WEST DES MOINES, Iowa – Juli Inkster told her American players to enjoy the journey.
That was part of her final message before they headed to the first tee Friday to start the Solheim Cup.
Inkster wasn’t kidding.
She owned the first tee, took possession of it during morning foursomes, strolling between the tee markers between matches, exhorting the crowd to make some noise, dancing to Bruno Mars’ song “Chubby,” watching the matches that were already in play on a big screen TV near the tee box.
Inkster was out front in a big way with a strong, visible presence.
What, exactly, did she tell her team before it headed out to meet Europe?
“I just told them this is a journey,” Inkster told Golf Channel’s Kay Cockerill. “You guys worked hard for this. You are going to hit some good shots, and you’re going to hit some bad shots. Let’s enjoy the moment.”
A huge crowd turned out for the first tee shots, with fans lined five and six deep from wall to wall, from the tee to the green.
“It’s great for women’s golf,” Inkster said.