RICOH Women’s British Open
Royal Liverpool Golf Club
Wirral, United Kingdom
September 16, 2012
Final-round Notes and Interviews
Rolex Rankings No. 10 Jiyai Shin captured her second career major championship title in dominating fashion, shooting rounds of 71-73 in a 36-hole finale Sunday to take a record-breaking, nine-shot victory at the 2012 RICOH Women’s British Open. Shin, who won the 2008 RICOH Women’s British Open at Sunningdale, finished at 9-under-par 279 and was the only player in the field this week who managed to finish under par at the difficult Royal Liverpool Golf Club.
After high winds on Friday caused the event to lose an entire day’s worth of the play, the tournament geared up for a 36-hole finish on Sunday. Players teed off for the third round early on Sunday morning and remained in the same groups as they worked to finish all 72 holes before the sun set on the final day of play.
Shin began the day with a commanding five-shot lead over Rolex Rankings No. 9 Inbee Park, who entered this week having captured eight straight top-10 finishes on the LPGA Tour. Park ended up being the closest to Shin after 72 holes, but it was LPGA and World Golf Halls of Fame member Karrie Webb who put the pressure on Shin as the third round finished early in the afternoon Sunday. Webb shot a 4-under 68 in the third round to pull within three shots of the South Korean native and looked to be in hot pursuit of her eighth major title.
However when the last few groups teed off for the final round, more bad weather settled in at Hoylake and scores soared after the first couple holes. Webb went 4-over through three holes to begin her final round while Shin triple-bogeyed the first. Yet Shin still found a way to distance herself from her competitors. Back-to-back birdies on the sixth and seventh stretched Shin’s lead back to a sizeable amount and she maintained that commanding lead heading into the final stretch of holes.
With a 10-shot lead entering the final hole of play, Shin was able to truly enjoy a picturesque finish. The sun finally broke through the clouds for the first time all day as the 24-year-old walked up the 18th fairway en route to completing her 10th LPGA Tour victory.
“I said yesterday, my goal was 1-under par every single day. So my goal was 4-under. I think it was enough score,” Shin said. “So I'm really surprised even from yesterday and then also today, I hit even par with 36 holes with this weather, so I'm really surprised and inspired by myself. Because really tough course here, so when I finished it today, I'm just like, wow, I can play good score any, any other course, I'm pretty sure of that.”
Shin’s nine-shot victory is the largest in RICOH Women’s British Open history, dating back to when it became a major in 2001. The largest margin of victory at the event had previously been held by Karen Stupples, who won by five shots in 2004 at Sunningdale. Louise Suggs holds the all-time record for the largest winning margin in a major for her 14-stroke victory at the 1949 U.S. Women’s Open.
Asian domination: Shin’s victory at the RICOH Women’s British Open meant that for the first time in the LPGA’s history, all four major titles in a season were won by Asian-born players.
Shin is the third South Korean to win a major in 2012, joining Sun Young Yoo who captured the Kraft Nabisco Championship and Na Yeon Choi who won the U.S. Women’s Open. Shanshan Feng became the first player from mainland China to win on the LPGA Tour back in June when she captured the Wegmans LPGA Championship.
“I think so many Asia players are playing at the moment on the LPGA Tour, so it makes a lot of chance to win,” Shin said. “Especially, I don't know -- I don't know how can I say, I didn't play last two major tournaments, but I played in Nabisco and here. Well, I work so hard, I guess that's why I get this trophy, but, I don't know, I know all the other players doing their best and they work hard, too. So it makes it just happen.”
The sweep by Asian players of the majors this year comes 14 years after Se Ri Pak revolutionized golf in South Korea by capturing two straight LPGA majors to begin her career in 1998, the McDonald’s LPGA Championship and the U.S. Women’s Open. But Pak wasn’t the first Asian-born player to win a major championship. Chako Higuchi of Japan earned that distinction when she won the 1977 LPGA Championship.
While a sweep of the majors is certainly a milestone, success in majors is nothing new for Asian players. They’ve now won nine of the last 12 majors on the LPGA Tour.
Setting records: By winning the 2012 RICOH Women’s British Open, Jiyai Shin became the first player in LPGA history to win this event after having won the previous week on the LPGA Tour. Shin actually managed to capture two victories in one week, having defeated Paula Creamer on the ninth playoff hole on Monday morning to take home the Kingsmill Championship title.
