Sybase Match Play Championship
Hamilton Farm Golf Club
Pre-tournament notes and interviews
May 15 & 16, 2012
In it to win it… Rolex Rankings No. 7 Stacy Lewis is coming off a victory at the Mobile Bay LPGA Classic but as she enters this week's Sybase Match Play Championship, she knows a win this week will be a difficult task.
"I think this is the hardest event to win because you've got to win six matches, and if you catch somebody when they get hot and you never know. It's definitely the hardest tournament to win, said Lewis. "You're going to have a bad day, you're going to have a bad round, and if you can find a way to grind that match out in the second or third round, a lot of times that will win you the tournament."
At last year's Sybase Match Play Championship, Lewis made it to the third round and lost in a close fought battle to eventual champion Suzann Pettersen. Lewis and Pettersen were neck and neck the entire match but after a birdie at the 18th hole Pettersen advanced to the quarter finals with a 1-up victory.
"It's always nice to lose to the eventual champion," said Lewis. "That definitely makes it feel little better. But our match, we went back and forth all day."
Only a matter of time…Defending champion Suzann Pettersen has recorded four top-20 finishes this year including a season best sixth at the LPGA LOTTE Championship Presented by J Golf. While some might consider this to be a solid start to the 2012 season, Pettersen admitted to being disappointed after a solid off season.
"You know, I've had a slow start," said Pettersen. "I had a fantastic off season, so it was a bit disappointing going to Asia, not performing better. I've done a few changes lately over the last six, seven weeks. I have a great addition on my bag, probably as excited as I could be about that."
With the majority of the LPGA Tour schedule still on the horizon, Pettersen knows now would be the ideal time to have her golf game in prime condition.
"My game is coming ‑‑ it's falling in place right now and I'm looking forward to a big summer. This will be a great kind of kick start to get into a good summer stretch where there's several majors, said Pettersen. "Going over to Europe, playing well at the British Open, I'm really looking forward to that one."
Looking to improve on last year's season that included two victories and three top-5 finishes, Pettersen's persistence and dedication could prevail her to new heights.
"It's just a matter of time," said Pettersen. "The day it all clicks it will be exciting again, and if we keep working hard and putting in the hard effort, I think the results will show."
Tweet, tweet… With the recent Twitter epidemic, the LPGA announced this week the golfer's Twitter names will be displayed on their caddie's bibs starting at Wegmans LPGA Championship. The players are in full support as they believe it will help develop not only their brand, but the LPGA as a whole. In a world where people rely heavily on social media to stay in the loop, the LPGA continues to make big changes this year to promote the Tour and its players.
"The LPGA staff is doing a great job," Cristie Kerr said. "And they've redone the website and have put a lot of money into really bringing the LPGA into the new digital era. So I think we have to continue that. We have to do our part, too. We have to win, we have to play well. That's what the Tour is all about, the top players, and, you know, performing and elevating the Tour where we're able to do more business."
Kerr says she follows members of the media on Twitter and has recently noticed their talk of needing another American win this season to help the Tour push forward.
"I follow everybody on Twitter, you guys (media) on Twitter, and I see what you're talking about," Kerr said. "You definitely need us to win. And we are trying, we are trying our hardest, I can promise you that. We're working hard and we definitely need to win."
64 of the top female golfers on the LPGA Tour will travel to Gladstone, NJ this week for the third-annual Sybase Match Play Championship.
Rolex Rankings No. 3 Suzann Pettersen returns the Hamilton Farm Golf Club to defend her title after defeating Natalie Gulbis, Amy Hung and Stacy Lewis en route to a faceoff with Cristie Kerr in the final match. Pettersen sank a 15-foot putt on the 18th hole to seal the match for her first victory of the 2011 season. She went on to win the Safeway Classic Presented by Coca-Cola and secured 10 additional top-10 finishes.
Seven of the world's top-10 golfers and nine of the top-10 golfers on the 2012 Official Money List are also slated to be in the field this week. Rolex Rankings No. 1 Yani Tseng leads the pack with Na Yeon Choi following close behind.
The field is also comprised of the top-45 players on the Official Money List. This includes Rolex Rankings No. 1 Tseng, No. 4 Ai Miyazato, No. 15 Angela Stanford, No. 7 Stacy Lewis and the 2010 Sybase champ No. 14 Sun Young Yoo, who have all secured a win so far this season. Miyazato and Yoo are closing in on Tseng at second and third, respectively. Miyazato earned her eighth LPGA win at the LOTTE LPGA Championship, while Yoo notched her first major victory at the Kraft Nabisco Championship.
Other tournament contenders include Pornanong Phatlum, who is coming off her first LPGA victory at the HSBC LPGA Brasil Cup last week, which was the first unofficial event of the season.
Feeling good…Rolex Rankings No. 1 Yani Tseng comes into this week's Sybase Match Play Championship with an impressive resume in match play events. As an amateur Tseng won the 2004 U.S. Women's Amateur Public Links Championship and 2005 North and South Women's Amateur Golf Championship.
