CN Canadian Women’s Open
Hillsdale Golf & Country Club
August 24, 2011
Pre-tournament notes and interviews
Yani Tseng, Rolex Rankings No. 1
Suzann Pettersen, Rolex Rankings No. 2
Cristie Kerr, Rolex Rankings No. 3
Paula Creamer, Rolex Rankings No. 9
Morgan Pressel, Rolex Rankings No. 13
One of the year’s strongest tournament fields will be on display when the CN Canadian Women’s Open kicks off on Thursday at the Hillsdale Golf & Country Club outside Montreal. Defending champion Michelle Wie will highlight the star-studded field of 156 players which features the top 50 players on the 2011 LPGA Official Money List as they compete for a $2.25 million purse and a $337,500 first-place prize.
Joining Wie in this week’s field are 17 of the Top-20 players in the Rolex Rankings. That includes Rolex Rankings No. 1 Yani Tseng and Suzann Pettersen, who jumped up to the No. 2 spot in the rankings after winning her second LPGA Tour event of the season at last week’s Safeway Classic Presented by Coca-Cola. The 30-year-old Norwegian came from nine shots back in the final round at the Safeway Classic to defeat Rolex Rankings No. 5 Na Yeon Choi in a playoff.
A familiar tournament: Yani Tseng’s rookie season on the LPGA Tour took place back in 2008, but her history with the CN Canadian Women’s Open actually began one year earlier. In 2007 Tseng qualified for Canada’s national tournament by winning the CN Canadian Women’s Tour event at Vancouver Golf Club. In what was her first LPGA event as a professional, Tseng finished tied for sixth at the 2007 CN Canadian Women’s Open at Royal Mayfair Golf & Country Club in Edmonton, Alberta.
“I was so nervous because I didn't know anything about the LPGA or anything about the field and playing the best players in the world," Tseng said. "But I learned a lot. I made double on the last hole. I lost a lot of money. That's the first time I go 'Wow, one shot makes a lot of difference on the LPGA Tour."'
This week in Montreal will mark Tseng’s fifth CN Canadian Women’s Open and the current Rolex Rankings No. 1 player has yet to win the event. Her best finish in the event was a third place finish in 2008 at the Ottawa Hunt & Golf Club. That year Tseng entered the final round with a four-stroke lead but shot 77 on Sunday to lose by two shots to Katherine Hull.
“I played with Se Ri Pak, and I never played with her before so I was a little nervous,” Tseng said. “I tried to focus, but I was thinking of winning a tournament when I step on the first tee, and that's wrong. I couldn't control myself. I couldn't control my mind to not thinking to win the tournament, and I didn't know what to do. I just felt like I was thinking too much, and I was always thinking ahead, and I didn't play one shot at a time. So I learned a lot from that tournament for the next year.”
Tweaking her game: Cristie Kerr spent the majority of the past two months ranked No. 2 in the world behind Rolex Rankings No. 1 Yani Tseng. This week Suzann Pettersen passed Kerr for the second spot in the rankings and it comes at a time when Kerr is working to get her swing back in great shape.
Starting in May, Kerr went on a roll where she finished in the top 3 in five consecutive tournaments. That impressive stretch included three straight runner-up finishes. But ever since the LPGA Tour headed to Europe last month, Kerr has been working to find that same rhythm.
“I kind of revamped and worked on my golf swing with my coach last week a little bit,” Kerr said. “It had gotten a little bit off. When you're struggling to get up-and-down for par a lot of times, it's more difficult to score. I feel like this week I'm a lot more comfortable with what I'm working on with my swing and working on the short game hard. So I'm looking forward to the tournament.”
While it often takes time for players to get used to changes they make in their golf swing, Kerr seems confident that she’s close to finding the form that she had earlier this summer.
“I feel like I'm back on a trend where I’m comfortable and will be able to go out and play free,” Kerr said. “But when you're on the golf course and you don't know which way it's going to go, it's hard to play that way because you have -- you're held back like somebody's got a leash on you and you can't just let go and play free. So I feel like I'm on a trend to being able to play free golf again. It's hard to be able to look at the swing and say this is really off and we really need to work on this and how can you let it get like this? But that's golf.”
Prior to capturing the 2011 Sybase Match Play Championship back in May, Suzann Pettersen had gone 20 months without a victory. But over the past four months, Pettersen has captured three victories – two on the LPGA Tour and one on the Ladies European Tour (LET). Last week, the Oslo, Norway native made it back-to-back wins as she captured the Safeway Classic Presented by Coca-Cola in her first event after winning the LET’s Ladies Irish Open on Aug. 7.
“It's nice to be in the winner's circle again,” said Pettersen, who has also posted five other top-10 finishes this season on the LPGA Tour. “It gives you a lot of confidence. It definitely helps when I putt well, which is what I've been spending a lot of time over the last three or four months just overall putting better. So I feel like I have a chance when it comes down to the back nine.”
Pettersen’s win at the Safeway Classic helped move her up to the No. 2 spot in the Rolex Rankings. It’s a spot that she’s occupied previously this season, but she acknowledged that she has bigger aspirations for herself and that’s to try to overtake Yani Tseng as world No. 1.