“I'm happy to finish today because I didn't want to play until Monday,” Shin swaid. “But today I played 36 holes, but finally done today. And then it was a really, really tough and long day, because I played 36 holes with rain and wind, so really hard to keep focussed. But it was work today. So I feel a little tired now. laug”
Credit the caddy? Last week, the Kingsmill Championship marked the first event that Jiyai Shin had caddie, Florian Rodriguez, on her bag. That tournament resulted with a victory and now in week two of their partnership, the duo is a perfect 2-for-2 in wins.
So does Rodriguez get some of the credit for Shin’s resurgence after it had been nearly two years since her last victory on the LPGA Tour?
“I'm happy with my new work with my new caddie because he make me feel relaxed,” said Shin, who has been learning new French phrases while on the golf course to keep her calm. “Actually he's one year younger than me, but he like tried to be relaxed on the golf course and I really appreciate my caddie.”
Bounceback performance: Paula Creamer just missed a chance at capturing her first victory in over two years last week at the Kingsmill Championship and there was no doubt that the close-call was a tough one to swallow for the nine-time LPGA winner.
Creamer missed a short putt on the 18th hole to win in regulation and then three-putted for bogey to lose to Jiyai Shin on the ninth playoff hole. That final hole of the playoff was forced to take place on Monday morning due to darkness halting play on Sunday night in Virginia and it rearranged Creamer’s entire travel schedule to the RICOH Women’s British Open.
But the 26-year-old didn’t let the disappointment of last week linger for long and she delivered another solid performance this week at Royal Liverpool Golf Club. Creamer battled through the elements on Sunday and delivered one of the best final rounds, shooting an even-par 72 to finish at 1-over and in second place for a second straight week.
“I feel very close,” Creamer said. “I hit the ball great. I cannot take away from my ball-striking. That was definitely not the issue. It was my putting for sure. And a little bit speed related in some aspects and you know, I'm going to take a couple weeks off and try and refresh. But I have to continue moving forward with everything that I'm doing because like I said, I feel really good about where I'm at. It's just a couple things here and there.”
Tough finish…LPGA and World Golf Halls of Fame member Karrie Webb is no stranger to capturing a victory at the RICOH Women’s British Open. She has won the event a total of three times in her career, including one victory after it became a major on the LPGA Tour in 2001. And on Sunday, Webb found herself right in the hunt as she looked to add an eighth major title to her already lengthy career resume.
Webb shot a 4-under 68 in the third round on Sunday morning to pull within three shots of leader, Jiyai Shin. The last time that Webb won the Women’s British Open was in 2002 when she came from three shots back in the final round to eventually capture a three-shot victory. But this time the comeback was not to be.
The 37-year-old LPGA veteran struggled to keep up her hot play in the final round, shooting a 10-over 82 to finish in a tie for fifth at 3-over-par
After having the second round postponed on Friday due to high winds, the players had their share of poor weather to deal with during Sunday’s finale as well. Rain pelted the Royal Liverpool Golf Club at various times during the day, including some of the worst weather taking place over the tournament’s final nine holes. Play was even suspended for eight minutes at 4:45 p.m. local time due to the terrible conditions.
“It was like we were standing under a shower,” said Paula Creamer. “That's the best way I can describe it. It was hard, my goodness gracious. I've always said Solheim in Sweden was one of the toughest conditions I've ever played in. I think this tops that, for sure.”
Golden ticket winners: Julieta Granada, Katie Futcher and Cindy LaCrosse punched their "Ticket to CME Group Titleholders" at the RICOH Women’s British Open, each earning a spot in the season-ending CME Group Titleholders event, which will be held Nov. 15-18, 2012 at The TwinEagles in Naples, Fla. The second annual CME Group Titleholders is a season finale with a field made up of three qualifiers from every LPGA Tour tournament.
And the Smyth Salver goes to…Lydia Ko, the recent CN Canadian Women’s Open winner and the 2012 U.S. Women’s Amateur champion. Ko, 15, took home the honor of low amateur at the 2012 RICOH Women’s British Open, finishing in a T17 at 9-over-par. Ko, who became the youngest winner in LPGA Tour history last month, was one of four amateurs to make the cut at this year’s event. Amateurs Bronte Law, Holly Clyburn, and Jing Yan all made the cut as well. Clyburn finished in a T26 at 11-over-par, Law was T31 at 12-over-par while Yan finished in a T47 at 16-over-par.
Of Note…Yani Tseng, who won this even in 2010 and 2011, finished T26 at 11-over-par after shooting a final-round 79…Inbee Park recorded her ninth straight top-10 finish, as she finished in second place to Shin. It also marks her four runner-up finish over this hot stretch of play…
COLIN CALLANDER: Many congratulations, just finishing 9-under par to win by nine shots, fantastic performance. Give us your first thoughts on your win.
