Wegmans LPGA Championship First-Round Rain Delay Notes and Interviews

Wegmans LPGA Championship
Locust Hill Country Club
Pittsford, New York
First-Round Rain Delay Notes and Interviews
June 6, 2013

Stacy Lewis
Brittany Lang
Jennifer Johnson
Wendy Ward
Paige Mackenzie
Sue Witters


Continuous rain throughout the morning on Thursday forced tournament officials to postpone the start of the first round at the Wegmans LPGA Championship until 7:15 a.m. on Friday, June 7.
No golf was played on Thursday.

First and second round pairings will remain the same. A cut will be made at the conclusion of the second round on Saturday and officials intend to complete both the third and fourth rounds (36 holes) on Sunday, June 9.

Deal with the delay: Players in this week’s field have dealt with their fair share of rain delays on the LPGA Tour.  Today’s first-round postponement was nothing too out of the ordinary and players said they will do their best to be patient and keep their normal routines. Rolex Rankings No. 2 Stacy Lewis said it was no surprise there would be majors delays, since the forecast had shown heavy rains throughout the entire day.

“I think coming into the day everybody knew what the weather was going to be,” said Lewis. “We knew it was going to be a long day, long week.  It always is here.  So -- I mean we're golfers.  We deal with rain delays all the time.  So you just have to stay patient with it and when you have an opportunity to play, just be ready to go and hopefully your golf swing can stay in a rhythm.”

Brittany Lang said she wasn’t totally disappointed with the delay and was going to use the day off as an opportunity to rest. The Tour is in its fourth-consecutive week of competition and Lang said some fatigue has been setting in.

“It's definitely tough because you're excited to get going, but to be honest with you, I'm fairly tired, being my fourth week in a row,” said Lang. “So it's actually kind of good for me. I mean I feel fine.  I'm sure I would have played fine, but a day of rest is probably good for me.  I'm sure a lot of girls are definitely ready to get going, but I'm going to go hang out and do some fun things and get ready for tomorrow and just rest.”


Conditions get ‘rough’
Buzz this week surrounding the length of the rough at Locust Hill got a little louder on Thursday when more than an inch of rain fell before the time play was called. Several players have said the rough is the longest the Tour has seen at the Pittsford course and expect it to get longer with the heavy rains.

“The rough this year in my opinion is the longest that I've ever seen it,” said Paige Mackenzie. “It's always healthy, but it's like Sunday rough on Tuesday, so it'll be interesting not having cut it what it's going to look like on Sunday with this kind of moisture and if it's going to continue to grow the next four days.”

Brittany Lang said keeping the ball in the fairways will be of the upmost importance. Find yourself in the rough this weekend, you can only hope to get out.

“This amount of rain with that rough is going to be extremely difficult,” said Lang. “It's going to play longer, which the course isn't overly long, so that's really not too much of a factor, but that rough is going to get thicker, and being wet, it is so hard to hit out of wet rough like that.  I mean it's nearly impossible.”


Shopping trip:
After first-round play was called for the day on Thursday, players were asked what they had on their schedule with the afternoon wide open. A recently engaged Brittany Lang told members of the media that she and fellow Tour pro Paula Creamer were going to try on wedding dresses.

“Paula texted me there's a David's Bridal, so we're going to be trying on wedding dresses and stuff this afternoon,” said Lang. “And then we're going to go to the movies.”

Lang’s fiancé, Kevin Spann, proposed on the ninth green after her final round of the North Texas LPGA Shootout. In addition to Creamer, Brittany Lincicome, Katie Futcher and Angela Stanford will also be members of Lang’s bridal party. She said planning the big day with her fellow Tour pros has been a blast.

“It's been great,” said Lang. “The girls have been fun.  Paula and Morgan and all the girls threw a party for us in the Bahamas, and Kevin was there, so it was perfect.  We had so much fun.”


Teaching and Club Professional Spotlight:
The Wegmans LPGA Championship provides a special opportunity for five LPGA Teaching & Club Professionals to compete against the world’s best women golfers in a major championship. The winners of the five sectional LPGA T&CP events and the national championship receive spots in the Wegmans LPGA Championship field. This week we will spotlight these five amazing LPGA T&CP members and let you get to know a little bit more about the women who dedicate themselves to the advancement of golf through teaching, coaching and managing golf facilities. Today we spotlight…Central Section Championship winner Stefanie Ferguson

Ferguson got her start in golf before she entered high school and was urged to pick up the game by her dad. She took it up the summer before her freshman year and played in a few scrambles. She caught the golf bug and decided it could be a good way to get a college scholarship and starting focusing on her game during her freshman year.

