Manulife Financial LPGA Classic pre-tournament notes and interviews

Grey Silo Golf Course, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

Manulife Financial LPGA Classic
Grey Silo Golf Club
Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
Pre-tournament Notes and Interviews
June 9-10, 2013

June 10, 2013

Stacy Lewis, Rolex Rankings No. 2
Paula Creamer, Rolex Rankings No. 14
Brittany Lang, Manulife Financial LPGA Classic defending champion

The LPGA Tour heads north this week for the first of two Canadian events this season and will kick off its slate of July tournaments at the second-annual Manulife Financial LPGA Classic. A field of 144 players return to Grey Silo Golf Course in Waterloo, Ontario and will compete for a $1.3 million purse.

Rolex Rankings No. 43 Brittany Lang revisits the site of her first-career LPGA victory to defend her title after outlasting Chella Choi, Inbee Park and Hee Kyung Seo in a three-hole, sudden death playoff in 2012. Lang had a rough start to her 2013 LPGA campaign, but has put together her best finishes of the season the weeks leading up to her first title defense of her career. She finished T13 at the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship Presented by P&G followed by a T7 at the U.S. Women’s Open. With the two top-15 finishes, Lang moved into the 8th spot in U.S. Solheim Cup Team points and is trying to earn a spot on the team for the third time in her career.

A little longer second time around: The Waterloo –Kitchener region has been hit with heavy rains over the past 14 days and players have said that it’s definitely changed course conditions from last year at Grey Silo Golf Course.

“The course condition is night and day from last year,” said Brittany Lang. “It was very warm, dried out, firm and fast.  It's fine now.  It's not unplayable by any means, it's just soft.  I'm hitting more club off the tee, more drivers, more 3-woods, but it's still -- it's very scorable as it was last year, still able to make a lot more birdies, just playing a little bit longer is all.”

After seven inches of rain hitting the course over a two-week period, players are going to adjust to longer clubs this week. But Rolex Rankings No. 2 Stacy Lewis thinks it is still set up for plenty of scoring opportunities.

“I think I hit a lot more drivers, a lot longer clubs into the greens but the greens are holding better,” said Lewis. “You're still going to see low scores, you're still going to see a lot of birdies.  I don't know, this course, the way it sets up off the tee, it's just a birdie fest, you've got to go out there and make some putts.”

After a successful first year event in 2012, the Manulife Financial LPGA Classic set the bar high for its return to Waterloo this year. Tour veteran Paula Creamer said the fan turnout last year was impressive.

“It was incredible, I couldn't believe it,” said Creamer. “The whole golf course, this is kind of the layout is so spread out, there were people on every hole and they just -- they appreciate good shots.  I always think some of the best fans are over in Europe because they just appreciate the game so much and they know what a good shot is and that's the same as here.  You hit a good shot and they let you know.  I think that's fun as a player.  They're just so excited to come and cheer you are on no matter what's going on.  Hopefully the weather the next four days will be nice for everybody to come out.  But the bar is set a little bit high for the fans.”

Tour peers take note of Inbee’s streak: It’s hard to ignore the recent accomplishments and level of play Rolex Rankings No. 1 Inbee Park has had as of late and her fellow Tour pros are very aware of the excellence they witness every week from the South Korean. Stacy Lewis says that the attention Park has gained from winning three straight major championships has just added to the positive attention the Tour has received recently.

“I think the Tour, I've said it all year, I think our Tour's in a great place,” said Lewis. “What Inbee's doing, it's unbelievable really.  You look at her numbers the last few weeks and the way she's winning and the way she's getting it done, it's just impressive.  To play well with all the extra demands, with the extra attention is even better.  So it's great what she's doing, it's a creating a lot of headlines for us, which is good.  She's getting the respect from the media that she deserves.”

Brittany Lang, who tied for seventh at the U.S. Women’s Open two weeks ago, said she felt like she was playing well at Sebonack Golf Club and got frustrated to see Park blowing most of the field away. She said Park makes other players change their entire mentality when they step on the course and to be more aggressive.

“Normally when you play a U.S. Open, you're trying to hit fairways and greens and make pars and you're in good shape,” said Lang. “But Inbee was 10-under par, and I felt like I was playing an Open like I was supposed to play an Open and I was 12 shots back.  Actually it's like the Open week every week with Inbee Park actually, exactly like that because she makes every putt and she doesn't make many mistakes.  That's exactly right, you do have to play more aggressive.  I think she's making the Tour better obviously, but she's making the players better for sure.”

Paula Creamer, who is in her ninth year on the LPGA Tour, has seen spurts of performance excellence on Tour in her career. She said Park’s recent successes have rang similar to other LPGA Tour greats.