JIYAI SHIN: Actually, I can't believe I get this again. Finally and also I'm happy to finish today because I didn't want to play until Monday. But today I played 36 holes, but finally done today. And then it was a really, really tough and long day, because I played 36 holes with rain and wind, so really hard to keep focussed. But it was work today. So I feel a little tired now.
COLIN CALLANDER: You said earlier in the week, or several times, that winning the first time, this event the first time at Sunningdale, was one of the best things that happened to you; how does this one compare to the first one?
JIYAI SHIN: Actually, really hard, because when I won at the Sunningdale, it changed a lot of my life.
This week, this win, I think it change, make another new change for me, because especially this year, last year and this year, I take a lot of tough time mentally and physically was really tough time the last couple years.
But since -- from last week and this week, it changed my mentally and finally, yeah, really happy.
Q. Do you feel that with such a great score, you've tamed the Royal Liverpool golf course?
JIYAI SHIN: Not really. I said yesterday, my goal was 1-under par every single day. So my goal was 4-under. I think it was enough score --
Q. You've gone better than that.
JIYAI SHIN: So I'm really surprised even from yesterday and then also today, I hit even par with 36 holes with this weather, so I'm really surprised and inspired by myself. Because really tough course here, so when I finished it today, I'm just like, wow, I can play good score any, any other course, I'm pretty sure of that.
Q. Yesterday when you were with us, you said you were really, really confident of the five-shot lead being enough. At times players got within two shots of you; did that worry you at any point?
JIYAI SHIN: Actually, a little bit, it was a little bit, but I keep in mind about, oh, okay, I'm still in the lead, still two-shot lead. So just be calm and just trust myself and keep talking by myself.
Q. Are these the worst conditions you've ever played in, and if not, what was?
JIYAI SHIN: I think yeah, it was (laughing). Today worst, but it was really fun because every hole, I laugh, because it was -- how can I say, challenge. Even when I played in Asia, like Korea and Japan when the weather's bad sometimes when I'm playing, I played a couple holes and then they just cancel the tournament.
But today, I'm really surprised they keep pushing to finish today, but it was great experience for me and a challenge all the time.
Q. Were you on 11 tee when play was suspended?
JIYAI SHIN: Yes.
Q. At that point what are you thinking the chances are that you'll get this round done?
JIYAI SHIN: Actually it was really heavy rain with very strong winds like this. So I'm not sure about finishing today, and then in my head, I think about the Monday play again. But like ten minutes later, the weather is getting better and sun comes out. So after that, I made another birdie, so I'm pretty sure I'm a good player.
Q. You have now completed -- players from Asia won every major this year; how do you explain that?
JIYAI SHIN: First major tournament, winning the very focussed, keep focussed to the fairway, keeping the fairway every hole, that's the key for the major tournaments I think. And actually I didn't play last two major tournaments, so it really feels like a little bit bad that I'm missing to play in the major tournaments.
So when I got to here, I think so many Asia players are playing at the moment on the LPGA Tour, so it makes a lot of chance to win. Especially, I don't know -- I don't know how can I say, I didn't play last two major tournaments, but I played in Nabisco and here. Well, I work so hard, I guess that's why I get this trophy, but, I don't know, I know all the other players doing their best and they work hard, too. So it makes it just happen.
Q. As it was getting later and later, darker and darker, were you getting worried again that you might not even get the 18 finished?
JIYAI SHIN: Yeah, I worry about that. In England, they play for so long, I'm thinking, okay, let's finish. Our group, we keep talking about, let's play quick and make the finish.
Q. Have you dried off from your water-soaking at the end, when you got wet at the end?
JIYAI SHIN: Oh, yeah.
Q. Have you dried off now? Are you okay?
JIYAI SHIN: Yeah, much better now. After when she -- I talk to her, I'm freezing now. But she says congratulations to me and I really thank her for waiting and doing together the ceremony.
Q. I understand you went back to Korea for two months?
JIYAI SHIN: Yes.
Q. What did you do over there for two months?
JIYAI SHIN: Actually, I had a hand operation, but it takes all my left arm and shoulders and all my left side makes it weak. So I worked really hard just my balance programme and then actually, I lost a lot of power in my left arms and shoulders. So less pain, but every day I went to the hospital for the recovery.
Q. So was it physical training?
JIYAI SHIN: Yes, I did, because my right side is getting stronger because I'm not using my left side. So normal after surgery, right side is muscle and slowly it's getting better. So first I try to make it same level, like match the balance.
