Carlota Ciganda, Suzann Pettersen and Charley Hull discuss the changing of the guard.
|Carlota Ciganda, Suzann Pettersen and Charley Hull
THE MODERATOR: Delighted to be joined by three of our European team members, Suzann Pettersen, Charley Hull and Carlota Ciganda. So Suzann, this is your 7th Solheim Cup. 12‑8‑5 record and you must be thrilled to be back here.
SUZANN PETTERSEN: It's a thriller to play the Solheim Cup.
THE MODERATOR: Yeah. Charley and Carlota, this is obviously first time you've been here, Charley, you are only 17 and a big build‑up for you before coming here. Are you eager to get going now.
CHARLEY HULL: Yeah, it's human nature to just go out there and win, try well try and win a match.
THE MODERATOR: Same to you, Carlota, how keen are you to get out there now and get going?
CARLOTA CIGANDA: I'm very excited to start playing tomorrow. I'm very lucky to be here, part of the European Tour, and I'm just trying to fight until the end and go Europe.
THE MODERATOR: Do you have any questions? Raise your hand.
Q. Suzann, what have you told the two on what they might have to expect come tomorrow?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: I don't know why everyone keeps asking Beanie and me what it's going to be like. Just because we played more? We're really just trying to support each other, make everyone feel a part of the team. I think that these youngsters have enough to bring to the table even for us to kind of sharpen up our game and kind of push each other.
So for us it's definitely a team effort. We need as many points as we can get and it's fun to see these youngsters coming out, because they're just fearless, they are wanting it. They really want it. And they just rock with you.
Q. Suzann, with so many ‑‑ I think this is probably a record number of fresh faces on both sides, really. Could you just talk about the kind of the dynamics of a big almost changing of the guard.
SUZANN PETTERSEN: I think it's just that time where it's a new generation coming up. Obviously it's different for me to have as many youngsters on the team, because the teams I've been a part of has, for the most part ‑‑ half the team has been Swedes. Laura Davies, Beanie, myself, and then a couple of more.
So it's just fun to see the different team coming up and I think this is the future for our European golf. So I think it's fantastic that Charley is here. She's the future of ladies golf, I think it's fantastic that she's here, she's a part of the team. And I'm sure she can't wait to go out there and play.
Q. What were you doing at 17?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Age of 17? I was still in school. I might not look that way, but I was.
Q. Can you just talk about your first impressions of the big stage so far and have you been wide eyed and I'm curious if they have teased you at all about your age or being the youngest ever?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: She knew more people on the Junior team than we did.
CHARLEY HULL: Yeah, I introduced them to the junior team when they came into the team room the other day.
It's just a great experience being here, but I feel like I'm ready and eager to go and play now. And it's just great to have so many good people on the team as well. Because I knew Lotta, she was my Junior Solheim Cup captain and, yeah, it rocked my world when I won out there and won a couple of points. And it would rock my world if I went out there this time and won a couple of points.
Q. Suzann could you speak to the challenge of trying to be the first European team to win on American soil?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: It's going to be blood on the dance floor. No, it's going to be fantastic to go out here and try to do something that none of us have been a part of. It's a huge task. We're playing a great American team on 'em who soil. I can already feel like the crowds, which side they're on.
But at the same time I think we're strong enough, just really trying to enjoy it and it's going to be a lot of close matches I feel like. Especially around this course, the greens are going to ‑‑ that's where it's pretty much going to be all said and done. The fairways are fairly wide. With the speed of the greens, it's going to be some tough, tough putts. But it's great that it's match play, so we don't actually have to put together a score.
Q. Talked about the changing of the guard and aside from Laura not being here, also Sophie and Maria Hjorth, a lot of long time Solheim Cuppers Suzann, how do you view your leadership role this year as compared to years past?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: I don't really look at it any different than I used to. I used to say as long as Laura's on the team I'm always going to be the Junior. And I think it's still safe to say that as long as Beanie is on the team, she's a legend on our team. So it's just fun to ‑‑ I mean obviously this is my 7th, I've had, felt like I've had a pretty good 10 years, and it's by far the best part of my career to be a part of these teams. The memories, the friendships, you bond with other players and it's definitely a special deal to this whole Solheim Cup.
Q. Charley, how many more Solheim Cups do you think you'll have to play before you'll be getting the questions Suzann is getting today?
CHARLEY HULL: I don't know. Well, I don't know, we'll see how I play. But I think it's pretty good. She's really experienced, but she's not really that old, to be honest.
(Laughter.). I meant it in a nice way.
(Laughter.) Next question, please.
Q. Is it at all weird to think that two years ago you were on the Junior Solheim Cup and now you're here? What's been the biggest things you've noticed that's kind of fun?
