Solheim Conversation with Nancy Lopez

By Golf Channel NewsroomAugust 5, 2005, 4:00 pm
2005 Solheim CupWith the Solheim Cup now just five weeks away, U.S. captain Nancy Lopez chatted with The Golf Channel about the state of her team. The Solheim Cup is scheduled Sept. 9-11 at Crooked Stick outside Indianapois, Ind.
In this interview, Nancy talks about her younger players. She thinks Paula Creamer, Natalie Gulbis and Christina Kim have all paid their dues and are ready to play.
The U.S. team will be made up of the top 10 in the points race, plus two of Nancys choosing. The top 15 and their points:
Paula Creamer
Paula Creamer has worked her way into the top 10 thanks to two victories this season.
1.Cristie Kerr, 727.5
2.Meg Mallon, 416.5
3.Juli Inkster, 403
4.Rosie Jones, 374.5
5.Christina Kim, 366.5
6.Natalie Gulbis, 365
7.Pat Hurst, 346.5
8.Paula Creamer, 340.5
9.Laura Diaz, 337.5
10.Michelle Redman, 322.5
11.Dorothy Delasin, 304.5
12.Heather Bowie, 289.5
13.Wendy Ward, 282.5
14.Stacy Prammanasudh, 241.5
15.Beth Daniel, 235.5
You seem to have a perfect combination of age on your side ' some older women, some younger, some in the middle. Whats your opinion of an 18-year-old (Paula Creamer) being on the team?
NANCY LOPEZ: She started with zero points this year. She set her goals to make the Solheim Cup and all year long shes just played super. And, she has a lot of experience ' a lot of amateur experience with match play. Shes a great putter, shes going to be great for the team with her enthusiasm, with just the player and the person that she is. I think she is going to give a great boost to the team. The Solheim Cup is different ' there is a lot of pressure. But I think with me and the rest of the team, we can settle her down just fine and shell go out there and win a lot of points for us.
What kind of an on-course personality does she have? Do you have to guard against her being intimidated?
NANCY LOPEZ: I would say that she is very feisty when she is over the shot, but still she can be laid-back between shots. Shes a lot like I was ' I wasnt so intense that I couldnt relax between shots. Shes the same way ' shes intense over the shot, but then she can enjoy the walk between shots. I think thats a great quality to have, because then you dont burn yourself out as quickly.
And I dont think I have to guard against her being intimidated at all. The bigger a person that she has to beat, the better shes going to play.
How about two other younger players ' Christina Kim and Natalie Gulbis. Do you think they will be at all too inexperienced?
NANCY LOPEZ: Because of the quality player that they are ' I mean, Christina Kim, I love her. Shes got such a great personality. I think she could be intimidating to another player. I dont think shes intimidated at all by any player.
Shes a little more vocal, she gets into what shes doing, shes enthusiastic. I think that can bother an opponent, actually. But Im glad ' not in an ugly way, but I am glad that she has the capability to intimidate. Shes just that kind of player.
Natalie, shes much more quiet, but isnt everybody (compared to Kim)? I think shes a great little player, though, and I have high hopes for her on the Solheim Cup, shes been playing well. They always say the cream rises to the top, and I think she will do that when she has to. But shes a great kid, shes been great for the LPGA Tour, she does a lot of promoting of the LPGA Tour, and gives of herself. I think shes respected by all the players, and I think she is going to be a team player, also.
Do you have an opportunity to have the course set up to your advantage?
NANCY LOPEZ: No, they pretty much say I cant do it. I know the Ryder Cup, whichever side is hosting that particular year, has a chance to set up the course to its advantage. I think they (Crooked Stick officials) will listen to my opinion, but I dont necessarily think the host course is supposed to be set up in a way that the host captain wants it.
Is Michelle Wie eligible to play?
NANCY LOPEZ: I dont think so. I think you are supposed to be professional ' Im not sure of that. But it would be hard to choose her, only because so many players have worked so hard to try and get on the team. It would be unfair, I believe, to choose somebody whos not on the LPGA Tour.
I think Michelle Wie is awesome, and a great player. But I have to give a lot of credit to the players who have worked hard and set their whole goal on making the Solheim Cup team.
Related Links:
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    DJ shoots 64 to surge up leaderboard in Abu Dhabi

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 1:48 pm

    Dustin Johnson stood out among a star-studded three-ball that combined to shoot 18 under par with just one bogey Friday at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

    Shaking off a sloppy first round at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, Johnson matched the low round of the day with a 64 that put him within four shots of Thomas Pieters’ lead.