"I love it, I love match play," said Tseng. "I mean, it's really nice that we're able to once a year play match play because you kind of focus on every hole, every shot you can because you only have to beat one player every time. So even ‑‑ sometimes you need a little luck because maybe you play perfect today but you still lose, sometimes you play bad but you still win."
Tseng reached the quarter-finals the past two years and last year she was defeated by eventual champion Suzann Pettersen. This year alone Tseng has recorded three LPGA Tour victories and has finished no worse than tied for 10th.
"I feel good with my game," said Tseng. "Last week, I didn't play any tournaments. I worked a little with my coach last week, and my trainer was here with me for these two months, so we just want to get momentum going and get my physical ready. I mean, this course is very tough, very tough to walk because it's very up and down. So we just need to be in good shape on this week because some day we might play 36 hole, but I feel my game was there and I'm just ready to go."
Honoring a legend…Tonight the United States Golf Association (USGA) will honor legendary LPGA Tour member Mickey Wright. Wright joined the LPGA Tour in 1955 and by the age of 27 Wright had won all four majors and by the age of 28 she had won the four majors twice. She is a member of the Hall of Fame of Women's Golf, LPGA Tour Hall of Fame and the World Golf Hall of Fame.
The USGA will provide a special viewing of the the Mickey Wright Room at the USGA Museum in Township, N.J., which is set to open in June. The exhibit will include golf artifacts from Wright's personal collection.
Rain, rain go away - Hamilton Farm Golf Club didn't see much action today with scattered showers and damp turf causing some players to avoid the course for practice. With the inclement weather the 6,553 yard course will likely play a bit longer this week. Things are looking up for the weekend, though, with temperatures projected to reach the upper-70s and 10-20% chances of rain Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday.
Pro-Am Mic'd Up - Natalie Gulbis, Suzann Pettersen, Jessica Korda and Stacy Lewis will be mic'd up tomorrow during the pro-am, teeing off between 12:20 and 12:50 p.m. They will be the first LPGA groups to be featured on Golf Channel's broadcast of the event. Tune in tomorrow night at 5:00 p.m. to see who the ladies are paired with.
Stacy Lewis, Rolex Rankings No. 7
MODERATOR: All right. I would like to welcome Stacy Lewis into the interview room. Stacy, thanks for coming in. Just to start things off, the Golf Channel is doing something a little bit different today where they're mic'ing up some players, including you, during the pro‑am. Can you tell me how excited you are or how you feel about it?
STACY LEWIS: Yeah, I think it will be interesting. I don't know how it's going to turn out, but I think it will be fun for the fans to see what our pro‑ams are like. Today's the most important day for us, is the pro‑am experience for our sponsors, so I'm looking forward to it, and hopefully I have a fun group that will kind of joke around out there and have a good time.
MODERATOR: Keeping up with the theme See Why It's Different Out Here, Wegmans will be the first time that Twitter handles will be included on the back of your caddy bibs. Can you just tell me a little bit about that, and are you a pretty active Tweeter?
STACY LEWIS: I'm somewhat active on Twitter. My agents kind of have to get on me all the time. I'll go for a week and then I'll kind of quit for a week, so I need to get better about it. But it's a really cool thing. On the back of the bibs is going to have our name and then our Twitter handle under it, and it will just be another way for us to get exposure and for people to follow us on Twitter and see what we're doing every day, and you can kind of get into what our lives are like from day to day.
MODERATOR: All right. A little bit of a different question. If you weren't an LPGA player, what LPGA player would you follow on Twitter?
STACY LEWIS: Well, hmm, that's interesting. Christina Kim's always a good follow, but she kind of gets going sometimes and has too many tweets. I don't know. Michelle Wie is a good one, she seems to put pictures of food up all the time, what she's doing every day, so I think she would be a good follow.
MODERATOR: Okay. Getting back to this week, you were the first player in history to go 5 and 0 in the Curtis Cup, so you have a pretty impressive resume when it comes to match play. Can you tell me how it suits your game and how you feel going into this week?
STACY LEWIS: Yeah, I love match play, I haven't had that much success at this event, I think more because of how they did the seedings in years past, got some tough matches early on. So I'm looking forward to having the seedings being straight off the world rankings. I think it will be a little more fair and you won't have quite so many interesting matches to start.
But I'm looking forward to it. I love match play, I love ‑‑ you can kind of get on a run and make a bunch of birdies and kind of hold your lead, and, you know, you can go out there and make a (inaudible) and be okay. So it's fun. You have to be aggressive and you have to be willing to kind of take some chances.
MODERATOR: I know you talked in Mobile about how you're trying to work on your swing and work on your game. Well, you won Mobile, so is your swing finally where you want it?
STACY LEWIS: It's not 100 percent. Actually, my coach came in town last week and I still continue ‑‑ I worked on a few things with my swing. I didn't like some shots I hit down the stretch last week, so I think there's always things to work on, but my swing is definitely moving in the right direction and I still feel really good about my game.
Q. Can you just talk about what you did after you won? I know you had a lot of media obligations. Did you take some time off? Was it a lot more hoopla than the first time you won?