CHARLEY HULL: It was good because I was there when I watched Suzann burn up the last couple of holes because the juniors could go and watch it. And I was like I so want to be in the Solheim Cup, but I didn't realize it would come this fast, so it's just fantastic.
Q. Do you know how old Suzann is?
CHARLEY HULL: No.
Q. Charley, you were three when Suzann played in her first Solheim Cup.
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Thanks, that really makes me feel younger.
Q. Could you talk about your history watching this event and who you looked up to growing up as you were watching?
CHARLEY HULL: Yeah, well, I looked up to Laura, Katrina, Suzann, so many, just kind of weird, but it feels right when you've been looking at them for so long and then you're on the team with them, but, wow, three? That's, that's, yeah.
Yeah. Anyway. So it's been good.
Q. Carlota what's the most nervous you've ever been on the golf course?
CARLOTA CIGANDA: Most nervous? I am pretty calm almost all the time. But when you play, when you play ‑‑ I remember when I play my first tournament in the LPGA this year, I was a little bit nervous. Then I had the pleasure to play with Suzann too in a few tournaments in China and San Diego and I was a little bit nervous too. So when you play with great players and good players like her you get a little nervous. But usually I'm calm and I just try to have fun out there and enjoy myself.
Q. Did you try to make her nervous?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: We're teammates now.
(Laughter.) I paid her a lot to see all these nice words about me. No.
Q. Suzann, can you talk about what it takes, what it's like playing on American soil and what it's going to take to prevail here.
SUZANN PETTERSEN: We still don't know what it takes because we have never done it before. But I think if we can go out and try and win every section, every kind of wave, we'll do a good job. If we can win every day, it will add up to a pretty good number for us.
And I think you kind of part it up, look at Friday as one individual, Saturday as a new day, and obviously there's a lot of points to be handed out on Sunday. But I think one of the things that we players are most proud of in Ireland was actually that we managed to separate ourselves on Sunday from each other and go out there and play as an individual and kind of play for yourself. Don't think about your teammates, don't think about your team, just go out there and try and beat the opponent.
Q. Charley, what have the veterans ‑‑ what kind of advice have they been giving you and what to expect.
CHARLEY HULL: I don't know, I spoke to Annika this morning, and I spoke to Catriona, and I've been asking a little bit, but I haven't really been trying to think about it too much because I don't know. The first tee shot, thinking about it, really is no different to hitting a tee shot at my home golf club. It's the same swing and stuff, it's a lot of people, obviously, but I'm just going to think of it like that and just I don't really.
I'll just go out there, but Catriona, she was good she was talking to me about her first Solheim Cup and stuff and she said she was a bit nervous and then as she's got through the years playing in it she says she really enjoys it now.
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Just like a club medal.
CHARLEY HULL: Yeah.
Q. Suzann, there's obviously been the impression that the Europeans aren't so good in the singles and yet last time that was when it turned around. Do you think that, in a way, could be a break through and that gives you the confidence?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: First of all it's a long way until Sunday starts and before that you got to try and team up as good as possible with the whoever you're going to play with. And I just think that Annika said it really well on Saturday night, two years ago, like there's no reason why we can't go out there and win the singles.
And it was almost a kick in the butt for most of us to kind of go out there and just fight for your own kind of honor, fight for your own, for what you stand for. And Beanie, she kicked off a pretty good start and kind of played fantastic and she kind of set the tone for the rest of us that day. I think that's important as well tomorrow and on Saturday, to go out there and you fight. You're not going to play perfect golf out there and the Americans are not going to play perfect either, but you got to try and be efficient and give your self a lot of chances and I think this is going to be a fantastic Solheim Cup.
Q. Carlota, at that, can you speak to just what it means to have three Spaniards on the roster and also growing up, did those European teams with Sergio and Ollie and you know even what you heard about Seve influence you?
CARLOTA CIGANDA: Yeah, I think it's really good for Spain that we are the three Spaniards here on the team. I played a lot of golf with Azahara and Beatriz in Spain when we played the Europeans, so it's really nice for us and we're all very happy to be here.
And then, yeah, I mean for Spain, I mean those names that you just said, Sergio, Ollie, I mean I'm close to Olazabal because he lives very close, so I want to play with him a few weeks ago and he told me to enjoy every second, every moment because it's very special to be here. And he just told me to fight until the end and just play like I know how and just enjoy it. I just need to play golf and don't think too much.
Q. Suzann, physically demanding golf course here, and you're playing at elevation, do you anticipate playing every session and is that something that you guys have talked about how physically demanding this is going to be?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Well first of all, it depends how far you take each match. If you take them to the 18th you're going to play five of those, I will definitely take ‑‑ it will drain you of energy,but at the same time we are here all ready to play.
