CN Canadian Women's Open
Vancouver Golf Club
Coquitlam, British Columbia
August 21 & 22, 2012
Pre-tournament Notes and Interviews
Lorie Kane, Rolex Rankings No. 205
Suzann Pettersen, Rolex Rankings No. 6
Paula Creamer, Rolex Rankings No. 16
Yani Tseng, Rolex Rankings No. 1
Brittany Lincicome, Rolex Rankings No. 12 and defending champion
Michelle Wie, Rolex Rankings No. 39
Storylines for the CN Canadian Women's Open
The LPGA Tour returns to Canada this week for the 12th annual CN Canadian Women's Open
Forty-eight of the top-50 players on the 2012 LPGA Official Money List will tee it up this week at the Vancouver Golf Club in Colquitlam, British Columbia. Six past champions including Brittany Lincicome (2011), Michelle Wie (2010), Suzann Pettersen (2009), Katherine Hull (2008), Cristie Kerr (2006) and Meena Lee (2005) will be in attendance as a field of 156 chases the $2 million purse.
Lincicome looks to defend her title at a new venue
Brittany Lincicome (@Brittany1golf) travels to British Columbia this week hoping to defend the CN Canadian Women's Open title she claimed last year at Hillsdale Golf & Country Club outside Montreal. The long-hitting Floridian has six top-10 finishes since winning last year's Canadian Open _ including a tie for second at last week's Safeway Classic Presented by Coca-Cola _ but the CN trophy remains the most recent in her collection that includes five total victories.
Lincicome won the 2011 CN Canadian Women's Open with an up-and-down from 40 yards to save par and shoot a 2-under-par 70 on Sunday. She battled high winds and heavy rain caused by the remnants of Hurricane Irene to outlast defending champion Michelle Wie (@themichellewie) and Stacy Lewis (@Stacy_Lewis) by a stroke and claim the $337,500 first-place check.
A pair of notable international amateur golfers will compete by way of exemption this week including the world's no. 1 ranked amateur _ 15-year old Lydia Ko of New Zealand. Ko recently won the 2012 US Women's Amateur, was a semi-finalist at the U.S. Junior Girls and finished as low amateur at the 2012 US Women's Open. Also competing will be 2012 Royale Cup Canadian Women's Amateur champion Ariya Jutanugarn of Thailand. Currently ranked no. 2 on the world amateur golf ranking, the 16-year old Jutanugarn lost to Ko in the semi-finals of the U.S. Women's Amateur.
CN Miracle Match
Each year surrounding the CN Canadian Women's Open (@CNWomensOpen), CN and Golf Canada select a foundation to be the official charity of the tournament and beneficiary of the CN Miracle Match. Since 2006, Lorie Kane has supported the Miracle Match as an ambassador for CN and has helped create awareness for the matching program, which matches 100 percent of every dollar from personal and corporate donations. The national charitable initiative was designed to rally communities across Canada to support a pediatric care program and this year's recipient is the BC Children's Hospital. Over $50,000 has been raised since May 8 and the conclusion of the tournament will mark the last day to give.
Growing the game… With 15 Canadians in the field this week, including seven up and coming amateur golfers, 16-year veteran Lorie Kane couldn't be more proud of the way golf has spread throughout her native country. As the oldest Canadian veteran currently playing on Tour, Kane has been able to set an example and offer advice for the youngsters who are just beginning their professional careers.
"We have a lot of talent," Kane said. "I think the younger players need to know what it takes to be out here week‑in and week out. It's a grind. It can be a grind. You can also make it fun. We're in one of the most beautiful cities we have to offer here. So we should be out, play our golf, get our practice done, and then enjoy the scenery."
Brooke Henderson, a 14-year-old from Smiths Falls, Ontario, qualified for the CN Canadian Women's Open with a win at an event in Ontario in early June. This is exemption made her one of the youngest players to become eligible for an LPGA event. Although Kane hasn't met her yet, she has some advice for the amateur as she competes with the pros this week.
"Enjoy the experience of this week, just be yourself," Kane said, "To play the game like obviously she's capable of, and not get caught up in all of the other things, which at 14 I don't think she will. But she's obviously quite competitive, and that is a positive. For the future, I think she needs to take every opportunity she can."
Kane is a strong proponent of the charitable aspects that are in conjunction with being a player on the LPGA Tour. Her hope is that she can be a role model to the young players both on and off the course as she continues to promote and advocate for the CN Miracle Match- a program dedicated to raising money for the BC Children's Hospital this week.
"Canadian Women's Golf has always been strong," Kane said. "I think it shows with an added event that there is definite interest in women's golf in this country. Both will leave great impact in the community with the charitable dollars that will be raised. And the CN Miracle Match is basically what we're here for."
Bring it on… Paula Creamer (@ThePCreamer) seems to thrive on the challenges of navigating around difficult courses. Two years ago, she captured her first major championship title at Oakmont Country Club in Pennsylvania, home of the 65th U.S. Women's Open. Fashioning three consecutive sub-par rounds en route to a 3-under 281, Creamer accomplished what no other major champion had done at the course since John Mahaffey won the 1978 PGA Championship.
The Vancouver Golf Club features two unique nines; one short and hilly, the other long and narrow. But this doesn't intimidate Creamer. In fact, she welcomes the challenges.
"I do, the harder, the better," Creamer said. "When you have to think and you and your caddie have to come up with certain plans and sometimes it's not necessarily going to be ‑‑ you're going to hit a shot, and it might be three or four yards short of the green, but you got an uphill putt. That's something you might not necessarily see on other golf courses."
Tough test: With the CN Canadian Women's Open moving around to a different venue throughout Canada each year, the LPGA players get a chance to see a variety of golf courses as well as different cities. And this year at the Vancouver Golf Club, the challenge will be navigating a course that looks quite different on the front nine than it does on the back.
"It's definitely two totally different nines," said Paula Creamer. "The front nine is very hilly, undulated greens. Just really important to stay below the hole on almost all of them. The back nine you can make a couple more bigger moves, I think. It's a little more straightforward, and the greens are a little bit flatter. But they are getting so firm. I've had balls that are just hitting and taking the biggest bounces. Come Sunday and the weekend, it's going to be a good test for sure, but I like it."
The biggest challenge facing the golfers this week likely will be those greens, as Suzann Pettersen (@suzannpettersen) also mentioned the importance of placement in your approach shots.
"The greens on the front side are insane," said Pettersen. "I mean, you could possibly see some four‑putts. If you're above the hole, you're literally dead. So that's going to be a very tough transition from the front nine to the back nine."
Quotable: "Canada feels very much like Norway to me. Looks the same, has the same feel, great people. We draw fantastic crowds in Canada. Canadians are fantastic sports fans, and they know golf. It's a good crowd. CN puts on a great show." _ Suzann Pettersen on why she enjoys playing the CN Canadian Women's Open each year.
Of Note…There are nine amateurs playing this week, including 14-year-old Brooke Henderson who is from Smiths Falls, Ontario…Symetra Tour member Emily Talley, pro Maiya Tanaka and amateurs A Ram Choi and Erynne Lee all earned spots in this week's field via Monday's qualifier…A total of 48 players out of the top-50 on the 2012 LPGA Official Money List are playing in the CN Canadian Women's Open this week.
The LPGA Tour continues its Northwest swing as it crosses over the border this week to Coquitlam, British Columbia, just outside of Vancouver, for the second Canadian event of the year. The 12th annual CN Canadian Women's Open will feature a field of 156 players at The Vancouver Country Club, vying for a $2 million purse and a $300,000 first-place prize.
This week's star-studded field includes all of the previous 2012 tournament winners and the majority of the world's top-25 golfers. Among them are Rolex Rankings No. 1 Yani Tseng and last week's winner, Mika Miyazato.
Miyazato, who is ranked No. 10 in the world, became the sixth Rolex First-Time Winner of the 2012 season after boasting an 11-under par finish at the Safeway Classic Presented by Coca-Cola. She held the lead in all three rounds of the 54-hole event and only needed a tap-in for par on the 18th hole to secure a 2-stroke win over Brittany Lincicome and Inbee Park. This marks her fourth top-5 finish in the last seven events and she's also had two ties for seventh at the Jamie Farr Toledo Classic and the U.S. Women's Open.
Back-to-back? There is one thing that Brittany Lincicome (@brittany1golf) has yet to do in her already successful LPGA career and that is defend one of her titles.
The 26-year-old will try to do just that this week at the CN Canadian Women's Open. Last year, Lincicome captured her second title of the 2011 season when she shot a 2-under 70 in the final round to outlast 2010 CN Canadian Women's Open champion Michelle Wie and friend Stacy Lewis by one stroke. But that victory came outside Montreal at the Hillsdale Golf and Country Club, a different venue from where they'll be playing this week.
So does changing golf courses make for a different feel when you're the defending champion of an event?
