Solheim Cup: An on-course chat with LPGA legend Nancy Lopez

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Solheim Cup: An on-course chat with LPGA legend Nancy Lopez

Solheim Cup

Solheim Cup: An on-course chat with LPGA legend Nancy Lopez

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Now on the tee with LPGA Hall of Famer Nancy Lopez, the victorious 2005 U.S. Solheim Cup captain and three-time assistant captain to Juli Inkster. A bundled-up Lopez chatted with Golfweek on the par-3 10th tee at Gleneagles in between groups during the Saturday fourball session at the Solheim Cup.

On the challenging conditions at Gleneagles, where the wind gusted up to 44 mph. Balls were literally falling off the tee.

This is the kind of wind that you just don’t play in. When I played, I was probably on Tour, I was young, I played in Japan and I called it a typhoon. The only difference was, knock on wood, we didn’t have any rain yet, but it was blowing just like this, rain coming down sideways and my clothes were frozen. Most of the par 4s, and I was long at that time, I couldn’t reach in two if it was into the wind. It was like a four or five-club wind.

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You stand over a 2-footer and you’re moving all over the place. To take the putter back nice and steady is really, really hard. These players are playing great. I wouldn’t want to play today. Even in my heyday I would’ve woken up and said ‘Hope captain doesn’t play me!’ (laughs).

On Juli Inkster benching the Korda sisters in the afternoon to stick to her plan of no Americans going all five matches.

I think I played Pat Hurst five times (in 2005). She’s strong. She was my horse. She could play forever it seemed like in those days. (Paula Creamer also played five times.) With this type of weather, I think that makes a big difference. Singles mean so much.

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I know we wanted to play Nelly (Korda) this afternoon and we just decided that we needed her for that one point tomorrow. These other players, that’s why they’re here. Give them a chance to win a point if they haven’t. Lizette’s teams haven’t won one. It would be nice if she could win with Danielle today, I don’t think either have won a point. To give them a positive push into tomorrow.

On the impressive Scottish crowd …

They’re used to this. They are hearty. My hat’s off to them too for coming out here. I’d rather be home having hot chicken noodle soup watching it on TV. They’re great.

On what Lexi Thompson needs in a partner. (She’s had three this week.)

Lexi doesn’t need a lot. She was my Juli Inkster. When Juli played for me, Juli could play with anybody. Personalities didn’t have the be the same or connect in any way. She’s a player that plays her own game. It’s like being married, whoever you put her with makes her a better player if that makes sense. Just like when you get married, that guy or woman should make you a better person. I think Lexi, that person that she’s playing with just adds a little bit more stability. We have great players. You can put anybody with Lexi. She’s very flexible. We’ll ask her and she’ll say ‘Oh it doesn’t matter.’ That’s how Juli Inkster was when she played for me in 2005.

On an American rookie’s putting stroke …

I’m going to tell Brittany Altomare tonight that she putts like a young Nancy Lopez. She’s not afraid to miss it. She strokes it like she’s going to make it every time, and that’s how I felt. When my putting was the best, even though I still feel it’s pretty good, I just felt like I was going to make everything. And she stands up to everything like that. That good acceleration, a little bump and then follow-through. That’s what I felt like when I was putting. She’s not short, but she doesn’t hit it real long. But she can chip and putt with the best of them. She’s got great feel. I’d play with her any day as my partner.

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