If Lotta wants us to play five matches, we'll all play five matches. The elevation, the altitude, we're all adjusted pretty much now. It's going to be obviously, a little bit different with a little bit more adrenaline tomorrow morning. You have to be very careful with the certain approaches, especially when you're hitting from high to down below you.
But I think we're all ready. I think it's been a fairly long week so far and I think the opening ceremony is going to, that's usually when it gets to me, that it's kind of closing up and hopefully I can get a few good hours of sleep.
Q. Suzann, you've been portrayed in this press conference as either the big sister or the role model or whatever, how does?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Mama?
Q. How does golf in one country, when you have success ‑‑ does that feed on itself, whether it is your country or South Korea now, I mean does previous success lead to more success in terms of individual golfers?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Well I think that if you look at how you're going to grow the game of golf it's important to have role models, but at the same time you got to have programs underneath that kind of looks after the next generation.
If you don't have that system, that kind of picks up the talents around the world, it's going to be hard to kind of ‑‑ it's going to be hard to fulfill those shoes when you talk about big names on the women's side or the men's side.
So I think it's a part of our job is not just to play golf, it's to kind of help grow the game of golf around the world. And that's why we enjoy traveling as much as we do on the LPGA. We showcase our skills around the world, in Asia specifically, where we also have so many Koreans and Chinese, Japanese. It's fantastic way for us to go around and help grow the game in different parts of the world.
In Scandinavia, golf is a big sport. It's probably one of the biggest growing sports. But it's funny how it goes, because sometimes you'll have a wave of fantastic players and then you kind of go in a lot more of a drought with kind of hard to find new players coming up. But you think that's life in general. Life goes in a circle, and I think the most important thing is to have a system that kind of looks after those kids and talents.
Q. Do you think golf's a lot more part of your country's culture now than when you were say three or four years old?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Well, golf has, I guess the image of golf has changed a lot over the last 10 years. It is way less snobby. And I really like it that you make golf more public. You make it less uptight in a way. There's not as many dress codes, there's more public courses, and I want everyone to get a chance to play this game that has brought so much enjoyment and happiness to my life.
So I would just love to see more people get to know the game and if they get to know the game, I'm sure they will get pretty ‑‑ they will also fall in love with it.
Q. Did you ever have any experiences early on where you felt it was snobby game and was any of it ever a turnoff to you?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: If golf was never a big game?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Yeah for sure. Yeah, I remember growing up, yeah, it's just, I mean if you look back in the history of golf, in the traditions in golf, it's kind of a big part of it. It was kind of a gentleman's sport, it was kind of men's only, it was like a very classified sport, I would say.
But I would say Tiger was one of the guys, one of the first players, that really brought the athleticism to the table. And I think ever since, it's changed the perspective of a golf player is now talked of as an athlete. So I think that's a big part of it. And for us also to be a part of the Olympics, to be among other sports, other athletes, I think it's an important role.
Q. And Charley, how many times have you competed in America?
CHARLEY HULL: I played in the Kraft Nabisco last year as an amateur. I played quite a few times as an amateur, like in the Orange Bowl, which is like a ladies circuit in Florida. So I played a few times.
Q. Charley, can I ask you, you got a lot of presents this week and the Americans said that the cowboy boots were the best thing they got. What was the best thing you've had so far this week?
CHARLEY HULL: I don't know. I'm trying to think. A Bushnell. Did you say the range finder? Yeah. The range finder. I thought that was pretty cool. Like with our names and stuff on it.
Q. What was your favorite gift?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Are you talking to me? I'm just happy to get gifts.
No, it's always, I think the most special ones are the ones that comes from the captain. The more personalized items from our captains, which it's something that you look back at it and it kind of stands out and brings out memories from that specific week. So I think that we have had several ones, but the captain ones is usually the one that.
CHARLEY HULL: I would say mine is my phone case because I need one. We had one with a Solheim Cup on it and stuff and it was really good. Because I need one. But I haven't put it on yet.
Q. Suzann, before the Solheim Cup, former U.S. captain Judy Rankin was saying she felt like sponsorship in Europe overall was still a little bit lagging,specifically with women's golf, in comparison to say how many sponsors got on board more in the Asian countries or even in the United States. And she thought perhaps maybe winning on U.S. soil, she didn't know if that would make a difference, I wonder if ‑‑ do you feel that is still true that sponsors are still a little hesitant more for women's golf in European would it make a difference if you guys won this tournament in the United States?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Should I be kind of polite? No, I mean to be quite honest, I mean in women's golf you are talking about one main tour, which is the LPGA. As much as I love the European Tour, which I think is a fantastic tour, I think it's a great spring board for girls like Charley and the youngsters to come up, learn to kind of live the life on tour, play on a regular basis and then eventually go play against the best players in the world and the best courses and obviously for the best money.
