RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup
Wildfire Golf Club at JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort & Spa
Pre-tournament notes and interviews
March 15, 2012
The LPGA begins its U.S. domestic schedule this week by celebrating the 13 Founders of the LPGA Tour at the RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup this week. The tournament returns to Phoenix with significant enhancements including a $1.5 million purse, with $500,000 going to the LPGA-USGA Girls Golf Program, a four-day, 72-hole format.
Karrie Webb returns to Wildfire Golf Club after defeating Paula Creamer and Brittany Lincicome by one stroke in 2011. Webb, who won the HSBC Women's Champions just three weeks prior to the Founders Cup last year, earned her second-consecutive win of the 2011 season firing rounds of 71-67-66 to capture her 38th career victory. The LPGA and World Golf Halls of Fame member donated the $200,000 first-place check to the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation and Japan Relief.
Under Pressure: While every player vies to become the number one player on the Rolex Rankings, once they have reached that coveted position, it can come with an increased amount of pressure. This was no different for last year’s Rolex Player of the Year Yani Tseng who began this year’s 2012 season with pressure to follow-up her highly decorated 2011 campaign.
Last season, Tseng notched seven LPGA Tour victories and five international wins. She became the youngest LPGA player in history to win four majors after her impressive win at the Wegmans LPGA Championship. Tseng led the LPGA Tour in 10 statistical categories and became the youngest player ever to win consecutive Rolex Player of the Year awards. She also won her first Vare Trophy for the lowest scoring average with a final scoring average of 69.66.
The pressure began to mount for Tseng when the 2012 LPGA season kicked-off in Melbourne, Australia for the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open. Entering the week, Tseng began to doubt if she could follow-up her stellar 2011 season and the difficulty of playing under pressure ensued.
“I mean it's very tough because I know ‑‑ I don't know if I can win again,” said Tseng during Friday’s pre-tournament press conference. “I don't know if I can play well like last year, so I have been putting lots of pressure on myself.”
Tseng finished tied for eighth at the ISPS Handa Australian Open then made her way to the winner’s circle after a victory at the Honda Thailand. “Winning in Thailand gave me a lot of confidence that I know I can do it again, I know I can play well,” said Tseng.
Remembering a legacy… More than 60 years ago, 13 women united to begin a tradition that has grown into the largest and best known women’s sports organization. Today, there are more than 200 active members on the LPGA Tour, with about half being international players representing 27 different countries. To say the Tour has made huge strides over the years would be an understatement.
Defending Founders Cup champion Karrie Webb, a 17-year veteran on the Tour and LPGA and World Golf Halls of Fame member, joins LPGA members new and old to honor the founders and the many generations after them who have continued the legacy and contributed to the Tour’s success.
“The generation of veteran players when I first came on tour had that real sense of pride in the tour and where they'd come from and what they'd established and they really made a big effort to pass that on,” Webb said.
“It is up to players like myself to try and emphasize how important it is, the history. And just so that it does carry on, and you know, I think that's only going to help our tour grow because if we can get the girls to believe in something that was created from nothing and to what it is today, then they'll want to make it better when they leave as well.”
Keeping the theme: Last year’s inaugural RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup generated a lot of buzz with the LPGA golfers playing entirely for charity in the event. This year a $1.5 million purse has been added to the event, but it doesn’t mean that the original spirit of the Founders Cup has been lost.
Angela Stanford, who captured her fifth LPGA career victory at the Tour’s last tournament in Singapore, has pledged to donate one half of her earnings this week to her foundation, The Angela Stanford Foundation. The foundation helps provide scholarships to kids who have had family members with cancer or have cancer themselves. Stanford’s mother was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2009 and her courageous battle to beat the disease has motivated Stanford to help others who are being affected by cancer.
“Last year my foundation received $30,000 from my finish here, and you know, for a foundation just getting off the ground, that's tremendous,” Stanford said. “ And we had a board meeting in January and we're kind of thinking about the events coming up this year and kind of what we're looking at going forward, and my first gut instinct was, you know, that was a special part of our foundation last year, and I want to do that again. I want to be connected to this tournament in that way, because it is the concept of giving back and remembering that there's a bigger picture.”
