This is our Olympics, said Kelli Kuehne, who is playing the Solheim Cup for the second time.
We dont have the opportunity to play for our country very often where its not stroke play, its not one against one. I mean, this is 12 girls going as hard as they can go for one common goal, to bring the cup to the United States of America.
Its amazing how many people we have out here already, just for a practice round,' Michelle Redman, who lives just 15 minutes down the road from Interlachen Country Club, said of the galleries. I think its going to be more than we had anticipated, you know at the beginning of the week.
The fans will be wonderful. I feel the energy kind of surging today, which is really making it fun. I keep getting goose bumps, Emilee Klein added.
Klein, one of five rookies on the U.S. team, said that making the team has been bittersweet for her. A few years back when I would have liked to have been here, I wasnt, so now I worked hard, and it just feels great to be here. People have asked me how it feels and if its what I expected. I didnt know what to expect, so I just kind of came here and have just been taking it in slowly, and its been so exciting.
It was so exciting for Klein that, according to her long-time friend and teammate Kuehne, she burst into tears upon seeing the gifts that awaited her in her room Monday night. 'The magnitude of it, like Emilee said, this week I dont really know what it all means yet, because you walk into your room on Sunday night when I got here, and its like Christmas in your room, it hits you, you see your USA bag and you freak out. Emilees reaction was priceless.
I was on the other side of the hotel and was looking over to Emilees room. Emilee walks into her room, turns around, walks down the hall, takes three or four steps, walks in the room, and her mouth drops open, and she starts bawling.'
The most special gift the team has received so far this week was a gift from their captain. Sheehan gave each member of the team a diamond, ruby and sapphire necklace with a silver 'S' that goes through the stones to signify the Solheim Cup.
The real significance is that each one of our diamonds has our name as well as a 2002 Solheim Cup engraved in it, Wendy Ward said.
Some of us havent been able to detect it, but we know its in there, and very special and very sentimental gift from Patty. She said it just expresses how special we are to her and, hopefully, our play will reflect how special she is to us.'
Sheehan watched her team play the final practice round during which they displayed extreme confidence.
Sheehan hovered around the 17th green, following playing partners for a hole or two. Oh, shes bringing out the big guns, Kerr joked as she made her way to the 11th tee.
Sheehan had Kerrs driver, retorting with, Let me show you how its done, Cristie, and proceeded to hit a perfect drive down the fairway. After some initial adjustments to her setup, Kerr matched her drive in accuracy and bettered her in distance.
Kerr, who has turned her focus back on her setup, is feeling good about her game and the prospects of this weekend. I got a little crazy after I won earlier in the year, but I kind of had a low and then I kind of got refocused on my goals.
What I have realized is that when I do the small things well, I do well. I have been working on the small things, and its been paying off.
The U.S. team was certainly lighthearted just one day before the matches begin. Everyone found the golf course impeccable. After receiving three inches of rain Thursday night, the greens are receptive, yet not too soft. Interlachens thick rough and rolling greens will make for a great platform as the matches were to get under way Friday morning.
Full coverage of the 2002 Solheim Cup