RICOH Women's British Open Pre-tournament notes and interviews

Yani Tseng tees off in final round.
Photo Credit: David Cannon/Getty Images

Yani Tseng of Taiwan tees off on the 1st hole during the final round of the 2011 Ricoh Women's British Open at Carnoustie Golf Links.

RICOH Women’s British Open
Royal Liverpool Golf Club
Wirral, United Kingdom
September 11 & 12, 2012
Pre-tournament Notes and Interviews

September 12th

Yani Tseng, Rolex Rankings No. 1
Catriona Matthew, Rolex Rankings No. 24
Mel Reid, Rolex Rankings No. 54
Carly Booth, Rolex Rankings No. 128
Laura Davies, Rolex Rankings No. 159

 

RICOH Women’s British Open storylines

One Tough, Top Field
Royal Liverpool Golf Club hosts the RICOH Women’s British Open for the first time this week following 11 playings of the Open Championship at the historic venue. The star-studded field at this year’s tournament includes 48 of the top-50 on the 2012 LPGA Tour Official Money List.

Tseng aiming for more record-breaking pursuits
Despite a season marked with inconsistency, Rolex Rankings No. 1 Yani Tseng can once again place her name in the history books this week in England. Tseng not only can become the youngest player – male or female – to win six major championships, she can also become the first-ever three-time winner of the RICOH Women’s British Open and only the second player in LPGA history to win the same major championship three consecutive times. Annika Sorenstam previously won the LPGA Championship in 2003, 2004 and 2005.

Amateur Ko, Hall of Famer Inkster, bookend the RICOH field
The youngest competitor at this year’s RICOH Women’s British Open will be 15-year- old amateur Lydia Ko who astounded golf observers when she won last month’s CN Canadian Women’s Open against a stellar field of the top ranked players. Seven-time Major winner and Hall of Fame member Juli Inkster is the field’s oldest competitor after being granted a special exemption as she returns from surgery on her elbow. With 31 wins in a career spanning nearly 30 years, she has enjoyed more wins in Solheim Cup matches than any American. Inkster is looking to cap her career with her first win at the Ricoh Women’s British Open – the only major missing from her résumé. A victory this week would mark the Super Career Grand Slam for Inkster, who has already achieved the Career Grand Slam with wins at the U.S. Women’s Open, LPGA Championship, Kraft Nabisco Championship and du Maurier (no longer played).

American hope?
The last time that an American won a major on the LPGA Tour, it was at the 2011 Kraft Nabisco Championship when Stacy Lewis captured her first career victory. Lewis has now taken over the spot as the top American in the Rolex Rankings and the No. 2 player in the world looks poised to battle for another major title. Coming off a T9 finish at the Kingsmill Championship, Lewis is looking to capture her third victory of the 2012 season. It’s been a banner year for The Woodlands, Texas native. Lewis currently leads in the Rolex Player of the Year race with 148 points and second in scoring average. She also ranks second on the 2012 LPGA Official Money List.

Major dominance
The first three majors on the LPGA Tour this season have all been won by players who come from Asia. South Koreans Sun Young Yoo and Na Yeon Choi won the Kraft Nabisco Championship and the U.S. Women’s Open respectively while Shanshan Feng became the first player from mainland China to win an LPGA Tour event. The success of players from Asia in majors is nothing new as they’ve won eight of the last 11 majors on the LPGA Tour.

Welcome to Hoylake!
For the first time in Women’s British Open history, the Royal Liverpool Golf Club at Hoylake will host the prestigious Championship. The venue, known to many as just Hoylake, is the second oldest seaside links course in England and has played host to many of golf’s historical moments. That includes Hoylake hosting the inaugural men’s amateur championship in 1885 and the first international match between Great Britain and the United States, later known as the Walker Cup. Between 1897 and 2006, Hoylake has hosted the men’s Open Championship 11 thrilling times, including the 1930 famous victory of Bobby Jones who went on to win a grand slam that year. More recently, after a gap of nearly 40 years, the Open Championship returned to Hoylake in 2006 with Tiger Woods triumphing during a week of unusually benign weather. The R&A announced early in 2010 that the Open Championship will be held at Royal Liverpool in 2014 for the 12th time in its history.

 

Wednesday Notes and Interviews

Switching it up: Two-time defending champion Yani Tseng will have a new club in her bag when she tees it up on Thursday at Royal Liverpool Golf Club. Instead of carrying her usual 22-degree hybrid, Tseng made the decision to instead carry a 3-iron in her bag this week. It’s the first time that Tseng has carried a 3-iron since she started on the LPGA Tour. But while she’s relatively new to hitting the club -- hitting it about 5 or 6 times since first getting it on Monday -- Tseng felt it was a necessary change.

“I think this golf course, you really need to keep the ball low, and especially in September, the wind is blowing so much more than when we play in July and August,” Tseng said.

 “I feel pretty confident hitting 3-iron.  I just started like on Monday and I got it and I just love the club and I feel much more confident than the rescue. I was thinking a lot because the last two years, I didn't change, so should I keep like the same with my 22 because maybe a little superstition.  But I think 3-iron is a good choice and it's a good call for this week.”

Tseng isn’t afraid of putting a new club in the bag the week of a major. While she may need to hit a few 3-irons in what are expected to be blustery conditions over the first two days of play, Tseng said that it still will be to her advantage over what the rest of the field will be hitting.

“If I hit a 3-iron -- other players are going to hit, I mean, 5-wood or rescue,” said Tseng, who is currently fifth in driving average on the LPGA this season. “I think a long hitter is going to love this golf course and if the wind is blowing, it's really quite tough.  If they set it up like pretty similar to these couple days, I'm from Taiwan.  The wind is very blowing out there so I'm very looking forward.  The Friday it's going to be like 40 miles, 50 miles, but if we are able to play, I'm excited to have this challenge.”

 

Summer of the Brits? The United Kingdom has enjoyed having the attention of the entire sports world over the past few months with England hosting hosting the Summer Olympics in London and Scotland native Andy Murray winning the U.S. Open men’s tennis title this week.

 

But at the recent Olympic Games, it was the women who really took center stage including the British women who enjoyed their fair share of success in the medal count as well. So as the focus of the LPGA Tour shifts back to England and Royal Liverpool for this year’s RICOH Women’s British Open, the question becomes whether that recent success for Great Britain in big sporting events might continue this week with a homegrown winner?

 

Among the players in the field this week who are from the United Kingdom besides Davies are England natives Mel Reid and Karen Stupples and Scotland natives Catriona Matthew and Carly Booth. Stupples won the event in 2004 while Matthew won it in 2009.

“I think it would be nice if one of the home girls could win it,” said LPGA veteran and England native Laura Davies. “Catriona won it, and hopefully I'll be in the mix given my chance on Sunday.  It would just end such a great summer of sport for Great Britain, and like you said, there's been a lot of good stuff out there and it would be nice if one of us could win this, because let's face it, that's what we all want.”

Davies is no stranger to winning this event, although she did back in 1986 before it became a major on the LPGA Tour. Davies is just one major victory away from earning a spot in the LPGA Hall of Fame. So for her, a victory this week would certainly be the icing on the cake.

“Obviously, this would be the perfect place to do it, the perfect time, everything would be absolutely -- couldn't imagine a better way to do it,” Davies said. “But I've had about eight goes of winning this tournament to get in the Hall of Fame and I haven't done it. Who knows, this year might be the one.”

 

Similar storyline? Royal Liverpool Golf Club hosted its share of major championships in the early 1900s and when The Open Championship returned here back in 2006 after a nearly 40-year hiatus, it did so with a memorable and emotional storyline. Tiger Woods won his third Open title and 11th major title that year just a couple months after losing his father and the normally fiery golfer broke down in tears following the victory.

So is it possible that another such touching story could unfold this week?

Ladies European Tour member and England native Melissa Reid will be teeing it up this week carrying a heavy heart, as she has all season since losing her mother, Joy, in a tragic car accident back in May. Reid already delivered one of the year’s most memorable moments in golf when she won an LET event in Prague, her first tournament back following her mom’s passing. But with how important the R is in her home country, there is no question that this victory would be even more special.

“Obviously it's been a difficult year but you know, I don't know whether it's going to be this week but something good has to happen to me this year and hopefully it's this week,” said Reid. “I just feel like whatever it is, whether it's personal or golf, I just feel like I keep getting things thrown at me and I keep having to kind of like battle on and battle on; everything just seems a bit of an effort.

“So hopefully this week -- like I said, really good session today and worked really well with Johnny, and Dave, my coach, he's back there.  And hopefully this week can be the turning point in the year and something good will happen.  It's bound to happen and I just hope it is this week.”

Continuing the tradition: LPGA Commissioner Michael Whan and Rolex Rankings No. 14 Paula Creamer were on hand for Wednesday’s press conference to announce that RICOH will continue as title sponsor of the RICOH Women’s British Open through at least the 2016 season. RICOH began sponsoring the event in 2007 and 2016 will mark the 10th anniversary of the company’s participation with the event.

Quotable: “We are on probably one of the hardest links golf courses I've ever seen in my life” – Laura Davies on Hoylake.

 

Yani Tseng, Rolex Rankings No. 1

COLIN CALLANDER:  What do you think of the course?
YANI TSENG:  Yeah, I love the golf course, I love the way they set it up, I think it's much better.  I know it's very tough out there and in the weather conditions, it's not as good, but I love this week and always very happy to be back here for this British Open and the history, tradition.

I just love the course.  I think you have so many different imagination out there, just need to really work the ball and really just have fun out here and I can't wait to tee off tomorrow.

COLIN CALLANDER:  You had a great start to the year, and you tailed off a little bit.  You seem to be coming back; would that be a fair summation of your year so far?
YANI TSENG:  I know I was a little struggling the last couple months, but I think it's a good time to be back here and I think it's my turn to start playing well again.  I think Rory is very good for me to look at, because Rory McIlroy, he was a little down the last couple months, but after he won the PGA Championship, he won another two.

So I'm like, okay, now it's my turn to win it again.  I learned a lot from him, especially this year and I just feel very appreciative of what I have done these couple years.  I just feel very thankful and appreciative to be here, and this is what I love.  I love playing golf, and I should not be any stressful than anyone else out here because of how much I've done and I should be very, very happy.

Q.  Tiger said he finally met you at Notah Begay's charity event.  What did you guys talk about and what did you take from that meeting?
YANI TSENG:  It's my first time I met Tiger, so it was very, very exciting.  I'm a big fan of his.  Before I go there to play, I wasn't that excited -- but after being there with Rickie Fowler, great player, Tiger Woods and Notah Begay.  I felt it's my honor to be there for a charity event.  I just learned so much from him and he's very nice to talk to him and he's was really nice to me.  I mean, everything is just fun.  It was very exciting and I had great fun that week and I wish I can go back again.