Focus on the majors: Stanford has already crossed one goal off her checklist this season -- getting back in the winners’ circle in Singapore following three-year drought. But while she was able to release some of the pressure she was putting on herself by capturing her first victory since the 2009 SBS Open at Turtle Bay, Stanford said that she still feels the pressure to win her first major.
“You kind of go through the whole process again,” Stanford said. “ It's like you want to win a tournament, but then the majors -- it's the same thing. That's one of my ultimate goals. So as much as I say I'm going to try to not put a lot of pressure on myself and try to stay ‑‑ keep the perspective and stay patient, subconsciously when you want something so bad, you know, you can't always control what you're feeling.
“But I'm definitely more confident. My caddie's been great. Again, I kind of feel like I'm in just one of those really good places that I was in '08 and into '09. And it's kind of cool that I've gotten to play this long and it's familiar, and that's the fun part about it.”
Take me out to the crowd…Back in the days when the LPGA Founders were first beginning the Tour, many of the women headed out to baseball games and other sporting events to promote the LPGA. So perhaps it’s only fitting that during this week’s RR Donnelley LPGA Founder Cup, which honors the 13 original founders, the current LPGA players have gone back to those same grassroots efforts.
Major League Baseball’s Spring Training Cactus League is in full swing in Phoenix and on Wednesday night, there were a few players who were heading to the Rockies-Diamondbacks game at Talking Stick to sing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” during the seventh-inning stretch. Among the players expected to participate are Angela Stanford, Kristy McPherson, Katie Futcher, Gerina Piller, Meredith Duncan and Jenny Gleason.
Last week, some of the players who were already in Arizona in advance of the tournament threw out first pitches at games including Amanda Blumenherst, Paige Mackenzie, and Irene Cho.
Tweet of the Day: “Commissioner Whan is behind me in the pro am. He has been downgraded to signboy. Guess he needs to practice his game a bit more.” -- @SophieGustafson
THE MODERATOR: We'd like to welcome Rolex No. 1 Yani Tseng into the interview room. Thanks so much for joining us today. It's been a great start to the 2012 season for you already, coming off what was a very impressive 2011 season. You've had three straight Top 10 finishes, one win already, and the other two events you finished just a couple of shots, either one or two shots out of the playoff. I guess coming into this week how are you feeling about your game and how you've been able to play so far this year.
YANI TSENG: I feel good. I've been working really hard through my off season, and with the Asian three weeks, I played well, but my distance was kind of off a little bit. I hit further on my iron, my driver and wood. So like after the three weeks, I couldn't figure out how much distance I got, like hitting longer, so last week I was in Orlando with my coach and we work on some distance to make sure every club is more consistent to hitting five or seven yards longer. So now I feel very comfortable on my distance now and I don't have to be afraid if I hit the shot it's going to go longer or shorter, so I mean I just feel good about it.
My fitness has been very good, and I changed a little bit of my swing. I'm always very happy to be back here and play on this great golf course. I mean the course is a little narrow for me, but it's not much rough there. But you don't know where your ball is going, but I just need to be patient. So I'm very looking forward to play well this week.
THE MODERATOR: You won in Thailand for a second straight year and after that victory you talked a little bit about pressure you had felt to repeat 2011 and how that victory kind of helped take a little bit of pressure off you. Did you notice that a little bit when you were playing in Singapore that the pressure wasn't as great or do you feel a little bit of that pressure off of you as you head into this week?
YANI TSENG: Yeah, of course. I feel much better after I win in Thailand because when in Melbourne I was very stressful, putting so much pressure on myself, and then my team got me very ‑‑ I got very crazy. I mean it's very tough because I know ‑‑ I don't know if I can win again. I don't know if I can play well like last year, so I have been putting lots of pressure on myself.
But after winning in Thailand gave me a lot of confidence that I know I can do it again, I know I can play well, and after those three weeks, I told my coach I feel I can win three, but we won. But I know I do my best for the last three weeks, and I still learned something from it and you just learn from your mistakes and you keep going and working hard, and to see what can I improve for these three weeks.
THE MODERATOR: What's the biggest difference for you being No. 1 in the world this year compared to when you had that title last year and it was still pretty new to you?