“It's always been a dream of mine since I was a kid to become the best player in the world,” Pettersen said. “So, yes, it would mean a lot to me. What it takes to catch Yani? Win tournaments. Go out and win tournaments and try to win as many as you can, because she's going to win her fair share in a year.
“During the time I've been on Tour, we've had three No. 1s. Annika was the No. 1, she kind of set that standard back then. What is that now, five, six years ago. Then Lorena kind of took over that and took it to another level. Now Yani's kind of again, stepped away and tried to distance herself from the rest of us. So it just makes the rest of us work even harder.”
Bienvenue á Montreal: Before getting into her usual tournament routine, Cristie Kerr took some time with her husband, Erik, to explore old town Montreal on Monday evening. It’s the first time that the CN Canadian Women’s Open has been played in the Montreal area and the veteran LPGA Tour member took the opportunity to see the city a little bit before play officially got underway.
“It was a great experience,” Kerr said. “I’m glad I went into the city to see it because it’s one of the cities that I’ve always wanted to see.
“I think it's a very kind of European feeling city. We went to old Montreal and there were cobblestone streets and old buildings. It's quite charming.”
Who’s Who of past champions: They include Michelle Wie (2010), Suzann Pettersen (2009), Katherine Hull (2008), Lorena Ochoa (2007), Cristie Kerr (2006), Meena Lee (2005), Meg Mallon (2002, 2004), Beth Daniel (2003) and Annika Sorenstam (2001).
THE MODERATOR: We'd like to welcome Rolex Rankings No. 1, Yani Tseng, into the interview room. Thanks for joining us today. It's been a pretty remarkable year for you. Can you just talk a little about everything that you've gone through from winning five career majors to having the top spot in the rankings all year?
YANI TSENG: Yeah, that's sounds pretty good. I'm very excited for this year. My goal was to become world No. 1, and after a couple of months this year. To become No. 1 is very, very exciting, and I wasn't getting used to it after that. I got more people who pay attention to me and more interviews and more pressure too.
But now I kind of just really enjoy what I have, and I enjoy being world No. 1, and enjoy that people pay attention to me. I don't know. I really feel a lot of fun, and I feel like I still have a long way to go, and I just feel that I have a lot of things that I need to learn. I'm only 22, so I have a lot of things that I need to work on and to achieve too.
Q. I know after the British Open when you had a busy time in Taiwan, have you recovered from that or do you feel like you're kind of getting back on your feet again? I know it was tough last week.
YANI TSENG: It was really tough last week. I still had very bad jet lag, and I was very, very busy in Taiwan doing some photo shoots and all the interviews. But I'm always very happy to go back home. But after last week, I kind of got back on track again. This week I feel good, and I hit the ball very well. I played 18 holes today and the course is in great shape. I'm really looking forward to this week.
Q. You did just finish the Pro-Am and got to see the course. What are your thoughts on the course and how difficult might it play this week?
YANI TSENG: The course is pretty -- the fairways are wet and so the course played pretty long. So I think this is good for me, and I'm pretty happy about it. You have to hit a good drive to keep it on the fairway, and the rough is pretty tough. I think it's going to be a good week for the long hitter this week.
Q. It's tempting to see this as an overnight success, though I know it's more complicated. Can you just sort of talk about the process that's made you into the player that you are over the last 18 months, and how you've gone through that and what the steps have been to get you there?
YANI TSENG: I just kind of keep doing what I'm doing. I work on my putters. I worked on my swings. I worked with my coach. I don't think about too much around. I'm just doing the things I need to achieve.
I always try to be confident and positive, because I know sometimes you feel stressful, but you always need to look forward. I think this year I've become -- I think I've become a better player and played better and more consistently because I've got a good attitude. When I tell myself to chin up, chest up and I can do that, but I couldn't do that the last three years.
Looking back, I still feel the bad shots and I still thinking about it. But now if I tell myself just look inside and smile, then I just enjoy and don't worry about so much things. Now I feel like I can do more too.
Q. Every golfer wants to be No. 1 in the world. When did you know that it was there for you? When did you start to sense that you could do this?
YANI TSENG: I don't know. World No. 1 has always been my goal since I was 12 years old. This year I finally become world No. 1, because last year like Top 5 we all have chance, and I was thinking, "Oh, when is my chance?" Because Top 5 have all been world No. 1.
But I was really happy I waited. I didn't become No. 1 last year, because that way I feel that I'm learning more like the end of the season, and I was really happy how much I learned from my mistakes and how much I learned from last year.
Q. You have already won five majors and you're No. 1. You're only 22. What are your goals now? What are you hoping to do in the next few years?
YANI TSENG: I think I just -- the first thing I need to keep my body healthy, and I need to keep improving my skills and my mental a. I think everything, I need to keep improving. I just feel like my final goal is I want to become a Hall of Famer and play ten years on the LPGA. I think that's my goal. But for these few years I just keep improving to become better and better player and, yeah.
