GB&I Team Pre-Match Press Conference

THE MODERATOR: Thank you for joining us. We have Captain Tegwen Matthews of the GB&I Team and Stephanie Meadow and Annabel Dimmock. It's been a lot of lead‑up for all of this. Tell us how you feel to finally be here in St. Louis and ready to compete.

TEGWEN MATTHEWS: Very excited and really can't wait for tomorrow now. It's been ‑‑ I don't know quite know where the two years has gone from then, but then landing in Atlanta last week, that went very quickly. But it was a great bonding with the team and it gave us a very good acclimatization for the heat and humidity, which we haven't had today but we have had and had to cope with it. So, yeah, we are ready to go.

THE MODERATOR: Stephanie, you've played on a team before, had the opportunity to win before. How do you feel coming into this week kind of being one of the veterans on the team?

STEPHANIE MEADOW: Old (laughing). No, definitely, it's great to have that experience behind me. I can pass things off to the girls. Hopefully I can be a lead for them. I think it gives us confidence.

THE MODERATOR: And Annabel, your first time experiencing something like this. Tell me what the whole week so far ‑‑ and you've already been with the team for two weeks, so what the last two weeks has been like?

ANNABEL DIMMOCK: The last two weeks, the first week was great. I really enjoyed myself. I didn't know Steph before and I didn't know Charlotte before but like we got on really well. Like we feel ‑‑ I feel like I've known them just as long as the other guys now, which is great. But yeah, I'm really excited.

Q. I wanted to ask you, you played on other teams, as well. I think that you were able to win last time ‑‑ and the record is very lopsided there. But once the European side started winning The Ryder Cup more often, it became a much better competition, bigger deal. Do you think that that could be the case with the Curtis Cup? How important is it that you guys were able to win last time?

STEPHANIE MEADOW: Yeah, I mean, definitely, it's huge. For it to be in Scotland and to have – we had huge crowds. I think we broke records. To just be able to ‑‑ that in itself to be able to promote golf back home is great.

I think for us to win, it might inspire some more of our girls back home to get more into the game. But this has always been such a prestigious event. It's a friendly rivalry and it's something that they have all worked so hard for. I wouldn't change anything.

TEGWEN MATTHEWS: Yeah, I think winning at Nairn, we had a huge impetus there with the home crowd but we really had an awful lot of support prior to that. We did a lot of sort of getting people engaged on Facebook and Twitter and myself, you know, from about four months out, I was posting loads of things on Facebook about how the preparations were going and how the girls were doing. That is actually how an awful lot of people communicate now.

People do a lot of things via Facebook or Twitter, and then as a result, even now, when we're here in America, the support on Facebook and Twitter that we are getting from everybody at home makes me feel like it's almost a home match. So you recognize that as an important medium how to reach people, and it's been great fun, yeah.

Q. Do you agree that aside from personally wanting to win, but going forward is that a great thing for the Curtis Cup?

TEGWEN MATTHEWS: Oh, for sure. I think so.

Q. For one side not to dominate.

TEGWEN MATTHEWS: I think it's important, otherwise it just becomes ‑‑ oh, it's just another match and it's the USA always win and you're not going to get any kind of enthusiasm from the girls back at home to aspire to being the very top of their field in amateur ladies golf, which could be culminating is playing in a Curtis Cup team.

Now it feels as if that result in Nairn has had a good effect on girls getting on the team and even the girls I've got with me now, it's a very different team. Six of the team are completely different girls.

And you just take someone like Annabel, two years ago, where were you? Nairn. That itself is an impetus showing that Annabel is here now today; maybe as a result of Curtis Cup, maybe not. But certainly having the high profile of winning a Curtis Cup made a huge difference in British golf.

Q. You won back home last year, but to win on U.S. soil would it mean even more to win here?

STEPHANIE MEADOW: Yeah, definitely. I think in any sport it's always harder to win away from home. I think to win on U.S. oil, so ‑‑ see, this is the thing that's very different this year I think; that we have four girls that are in college now.

So it's not as if a lot of us are very comfortable here. A lot of us play American golf all the time, and even the ones that are not here in college, when Annabel comes at Christmas, too play Orange Bowl. So a lot of the other ones we played, everybody is comfortable. It's not as big as a factor anymore, like American golf courses, like everybody knows. So I think that's a big advantage that we have compared to years in the past.

But it is; it's always exciting to win away from home, and the supporters that we do have here, which is actually quite a few. A lot have made a long trip to come follow us, and it would be really special.

Q. When you got back to Tuscaloosa after winning the last time, was there a lot of congratulations?

ANNABEL DIMMOCK: A lot of congratulations, yeah. My coach is like, it's an interesting scenario this year because he's obviously got two players on opposite teams. But that's kind of like ‑‑ most people, they support me and a lot of fans behind me even though it's not an American Team.