"It is different, but it's the same," Lincicome said. "Every single person that comes up to me, "We want you to defend." It's so great signing autographs and having that kind of feel to it. It obviously is a different golf course. I think it is going to be a little easier defending not playing the same golf course because it's not the same pressure. I haven't played this golf course eight times, back to back to back. It's a little different. Not as much pressure, I think.
"But it's still cool to see your posters everywhere you go. I'm staying at the hotel with my pictures all over the walls, so that's very cool. Brings back a lot of good memories.
Lincicome, who finished runner-up last week at the Safeway Classic Presented by Coca-Cola, will now try to make some good memories at the Vancouver Golf Club this week. The Seminole, Fla. native got a chance to play the golf course during a pro-am on Monday and said that it's not necessarily a course that will favor a certain type of golfer.
"It's pretty much an equalizer," Lincicome said. "It's not long by any means. I mean the par-5's, I know I can get to two of them, so it's not a long hitter's golf course. I hit a lot of 3-woods. Even somebody like Ai Miyazato who hits it 200 yards off the tee, but it's dead straight every time and she can putt lights out.
"It's more going to be whoever can get it close to the green and close to the pin and who can putt it with the fewest strokes is going to win this week for sure. I don't think you need to be a long hitter by any means this week."
Out with the old, in with the new… After a two-month struggle to find her game again, a glimpse of the old Yani Tseng came out last weekend at the Safeway Classic Presented by Coca-Cola. Firing rounds of 70-67-73 put her at 6-under for the tournament and an 11th place finish, a place she hasn't seen since early June. She proclaims with a new confidence in her game that she is ready to take on The Vancouver Golf Club and the rest of the season in full force.
"Yani is back," Tseng said. "I think the new Yani is coming out, too. I just feel like I know so much different ways. I've been struggling a lot. I've been on the top, and maybe this will be good to start a good year again, because we still have a lot of tournaments to go, and I'm very excited and very much looking forward for this tournament and in the future.
"I just feel really appreciative. I've never been that happy to shoot 5-under ever in my life. So it's a great feeling."
Tseng was deemed unbeatable coming into the 2012 season with 15 career victories in her five-year career. She even held on to her lead in the Rolex Rankings despite her two-month struggle. Although still a youngster on Tour, many say she is comparable to many LPGA greats like Annika Sorenstam and Lorena Ochoa. But Tseng doesn't seem to think so.
"I still have a long way to go," Tseng said. "I don't think I'm close to them. Maybe after ten years you ask me this question and I can answer you. But now we have so many good players on the Tour. Every player can win a tournament. You never know. It's really different from before."
Tseng claims that the only thing she would like to be compared to Sorenstam is her demeanor on and off the course.
"When Annika was on the Tour, she was winning like many years and that's very incredible," Tseng said. "She's my role model. I wish in five years, ten years, I wish I can be like her. Just playing good golf and being a good person, and helping out so many things outside of golf and on the Tour. That's kind of my goal.
Feels like home…There seems to be something about the CN Canadian Women's Open that brings out the best in Michelle Wie. The recent Stanford University graduate captured her second LPGA Tour victory at the 2010 CN Canadian Women's Open in Winnipeg and then finished runner-up to Brittany Lincicome here in 2011, falling just one stroke shy of victory.
So what is it about this event that allows Wie to deliver such great performances?
"I love playing golf up in Canada," Wie said. "I absolutely love it up here. I think the crowds are just so nice. The people are just so nice here. We play different golf courses, but all of the golf courses we go to are topnotch golf courses and always in perfect condition. Being my first time in Vancouver, I got really excited. I got to see a little bit of town yesterday, so I'm having a blast so far."
Wie spent Monday touring around downtown Vancouver with stops in Yaletown and Chinatown among others. It was a chance for her to visit a new city and explore a part of Canada that she hadn't seen before. Based on her comments, it sounds like Wie has enjoyed the trip so far.
"It's like Asian food heaven," Wie said with a laugh.
While the 2012 season has been what Wie describes as her "toughest year so far," she is coming off a solid performance at the Safeway Classic last week. She posted rounds of 69-70-69 to finish eighth, which was her first top-10 performance this year.
"I think always where I've struggled is with being consistent," Wie said. "I think that right now I definitely have gained a lot of confidence from last week which I'm definitely going to carry over to this week. I don't know. Just being consistent, going through every day and being comfortable out there and being confident in what I'm doing and being aggressive. That's really just what I'm focusing on this week."
Buzz about Augusta… With the recent scrutiny of the strict rules of membership at the August International Golf Club, LPGA players were buzzing yesterday after hearing the news of the course admitting its first female members. Although it doesn't directly affect the LPGA, the players believe that history was made and the future of women's golf looks much brighter.
"Yeah, it's great," Brittany Lincicome said. "Not only for women's golf, it shows how much the world is changing and evolving. It doesn't matter if you're the CEO of another company, it empowers women. It's not a man's world as much anymore. It doesn't have to be about golf. It can be whatever job you do. It's really cool to see that it's kind of in my era that I was a part of this. I think it's amazing. I think it's awesome."
A select few LPGA players have had the opportunity to play at the home course of the Masters Golf Tournament including Paula Creamer and Karrie Webb. After the announcement of this news Lincicome, Yani Tseng and Michelle Wie hope this means they get a chance to play as well.
"I've never played Augusta, so if any of those nice ladies want to invite me out to play, that would be amazing," Lincicome said.
Quotable: "I always hit it straight. Don't worry (laughing). If I'm in the rough and you see me, then I meant to hit it there. It's a better angle, I'm sure. Strategy." _ Brittany Lincicome joking about the need to hit it straight this week.
MODERATOR: I'd like to welcome Lorie Kane into the interview room. Thank you so much for joining us today, and welcome home to Canada. I'm sure it's an exciting week for you and maybe even a busy one. What has this week been like for you and how nice is it to be back home here in Canada?
LORIE KANE: It's always great to be in Canada on the other coast. I can't get any further from my home of Prince Edward Island. But it's been a great week. We flew up on the charter from Portland with the 72 players that were on the charter from Portland, so that was great to get in Sunday night.
I had an opportunity ‑‑ it's been a long time since I've played in a Monday Pro‑Am. I played with Karen Phillips from CN, and some guests of hers. So it was a good opportunity to see the golf course. Being CN's ambassador, it was a great time to spend some valuable time on the golf course with some of their great customers.
MODERATOR: The LPGA now has quite a few Canadian players, including rookies, Maude‑Aimee Leblanc and Rebecca Lee‑Bentham, and the 14‑year‑old that is in the field this week. We've also added a tournament in Canada. So tell us how exciting it is to see these young players and see the game of golf grow in Canada?
LORIE KANE: It's very important. Behind us are two people, Gail Graham and Dawn Coe‑Jones who are going to cover the golf this week for CBC. When I was a rookie, I looked up to both of them to kind of get a feel for what it would be like to be a member of the Tour. I've tried to extend that same hand to the younger players that are coming up.
Elena has been a member for the last seven years, I think, Elena's been on Tour. Maude‑Aimee Leblanc unfortunately has a back injury that's going to keep her out of this tournament and the rest of the season. And she has ‑‑ I was able to play one round with her in March at our tournament in Phoenix, and she totally amazed me. I said this kid is going to do well out here. She's powerful. So now we just need to get her healthy.
Canadian Women's Golf has always been strong. I think it shows with an added event that there is definite interest in women's golf in this country. Both will leave great impact in the community with the charitable dollars that will be raised. And the CN Miracle Match is basically what we're here for.
We love to play golf as women. The LPGA Tour does a great job of presenting the golf side. But at the end of the day, the charity is what it's about, and the Miracle Match and money that will be raised for this week and the B.C. Children's Foundation will be amazing.
MODERATOR: In your role as a winner, a Canadian winner on Tour, have any of those girls come up to you and asked for advice on having success on the Tour?
LORIE KANE: That's a good question. I wasn't afraid to ask Don or Gail, but I find some of the younger players are a little nervous and shy to come and approach me. I consider myself one of the more approachable people, or I hope I am. So I have been lending a hand. Rebecca Lee is somebody I've been told needs to take a break. If I practiced as much as she did, I would retire by now because she wears me out. On the practice tee all day long.
But we have a lot of talent. I think the younger players need to know what it takes to be out here week‑in and week out. It's a grind. It can be a grind. You can also make it fun. We're in one of the most beautiful cities we have to offer here. So we should be out, play our golf, get our practice done, and then enjoy the scenery.
Q. Can we get your reaction to Augusta National finally getting some lady members in earlier this week? And can you retell that story about your first trip to Augusta?
LORIE KANE: That was fun. Let me start with the first trip to Augusta. It would have been in 1997 and we had just played Myrtle Beach, and we were driving to Atlanta to play. I had had a good week in Myrtle Beach. And Danny Sharps was my caddie and we traveled together. He said, we're going to go to Augusta. And I said, well, we can't go to Augusta. You have to know somebody to get in the gate. He said, nope, we're going to drive up to the gate. You're going to tell them who you are and we'll take it from there. And I said like they're going to know who I am.