YANI TSENG: More pressure. I mean more pressure, but I still feel good about it. I still feel I'm very enjoying it. I mean for the new season starts, you see your friends on the tour. You see the media, fans, every week you kind of see different people you know from the past three years. So it's always good to be back on the tour and just enjoy everything I have.
But like this year I figured I organize better my time and my schedule and when I have interview and I can have fun, I can balance with my time to practice, relax, do an interview. So I mean my team is doing a good job on this, and I know what's the best for me to do. So that makes more balance and more fun, too.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for Yani? After the extraordinary year that you had last year, now you're in this new year. You have your first win of the ‑‑ you have your first win of the year. And you're going about it the same way you did last year, being grateful for what you have, being happy, one shot at a time, all those things. If you got to the end of the year and you only had that one win, would you still be satisfied with your year?
YANI TSENG: Hopefully not. I never thought about that. I wish I could win more than one this year. But like every tournament I think is big. I give 100 percent effort for every shot, every tournament. And I hope to do well, and like I said, I've been working hard on my off season and improving on my swing, so I'd love to see how much I can improve my fitness, my skill, my mental things for this year.
So I'm very excited to see how many wins I can have, so I don't expect I only have one. Hopefully not, though.
Q. When you said you went a little bit crazy with your team, what does that mean exactly?
YANI TSENG: Like I'm very picky. Doesn't matter what they eat, what they're listening, what they talk, I just very pick, why you say that, why you eat that, don't change the channel and don't listen to this music. Everything I'm just very picky. I don't know what I'm doing. They always tell me just relax, okay, don't worry about it. Don't put too much pressure on yourself and I always say, no, I feel relaxed. I have no pressure. I'm having fun. They're like, no, you're not. You look like you're really mad.
And like last winter in Melbourne I didn't go out. Normally I'm thinking we should go shopping, go watch movies, but no, I was in the hotel. Everything I'm thinking what time to go work out, what time I should go to the golf course or what can I improve today. Everything's about golf.
But I mean before I always keep having fun, to go out, go sightseeing and see how beautiful the city, but not the week in Melbourne. So that's kind of not normal for me.
THE MODERATOR: So what are you doing this week to have fun and keep yourself loose?
YANI TSENG: I just going to go massage a little bit later, but after I see the golf course, go shop a little bit and maybe go watch movie a little bit, and next week I might go to Sea World on Monday.
I don't know. I'm planning on being relaxed and not think about too much golf because when we have a week off and I prepare to play well and I'm working hard with a week off and I'm just ready for the tournament.
Q. I actually learned about you at Oak Valley golf course and I was just wondering how did you find Oak Valley and do you still go back?
YANI TSENG: Yes, actually I was there last week and with my sister. My sister still lives in Beaumont. It's kind of in the middle of nowhere. The first time I went there my dad have friends there, and he think that's a good place to practice for me because I live like five minutes from the golf course. So every day is like golf course and home because you can't go anywhere. You have to drive like an hour to go to have fun. So I mean that's a great place to practice, play on the Oak Valley is a very good golf course. And then some friends from Taiwan practice there, too, so you have a friend that you can hang out with. So it's really nice for me when I first two years started on the tour.
Q. Can you talk about the difference between last year's tournament, you guys played for charity and this year you guys get to keep the winnings. Does that change anything for you guys?
THE MODERATOR: He’s talking about how last year you guys played for charity at this tournament. Now what difference does it make having a purse and do you feel any differently going into the tournament?
YANI TSENG: You know, I feel the same. I mean every tournament it's just a matter if we play for charity or we play to have money because I mean everybody wants to win in a tournament. So it's not about money. It's about the title we want. It's about how much to see how much we can play on this golf course.
I mean the Founders Cup is great because if we don't have those founders we wouldn't be here. So I really appreciate that, to have those, they making the LPGA to all the junior, all the younger players have a dream to play on the tour, like I'm one of them. So I just really appreciate to be part of this.
THE MODERATOR: This week one of the big things is $500,000 goes to girls golf and helping junior golf. I know that's been a big push for you in Taiwan. What's it mean to see all the young girls out here and have the founders who began this and now for you guys to kind of help push golf to another generation?