Q. So when did you start playing again?
JIYAI SHIN: I played a Japan event before the Evian.
Q. What about practise?
JIYAI SHIN: Like actually, I didn't practise that much because I can't hold a club, even I can't hold clubs for almost one month and a half.
COLIN CALLANDER: Did you finish second in that Japanese event?
JIYAI SHIN: Third.
Q. Now, you say it's about focus; but through the holes, what was your favourite and least favourite holes?
JIYAI SHIN: Well, I can say this is another favourite course, so hard to pick one favourite hole. I played great No. 12, I made three birdies in four rounds. Actually this course is amazing, lot of bunkers, we have to hit it perfect every shot. So a little bit hard to say favourite hole, but I like the first hole, too. I made a triple-bogey today but it makes it more of a challenge.
JIYAI SHIN: Yesterday after when I finished yesterday, he talked a lot, okay, you've done great today, so just keep talking a lot. It was a little bit of stress but it definitely helped. And then finally I get the psychology teacher, she's from Japan, I met her a couple of times, three times, and I look forward to see her again, my new teacher.
Q. Is she Japanese?
JIYAI SHIN: Yeah, she's Japanese.
Q. Do the Japanese psychology teachers tell you to smile?
JIYAI SHIN: Actually, yeah, she says the last couple years -- when I said I take a tough time, that means I heard so many things about people, they talking about me. Because I've been away the last two years, they say, what's your problem, what's your problem.
So I take a lot of stress from what people saying about me. She says just trust yourself, just don't worry about the people who they are talking about me. After that, I try to focus on myself and then I trust myself to make the smile.
Q. You said last week when you had your new caddie on the bag, he kept you calm, and you learned a little bit French; did you learn any other new phrases and is that something you did again this week?
JIYAI SHIN: Actually I learn about the wind like each week, or wind sideways. I'm happy with my new work with my new caddie because he make me feel relaxed. Actually he's one year younger than me, but he like tried to be relaxed on the golf course and I really appreciate my caddie.
Q. Not too bad, two wins in two weeks with him, right?
JIYAI SHIN: Good start.
COLIN CALLANDER: Just for the record, can we go through the birdies and bogeys?
JIYAI SHIN: I hit a lot of shots on the first hole. I hit driver, missed it right side of the fairway and I hit it -- looks okay, but so I tried to hit it hard with a 3-wood but going only 30 yards on the left side a lot, and I hit a 7-iron front of the green and I hit it 20 yards to the hole with a 60-degree wedge.
And then still about 20 feet left and I hit 3-putt.
COLIN CALLANDER: The sixth hole?
JIYAI SHIN: I hit a 19-degree hybrid and another 20- -foot putt and made that.
7, I hit a 3-wood and hit a 9-iron, and it was another 20 feet. Oh, my putting was good.
Then I missed my tee shot, fairway in the bunker, and hit it just outside the bunker and I hit 19 degree hybrid into the wind and 2-putt.
COLIN CALLANDER: You had a delay on 11 and then bogeyed that hole?
JIYAI SHIN: Yeah, hit a driver and hit a 5-iron and missed the green right side, short right side. Another 20 yards chip shot and then missed that putt.
13, I hit 7-iron about 15 feet to the hole.
15, I hit 8-iron about 12 feet.
16, I hit 3-wood and then I hit 19-degree hybrid. It was in the bunker like 45 yards to the hole. But just hit it great and like one -foot putt.
17, I hit a driver. I hit a great shot with my driver and then I hit it great with my 3-wood but still I couldn't catch -- 50 yards to the hole and then 54-degree wedge, I hit it on the third shot, and 2-putt, 15 feet.
Q. Next week what will you do?
JIYAI SHIN: Tomorrow I go back to Korea for a couple of days, and then actually my plan is go to the Miyazaki for the training on Thursday.
COLIN CALLANDER: Going to have a party?
JIYAI SHIN: Big celebration, yeah, why not. I'm ready to go.
Q. Just talk me through those last four holes.
PAULA CREAMER: Oh, my goodness. We had that little break on the par 3, 15, and I had about a six-, seven-footer and it kind of just got all sort of back together. I made that and had a lot of confidence the last couple holes.
It's a great way to finish. I played really well. Even, you know, before that, I was hitting the ball well. It's just one of those things where the putter kind of let me down at times, but you know, overall in the big picture, I'm pretty pleased with how I played this week.