Well, we drove up to the gate, talked to the security guard. The security guard called down to the golf shop. Mr. Spense is the director of golf. Answered the phone and said, "oh, hi, Lori. Nice to chat with you. I see you had a good week last week," and I was just floored that he even knew who I was.
So he invited us down to see the golf shop. I'm sitting in my Ford Explorer and I look to realize I have jeans on. So Danny was driving, so I jumped in the back seat of the truck and quickly changed out of my jeans into a respectable pair of golf shorts and called my dad at the same time to say, dad, I'm on Magnolia Lane, driving down Magnolia lane to head to the golf shop to buy you a shirt from this golf course.
To answer the second part of the question, it's time. I've been always a true believer that clubs have their rules. It wasn't that we as women could not play the golf course, because we could play the golf course. The fact is they have seen the light that women are moving up in the business world and running great companies. Condoleezza Rice has done wonderful things for the United States and deserves to be a member of Augusta.
I don't know much about the other woman that has been given a membership, but it's a start. Probably well overdue.
Q. You've been out here a long time and seen some peaks and valleys, I would imagine, as far as the LPGA tournament. Where do you see the Tour now? Do you see it in a good place, heading in the right direction?
LORIE KANE: Absolutely. I think Commissioner Whan has done a fabulous job of making us part of the team. Giving players and making players realize that we're a company, and we're only as good as we put forward. I think our product, the brand couldn't be any stronger. I think we're getting ‑‑ the economy's getting better, some might say it is still is, but I think people are seeing value in the LPGA. As a result of that, I think our tournaments are getting stronger. We have two great events here in this country.
Q. Under previous management, the diversity of the Tour, and the racial ethnic diversity of the Tour was seen by some as a negative. Now it seems that's been turned into a positive. Would awe agree?
LORIE KANE: Absolutely, just look at this city. I've always said, and I don't understand marketing sometimes. But I know that with the Korean population we have on Tour, those kids find places to eat Korean food in every city and state we travel to. We need to go out and encourage those Korean people who may be Canadian‑Korean, American‑Korean, Korean, Korean to come out and watch us, because they support one another.
The diversity of this Tour is I think, exciting. Our country is a diverse country. So it should be a positive, for sure.
Q. Have you met the 14‑year‑old girl from Ontario who has qualified? What do you think of a 14‑year‑old playing in this event and qualifying to do it?
LORIE KANE: I've been following her. I have not met her. Brooke is her name. I have not met Brooke, but like I said, I have followed the CN Tour, so I knew that she was successful in winning an event to earn the right to play here. And I think it's great. I think it's encouraging for other kids to come along and follow. To know that there are things to do, places to play to grow the game. I think CN has done a good job and Golf Canada. She's a member of Team Canada I believe, so that's all good.
Q. How good were you when you were 14?
LORIE KANE: How good was I when I was 14? Probably not good enough to be playing on the Canadian Women's Open. Yeah, no. I mean, today we did the future links program on our third hole, and there was a 12‑year‑old, Olivia, who is from Ontario who came out here to play in the drive, chip and putt challenge. I said, "How old are you?" She said, "I'm 12." I said, "How long have you been playing golf?" She said, "six years." And I was like holy smokes. They're getting younger and younger and younger, but that's great because they're going to stay with the game, I hope, for a long time.
Q. Your game in particular kind of under the radar had a pretty good year. How much of that do you attribute to the fact that you might be as strong as you've ever been in your career?
LORIE KANE: I attribute a lot to it. Not only physically, but I feel really good about where I am right now. I'm enjoying every bit of golf that I can play and every day that I'm above ground. I feel very fortunate that I can still play.
I've put in some hard work over the last number of years. This didn't happen overnight. I've got a good team of people around me, good support from home. I've been able to be home this summer for a little bit. Life's way too short to be sweating the small stuff. I think it's taken me a while to realize that. So I'm enjoying the process, and whatever that process is, I'll tee it up tomorrow and know that I'll give it all I've got to be the best I can be and smile and giggle and get it done.
Q. If Brooke was to walk up to you and ask for one piece of advice, what would that advice be?
LORIE KANE: To enjoy the experience of this week, to just be yourself, to play the game like obviously she's capable of, and not get caught up in all of the other things, which at 15 I don't think she will. But she's obviously quite competitive, and that is a positive. For the future, I think she needs to take every opportunity she can.
I'm a true proponent that school is a good direction to go in, because what you learn at school, you can't learn out here. Growing up on the road is not easy. I think both Don and Gail went to Lamar, right? And graduated. And I think there is a lot to be said for that.
I didn't play college golf. That is one thing that I would have loved to have done. So if Brooke has an opportunity to do that kind of stuff, I would tell her, go that direction. The Tour is only going to get stronger in the next five to ten years. The younger player needs to go somewhere else to get experience, and then be ready for all it takes to be a professional golfer.
Q. With all the strength of the Canadian golfers and the young ones coming up, is there a passing of the baton happening? Do you feel that? I know Elena's been in the middle of your age and their age. Do you feel like it's now starting to turn to the point where Canada's going to start looking at the young ones?
LORIE KANE: I'm not letting go of the baton (laughing). I'm going to make a hell of an anchor, and I am not letting go. Did I answer that? All right.
Q. You're at 99 Top 10 finishes. How important would it be to get to that round number of a hundred?
LORIE KANE: 99's not a bad number. Gretzky was 99 for a long time. Had a little bit of success. I don't want the next one to just be a Top 10. My goal is to get in the winner's circle, and that's what I'm striving to do.
Q. Just in terms of pure distance off the tee, we watched you hit a couple of drives today. Are you as long if not longer than you've ever been?
LORIE KANE: I'm longer. I think it's a combination of a bunch of stuff though. I think technology ‑‑ distance comes from, obviously, your fundamentals, but I think driver shaft, the combinations. I'm playing with the Tailor Made Burner, which is the Whitehead Burner, but I think it's a series behind. But the combination we put together is really good. And I play the Bridgestone golf ball, which, for me is ten yards further than any of the other balls I've tested.
Then to add on top of that the stability and the strength that I've gotten with the help of Sean Foley and Danny, it's made a difference for me.
Q. Can you talk about what it means to have a chance to play in Canada here and what a good result in this tournament would mean to you?
LORIE KANE: Any opportunity that we get to come home and play is huge. I definitely want to take advantage of the Canadian fans, the support I get from CN, to put the best game I can forward.
Having said that, tomorrow is another day. Today was good. I felt great on the golf course. I'm going to tee it up tomorrow with Brittany Lang and Michelle Wie, which will be an exciting group to be with. I'm going to go out and play the best I can. It is really awesome to have the support that I get when I do come home. So everything is good.
Q. Players have been saying all week long that there are two unique nines on this course. One shorter, hilly, the other a little longer. Other than yourself, of course, who do you pick to win this week? Who does it play strengths to or does it?
LORIE KANE: Like most weeks, it's going to come down to putting and positioning of your ball on the green. When we played here in '91, the nines were reversed. So I think ‑‑ it's my feeling that the back nine is maybe the more scoreable nine based on the green. The complexes aren't as severely sloped.
We've got an awful lot of very good golf strikers, and I've been playing a lot of golf lately with Inbee Park. And Inbee is just tactical. Boom, boom, and putts very well. So a player like Inbee. I mean, I could go down the list.
I don't think that length is the real key here. A couple of the par‑5s, possibly. But I think it's all positioning. The fairways are pretty generous in spots, but, again, you have to ‑‑ it's all about what you're coming into the greens. Granted, I'm going to contradict myself, because maybe length is key, because the shorter you have to go on the greens, the better.
MODERATOR: We'd like to welcome Rolex Rankings number 6, Suzann Pettersen, into the interview room. Thank you so much for joining us today. Just finished up with the Pro‑Am out there. Give us some initial thoughts on this golf course and what are kind of the keys to it this week?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Well, there are a lot of keys to this golf course, two very different nines. I'll be very happy with nine pars on the front side, and you can be more aggressive on the back. The greens on the front side are insane. I mean, you probably don't see them ‑‑ I mean you could possibly see some four‑putts. If you're above the hole, you're literally dead. So that's going to be a very tough transition from the front nine to the back nine.
Just play the front first today. Get to the back nine, get very tentative with the speeds, even on the fairly flat putts. So the greens are firm as well. You don't have really too many flat lies there either. So it feels like we're sitting on the side of the hill. The greens are feeding to one side of the course.
MODERATOR: Every year at this event, you get a little different feel with the changing golf courses. You've won this event before back in 2009. What are your favorite parts about coming to Canada? Every year ‑‑ I guess, is this your first time to Vancouver?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: This is my first year to Vancouver. I feel like I've been all over during the life of CN on the LPGA. I always forget where I won, but it was in Calgary, I was told, where I played the Pro‑Am.