Q.  You said you learned from Rory McIlroy; what have you learned?
YANI TSENG:  I watched his interviews, a few interviews, and I learn from his interviews what he thinks and what he looks at and when he was struggling and what he -- how he enjoys playing on the course and ignoring anyone else out there and just really enjoys on his own and focus on his own things and doesn't worry about how other players look at him.  And he was being very patient, because when you play good, everybody says good things about you.  But when you have a couple bad weeks, people start asking what's wrong with you.  But there's nothing wrong.  Golf is not that easy and you cannot win every week.

I read his interview and he was saying, as I was saying, he loves this game when he was a kid and there's nothing that can get him stressful, because this is his dream, and at 17, too, I feel like I'm living the dream and it's a dream come true, too.  It doesn't matter how I play, in the British Open, in the major, being an LPGA player, it's already good enough for me.  I don't want to put any more expectations on it because the expectation is just really hard because this year I feel really, really tough.

I'm very hard on myself this year and I'm never like that before.  I'm always, just enjoy your round and heading out everywhere, but this year, kind of changed it a little bit.  And now I want to get back and enjoy the game again and smile on the golf course as I used to do.  This week my goal is just to have fun like anyone else out there and show my smile to the fans out here.

Q.  Even smile in weather like this?
YANI TSENG:  The smile can make the weather better I think.  The weather is bad right now, but I feel amazing.  You expect weather like this.  I feel like I can get used to it.  I really like this weather and playing in this conditions, it's going to be fun.

Q.  You talked about expectations or if there were outside expectations; can you talk about how you let those affect you, and how they affected you and did you lose focus, or what did you lose in that period of time where you were kind of not playing your best?
YANI TSENG:  Yeah, I think it's both.  I'm very hard on myself, and I'm a personality that I really care what people talk about me.  I should not look at all the interviews about me and all of the things they talk about me, but I always love to look what they talk about me.  But when I look back, it's all negative things, what I still looked at -- and I think it really affected my heart, and I think sometimes it really breaks my heart, like why did they say that.

I know that I didn't play good that week but why just people really disappointed in what I did, and maybe they don't understand or maybe they really don't know how tough is the golf.  And sometimes I'm very hard on myself, too.  I feel like I can play well every week, and how can I be struggling when I play my best.

But I was talking to Juli, and Tiger was saying, the longer you're playing, you're going to get stressful.  Everybody is the same.  It's hard to always be on top.  You go down, you go up more.  So now this is a time I'm being appreciative because it's better two months than three months and it's always better than a whole year.  I feel like I'm learning a lot this next year, I'll look back on this time and it's probably my best time.  So I feel if I can win again, that will probably be my best trophy ever.

Q.  After last year's Women's British Open, you said you were disappointed that you did not play Carnoustie in tough conditions and it was quite tame.  It seems like you got what you wished for with Royal Liverpool.  Does that even the field for a player who is struggling a little bit, or does it make it more difficult coming into an event knowing it's tough conditions?
YANI TSENG:  The tougher they are, I'll just be more happier, I don't know why.  I feel I'm ready.  I'm ready to rock.  I just feel like if I shot even, 16-under to win a tournament, this golf course, even you can win a tournament, the ground is not as hard and it's not as rolling as much like in 2006 when the men is playing here.

Like yesterday I played in the Pro-Am and I was hitting like ten times 3-iron for my second shot, and it was really tough out there.  But today, they played much better because the wind is not as strong but I think it's going to be a great challenge out there.  It's going to get stressful.  For everybody, it's going to be the same.  I'm just going to stay patient and enjoy this golf course.  I don't know why, I'm just excited to go out and challenge on this golf course.

Q.  You had such an amazing year last year, are part of your struggles this year that you came to expect that every year would be like that?  And do you appreciate more how amazing that was last year?
YANI TSENG:  I do appreciate more right now, I really do.  I thought last year -- after three wins starting this year, I thought it's kind of normal, but I feel like it's nothing like normal.  It's pretty incredible last year, and beginning of this year -- I'm feeling like golf is easy.

When you're in a tournament, you feel like you can win.  But these last couple months, if you don't have that confidence, you cannot play well.

So I just really need to get that confidence back that when I'm out on the golf course, I'm the best; and to play the game, just go and enjoy and don't worry about anyone else and don't worry about myself, because the only thing that can get me stressful is if I'm thinking against myself.  So now I'm turning the other way, I'm not thinking that much and I just want to show the fans my big smile and play the game that I love and show the people, playing for this wonderful event.

Q.  How tough do you think it's going to make the hat trick?
YANI TSENG:  This week I didn't expect winning or anything.  I kind of expect to enjoy being out there and be patient and do the job I'm doing, so everybody come here, they want to win this tournament.  I just try not to think too much and enjoy and be patient is my key this week.

Q.  Who do you think your biggest rivals are this week?
YANI TSENG:  I mean, last two months, I didn't play the best game that I have, so I think this week, I feel it's my turn.  I feel I'm ready to see how see how can I play on this golf course.  I'm ready to see how many good shots I can hit on this golf course, how many good shots I can play under these conditions.  I think that's what drives me, very exciting, like I want to see play well again, making some putts, hitting some good shots into the wind.  Doesn't matter how they end up, but when you hit the shot, it just gives you so many excitement.

Q.  Your draw, do you think that will be a benefit?
YANI TSENG:  It's perfect, I love playing with Ai and I love playing with Paula, especially with Ai Miyazato, we are from Asia and we drive each other to be better players and we kind of give each other motivation, and we are good friends, too.

So I'm very excited, and thanks for giving me a good draw.  I'm looking forward and I can't wait to play with those two players.

Q.  What other Koreans are you looking out for this week?
YANI TSENG:  Yeah, last week and this week, it's totally different, it's nothing like the same as the States.  So this links course, everybody has a different game, so you just really think about how did you play on this course, how did you play on this course.

There are so many great Korean players that are playing so good, but it just gives us the motivation to push us to get better and better.  You have to work hard out here to play well and win in a tournament, so those players that are here, they really give us like a tough time that we need to work hard to be there.

Q.  You said you learned from Rory; what advice would you give to Lydia Ko?
YANI TSENG:  She needs to give me a lot of advice.  She's only 15 and she wins a big tournament, Canadian Open, by like three or four shots.  How can I give her advice?  She's a great player.  When I look at her, I watch her play a few shots on TV and a few holes, and when I look at her, I kind of think about myself, that's how I played when I played my best.

She was smiling and you could tell how confident she is, how comfortable she is and like every shot she's hitting, she's very confident.  She's not worried about anything.  She doesn't have any pressure and she just wants to go out there and be an LPGA player.  I was very impressed.  I know she's here this week and hopefully week meet each other sometime.

Q.  When you talked to Tiger, did you ask him about Royal Liverpool and is there anyone else that you've talked to about this golf course?
YANI TSENG:  You know, I forgot.  I really forgot.  (Laughter) after I met -- I forgot to ask Tiger, Royal Liverpool.  I was just so excited to meet him, so I forgot everything else.  I was going to ask people like, oh, I can't remember myself to ask him, so I didn't get any tips.

But this week there is some media walking around the course and they was here in 2006, so I kind of asked them how Tiger was acting here, how he played.  But I know it's going to play like a totally different golf course, but I watched a little bit of video of 2006 -- but don't tell anyone else, it's a secret about the players.  I kind of watch him so I know a little bit.

Q.  Could you tell us a little bit about the event in Norway?
YANI TSENG:  I very enjoy, playing with Lorena and Annika, it's my first time and huge honor to be there, and to be with the best player ever -- it's just so exciting.  Laura still can play so well.  She hits it so far and still gets on in two on par 5s.  We played a scramble format, so that was very exciting to be there with them and to support my friends.  I think she's done so much for Norway golf and I'm very happy for her and how much she's done.

Q.  Was Annika playing?
YANI TSENG:  Oh, Annika played very well but she don't play as much, but she's very consistent the whole time like greens and fairway and make a putt and she always be like that.  It's funny that Lorena and Annika, even though they are retired, their routine never changes even when they play, every little part that I see has never changed.

Q.  Can you talk about the adjustment of coming from Williamsburg to hot and humid conditions and coming to play in this situation and what you change in your bag, if anything, for this week?
YANI TSENG:  Yeah, actually this is my first time I had my 3-iron in my bag, because I think this golf course, you really need to keep the ball low, and especially in September, the wind is blowing so much more than when we play in July and August.

So I brought my 3-iron in the bag, I take my 22 off.  I'm hitting so many 3-iron shots, so I'm hitting it good.  And the weather -- I'm from Orlando, but last week I went to Norway a few days and I feel like I get a little sick, too.

But everything else is fine, and just everybody is expecting this weather, so I don't think there is nothing much here, just stay warm and keep your head warm and things should be fine.

Q.  Are there any standout holes that you've seen so far?
YANI TSENG:  I'm trying to think of what's my favourite hole.  I think on No. 14, it's a very tough hole.  I saw it on video, Tiger holed a 4-iron with a second shot there, because the second shot -- I think the last four holes is kind of very important, because on the 14th hole, I don't think you can hit -- for me, I cannot hit driver there, but still leaves the second shot long, I need 3-iron or 4-iron for the second shot.

I think right side everything goes down and on the last few holes, two par 5s and a long par 4 on No. 17, and it's like if you -- I would say if you had a two- or three-shot lead for the last four holes, it would be perfect.  I think you need that because that way you can play more -- you cannot be aggressive on the last few holes.

So I think -- but every hole, I feel like I'm liking every hole because I think especially the wind, most of the wind is crosswind and there's nothing that really goes downwind or into the wind so it really plays very different the front nine and back nine.  The way I played, I love front nine better because the wind is right-to-left.  But for the people hitting a draw, probably they think back nine is better because the wind is left-to-right.  So I think the course shows everybody different shots because that way you challenge more.

Q.  Are there any specific shots you've been practicing?
YANI TSENG:  Just low, doesn't matter if it's downwind or into the wind, every day I'm hitting the punch, easy shot and low.

Q.  How often in the year would you have a 3-iron in the bag?
YANI TSENG:  I've never had a 3-iron in the bag but this week is my first time, and I've been hitting like five, six shots on these couple days.

Q.  And has it come easily to you?
YANI TSENG:  Yeah, I feel pretty confident hitting 3-iron.  So I mean, I just started like on Monday and I got it and I just love the club and I feel much more confident than the rescue.

