Lopez Handicapping the Americans


Editor's Note: LPGA Hall of Famer Nancy Lopez sat down and handicapped the entire U.S. team for the Golf Channel. Here is her thoughts:
JULI INKSTER ' Juli is probably the super-strength of this team. Good attitude, really strong putter and a great driver. Shes all-around ' her iron play is great, her putter is almost as great. She sticks em in close and she rarely misses it when its makeable.
ROSIE JONES ' Rosie is the type of player who MAKES herself good. Her mind is solid when shes out there. I never see her really get down about anything, because her talent ' no one has ever given her credit for the talent she has. But she has so much talent. And she has made the most out of her talent ' I think more than anybody. I would compare her to my husband (former baseball player Ray Knight). He always used to say, I made myself the player I am, because I really didnt have the talent all those other superstars had. I feel like Rosies one of those. Shes made herself a great player. I respect her more than any player, because of the way she plays.
BETH DANIEL ' Beth Daniel is finally playing the kind of golf that I thought she should have been playing a long time ago. Shes always been outstanding, but I see a fire in her that I didnt see before. Shes playing so well, and I think its great to see because she has been playing longer than anyone on the team. I always look at her as my generation, and Im real proud of her ' I think she has played great!
LAURA DIAZ ' I think she still has time to shine, I think even more so, because shes got a lot of talent. I dont think she really realizes how talented she is. I think shes going to win a lot if she can figure it out. I really think she has style and class. And shes got the game, but shes still trying to figure it out; still trying to figure out what will made her click so she can win-win-win.
MICHELLE REDMAN ' Really, I dont know if I should call her a darkhorse, but nobodys ever given her much credit, either. She works very hard on her game, and shes played very, very well. I think shes learning more about herself, as far as what she CAN do out there. And shes doing it!
CRISTIE KERR ' I havent seen her play a lot, but she definitely has the talent. Shes kind of like the quiet one who just stays consistent all the time, but she really has not gotten the hang of winning yet. But she is a good, solid player.
ANGELA STANFORD ' Consistent, and a great attitude. I love to watch her play! I think shes going to be a great player out here. Its all in her attitude. You can play good golf, but your attitude is going to make you play great golf. Shes that kind of player.
MEG MALLON ' Shes just a great player with a great swing and a good head on her shoulders. Shes mean when she has to be, feisty when she needs to be, and I love that! Shes one of my favorite people on tour.
WENDY WARD ' I think a lot of Wendy Ward. Talented, but still not playing to her potential. I think her and Laura Diaz are in the same category, because I think Wendy is such an outstanding player. Ive played many practice rounds with her, and she HAS BEAT THE HECK OUT OF ME! Shes made birdie, birdie, birdie, and then when the tournament starts, she doesnt quite get it done. But she has got the talent, shes got the length, and I think shes going to be a big winner once she gets it figured out.
KELLY ROBBINS ' Not the player I think she can be. Shes so strong, shes got a beautiful swing, and I think she should be winning ' a lot. I dont know whats keeping her from doing it much more often, because shes got the game, and shes got the talent.
KELLI KUEHNE ' She gets everything out of her game that she can. Shes little, but she hits the ball so well! Shes aggressive, a fighter, another one thats feisty. I dont know how much shell win, but I think shell do well. If only she werent so small, she would be a big winner out here, too. Thats what has hurt her more than anything, God just didnt give her height.
HEATHER BOWIE - Watch her this year ' shes been very aggressive. Shes got a lot of growing to do, but I think shes got a real good opportunity to play well out here. To me, shes just starting to blossom. Shes starting to feel comfortable under pressure. I watched her in the Betsy King tournament. She slipped a little bit on Sunday, but there was a lot of pressure ' she was trying to get on the Solheim team, and thats a lot of pressure. I really wanted her to get on this team, and Patty (Sheehan) picked her.
BEST DRIVERS - Juli Inkster, Rosie Jones, Cristi Kerr, Angela Stanford, Meg Mallon. Kelli Kuehne hits it pretty straight, too ' right down the middle.
BEST IRON PLAYERS - Juli Inkster, Rosie, Beth Daniel, Laura Diaz, Michelle Redman, Cristie Kerr, Angela Stanford, Meg Mallon.
BEST SHORT-IRON PLAYERS - Juli, Rosie, Beth, Meg Mallon, Wendy Ward, Kelly Robbins.
BEST PUTTERS - Juli Inkster, Rosie Jones, Beth Daniel now is a good putter, Meg Mallon, Wendy Ward is good, Kelly Robbins 10 feet in ' shes great; Kelli Kuehne, Heather Bowie I just havent seen her make enough to say for certain.
BEST IMAGINATION - Joanne Carner ' she was the greatest of all time. But she isnt on the list, is she? But Juli, Beth, Meg all have great imagination with the clubs.
Since Annika Sorenstam is the most talked-about woman on the planet, Ill also say something about her game ' great driver, great irons, only a so-so putter. She doesnt have to be very imaginative around the greens ' she never misses them! She probably would be great there, too, but I dont think anyone has ever seen her have to be creative. Shes very straight-forward.
Someone asked me when I am going to be Solheim Cup captain. I dont know the answer to that but I do hope it is sometime. It is very exciting and such an incredible honor.
Related Links:
  • Golf Channel Tournament Airtimes
  • Full Coverage - Solheim Cup