Canada feels very much like Norway to me. Looks the same, has the same feel, great people. We draw fantastic crowds in Canada. Canadians are fantastic sports fans, and they know golf. It's a good crowd. CN puts on a great show.
It's nice to rotate and play different courses every year. It takes a little bit more work for us to prepare and get to know the inside of the course, but the course is in good shape. It's just very challenging with the greens and the speed of the greens. Had they been slower, it probably wouldn't have been that much of a deal, but they were rolling yesterday when I played, they were right around 12. So if you're on the wrong side, you're dead.
MODERATOR: Take me through this season. No victories to date. But you've been in contention a number of times with solid performances. What is kind of the key for you to breakthrough and get that victory?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: I haven't had any victories, but I'm running around with the victory bracelet on to remind me that it's still possible.
It's been overall a pretty good season. Things have felt good all year. Just can't play all five cylinders at the same time. It doesn't feel that far off, doesn't feel that bad. It's just a few shots here and there, and you feel like you leave a couple out there every round and that leads to where I've been.
Playing in Europe, it's always good to play in Europe. Finished second in Ireland, close to contending there. And came in close, just had no putts going in. So it doesn't matter if your long game feels good. It's kind of putting it all together.
But that is the beauty of this game. Sometimes you feel it all works, other times you feel like one part is good and some other parts are lacking and not the consistency you're looking for. But I'm dragging along, trying to get the most out of what I have. I would love to kind of come back as I did in 2009.
Q. Many players say there is a fine line between capturing that victory and finishing in the Top 10. You feel like you're so close. Does it get frustrating when you feel like you're right there and you just can't seem to get it?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Yeah, it's frustrating in a way where you feel like when you step it up on the first tee, you always look for a certain feel or a certain swing thought or something that can keep you going. I mean, you can have it. I've played several this year.
In Rochester, I felt like this is it. I can hit every shot I want off the tee. There is no bailing out on anything, and you finish two shots back. It's two putts at the end of the day.
It's frustrating, but it makes me want it even more. I'm trying not to get frustrated.
Q. You've been out here a few years now on the LPGA Tour?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Can you tell?
Q. How would you describe the state of the Tour? Obviously it went through some difficult times. Do you feel it's on the rebound and headed in the right direction now?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: I think the LPGA went through a tough period fairly well. I mean, as we look at all the other places in the world, we lost a few tournaments, but we also want to make sure that we build stronger relationships with the ones we've had.
We've had fantastic support with so many companies for so many years and they've stuck with us through tough times even for them.
We had a new guy stepping in, kind of turning the ship around. Now you'll find the results of what Mike has done. If you look at the product, the product is better than it's ever been.
You can say when Annika was at her peak, was the depth as good as it is now? Not taking away what she did or what Lorena did, I just think that now the depth is better. The quality of play, I would say the conditions of the courses are better. I think everything has improved. I mean, I'm very happy to be on this Tour. I mean, this is my 12th season, I think ‑‑ ‑11th season. I'm starting to get gray hairs.
Q. When you look at the Top 10, the Top 20 on the money list, it's like a veritable United Nations?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: We are the United Nations of golf pros.
Q. In the previous regime there was some criticism and what not. But do you see that as one of the strengths of the Tour and the diversity?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Sure, we represent pretty much the world. We have players coming from Asia, we've had great players from Europe, great players from South America, and good Canadian players. Now we have a lot of great young Americans coming up which probably has been what's been lacking on this Tour, especially from the U.S. We have television numbers that are out the roof coming. Somehow we draw attention and interest at the LPGA which is good for us.
I think the LPGA is fairly fan friendly. You can get inside the ropes pretty easily with us compared to the PGA guys. I think that is a lot of the experience that people have when they come out and watch us and play with us.
It's a very positive thing right now. Next year we have five majors, hopefully a few new additions to the schedule. When you look at all the top players, I don't think you see many of the top players playing much more than 25 events a year anyhow. But what's been good over the last couple years is there have been less events. Pretty much everyone's been playing every event, so every event has had the strongest field it's ever had, which is good for each tournament.
I mean, there are goods and bads, with having a lot of tournaments. Not having enough, you're always going to have players wanting more. If you have people with less good of a category that doesn't quite get in. Obviously, with less tournaments, that category gets knocked out easier.
I think we're in a good, healthy space, but it's a lot of fun out here.
Q. You've talked about the course before. Can you pick somebody out there? Can you pick a set of players out there that the course might work well towards? It doesn't seem like it fits any one category.
SUZANN PETTERSEN: No, whoever can bump and run it to the front will do well this week. I wouldn't say it draws to the longer hitters either. Because obviously it's nice that you can launch the ball, hit it with some spin and hold the greens at certain spots. But this is purely going to be a putting contest, believe me. You might as well play short of the green than hit it past the flag on the green.
You just have to really play smart and accept a two‑putt, accept that you are going to three‑putt. Whoever can do less than three‑putt will do really well.
Q. If you get started putting hot is that going to make a big difference this week?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: I don't know. Whatever you do on the putting, you can't let it get to you if it starts going. Everyone's going to go through the same highs and lows, hopefully more highs. But it's going to be a challenge. It's fun to play courses like this. These are quite severe, but the greens that undulated makes it more challenging.
Q. Now that the magazine's been out, can you tell us any reaction to your now famous appearance?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Yeah, I just had one a couple of minutes ago. I think the reception has been very, very nice. I don't regret anything that I've done. It was an out of body experience. I probably felt the most awkward of the entire team. I thought it was a good opportunity, the right time, the right magazine, and I thought I was honored to be in such good company with other top athletes of the sport.
I was honored to be asked, and I thought about it twice before I committed, and I haven't regretted it since.
Q. What kind of reaction to you get? Do you get one from the gallery?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Yeah, lot of people printing them and wanting me to sign them. It's still very awkward to sign those pictures. But I actually had a guy with two pictures printed out and they were as big as a pin flag. A couple of holes later he said, 'Would you sign them now? I drew bottoms on them.' He drew a bikini bottom. He was like would you sign it now? Would it make a difference? I was like, sorry, man. Good try. That was actually quite funny. They keep trying though.
Q. This tournament used to be a major. Now you have five majors. Do you see this becoming a major again? You talked about how tough the greens are.
SUZANN PETTERSEN: No, I don't see the LPGA having six majors. CN has always put on a fantastic event. It's what I want to call one of the major events we have on the schedule. Venuewise, venue, crowds, hospitality, courses, conditions the reception we have in Canada you can't ask for anything more. But for us to add a fifth major next year, I think that's more than enough for the players to deal with throughout the year. I'm not saying CN doesn't have like the quality to become a major. But that's likely to be down the road because I don't see us having six. That would be a lot to ask of the players for a season.
Q. Can you comment on the field this year with 48 of the top 50 women golfers in the world? What ultimately do you think it will take to win the tournament?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: I'm not surprised that pretty much all the best players in the world are here. We all love coming to Canada, like I said. CN always draws a fantastic field. The way they treat us. I think it's nice that we rotate around Canada. We don't always go back to the same spot.
What it takes to win this course is so hard to say. It's hard to say if you need to go low. I don't know if it's going to take 12, 15. I have no clue. I guess if you get it going on the green, there are opportunities out there. But at the same time, a lot of the holes, par is a decent score. It's always touch and go. It's like where does the wind come from? It's tough. I don't know.
Q. Can you reach any of the par‑5s?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Yeah. You can reach 10. There are two on the back, so you can reach both. 10 you can definitely reach. 13 or 12 or whatever it is. It's a little difficult to get on the green, because of the way it slopes. But yes, you'll see people get on there.
Q. Do you think No. 6 is a reachable par 5?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: It depends on where they put the tee boxes. If they put the tees a little bit up, you can probably get there. Today I had 290 playing 260. If you get the right balance, you'll be very close. But that is a very awkward third shot. You have to stand like this with a wedge. They should make it so it's reachable.
Q. Did you know there is a Norwegian caddie working this week at the event?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Yeah, he works every week.
Q. No, it's a different one, I think?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Oh, it's a different one.
Q. One of the women qualified Monday. Her boyfriend is a Norwegian cross‑country athlete, I guess, and he's caddying for her.
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Sounds like a Norwegian to me. There are a lot of people in Norway. We kind of spread all over. The 5 million people that we have.
MODERATOR: We'd like to welcome Paula Creamer into the interview room. Thank you so much for joining us today. Always great to have you here with the media. I know as I asked Suzann, you just got finished up with the Pro‑Am, take me through the golf course and what we can expect out there this week?
PAULA CREAMER: It's a challenge around here. It's definitely two totally different nines. The front nine is very hilly, undulated greens. Just really important to stay below the hole on almost all of them. The back nine you can make a couple more bigger moves, I think. It's a little more straightforward, and the greens are a little bit flatter. But they are getting so firm.