“It's the same with Annika in '05 when she was so hot and then Lorena came in after her, and now Yani,” said Creamer. “I mean, it's just kind of a domino effect.  It's pretty neat to see that.  Obviously we want to be that person in that chair.

Creamer played junior golf with Park growing up and said all of her hard work through the years is paying off. She said she thinks Park is elevating the women’s game.

“I played junior golf with Inbee and when you know someone and you see how hard they work over such a long period of time, it's so impressive what she's doing,” said Creamer. “But at the same time it's elevating all of us, it's where we need to be.  If we're not, she's going to leave us all in the dust, she's just playing so well.  Obviously streaks don't last forever, but what she's been doing is changing women's golf and it's almost like the next Se Ri Pak movement for Korea.  It's pretty interesting to watch.”

The pressure’s on for Solheim Cup: With just three events left to earn U.S. Solheim Cup Team points before the biennial event in August, it’d be hard to say the American players on the LPGA Tour are not paying attention to the rankings and opportunities to earn a coveted spot on the team. Stacy Lewis, who ranks first in points, is set to make her second Solheim Cup appearance this year. She said she’s happy she doesn’t have the burden of counting points every week and standing over putts knowing it could make or break earning points that week.

Making the Solheim Cup team I think is the goal of every American and the last few tournaments are the hardest,” said Lewis. “Paula and I are pretty good, but Britt's a little bit on the bubble and it's a very hard place to be.  You know, you're over putts thinking, gosh, I have to finish in the top 20 just to get some points.  It's a hard place to be.”

With a tied for seventh finish at the U.S. Women’s Open two weeks ago, Brittany Lang earned 45 points and moved into the eighth spot on the points list. She’s hoping to make her third U.S. Solheim Cup Team. The top eight players in points earn automatic spots while spots nine and 10 will be determined by the highest ranked players in the Rolex Rankings who are not already qualified. Team Captain Meg Mallon will have two picks to round out the squad. Lizette Salas currently trails Lang in points by just 52 points at the ninth spot.

“It is a tough position,” said Lang. “I played good last year.  I got off to a rough start this year and that hurt me with the Solheim points, but I've kind of refocused and I've been working very hard and I'm getting my ball-striking back and my confidence as well.  It is a hard place to be in.  Paula and Stacy, they're set and they're fine, but I really haven't paid much attention to where I was at, I just knew I hadn't performed well at the beginning of the year, so I have to have some good tournaments and I've been playing really well so it's definitely the top goal on my list.”

Here comes the bride: A lot has happened in the year following Brittany Lang’s first career win last summer in Waterloo and the McKinney, Texas native has kept herself busy off the course planning her upcoming wedding. Lang smiled when she retold the story of how her fiancé, Kevin Spann, proposed to her on the final green at the LPGA’s stop in North Texas in April.

“It's been fun, planning the wedding's been fun, kind of thinking about the future, it's been exciting,” said Lang. “We're excited for all that. We set the date for January 11th and, yep, Stacy's got it on her calendar, January 11th.  I got the dresses, got my rehearsal dress and my wedding dress and we booked the chapel and everything, so we're moving.  It's been fun.”

Lang, who sat alongside Stacy Lewis and Paula Creamer in a pre-tournament press conference on Wednesday, said Creamer was the right person to take while wedding dress shopping. The two have been friends since their junior golf days and Creamer will be one of Lang’s bridesmaids in January.

“It's pretty cool we can sit here and say we've known each other for so long, that's the other neat experience, to have junior golf,” said Creamer. “Like you said, I'll be in her wedding.  Who would have thought that 15 years ago that we would be sitting here saying that, but it's pretty neat.”

$10 million lady: Ninth-year LPGA Tour member Paula Creamer joined the $10 million club in career earnings at the Tour’s last stop at the U.S. Women’s Open. After earning $127,972 for her tied for fourth finish, Creamer moved into the 8th spot on the all-time career money list and currently ranks sixth among active players.

“I actually had no idea.  To be honest, I don't think I've ever even looked at something like that before.  I remember being the first one, youngest player to ever make a million dollars, I thought that was a pretty cool one.”

Creamer, whose last win came at the 2010 U.S. Women’s Open, said the milestone wasn’t something she was looking out for. The money isn’t the thing that keeps her driven day in and day out.

“Crossing the $10 million mark, that's something that is nice,” said Creamer. Like I said, I think my uncle told me on the 18th hole, you crossed the $10 million mark.  ‘Really?  What did I win?’  It's neat to see.  I've had a lot of success in my career.  The greatest thing that I look at is I still enjoy every single day out here, every day is exciting, it's a new adventure and I can't wait for the next 10 years and see what happens.”



Tweet of the Day: From @SMGHF, the St. Mary’s General Hospital Foundation (charity beneficiary of the Manulife Financial LPGA Classic).