STACY LEWIS: Definitely not as much hoopla. I missed my flight on the way home, so I got stuck in Mobile on Sunday night. I went on ‑‑ on Tuesday I went to the Golf Channel and did a bunch of shows and was there for most of the day, and really the rest of the week I didn't really ‑‑ I think I played two or three times that week. I took some time off and just really kind of caught my breath and got to enjoy it a little bit, really got two weeks to enjoy it, so it was nice.
Q. Is it more difficult to win the first one or the second one?
STACY LEWIS: I think the first one's harder just because you put so much pressure on yourself to win. I don't know, it took me quite a long time. But the second one was easier just because I had been in that situation before, just down the stretch hitting certain shots and knowing how my body would react or how I handled nerves or things like that, definitely had that experience from the Kraft, so I think the first one was definitely harder.
Q. Stacy, do you get anxious kind of waiting for that second win to come? Having already won and experienced that, I'm sure you want that second one to come?
STACY LEWIS: Yeah, you do. Last year I think I finished second twice and you wonder if you're ever going to win go again, if it's ever going to happen. I mean, I didn't want it to be that way, I want to be a multiple‑time winner out here, I didn't want to be a one‑hit wonder. I also kind of wanted to prove to people that the Kraft meant something, it wasn't just Yani played bad the last day. I wanted to prove that I can play out here and I can compete.
Q. Stacy, how important are match play events like this one, since it's the only one on Tour, like for the Solheim Cup? Having played in it, you know, what kind of things did you learn from that and what do you want to improve on?
STACY LEWIS: Well, Solheim, that's a completely different animal from this. Solheim, there's so much more emotion to it and you want to beat that other team so bad. This is a little different because you get paired against your teammates sometimes. I don't know, I think I learned from it just to be a little more patient and take the good shots when they come; if not, make your par and force the other person to beat you. Just to be a little more patient.
Q. Stacy, last year you lost in the third round to Suzann. I think it was 1‑up, she made a birdie on the last hole. When you look back on that event, do you say I'm that close to winning this tournament in the sense that she went on to win it? How do you look at it?
STACY LEWIS: Well, it's always nice to lose to the eventual champion. That definitely makes it feel little better. But our match, we went back and forth all day. I think the year before I lost on 18 as well. So I know I'm close to playing well at this event, it's just one putt or one chip or one thing here or there and you're right where you need to be.
Q. Stacy, a lot of junior golfers look up to you because of what you've been able to overcome and persevere through. What does it mean to you to be an example for them and what you've been able to do?
STACY LEWIS: Well, it's kind of strange to me that so many kids look up to me. I mean, everything I went through, I just ‑‑ I dealt with and I had to go through it. I didn't really have an option, so it didn't really seem like ‑‑ yeah, it was a big deal at the time, but looking back on it, it was even more of a big deal. It's an honor really to have kids to look up to me. I get letters and e‑mails and things from parents and kids all the time. You know, it makes me kind of think how lucky I am to be doing what I'm doing. And it doesn't ‑‑ it's not just golfers. I got a letter from a girl that's a horseback rider or swimmer or whatever it is. It's ‑‑ I don't know, it's really cool. It's something that I guess nobody else has.
Q. Playing Pat Hurst in the first round, she's a grinder, Solheim Cup veteran. Can you just kind of talk about what you think about being faced against her?
STACY LEWIS: Yeah, we were doing a pro‑am on Monday and she comes up and she's like, I've got you on Thursday. I was like, What is she talking about?
And so, well, then we left the pro‑am and we were getting in a shuttle to come out here and the two of us are in a car together and we're like, We just can't get away from each other. It should be fun. Pat's a lot of fun to play with whether you're playing against her or not. She's going to be tough because she makes a lot of birdies and makes putts. It's going to be a good first match for me.
Q. A couple weeks ago Brittany Lincicome was talking about how at this point in her life she wants a balance in her life between golf and sort of outside stuff. If that means she's not going to be number one in the world, that's okay with her right now. What's just your approach to, you know, practicing and that sort of attitude?
STACY LEWIS: Well, for me, I think ‑‑ I think everybody wants to find a balance out here, but my number one goal is to be number one in the world and to challenge Yani week in and week out. I might not get to do certain things that I really want to do, but I think you can still find a balance and still be one of the top players in the world. I mean, I don't really see that as hindering or I don't really see it as an issue.
Q. Is winning this event more a crapshoot in the sense that you could have a really good day and someone just has a better day?
STACY LEWIS: Um‑hmm, it is. I think this is the hardest event to win because you've got to win six matches, and if you catch somebody when they get hot and you never know. It's definitely the hardest tournament to win. You're going to have a bad day, you're going to have a bad round, and if you can find a way to grind that match out in the second or third round, a lot of times that will win you the tournament.
Q. Stacy, when you joined, the LPGA Tour was in a bit of a lull and now it seems to be bouncing back. Could you comment on how resilient the Tour is, and are things getting better in your view?