I've had balls that are just hitting and taking the biggest bounces. Come Sunday and the weekend, it's going to be a good test for sure, but I like it. I think it kind of fits everybody. There are a couple of holes where the long hitters will take advantage of. But, overall, if you're not in the short grass and giving yourself good looks, it's going to be a long day.
MODERATOR: When Suzann was asked about it, she said you might see some magnificent one putts and some four putts on these greens. That's just how tricky these greens are going to play.
PAULA CREAMER: There are some kind of crazy ones out there, for sure, especially chipping, too. It's some thick rough. You're not going to hit 18 greens, but you're going to have to be able to save some par putts. You might hole some long ones that you get lucky with. But you have to give and take out on this golf course. When you want to be aggressive, it might not be the play.
MODERATOR: We've talked about your game this year and we've seen some great performances where it seems everything is coming together. How are you feeling about your game heading into this week?
PAULA CREAMER: I feel really good. I've been working really hard on the driving range the last couple of days. The Sunday finish that I had in Portland was unacceptable to me. I was just very disappointed in how I finished. It definitely motivated me.
I feel good, I feel positive. Like I said, the golf course suits my eye well, and all I can ask for is four good days of golf, and continue doing what I've been doing.
Q. How would you describe the state of the LPGA Tour?
PAULA CREAMER: I think we've definitely had our highs and lows. That's for sure. But I think that we're going in the right direction. You're getting to meet a lot of the players, a little bit more personality type things that we're doing with our Tour and finding out a little more about the person, not necessarily just the golfer.
We're getting more events. I think that's important. Obviously, I'm an American and we live in the States, so I do want to have a few more tournaments at home. But it is nice to be able to travel. I'm a very global player. But just because we're on a national tour membership, doesn't mean we do need to go all over the place.
But coming here is one of my favorite spots. I think the Tour does a good job. Getting Waterloo and having a new event there just shows that we are headed down the right path.
Q. You see the diversity of the Tour as one of its strengths?
PAULA CREAMER: I think so. It is. Like I said, it's very international. There are lots of players in the mix. You want to go out and represent yourself well and represent your country well.
Q. Given the fact that this course doesn't seem to cater to anybody specifically, does that mean that maybe we're going to see those golfers the top golfers such as yourself maybe shine a little more because they have all the tools in the bag?
PAULA CREAMER: I think so. This is an open. They're going to make it hard. They're going to make it difficult. The pin placement that they can put on these greens, they can make us look like fools or make us look great. I think a lot of it is going to come down to how they want to set it up for us. It doesn't just cater to one person.
That's kind of what you want. You want to be able to have all the shots. You want to be able to hit your long clubs, your short clubs, your wedges, things like that. Every part of the game.
Q. Do you like that?
PAULA CREAMER: I do, the harder, the better. When you have to think and you and your caddie have to come up with certain plans and sometimes it's not necessarily going to be ‑‑ you're going to hit a shot, and it might be three or four yards short of the green, but you got an uphill putt. That's something you might not necessarily see on other golf courses.
Q. Is there a favorite right now that you like to go to? Is there anything playing that well that it stands out?
PAULA CREAMER: It's hard. I can't answer that question. Like I said, it will be interesting to see how they set it up for us as well. Hopefully if the weather keeps staying like this, these greens will be so firm, it will be funny at times. If we're lucky by Saturday and Sunday, the umbrella will be out all day.
Q. Bring it everywhere anyway?
PAULA CREAMER: Everywhere we go, yes.
Q. How do you measure a year where you play well but don't necessarily win?
PAULA CREAMER: It's hard. Me, personally, I care about winning and going out and being the best that I can be and being in contention, and fighting for that and grinding it out. It's difficult. It's been the hardest year for me so far. Last year was difficult, but in a different way. I was still trying to get over my thumb surgery and things like that. Now you look at it different and say how can I get there, and it is hard.
But golf, I'm going to be out here for a long time, and I have to overcome those hurdles. It makes you tougher, it makes you stronger.
MODERATOR: Talking about enjoying being out here in Canada, have you gotten to see a little Vancouver? Have you been here before?
PAULA CREAMER: I was here several years ago. I played in a junior tournament at Victoria Island. We didn't get to the city or anything like that. But I went to the city last night for a meet and greet with one of my sponsors, SAP. It is just so beautiful. I saw the stadium and everything. Hopefully we'll go back and do a little bit more. With the early‑late tee times, it kind of caters to that. So it will be nice to go to the city.
I want to meet Brooke, the young Canadian here. It would be fun to talk to her. Maybe she can give me some pointers on places where to go and what not.
Q. So there are 48 of the top 50 women's golfers here. How does this feel compared to other tournaments that you've played in this season?
PAULA CREAMER: 48 of the top 50, that's pretty good. That's very good. It shows a lot about CN and the event, and the people here in Canada. It is so welcoming, everybody is so nice. There are volunteers everywhere. They just love the LPGA and support us.
To miss this event, you would be crazy, because they do such a good job. You play a fun golf course, and the venue keeps changing and all of that shows when top players come to it, how good the event really is.
Q. You mentioned Brooke. Have you seen her swing on the range at all yet?
PAULA CREAMER: I haven't. I haven't bumped into her. It's tough practice days and things like that. But I think we're in the same wave. I think she's early‑late also. So hopefully I'll see her tomorrow and say good luck and we'll see.
Q. What does it make you feel like you're still relatively young when you see someone 14 coming up. You're a veteran.
PAULA CREAMER: I am. I'm 26, I'm getting old. It's the way golf is. Age is just a number. I still feel like I'm learning new things every day I come out here. I learn new things about myself, about golf, and just what works best for me. This is my 8th year, like I said. Not a day goes by where I don't look at what I've accomplished or what I want to accomplish.
To see someone like that coming through the ranks is pretty neat. It's inspiring to know that you can kind of help out too. You never know what will happen.
Q. What advice would you give her?
PAULA CREAMER: To enjoy it, to embrace this week. You're playing in front of your home crowd. There is nothing better than that. Not put too much pressure on yourself. Like I said about me, it's a long career. You're out here for a long time, don't rush things. Really try to figure out what works best.
MODERATOR: We'd like to welcome Rolex Rankings No. 1 Yani Tseng into the interview room. Thank you so much for joining us today. Always a pleasure to have you here with the media. I know this golf course is familiar to you. This is not the first time you've played here at the Vancouver Golf Club. You actually won a CN Canadian Women's event here back in 2007. First off, tell me what were your memories from that event playing here? I know you've gotten to play on the course so far this week, And how is the course looking?
YANI TSENG: Yeah, a couple of weeks ago I wanted to play here, and this time it brought me a lot of great memories because at that time I was playing the CN tour, and I was trying to get into the Canadian Open. So now I'm in the CN Canadian Open. It's just so much different.
It feels like these six years have gone so fast, and how much it's different. And how much I'm now world number 1, and to be on here with so many different memories. I'm just so happy to be back here.
All the fans out here are very, very nice. They were so excited to see, and I'm very excited to see them too. I only have been here a couple of days, and I already really enjoy it.
Q. What is it that you remember about this golf course specifically and from playing it this week? How do you think it suits your game?
YANI TSENG: I just played nine holes this morning. But I heard the back nine is much flatter. But the greens are very tough, as I remember. I remember that the last three holes were very challenging. You have to play good to get a couple of shots or have the last three holes. It's very important to play on this course and be patient, because the greens are kind of tough.
It's very interesting, because you might hit a rough, and hit a tree and then it bounces right. It's very different. So you just need to be patient out there.
Q. Talking about your year, you got off to such a hot start winning three of the first five events on the LPGA Tour. And then you kind of hit a slow patch over the last couple of months where your game. Some people were pretty surprised to see, because you've been so such a roll for so long. But last week you got things going again. Finished 11th at the Safeway Classic, and like you said, "Yani is back." How much better do you feel about your game right now? What did you take from last week?
YANI TSENG: I just never felt so good. I shot 5-under last week. I feel so appreciative of the way I played last week, and the last couple of months I've been learning a lot. I've been struggling. It's very tough.
But Yani is back. I think the new Yani is coming out too. I just feel like I know so much different ways. I've been struggling a lot. I've been on the top, and maybe this will be good to start a good year again, because we still have a lot of tournaments to go, and I'm very excited and very much looking forward for this tournament and in the future.
I just feel really appreciative. I've never been that happy to shoot 5-under ever in my life. So it's a great feeling.
Q. Can you sort of describe how you were feeling when you weren't playing well? Were you angry? Were you frustrated? What kind of emotions were you going through when you were struggling? Because you hadn't gone through any of that since being on the LPGA Tour.
YANI TSENG: Yeah, I'm not really angry. I feel more disappointed and feel upset a little bit. Every time I'm struggling, I'm kind of second guessing myself. So I guess that's why they called it struggling.