Q. I don't know about your own Curtis Cup experience, did you play at home as well as this country ‑‑ is that true?

TEGWEN MATTHEWS: Yes.

Q. I'm going to stereotype and say for St. Louis, the Curtis Cup is a learning experience and none of us know tomorrow how many people will show up for this event. Would it be fair to say from your own experience when you played in your part of the world generates a little more excitement than you experience when you played in this country?

TEGWEN MATTHEWS: I think when you go back to many years ago when I did play in Curtis Cup, that was certainly the case in my first Curtis Cup in San Francisco, there were hardly any spectators at all there. And then I picked it up Apawamis in Rye, New York, was my other away game. Yeah, there weren't many spectators there, either.

Depends obviously on the venue in the U.K. but generally I think you're probably right, yes, it does generate more. I don't quite know where that is.

Q. Is it an advantage in the sense that you can count on the gallery support at Nairn, where the Americans can't necessarily anticipate that they are going to have that kind of gallery support?

TEGWEN MATTHEWS: And I don't know why that would be.

Q. Nor do I.

TEGWEN MATTHEWS: Oath other than the fact it's a big country and a lot of people would have to travel.

Q. You haven't had this team together before until just recently, right? What kind of factor does that play?

TEGWEN MATTHEWS: Well, if you look at it on paper and you go, okay, that's a strange thing. For instance, it's the first time I've flown out of the U.K. with only half my team and the other half already being in American. So that sort of felt a bit strange, normally you would have all travelled together out of the U.K.

As Steph said, the fact that the four girls who are already here, it's not only comforting for me; it's comforting for the rest of the girls, because we have got loads of experience in those four girls who can tell us what it's like and what's normal and don't eat those sweets and do eat these sweets and all those silly little things that make a difference.

It's different but it's not a disadvantage in any way.

Q. You practiced in Atlanta?

TEGWEN MATTHEWS: Yes.

Q. Can you talk about where you practiced and what you did and why?

ANNABEL DIMMOCK: So we got there, the first day we played, just like getting the cobwebs out. The course was really good. It was tough. I found it tough playing the first day because I was tired on the course, obviously with the jet‑lag. I just found the course was really weird does different.

Thinking back now, like it's weird how if you play it a few more times, like how adjusts ‑‑ like the smallest things, like the American courses, the grass and the greens, like everything, my yardages are different out here.

And then the second day, we practised, didn't we, and we played the par 3, did we, or is that the next day?

TEGWEN MATTHEWS: That was the next day.

ANNABEL DIMMOCK: Yeah, we just practised the second day and the third day we practised in the morning and then we played the par 3 against the juniors in the afternoon which was really good fun. We met some really good little players actually. We played with them around the par 3 course which was really good.

Then the next day, we played the men, like the male members at the club there, 36‑holes match, which was really good. It was really tough, as well. They had actually really good players, didn't they. I played like an ex‑pro and he was really good to play with and stuff. It was good, like pressure match. I thought it was good preparation.

TEGWEN MATTHEWS: And experiencing the full heat and humidity and the full storm, because I think you played about 12, 13 holes in the afternoon and you could see the clouds coming over and wallop, it came down.

Prior to that it had been very hot, very humid and all of a sudden, whoosh. It was a good grounding to what you can expect even here I guess.

Q. Where was it?

TEGWEN MATTHEWS: Atlanta Athletic Club.

Q. For both of you as players, Atlanta athletic has this unique fairway grass, the Diamond Zoysia; almost a perfect playing surface and this course is true bentgrass. As you practice this week, have the playing characteristics coming off the fairway been pretty much the same as you experienced at Atlanta Athletic?

TEGWEN MATTHEWS: Well, my home club, the West Course is bentgrass. It's literally like this, but not as green. So I'm really used to that and the greens here I like. But the greens at Atlanta Athletic Club were bermuda, which I found different.

STEPHANIE MEADOW: The fairways are very similar, same thing and they a lot of the same grasses in Alabama. I know at Atlanta Athletic Club they had some problems with the zoysia, they had to re‑sod a lot. Some of the fairways were a little rough but other than that it was great.

Q. What are your impressions of this course?

STEPHANIE MEADOW: I think as far as all of us being together ‑‑ yeah, two heads are always better than one. Just at the start of the week we played in twosomes and did our own thing and came up with our own game plans and especially today we talked through some stuff and just tried to get people's opinions. The golf course, it's in fantastic condition and the greens are great. I think the hardest part about this golf course is that the greens, tee‑to‑green, approach shots are not too bad.