Q. Your success is well documented. When Rory McIlroy won the Open a couple months ago, everyone was going crazy for him because that was his first major championship. Do you find that you get enough respect for all the success you've had? Nobody has done what you've done at your age. But with all due respect you're not a household name, but don't you think you should be?
YANI TSENG: Yeah, I think about that sometimes, but just more people are looking at the men's tour for sure. But now I think more people pay attention to the LPGA Tour for sure. So sometimes I do feel like why don't I get much attention, and I won five majors.
But I keep telling myself if I keep playing good, more people will pay attention. The LPGA will pay attention to me, too. So I'm kind of not worried about that too much because that's the way I can control it too. The way I can control it is I tell myself just keep playing good, win some more tournaments, win some more majors and people will know.
Q. But it does bother you a little bit at least?
YANI TSENG: Yeah, I think so. Yeah.
Q. Are you more of a household name in your own country?
YANI TSENG: What?
Q. Are you more of a household name in your own country than you are over here where people see you more?
YANI TSENG: Yeah, yeah, for sure. In Taiwan most of the people when I walk on the street, most of the people are really nice to me. I was really happy. But now I feel lots of people support me and come to the golf course to watch me play.
Here I'm enjoying the crowd here, and I just feel really happy to have people watch you and cheer for you and more people recognize me. So I'm really happy and really enjoy it. I'm not worried about too much of that stuff.
Q. You played in the Women's Tour in 2007 and won, and that got you into this tournament which was your first LPGA. What do you remember about playing in that Tour event?
YANI TSENG: Yeah, I know the only way to get in is you have to win a tournament. So I was working so hard so hopefully I could win in that tournament. And after I had done it, I was so happy because then I can play the CN Open because you feel like it's another major.
You get all the best players here, and you play a great golf course in a great tournament and so there's a big crowd. The first time I played I was so nervous because I didn't know anything about the LPGA or anything about the field to play the best players in the world. But I learned a lot. I made double on the last hole. I lost a lot of money. That's the first time I go, wow, one shot makes a lot of difference when you play on the LPGA Tour. When you become a professional, you know how much each shot is more important. It can be like ten spots different, 20 spots different with just one shot. But when I was an amateur, I didn't feel that way.
So I was really happy that I learned lots of things and then watched lots of players and played with them. It was really my honor to do it.
Q. On the men's Tour and the women's Tour, young players are making a big impact. Why do you think young players are ready to win at a younger age than they used to be?
YANI TSENG: I think just we're not afraid of anything. We just go out there. We have no pressure. We just go out there and be aggressive. I saw the young players are very aggressive. They don't care if there is the water there. They just go for the pins. Sometimes they play smart.
But I think if one younger player is going to be a leader and then other players will follow them because it's like, oh, Rory can do it, I can do it, too, because Rory's only 21. So I think he experiences lots of younger players to turning pro early too.
Q. Yani, how do you explain that so many good golfers from Asia are becoming like inside the Top 10? There are four of you. There are 500, I guess. So how do you explain the rise of so many good Asian golfers?
YANI TSENG: I don't know. Everybody asks me that question. But I think in Asia we play a tournament very, very early, because when I was young we get a lot of attention. It's not from family or from the country. It's like we play for the country. We've been on lots of national teams with Ai, Jiyai, Na Yeon Choi, we play a lot as amateurs, and we play some Asian Tour. And they have a Korean Tour, Japan Tour, so we played them when we were amateurs.
So you have to play good to gain in those tournaments. If you shot even, it's nothing. You shoot even, you cannot get into the National Team. But when you're an amateur, the National Team was very big for us, and I would always come in last. So you know you can always improve. That always push me harder because I want to be on the National Team, and I want to play for the country he and go to another country to play golf.
So I think it was a lot of pressure when we were young, when we were growing up. I think there were lots of things to push harder and to be better. You feel that you're learning more. That's how you already have lots of winning tournaments. You already have lots of experience to be like last group and play for the big tournaments.
Q. Your best chance to win this particular event was three years ago. You had a lead on the final day, and it got away from you. What do you remember of that last day, and how did it motivate you or what did it tell you had to work on to get to where you are now?
YANI TSENG: I do. I was really sad about that tournament because I was fortunate to play on Sunday. And I played with Se Ri Pak, and I never played with her before so I was a little nervous. I tried to focus, but I was thinking of winning a tournament when I step on the first tee, and that's wrong because I don't know. I couldn't control myself. I couldn't control my mind to not thinking to win the tournament, and I didn't know what to do.
I just felt like I was thinking too much, and I was always thinking ahead, and I didn't play one shot at a time. So I learned a lot from that tournament for the next year. I mean, actually, until last year after I win the British Open, that is the first time I've been leading and winning the tournament. Before that I had always come from behind. So I've been learning that more than a year to figure out how to be a leader and still win a tournament.
Q. Will you pick up the trophy before the final round here this week?
YANI TSENG: No. The trophy's not on my mind, no.
Q. You don't pick that up anymore?
YANI TSENG: No, no, no, not anymore.
Q. One other question on superstition. You live in Annika's old house. Do you think there are good feelings in that house for you?