I was guessing if I could play that good again and win the tournament again like hitting the ball, making lots of birdies again. I don't know. I kind of always question myself. But I've been winning lots of tournaments and playing good all the time and consistently. I have a few missed cuts too, but I've never been this consistently bad.
So the last couple of months I feel good. I feel like after this year, I feel this is probably my best memory ever. The last couple months I really learned a lot. I know how it feels to be struggling and still try to play good golf and be as happy a person as you can and enjoy golf. It's easy to say, but it's very hard to do.
Last week I played great, and this week I can have fun and enjoy as much as I can.
Q. I think you were 17 when you turned pro, 17, 18?
YANI TSENG: I think 18.
Q. Do you think there is an age that is too young? If you had to do it all over again, would you turn pro at that age?
YANI TSENG: Yeah, I would turn pro again, of course. After I finished high school in Taiwan, I was thinking about coming here to go to college. But I don't know if I could learn good English for school, so I just kind of forgot about that. I feel I'm ready to go.
I want to go and play on the Tour, because that is my dream to play on the Tour. I wasn't thinking about winning or something, I just want to play on the Tour, play with all the best golfers in the world. With Annika, Lorena, Karrie Webb, those huge players that I always saw on TV when I was young. I think I made the best choice to come on the Tour.
I feel like home. In the off-season, I felt like I missed the Tour. I missed everybody out here and missed all my friends and I'm comfortable on the course. I just really enjoy to play on the Tour.
Q. You mentioned Annika. She was the person to beat. Then it was Lorena, now it's you. What's it like to have that responsibility? Also, when you started, there were a handful of players that could win all the time. The depth and quality of the field compared to when you were starting outcome paired to what you compete in week-in and week-out now?
YANI TSENG: Yeah, it's very different. I feel Lorena and Annika, I still have a long way to go. I don't think I'm close to them. Maybe after ten years you ask me this question and I can answer you. But now we have so many good players on the Tour. Every player can win a tournament. You never know. It's really different from before.
When Annika was on the Tour, she was winning like many years and that's very incredible. She's my role model. I wish in five years, ten years, I wish I can be like her. Just playing good golf and being a good person, and helping out so many things outside of golf and on the Tour. That's kind of my goal.
Q. You have one more major left this year and the British Open. How do you like your game going in there? You've won on the British Open before?
YANI TSENG: I feel good. I remember that golf course. Tiger always hitting irons there, and I try the same strategy as him, because he won there. It actually feels pretty good. Because to have a good season or you want to have a great season, you have to win in a major tournament. So I'm really looking forward to that. I really like the Links golf course. I know we played Liverpool, but I feel good about it.
Q. You've won back-to-back at the Women's British. What would it mean to win a tournament three straight years in a row?
YANI TSENG: I don't think that much, because maybe we played the course like different every year. So I don't feel much pressure. I kind of just want to go out there and focus on every shot and try to work the golf course and strategy, and try the best that I can. We play a different course. It seems like every year is different.
Q. I know they were asking about the struggles. I know last week we were talking about what it would mean for you to get another win this year. What would that feeling be like having gone through everything that you've gone through over the past couple months? Would it be a little sweeter than maybe some of them before?
YANI TSENG: Yeah, of course. I mean, I think it's probably my best trophy ever. I feel good. I have a picture in my mind how I'm going to feel emotional if I can win it again. I know I can, but it's just a matter of time. But it's just a matter the time. A couple months is better than a whole year or a whole year is better than a couple years. If I look at that and say I'm lucky. I wait a couple months.It's not like a whole year is gone. I know I'm struggling, but everybody is going to go through that. You have a couple weeks and then you come out higher.
Q. Your thoughts on the announcement yesterday that women are being allowed to be members of Augusta?
YANI TSENG: Yeah, I just heard that news. I think it was on the history of golf the other day. But I don't know. I just feel very happy that they finally have let ladies as members. I'm looking forward to going and playing there, if I can. I've never played there, so I think it's very interesting.
Q. Shanshan Feng is number three now. Korean players have been so dominant on the LPGA for a few years now. Is this the start of starting to see Chinese players rising up the ranks?
YANI TSENG: I hope so. We have so many girls that -- we have like four or five on Tour, but we have so many that play the Asian Tour and Japanese Tour. I think it's a dream to come to the LPGA to play. And the Olympics are next time in Rio, so I think that helps a lot for Chinese golf to become more popular and more people want to play golf. Even the younger kids now all started playing golf. It's so much change. So I think in the future, Chinese golf is going to become more popular like Korea and Japan.
Q. You mentioned the Olympics. We just had an Olympics in London. Have you started dreaming about winning a gold medal yet?
YANI TSENG: Yeah, I do. I was in London and I was there like a month ago. So after I went there I felt like I really want to play in the Olympics in four years, so that's kind of my next big step, to win a gold medal.
It doesn't matter. If I can play, I'll be very, very honored, a big honor to be a part of it. So it's kind of one of the goals and dreams. I never played for my country, just as an amateur, but not as a pro. Because I couldn't play Solheim Cup, so I really don't know how it feels to play for your country and play not for yourself. You want to win for your team.
I never had that feeling, but I think this time in the Olympics, I'll have that feeling and it will be exciting.
Q. When you were at those events and you saw the athletes standing on the podium and getting their medals and hearing their anthems, do you let yourself dream about what that would be like to hear that anthem and represent your country in that way?
YANI TSENG: I don't know. If I was standing there, I'd be crying so hard. It's just incredible. For golf, it's very different than like track and field and those kinds of things because we have the majors every year. But for them, they have four years and just for that moment, like ten seconds, 20 seconds, and it's gone.
So it's a lot of work and a lot of patience that you compete in the Olympics. I couldn't feel how much pressure there is there standing there.
Q. You always play your Tour around the world. Is there anything you want to say to your fans in Taiwan?
YANI TSENG: Yeah. They always give me a very, very big support. Especially last year, winning the tournament in Taiwan, the LPGA tournament, I always cry when I stand on the first tee, because I never saw that many people in my life on the golf course. I feel very appreciative, because they always watch me on TV, and I know I'm not here alone. I know my country is supporting me and all my friends are supporting me.
THE MODERATOR: We'd like to welcome you to the 2012 CN Canadian Women's Open. We are fortunate enough to have our defending champion gracing us with her presence today, Brittany Lincicome. Different golf course than where you won last year, but is it the same feeling when you come back as the defending champion, the wonderful memories that come back from last year's win?
BRITTANY LINCICOME: Yeah, absolutely. It is different, but it's the same. Every single person that comes up to me, "We want you to defend." It's so great signing autographs and having that kind of feel to it. It obviously is a different golf course.
I think it is going to be a little easier defending not playing the same golf course, not the same pressure. I haven't played this golf course eight times, back to back to back. It's a little different. Not as much pressure, I think.
But it's still cool to see your posters everywhere you go. I'm staying at the hotel with my pictures all over the walls, so that's very cool. Brings back a lot of good memories.
Q. This golf course, I saw you out there playing this morning. What's this golf course look like? Who is it going to fit, I guess, better?
BRITTANY LINCICOME: Yeah, that's a good question. I feel like I hit a lot of 3-woods yesterday. I played in the All Ladies Women's Pro-Am thing, which was very fun. I hit a lot of 3-woods, and some of the holes are really long coming in, but not super long in between. The front nine is really hilly, so it's going to get through those holes, you get to the back, and you're excited because you're not walking up-and-down.
The greens are a little bigger than the past weeks that we've played. One was tricky because it kind of went front to back and the other ones go back to front. But they're also a little more firm than they were last week, those greens. So it's going to be a test of trying to figure out how far the ball will release on every hole, and you don't want to be above them because they're super fast putting downhill. So the key will be to leave it short of them and putting uphill, obviously.
Q. Mentioning last week you had such a strong finish, finished runner up. How are you feeling about your game coming into this week? Is that kind of a nice momentum boost coming into a week like this where you are defending?
BRITTANY LINCICOME: That was great. I feel like I've been doing some really good things all year, but not doing them all at the same time, I guess. Last week I was hitting it low and putting lights out. I was making everything whether it was ten feet to make par or five feet to make birdie. It was nice to see my putting coming around and figure out what was off a little bit here and there. It's nice to be defending.
We have been playing the last six out of seven weeks in a row. So it's nice to keep it going. I've never defended a tournament before and then won the next year. So that would be really neat.
Q. Last year you had A.J. on your bag. That was kind of an interesting experience for Canadians because we had seen her out on Tour. She's here caddying for somebody else. You guys remain pretty close friends, I understand?
BRITTANY LINCICOME: We are. I did an interview with a local paper last week, and he was talking about A.J. and picking her brain. She's been here and played here before, so unfortunately, I didn't talk to her. But I did see her today, saw her tweets, saw that she was in town.
It's really cool to see her back out here, and obviously she's loving teaching and loving living back in Canada. Seeing her niece grow up and being close to her family. That's really cool. So glad she's happy and doing something she really loves.