YANI TSENG: I know it's huge. I mean we so many girls play on the tour, everybody helps a lot for the ladies golf, junior golf and everybody has done a great job to doing this. Ladies golf has grown a lot over in Asia and United States. I mean Golf Channel covers more on the TV, more live on the TV. Everybody is going to see directly instead of taping. So I mean that's huge for those girls that you can always watch your idols in front of TV.
And I mean we give our 100 percent effort to our country, all the players give 100 percent effort for their country, and every time when I go back to Taiwan and I try to help out the juniors and try to keep going to all the golf in Taiwan and even those people that they don't know about golf, but try to teach them, like introduce them to golf.
Q. So now that you're not in Beaumont, are living in Orlando full time?
YANI TSENG: Yes. Most of the time I live in Orlando for two years already.
Q. So how do you find living on the other side of the country in a place where all you're doing is just practicing golf?
YANI TSENG: Like I mean for me I love living in the States. It doesn't matter if it's Orlando. Orlando for us is just so much easier for traveling because we have so many golf tournaments around the East Coast.
But I love California. My sister lives there, my sister study there, so every time I go back to stay with my sister and to hang out together, but I mean I just love here. The people are so nice, and just like even people that you don't know, you still say hi. And I mean I just love those cultures.
Q. You get a lot of wind practice in Beaumont. Yes?
YANI TSENG: Yes. Yes. Even in Taiwan, Taiwan is very, very windy. So when I'm in Beaumont, I just feel the same.
THE MODERATOR: We'd like to welcome Rolex Ranking No. 13 Angela Stanford into the interview room. Angela, coming into this event having won at the last event, the HSBC Women's Champions, a very prestigious event and fifth career LPGA victory for you. Just talk a little bit about how you feel about your game right now and how it felt to be back in the winner's circle again in Singapore.
ANGELA STANFORD: Well, it felt good. You know, I think it was three years in between, and it never gets old. And it was a lot of fun coming home and seeing everybody, and sometimes for me the most fun is talking to other people about it. And all the guys at shady oaks and all my family and friends, they love it so much, and that's a lot of fun for me.
My game, I feel like my short game's getting better, and that's where I think I've struggled in the past. So to keep momentum going in a round you have to be able to get it up and down, and I haven't been able to do that in the past, so that really helped in Singapore.
So the game feels good, and excited about this week.
THE MODERATOR: When you go so long between victories, do you get to the point where you almost feel yourself pressing at times to try to just get that win, and what kind of pressure does it take off of you now having that victory and maybe feeling a little bit more comfortable?
ANGELA STANFORD: You could probably ask me that same question in a couple of weeks at Kraft. I think you do press because it's almost like you know what it feels like to win and you know what it feels like to be there, and you're trying to make those things happen sometimes.
You know, fortunately for me I've been blessed to not be injured, and I've been able to play. This is my 12th year. So you get to a point where you just kind of let go and just play, and I told myself coming into this year I'm going to get back to just having fun hitting the golf ball. And that's what happened in Singapore. It kind of started in Thailand and then carried over to Singapore.
THE MODERATOR: Talking to everybody today, all the other golfers, this week is pretty special because we get to honor all of the Founders, and last year this event was all about charity. While we now have a purse and you actually get to play for money, you still are embracing that charity aspect. Can you talk a little bit about your pledge to donate?
ANGELA STANFORD: Sure. You know, I decided to give half of what I make this year to my foundation.
Last year my foundation received $30,000 from my finish here, and you know, for a foundation just getting off the ground, that's tremendous. And we had a board meeting in January and we're kind of thinking about the events coming up this year and kind of what we're looking at going forward, and it was kind of my first gut instinct was, you know, that was a special part of our foundation last year, and I'm not ‑‑ I want to do that again. You know, I want to be connected to this tournament in that way, because it is the concept of giving back and remembering that there's a bigger picture.
THE MODERATOR: Can you talk just a little bit about your foundation and all the many things that you get to do through the foundation?
ANGELA STANFORD: Yeah, you know, this year is going to be really cool because we are giving out our first round of scholarships, we're giving scholarships to kids who have had family members with cancer or have cancer themselves.