YANI TSENG: Absolutely, for sure. I think it's wonderful. It's perfect. Every time I go back to the house I see the trophy case, and it's tells me I need to win more tournaments to fill all the trophy case. In Chinese culture we say that's very good feng shui. Yeah, to buy a house and to live in there.
THE MODERATOR: We'd like to welcome Rolex Rankings No. 2, Suzann Pettersen into the interview room. Thank you for joining us.
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Thanks for having me.
THE MODERATOR: Congratulations on your win last week at the Safeway Classic. Can you just talk first off about the emotions of that day, shooting 64 in the final round to win after you didn’t really expect anything to happen?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Yeah, well, it was just one of those days where everything went my way. I went out in the morning. Didn't really feel like I had a chance, and got to play my own game. I never really kind of felt that pressure until I was on 17 when I realized I was somewhere close to the leaders, knowing that the leaders still had almost an entire back nine to play. I had to sit and wait for like over two hours to see what they were doing and realized it would come down to the last hole if I was going to get into the playoffs or not.
I was fortunate enough to kind of have my luck this time. It was like I said, little bit unexpected, but I'm going to say it was awfully nice to win that way too to come from back.
THE MODERATOR: Before the Sybase Match Play earlier this year, it had been about 20 months since you had won. Now you have three wins this season, two LPGA Tour wins and a win at the Ladies Irish Open. How nice is it to get back in the winner’s circle and put a string of these wins together?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: It's always nice. I think everyone kept asking me when are you going to win again? You keep finishing second. For me, obviously, it's also about winning tournaments, but it's also if you're there every week in contention and kind of putting yourself in the right position, hopefully one day you'll be able to close it off.
Sometimes the margin's on your side, other times you can play great and other people outplay you on a Sunday. This time I was lucky enough that no one ran away with it early on Sunday. I've kind of been a part of all kinds of different scenarios where you've been so far ahead and someone's been shooting 10-under on you and you lose by one. Finally I had the others reverse one, and I could kind of catch them.
It's nice to be in the winner's circle. It gives you a lot of confidence. It definitely helps when I putt well, which is what I've been spending a lot of time over the last three or four months just overall putting better. So I feel like I have a chance when it comes down to the back nine.
Q. In addition to all the wins this summer, it's been an emotional summer for you with everything that happened in Norway. Can you talk about how that tragedy affected you?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: It's been an awful summer for us back home. I mean, the one incident the 21st of July, or 22nd of July was probably the worst day in Norway's history since the Second World War. Just so many young people who got killed and lost their lives, it's just terrible.
Then there have been a few personal tragedy stories as well. So it's been a very brutal summer. It's sad to say, but it helps you realize what you have in life, and appreciate what you do. For me, it's been helping me just relax more on the golf course and just enjoy what I do. I'm pretty proud of how everyone in Norway has come together as one unit and stuck together.
Q. I'm curious to know in terms of your opinion to win back-to-back. Coming off a win last week it gives you a lot of confidence, but it's so tough to win consecutive weeks, isn't it?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: I just think out here it's so hard to win anyway. The level of golf being played is so good, and the depth is probably better than it's ever been. I think it's rare to see people win multiple times in a season now. You're lucky if you win once and it's even better if you win several times.
Like I said, you don't take anything for granted out here. You've got to enjoy those moment when's you finally pull it off because it's getting really tough out here. There are so many good golfers.
Q. Do you feel this golf course suits your style? It's a good course here for you?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: I hope it's going to rain and it's going to play a little bit longer, because you get no roll on the driver, and it kind of sets into position where you have a lot of longer irons into the green. The rough I thought yesterday was not so penalizing. Today it was brutal. So I don't know what they've done overnight. So if you miss a fairway, it's a tough course. But it's pretty much see what you're going to get. It's right in front of you. I think you'll see the low scores around here.
Q. Does getting to No. 1 in the world matter to you? If that's a goal for you, what's it going to take for you to catch Yani Tseng?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: It's always been a dream of mine since I was a kid to become the best player in the world. So, yes, it would mean a lot to me. What it takes to catch Yani? Win tournaments. Go out and win tournaments and try to win as many as you can, because she's going to win her fair share in a year.
During the time I've been on Tour, we've had three No. 1s. Annika was the No. 1, she kind of set that standard back then. What is that now, five, six years ago. Then Lorena kind of took over that and took it to another level. Now Yani's kind of again, stepped away and tried to distance herself from the rest of us. So it just makes the rest of us work even harder. Like I said, you really appreciate it when you do well, and when you don't do well, you just dig in and work even harder.
Q. You mentioned something about you're lucky if you win. I think it was Gary Player who once said the better I get, the luckier I seem to be. How much luck do you he think, notwithstanding the fact that you have to be a great player, how much luck plays in winning a tournament in terms of the rolling of the ball and so on?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Oh, it's like marginal. Sometimes every putt you look at goes in, and the next day every putt hits the lip and you miss the hole. It's so marginal. I think the more you practice, the luckier you get. But I think it kind of goes hand in hand. At the end of the day, you want to try to eliminate those margins in your favor. Sometimes that happens, sometimes it doesn't. The golf Gods, sometimes they're brutal and sometimes they're nice. It's kind of out of your control as well.