STACY LEWIS: Well, I definitely think we're getting better. I think my rookie year, I think, was when we had the least number of events; maybe my second year, I'm not sure. We're definitely moving in the right direction. We're adding tournaments, adding tournaments in the U.S., which I think that's ‑‑ that's the biggest thing we need is tournaments here closer to home. I think we're moving in the right direction. And I think in the end we need American players to kind of step up and play good, and somebody needs to get up and contend Yani. I think that's what's going to drive the ratings and get more people to follow and watch our events.
Q. To follow up, more American players have to come to the top, you said. Does that put more pressure on you to carry that flag up for the Americans?
STACY LEWIS: I don't think it's more of a pressure on me. I would love to be that person, for sure. Whether ‑‑ I mean, I don't really care where I am on the American rankings or anything like that, but ultimately it's number one in the world, and if you've got an American player that's number one in the world, it's been a while since that happened. So if we can do that, I think the Tour is going to be moving even more in the right direction.
MODERATOR: We have a different twist on the pretournament press conference. We have defending champion, Suzann Pettersen, and Cristie Kerr.
To start things out, Suzann, can you tell me one thing that people do not know about Cristie?
CRISTIE KERR: About me?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: She's a workout alcoholic.
CRISTIE KERR: A what?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: A workout alcoholic.
CRISTIE KERR: Actually, I think that's called winemaker.
SUZANN PETTERSEN: She was busting in the gym yesterday. That's why she's going to hit it a mile this week.
CRISTIE KERR: You mean a workout‑aholic, not a workout alcoholic.
SUZANN PETTERSEN: That's what I meant. I didn't mean to mess that up.
MODERATOR: All right. Cristie, same question for you. What is one thing that people don't know about Suzann?
CRISTIE KERR: I think she likes her cars. She's got a lot of nice cars and she likes to drive fast. And what kind of cars do you have?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Doesn't matter, I never make the line behind me.
MODERATOR: All right. Back to golf. You both are known as fierce competitors in the U.S. and European. How did you get that? How did you get that name for yourself?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Well, I don't know. I grew up with two older brothers. For my own part, I had to fight for every right when I was younger. In the hospital every day just getting beat up by my brothers and fight for my spot, and I think that's a part of who I am today and obviously loving sports, love to compete. I hate to lose, if it's playing sports or playing cards, it's one thing I really hate. So whatever it takes usually, and I think that's kind of who I am today.
CRISTIE KERR: I think I get mine from my parents. My father was a competitive baseball player, my mother was a competitive swimmer, so I think I've always had a very competitive sport‑oriented family, so that's kind of where I get mine from.
MODERATOR: All right. Nobody really wants to see either one of you in match play. Why do you think that's true?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Because we're that good, I don't know. I guess we both have pretty good match play records, but I guess it doesn't really ‑‑ like I said earlier this week, it doesn't really matter who you play in the match play, you have to bring your A game and you can't take anything for granted. If you're playing Cristie or you're playing whoever else it might be, you just got to bring it on and take on every shot and try to win as many holes as you can early on.
CRISTIE KERR: Yeah, that's definitely the exciting factor of match play, you never know what's going to happen. There are a lot of upsets. People who you think should make it to the semis and finals, they don't, and some years they do. You just never know.
I think as good players we bring out the best in the players that we play against, so we can never ‑‑ like Suzann said, we can never take anybody for granted because you ‑‑ you have to assume they're going to bring their A game.
MODERATOR: You both played in the finals last year against one another. Was there any bantering going on during that match?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: I think we were just trying to survive to stand up at the end there. It was a long week. I was sick as a dog that week. You know what they say, look out for the sick golfer.
But it was a tough match, to play 36 on Sunday. I had a lot of long matches last year. At the back nine I think we both kind of gave each other opportunities that we normally probably wouldn't do, and I was just lucky enough to be the last woman standing last year and it was good fun. I mean, to play Cristie, I played a lot of other friends of mine on Tour, but for us to play each other in the final was quite special, I think. It was a good match, we played good golf.
CRISTIE KERR: Yeah, it was a great match. Yeah, we were definitely tired coming to the back nine on the last match, and that's also this tournament. It's a test of endurance and a test of who's the last person standing. I think that when you're in the final match and you're playing against one of your friends, of course you still want to win, but you want to have a good match and we did.
MODERATOR: Last night the USGA honored Mickey Wright. Who is your hero and why?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: I have a lot of heroes. I think probably my favorite is Annika. I think just growing up, seeing her perform the way she did. Kind of ‑‑ obviously she's from Sweden, I'm from Norway, she was quite easy to relate to.
And all she's done for women's golf in the past two decades, it's phenomenal, and she's still putting up a great effort both on and off the golf course, more so off the golf course these days, but it's phenomenal to see. I played her charity event this weekend, and to see her on stage to present and kind of talk about what she's doing these days is kind of, it gives me a lot of goosebumps because it's just phenomenal to see her heart and passion still lives with the game.
