Cup teams and I've expect their leadership. The younger players look up to them, not only on tour, but now they're in a team environment and I'm relying on them. Every action they make this week, the younger players are watching that. And I reminded them of that. So they're very aware of it and they're ready to take that leadership role.
MODERATOR: Player nerves for sure, right? That's been talked about in here over the last day and a half. What about captain's nerves? In all honesty, you are coming off a loss, not that you were the captain for that Solheim Cup.
MEG MALLON: I was there though.
MODERATOR: You were there. And now you've also come into a situation where everybody is going to be talking about the fact that the United States has never lost here. So there's a pressure on two fronts. How do you deal with that and how are you sleeping at night? You said you got good rest last night.
MEG MALLON: I did. I never look at it as pressure. Even in my career I always look at it as an opportunity. And this is an opportunity for this team to shine in front of their home fans. And to get the Cup back. Most of them were on the Ireland team, they didn't like that taste in their mouths and it actually helped me as a captain, because they're going to remember that loss and take care of business this week.
Q. Could you just put in one sentence what each of the three of you brings to the team, your strengths.
MEG MALLON: One sentence?
Q. Well two is fine.
MEG MALLON: Laura Diaz brings a fire and passion to this event. She's played in four of them. She loves this event more than any she's ever played in, nil other event she's ever played. And we had a meeting last night, I'm going to go more than two, and it was at dinner last night and Laura got very, very emotional in front of the team. And for my younger players to see that, I think they can see what this event brings out in people. So Laura, they call her the den mother of the team. She takes care of them like a mom. Dottie Pepper brings great wisdom, experience, and unbelievable energy and passion to this team.
MODERATOR: What about Meg Mallon?
MEG MALLON: Hopefully, they will see the love I have for this event. They're going to see a captain that is going to be behind them 100 percent. And I believe in them all of them all 12 of them. And I just really love these players.
MODERATOR: They love you. They talked about it yesterday. They also love their team room. And they love the rooms. We have seen pictures tweeted out of these beds that they have got, with the pillow in front and the name. And then I know about the team room with the corn hole and the basketball. What have you got going in there.
MEG MALLON: Well, I wanted a place for them to be able to kind of let loose in energy. I got some young players on this team and they got a lot of energy in them. And a place for them and their families to be there with them to just kind of let loose a little bit. And it's a great room. I mean, the TV video screen is just huge. We're playing videos on it. And we actually haven't been there enough. I'm looking forward to us spending more time in there Thursday, Friday, Saturday. So that they can really bond as a team.
MODERATOR: Formats. 13 9 7 for you in your Solheim Cup. Friday begins with alternate shot or foursomes. Is that a great thing? Do you think that's a great way to start this thing off.
MEG MALLON: It's tough. I know in 2009 we started with best ball. And that helped the captains a lot, because then you could see all four players, or all two players in each group and how they were playing. And then you can make a decision about alternate shot. With alternate shot, it's tough. If you're not playing, one if one player is not playing well, you may not know who it is that's struggling. So it's definitely a difficult way to start. The things I talked about earlier that people forget that it's not only altitude, adrenaline, it's, they may be using a different golf ball. So there's so many factors involved with the foursomes lineup. It's going to be pretty exciting to watch that Friday morning.
MODERATOR: Two more questions. One, 25 years of experience or 25 cups for the American team, 17 for the European team, so there's a suggestion there if you go by numbers and talk about pouring over stats and all that, that U.S. have the more experienced squad. Does that mean a lick when you get to the first tee?
MEG MALLON: I played on the very first win for the Europeans in 1992. And we were heavy, heavy favorites. We had, maybe, eight Hall of Famers now on that team or something. And we got beat. And we were beaten by a young team that the American media didn't know probably eight of those players on the team. Now they're all very famous players for Europe. That's the thing I got to remind my team of. Underdog is very scary. The player that doesn't know anything is very scary. So we have to pay attention to that. We have to be aware that in match play it's anyone's day. And so that's going to be my job the next couple of days, to make sure that we take care of our business out there and know that they have a really young team, and they have nothing to lose.
MODERATOR: You're an emotional person, you have a love for the Solheim Cup, it's come out over the last couple of years. I don't want to steal anything from your speech tomorrow at the opening ceremonies, but I'm going to leave everybody with this, I know this is a team game, end this sentence for me: This week is a success for me if, blank.
MEG MALLON: You know, the Solheim Cup, the women's golf always wins. And that's what I love about this event is that it show cases our greatest players playing the best golf they have ever played in their life.
MODERATOR: Very well said politically. Ladies and gentlemen, Meg Mallon, captain of the United States of the thanks for being here. Thank you.
MEG MALLON: Thank you.
The transcripts for the above interview are courtesy of ASAP Sports.