Q. When you win a tournament, you can always look back and say if I hadn't made that into the cup from the sand trap, I wouldn't have won?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Yeah, what could have been. You can always look back and say what could have been. But sometimes it's nice to look back and say what a great bounce that was coming off the trees or something that went in your favor and at the end of the day you actually won the golf tournament. So I think it evens out as you play.
THE MODERATOR: We'd like to welcome Cristie Kerr into the interview room. Thank you for joining us today. Former winner of this tournament back in 2006, you've been to many of these events. Talk about being here this week and getting to enjoy Montreal?
CRISTIE KERR: Montreal's been great so far. My husband went into the city and had dinner in old town Montreal, and it was a great experience. I'm glad I went into the city to see it because it's one of the cities that I've always wanted to see.
I've played this course. It's a really, great, classical style golf course and it's in terrific shape. So looking forward to the Pro-Am today and the tournament.
Q. You've had a great season, lot of top three finishes. What is the state of your game right now and how pleased are you with your season overall?
CRISTIE KERR: I'm pretty pleased with my season. I'd love to be able to get that first win on the season, but I think I've tried a little too hard as of late to do that, and usually that has the opposite effect for me.
So I've just got to try to go out and do my best. And kind of revamped and worked on my golf swing with my coach last week a little bit. It had gotten a little bit off. When you're struggling to get up-and-down for par a lot of times, it's more difficult to score. I feel like this week I'm a lot more comfortable with what I'm working on with my swing and working on the short game hard. So I'm looking forward to the tournament.
Q. Having seen the golf course early this week, what are your initial thoughts on it, and what are kind of going to be the keys on this course this week?
CRISTIE KERR: Yeah, I think if you drive the ball straight, you're going to have chances to make birdies. I think the scoring will be fairly good here. Depends on the weather. I think tomorrow we're maybe expecting some rain, so I think that you know you get off to a good start in the tournament and keep building from there.
Q. You talked about working on something with your game recently. Are you yet at a point where you can play rather than think about that or are you still trying to, you know, work around that thought process?
CRISTIE KERR: I think there are always periods of time where you're comfortable with what you're working on and you're able to go out and play. And there are sometimes when you really need to grind on your technique because something with the plane of the swing or the body motion gets really off. It's kind of a thing where it gets a little off over a period of time and then all of a sudden you're like, wow, I really need to work on this. So that's kind of the point I was in the last couple of weeks.
I feel like I'm back on a trend where I’m getting comfortable and will be able to go out and play. But when you're on the golf course and you don't know which way it's going to go, it's hard to play because you have -- you're held back like somebody's got a leash on you and you can't just let go and play free. So I feel like I'm on a trend to being able to play free golf again. It's hard to be able to look at the swing and say this is really off and we really need to work on this and how can you let it get like this? But that's golf.
Q. We just had a NASCAR race in town last weekend, and some drivers, rookies, who had come to the track for the first time will use PlayStation. They'll have various means of being able to see the racetrack and the track is not an entirely virgin thing to them when they arrive. Is there such a thing for a golfer, when you know this tournament's coming here? Would you have a look at this golf course in a virtual sense to see what may suit your game and where you want to avoid certain things?
CRISTIE KERR: Not really. I don't think we're quite at the stage yet where we're going to go out and play the golf course on PlayStation before we go out and play. I really am horrible at video games anyway, so it wouldn't do me any good.
But that's where we have our caddies for. Our caddie is kind of our eyes before we play the course. My caddie, Jason, who is from Edmonton, he's a Canadian. He came out and walked the golf course on Monday while I had rest. And when we played yesterday, I knew where to hit it because he's kind of my virtual eyes in that respect. So we rely on our caddies a lot when there is a course that we haven't seen before.
Q. The PGA TOUR set up Shaughnessy as a test of golf as some of the best players in the world there were sort of complaining about how tough it was. Do you feel that this course here has been set up by the LPGA as a true National Championship tough test for golf for your athletes?
CRISTIE KERR: You know, I think it's a really good golf course. I've only played it once and it's hard to tell till you get in the heat of the battle. There are a lot of long par-3s here. There are a lot of greens where you can't hit it over the green. It's going to be a good test.
Q. When did you first hear about the Solheim Cup picks and what were your initial thoughts?
CRISTIE KERR: I like the picks. That's what they are, they're picks. You can go down the points list if you want or go completely off the page. I think that Rosie wants the best possible team to take over there, and both of the picks that she did pick have strong games and are both extremely long hitters, so I think that's going to suit us very well over there.
Q. Can you tell me about the Asian golfers on the Tour right now? They're being so dominant this here. Yani Tseng with her five majors at 20 years old. What do you have to do as a golfer to overcome maybe her and all of the Japanese and Koreans, because they're getting very, very strong the last few years?
CRISTIE KERR: Yeah, the Asian contingent on Tour is very strong. They're all very hard working golfers. They all have this mindset where you must get this done. You have to play well, and they're all really good, technically very sound.