I was thinking a lot because the last two years, I didn't change, so should I keep like the same with my 22 because maybe a little superstition.  But I think 3-iron is a good choice and it's a good call for this week.

Q.  What is the loft on your 3-iron?
YANI TSENG:  I don't know, I think it's very close to my 22 shaft but I really have no idea.  But it comes out good.  I hit a few shots and they all come out very good.

Q.  Have you ever hit a 1-iron?
YANI TSENG:  No, I never did.

Q.  Laura Davies hits a lot of 1-irons; have you watched her?
YANI TSENG:  Yeah, I watch her hitting irons on the tee a lot.  She's very strong, so she can hit the ball very well.  I don't know if she have like 2-iron or something, but I see her hit a lot.

Q.  I'm sure you've heard that the conditions for the next few days are supposed to be pretty severe.  I know in the States and the other majors, you really don't get to see those conditions.  Is it something that's in the back of your mind that you look forward to something different this week?
YANI TSENG:  Yeah, I'm very looking forward to win.  I feel like this is perfect; I'm happy for me.  If I hit a 3-iron -- other players are going to hit, I mean, 5-wood or rescue.  I think a long hitter is going to love this golf course and if the wind is blowing, it's really quite tough.  If they set it up like pretty similar to these couple days, I'm from Taiwan.  The wind is very blowing out there so I'm very looking forward.  The Friday it's going to be like 40 miles, 50 miles, but if we are able to play, I'm excited to have this challenge.

Q.  How old were you when you first hit your first shot?
YANI TSENG:  I think I was five, and because both of my parents, they are both playing golf and they take me to the driving range.  I just really loved -- it's been 18 years, and I still love this game.

Q.  What country do you come from?
YANI TSENG:  Taiwan.

 

Catriona Matthew, Rolex Rankings No. 24

COLIN CALLANDER:  We have Catriona Matthew, Champion in 2009 and winner this year of the Irish ladies Open.  I'm also right in saying Catriona is one of the very few people this week who has played competitively at Hoylake, namely at the Curtis Cup in 1992.  Did you remember much of the course when you arrived here this week?
CATRIONA MATTHEW:  A couple thoughts.  I didn't remember a whole lot.  I remembered the clubhouse and kind of the area.  I thought I would remember a few more holes -- well it was a different order we played them in, but I remembered probably five or six holes.

COLIN CALLANDER:  Laura was in earlier this morning and said it was very, very tough yesterday in the Pro-Am; would you agree with that?
CATRIONA MATTHEW:  Yeah, very tough.  I mean, the wind, I don't know how strong it was but there were probably about three or four par 5s I couldn't reach in two; the par 5, couldn't with a 3-wood.  Pretty tricky.

COLIN CALLANDER:  She said some were suggesting 8-over par might win; do you think that's realistic?
CATRIONA MATTHEW:  Well, I don't think the forecast is -- it's bad Thursday and Friday but quite nice at the weekend.  So depending on the wind, I think they will probably move a few tees up from what we were playing in the Pro-Am if it's as windy as it was.

COLIN CALLANDER:  You obviously played very well winning in Ireland; how do you feel coming into the Championship?
CATRIONA MATTHEW:  Obviously played well in Ireland.  Loving going back to Killeen Castle where we played the Solheim Cup; and played pretty well in the States, in Canada and then last week at Kingsmill.  Feels like I'm coming into some good form.

Q.  What was the talk in the locker room after the 15-year-old girl won in Canada that you were actually there?
CATRIONA MATTHEW:  Yeah, I think everyone, I don't think you can quite believe how good she is at 15, and just the composure she showed I think on the last day.  She actually went away from the field I think on Sunday.  Slightly embarrassing to be beaten by a 15-year-old.  But yeah, obviously fantastic player and got huge potential.

Q.  Are you all comparing notes on what you were doing at 15?
CATRIONA MATTHEW:  Not really, no.  I mean, at 15, I had not really taken up golf seriously.  I was playing lots of other things and golf was just kind of a summer sport then.  To be that good at 15 I find quite unbelievable.

COLIN CALLANDER:  Is that changing the game nowadays, 15-year-olds not playing serious golf are probably not going to make it?
CATRIONA MATTHEW:  I think there's been a change, people come on Tour a lot earlier now, probably 18, 19.

I think the advances in coaching, with video and everything, everyone is coming on with far better golf swings now and I think just the teaching in general, they are coming on ready to win now.  Whereas I think when I started, you probably turn pro and then you just took two or three years just to learn the ropes and improve your game a little bit.

Q.  To what do you put down your consistency?
CATRIONA MATTHEW:  I've worked hard on my swing probably the last two or three year, just trying to get my ball-striking a little bit more consistent; if I hit a bad shot, hopefully know why I did it and build to correct it more quickly than I used to be able to do and been working hard on my kind of short game and putting.  You're not going to hit it perfectly every day, so it's just getting up-and-down on the days you're maybe not hitting it as well and grinding out a decent score.

Q.  And how long has your husband been your caddie?
CATRIONA MATTHEW:  Yeah, he's caddied now for probably 16 years for me.  Now my eldest daughter is starting school, he's probably not going to do it all the time but yeah, it's worked out well for us.  It's not for everyone, but it's had its moments, but on the whole it's worked out pretty well.

Q.  Team Great Britain was carried by its women at the Olympics.  How will you see that?  Will there be a trickle-down event?  Do you see women's sports in general getting more coverage, attention, focus from here on forward?
CATRIONA MATTHEW:  Yeah, I mean, hopefully.  I think the Olympics here were just a huge success.  Lucky enough, I think I was here for one week and in Ireland for the other week, so was glued to the television watching it.  The whole team did really well.  I remember watching that Saturday night when I think Jessica Ennis and Mo Farah won.  Yeah, hopefully it's inspired a whole nation to get out and try different sports, and you know, try and get a little more active.

Q.  Now the kids are back in school, you talk about Graeme at home, what difference is it going to make from now on?
CATRIONA MATTHEW:  I think we are just going to wait and see what the schedule looks like for next year and then maybe decide.  We don't want to be both of us away for more than two weeks, so we'll see what the schedule looks like, and if he can come to 60 per cent of them and get a different caddie for the other ones -- we'll just play it by ear and see how it works out.

Q.  Is he here this week?
CATRIONA MATTHEW:  He's here this week, yeah.

Q.  What would you say the key to winning this week will be?
CATRIONA MATTHEW:  I would say definitely keeping it out of the rough and keeping it out of the bunkers.  The rough here is like every course in Britain this summer, is really thick.  We have had a lot of rain.

So, yeah, keeping it out of the rough and I think trying to eliminate a double.  Because you're going to hit bad shots, and it's getting it back into play and trying to give yourself at least a putt for par or a bogey at worst.

Q.  Do you think it's a fair test of golf?
CATRIONA MATTHEW:  Yeah, I think it is.  The golf course is in fantastic shape and the greens are some of the best we have putted on all year.  Obviously the wind will make it a huge challenge but that's links golf.  We lucked out last year and didn't have any wind, the scoring was good.  So will be windy this year; the scoring won't be as good.

Q.  What does it do for women's golf?  What does it mean to women's golf to play a major on this course?  Laura called it the toughest links course she thinks she's ever seen.
CATRIONA MATTHEW:  Yeah, it's great.  I think when they started playing The Open rota courses, I think that was great for women's golf.  And it added for prestige overseas for people watching; when they see us playing the likes of a Hoylake, Birkdale, Turnberry, the ones the men played, it definitely adds to the whole prestige of the event.

Q.  Did you stay up and watch Andy Murray the other night?
CATRIONA MATTHEW:  Unfortunately not.  I had been at Kingsmill the week before and I had been watching tennis every night, and I flew back Sunday night and I was so tired, I couldn't stay up, so that was a shame.  Great to see them win though.

Q.  Do you feel like you can piggyback on his win and give Great Britain one more thrill in the extended summer?
CATRIONA MATTHEW:  I think Britain have won so many things this summer with the Olympics and then seeing him winning, and McIlroy doing what he's doing; yeah, it would be fantastic if we could have a British winner this week.  Hopefully it could be me.  It would just cap off the whole kind of year of sport we have had so far.

Q.  Are there any standout holes that are catching your aye?
CATRIONA MATTHEW:  All of the holes, really, are a challenge.  I think just depending which way the wind blows, I think you've really got to try and take advantage of holes -- well, yesterday, 16 and 18, the par 5s, both played downwind.

So I think you've just got to wait and see what it's like on the day and see which way the wind is blowing, and then take it from there.  I don't know if one hole really stands out too much.

Q.  Will you hit the green in two downwind?
CATRIONA MATTHEW:  Yeah, you can get them in two.  But like 17, I couldn't reach the par 4.  16 is a par 4, 17 is a par 5 -- but when it's as windy as that, the par of the hole sometimes is irrelevant.  You just have got to try to get it on the green in as few shots as you can.

Q.  You may have answered this question before, because I came in through halfway, I apologise; at the Olympics, women did indeed put on a fantastic show.  What do you think the biggest barrier is to women getting that sort of attention in golf?
CATRIONA MATTHEW:  I think this week, I notice we have got a lot of TV coverage.  I think in the end it all comes down to television coverage, the number of hours you can get on television, reaches the most people.  This move in September, I think we have really got -- BBC is showing a good few hours every day which will be great for women's golf.

Q.  You mentioned Rory; what impresses you most just about the year that he's had?
CATRIONA MATTHEW:  I think just the consistency.  I think every week he's just about up there.  And to have within two of the FedEx events and the PGA is just quite amazing; at such a young age, he's got so much probably pressure and expectation on him now.  But yeah, he seems to be coping with it very well.

 

Melissa Reid, Rolex Rankings No. 54

COLIN CALLANDER:   Ladies and gentlemen, we have Melissa Reid with us now.  She's had an up-and-down year but arrives here after a fantastic win in Prague, so that in that sense you must be coming in here with a lot of confidence.
MELISSA REID:  Yes and no, really.  Like I really I haven't felt as I should done this year, obviously with circumstances.  But I still that I should have really played a bit better than what I have.

Yeah, I had a good practise session today.  So yeah, I'm actually feeling pretty good about tomorrow.

COLIN CALLANDER:   What are your initial thoughts on the golf course and the conditions?
MELISSA REID:  It's pretty brutal.  Not going to beat around the bush here.  It's a great golf course.  Obviously it's dependent on the wind.  The weather forecast suggests the wind is going to be pretty severe the next few days.  It's just a matter of keeping your head strong and accept that if you finish level par going into the turn, you're going to have a pretty decent lead to be honest.  So that's what I mean, you just have to get your head on and bogeys -- you just have to keep the doubles and triples off the card.