Q. A lot of pros, when they have the odd pro event here on the west coast, they've remarked that the ball doesn't go as far here. Do you find that being at sea level and the air is a little heavier at times that you're one of the long hitting women on Tour? Do you have to make any adjustments when you play on the west coast?
BRITTANY LINCICOME: Actually, I didn't notice that this week. Definitely didn't notice that last week either. I played this morning, and I was wearing a jacket. It was a little chillier this morning than yesterday afternoon. I just attributed that to a practice round, I wasn't hitting enough balls. Come Thursday, I'll be hitting it super far again.
But I didn't notice that today. It will be something I'm paying attention to tomorrow when I'm playing the Pro-Am.
Q. You find two very distinct nines here. Do you think one is more difficult than the other?
BRITTANY LINCICOME: I would think the front because it's up-and-down. It's a little harder to walk. You might get a little more tired on that nine., and eat a little bit more to keep your energy level up. But still all the greens are huge greens. It's not like the last couple of weeks where if you were in the middle of the green, you had 20, 30 footers, and this week you could have 50, 60 footers. So it's more important hitting good shots and aiming for the middle of the green and not just kind of getting lucky.
Q. What do you think of the field that's here with 48 of the Top 50 women's golfers in the world?
BRITTANY LINCICOME: It's depressing that two are missing. Who are the two that are missing? Oh, it's really cool, actually. 48 of the top 50 is pretty remarkable. I still wish all 50 could be here. It's such a wonderful event and an event that I look forward to defending or not defending. I would never miss this event unless I broke a leg, knock on wood.
But it's such a wonderful event. So glad all the other players come out to support it as much as I enjoy it.
Q. On that note, how do you feel trying to defend, given the competition?
BRITTANY LINCICOME: Oh, yeah, any time you go in to defend or wanting to win a tournament, obviously, I'd want to win the tournament with all the top players there. That means that you've beaten the best for those events.
Obviously, when you have that extra -- like last week it was a three-day event. I didn't have to play that last round. I couldn't imagine playing one more round last week. Mentally, just how much goes through that Sunday round. So a four-day event with all the top players in the world, to win an event like that, you've beaten the best and that means you are one of the best. So the top players, that's great that everybody's here. If I'm the one that gets to come out on top, it will be an unbelievable feeling.
Q. Brittany, so much has been said about the relationship between caddies and golfers. Obviously, you had some success with a with A.J. last year. An adjustment to that or do you pick up with the new person and go on from there?
BRITTANY LINCICOME: Yeah, I feel like I've had a lot of female caddies over the years. I seem to do really well with them. I don't know if we can talk girl talk a little bit more. I yeah, I can't tell you that, but I don't know. I don't know if it's I feel more comfortable or what it is.
But I have T.J., it's another initial name this year. And he's caddied for Juli Inkster and Se Ri Pak, so he definitely knows what he's doing on the golf course. So it's more of them keeping you calm as a player and not getting ahead of yourself. I remember looking at the leaderboards yesterday, and I was coming down 18 yesterday and I made birdie, and I kind of looked at him again like what just happened? What do we need to do? And he kind of told me.
It's interesting, because obviously he's going to give you the yardage and tell you where to hit it and line it up. But it's more like we're walking down the fairway. Let's talk about fishing and talk about anything else other than you need to birdie this hole to get into a playoff. Just kind of take your mind off what's going on.
Q. Any adjustments (Indiscernible)?
BRITTANY LINCICOME: T.J. is somebody that's been out here for so long, that I felt more comfortable going with somebody that I knew had been out here. I've seen his face every week since I've been on Tour, so that made it a little easier.
Obviously, if you went with a PGA TOUR caddie or somebody that you're not familiar with, that would have been a struggle, I think, but it was pretty easy. It's Todd Jones.
Q. Quick question about the state of the LPGA Tour. It's been through some lean times. A number of tournaments are not as great as they used to be. Do you sense there is a new momentum and the Tour is making up, for lack of a better word, a comeback of sorts?
BRITTANY LINCICOME: Absolutely. You could see a couple years ago until now, we've got two or three events that are back on the schedule this year. New events, Waterloo is a new event we're getting more events. It's nice to see. Mike Whan has done a fantastic job. He's done such a great job. We love him. He's all about us as a Tour and trying to build all of us and not worried about himself, I guess.
So it's great to see him going out and trying to get new sponsors. And we're definitely going uphill now, and it's nice to see the Tour kind of growing again. We have so many great players and so much great talent on this course that anybody can win every week.
It's nice to see different players winning all the time. I think it's great. We're going in a great direction, and I couldn't be happier as a player.
Q. Last week I was at Predator Ridge, and A.J., and she has a program called Hit Like a Girl. I thought that was really neat. I want to do an article on how to get more young people, particularly women, involved in golf. Guys, it's easy to do with the Tiger factor, but how about for women? How do you think more women and young girls can get into golf?
BRITTANY LINCICOME: That's a great question. Any time I see a young girl I'm always telling her stick with it. If nothing else, you can get a college scholarship out of it, help your parents out. But you're right. It seems girls are more interested in other things and are more social and don't really -- either they don't know about golf or they just get burned out with it.
So it's definitely a fine line of trying to keep it fun for girls and just keeping them interested. I don't know why there are not more girls than there are. The girl's golf program or any of those programs, I try to encourage those young girls and encourage them that one day you can be on the LPGA Tour like me, and try to give them that little bit of information and maybe spark something and they'll stick with it and keep playing.
Q. Sticking with women in golf, can you give me some thoughts on Augusta? What does that mean, in your opinion?
BRITTANY LINCICOME: Yeah, that was incredible. We talked about that yesterday. I was watching my Twitter, and I had just woken up in the morning and I was going through it. I was like wow, is that right? I'm reading more and more and more, and I was like oh, my gosh. That was incredible. So any time I've done an interview, I'm so jealous. I've never played Augusta.
So if any of those nice ladies want to invite me out to play, that would be amazing.
Yeah, it's great. Not only for women's golf, it shows how much the world is changing and evolving. It doesn't matter if you're the CEO of another company, it empowers women. It's not a man's world as much anymore. It doesn't have to be about golf. It can be whatever job you do. It's really cool to see that it's kind of in my era that I was a part of this. I think it's amazing. I think it's awesome.
Q. You talked about the course a little bit. Is there a group of players that play strong on this type of course? Can you pick out a bunch or is this an equalizer that's going to bring the whole field together?
BRITTANY LINCICOME: Yeah, it's pretty much an equalizer as you said. It's not long by any means. I mean the par-5's, I know I can get to two of them, so it's not a long hitter's golf course. I hit a lot of 3-woods. Even somebody like Ai Miyazato who hits it 200 yards off the tee, but it's dead straight every time and she can putt lights out.
It's more going to be whoever can get it close to the green and close to the pin and who can putt it with the fewest strokes is going to win this week for sure. I don't think you need to be a long hitter by any means this week. It helps, obviously, if you're hitting it straight.
I always hit it straight. Don't worry (laughing). If I'm in the rough and you see me, then I meant to hit it there. It's a better angle, I'm sure. Strategy.
Q. Do you find this closing stretch particularly challenging?
BRITTANY LINCICOME: Yeah, there are a couple of good ones coming in, all around 400, 415. Couple of them were into the wind. So definitely, 18 is not super long, but like I said, I feel like I hit a lot of 3-woods in the middle of the round and on the front. Then coming in those last couple are the ones that are going to get you with the length, for sure.
THE MODERATOR: We'd like to welcome Michelle Wie to the interview room, 2010 CN Canadian Women's Open champion. I'm sure it's always good to hear that title.
MICHELLE WIE: It does.
Q. I know last year you finished runner-up at this event coming off that win. Seems like you really seem to like this event. It's at a different golf course every year. Is there something about this event that really brings out the best in your golf game?
MICHELLE WIE: I love playing golf up in Canada. I absolutely love it up here. I think the crowds are just so nice. The people are just so nice here. We play different golf courses, but every golf course we go to are topnotch golf courses and always in perfect condition.
Being my first time in Vancouver, I got really excited. I got to see a little bit of town yesterday, so I'm having a blast so far.
THE MODERATOR: Where did you go yesterday? What kind of places did you visit?
MICHELLE WIE: I think we were by Yaletown. I don't know the area specifically, but it was really nice. We had some really good food. I'm loving it here. It's like Asian food heaven.
Q. Last week you had a tremendous performance at the Safeway Classic. I know we've talked about the ups and downs and how this season's been going. But to record a Top 10 finish, how good a feeling was that? How nice was it to see your golf game come together in one week?
MICHELLE WIE: It's a lot of fun last week. It's been my toughest year so far, but I think that I've really tried to see positives through it and done a good job with that. I've enjoyed every single week. Even though I didn't play as well, I still try to take the positives out of it because the game is tough enough without beating yourself up too much.
