Solheim Conversation with Nancy Lopez


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.
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