COLIN CALLANDER:  We have had the top British girls in here today; do you think the weather conditions might favour them slightly?
MELISSA REID:  We say this every year, but the girls now are so good that it doesn't really matter what nationality.  Like the Koreans, for example, Yani has been winning and she's not British, the British Open.

A few of the Americans I think will struggle to keep the ball down and a few of the Koreans -- this is probably the longest I've seen a golf course for a ladies event, so I think the Koreans might struggle a little bit just reaching the actual par 4s.  But no, I mean, I think obviously everyone here is a great player and delighted to be here and the majority of the player here are sharp.

COLIN CALLANDER:   I read in one of the papers this morning that you'll have a lot of friends here; how many are you expecting?
MELISSA REID:  A few of my friends are coming out at the weekend and so hopefully I'll make it to them.  My dad may come out tomorrow, and one of my sisters who has not seen me play golf before is going to come out Friday with my other sister and my brother, as well.  So quite a few.

Q.  The says they are that's not seen golf before, is she like think to embarrass you?  Does she know where to stand, what to do?
MELISSA REID:  She knows like pretty much about golf.   She's just never seen me play.  So yeah, it will be interesting for her and hear what she has to say.

Q.  What clubs do you have in the bag?  Are you making any changes, long irons going in and fairway woods coming out?
MELISSA REID:  No, I've not made too many changes.  I actually changed my rescue recently.  I had a graphite shaft in it and I've now put a steel shaft in it, and I have a little bit of a smaller head just to keep it a little bit lower; whereas my other rescue is a bit high, which is perfect for the States and for normal events.  I just have a bit of a stronger shaft just to keep the ball a bit lower.

Q.  Do you think you'll be able to take some inspiration from Tiger's win here so shortly after he lost one of his parents?
MELISSA REID:  You know, it's funny, obviously it's been a difficult year but you know, I don't know whether it's going to be this week but something good has to happen to me this year and hopefully it's this week.  I just feel like whatever it is, whether it's personal or golf, I just feel like I keep getting things thrown at me and I keep having to kind of like battle on and battle on; everything just seems a bit of an effort.

So hopefully this week -- like I said, really good session today and worked really well with Johnny, and Dave, my coach, he's back there.  And hopefully this week can be the turning point in the year and something good will happen.  It's bound to happen and I just hope it is this week.

Q.  Is Dave with you all week?
MELISSA REID:  Yeah, Dave Ridley.  He's behind you.  Yeah.  He's right behind you, he's here all week.

Q.  What does golf need to do to take advantage of the ground swell of support of popularity that women got during the Olympic Games?
MELISSA REID:  You know, it's funny, I think we have got some great personalities in the game of golf.  I think that the Creamer, Gulbis, Wie, hopefully myself, there are personalities in the game, and it's a Catch 22, especially in Europe really where we need more money to get the facilities, yet we need the facilities to get more money.  So it's kind of a losing situation.

But I think it's getting better, and I actually think that the Olympics in 2016 is actually going to do golf a lot of good.  It's obviously not going to be our main event like athletics and stuff, but I think the showcase of an Olympic Games is going to do the game of women's golf, I hope it's going to be a huge success.

Q.  Five or six years ago, maybe more than that, I arranged for yourself and for Carly and for Henni to play at the BMW Pro-Am, prior to the BMW event at Wentworth.  You played that day with The Ryder Cup captain.  I wonder whether José Maria has been on the phone to you to find out any tips for his upcoming duty as The Ryder Cup Captain?
MELISSA REID:  I think he's fine (laughs).  Yeah, it was a good day, good fun.  Carly and Henni, they are all doing well now, so yeah, it's funny how things turn out.

Q.  Just to follow, why does golf need to be in the Olympics even when it has four, five majors, anyway, to showcase it?
MELISSA REID:  I don't know.  I think that, you know, a lot of people do watch the Olympic Games and you know, I think it's like women's football.  I think that the Olympic Games is a great opportunity to show the world how good women's football is.  It's come such a long way in five or six years.

I feel the same with golf really, especially in Europe, we have got fantastic draw in Europe, but we just haven't got the money and that's all it is.  I think so many people tune in to the Olympic Games that I really do feel that it's going to do British golf, European golf, a lot, a lot of good I think.

Q.  It's been a pretty consistent year for you this year, do you put it down to anything in particular?
MELISSA REID:  I would say it's not really been a great year golf-wise, I don't want to putt it down to circumstances but it's been quite hard, some days have been harder than others.  My mind, just 12 months ago, I was very, very happy, my family were all healthy.  I had my own house, I had my own dog, and now everything, it's literally flipped.  My entire life, really, three months ago went a complete 180.

So you know, I just feel that it's probably the head, I probably have a lot more on my mind than I would normally when I play.  Obviously I think about a lot of things other than probably the shot that I'm hitting which isn't ideal.

But I think that is what was so amazing in Prague really and what I was so proud of myself for was that every single shot, I literally took every single ounce of energy just to take on that shot and something pretty special happened that week.

But yeah, it's not getting a bit easier, it's only getting a bit harder but it will get easier and I'm just hoping that -- like I said, I'm hoping that something good is going to happen this year and not, I'm going to make damn sure that 2013 is going to be a good year.

Q.  You said that you with like to play on both tours next year.  How much of a challenge is that going to be?
MELISSA REID:  I don't think it's going to be a massive challenge.  I think that with the scheduling nowadays, you can play both tours.  I love playing in Europe.  It's where, you know, I would say my home is, and I love all of the girls and the whole European Tour is an amazing tour.  We just don't have the money and the sponsorship that we need to be on the same level as the LPGA.

So obviously I want to challenge myself and be on the LPGA, but I will always come back to Europe.  I'll always play six events a year.  It's where I grew up and where I feel like a really grew up playing and where I have my roots, so I'll always come back to Europe no matter what I do.

Q.  Obviously Prague was a magnificent victory given the circumstances, but how important were your and family in golf to you at that time?
MELISSA REID:  If I'm honest, I didn't really want to come back that early.  Looking back, I think, you know, if I could have done things differently, I would have had a lot more time off than I did.   To be honest, I should have gone on holiday and I should have taken time off -- because I generally do love the game of golf, if someone asked me whether I practised, if it would be just for an hour or four or five hours a day, it's another distraction.

If you sit at home, all I would ever think about was my mom and being around my family and stuff, we are all there for each other but it's a very, very horrible thing to happen.  You know, playing Prague and coming back from winning actually put a smile on our faces.  You know, coming back on the Sunday night and my mom's -- inaudible -- on a Wednesday, and it was just strange to smile at such an awful time but if I would have done it again, I probably would have played like U.S. Open, Evian and this.  I would have definitely taken a bit more time off just to take time off and just get healthy again.  I feel like I've kind of been trying to look after everybody else instead of myself a little bit.

Q.  And Hoylake, have you played here before or how well have you done here before in other events?
MELISSA REID:  I played it as an amateur, just as GB&I training.  We played against the men here but it was so windy we had to quit after about four holes; I don't know where they get that from.  I played here a few weeks ago, me and my caddie and Dave all came out and played it.  It was flat calm pretty much which was great and got to see it.

Then played Monday and played Tuesday and today, so you know, I think you need to look at a course once really and then you kind of get an idea of what it's about.  So I was really pleased that I managed to come out here a month or so ago and get that preparation done then so I knew which shots to work on, etc.

Q.  Are there any standout holes for you from what you've seen?
MELISSA REID:  Every hole is tough.  There's not really a hole where you're saying, all right, there's a birdie opportunity.  I think you definitely are going to be tired after every single round because of the amount of focus that you have to putt into every shot.  Especially with the forecast that they are predicting, it's going to be interesting.  But I personally love it, because you have to shape shots and it gives me a little bit more focus so I'm looking forward to it to be honest.

Q.  Are you hoping for poor weather?
MELISSA REID:  This is such a strong field, the majority of the players can play, but some of the girls obviously can't, some of the girls literally only play high shots, they don't play low shots.

So with the amount of rescues they have in their golf bag they will struggle to keep it down and like I said it's playing very long.  So obviously the players that can manipulate shots a little bit will have a huge advantage here.

 

Carly Booth, Rolex Rankings No. 128

 CARLY BOOTH:  Yeah, I'm excited to be here.  Very much looking forward to the week.

COLIN CALLANDER:  Have you had a chance to play this course in the past or is this the first time this week.
CARLY BOOTH:  No, I've played it on two previous occasions, but over a year ago.  My family is from here so I came down to this area a bunch but it's looking awesome.

COLIN CALLANDER:  A lot of the other girls are saying how difficult it was particularly yesterday in the wind.  Would you agree with that?
CARLY BOOTH:  Oohh, that was something else.  I played the Pro-Am in the afternoon, and we got at least 40-mile-an-hour winds.  So it was definitely -- the course itself is in great shape, but the

Q.  From your experience, do you find that Scots are better at accepting weather than other people?
CARLY BOOTH:  I don't know.  I mean, I think if you're from Britain, you're more used to it so maybe you're easier to adapt to it.  For me it's been a while, because I've been traveling in Europe -- so try and get a feel for more shots.

Q.  When you were playing on your course at home, would you go out in any weather?
CARLY BOOTH:  Yeah.  My dad would make me (big smile).

Q.  How far did you get?  Would he come out with you or would you just dispatch him to the know and get on with it how did it work?
CARLY BOOTH:  No, he would cut the grass and I would try to hit him with golf balls.  (Smiling).

Q.  The access Tour, that was your first win, and then you came on to the main Tour; up until that would it be fair to say that you struggled a wee bit to find your feet, so what's made the big difference?
CARLY BOOTH:  I guess my first two years an Tour were a little bit of a struggle.  I think just finding my feet -- my first year on Tour, I was still in school so that was hard to try to do both.  Last year I was just purely focusing on the Tour and I did struggle.  I missed my first six cuts and I think my confidence went right down from there.  So then I started playing a little bit better towards the end of the year and then went back to TOUR School and missed out in a playoff.  But I think, you know, this year, the main focus is to just try and enjoy my golf.  I was trying too much, and then just kind of relaxed I think and all started to just come together.

Q.  So were there any key technical things in your game that you suddenly focussed on or that you changed?
CARLY BOOTH:  My long game was always pretty good.  I was always pretty happy with that.  We had focussed on my short game and my putting, and I've been putting well, so I think that's where my scores have gotten better.

