September 11, 2019
Morgan Pressel will never forget her first experience of The Solheim Cup.
As she prepares to make her sixth appearance at Gleneagles, the 31-year-old ‘veteran’ in Juli Inkster’s American team, which now includes six rookies, recalls her first time in 2007.
Preparing to walk to the first tee at Halmstad, where the USA would eventually triumph 16-12, she was advised by experienced hands JoAnne Carner and Judy Rankin to put chapstick on her teeth so her mouth didn’t dry out.
Now she’s the ‘wise old sage’ in Inkster’s class of 2019, who head to Scotland seeking a third consecutive Solheim Cup victory.
“There’s so much that goes into the Solheim Cup, it’s so much different than any other tournament that we play all year,” said Pressel.
“I’ve been talking about my past experiences with other players on the team. I’m just getting them prepared for the emotional stress basically; it’s different playing for each other, playing for our Captains, playing for our country.
“You need to prepare them mentally for what’s going to happen on the first tee on Friday. And the nerves never go away. When I played in Germany, my fifth Solheim Cup, that was maybe the most nervous I’ve ever been but I knew it was coming.
“Nerves are going to be there. Whether you’re a veteran, a rookie or anywhere in the middle, when you walk through that tunnel out on the first tee and hear all the chanting and all the excitement, there’s no experience quite like it.
“You might not get as much sleep Thursday night after the opening ceremonies, which always leave me on such a high. You just have to embrace it.
“That’s kind of been the message that we’ve given to the team is embrace it. Know that it’s coming and have fun with it because at the end of the day this is a wonderful exhibition and a great show of golf. Just go out there and have fun.”
Pressel, 31, was one of Inkster’s Captain’s picks following her fourth place at the recent AIG British Women’s Open – her best major finish since a third at the ANA Inspiration in 2015.
And she believes Inkster’s coolness under pressure is what marks out the American skipper, seeking to become the first to captain a side to three straight wins, out from others in the team room.
“It’s about her whole personality and the ease that she brings to everything,” she added.
“It’s a tough tournament, The Solheim Cup. We all put a lot of pressure on ourselves. We want to play well and we want to win. Juli kind of reminds us just go out there, do your thing, you know how to play golf.
“She’s played nine Solheim Cups, has been captain now for a third time. She’s been around it for a very long time and she’s the queen of having fun. There’s definitely no shortage of fun that we have as a team.”