During her senior year of college at Colorado State University, Ferguson figured she wanted to continue with a career in golf.

“My last year in college was when I knew I wanted to be a T&CP member,” said Ferguson. “We always got to help with events in college and folks would always ask for help with their golf games, it was so fun to see people improve or learn a new shot. That's when I knew being a teaching professional was something I would like to do.”

The Denver, Colo. native edged out Sherry Andonian-Smith in a sudden-death playoff at the Central Section Championship to earn a spot in this week’s field. Ferguson fired solid rounds of 72-76 to tie for first, and said facing her friend in a playoff was a challenge.

“We played it at Redstone Golf Club in Houston which is fairly tight and has great greens, so for me it was cool to win at a course like that,” said Ferguson. “I also had to play one of my good friends in a sudden death playoff who is a very accomplished player so it felt like I really earned the spot. This week has been amazing and such a wonderful experience. It is my first LPGA event and first major so I can't even describe what a cool feeling it is to be here! I feel very lucky to get this opportunity. It will be tough to get the smile off of my face this week!”


Five Things You Should Know About…Stefanie Ferguson

1. She just got a puppy whose name is Dexter. He is half Bernese Mountain dog and half Great Pyrenees. At seven months he is almost 70 pounds
2. If she wasn't a teaching professional she would have loved to have been a National Geographic photographer. “Taking pictures has been something I have loved to do since high school.” 
3. She is a teaching professional at Green Valley Ranch Golf Academy in Denver where the Colorado Opens are held every year. 
4. When she was younger she got certified to scuba dive. “I love to travel and dive on trips.”
5. She comes from a very large Italian family, even though she doesn’t look like it. “Our family events can be upwards of 50 people so it is quite the gathering!” 

Tweet of the Day:  “Ms. Rain, Mr. Thunder and Mrs. Wind are the top three supporters of the LPGA Tour…By far!” –@LizetteSalas5

Quotable” “I don't know.  I've already hit up Wegmans a couple of times this week, so I don't know if I'll go back there or not.  May have to venture out.” –Stacy Lewis on her afternoon dining options

 

Stacy Lewis

Q.  What did you do on the rain delay?
STACY LEWIS:  I sat inside for a long time.  Bernie and I played cards.  We just kind of sat around and talked, and then when the rain slowed down I decided to go out and hit some balls just because I figured that would be the only time we could hit balls all day.  So hit a few balls and putted a little bit.  And looks like we're going to be going home.

Q.  It's going to be pushing everything back.  Does that push off your schedule, your routine, things like that?  How do you keep all that straight?
STACY LEWIS:  I think coming into the day everybody knew what the weather was going to be.  We knew it was going to be a long day, long week.  It always is here.  So -- I mean we're golfers.  We deal with rain delays all the time.  So you just have to stay patient with it and when you have an opportunity to play, just be ready to go and hopefully your golf swing can stay in a rhythm.
But when you have the opportunity, you just gotta be ready.

Q.  Plans for the rest of the day?
STACY LEWIS:  I will probably go to the gym and get some lunch and maybe a movie later.  It's kind of nice.  You know, we don't usually get days off, a full day off at least.  So it's nice hopefully that we'll be able to get out of here and rest, because it does take it out of you when you do have to sit at the golf course all day.

Q.  Restaurant, is it going to be Wegmans?
STACY LEWIS:  I don't know.  I've already hit up Wegmans a couple of times this week, so I don't know if I'll go back there or not.  May have to venture out.

 

Brittany Lang

THE MODERATOR:  Good afternoon, everyone.  As we all know, first round play has been suspended until tomorrow, so we have Brittany Lang in here in the media room to join us, and talk a little bit about the crazy weather that we've had recently on the LPGA Tour.  First off, I know you were out there on the range trying to get warmed up.  What's it like coming into the week of a major and finding out first round that you guys don't get to get out there on the golf course?
BRITTANY LANG:  Well, it's definitely tough because you're excited to get going, but to be honest with you, I'm fairly tired, being my fourth week in a row.  So it's actually kind of good for me.
I mean I feel fine.  I'm sure I would have played fine, but a day of rest is probably good for me.  I'm sure a lot of girls are definitely ready to get going, but I'm going to go hang out and do some fun things and get ready for tomorrow and just rest.