So we're really ‑‑ you know, it's for anybody, but we're really kind of targeting that group of people that, you know, I grew up in a very middle class family, and my mom was diagnosed in '09 with breast cancer, and if that would have happened while I was in high school, you know, financially we would have been strapped, and so we're really trying to reach those people that don't qualify for some grants or scholarships, and we're just by seeing what cancer does to a family, we're just trying to help in a different area.
THE MODERATOR: I know you are very busy off the course with your foundation and you've got a lot of other things going on off the course as well. And you're wearing a new sponsor. Can you talk a little bit about Athena Water and your new partnership with them?
ANGELA STANFORD: Yeah. Athena Water is new this year and I'm very excited about it. All the proceeds go to finding a cure for breast cancer, and having my mom beat cancer, you know, it's pretty cool.
You know, I just think that my family went into it not having any idea what was coming at us. And now I feel like I want to give back and I want to help those people that, you know, they just don't know what's going to happen, and I think the more knowledge you have and the more dollars you can raise to teach people and then to find a cure and all the research that goes with it, I mean it all helps.
It feels really good because it just feels like a good fit.
THE MODERATOR: Well, speaking of another fun thing that you get to be involved in this week, I helped corner you into doing something tonight, and we are going to the Rockies‑Diamondbacks game and you and a few of the other players will be singing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" during the 7th inning stretch. How excited are you to take part in this?
ANGELA STANFORD: I'm kind of nervous because I'm only holding one mic and it's just me right now and I don't want you to put me up to warming up in front of everybody because I have a bunch of people behind me tonight and the mic's going to be like this [motions far away].
So it's going to be a lot of fun, and I think a lot of people know that I'm a huge baseball fan, and it'll be fun. I've never done anything like this before. I mean I think I'm a good singer by myself, but I don't sing in public, so this is kind of getting out of my comfort zone, but it'll be fun.
THE MODERATOR: It's one of us, I guess, a reminder of what the Founders all used to do when they had to go out and promote at baseball games, and I guess this week is kind of fun when you see everybody throwing out first pitches, going back into that grass‑roots efforts that we have to promote the LPGA. Questions for Angela?
Q. Last year in an introspective moment you talk about trying not to be so hard on yourself and you weren't so sure if you could do that or not. And it sounds like with this start this year that you're beyond that. And I'm wondering if there was a trigger point for you. I thought maybe it might have been the playoff last year, but it sounds like it was later than that.
ANGELA STANFORD: You know, I think you get to a point in life that, you know, there are some good things happening off the golf course, with my foundation. My mom is as healthy as she's been in a while.
You know, I just think you have these ebbs and flows to life, and I'm just in a really good place right now. And you know, there's so many things that I get to do with my foundation and Athena Water, and just all of a sudden you ‑‑ I mean it sounds weird, but you enjoy playing golf more. And I can't explain it. So going into this year, I took an extended break in the off season and just really tried to find out what was important, and realized that there's more to it than hitting this little golf ball around. So I think sometimes that helps.
Perspective helps, and again, this is my twelfth year, and I don't know how much longer I'll do it. And you know, I hope for a certain date, but I'm to the point to where I want to enjoy it now. And that might have had something to do with winning in Singapore. Hope so.
Q. So what's more nerve‑wracking, throwing the pitch or singing at the baseball game?
ANGELA STANFORD: I think throwing the pitch, because singing, from what I understand ‑‑ I forgot who was giving us this tip, like you start the song and then like the crowd kind of starts singing too and then you kind of put the mic down and everybody's singing, but when you're throwing the first pitch, it's you. So I think the first pitch is the toughest.
Q. And who else is doing it with you?
ANGELA STANFORD: Let's see. Me, Gerina Piller, Kristy McPherson, Jenny Gleason, Meredith Duncan, Kate Futcher, possibly Stacy Lewis. Stacy, you know, she wants to see how many people. So she's not confirmed yet.
Q. And how much more relaxed are you about the rest of the year having the win under your belt already?
ANGELA STANFORD: I think if anything I just have a little more confidence. You know, there's still that lingering thought of winning a major, and that's ‑‑ you know, you kind of go through the whole process again. It's like, you know, you want to win a tournament, but then the majors are ‑‑ it's the same thing.