COLIN CALLANDER:  Winning in Scotland must have been a huge thing.
CARLY BOOTH:  Yeah, it was a perfect first win, and playing for my sponsors sponsoring the event, so couldn't ask for a better first win.

Q.  We are seeing a nice Scottish run, your own wins and Richie winning and Paul Lawrie playing in The Ryder Cup.  Do you know the men or do you follow them in could you talk a little about that, your own thoughts on it?
CARLY BOOTH:  I know Paul Lawrie from previous -- well, the thing is, I have a boyfriend that plays on the men's Tour, so I tend to go to their events when I'm not playing myself.  So I do run into most of the guys.

Q.  Who is that?
CARLY BOOTH:  Tano Goya.  And yeah, I grew up with Richie, I'm not very close personally with them.  But Paul, with his Foundation, he's been a great asset to golf and it's good to see him doing well and it's nice to see all the Scots doing well.

Q.  You spent some time in America before you turned professional.  How do you feel that's helped you at the Tour?
CARLY BOOTH:  I think it was definitely a good experience for me.  I spent two years there and I learned to become more independent and a different way of playing and practising and going out and competing against difference players.  So it was definitely a great experience and definitely glad I did it.

Q.  An obvious question -- do you think you're ready to win a major this week?
CARLY BOOTH:  I'm certainly going to try, so fingers crossed.    

COLIN CALLANDER:  You were a very good amateur, how big of a jump is it to be a successful amateur to being a successful Tour player?
CARLY BOOTH:  I think it was a lot harder than I expected.  I went through TOUR School easily, got my TOUR card, and I don't know, I think my expectation and everyone else's expectations were very high very quickly, and that's where I struggled a little bit.  I was trying to do it for everyone else and not just me.  So it was definitely a very good learning experience my first year.  It's a different lifestyle completely.  You're traveling week-after-week to different countries without family.  So it's good to make some friends on the Tour because otherwise it can be quite a lonely life.  I have some great friends.

Q.  What do you think of the welcome you've had so far?
CARLY BOOTH:  It's great.  I'm staying at my family's house, so it's nice to be around family.  Everyone's been great.  It's going to be a great week.  I've been looking forward to this week.

Q.  What do you think the key is to attacking the course this week?
CARLY BOOTH:  I think just everyone is going to have a bad hole out there, so I think just really take one hole at a time and stay patient is probably the key.

Q.  Are you from Liverpool?
CARLY BOOTH:  My mom is from Liverpool.  My dad lived here when he was 17.

Q.  How well do you know Andy Murray and did you stay up to watch the final?
CARLY BOOTH:  I didn't see it, no, but I heard it was a great final.  He's another Scottish sportsman that's doing well.

Q.  Do you know him well?  Have you met him?
CARLY BOOTH:  I played golf with his brother but I don't know Andy personally.

Q.  Can you just talk about your thoughts on Lydia Ko?
CARLY BOOTH:  Impressive.  It's crazy what she's achieved at 15.  I hear that she wants to continue high school and onto college.  The way she's doing right now, I don't see why but good on her.  Wish her the best this week also.

 

Laura Davies, Rolex Rankings No. 159

COLIN CALLANDER:  Good morning, we have Laura Davies with us this morning, the 1986 Champion, who I believe is playing her 32nd appearance in the championship this week.  In fact, one of the veterans in the field if you don't mind me saying that.  You had a very good result last week, second; you must be feeling very confident coming in here.
LAURA DAVIES:  Yeah, I've been playing well all year, putting has been the biggest problem but I putted nicely last week.  I don't think I had a 3-putt which is the biggest thing for me because that's been what's been letting me down.  This golf course is a little by different to what we played last week in Austria but good golf is good golf no matter where you play.

COLIN CALLANDER:  Did you have a chance to play the course yet?
LAURA DAVIES:  First round was yesterday in the Pro-Am so it was a bit of a shock, the fairways are about as wide as this table I reckon, if that, on some occasions.  And fabulous golf course.  I think the Amateurs here in '91 might have been pros about five or six years.

Q.  As a very successful female player, to get into the Hall of Fame, how much would you like to do it here, or is it something you even think about?
LAURA DAVIES:  Well, obviously, this would be the perfect place to do, it perfect time, everything would be absolutely -- couldn't imagine a better way to do it, so, yeah, obviously.  But I've had about eight goes of winning this tournament to get in the Hall of Fame and I haven't done it.

You know, who knows, this year might be the one.

Q.  You're known as quite a big hitter, do you think that will help around here?
LAURA DAVIES:  Joe and I, we have decided to take the approach, because all of the caddies, the chat before was you have to lay up before the bunkers to be sensible.  You're going to be in some rough because the fairways are so tight, so we are going to be further down and in the rough near the greens.  We might go down in flames, but we'll certainly have a go at it because this course will overpower you quickly if you're not careful.

Q.  With all of the media coverage of Lydia Ko, it can only be good for the women's game, and I know you're a big advocate of getting women into the game.  What would be your message to any listening?
LAURA DAVIES:  Young girls, well, just do what Lydia did, she won the Canadian Open and made it look very easy.  A great talent; to win a pro tournament as an at 15 is pretty unprecedented.  The calmness that she showed, just the way she conducted herself, she was brilliant.  That's all you can say about it.  So someone who wants to have fun and do that, it's not about effort.

Q.  What advice would you kind of give her about tackling a links course?
LAURA DAVIES:  I don't think her game, she worries about much, links or otherwise.  She just hits fairways because that's what she does.  She will probably hit not so many greens as she was hitting in Canada but her putting was fantastic.  I don't think she'll have to change her game at all because she is so straight off the tee.  She is very calm and I don't think a bogey or a double-bogey will affect her, because everyone is going to have probably one, and I'm sure she's going to take that on the chin because like I said, she seems very calm.

Q.  Just to echo the previous question, you're playing tomorrow with Emily Taylor, who has had a fantastic season as a 17-year-old amateur, again, stepping up to a big stage and crowd; what advice would you give her going out tomorrow?
LAURA DAVIES:  Well, I've never seen her play and I don't know what her game is like.  But again, I'm sure if she had a good season, her confidence is high; and if your confidence is high, you can pretty much play anywhere, any type of golf.  So just keep doing what you're doing, if it's been working this year -- stepping on the first tee, you're going to have lots and lots of people and you have to blink that out somehow the best way you can do it.  But I don't know what advice you can give someone.  You can either do it or you can't.

Q.  What inspiration, if any, can you take from the Great Britain Olympic Team that had a fabulous Games and Andy Murray's win in the US Open?  It just seems like it's been a brilliant summer for your country and sport.
LAURA DAVIES:  Yeah, I think it would be nice if one of the home girls could win it.  Catriona won it, and hopefully I'll be in the mix given my chance on Sunday.  It would just end such a great summer of sport for Great Britain, and like you said, there's been a lot of good stuff out there and it would be nice if one of us could win this, because let's face it, that's what we all want.

Q.  What conditions would you say would suit your game best for this week?
LAURA DAVIES:  I think from what I've heard -- if you get the worst possible weather report, the toughest conditions they can.  But it seems like it's going to be incredibly hard out there and you've just got to, like I said, not be too defensive, because if you start getting defensive on a hard course in hard conditions, you've got no -- I always say, you've got no chance.  So just try to be a bit more aggressive and stay ahead.

Q.  What's been the difference with your putting?
LAURA DAVIES:  I've been putting well all year, they have not been going in.  Last week a few putts went in, and I had a chance in Germany to win.  Every week I've putted well this year, I've had two seconds and a third, and the weeks -- obviously a few weeks I have not played well.  British Masters I had a good start and just didn't play well, so that wasn't putting.

But the problem this year, if I have not done well, it seems I have not holed enough putts.  But I'm stroking it well, my caddie, people are watching me, and I do feel like I'm putting well.  But when they keep burning the edges and lipping out and short in the jaws, it just makes you wonder why they won't go in.

Q.  Have you changed putters?
LAURA DAVIES:  Johnny went and got one off his dad, the one we had when we had that five-win year and he took it back off his dad because it was in his dad's front room, because they had given it to him.  So we nipped it back off him and I've had that one ever since.

Q.  Just looking back at this tournament across the years, how has it changed, or got bigger than any other you've played in?
LAURA DAVIES:  When I won it in 1986, it was big.  I won the British Open, obviously it was massive.  But now, look at the tented village, look at the golf courses we are playing; the crowd.  The crowds have always been good at British Opens and they have not changed much.  Obviously the TV crowd is pretty major but yeah, it's just bigger, better, and I can't say much more about it.  We are on probably one of the hardest links golf courses I've ever seen in my life.

Q.  The Americans, does it strike them that it's grown?  They talk about it now --
LAURA DAVIES:  Oh, yeah they all want it.  Maybe ten years ago when it was mentioned this might become a major, they are like, oh, who cares.  But now they come over here and try to win a British Open on a links course, and this rivals for them probably the U.S. Open, which is their biggest, and this one will be very close now.

Q.  British Olympic Team was carried by its women and it opened a lot to women in sport; how do you see that trickling down to golf?
LAURA DAVIES:  This could be an interesting week really, because we all know how good we are and we want to show that on TV.  But unfortunately this week, I think you're going to find bad scoring and we are probably not going to look like we are that good of golfers, purely because of the conditions.

But hopefully people will realise just how hard it is out here and realise how good we are and not judge us purely on the scores.  I have heard people talking about 8-over winning this week.  That might be a bit extreme but they might not be that far off it the wind gets up to the forecasted strength.  Hopefully they will watch us on TV and see how good we are.

Q.  With golf heading to the Olympics in Rio, it's got to be a good thing for the sport of golf in general to get it more recognised on TV at the start of the Olympic movement.
LAURA DAVIES:  Yeah, I think every golfer wants to be on their nationality's team for the Olympics; why wouldn't you, it's the greatest show on earth.  The tennis players have been in it for a long time now and if they are allowed to play in the Olympics, we should be, allowed to play, as well.  On the women's Tour, it will be a sixth major, because we'll have five starting next year, and for the men I'm sure it will be considered their fifth major.  So it's a huge thing for us.

Q.  Are there any holes on the course that stand out for you having played it for the first time yesterday?
LAURA DAVIES:  They are all incredibly difficult.  I mean, 16 downwind is easy but if the wind changes, it will be really difficult.  Just depends on which direction the wind is coming in.  But certainly I would say No. 3 is a monster.  That's just one of the toughest holes you'll ever play.

17 could be a par 5 for us if they really wanted to.  18, a very disappointing hole because we are playing it so long but every hole is potentially, you know, trouble, but they are all fantastic.  I mean, there's not one bad hole out there.