To answer your question, we need to multiply. We need to make more Americans and more Europeans, but it's not quite happening. This is the cycle that we're in right now. But you want to play against the best players in the world, and that's what we have on our Tour right now.
Q. This is sort of a fun question that came to mind when you said you went to old Montreal for some of the best cuisine. But are you going to try poutine while you're here?
CRISTIE KERR: I almost tried it last night, but I couldn't eat that much. I had a salad for dinner. We ate quite late. We went to Table 51 at the mall where we're staying. It was nice.
But I've heard of the classic dish. Potatoes and cheese and stuff, I don't know if that goes well with my stomach right now, but I'll try it while I'm here.
Q. The classic dish might be the most charitable description of that ever, by the way. Thank you. When you come to a city like Montreal, when a lot of athletes come here for the first time, there is obviously a bit a culture shock of language and so on. When you got around old Montreal and the city, what struck you about Montreal?
CRISTIE KERR: I think it's a very kind of European feeling city. Old Montreal we went and there were cobblestone streets and old buildings. It's quite charming.
For translation, I don't know. One of my very good friends is Vincent Lecavalier, and he's here and he was going to play in the Pro-Am. But his wife is pregnant again. Actually, I don't know if they're quite married yet. It's coming any day now. She's been quite sick, so he couldn't come and play in the Pro-Am. But he's here in spirits, and he's my translator here.
Q. How did you become friends with Vinny?
CRISTIE KERR: Vinny and I were represented by the same management company, This must have been the year before he won his first Stanley Cup with Tampa. I don't know which year that was. Like 2003, December, we all went out and got to know each other.
We were represented by Pantheon, which is the same management company, and a large part of their practice was hockey. And Kent Hughes, his agent, is very good friends with my husband, Eric, who was part of that company at the time so got to know Vinny and a lot of the Lightning. I'm actually probably the one that introduced Vinny to golf. Because we were sitting there having dinner and he was like show me how to grip the club, and he had never played before.
Q. Is he good?
CRISTIE KERR: He's actually very good. He's a single digit and he's a lefty. So I can't take all the credit for him playing golf, but a little bit of it. He's crazy for golf now. He just loves it. I think maybe he wants to stay in Tampa because he can play golf year round.
THE MODERATOR: We'd like to welcome Paula Creamer into the interview room. Thank you for joining us today. Kind of just talk a little bit about being here at this event. Every year it's a different spot. How is it to be here in Montreal and what are your initial thoughts of the golf course?
PAULA CREAMER: This is my first time here so it's always nice to go to a place that you've never been to. I'm going to try to go to the city on Friday. I play early, so I'll try to get out there and sightsee. But this golf course is nice. It's pretty generous fairways. Really big greens, so it becomes down to who has the best distance control with their irons, and right now that's kind of playing up to my strengths.
So I feel good, I feel ready to go out there, and hopefully the rain stays away tomorrow. But it doesn't really look like it's going to be a nasty day, so I'll try to be as patient as I can.
THE MODERATOR: Looking at your own game this season, how do you feel about it coming into this week and how you've been playing so far?
PAULA CREAMER: Well, last week I had a pretty good week. I've been working really, really hard on my golf swing. Trying to change some things and that’s difficult to do. It's easy to do on the range, but when you're in tournament mode and you're out there and you have to hit a 7-iron, that's a lot harder. So I've been trying to do that as much as I can.
I feel good. I feel like I've been working really hard. Sometimes you have to go backwards to go forwards, and I've just been grinding it out. So hopefully I can finish this season strong and we'll see what it holds for next year.
Q. Last week was exciting for you personally in terms of how you played, but also the Solheim Cup team was announced. Looking at the team and Rosie's two captain's picks, how excited are you about this group and what you can do in Ireland?
PAULA CREAMER: Well, Solheim is my favorite event that I've ever with played in. I think that is the epitome of all golf tournaments. I love wearing red, white and blue. I'm incredibly patriotic. So when you have 12 players, you bring them together to become a team, there is nothing better than that. I think our captain's picks will fit just perfectly with our team and we'll help, and try to get over to Ireland and play as much as we can.
Q. Your putting has always been one of your great strengths. This year maybe it's a bit with it at times. Does reworking your full swing maybe affected some of the time you spend on the putting green?
PAULA CREAMER: Probably, yes. I would have said that maybe four or five months ago. I've been, like I said, working really hard on my golf swing ever since I had surgery, I've had to kind of work around the issue of my hands, so I've been dealing with that.
But lately that's not the case. I work just as hard on the putting green as I do on the driving range right now. That is at the greatest thing about golf. Once you work on something else, one thing kind of goes down the drain, and you've got to manage that. You've got to balance every part of the game. That's why it's so hard. But I have been working very hard on my putting. Last week it showed. Normally Colin, my caddie and I read putts together, and lately I've been just doing it by myself. Kind of back to junior golf days again where it's that natural instinct and I have my own speed and that kind of thing. It's showing that it's a lot better.
