Notes Lopez Gets Husbandly Advice

By Associated PressSeptember 7, 2005, 4:00 pm
2005 Solheim CupCARMEL, Ind. -- U.S. captain Nancy Lopez has never been too involved with statistics, although she sure talks a good game when it comes to who has the best alternate-shot record or tends to keep tee shots in the fairway.
The person responsible for those numbers? A baseball guy, of course.
Lopez is married to Ray Knight, the '86 World Series MVP when he played for the New York Mets. Knight later managed the Cincinnati Reds.
``First of all, he said, 'You've got to put the top two or three hitters up, and then you put up the one that's going to hit the home run,''' Lopez said with a laugh.
``He's been a tremendous help. I'm not a stat person; I look at the player. I know when they're playing well or not. He followed every stat probably the last two years and was on the computer every night bringing up this stat or that stat. I'm surprised he didn't tell me how many times they ate during the day.''
Among the items Knight discovered was Europe's advantage in driving distance wasn't as great as Lopez feared.
``He showed me all that, and now I can talk about it and know what I'm talking about,'' Lopez said.
So, who's batting cleanup?
``I'm not telling you,'' she said.
The U.S. team is a diverse group, with five players in their 40s, three in their 20s and 19-year-old Paula Creamer.
Rosie Jones, 45, was reminded of that generation gap Wednesday as she reflected on her career. She joined the LPGA Tour in 1982 and won for the first time in 1987.
``I'm playing with players that weren't even born when I was first walking on the fairways on the LPGA,'' she said. ``And my first Solheim, I think a lot of them were probably 4 or 6 years old.''
Later in the interview, Jones and 42-year-old Meg Mallon were talking about young players being in better shape, and the different swings used today because of equipment.
``She has no idea how far a persimmon wood can go off line,'' Mallon said, motioning at 21-year-old Christina Kim.
``Do you even know what a persimmons looks like,'' Jones asked Kim.
``It's a fruit,'' Kim replied.
Juli Inkster, 45, got in on the act when she told how she sang to Creamer and 22-year-old Natalie Gulbis in the team room Tuesday night. The song was, ``You've Lost That Loving Feeling.''
``They didn't know the song because they weren't born yet,'' 48-year-old Beth Daniel said.
Gwladys Nocera and Lividine Kreutz of France already have enough on their minds by playing in the Solheim Cup for the first time. It didn't help that their clubs didn't show up in Indianapolis when they did.
Both played last week in Denmark, took a British Airways flight to Chicago and then American Airlines to Indianapolis on Monday.
``I know they're great players, and I think they're going to do really good, if they just get their clubs and equipment,'' Carin Koch said. ``It's hard to play with equipment you're not used to.''
Both players had already started their practice rounds Wednesday morning when the clubs arrived.
It helped that Kreutz and Nocera have equipment deals with Ping. The late Karsten Solheim, for whom these matches were named, started Karsten Manufacturing nearly 50 years ago and Ping has a strong presence at Crooked Stick.
They were able to use similar clubs during a practice round Tuesday.
The LPGA Tour already has one tournament in Hawaii. Now it has another.
Commissioner Ty Votaw said Wednesday the Fields Open in Hawaii will be played Feb. 23-25 at Ko Olina Golf Club on Oahu, a 54-hole event that will be televised by The Golf Channel in the United States and TV Asahi in Japan. The purse will be $1.1 million.
Ko Olina was home to the Hawaiian Ladies Open from 1990-95.
Catrin Nilsmark returns as European captain after guiding her team to an overwhelming victory two years ago in Sweden. But this has been a far different experience.
For one thing, Nilsmark is on her feet.
She suffered severe back problems in Sweden and had to get around on crutches. She missed some team practices and early matches because she couldn't get out of bed, and often was driven around in a specialized cart that took pressure off her back.
``It was a fake,'' Nilsmark joked. ``Monday morning after the Solheim, I ran off.''
Nilsmark said it took her about two months after the matches to get back on her feet. She also was in the early stages of pregnancy, and gave birth 17 months ago to a boy, Sigge.
Laura Diaz, who is starting her sixth month of pregnancy, says she is capable of playing 36 holes Friday or Saturday, but doubts she will. ``I have a feeling I probably won't go 36, just because my energy level might not be as high as some of the other younger players,'' she said. ... Some of the U.S. players are carrying cameras with them, taking pictures of each other to post on the LPGA Tour's web site. ... Among those in gallery Wednesday was Patty Sheehan, the U.S. captain two years ago in Sweden.
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