THE MODERATOR:  When you guys come to the golf course in the morning and you see the rain in the forecast, do you kind of have it in the back of your mind getting yourself ready that maybe you're either in for a very long day or that it's possible that you might not be playing at all?
BRITTANY LANG:  Yeah.  I didn't think that we wouldn't be playing at all.  I looked at the forecast, and I just knew that we were going to get wet and it was going to be a tough day for sure, but I thought for sure we'd be out there.
Obviously the course isn't draining that well, so once we made that first announcement, I knew we were going to sit in the clubhouse for a while.

THE MODERATOR:  So it's noon.  You have the rest of the day spending whatever you want to around Rochester.  What are your plans for this afternoon?
BRITTANY LANG:  Well, Paula text me there's a David's Bridal, so we're going to be trying on wedding dresses and stuff this afternoon.  And then we're going to go to the movies.

MODERATOR:  For all of you who don't know, Miss Brittany Lang here got engaged at our event in Dallas last month.
BRITTANY LANG:  Yep.

THE MODERATOR:  Pretty exciting news for you.  So it must be fun.  I know you had an engagement party down in the Bahamas and got to celebrate.  So some fun wedding planning going on for you already.
BRITTANY LANG:  It's been great.  The girls have been fun.  Paula and Morgan and all the girls threw a party for us in the Bahamas, and Kevin was there, so it was perfect.  We had so much fun.
Then this week on Monday Paula text me, she goes, "I saw a David's Bridal.  We're going."  So it's good that we have this afternoon to go do that.

Q.  (Inaudible).
BRITTANY LANG:  Yeah.  No.  It's a big deal, and like I said, this is our fourth event on the schedule.  And even though some people it may be their third event they've played and you get tired for sure.
I heard the forecast looks bad tomorrow as well and Monday, which is kind of scary for the event, you know, because you'd like to get in 72 holes, but being a major, you know, we've done it.  We did it at Oakmont, I remember, U.S. Open.  But it's tough; it's a tough course.  You gotta get your rest, get proper sleep and nutrition and everything because it's definitely a test.  So it'll be even tougher now that you're playing more holes in the day.

Q.  Is Paula a bridesmaid?  I mean is that why --
BRITTANY LANG:  She will be, yeah.

Q.  Anyone else on tour?
BRITTANY LANG:  Yes.  Brittany Lincicome, Katie Futcher and Angela Stanford.

Q.  What did you do all morning in the clubhouse?
BRITTANY LANG:  We sat there and talked about my wedding.  We did a bunch of stuff.  I talked on the phone.  We hung out.  We looked at the radar.  Pretty much just small talk hanging out.

Q.  What's the wedding date?
BRITTANY LANG:  January 11th, we think.  January the 11th or the 18th.  We're shooting for the 11th.

Q.  And where?
BRITTANY LANG:  McKinney, Texas.

Q.  The golf course obviously was difficult before all this today.  Being as wet as it's going to be now for the rest of the week, how much more challenging is that going to be for you guys?
BRITTANY LANG:  Yeah.  This amount of rain with that rough is going to be extremely difficult.  Is that what you're asking?  Yeah.  It's going to play longer, which the course isn't overly long, so that's really not too much of a factor, but that rough is going to get thicker, and being wet, it is so hard to hit out of wet rough like that.  I mean it's nearly impossible.
It's going to make the greens a little bit easier because they're so sloped, it's not going to be as difficult to putt on them, I think, but I think that rough is going to be horrendous after this much rain.

Q.  Just to follow up on the previous topic, you got a lot of attention for the way you got engaged.  What were some of the more interesting items of feedback you got?  What was the reaction like generally?
BRITTANY LANG:  Everybody loved it.  It was good for me because I didn't have to tell any of my friends I was engaged.  Everybody knew, maybe people who didn't want to know.
But it was cool.  Everybody loved it.  They were like, that was a perfect way to do it.  I thought it was perfect.  I loved it.  It was everything I could ever wish for.
But all my girls, they all thought it was very romantic and very cute, and they love Kevin, so they all thought it was great.