That being said, I think it was massive for us to win in Ireland a couple of years ago. To showcase that women's or European women's golf is very big. It's growing. And there's nothing I would love to see more than the European Tour growing stronger, that's also the reason why a lot of us go back and support certain events throughout the year.
And as much as we love the LPGA, we also fight for the European rights in several players meeting where, because obviously we represent Europe every second year and it's a big part of us and we all care.
So nothing would be nicer than to really bring a solid platform to the Ladies European Tour.
Q. Suzann, you're an R & A ambassador, aren't you? As such, do you have any ‑‑ do they ask your advice on what you think of the all male clubs in the U.K.?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Not really.
Q. And does that, would you like to have an input?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Not really, because for those guys who wants to be a part of a male club only, let them have them and we can go play other places. I mean I've never been kind of faced with not getting out on a certain golf course and I mean if there's a certain clubhouse you can't get into, so what. I mean there's less of them, I think you always find some of them around the world and I think that I just think that's how it is, but I also think that women are a much stronger individual these days than it was back in the days when golf was once established.
So you think the society has changed and I think there for there's also less of the male clubs.
Q. Are they the clubs that you talked about when you referred to certain snobby places or not?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Well, I mean I don't want to mention names, but I think it's fantastic to see Augusta bring in ladies or women members. It just shows that they're trying. They're trying to let the women get, I mean it's hard, I mean I really don't care, but ‑‑ I don't. I mean it's, but it's, I think it's going to change a bit by bit.
Q. My question is basically along the same lines, did you ever feel as a young golfer that it was no girls allowed or no women allowed and who ‑‑ what female golfer made it cool in your eyes to be a female golfer?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Well I've never been met by any, I don't know, the only thing I remember, we played the ladies, no, the European Team Championship back in Scotland one year. I was only 15. And there was a tent outside the clubhouse, and we were met by the sign outside the front door of the clubhouse, dogs and women not allowed. In that order. So we pretty much kind of redirected ourselves back to the tent and enjoyed the week from there.
Q. How did that make you feel?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: You laugh about it. What are you going to do? Sit down and cry?
Q. Which club?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Cry a river?
Q. And was there a female that said, hey, it's cool to be a female golfer. Was there a previous female golfer that stood out for you or not?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: No, not really.
Q. Which club was it?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: I wonder if it was Nairn. Nairn Golf Club. Could it be there? I'm not sure.
Q. Do they have dogs in Nairn?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Might be women and dogs are allowed now, I don't know. Since we were there.
Q. Charley, when is the ‑‑ when have you ever been intimidated on the golf course or have you ever been?
CHARLEY HULL: I don't think so. I don't know. I don't really ‑‑ intimidated?
Q. Maybe playing someone older?
CHARLEY HULL: Well I played with Karrie Webb and Laura Davies the other day in the European Masters and I look at it as I was playing good golf and it was a great experience to play with them, but when I got out there and played I thought you know, they're just normal people who are just good golfers. And I just go out there and play my own game and I don't see any point in being really intimidated over it. But I don't know. I'm still young.
Q. Do you have a follow on that Suzann?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: No, once she gets to know exactly those two players, those are the last two people you want to piss off in this world.
Q. Charley, who would be your ideal pairing or who do you think you would matchup with well this week?
CHARLEY HULL: I don't know. I'm not sure, to be honest. I'm not really thinking of that because it is my first time. Lotta will decide. We played with a few people so far. I think they're probably thinking someone more experienced, but yeah, I think that with the old and the ‑‑ the.
Young and the experienced should I say, sorry.
Would be all right. I don't know. I think ‑‑ I'm think I'm digging myself a big hole here.
(Laughter.). Yeah, anyway, so that was what was going on anyway.
Q. Suzann, I just wanted to ask you, you spent a lot of time laughing at young Charley up there. Just your thoughts on her personality, what she brings to the team room, and then her game. I don't know how much you've seen her play the last year.
SUZANN PETTERSEN: I think it's just fantastic to listen to because we were probably all like this once back in the day, you know. We didn't know better. And it just, I think it's fantastic. It's so genuine. And I don't blame her, why should you go out and be intimidated on a golf course? Usually that's why all these young players play so well, they don't know better. It's good.
Q. What do you think of her game?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: She's fantastic. I haven't seen too much of her game so far, but from what I've heard and from what I've seen of her results, I mean it's pretty outstanding. To only be 17 years old and to go out and compete on a regular basis against top players in the world, and delivering pretty much every single time. That's very impressive.