CRISTIE KERR: I think Mickey Wright was honored last night and that was truly a special evening. One of my people that I idolized growing up was Patty Berg. I first met her at the Women's Western Junior, and I went on to win that junior tournament and they give you a bracelet that you get to carry for a year like a trophy, and then you give it back to Patty.
And I got to know Patty growing up and she just was really fiery and really inspiring, and it was just great to get to know her. All the founders are amazing. We have an LPGA tournament now, the RR Donnelly Founders Cup, that honors the founders every year, and I think that shows how special that we hold them in our hearts and appreciate everything they've done to better the game of women's golf. So Patty and Mickey and all those people, I've really looked up to. Modern‑age player, Juli Inkster. She's always been also one of the people that I've looked up to.
MODERATOR: Keeping in line of the theme of the LPGA See Why It's Different Out Here, the Wegmans LPGA Championship will be including your Twitter handles on the caddy bib. What's your first reaction to that?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: I thought it was brilliant. I'm surprised no one has come up with that before because it seems such a good, right thing to do. I mean, the space is right there and this is how the fans love to kind of interact with us, and for us to kind of get people involved in our own life and what we're doing. You can kind of write your own theme here. So I guess it's the pressure of all of us to kind of keep up Twittering and keep people up to date.
CRISTIE KERR: I'm new to Twitter since November and it's amazing the response I've gotten. I didn't know I had that many fans frankly. It's great to get support from people and to be able to answer their questions and just do random things, like recipes or golf tips or makeup, whatever people are interested in. It's a great way to connect with people, so it's good that the LPGA is kind of, you know, keeping with that and going to doing that at Wegmans.
Q. Can you talk about how coming to this particular area of northern New Jersey is unique as a Tour stop?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Well, I love this area. It reminds me a little bit of home. There's a lot of fantastic golf courses around and we're lucky to be here at Hamilton Farm. It's a good kind of old, traditional golf course. We've always had our Tour stop here. I mean, before Sybase, we've been in New Jersey quite a lot. We're in Atlantic City later this month. It's a good stop for us, and hopefully we can bring out some more fans from this area.
CRISTIE KERR: Yeah, it's great because we can pull from all three states ‑‑ New Jersey, Connecticut, New York ‑‑ and I spent some time in New York City and have a lot of friends and family here. This is a great Tour stop for us, it's a great golf course. Bernardsville, The Bernards Inn I had dinner at last night is a great place to go. No, it is. People who come here can experience these charming little boroughs, and it's ‑‑ we need to be in this ‑‑ on this kind of stage in the Metropolitan New York area and it's great for us to be here.
Q. Cristie, you've been on the Tour when it was at a high and then at a low. Can you talk about how it's evolving and apparently coming back now?
CRISTIE KERR: It is, you know, and I think that everything goes in cycles and we've had a great commissioner, Mike Whan, the last ‑‑ maybe his third season now. He's just really fostered and kept those great relationships going for us. He's ‑‑ people genuinely like him. He's a business guy, he gets it, he understands how to elevate the LPGA Tour and build it. It's on the upward trend now and I think he has a lot to do with that. So we did struggle through some times, but like any great organization, you're going to do that and it's great that we're on the upswing now.
Q. I'd like Suzann to follow up on that first, and then I have a question for Cristie, please.
SUZANN PETTERSEN: About the Tour? I mean, we can't hide it that we were struggling a couple years ago. I mean, the entire world was, and unfortunately sports is one of the aspects that corporate businesses kind of ‑‑ that's the first thing they would skip. We stuck through it. I mean, we all worked hard, we believed in the product. I think the product is as strong as it's ever been. We have a lot of great young girls coming up, a lot of great young Americans coming up, and I think we need that here.
In Asia, we're strong. We've been strong throughout the last three or four years and it's only growing bigger over there. But I think it's important for us to establish a great foundation here in the U.S. I consider this Tour still as a global tour. The U.S. is where we kind of have our base and this is where we play most of the summer. Mike Whan's done a great job turning this ship around. It looked bad for a while, but like we all stuck together and that's what great organizations do and the LPGA has a bright future.
Q. So that was a truly professional segue to what I'm going to ask you. You're in a rare situation where you haven't won for a little while; Paula, same way. We've got three American winners this year, but do you need the top players ‑‑ you, Paula, Michelle to a degree ‑‑ do we need you, outside of your personal achievements, to start winning to help this Tour push forward, like Suzann just said, the Americans?
CRISTIE KERR: Absolutely, especially seeing ‑‑ I follow, you know, everybody on Twitter, you guys on Twitter, and I see what you're talking about. And yeah, you definitely need us to win. And we are trying, we are trying our hardest, I can promise you that. We're working hard and we definitely need to win.
But another element to the LPGA, which they're starting to get better at and continue to get better at is you need to elevate and celebrate your stars on your Tour even if they haven't won in a year. Just because they haven't won, you need to write about them. You need to write about me, you need to write about Paula and Michelle and the stars that elevate the Tour because that's how people get to know what's going on with the Tour.
It's continually getting better and the LPGA staff is doing a great job, and they've redone the website and putting a lot of money into really bringing the LPGA into the new digital era. So I think we have to continue that.