So you know, that's one of my ultimate goals. So as much as I say I'm going to try to not put a lot of pressure on myself and try to stay ‑‑ keep the perspective and stay patient, subconsciously when you want something so bad, you know, you can't always control what you're feeling.
But I'm definitely more confident, and at least now ‑‑ you know, my caddie's been great. Again, I kind of feel like I'm in just one of those really good places that I was in '08 and into '09. And it's kind of cool that I've gotten to play this long and it's familiar, and that's the fun part about it.
THE MODERATOR: We'd like to welcome Karrie Webb, our defending champion and Rolex Rankings No. 19 into the interview room. First off, just give me some of your thoughts about being back here, second year of this event, won it last year. There have been a few changes to the event, but how excited are you to be back here in Phoenix defending your title?
KARRIE WEBB: I'm really excited to be back here. Phoenix has actually treated me pretty well throughout my career, so it's nice to be back here again as defending champion.
THE MODERATOR: You played really well in Thailand, finishing in a tie for ninth, and you had some ups and downs in some of the other events. How are you feeling about the state of your game right now heading into this week?
KARRIE WEBB: I feel pretty good. I feel like it's pretty close. I made some changes in the off season to my swing, just to tidy things up a little bit. It's becoming more consistent. So I need to work on that to where I feel like it's there day in and day out.
My coach, Ian Triggs, will be here next week, so it's a matter of if I can take it from the range to the course. But I'm not quite carrying it out on the course consistently.
And sometimes I think that's just because I've done so much technical work on the range that I'm taking that technical thought process out on to the course and I really need to figure it up a little bit.
THE MODERATOR: I know in Thailand there were some glimpses where you felt really good. Was it the same in Singapore where there were moments where you felt the swing was coming together and others where you felt it was still a little too technical.
KARRIE WEBB: Yeah, I think so. I got off to a poor start in Singapore the first nine holes, but managed to have a nice come back there, but then I never really carried on with that momentum from Thursday afternoon.
So it was a little bit more up‑and‑down, and you know, I think Singapore's course is one where last year I felt really comfortable on the greens and this year I didn't. And they're the type of greens that I think it goes one way or the other.
THE MODERATOR: Always exciting to come back to an event that you've won. When we have an event like this, too, where we're honoring the LPGA Founders and you get to see all of them around throughout the week, how nice is it to be able to visit with them and get to promote them to everybody that might not always get to learn about these great women?
KARRIE WEBB: Yeah. I was at dinner for RR Donnelley last night, and Marilynn and Shirley and Louise were there, and I got to sit at the table with them, and it's always great to catch up with them.
I feel very fortunate that early in my career they were young enough that we probably saw them four or five times a year and now we're lucky if we see them once a year, and I think having a tournament in honor of them, I think is why they make such a great effort to come out as well, and I think it's great for the young kids to get to meet them and hear some of the stories. I think any of the girls, the young girls especially that were at the dinner last night would have got a real kick out of hearing some of their stories from 50, 60 years ago.
Q. You mentioned the Founders, and from your perspective do you think that the LPGA as a whole has a real sense of history of what proceeded most of these golfers out here?
KARRIE WEBB: Yeah, I think so as a whole. I think when I first came on tour, the generation of more veteran players when I first came on tour had that real sense of pride in the tour and where they'd come from and what they'd established and they really made a big effort to pass that on.
And I feel like ‑‑ and again, having the founders there, they were there and present and so you got to feel that history, and like I said, now we don't have that opportunity as much, but it is up to players like myself to try and emphasize how important it is, the history. And just so that it does carry on, and you know, I think that's only going to help our tour grow because if we can get the girls to believe in something that was created from nothing and to what it is today, then they'll want to make it better when they leave as well.
Q. When you look at the all‑time money list and see your name second, how much of a motivation is that to keep on playing?
KARRIE WEBB: To be No. 1 you mean?
KARRIE WEBB: I don't know if it's necessarily motivation because as we continue, our purses continue to grow, I could work my tail off to become No. 1 and see it gone in a couple of years after I retire. So it's not something that I set my sights on. Obviously when you see that, I'm reminded of how great golf has been to me and I'm very fortunate for that, and it's always good to keep adding to it. That's definitely a goal.