    “I did everything really well,” Johnson said. “It was a pretty easy 64.”

    Johnson made four bogeys during an even-par 72 on Thursday and needed a solid round Friday to make the cut. Before long, he was closer to the lead than the cut line, making birdie on three of the last four holes and setting the pace in a group that also included good rounds from Rory McIlroy (66) and Tommy Fleetwood (68).

    Coming off a blowout victory at Kapalua, Johnson is searching for his first regular European Tour title. He tied for second at this event a year ago.

    Johnson’s second-round 64 equaled the low round of the day (Jorge Campillo and Branden Grace). 

    “It was just really solid all day long,” Johnson said. “Hit a lot of great shots, had a lot of looks at birdies, which is what I need to do over the next two days if I want to have a chance to win on Sunday.” 

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    Closing eagle moves Rory within 3 in Abu Dhabi

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 12:57 pm

    What rust? Rory McIlroy appears to be in midseason form.

    Playing competitively for the first time since Oct. 8, McIlroy completed 36 holes without a bogey Friday, closing with an eagle to shoot 6-under 66 to sit just three shots back at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

    “I’m right in the mix after two days and I’m really happy in that position,” he told reporters afterward.

    McIlroy took a 3 ½-month break to heal his body, clear his mind and work on his game after his first winless year since 2008, his first full season as a pro.

    He's back on track at a familiar playground, Abu Dhabi Golf Club, where he’s racked up eight top-11s (including six top-3s) in his past nine starts there.

    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

    McIlroy opened with a 69 Thursday, then gave himself even more chances on Day 2, cruising along at 4 under for the day when he reached the par-5 closing hole. After launching a 249-yard long iron to 25 feet, he poured in the eagle putt to pull within three shots of Thomas Pieters (65). 

    Despite the layoff, McIlroy edged world No. 1 Dustin Johnson, coming off a blowout victory at Kapalua, by a shot over the first two rounds. 

    “DJ is definitely the No. 1 player in the world right now, and one of, if not the best, driver of the golf ball," McIlroy said. "To be up there with him over these first two days, it proves to me that I’m doing the right things and gives me a lot of confidence going forward.”

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    Duke to fill in for injured Pavin at CareerBuilder

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 12:25 pm

    Ken Duke will fill in for Corey Pavin for the next two rounds of the CareerBuilder Challenge – with nothing at stake but his amateur partner’s position on the leaderboard.

    Pavin was 4 over par when he withdrew after 17 holes Thursday because of a neck injury. Tournament officials phoned Duke, the first alternate, and asked if he would take Pavin’s spot and partner with Luis Lopez for the next two rounds, even though he would not receive any official money.

    Duke accepted and explained his decision on Twitter:

    Playing on past champion’s status, the 48-year-old Duke has made only four starts this season, with a best finish of a tie for 61st at the RSM Classic.

    Pavin received a sponsor exemption into the event, his first PGA Tour start since the 2015 Colonial. 

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    Kelly, Sauers co-lead in Hawaii; Monty, Couples in mix

    By Associated PressJanuary 19, 2018, 3:52 am

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii - Fresh off a solid performance on Oahu, Jerry Kelly shot an 8-under 64 on the Big Island on Thursday to share the first-round lead at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

    The 51-year-old Kelly, who tied for 14th at the PGA Tour's Sony Open last week in Honolulu, birdied five of his final seven holes to shoot 30 on the back nine at Hualalai. He won twice last season, his first on the over-50 tour.

    Gene Sauers also shot 64, going bogey-free amid calm conditions. Thirty-two of the 44 players broke par in the limited-field event, which includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

    Rocco Mediate and Colin Montgomerie were one shot back, and Fred Couples, Kevin Sutherland and Kirk Triplett were another shot behind.

    Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was in the middle of the pack after a 69.