Jennifer Johnson

Q.  Tell me what you did this morning.  What time were you going off, supposed to?
JENNIFER JOHNSON:  I was 8:21.  So I woke up at like 4:51.  I always set like odd numbers on my alarm clock.

Q.  Why?  Superstition?
JENNIFER JOHNSON:  Just -- yeah.  And not 5s.

Q.  Wow.  Oh, my gosh.  Okay.
JENNIFER JOHNSON:  So we got here -- I actually thought I was going to be late because my dad missed our freeway exit.  We drove like three miles past.
But then pretty much just sat up in the player dining and looked out the window and watched it rain from 6 to now.

Q.  Pour, pour, pour.  With something like this, a huge delay, probably pushing it back to tomorrow, kind of mess up your routine?  Stacy said you guys are used to this, but how deal with knowing first round will be Friday, possibly 36 holes down the road.  Do you mentally prepare for that?
JENNIFER JOHNSON:  It makes it a little more challenging, but I think it's good that we didn't start so we can have a fresh, clean start tomorrow hopefully.
And I don't have anything scheduled for Monday.  So.

Q.  That's nice.
JENNIFER JOHNSON:  I don't have to worry about making my flight or anything.

Q.  That's good.  Plans for the rest of the day.  Do you have a go-to thing you do on rain delays when you get to go home?
JENNIFER JOHNSON:  I don't know.  Lexi and I were talking, maybe go to the movies.

Q.  That's usually everyone, go eat, movies, relax, pretty much?
JENNIFER JOHNSON:  Maybe go get our nails painted or something like that.

Paige Mackenzie

THE MODERATOR:  Okay.  I'd like to welcome Paige Mackenzie into the interview room.  Not exactly what you were hoping to be doing at this time of the day sitting in the interview room.
PAIGE MACKENZIE:  No.  There's not much else I can do, so happy to be here.
THE MODERATOR:  Just explain what it's like this morning when you arrive early for an early tee time, get yourself kind of prepped to play and then have to deal with the rain delays we've had and knowing the first round has to be moved all the way until tomorrow.
PAIGE MACKENZIE:  Right.  Well, my tee time was supposed to be 7:37, so I did the usual.  I have to get up two hours ahead, wake up at 5:30, go to the golf course, eat my breakfast.
I was running about five minutes behind going into the locker room, making my peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for the day, and that's when I was literally about to walk out the door and Wendy Ward comes in grabs my shoulders and goes "we're not playing" and turns me around, and we obviously had the delay and have continued to have the delay.

THE MODERATOR:  We just had Brittany Lang in here, and we were asking her how she killed the time, and she said she was talking a lot about her wedding with people who were in the locker room.  What did you guys do to kind of kill time during the delay this morning?
PAIGE MACKENZIE:  Fortunately there's a few computers in there, and I have not made any travel arrangements for the next, I don't know, the rest of the year.  So I booked some flights and hotels.  Literally I didn't have a flight to Arkansas, which is in two weeks.

THE MODERATOR:  So at least you were able to catch up on a little bit of --
PAIGE MACKENZIE:  Yeah.  It was tough I needed to do anyway.  So I got it done.  I mean I now have the whole afternoon free because I've done what I needed to do already.

THE MODERATOR:  When you look at the weather issues that the LPGA has had over the past couple weeks, we had a lot of rain in the Bahamas that caused big changes to that event to be made, last week there were some high winds, what's it kind of been like for players to have to kind of mentally go through this challenge each week where Mother Nature hasn't exactly been as kind to the tour as players might like?
PAIGE MACKENZIE:  Well, unfortunately, I mean it's just part of the game, and anybody that's played, whether it's professional golf, amateur golf, college golf, we go through events like this, and I learned very quickly my rookie season, when the event got completely called in Arkansas and only 18 holes were played in the four-day span, that you just kind of have to be willing to go with the flow, and there's going to be surprises like this.
We're a pretty flexible tour, and the players are pretty accommodating to situations like this.  I think the hardest part is just on the rookies, you know, that want to go play, and you know, it's the first major here for them.