We have to do our part, too. We have to win, we have to play well. That's what the Tour is all about, the top players, and, you know, performing and elevating the Tour where we're able to do more business, so absolutely, we need to win.
Q. Suzann, it's a similar question. You're third in the world, 17th in earnings this year, but I think your best finish is a 6th. Where is your game at this point?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: 6th is pretty good, isn't it, this year? You know, I've had a slow start. I had a fantastic off season, so it was a bit disappointing going to Asia, not performing better. I've done a few changes lately over the last six, seven weeks. I have a great addition on my bag, probably as excited as I could be about that.
My game is coming ‑‑ coming ‑‑ it's falling in place right now and I'm looking forward to a big summer. This will be a great kind of kickstart to get into a good summer stretch where there's several majors. Going over to Europe, playing well at the British Open, I'm really looking forward to that one.
And, you know what, I think as we said, I mean, you might not have had the best results so far, but I don't really judge myself with how I perform. It's more how I feel. I know where my game is at, I know ‑‑ I feel like I've been in this situation before. You get the questions, when are you going to win, when are you going to kind of be there on a Sunday.
It's just a matter of time. The day it all clicks it will be exciting again, and if we keep working hard and putting in the hard effort, I think the results will show.
Q. Suzann, I remember last year when you won, it had been a while since you had won. Did last year's win here kind of spur you forward like you thought it might? I know you won at the end the summer, but has it gotten you to where you thought you might be after last year?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Winning gives a lot of confidence, that's what we work for. It's fun to win. You wish you could win more, but in golf you lose more than you win, so you've just got to enjoy those moments where you finally stand by yourself on Sunday with a trophy. I mean, it's tough to win out here. I don't know. The depth out here, you can't afford any lousy rounds out here, and I think that's the fun part because you have to bring it all to the table. Yeah, it's fun to win.
Q. I'll jump forward to the Wegmans just for a second because that's what I'm here for. I know (inaudible) because you shot 19 under there, and you said last year you'd like to play at Oak Hill, which is not a bad place, either. But give me your impressions of Locust Hill as that tournament's (inaudible) because the contract's up this year and there's debate both ways, move it around or keep it there. Could you both share your opinion on that?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Well, I think Rochester is a fantastic place for the LPGA, we have a lot of great fans there. Locust Hill has been great to us. They stepped it up when we looked like we were going to lose our major and they treated us really well.
The course is tough. I mean, it might not be the longest, but they can make it as narrow as they want and you have to hit it straight and small greens, so it kind of tests all aspects of your game. There's obviously a lot of great golf courses in that area, but as far as where we stand right now, Locust Hill has been a fantastic host, great venue, and I think we should stay there.
CRISTIE KERR: Yeah, and as you know, I love that golf course and I always have. It's got such great history with the LPGA and the Wegmans family. You know, Colleen has really done a great job with the tournament and supporting the LPGA. I think that that's always kind of going to be the home of that event. If they end up moving it around, then, you know, it's really a no‑lose situation. It's a great golf town for us and obviously great sponsor, so whatever they want to do, we'll do.
Q. Does it hurt more to lose at this tournament? Is it more personal to lose in match play?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Cristie, do you want to take that?
CRISTIE KERR: I haven't lost this year yet, knock on wood.
Well, I think that, I mean, whoever you're going to play, you have to try and beat them. There's only going to be one winner at the end of the week. You try not to take it personally, but you can't help but have a little bit of that, especially when you're playing one of your friends. So yeah, it was a little bit, but I got over it and, you know, went on to play some great golf at the middle to end part of last year, and you know, just set my sights for this year.
MODERATOR: All right. I would like to welcome Yani Tseng into the interview room for her pre-tournament press conference. Yani, thanks for coming in with us.
YANI TSENG: Thank you.
MODERATOR: We have a special treat today. Yani appeared on the Big Break that is set to air, so Tom Abbott, who's the host, can explain more to you and give you a little more insight.
TOM ABBOTT: Thanks. I'm just going to talk a little bit briefly about Yani's involvement with Big Break, and we're going to show you a sneak peek of the show that involves Yani that will air on Monday at 9:00 on Golf Channel. It's the second show in the series of Big Break, Big Break: Atlantis, which is the 17th season of the Big Break franchise, one of the most popular shows on Golf Channel.
It's a cast of 12 aspiring professionals that are all pros in the shows, all trying to get their Big Break, 12 girls, and we shot it down in the Bahamas in February of this year, down at the Atlantis Paradise Island.
So Yani's involvement was an idea that I had over the wintertime when we were getting ready for the show and we were thinking about guests, and I thought, well, why don't we have the best player in the world on Big Break? May as well give it a shot. I talked to the producer who was involved with Big Break and who was the head of the production. I said, Hey, Paul, why don't we ask Yani to come on Big Break, see if she'll do it. He said, That's in your hands.