But positioning yourself in the right part of the green is important. Having as many uphill putts as you possibly can is important. The staff here have done a tremendous job and it really couldn't be any better.

ANNABEL DIMMOCK: The golf course, I really like it. I like how every hole is different here. I really like the fairway undulations. I think it makes the course interesting. It's not like a flat fairway to aim for. There's different parts on the fairway and you can get different bounces.

It's cool, because like you can hit two shots out there and they can bounce off different part of the fairway and you can go to different parts of the fairway. So that's good. Makes a difference.

Q. Players at your level have played collegiate and match play, but you're also playing partner golf and there are not that many opportunities. How much history playing four‑ball and foursomes? Just comment on the two formats as you experience them.

ANNABEL DIMMOCK: I played in girls in the ladies home international last year which is foursomes in the morning and then singles in the afternoon. So there's a lot of that. But we don't play that much, really. But then once you turn pro, you don't really play that much apart from Solheim, obviously if you're lucky enough to get in.

But no, I really enjoy it because I really like being part of a team. I love it, so I enjoy that part of it.

What was your second question?

Q. The idea that you were a lot ‑‑ that you have to connect with your partner. If you're playing alternate‑shot, you can destroy a friendship or build a friendship depending how it goes.

ANNABEL DIMMOCK: It's good to play with like a close friend in foursomes so that you almost don't feel obliged to say, "I'm sorry." Like that's the worst thing on the golf course; you shouldn't have to say that.

Yeah, I think the whole of our team is quite close, so none of us ‑‑

TEGWEN MATTHEWS: Toughest decision I had was who not to play, and it was. With regards to who could play with who, quite honestly from top to bottom, I could have put any combination. With foursomes, I totally agree.

I think you need to be with someone you are absolutely comfortable with, and we had a big long discussion last night and the night before that, and we are in total agreement with who is going to be with who out there, and that's it.

Q. Did you let the players decide who they were most comfortable with?

TEGWEN MATTHEWS: Yeah, we did. We had a full open discussion. It's actually totally refreshing to me to have a team as brilliant as this that we could have that open conversation with, that no one was afraid to say what they felt or what they were more comfortable with.

Q. Why do you think that is?

TEGWEN MATTHEWS: I don't know. It's kind of strange, because all these girls are young, so you would think it would be something that would come from more maturity, but no, not necessarily. Certainly wasn't in my day. You never said boo to a goose in my day; you did as you were told.

You know, that's the difference in life now. These girls are very confident, and they are very open, and I love all that. I love the fact that they can be. It makes my life an awful lot easier.

STEPHANIE MEADOW: I think we respect each other, too. We respect each other as great players, and it's not like, oh, I don't want to be with her.

ANNABEL DIMMOCK: There's no one on the team that you would be like, no, I don't want to be with them. Everyone is a good player here.

Q. You're probably more familiar with the American Team in some respects; is there someone that you didn't really know before this week that you were really impressed with their game at Atlanta Athletic Club that you could share with us?

STEPHANIE MEADOW: I didn't know Annabel at all. I don't think I ever saw you before. I was very impressed. She hits the ball great. She's a great player, good putter. It's nice to not know someone and then ‑‑ oh, she's good.

And also, Charlotte is over here, too, but I had never met her ‑‑ I had met her at nationals but never seen her play before. Very steady, very accurate?

TEGWEN MATTHEWS: Two of the American girls, Gemma and Charlotte, we had a discussion at dinner where they said, we have never, ever played with Steph. And yet, they met ‑‑ they have been in college golf together, but they have never actually played with Steph.

STEPHANIE MEADOW: It's weird. I don't know how many times we played through the season but a lot.

Q. Do you anticipate you'll have a player play in every session?

TEGWEN MATTHEWS: Yes, I do.

Q. And when you get to the Sunday singles, is that still a blind draw or do you ‑‑ when the captain's put together their lineup, that's blind; you rank your players and they rank the players. The Presidents Cup has gone I think to a format where the captains have actually informed decisions to make. Would you be in favor of a change of that sort, instead of just take whatever comes?

TEGWEN MATTHEWS: Don't really know the answer to that. I'd have to sit down and think about the pros and cons to it. Don't really know.

I mean, I'm quite happy just putting the team in. I don't believe in the jigglyboo (ph). You can second guess me until doomsday, but I'm going to put people where I think they should be at any one time. I'm very lucky to have a team from top to bottom who are very good from top to bottom so I don't have to worry about strength at the top or strength at the bottom.

Q. The selection process ‑‑

TEGWEN MATTHEWS: I think it has been refreshing. I think it's provided complete clarity to the players in knowing what they needed to do to get onto the team, and to their parents and to the coaches and to the national organizations.            

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