Q. Do you have some goals for this week precisely for this tournament?
PAULA CREAMER: To win, that's No. 1. But just to give myself a good opportunity come Sunday. That's all you can ask for. Last week I didn't start off great after the first day, but I finished really strong on the weekend, and that's something that I'll take away going into this week. I hope I don't get sick. I always seem to get sick when I come to Canada. I'm keeping my fingers crossed this year that that doesn't happen. But just to keep going with what I've been working on. You know, it's very easy to revert back to your old habits when you get to a golf tournament, and that is something that I don't want to do because I want to take this the rest of the season and into next year. So just to have fun, enjoy it, and hopefully make lots of putts.
Q. Do you have any superstitions?
PAULA CREAMER: Everybody's asking the superstition question today. I do. Pink is not a superstition. Everybody thinks pink is, but it's not. I just like the color. But I do a couple of things. I always bounce my driver twice in my bag before I hit it. Just the driver, not an iron, not a 3-wood. Just the driver, two bounces in the bag.
I have a '58 quarter that I use or I always have in my pocket, that kind of thing. And I do three putts about this far before I go to the first tee, always. Those are the last three putts.
Q. Is that a 1958 quarter?
PAULA CREAMER: Yeah.
PAULA CREAMER: I never shot 58 in a tournament. So the number on my ball is 58, and I have a quarter in my bag that's a 58 also.
Q. Do you have an explanation why the golfers from Asia are doing so well, especially Yani Tseng? How come she's so good right now in the last year and a half?
PAULA CREAMER: Yani is a great player. She hits it really far. When she gets hot with her putter, she's very tough to beat. She has a lot of confidence, and that's what golf is all about is confidence and believing in yourself, and she has that right now.
Q. Yesterday during the junior clinic you were telling a story I think about making a 17 in a tournament somewhere sometime. I didn't hear all of that.
PAULA CREAMER: About my 17?
Q. Yeah, it was a pretty funny story from what I did hear?
PAULA CREAMER: Oh, my, I was 11 years old. That was a long time ago. It was a crazy hole that I played, and I kept hitting it out of bounds. But it wasn't my fault. The fairway was sloping like a steep slope. It was up in the mountains. It kept going out of bounds. I didn't hit a shot in the middle of the fairway.
My dad kept calling out -- it's junior golf. There are no spectators, so it's just your family out there watching. And my dad kept going OB, OB, OB. And finally I got one on the fairway, and it's a par-5 and I took my 3-wood, and he came out in the middle of the fairway and said it's OB. But I was like I don't understand. I hit it one direction and thought the hole went that way but it was a dogleg right. Now I've never hit a golf shot without going to the top of the hill to see where I was going because of that. That was the learning lesson of it all. Find out where the hole is and figure it out from there.
But, yeah, 17, that was an interesting car ride home talking about what were you thinking, and I was like I don't know. I didn't know what to do. I ended up hitting 9-iron off the tee. Oh, well.
Q. You play a pink ball, right?
PAULA CREAMER: Uh-huh.
Q. Is it as good as a white ball?
PAULA CREAMER: Better.
Q. Better. Do you think it's okay for a macho guy to play a pink ball if he finds one in the woods somewhere?
PAULA CREAMER: Of course, anybody can play a pink ball.
Q. This is a course that you or very few others in the field would have seen. How long does it take you to figure out your plan for playing the course round to round?
PAULA CREAMER: Well, hopefully yesterday and today because that's all we've got. But sometimes you play your best golf when you don't see a golf course. Sometimes you play your best golf when you've seen it six or seven times. In this case this golf course is pretty straightforward. There are a couple of holes that the greens are a little bit out there, pretty slopy.
You just go about it, and that's the thing about golf is it's never the same every day, conditions, things like that. But I think that two days is enough out on this golf course.
THE MODERATOR: We'd like to welcome Morgan Pressel into the interview room. Thank you for joining us today. First off, your thoughts on coming into this week and this tournament? I know it's a great field. Usually it's a beautiful golf course. How excited are you to be here and how is this golf course looking?
MORGAN PRESSEL: I'm excited to be here in Montreal. It's my first trip. I've always loved playing in the Canadian Women's Open. It's always been at great venues, like you said, it's always got a first class field, and definitely has a great feel to the event.
I think it has great fans and that's also part of what makes an event. A lot of people come out and they're very knowledgeable. The Canadian people love their golf, and we like to show them good golf.
THE MODERATOR: How are you feeling about your game coming into this week?
MORGAN PRESSEL: I feel okay. I didn't play so great last week, but I feel like I've been working hard on it. I've been trying to change some things, and it's golf. It goes up-and-down. So I'm hoping this is one of my up weeks.
Q. Last week was an exciting week for a lot of U.S. players with the announcement of the Solheim Cup team. Looking at this group and Rosie's two captain's picks, how excited are you looking towards next month and what that team can accomplish in Ireland?
MORGAN PRESSEL: There is never anything more exciting on our schedule than Solheim Cup. Every other year when we get to wear red, white, and blue and have people cheer for us, whether it's at home or across the pond, it's always a great experience.