THE MODERATOR:  We've been hearing from players all week about how difficult this golf course is playing due to the thicker rough.  What does this weather, now having this much rain, how is it going to change the way the course plays over the next few days?
PAIGE MACKENZIE:  Honestly, actually, other than the fact the rain is going to make the rough a bit heavier potentially, it's actually a little bit better because it's easier to hit fairways when they don't bounce out.  So the firmer the fairways are, the more likely they're going to run through into the rough.  So in reality you almost have a better chance of hitting the fairways the softer it is.  Obviously it's going to be make it longer.
But no, the rough this year in my opinion is the longest that I've ever seen it.  It's always healthy, but it's like Sunday rough on Tuesday, so it'll be interesting not having cut it what it's going to look like on Sunday with this kind of moisture and if it's going to continue to grow the next four days.

Q.  You mentioned it makes maybe the fairways easier to hit.  Does it make the greens more receptive too?
PAIGE MACKENZIE:  Certainly.  Absolutely.  Absolutely.

Q.  Just to follow up on that in terms of scoring, there's been some low scores here --
PAIGE MACKENZIE:  You know, it's so hard to predict what kind of scores this course is going to produce, mostly because, A, it has a lot to do if there's wind.  But also it rewards really great play.  So if you're hitting the ball well, you can score well.  If you're not, there's going to be some huge scores, because it's extremely penalizing if you're missing fairways and missing greens.  So it's kind of hard.
You know, the one year that Cristie Kerr won by I don't know how many, like a dozen it rewards good play, and she was hitting the ball amazing and making putts.  So it has the potential to produce low scores, but you just have to be on your game every single shot because it does not allow any mistakes at all.

Q.  So you have the rest of the day to relax, but the forecast doesn't exactly look great for the rest of the week.  Just kind of -- what will it take mentally to survive this week of delays and then potential marathon days after that?
PAIGE MACKENZIE:  No, that's a good question, because most of us are in our fourth week in a row, and it was going to be kind of a week of survival anyway.  I remember talking to friends and family at home saying you can't even talk about when I'm coming home because I really, really need to focus on the next four days, because I don't even want to hear about what my dog is doing at home at all because I really am tired.  I'm worn down and I want to go home, but I need to focus and stay in the present on what I'm doing here.
So on top of that, now we're going to be dealing with this kind of weather and potentially long days.  You're right, it's going to be a real drain mentally to stay focused.

Q.  And I don't know if they'd go to Tuesday or not, but how many -- do you feel like this championship needs to be 72 holes?  Would 54 holes be okay for a major?  Like what do players think?
PAIGE MACKENZIE:  In my opinion we don't want to be unreasonable on travel schedules.  I mean bottom line is this is our seventh out of eighth week in a row.  We're going to have less than a week home, two more including another major.  Not that they're going to consider our fatigue and travel schedule, but I don't think it'll go to Tuesday.  And I think that's okay.  I think if we can get 54 holes in, I think that's fine, personally.


Wendy Ward

Q.  18-year veteran of the LPGA Tour and you've been through a few rain delays yourself.  What do you do on a day like today?
WENDY WARD:  A day like today you just can't overthink.  They happen.  Unfortunately they've been happening a little bit more often than we'd probably like them out here on tour.
But you know, you gotta relax and just kind of roll with it.  It's not something you can control, and 18 years on tour I'm not going to run out there to the driving range any time soon.

Q.  You've played Locust Hill a lot.  You've had some good rounds of golf here and some good finishes on this golf course.  What is going to happen to this golf course due to all the rain and saturation?
WENDY WARD:  You know, this course has taken in a lot of water before we got here, and it takes water well, but in these amounts there's not too many facilities that can help it.
But you know, it's just going to take patience.  And you know you're not going to get a lot of good lies out there.  The ball is going to sit down.
To me, I just gotta let it go and just play golf, and whatever number you put on the scorecard, that may be par for the day.


