Rosie Jones was just like the rest of us as she watched the opening round of the Ryder Cup earlier this month.
She found herself caught up in the early drama surrounding the Americans’ troublesome rain gear.
As captain of the United States team that will take on Europe in next year’s Solheim Cup, Jones was invested in all the week’s storylines as she watched on TV from afar.
So as a captain, what stood out about the 2010 Ryder Cup?
The rain suits, of course.
What did you think when you heard American players were complaining that their rain gear was leaking?
Well, there was an exchange of e-mails right away with the LPGA about our rain suits and an assurance that wouldn’t be happening with us.
You were on that right away?
I made a trip personally to Montreal, where our rain suits are being made by a company called Sun Ice. I was able to have a real hands-on experience, picking out and designing the rain suits, as I’m sure Corey Pavin was. I was given a lot of information by Sun Ice in order to make those decisions. I think we’ve got the best Gore-Tex available. I was assured about our rain suits right away, as this was unwinding Friday at the Ryder Cup. The first person I got an e-mail from was a contact at Sun Ice, assuring us our outfits are going to be great, that they’ll work and that they’re going to be tested and re-tested. They’ll be tested pretty heavily before we go over.
I’ve had really good hands-on responsibilities. I tell you what, if it doesn’t work, I take that on as well as the company. Their reputation is just as much at stake. I have faith in them.
The rain gear wasn’t all that was controversial about the American team fashion choices. You have any in lavender in your color schemes?
No lavender, nothing powder blue.
You going classic, modern, what’s the look going to be?
I tell you what, it’s going to be a lot of red, white and blue. I don’t want to give it away, but Antigua’s got some great designs for us. I wouldn’t say classic, more modern, and lots of red, white and blue.
I’m sure you were paying extra-close attention to what the captains were saying, doing, or trying to do. What made an impression?
With the rain, again, I was paying attention to what Corey Pavin and Colin Montgomerie were having to do with their lineups [for the revamped third session with foursomes combined with four balls]. Watching them have to change their lineups and put foursomes and four balls together to get everybody on the course at the same time, it was a wakeup call for me. It was a wakeup call knowing the same situation could happen to me in Ireland with rain. I need to be ready for anything. That was a big deal, knowing we were going to be over in possibly the same weather conditions, and that anything could happen and we have to be ready.
Corey Pavin didn’t take up Paul Azinger’s pod system, but what about you?
I had never met Paul until earlier this year. I was able to talk to him at the Kraft Nabisco for a good 20 minutes, and he told me about his pod theory and how he got to know his players and how important it was to get to know each player off the golf course, so you know how to handle them while they’re on the course, so you know how each player reacts to stress. Being in that team situation, I think everyone has a different way of handling responsibilities and the stress that goes with the team situation.
How’s that going, getting to know players who will potentially play for your team?
I’ve already started to nurture those relationships. We’ve already had two dinners this year where we invited different groups of players. It’s been working out well, and we plan to do it again, at least once more this year and a few more times throughout next year. As much as I can get around the players, in situations where they can get to know me better, and I can get to know them better, off the golf couse, the better it will be when we get to Ireland.