So I approached Yani and we got together with her on a team and it all came together. So it was a lot of fun to have Yani down there for one of the shows. We're going to show you, I think, about 10 minutes of the second show of Big Break: Atlantis. If you would like to see more, we have DVDs that are available. Obviously the results of the show are embargoed until 9:00 p.m. Monday next week, but to give you an idea of what Yani did in the show and we'll see her involvement, so let's kick it off.
MODERATOR: All right. Yani, that had to be a pretty cool experience to be there competing with everyone. Can you tell me a little bit about it and how you felt to finally be on a team and play like a team sport?
YANI TSENG: I'm excited, I'm very excited to be there. It looks much more nerves and pressure than what you look on TV. When you're there, you feel so much pressure because, I mean, you're not play as individual, you play as a team, and some of the day you play in the (inaudible) and it's great fun. I really enjoyed to meet those players and they're very, very nice people and they're so much fun, too. But I feel I look a little mess on the TV, but I do have fun, so it's a great experience for me.
MODERATOR: Back to this week. It's a match play style tournament and you have a pretty impressive record so far when it comes to match play. You won the 2005 U.S. Women's Amateur Public Links, the 2005 North & South Amateur Golf Championship, and the past two years here you have reached the quarterfinal. Can you tell me how you think your game shapes up in match play and do you like it?
YANI TSENG: I love it, I love match play. I mean, it's really nice that we're able to like once a year play match play because you kind of focus on every hole, every shot you can because you only have to beat one player every time. So even ‑‑ sometimes you need a little luck because maybe you play perfect today but you still lose, sometimes you play bad but you still win. So you never know. All you think is how to beat the player in front of you, so you don't have to worry about too much. You don't have to worry about if I don't play good, just enjoy and enjoy the player that you play with, and I think that's why I really love it, because I can play aggressive on the golf course, too. I don't have to worry about too much, and I'm happy because my game was aggressive, so this match play kind of suits my game.
MODERATOR: I think to say this year that you've gotten off to a solid start would be a bit of an understatement. You've had already three victories on the LPGA this season, and your worst finish is a tie for 10th. Can you tell me about your mindset for the rest of the season?
YANI TSENG: I'm ready. I feel very good. I feel good with my game. Last week, I didn't play any tournaments. I worked a little with my coach last week, and my trainer was here with me for these two months, so we just want to get momentum going and get my physical ready to ‑‑ I mean, this course is very tough, very tough to walk because it's very up and down. So we just need to be in good shape on this week because some day we might play 36 hole, but I feel my game was there and I'm just ready to go.
MODERATOR: Back to the physical side I was talking to your manager, Naya, earlier and she said you've been playing basketball. Do we need to worry about you going to the WNBA?
YANI TSENG: No, no. I've been playing a lot because my trainer play basketball and I play basketball, and I think that's just so much fun when you are not playing golf and you're playing basketball, you play tennis.
Q. Yani, I wanted to ask you obviously your physical game is going very well. The mental part of your game, how have you improved that in the off season and where do you think it stands right now?
YANI TSENG: Actually, beginning of this year I feel so much pressure. I wasn't ready ‑‑ that is my first time I feel so much pressure in my life is January this year. But after I played the first tournament in Australia and I putting so much pressure and I didn't play quite well in that week, but after first one I kind of get better relaxed and my mental kind of setting up better because I kind of don't have any expectation after the first week.
And the second week I win in Thailand, so I think that's huge for me because after that win, I know I can do it again. I know I can play well like last year, because like beginning of this year I don't know if I could do it again, I don't know if I can win another 12 tournament, win two majors, I really have no idea.
But I've been working really hard for the off season and my trainer was there, too, and my coach was there. My whole team actually was there with me to try to get me in good shape, ready for the new season.
So after Thailand my mental game is setting up pretty good, so after that I think I've been very fresh and very positive thinking and just not trying to put too much pressure because sometimes it's hard to win every tournament, but you want to be possible all the time. It's not easy, but this year my goal is to have fun and enjoy on the golf course as more as I can and don't worry about a score.
Q. Yani, have you gotten used to people expecting you to win every week when you go out there, or is that still something new for you?
YANI TSENG: I'm kind of used to it because I expect me to win every week, too. So it's not about the people around me they expect because I expect also. So I think you don't want to go to a tournament that you want to finish second. I think all the players want to win the tournament. So I want to be strong and to finish strong and just feel the way I want to play and do my job on the course and play one shot at a time and try to win every week.
Q. Yani, could you talk about the state of the Tour this year? Last year to this year you've gained, I think, four tournaments overall, sponsorships are good, the commissioner has renewed marketing stuff. So you obviously have a big role in that the way you played, but can you talk about just your impression of the strength of the Tour right now?
YANI TSENG: Mike Whan did a very good job for our Tour. I think all our players are very supporting, too. We get more tournaments this year, more people are watching on the TV, and TV coverage was getting much higher. We get live every tournament on weekends, so, I mean, that's huge for the LPGA. I think we ‑‑ I'm very proud of ourselves to we're getting improved and we're doing good to getting close to fans and getting close to the people who don't know about LPGA, and I think everybody doing very good job.