Q. Karrie, when you think about what the Founders accomplished, what impresses you the most about what they did as athletes, the conditions were so different then than they are now?
KARRIE WEBB: Yeah. You know, I think their greatest accomplishment is when we saw them up there last night, the fact that they're still all friends. At the beginning, 13 women, not only did they compete against each other, but they had to call major penalties and rulings on themselves. They had to ‑‑ one was president, treasurer, secretary. You know, they would have been ‑‑ if we got 13 girls to do that here, I don't think we'd be speaking to each other by the end of the year. So you only have to sit in one of our players meetings every now and then to know that women to agree on one topic is kind of a challenge.
So I think their greatest accomplishment, besides the fact that where the LPGA is today, is that they still love getting together. They love talking about do you remember such and such and telling the stories. And I think that's their greatest accomplishment.
Q. The tour seems to have turned a very difficult corner for the last few years. The schedule's bounced back nicely this year, and must have been personally satisfying for you to have the LPGA returning to Australia. What was the reception like there?
KARRIE WEBB: Yeah, I was really excited. And obviously we played at Royal Melbourne. So it's obviously depending on whose opinion either the best or second best course in Australia and it's ranked Top 10 in the world. So I was excited as an Australian for the LPGA to be back in Australia, but I was also excited for the LPGA to play on such a quality golf course.
We don't ever sit at a press conference to talk about playing a course that's ranked in the Top 10 in the world. I won't even say very often. I don't think we've ever said that. So I think that was really exciting, and for the growth of women's golf in Australia it's a huge shot in the arm.
I think it'll be great for the young girls to see the big names over there and playing on quality golf courses, so I'm hoping the LPGA is down there for many years to come.
Q. This tournament is a little bit different this year playing for money. Can you talk about does it have a different feel and what that means to the players, playing for a full purse? And then talk about your charity money what it did last year for the foundation?
KARRIE WEBB: Right. I don't know for me if it has a different feel. I think I certainly appreciate ‑‑ and I know all the girls do ‑‑ appreciate the extra support that RR Donnelley contributed this year. I think it's fantastic of them to step up.
The only difference is that there isn't any negative questions being asked about such a great concept. So you know, I think it's all positive this year.
Q. Can you talk about the money that you gave to charity last year, and do you know where that went with the foundation, what it specifically did?
KARRIE WEBB: The 500,000 that went to ‑‑
Q. Christopher Reeves Foundation?
KARRIE WEBB: Yeah.
Q. You donated $200,000?
KARRIE WEBB: Yeah. 200. 100 I donated to Christopher Reeves Foundation and 100 went to Tsunami Japanese Relief Efforts. The 100,000 that went to the Christopher Reeves Foundation obviously goes to a charity that's near and dear to my heart. My coach, Kelvin Haller, in 1991 became a quadriplegic, so I've been involved with Christopher and Dana Reeves Foundation since 1998, and the 100,000 goes to research to find a cure for paralysis, but it also goes to ‑‑ Dana before she passed away set up a resource center for anyone recently paralyzed or family members of someone recently paralyzed. It's a resource center for them to go to and find out the best rehab centers, how to buy a wheelchair, stuff like that.
So for me it was an extra honor to be able to donate that money to a charity that I've been with for so long.
Q. How would you rate the skill level of the field here?
KARRIE WEBB: Compared to ‑‑
Q. Five years ago.
KARRIE WEBB: Oh, okay. Just the skill out on tour?
KARRIE WEBB: I think it's always hard. I was asked that question the other day ‑‑ to ‑‑ I don't think there's any statistical evidence to say we're better as a group five years down the track. I think the fields are deeper.
I was asked are the top players better now than the top players ten, 20, 30 years ago. I don't ever believe that ‑‑ every sport you talk about comparing people from different generations who don't ever play against each other, or under the same circumstances. And I just think it's impossible to do that. And I think it's unfair to whoever loses that debate.Even from five years ago to now, golf technology has changed so much that, yes, we are definitely better, and the fields are definitely stronger. Why is that? Is it technology? I'm sure it's talent, and everyone's fitness. So I think it's just a very tough question to answer, but I think the fields are deeper, and I think that's why we see so many first‑time winners popping up or people that haven't won that are in contention every week. It's just that more people have a chance to win now.