“@natalie_gulbis is ready for #RedDay @ManulifeClassic in support of the women she loves and @SMGHF #GoRed

 

STACY LEWIS, Rolex Rankings No. 2
PAULA CREAMER, Rolex Rankings No. 14
BRITTANY LANG, Rolex Rankings No. 43

MODERATOR:  We have Paula joining us in a little bit.  I know you guys have been waiting so I'd like to introduce our press conference today, our star-studded panel.  They don't need much introduction, but I'll do it anyway.  To my immediate left, our defending champ, Brittany Lang.  Thanks for joining us.  And Rolex Rankings No. 2 Stacy Lewis. 

Guys, let's start off -- Brit, we'll start off with you, defending champion.  You came up here last month to do some media.  Obviously we want to hear more from you.  Just talk about how it feels to be back at this course bringing back some good memories to a time where you probably played some of your best golf, you got your first win.  Tell us how you're feeling this week coming back to a place you probably pretty much love.
BRITTANY LANG:  Yeah, I've never won before, so being back here, this is new to me and it's very exciting.  I love the course and the people.  Just walking up 18 these last two days, since it's my only win, it brings back a lot of great memories and it's a special place to me, it feels good.

MODERATOR:  One quick thing, I don't know if everybody knows here, a little personal but since you've have a been back here you got engaged.  Talk about that, talk about how your fiance, I guess, did it in case people didn't catch it.  I love this story, I want you to tell it.
BRITTANY LANG:  Yeah, I do too.  I gotten engaged at the Dallas tournament.  We have a tournament in north Texas, which is like 30 minutes from my house.  He proposed on the last green that I played on Saturday and, yeah, got down on one knee right there on the green and it was very special being in Dallas and our families were there and being on a golf course, it was very cool.

MODERATOR:  How's engaged life been?  Any different, just the same?  How's it been so far?
BRITTANY LANG:  No, it's been fun, planning the wedding's been fun, kind of thinking about the future, it's been exciting.  Yeah, we're excited for all that.

MODERATOR:  Any details you can reveal?  You heard it here first.
BRITTANY LANG:  Yeah, we set the date for January 11th and, yep, Stacy's got it on her calendar, January 11th.  I got the dressings, got my rehearsal dress and my wedding dress and we booked the chapel and everything, so we're moving.  It's been fun.

MODERATOR:  Stacy, we'll go to you.  Halfway through the season now, we hit the halfway mark, just talk about your year so far, I guess moving forward to the second half, which a lot of important events coming up, we have British coming up, Solheim.  Just talk about your season so far, how you feel physically, mentally and going forward to the second half?
STACY LEWIS:  Yeah, I mean my season's been good.  I got off to a really good start, off to a fast start, two wins early and everybody thinks I'm playing bad but I'm really not playing that poorly.  It's hard to keep playing well every single week is really hard, so I feel like I'm playing well.  My energy level is good and I'm excited about what's coming up, British and we have Evian still and then Solheim in between so there's a lot of stuff to play for in the next few weeks.

MODERATOR:  I know you probably don't think you'll get out of here without bringing up Inbee, but just talk about the state of the Tour now.  I guess you probably went through this earlier with all the extra attention, just media, things like that, a lot more eyes on the Tour just with what Inbee's doing.  Talk about how important that is where not necessarily we're getting the attention that the Tour deserves every week, but now that people are taking notice, how important is that?
STACY LEWIS:  Well, I think the Tour, I've said it all year, I think our Tour's in a great place.  I think we have a lot of top Americans playing well, and what Inbee's doing, it's unbelievable really.  You look at her numbers the last few weeks and the way she's winning and the way she's getting it done, it's just impressive.  To play well with all the extra demands, with the extra attention is even better.  So it's great what she's doing, it's a creating a lot of headlines for us, which is good.  She's getting the respect from the media that she deserves.

MODERATOR:  You had a little extra attention this past week, Feherty aired, your episode of Feherty.  I heard you didn't watch it.  Have you watched it yet?
STACY LEWIS:  I have not watched it.  I don't like watching myself.  I don't really watch interviews, I don't watch TV shows.  You watched it for me?  Thank you.
BRITTANY LANG:  It was awesome.  She did a good job.
STACY LEWIS:  Thank you.  It's cool, I got a lot of feedback from it, a lot of really good things.  People said I was a great storyteller and somebody tweeted that I could be the next Judy Rankin, which I don't really think that's in the near future, but it was fun.  It was really cool to film it.  The timing of it was really good, I thought, when it came out.  It's fun for people, I guess, to see the other side of me.