Q. Tell us a couple of horror stories of when the weather came in.
PAULA CREAMER: Horror stories, my goodness, I don't think I've played -- it was like we were standing under a shower. That's the best way I can describe it. It was hard, my goodness gracious. I've always said Solheim in Sweden was one of the toughest conditions I've ever played in. I think this tops that, for sure.
Q. Looks like you're going to come up one place shy for two straight weeks. Is it just down to the putting? I know it was a little bit frustrating at times out there. You let your frustrations show, but how close are you?
PAULA CREAMER: No, I feel very close. I hit the ball great. I cannot take away from my ball-striking. That was definitely not the issue. It was my putting for sure. And a little bit speed related in some aspects and you know, I'm going to take a couple weeks off and try and refresh.
But I have to continue moving forward with everything that I'm doing because like I said, I feel really good about where I'm at. It's just a couple things here and there.
Q. Is that the beginning of a little Shin/Creamer rivalry? You'll get the better of her one day.
PAULA CREAMER: Well, you always want to get compared to the best or the people that are playing the best. She's showing right now why she won last week and why she most likely is going to win this week.
Q. Ready for a holiday?
PAULA CREAMER: Yes, I'm ready for a week off.
Q. Very many congratulations, leading amateur.
LYDIA KO: It was playing really tough and I made a triple and kind of went down there and I thought I'm not leading, but I'm happy to be the leading amateur.
Q. And of course we know about your amazing exploits this year with two professional wins at 15 and you're still an amateur. What are your plans now going forward in golf?
LYDIA KO: I want to graduate high school first back in New Zealand and I want to play amateur for a couple of years. And you can only turn pro when you're 18, anyways. I'm not trying to go there so quickly and I think there's so much to do as an amateur. Hopefully when I turn pro, I'll be able to play on the LPGA.
I got leading amateur and that's what I wanted after yesterday, so yeah, I guess I have to be happy about that, and this is my first experience at the British Open and I did much better than the U.S. Open. So yeah, I can't say it was a bad day, and yeah, I had lots of fun playing.
Q. You had basically four seasons in one day today, didn't you.
LYDIA KO: Yeah, definitely, it was tough for me. The greens were flooding -- it because really tough today. I mean, this is one of the hardest golf courses I've ever played, and for the weather to be really bad, it didn't help.
Q. What's the plan for now? Where do you go from here?
LYDIA KO: I'm going to the World Amateur Team Championships, I think in two weeks in Turkey. So I'll be in London for a couple of days just chilling and hopefully I'll be able to do good there.
Q. Presumably you need a break after this?
LYDIA KO: I think so. Playing 36 holes isn't that easy, so I may need a small break.
Q. With this being your first British Open, what did you do at the start of the week to prepare yourself?
LYDIA KO: I didn't do too much. My home club, Gulf Harbour, is quite windy but the difference is it's quite wide fairway-wise. It's much tougher out here and I did do a lot of practise before I left but it was awhile ago to be honest.
My first goal was to make the cut, and if you don't make the cut, you don't get anything, anyway. So I thought leading amateur would be pretty good after making the cut yesterday, and I guess goal achieved.
Q. Did you have that on your mind on the way around today, looking at the scores?
LYDIA KO: Yeah, the scores are pretty high, except Jiyai Shin. But after my triple on 14, I'm like, forget leading amateur.
Q. Do you reckon a score of whatever it is now, 11-under par, is possible in these conditions? That's an incredible score, isn't it?
LYDIA KO: Yeah, I shot 13-under at the Canadian Open and it was pure there, and the course is much tougher here. You can see that it doesn't matter what the weather is doing; if you're just in there, you can do it.
Q. What have you made of the reaction of the professionals to your success in Canada? Have they been congratulating you a lot?
LYDIA KO: Definitely, especially this week, a few of them I didn't see after the Canadian, and yeah, they congratulated me and it's really awesome to see people congratulate me. Yeah, there were a few and there were also a few Tweets on Twitter, even like Gary Player and stuff. So it was really awesome.
Q. Looking forward to St. Andrews next year?
LYDIA KO: Holy Cow, going to be tough again. But I'll prepare myself to go there.
Q. What did you think of the course overall, having played it for a few days in all the different conditions?
LYDIA KO: I think of the two Majors I've played, those are the two hardest golf courses I've ever played. Blackwolf Run and here are completely different golf courses, but they are very hard, and the bunkers are nearly the same height as me.
Q. Do you like it?
LYDIA KO: It's very tough. I can't say I exactly like it, (laughing). I had fun, it was quite hard today, but I mean, I had fun and goal achieved, anyway. So I guess I like it a little bit.