Sue Witters

THE MODERATOR:  Hello, everyone, we would like to welcome Sue Withers, our lead rules official into the interview room.  First off, thank you so much for coming in and joining us today.  Just take me through, we all knew that the weather was going to be rainy today and it didn't look good in the forecast coming into the day, but take us through the morning, the whole process coming to make the decision to suspend play until tomorrow.
SUE WITTERS:  Sure.  I mean actually the rain came in later than forecasted.  We thought it was going to start about 4 in the morning, and when I got up and didn't see rain, I was hopeful until I looked at the radar.
Basically, we had a Lightning bolt within 10 miles at right about 6:15.  So we immediately shut down the practice facilities.
The storm came in and sat, and we knew the golf course could take half an inch to three-quarters of an inch of rain, and we got a half an inch a couple of hours ago.
Basically it's never stopped raining, which once the threat of Lightning left the area about 8:30 we could open up the practice facilities, but the problem then became the golf course.  We had numerous greens underwater, fairways puddling.  And if it could have stopped raining, we would have had a shot at getting the ground to absorb the rain and getting it playable, squeegeeing the water.  There's no point in squeegeeing when it's still raining.
And we went as long as we could, and it never stopped, and now it's coming down even harder.

THE MODERATOR:  We know that the plan of the schedule now is for first round play tomorrow, Saturday play round two and then Sunday try to get in 36 holes.  We've seen some weather forecast that there's possibility of rain tomorrow.  How optimistic are you guys looking at the schedule and what have you heard about tomorrow's forecast?
SUE WITTERS:  Well, I'd like to believe that today was our worst day, and I still think that's the situation.
This was no surprise that it was coming.  I think it's a little heavier than we thought it was going to be.  The system we're in now is 140 miles deep.  It's going to take a good seven hours to get out of here, and then we should get a good break in the middle of the night, hopefully for the golf course to percolate the rain.
And the morning, the last I was told, is supposed to be scattered and spotty.  And then we have a big window, and then late afternoon, depending on the sun activity, could be a chance of an isolated thunderstorm, but that's only 20 or 30 percent.
Saturday is better, and Sunday is no rain at all.  So Sunday actually is our best day with the most golf that we'll have to play.

THE MODERATOR:  And knowing this time of the year there's a lot of daylight hours in this area of the country, is that something that you guys are looking at as optimistic as well because you can stretch out the golf?
SUE WITTERS:  That's huge, because we have room in the beginning of the day and the end of the day.  So if it had to happen, if we had to get into this situation, that's a big break for us.  With it being light, I believe it's a little after 5, and we think we could play golf until close to 9:00.  So that gives us extra room, which we may need.

Q.  I know you don't want to play on Monday, but you don't have a choice probably.  You don't want to play 54; right?
SUE WITTERS:  The goal is to get 72, and Monday is still on the table, yes.
I will say the forecast right now isn't fantastic for Monday, but I look at it like it's Thursday.  We got a long way to go till we get to Monday.

Q.  Do we know how much rain has fallen to this point?
SUE WITTERS:  A couple of hours ago we had -- we were right at the half-inch mark.  I haven't gotten an update since.  I can tell you within the last week and a half in the area, they've had over four inches of rain.  So they got hit pretty hard on the weekend, and then we really were drying out well with the cool, breezy weather.  And now we're right back to being pretty wet.
So over four in the last week and a half.  We had a half an inch right about 9:00, and we know it hasn't stopped.  So I don't have the latest, but we gotta be close to pushing an inch.

THE MODERATOR:  We can get you a number.  We'll check in with our meteorologist and see exactly how much has fallen.

Q.  Is there any worry that even if it stops when you guys are expecting it to, that things will be too awful tomorrow morning at the planned tee times to get things off, even if it's not raining?
SUE WITTERS:  Well, the superintendent, Rick Slattery, has been at this course for a long time and knows it probably better than any of us, is fairly confident that if we can get the cease in rain, that the course will be okay.  But it's gotta stop raining.  And that's what really hurt us this morning.  We never got that break to play catchup to get it to the point where we could even squeegee to play.

Q.  Also, does it make you nervous to trust meteorologists?
SUE WITTERS:  (Laughs).  It's Rochester, and everybody's been through this dance before.  And I've seen this golf course with the help from the Rick Slattery and his crew get it in some amazing shape.  So I'm not nervous yet.  I wish we could have gotten some golf in today.  I certainly hadn't planned on this.  But we still have a lot of time.
And like I said, the best part is, in my opinion, the worst day is -- was -- hope -- will be today.  And it just gets better going out, with Sunday where we need a long day, that's our best forecast.

Topics: Notes and Interviews, KPMG Women's PGA Championship

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