COLIN CALLANDER:  In these conditions, is this the toughest venue you've played in the Championship?
LAURA DAVIES:  I played the Pro-Am yesterday and it was unbelievably difficult.  My first tee shot was in a 30-mile crosswind in a fairway, like I said, as wide as this table.  Good luck to everybody.

The bunkering, I always thought Lytham was one of the best bunkered golf courses I ever played, but I think this is on a par to it because you can see them all, and you can see what you're facing, and if they are hidden --  I don't know who designed it, but it's fantastic.

Q.  Apologies to the rest of the room for a parochial question, Liverpool.  What do you make of the comings and goings of the outfield this summer?
LAURA DAVIES:  I was hoping for a call to a striker's role Saturday.  I don't know how it worked out that we lost our only true striker, but I'm sure Brendan knows what he's doing.  But he's got my full backing if that means anything to him, I'm sure it doesn't.

What I have seen so far, there's nothing wrong there.  It's a difficult start.  I think the next game is Man-United on Saturday and it's a hard start to the year.  We knew we were going to be having not the best start purely because Man United tend to get a nice easy start -- I don't know how that works.  I'm sure Sir Alex has got something to do with it.

Q.  To sort of follow on an earlier question, just do you think the Olympics changed forever how people in your country will view women's sports in general?  Do you see more money, more attention being paid to female athletes?
LAURA DAVIES:  Well, if it hasn't helped, then people have got very short memories.  You could see the joy on people's faces, mine as well, when you won medals.  That's what you want to do; if you love sport like I do, and everyone made such a big fuss of the Olympians.  And hopefully they are going to back that up and support young girls coming through so in four years in Rio and we can keep winning medals.

So without backing for the youngsters and real potential sports people, they are never going to reach their full potential, so they have to be backed financially.

Q.  In the media, as well, presumably, because they have all got this wonderful coverage for a fortnight, but do you think for a lot of people that will be the end of it?
LAURA DAVIES:  For the women's coverage?

Q.  For the women's and the entire Olympics --
LAURA DAVIES:  I'm sure it will taper off, because the Olympics is the greatest show on earth and everyone throws everything behind the Olympics.  Women's football and women's cricket will always be on the back seat and other sports will always be sort of the second division because that's the way television companies and corporations deal with women's sport.

It's always about the men and then the women come second.  But that's never going to change, let's face it.  I'm not saying it shouldn't change; it should change, obviously, but it won't.


September 11th

Stacy Lewis, Rolex Rankings No. 2
Ai Miyazato, Rolex Rankings No. 5
Michelle Wie, Rolex Rankings No. 53
Lydia Ko, (a) and recent CN Canadian Women’s Open winner

The LPGA Tour travels to the United Kingdom this week for the season’s final major. The venue for the 12th annual RICOH Women’s British Open is the famous Royal Liverpool Golf Club at Hoylake, a first for the prestigious Championship. The 144-player event features a strong field consisting of 48 of the top-50  golfers on the 2012 LPGA Official Money List competing for a $2.75 million purse.

Yani Tseng is searching for a three-peat at the RICOH Women’s British Open, having won at the Royal Birkdale Golf Club in 2010 and the Carnoustie Golf Links in 2011. At last year’s event she shot a final-round 69 for a four-stroke victory over Brittany Lang and became the youngest golfer in history, male or female, to win five major titles at 22 years-old. She comes back with a new confidence after posting a solo 11th place finish at the Safeway Classic and tie for 35th at the CN Canadian Women’s Open following two consecutive missed cuts. She heads the list of more than 20 other major Championship in the line-up this week.

 

Amazed by youth: 15-year-old amateur Lydia Ko is playing in just her second major on the LPGA Tour this week. But the question of whether she can vie for a title this week at Royal Liverpool has already become a hot topic. Ko is just a few weeks removed from becoming the youngest winner in LPGA Tour history when she captured the CN Canadian Women’s Open title at Vancouver Golf Club.

 

Ko, who also took home the 2012 U.S. Women’s Amateur title this summer, has certainly left a strong impression on the LPGA players who have witnessed her game in person. That includes Stacy Lewis, who was paired with Ko in the final round in Vancouver.

“I told my friends last week that that Sunday that I got to play with her was one of the coolest days I've ever had on the golf course,” Lewis said. “I didn't play well; I didn't win the tournament. But just to watch Lydia and the way she played that final round, it looked like she had been there before and she knew what she was doing.

“Just the way she managed her game and the way she kind of got around the golf course, you would never know that she was 15 years old.  I was beyond impressed.”

Major rush? Lydia Ko may have looked calm and collected during her win at the CN Canadian Women’s Open but the 15-year-old admits that nerves nearly got the best of her earlier this year in her first major appearance at the U.S. Women’s Open this year.

As she got ready to putt on her first hole at Blackwolf Run, Ko said that she was overcome by the moment.

“I was lining up my putt and my hands were shaking so bad I couldn't put the line straight,” Ko said. “So that was the first; I knew I was nervous in all the other tournaments, as well, but then, I don't know why, I just couldn't put the ball straight.

“Yeah, it was really nerve-wracking, even though like I was like talking to myself, like, ’Oh, why am I this nervous?’  But I guess it's the U.S. Open, that's why.  Yeah, that was probably one of the most nerve-wracking moments of my life.”

Hit me with your best shot! There are 83 bunkers throughout the course at the Royal Liverpool Golf Club and the players in this week’s field have learned quickly that they are to be avoided at all costs.

“I've heard about how Tiger didn't hit a single bunker [when he won here in 2006], and that's definitely motivation for me to not go in a bunker,” said Michelle Wie. “I went in one today and you just really have to go out sideways.  You can't go for the green at all.”

But while there has been talk about the bunkers, Hoylake’s greatest defense is the blustery wind and that was already showing its teeth on Tuesday afternoon. Winds were howling throughout the day, gusting over 30 mph at times, so many of the LPGA players were given a stiff test while playing in the pro-am.

 “It was really tough this morning,” said Stacy Lewis. “For me it was I guess the first time seeing the whole course, too.  So to play in it under those conditions for the first time, it's pretty tough out there.  And it's definitely better now, but you know, if the wind keeps up this week, it's going to play tough.”

It’s unlikely that the players will get a break from the wind at Hoylake at least early in the week. It’s predicted that winds could be steady in the 15-20 mph range over the coming days with gusts reaching even higher numbers before the weekend rolls around.

“It's going to be an interesting week this week, because I heard that a few players that had a practice round yesterday and it was totally opposite wind direction,” said Ai Miyazato. “So the golf course is going to be not the same every day.  So you have to change the game plan every day, and you have to play really smart out there.”

Getting creative… While some players were getting their first-ever glimpse at Royal Liverpool on Tuesday, Michelle Wie was getting a refresher course on a track that’s somewhat familiar to her.

 

“Hoylake was, I think, the first links golf course I played in my entire life,” said Wie. “We came over here for the Curtis Cup [in 2004] and we played a practice round here.  I definitely remember the holes, the Racetrack Hole.  So lots of good memories here.”

 

Wie has been searching all year to get her game back on track, with her only top-10 coming at the Safeway Classic last month, and perhaps this is the week for her to really make a showing. With a completely different style of golf required for a links style golf course, Wie hopes that this could be the time to shake things up.

“Regular golf goes straight out the window as soon as you walk on the tee this week,” Wie said. “You have to be really creative and your distances with your irons don't really matter.  You have to think of new things.  It's fun.”

Wie certainly is no stranger to creativity, as one of her big interests off the golf course is art, including a passion for sketching. The 22-year-old Stanford graduate hopes that her creative nature will translate to the golf course this week.

“I think it brings out the inner artist in every golfer when you come to a links golf course,” Wie said. “With the wind and all of the elements; not being able to stop on the greens, you have to be creative using the hills, especially on this golf course, like your pitch shots and whatnot.  There's a lot of creativity that goes around and I'm very excited.”

Quotable: “It made me feel like an 80s rock star (laughing). “ – Michelle Wie when asked how she felt about being one of Lydia Ko’s childhood idols.

Of Note… There is a strong international flavor at this year’s RICOH Women’s British Open with a total of 27 countries represented in the field. There are 39 players from the U.S., 19 players from Korea and 8 from England…Check out lpga.com for an exclusive inside look at Hoylake from @TigerWoods, who won The Open here in 2006…The winners of the three previous majors this year – Sun Young Yoo, Na Yeon Choi and Shanshan Feng – are all in the field this week.

 

Stacy Lewis, Rolex Rankings No. 2

COLIN CALLANDER:  We have Stacy Lewis, who was battered by the wind this morning; just how difficult was it out there?
STACY LEWIS:  It was really tough this morning.  For me it was I guess the first time seeing the whole course, too.  So to play in it under those conditions for the first time, it's pretty tough out there.  And it's definitely better now, but you know, if the wind keeps up this week, it's going to play tough.

COLIN CALLANDER:  How do you think Hoylake compares to the other three courses on the rota that you've played thus far?
STACY LEWIS:  I think it's definitely the hardest.  You know, only playing one round, it's kind of hard to tell but I think by far the hardest; you have to hit it well off the tee.  You have to hit good shots, and then the greens, the bunkers are definitely a penalty.  So, it's tough.

COLIN CALLANDER:  I think I'm right in saying you've played three times in this Championship before, and you've improved each time.  That must fill with you confidence coming into this week.
STACY LEWIS:  Yeah, it does.  I think this style of golf is just so different from what I'm used to playing but it takes some time to kind of learn the shots and learn how to manage the conditions, and even the swing when it's blowing 30 miles an hour, I'm not really used to.  It's kind of been a learning process for me.

COLIN CALLANDER:  Have you been working on anything specific since you arrived here, punch shots, or ...
STACY LEWIS:  No, mainly just kind of those little bump-and-runs around the greens, putting from off the edges.  Although, the greens, they are not running too fast; just because of the wind, they can't be.

So I don't know if you'll see a lot of putters from the edges around the greens, more just of the chips and bump and runs.

COLIN CALLANDER:  You've won twice on the LPGA Tour and I think you're second on the money list; you must be pleased with your form coming in here.
STACY LEWIS:  Yeah, I've played well this year and I think more than anything I've played really consistent and that's kind of what's gotten me there.  I've had a lot of chances to win and been in contention, and you get more comfortable there and it's been fun.

COLIN CALLANDER:  You have to be playing with Catriona Matthew tomorrow, and that's a good draw, I would have thought.  Certainly bring a few crowds in I would have thought.
STACY LEWIS:  Oh, sure, she's great to play with.  She definitely knows how to play this style of golf.  I played her a couple of matches in Ireland last year at Solheim Cup, and this weather just suits her game to a tee.  So maybe I'll pick up a few things from her.