So I think now we have Kraig Kann on the board and I think he know what he's doing and he's doing the right things. And I think all the players, we just need to follow up to do the best as we can and try to play the best and try to have fun on the course because I think we know if we having fun on the course, people having fun to watch, too.
Q. Yani, I know there's pressure, you know, feeling like you should win every week, but is there also pressure kind of being the face of the game and how do you deal with that?
YANI TSENG: Yeah, I just try to not think too much, but it's very hard because when you on the golf course, you have to play full rounds, play good full rounds golf to win the tournament, so that's not easy. Sometime you might play bad on the first round, second round and kind of far away from the leaders, so just need to get your mental prepared to more like to do your job instead of if you make a good stroke or make a good swing, that's kind of all you can do and try to not thinking too much about a result. So the pressure is kind of very important for me to play ‑‑ to have fun and play well on the golf course.
Q. Yani, for a while there there was like Annika, then Lorena, number one, and then we didn't have a number one for a little while and everybody's saying, well, gee, we really need a number one. Now you've kind of broken through. How do you see that affecting the Tour as having one dominant player, and number two, how do you see the race behind you for people trying to chase you for number one?
YANI TSENG: I think it's good. When we have like five, six players like one and two, I never got switched. So I'm like last two years ago, I almost get close, almost get to number one, but I was very happy I didn't go to number one because that way in the off season, I have a goal. I have a goal to be number one last year and I did it, and I did a very good job on this.
And I think I still have a long way to go because there's so many great players on the Tour, you never know. You still have to keep your momentum going like try to win as more as you can because I don't feel like I'm like a Lorena or Annika yet because this is just the beginning for me. I want to be like them in the future. I want to do more, more out of the golf course, and I want to be ‑‑ I don't to just be a good golfer. I want to be a good person like Annika and Lorena, too. They helping out so much for the LPGA and so many people around the world, and not just about golf. So I wish I could be like that in the future and that's kind of my goal, but now I'm focused on playing golf and starting to do things around golf, too.
Q. Since you mentioned Annika and Lorena, do you pick their brain a little bit since you've reached this level in your game on distractions and how to keep focus and everything like that?
YANI TSENG: Yes, Annika is my big idol since I was 12, 13, my first time watching Annika playing golf, and since that my dream is playing with Annika, and instead of just playing with her, that's my dream. That's why I, you know, give motivation to play on the LPGA and play with her. I think I'm very lucky because my first year is her last year, so I'm still able to play free rounds with her and talk about a little bit. So she's been helping me out a lot. So we're in the same neighborhood now, so I go visit her a lot to ask her lots of questions. So she's really helping me to be on this stage, to be the world number one, how to handle the fans, media, the golf course, mental, everything. She's really helping out a lot.
Q. Yani, were you aware about the Golf Magazine thing where they picked Rory, and Mike wrote the letter to them wondering why they didn't pick you?
YANI TSENG: Yeah, I was a little upset, but it was okay. I mean, the LPGA never gets the attention like PGA does, but I think we're getting there, we're getting better. I keep telling myself, if I keep playing well, one day they will know who I am, one day they will know what the LPGA is like. Lots of great player on the LPGA really can play golf. We have more people it's really coming out and supporting us. We really, really appreciate that because it is so much fun to play in front of a crowd. And thanks, Michael Whan, to doing that for me and I very appreciate that, and hopefully in the future I can get one.
Q. I was going to say, what did you think when you heard he did that and did you read his letter? What did you think of his letter?
YANI TSENG: Yeah, I did, I did read it. He's awesome. He's really, really nice to write that letter to the Golf Magazine. I mean, he's just like our friend, good friend. He come almost every tournament, talking to the sponsor, talking to the media, and he doing the best for the LPGA for our players.
Q. You mentioned that you try to win every tournament every week, as you should, but are you more interested now in being consistent every week rather than the ups and downs? How have you changed to become a more consistent player?
YANI TSENG: Yes, I think that's one of my goal this year, too, because last year even I won 12 tournament, but I have a lot of tournament I finished 30s, 40s. It's kind of very up and down.
So this year I tell myself I want to be more consistent. If I don't win, I want to be top 10, top 20. I don't want to be way over or almost missed cut or playing bad. So I think we're really working on that. And my swing, I changed my swing a little bit and it's getting more consistent. My putting was getting better, so that's kind of an important thing. And my coach, my trainer, my team, my manager, they're doing a very good job to try to keep everything around the golf course to try to keep as simple as possible and let me just focus on the golf course more.
Q. You mentioned basketball. Do you just shoot, or do you play a pickup game, and are you worried about injury when you're playing?
YANI TSENG: No, not really. I just ‑‑ I just wear basketball shoes, I wear training shoes to play, so I think that helps a lot. And we play two‑on‑two, three‑on‑three, and kind of very aggressive, too. So I think that's why it's so much fun. If we play easy, I don't think that's the game. When I play three‑on‑three with my friend, it's so much fun. But they're very careful, but I'm the one very aggressive. But they're kind of very careful to touch me because they don't want me to get injured, so they are like very safe to play with me.