But last week was a lot of fun. After I made that putt, I felt like I had won. It was a really good feeling. Hopefully I can carry that feeling over to this week and play better.
THE MODERATOR: It's been a year with new challenges. You got done and graduated from Stanford. Transition to now being out here without school to keep you busy on both ends. How different has that been for you not having the balance of school and kind of learning a new routine on how to practice?
MICHELLE WIE: Yeah, I'm playing golf full-time, moved back to Florida. So that was definitely a transition for me. But I think with transition, it's always tough. As easy as they may seem or as easy as it may seem that I don't have to go to school now, but a transition is still a transition. I still need time to get used to it.
I definitely am more used to it now. But I think it's going to hit me in September when I realize I don't have to go back to school. But it's a good feeling doing what I did, and I got my degree. I'm so proud of myself for that. And now I'm really enjoying playing "full-time" I guess.
Q. I was wondering if you could talk about the whole Stanford experience and how difficult was it to kind of balance the golf and the academics? They don't give degrees away at Stanford, as I understand. You have to earn them. It must feel, like you said, very rewarding to have done that. I think a lot of people, when we saw you come out, you seemed focused on so much on golf that maybe you surprised people. You decided to get your degree, unlike Tiger who left a couple years at Stanford, you stayed and finished your degree. Talk about that experience and how much it meant to you?
MICHELLE WIE: It was never really a big -- I mean, it was a big decision for me. But it wasn't a big change going from the really good high school and that prepared me well for college. Academics have always been a big part of my life growing up. Obviously, with my dad's side of the family and growing up with all of my family and cousins who are quite competitive academically. It was a very big part of my life.
Going to college and Stanford was a big dream of mine growing up. So the fact that I got to do that, I feel so lucky and so grateful for all my experience that I got there. It wasn't that difficult. Struggling at times, it was, at times it wasn't, but it was worth it.
I have so many great memories from it. I got my degree, and that is priceless for me. I think it's going to be really important for me in the future. I'm really glad that I did it, and it only took me four and a half years instead of the eight years that I was thinking of, so it's nice.
Q. What is it about Canada? There was a great moment in Winnipeg getting soaked by champagne there on 18. Do you envision that happening again in Vancouver?
MICHELLE WIE: I really hope so. I haven't won since then. In that moment there was a picture of me holding the trophy in my house. I look at it, and it was good times, and I definitely want to relive it.
I'll work extra hard this week and hope to get to hold that trophy again because that would be really nice.
Q. What is your degree in?
MICHELLE WIE: Communications.
Q. You were so young when you started out here and there are so many kids starting out now. What do you see when you look at them? Have you ever second guessed your decision to start as early as you did?
MICHELLE WIE: No, I never second guess any of my decisions, really, because what is the use in that? You make a decision and you live with it. I was very happy in the way I lived my life. I never regret it.
I love playing golf, and I still do love playing golf which I feel very lucky that I do. It's nice. It kind of puts me back to golf where I was and I really wish them the best.
Q. The big news this week that Augusta is now allowing women's members. What is your reaction to that and would you consider being a member there?
MICHELLE WIE: I think that's very cool. I would love to play the golf course one time. I think it's great that they're allowing female members now.
Q. Being well-rounded and going to University and having that experience. The next five years or ten years, do you want to devote yourself totally to golf or pursue other interests as well professionally? We see Serena and Venus what they did outside of tennis. Is it going to be all golf or 80/20 break down or something like that?
MICHELLE WIE: I don't think there will be a lot of breakdown. Obviously, right now I'm focusing fully on golf. But I think my mind is always busy in other regards. I'm not the one to do one-task type of person. I've always been a multi-tasker. I guess that's all of us women.
But I would love to get into other things as well. But that's far down the line, whether it's with food or fashion, I would love to do other things and be able to use my degree in stuff like that. I think when I go into other ventures with my degree, it would be very helpful.
Right now I definitely do want to become the best player that I can be. That is my priority. The other things would be just for fun or hobbies or other interests.
But my career is in golf, and I definitely want to become the best player that I can be.
THE MODERATOR: You're already using that degree as part our LPGA Player Communications Committee and helping us out.
Q. Given the Augusta news is there an Augusta Master's title in your future? What do you see for women's golf?
MICHELLE WIE: You know it's not really relevant, I guess. I think that it's good that women have a chance to play at the golf course. Playing in a Masters has always been a dream of mine. You got to dream big, but you never know, but it will always be a dream of mine.
Q. You spoke earlier about young golfers. We've got one in this tournament. There is a 14-year-old girl from Ontario a lot of Canadians will be following it on Sirius. When you look back when you were 14, what would you say the big challenge is in hindsight with someone following in your footsteps would have to be aware of?
MICHELLE WIE: Never mind the challenges. It's such a great experience. I'm so excited for her just to be out here. I remember when I played in my first LPGA event, I was just so star struck everywhere I went. I hit balls behind Meg Mallon.
You grow up watching all these players, and you finally get to not only watch them play, but play with them. I think it's a fabulous experience.
I think she's going to have a blast. I'm really excited for her, and I cannot wait to meet her and wish her good luck for this week.
Q. Did you have any courses from Professor Rice at Stanford?
MICHELLE WIE: Condoleezza Rice? No, I did not. Her class is really difficult to get into. It's not my major, per se. But I did see her a lot. I played a round of golf with her when she was in Hawaii by accident, so it was really nice catching up with her. She was at a lot of football games. She's a big sport activist. So it was really nice seeing her and just being able to talk to her was awesome.
Q. Do you get time to visit the city? Do you try to do that?
MICHELLE WIE: Yeah, you know, especially in cities like this. There's not a whole lot of cities that have this much culture. I really try to experience it. I probably won't have a lot of time to do a lot of things, but at least I got out yesterday and got to see a little bit of it. I went to Chinatown yesterday for lunch which was really fun. So I'm hoping to getting to to a lot more place this is week.
Q. How adventuresome were you with the menu items in Chinatown?
MICHELLE WIE: Pretty adventurous. We had dim sum, and some chicken feet, and all that fun stuff. I wouldn't go near the snake soup though. I crossed the line there.
Q. With your degree in communications, have you thought about working in the media?
MICHELLE WIE: No, my major in communications wasn't focused. I did take a class on reporting, which was fun. It was definitely interesting to be on that side of the looking glass than this side. It's hard. But my major isn't really focused on that. It was more focused on the research side of communications and social theories and stuff like that.
Q. How would you describe the state of your game now? Do you feel like you're ready to win again? How tough are the struggles that you've gone through this year where your play hasn't been as consistent as you're used to, obviously?
MICHELLE WIE: Yeah, I think that's always where I've struggled with being consistent. I think that right now I definitely have gained a lot of confidence from last week which I'm definitely going to carry over to this week. I don't know. Just being consistent, going through every day and being comfortable out there and being confident in what I'm doing and being aggressive. That's really just what I'm focusing on this week.
Q. Have you had a chance to be out on the course and what are your early impressions?
MICHELLE WIE: Yeah, front nine and back nine are very different. Very slopy on the front nine. I was walking down 1, and I was like back up and I was like, oh, however much we go down, we have to go back up, and my caddie looked over like, yep. And then on the 4th hole, we went straight up the hill again.
It's a very fun golf course. I like that the front and back nine are very different because you have a different view of every hole. It's a very interesting golf course.
It's in great condition. The greens are really nice too. You don't want to be past the pin on a lot of the holes, but I think it's a very good golf course.
Q. Now that you have school behind you, do you think you can raise your level to the game like Yani and challenge to be number 1 in the world?
MICHELLE WIE: Yeah, that's where I'm looking to get my game. I want to be number 1. Now that I have the time, hopefully, that will help in that process.
But I'm working really hard, and it's not always easy. But I'm really trying to be the best that I can be. I'm doing everything I can.
Q. What do you see you need to improve in your game?
MICHELLE WIE: Everything (laughing). You know, I've got to be more consistent. I feel like I'm a little bit streaky. So just need to be consistently good and getting the putts down. I just have to bring my entire game to the next level.
Q. How influential were your parents on you, and what, if any other sports, did you either play or follow?
MICHELLE WIE: I was a very active person ever since I was little. I loved playing sports. Music was not my forte. I took a couple of piano lessons, and I quickly found out that I was not musically talented. So I focused more on sports.
I played a lot of sports growing up. I played baseball. I swam. I did soccer, ballet, tennis and golf, obviously. But you know, my parents wanted me to go out there and be active. I studied a lot since I was little too.
MICHELLE WIE: No, not really. I really liked it. The only thing they pushed was for me to go to Korean school on Sundays, and I'm thankful that I did, so I know Korean, so...
Q. (Indiscernible) with 48 of the top 50 women golfers in the world here?
MICHELLE WIE: The Canadian Women's Open always has one of the strongest fields of the year. We always look forward to coming to these events. It's a strong field. It's one of the strongest.