Q.  I saw pictures of when you went on to the green when Lydia Ko won the Canadian Open; can you just give me a few words on her and what she means to the game of women's golf at the moment?
STACY LEWIS:  Yeah, I told my friends last week that that Sunday that I got to play with her was one of the coolest days I've ever had on the golf course; I didn't play well; I didn't win the tournament.  And just to watch Lydia and the way she played that final round, it looked like she had been there before and she knew what she was doing.

Towards the end, the fans are pulling for her and they were cheering louder and louder for her every hole.  It was cool because we got to hang out and we talked quite a bit throughout the round.  I tried to keep her talking at the end and just keep her relaxed.  She just played great.  I was just glad I was there able to watch it.  It was really cool.

Q.  (Do you think she is good enough to win this week)?
STACY LEWIS:  Well, she's won already, so I would definitely say she's good enough to win.  The hard thing about is the British Open like this is the weather and unpredictability, and I think it's something that takes some experience in playing.  But she's proved everybody wrong so far, so why not.

COLIN CALLANDER:  Is she the best player you've seen at that age?
STACY LEWIS:  Oh, for sure -- that I've played with?  By far.  You wouldn't know, just the way she managed her game and the way she kind of got around the golf course, you would never know that she was 15 years old.  I was beyond impressed.  I saw her win the U.S. Am and things like that, but to come to the Canadian Open and to come to a big event like that and play so solid for that many days was pretty impressive.

Q.  Playing the Solheim Cup last year, what was the experience playing team golf, as opposed to competitions like this?
STACY LEWIS:  Solheim Cup it's a lot more different.  It's a lot more pressure -- it's more pressure you put on yourself because you want to play well for your team.  But I mean, you still want to win.  You probably want to win more than a normal event.

So it's completely different.  You try to just go out there and just play golf, but almost it's harder.  You know, you come back and you're play your own ball, you come to a regular tournament, it seems pretty easy compared to that.

But walking on the first tee representing your country, it doesn't get any better than that.

Q.  What was your biggest accomplishment at 15?
STACY LEWIS:  Hmmm, maybe getting my learner's permit.  I don't know, I think -- I remember my freshman year of high school, I don't think I even broke 90.  I was just trying to shoot, break 80 probably, and make my high school's team.

Q.  You overcame scoliosis as a child to make it to the professional game; do you consider yourself an inspiration?
STACY LEWIS:  I don't know, I guess I am, because people -- I definitely get a lot of e-mails and letters from kids that they look up to me, things like that.  I don't know if I see myself that way, because I just know what I went through with scoliosis, that's something that I had to go through at the time and I didn't have really any option.  I don't know if I am but the other people say I am.

Q.  What do you think will be the key holes this week out there?
STACY LEWIS:  I don't know, it's hard to say.  I think the par 5s, definitely you can make some birdies on, possibly even eagles.  I think three of them are reachable, so I think playing the par 5s well will be a key.

And then I don't even know, I think every hole just seems to have something about it that's hard.  I mean, every hole has some pot bunkers in the fairways and pot bunkers on the greens.  You just have to hit the ball well this week, I think is the key, and stay out of the bunkers, because they are a penalty.

Q.  When you talk about how Lydia manages her game, do you mean the decisions that she makes, or does her sort of nervelessness --
STACY LEWIS:  I would say a little bit of both.  You know, she knew when she could go at a pin.  She knew when she kind of needed to go to the center of the green.  She didn't get nervous all day.  I was waiting for her to get nervous at some point.  But she just got -- every shot, I looked up, and every shot was right at the pin; and she made the 10-footer, 8- to 10-footer, whatever she had.  And I think on 18, she finally showed some nerves, which I was glad to actually see that.

So she just -- almost just looked like she had been there a million times and she had won four or five times already and kind of knew what the deal was.  But really she had no clue at all, which was pretty cool.

 

Ai Miyazato, Rolex Rankings No. 5

COLIN CALLANDER:  Good afternoon and welcome to this year's Ricoh Women's British Open.  Ai, welcome.  You've won twice this year on the LPGA Tour, finished seventh last week.  You must be playing well.
AI MIYAZATO:  Yeah, I'm feeling good with my season so far.  But last week it was kind of -- I mean, the last month was kind of a little bit rough month for me. So last week, it was a really good feeling and I think I had a really good finish, so I'm very happy.

COLIN CALLANDER:  You missed the cut last year but you had several very good performances in this championship.  Is it a tournament you enjoy playing in?
AI MIYAZATO:  Oh, yeah, definitely.  Even today, it was super windy today but I really enjoyed the weather, and the golf course is in good shape, and really beautiful out there.  So I'm always, you know, nice to be here.

COLIN CALLANDER:  You've obviously seen a lot of our courses now.  How does this one compare to the others that you've played?
AI MIYAZATO:  Well, it's going to be an interesting week this week, because I heard that a few players that had a practise round yesterday and it was totally opposite wind direction.

So the golf course is going to be not the same every day.  So you have to change the game plan every day, and you have to play really smart out there.  So it's going to be really difficult. But I'm just, like I said, it's really nice to be here always and I just love the atmosphere of this tournament.  So I'm sure I'm going to enjoy this tournament.

COLIN CALLANDER:  And you have a terrific draw with Yani Tseng and Paula Creamer.
AI MIYAZATO:  Oh, nice!  Perfect.

COLIN CALLANDER:  Sound good to you?
AI MIYAZATO:  Oh, yeah, I'm not going to complain about it?

Q.  2012 has been a really good year for you with eight Top-10 finishes.  What's been the key to your success this year?
AI MIYAZATO:  Well, my short game is pretty solid this year and that's why I think I've been playing really well so far.  Also at the same time, I really enjoy my life.

This is my seventh year on the LPGA Tour, but I feel like everything is coming together and now I'm just trying to be myself more than I used to.  So that's why I think I'm playing good so far.

Q.  Do you enjoy A competitive rivalry with your brothers?
AI MIYAZATO:  Yeah, they are not playing really well recently, but still, you know, we compete with each other and it's really fun to play with my brothers.

COLIN CALLANDER:  Just how did you feel was it out there today.
AI MIYAZATO:  Oh, my God.  I couldn't hit the fairways today.  Really stressful.  It's just one of these days I think.  The British Open is always windy and sometimes rain and sometimes sunny.  You know, could be anything.  So I didn't hit well today but you know, it was my first day out here, so I think after tomorrow, it will be all right.

COLIN CALLANDER:  And do you think the key will be staying out of the bunkers, the fairway bunkers in particular?
AI MIYAZATO:  Yeah, definitely.  Also, you have to be like make sure where you're going to hit it because the wind affects it so much.  So you just need to make sure every hole, not like which hole, like a specific hole; it's like every single shot, you have to really focus.  So it's going to be really difficult.

 

Michelle Wie, Rolex Rankings No. 53

COLIN CALLANDER:  We now have Michelle Wie with us, who finished 23rd as an amateur back in 2005; bring back a lot of good memories for you?
MICHELLE WIE:  It does.  It's funny because Hoylake was I think like the first links golf course I played in my entire life.  We came over here for the Curtis Cup and we played a practise round here.  I remember definitely the holes, the Racetrack Hole.  Lots of good memories here.  It's tough conditions this morning, so I'm looking forward to it.

COLIN CALLANDER:  How tough were the conditions out there this morning?
MICHELLE WIE:  It was brutal (laughing).  I think coming from Kingsmill where you hit the ball and it stops right there, there's really no wind, to this morning, having woken up at 1.00 a.m. because I couldn't sleep.  No. 1, really out of it, and No. 2 I was like, oh my God, falling over, wind, hail.

But I'm glad that I played that, because regular golf goes straight out the window as soon as you walk on the tee this week.  You have to be really creative and your distances with your irons don't really matter.  You have to think of new things.  It's fun.

COLIN CALLANDER:  People often say here that the secret to playing Hoylake is to stay out of the bunkers; do you think that is the case?
MICHELLE WIE:  For sure.  I've heard about how Tiger didn't hit a single bunker, and that's definitely motivation for me to not go in a bunker.  I went in one today and you just really have to go out sideways.  You can't go for the green at all.

COLIN CALLANDER:  I don't know if you've seen the draw yet, but you're playing alongside Carly Booth, who has won a couple of times on the LET this year.  Have you met her before, played with her before?
MICHELLE WIE:  Yeah, we played together at Evian.  She's a really nice girl and I got really excited when I saw the pairings, because I think we're going to have a great time.

COLIN CALLANDER:  And also one of the people in the news this week is Lydia Ko, who is 15, and obviously you must relate to that because you were a very famous golfer at that time.  Is it difficult to be in the spotlight as you were?
MICHELLE WIE:  Not really.  It's pretty cool.  I'm sure she's having a blast.  I haven't met her yet and I would love to meet her this week.  I think it's great what she did winning everything like that.  So I have a lot of respect for her and I really want to meet her this week.

COLIN CALLANDER:  How do you feel your game is at the moment?
MICHELLE WIE:  It's been a really rough year for me, but I definitely have a lot of positives.  And it's going to be fun this week, links golf course, is a good way to shake things up with the wind going 20 miles an hour.  So I'm very excited for this week to start and I'm very excited to play this week.

Q.  Despite being the most well-known female golfer, you said before that Hoylake was the first links golf course you ever played.  What do you make of the area and more importantly, the golf course?
MICHELLE WIE:  Oh, it's great.  You know, definitely the Racetrack Hole was very memorable for me.  It's the first thing I remember when I came here, and Liverpool, it's a great city.  There's so many ethnic restaurants and there's so many things that I want to try.  And it's beautiful, it's right on the water.  So I'm really loving it so far.  Everything is kind of walking distance from my hotel, so it's great.

Q.  How well do you think you're going to cope with the notoriously changeable weather?
MICHELLE WIE:  You know, I can see how it could be either great, or not great.  I mean, today even, in one round, we had I felt like all four seasons.  It was funny, I had to wear my sunglasses and then literally 30 seconds later, it hailed on us.  So I probably won't wear my sunglasses because that means hail's coming.

But it can change, and that's the thing about the British Open.  Last year we had no wind at Carnoustie, and this year, I think it's going to be a bit windy, a bit rainy at sometimes.  But that's the fun of it.  It doesn't seem like the British Open when it doesn't do that, so I'm looking forward to it.

