RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. – U.S. Solheim Cup captain Juli Inkster is curious about the way former U.S. Ryder Cup captain Paul Azinger grouped personalities in his pod system when the Americans defeated Europe at Valhalla in 2008.
In fact, Inkster has quizzed Azinger about his system’s finer points.
“I talked to him a lot about it,” Inkster said. “That might not be a bad idea, but I’m going to see how the team kind of shapes up next year and see if my team falls into that area and go from there.”
Azinger's system matched personalities in small groups he called pods. Mostly, Inkster wants to create an atmosphere that will allow the Americans to loosen up.
“It seems like they play tight,” Inkster said. “I know because I was in Ireland [in 2011]. It just seemed like it was stressful. I didn't enjoy it. I don't know why. It was just not fun. It was just too much pressure. We had too much to do. We never really had a lot of downtime to enjoy ourselves together as a team. I wasn't there last year, but I heard Meg did a great job. She was a great captain.
“The Europeans, basically, they just played better. They made more putts. They just got the ball in the hole quicker than we did. I play better when I'm just relaxed and have fun. If we can just go over there and not really kill the practice rounds, they already know the golf course. Do something different. Have something like a Wiffle ball game, a softball game, something different than golf. Just try to make it something that they will enjoy.”