It's kind of nice that the team is now finalized. On Monday we can try to practice as a team and work out pairings and things like that. And I've got all my little goodies ready, all my little trinkets and stuff ready for the rest of the team at home. I'm just excited to get to Ireland. Now the anticipation and excitement really begins to build.
Q. I don't know your ranking right now. What is your ranking?
MORGAN PRESSEL: I don't know it either. I think it's like 12 or 13. I'm not sure.
Q. You're 12 or 13?
MORGAN PRESSEL: Yeah, it changes every week. It's hard to keep track.
Q. Are you going to adjust your game for this particular tournament, or are you satisfied with your game up to the present time?
MORGAN PRESSEL: Well, I'd like to play better. I mean, with this golf course, it definitely suits my game. Just hit it down the middle, on the green, and make the putts. I think that the challenging part about this golf course are the greens. They don't look necessarily too difficult, but they're very subtle breaks and very difficult to read. I think that will be the big challenge. Also, the golf course is long, so you've just got to keep the ball on the fairway, so I have good shots to get it close for birdie.
Q. You have your own caddie here?
MORGAN PRESSEL: Yes.
Q. You how important, how vital is your caddie in helping you determine the length of the course, the wind, the direction? How vital is he to you?
MORGAN PRESSEL: I mean, he came out here on Monday and walked the golf course and made sure that he knew exactly where I should hit it and where possible pin positions might be on greens, and he charts the golf course. Even every day as the golf course changes with wind conditions and pin placements, it's definitely something that we talk about and something that he takes very seriously.
Q. You said you're working on a few things. Are you working on a swing change, minor stuff, how big?
MORGAN PRESSEL: I'm always working on swing changes. I feel like it's a constant. I'm really trying. Right now I'm working on trying on get a good feel, so that when I do get in competition, I'm confident with my golf swing. It's a slow process. Some weeks it's there, and some weeks it's not quite so easy. Some weeks my short game comes a little more into play having to get up-and-down around the greens.
But I've been working and trying to be more consistent, trying to get my timing better through my golf swing. Timing is one of those things that for me is not always there. I have to work really hard to try to make sure that it's right.
Q. Cristie Kerr was in here earlier talking about revamping her swing a little bit and how it takes a little while to get comfortable when you're playing without thinking too much about it. Where are you kind of in that with working on your swing? Are you still having to think about different thoughts when you're out there playing, or are you at the point where it's easy to go out there and just play?
MORGAN PRESSEL: No, I'm thinking far too much, which is probably part of my problem. I'm just trying to go through a lot of different swing thoughts and trying to fix a lot of different things at the same time, and that definitely makes it difficult.
She has a point. The times when I play my best are really when I feel I've one or two swing thoughts that make me hit the ball nearly perfect every time. We're not quite there yet. But every day is different, so...
Q. There's been a lot of success for young players on both Tours. I'm just wondering if there is something you can put your finger on why players are becoming more ready at a younger age to win?
MORGAN PRESSEL: I think the youth movement, if you will, in all sports in general is -- and I was talking about it today with my Pro-Am group -- that kids these days, first of all their parents push them and really encourage them to work hard and play sports and take it seriously from a young age.
But they also specialize in one sport. You don't have the all around athlete. The kid who can play football, baseball, basketball, hockey, I should add that one in here. But you don't have that all around athlete. You have somebody who is focused on one sport from a very young age and they become very skillful in it. When you play a bunch of different sports, when you get in college is when you realize you're much better at one than the rest. If you start then, almost now you've almost started too late.
Q. Have you had a chance to play with the two captains picks? What do you think they'll bring to the Solheim Cup?
MORGAN PRESSEL: Well, I have played with Vicky before in competition. I played with Ryan in a practice round. You know, I think the biggest reason why they were picked is they hit the ball a very long way. I have not played the golf course, but from what I hear it definitely favors the long hitter. It's not too narrow, and so I'm hoping I can trick the players the other way when I get on the golf course.
But I think that's really the main reason they were picked. I think they also add a little bit of young, feisty power. I think they mesh well with the team. I think it will be a very good dynamic.
Q. You talk about swing thoughts. When you're at the top of your game, do you still have swing thoughts or do you just worry about where the ball goes?
MORGAN PRESSEL: I think I always have swing thoughts. I'm always trying to feel something. When I'm playing better, it's not quite as many and the swing thought works every time. It's a feeling. It's not even so much a swing thought. It's the feeling that I want my hands to be here. I want to feel the club head just past the ball, all sorts of different things. When I'm really playing my best, it's one, maybe two.
Q. The equipment that you're using, do you have a sponsorship or endorsement for a particular company?
MORGAN PRESSEL: Yes, I play Callaway.
Q. And you're satisfied with them. You've been playing with them how long?
MORGAN PRESSEL: Absolutely, for six years. I chose Callaway because I felt that they helped my game the most, and that's really the most important thing. Companies can throw money at you, but if you can't play the equipment, then it doesn't make you the best player that you can be, then it's not really worth much.
Q. Are you optimistic about your play for this tournament? Are you going to win this tournament this year?
MORGAN PRESSEL: I came here to win. If I didn't think so, I wouldn't be here.