Q.  Do you still have ambitions to compete on the PGA TOUR with the men?
MICHELLE WIE:  I haven't really thought about that for a while.  Right now my main focus is winning out here and then my main, main focus is winning this week.  So yeah, I'm taking it one step at a time.

Q.  And how do you cope with some of the criticism that's been aimed at you in the past by some of the press; that you played a lot with the men when you were younger and things, how did you cope with that?
MICHELLE WIE:  You know, criticism, whatever you do, you put left glove on first, before your right, people criticise about that.  So you know, I don't regret any decisions I made.  If I made a bad decision, I learned from it, and it made all of the decisions that I made in the past and the road that I've been on in the past that I've taken, it's made me who I am today.

So I'm grateful for all of the opportunities that I've had and very grateful for the opportunity that I have this week to be here.  And just, you know, grateful for everything, all of my experiences, my up-and-downs, because like I said, it's made me who I am.  So I'm very grateful in general.

Q.  You're still so young, I'm wondering what it's like when you here Lydia Ko say you're her childhood idol?
MICHELLE WIE:  It made me feel like an 80s rock star (laughing).  But I think it's great.  You know, I have a lot of respect for her winning, like the way she did.  She played great.  She really is good.  She has some talent.  I haven't met her yet.  I would love to meet her and hopefully get to play with her.

Q.  Do you have any advice for a young girl like her?
MICHELLE WIE:  I think she has it all figured out; she won already.  I would say have fun and try your hardest.  It's really a game, after all.

Q.  Is she good enough to win this week?
MICHELLE WIE:  Yes, I think so for sure.

Q.  Can you tell me a little bit about the specific links shots you're going to be working on practising in the next 24 hours?
MICHELLE WIE:  The punch shot, the low shots.  Yeah, I think when the wind blows, you have to keep it in control.  I just have to hit my shots solid and I'll work on a lot of short game and putting, because that's what it's really going to come down to.

Q.  So there's nothing technique-wise you could change in a week like this?
MICHELLE WIE:  Not really.  I've played the British Open before and you kind of have your British Open shots saved in the bag for this week, so I'm just going to bring them all out.

Q.  The artistic sensibilities that you have in your sketching, does that translate to the links course?  Do you feel like you can bring out your inner artist on the golf course here?
MICHELLE WIE:  Yeah, I think so.  I think it brings out the inner artist in every golfer when you come to a links golf course, with the wind and all of the elements; not being able to stop on the greens, you have to be creative using the hills, especially on this golf course, like your pitch shots and whatnot.  There's a lot of creativity that goes around and I'm very excited.

Q.  Any advice you would give to Lydia on how to deal with expectations and bursting on to the scene at such a young age?
MICHELLE WIE:  You know, I think that she probably has higher expectations of herself; that's what I had.  You know, people have high expectations but they are the same expectations that you have on yourself.  And I would just say, just play for yourself, don't play for anyone else.  It's your game; it's your life and it's your desire, and you just have to really focus on yourself and play for yourself.

 

Lydia Ko, (a)

COLIN CALLANDER:  Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen.  I don't actually think we probably need to introduce Lydia here but in case somebody has been asleep for the last three weeks, she has won the U.S. Women's Amateur followed by the CN Canadian Open to become the youngest winner on the LPGA and also the first amateur to win on the LPGA Tour since JoAnne Carner. You must be delighted with the way you're playing.
LYDIA KO:  Yeah, you know, U.S. Amateur, that was a big win and to follow that up with the Canadian Open was amazing, yeah.

COLIN CALLANDER:  What is your best memory of the last few weeks?
LYDIA KO:  I guess just the two wins.  Yeah, I haven't legal had I had a win until a few months ago, so it was good to have that kind of a finish.  It's also good to just win at such a great competition.

COLIN CALLANDER:  You had your first chance to see the Hoylake course today.  What did you think of it?
LYDIA KO:  Oh, I actually played yesterday.  It was really windy.  On the first hole I went in the right rough and second shot in the right rough and then third shot in the right rough again, so it's tough (laughing).  And I consider myself quite, you know, consistent, quite straight off the tee, and it was quite tough.  Yeah, I reckon it's one of the hardest golf courses I've ever played.

COLIN CALLANDER:  You played The Astor Trophy last year in this country; is that the only time you've played links golf in Britain before?
LYDIA KO:  Yeah, that was actually the first time I came to the U.K.  So that was a first.  We have a few links golf courses back at home but not as tough.

COLIN CALLANDER:  And was The Astor Trophy the only course that you played when you were here?
LYDIA KO:  I played Royal Portrush for the British Amateur.

Q.  When I spoke to Guy Wilson, your coach, before the Canadian Open and I asked him about your goals and he kind of had to pull you back a little bit because he said that you said you wanted to win, not just make the cut.  What about this week, are is your goal to win?  What are your goals?
LYDIA KO:  Actually, my goal wasn't to win (laughing) the Canadian Open.  You just want to make the cut really, and that's good, just making the cut.  And it's really tough to get going against the pros. Here, just once again, you know, it's the top players out here, so I'll just be playing my best and hopefully I'll be able to make the cut again and go from there.

Q.  Does it help having Guy over here helping you threw everything?
LYDIA KO:  Yeah, definitely.  I haven't been home for a while so it's good to have my coach there, and he's going to caddie this week, as well, so that's also quite relieving for me.  Sometimes you get new caddies and you have to get used to it but I know Guy well, so hopefully we'll be able to make a good combination.

Q.  How do you think you're going to cope?
LYDIA KO:  For a few tournaments, I've been the youngest competitor and I've coped.  I don't really think about my age or what I've done really.  I'm just one of the 156 players that are here.

Q.  You're a long way from home; what's it like traveling the world playing golf, and where and how do you fit in school?
LYDIA KO:  Yeah, I don't go to school much.  Most of the time I'm at golf, and like the start of the year from the first eight weeks, I'm out of school.  But my school understands, so that's a good thing, and I have to mainly do all the work after, when I come back.  So there's lots of catch-up work to do.

Q.  Do you plan to go full-time in the game once you turn 18?
LYDIA KO:  I want to go to college, as well, so we'll have to see.  But I graduate in 2014, so still got a couple of years to juggle things around.

Q.  Michelle has played a few games, a few tournaments in the men's game; would you like to follow Michelle and play in some PGA tournaments?
LYDIA KO:  I haven't thought of that yet really.

Q.  Tiger Woods was asked about you at an event two weeks ago and this was his quote:  "I had heard of her before a couple of years ago and it was hard to believe that a 13-year-old could be that good, but she was, and now she's fully matured at 15.  It's great to see her playing like that."  And he was asked if you remind him of him, and he said, "I wasn't that good at 15."    What is your reaction to having Tiger say that, those things about you?
LYDIA KO:  It's an honour, yeah.  I think he did many more very good things at that age, more than me.  As you can see, he's a superstar now.  Yeah, it's awesome to have people like him saying those kind of kind words.  Yeah, it kind of makes me more inspired.  Yeah, it's awesome, because they are all of the people I really look up to.

Q.  It was a couple of months ago that you played at Fairhaven just up the road; how much would you say your game has played in the intervening 12 or 13 months?
LYDIA KO:  I guess changes have been made because when you get to a certain level, there's not a huge thing to change.  But I don't know -- yeah, I was playing really good then, and I'm confident with my game now, as well. So I guess a little change has been made and like winning two weeks ago, those kind of changes gave me more confidence.  I reckon 12 months ago, I wasn't putting as good as I am now.  Yeah, I think putting is one of the biggest things.

Q.  What is the most nervous you have ever been?  And it doesn't necessarily have to be related to golf?
LYDIA KO:  I think the U.S. Open.  First hole I was lining up my putt and my hands were shaking so bad.  I couldn't put the line straight.  So that was the first; I knew I was nervous in all the other tournaments, as well, but then, I don't know why, I just couldn't put the ball straight.

Yeah, it was really nerve-wracking, even though like when I was like talking to myself, like, oh, why am I this nervous.  But I guess it's the U.S. Open, that's why.  Yeah, that was probably one of the most nerve-wracking moments of my life.

Q.  Do you think that experience at the U.S. Open will help you this week in your second major?
LYDIA KO:  Yeah, I think so.  That was my first major, and this is my second one.  So I guess it will be a little more comfortable but yes, still nervous.

Q.  What do you remember about when you first started playing golf with Guy?  Do you remember liking it from the start or what do you remember about that first one or two years?
LYDIA KO:  I've got a really bad memory.  I can't remember what I did a couple weeks ago.  So remembering like nine or ten years ago is a long time.  Like I'm predicting and guessing that I probably liked the sport; as a young kid, if you don't like it, you'll probably have a fit and just go, oh, I don't want to do this anymore.  I've done it for the last ten years, so I guess I've liked it from the start and I like it now.

Q.  Why do you think you and Guy work together so well?
LYDIA KO:  My mom, like when we went to New Zealand, my mom and dad said to get a place just near a golf course, so I guess it was a coincidence.  I don't know why (laughing).  I guess like especially as the years passed, we got to know each other really well.  Like sometimes with some coaches, it's just students and teacher.  But like we are kind of like friends, kind of relationship with that.

So I think that got us to like each other more and be much more comfortable.  I'm the kind of player that has fun at the same time; I can't do, you do this and kind of boarding school kind of style.  So yeah, I'm kind of like more free, those kind of things, and I think Guy has got that kind of personality, as well.  So that kind of made it I guess.

Q.  What's your favorite place you've visited in the world?
LYDIA KO:  I pretty much like everywhere, because I'm originally Korean, I quite like to eat Korean food.  So I quite like the States like as a venue, because you can't find the Korean food anywhere.  So I like it there and I like Australia, as well.

COLIN CALLANDER:   You're one of ten amateurs in the field this week.  Do you know any other competitors?
LYDIA KO:  I know Holly Clyburn and Amy Boulden, because they were both at the Astor Trophy, and I played with Holly two years ago.

Q.  What did you do in South Korea while you were there?
LYDIA KO:  I just met family and relatives and just hung around.  I mainly got to see what Korea was like.  It's very different.  It's very different to New Zealand and it's quite busy and there's lots of cars, lots of people.  Yeah, so I didn't have much memory of Korea, so I just wanted to see what Korea was really like.

Q.  Did people recognize you?
LYDIA KO:  When I was on the plane from Canada to Korea, there were a couple of people that did recognize me and I did a couple of autographs on the plane.  Not much like out on the street.

Topics: Notes and Interviews, Lewis, Stacy, Miyazato, Ai, Wie, Michelle, Ricoh Women's British Open, Matthew, Catriona, Davies, Laura, Tseng, Yani [+]

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