MODERATOR:  Paula, we'll get right to you, welcome.  How was your off week?  I heard you were in New York City, did a little media Tour.  Talk about that, what you were there for and I think I heard a 70-foot putt made in an office building.  Take us through what you were up to this off week and how you feel coming into this event?
PAULA CREAMER:  I was in New York City on Monday and had the nice travel delays from the airport and everything.  I can't believe all the subways and everything that happened to everybody.  I was there for Ricoh, just doing some practice and media things, getting ready for the British Open and being an ambassador for them, it was fun to be able to kind of go around the city.  I was in the SI.com and Golf.com building and at the end of the interview, we had this long 75-foot putt on carpet into a clear plastic putt.  Honestly, it was first take and it went in.  I went crazy.  I don't know if anybody's seen the video, but it's pretty fun.  Being able to do things like that and kind of see a little different side of yourself and you're not just out there grinding on the golf course.  It's cool when you can have sponsors that take you to the bigger cities and things like that to be more exposed.

MODERATOR:  I asked Stacy, we're halfway through the season, you're coming off a good week at the U.S. Open.  Talk about just where you are in the season physically, mentally, how you feel about your game, what you worked on this off week coming into this week. 
PAULA CREAMER:  I feel really good, just been doing what I've been doing, trying to kind of make some more putts here and there but really just trying to hit the ball a little bit closer to the hole.  It's been good, it's been a little bit more consistent.  After Wegmans I kind of had a regrouping there, that was I think my worst tournament that I've had in a really long time.  Sat back and looked at my overall picture.  I feel great, I'm really happy, I'm in a really good place right now.  I'm excited to play here.  This is such a great place, it's a great venue, so many wonderful fans that come out to watch, and for a second year it shows how much women's golf is important here.

MODERATOR:  Talk about last year.  I know everybody says with first-year events you don't know what to expect, could be a train wreck, could be good, could be great.  Everybody pretty much across the board said, wow, they really outdid themselves for a first year.  Talk about how impressive that show was that they put on and then coming into this year, kind of setting the bar a little high the second time around.
PAULA CREAMER:  It was incredible, I couldn't believe it.  The whole golf course, this is kind of the layout is so spread out, there were people on every hole and they just -- they appreciate good shots.  I always think some of the best fans are over in Europe because they just appreciate the game so much and they know what a good shot is and that's the same as here.  You hit a good shot and they let you know.  I think that's fun as a player.  They're just so excited to come and cheer you are on no matter what's going on.  Hopefully the weather the next four days will be nice for everybody to come out.  But the bar is set a little bit high for the fans.

MODERATOR:  At the U.S. Open, just a little anecdote, you crossed the $10 million mark in career earnings, 8th all time.  If you see the list, you're kind of around on that list, pretty remarkable in terms of what's you've accomplished in your career.  Not that you're counting every day, but talk about that being such a milestone in your career and what you've been able to accomplish consistently over your entire 10 years on Tour. 
PAULA CREAMER:  I actually had no idea.  To be honest, I don't think I've ever even looked at something like that before.  I remember being the first one, youngest player to ever make a million dollars, I thought that was a pretty cool one.  Crossing the $10 million mark, that's something that is nice.  Like I said, I think my uncle told me on the 18th hole, you crossed the $10 million mark.  Really?  What did I win?  It's neat to see.  I've had a lot of success in my career.  The greatest thing that I look at is I still enjoy every single day out here, every day is exciting, it's a new adventure and I can't wait for the next 10 years and see what happens.

Q.  All three of you have Solheim Cup experience.  We're coming down to it.  How important -- obviously that's something that's going to be an edge in this tournament for a lot of players.  Can you talk about that, just what that means to players trying to get their Solheim Cup points and just what's going to happen in the next couple weeks?
STACY LEWIS:  Making the Solheim Cup team I think is the goal of every American and the last few tournaments are the hardest.  I mean, Paula and I are pretty good, but Brit's a little bit on the bubble and it's a very hard place to be.  You know, you're over putts thinking, gosh, I have to finish in the top 20 just to get some points.  It's a hard place to be.  My goal is I want to be set, I don't want to have to worry about it coming down the stretch.  I want to be able to just worry about making sure my golf game is in order instead of trying to get points.  I think we had nine Americans in the top 20 at the U.S. Open, so I think we're playing some really good golf, so I think the team's going to be good any way we do it, but I'm just glad I'm not in that position.

Q.  Brittany, maybe you can talk about it?
BRITTANY LANG:  Yeah, it is a tough position.  I played good last year.  I got off to a rough start this year and that hurt me with the Solheim points, but I've kind of refocused and I've been working very hard and I'm getting my ball-striking back and my confidence as well.  It is a hard place to be in.  Paula and Stacy, they're set and they're fine, but I really haven't paid much attention to where I was at, I just knew I hadn't performed well at the beginning of the year, so I have to have some good tournaments and I've been playing really well so it's definitely the top goal on my list.

STACY LEWIS:  Some players look at it more than others.  Brit's one that doesn't look at it obviously.  I played with Morgan on Sunday at the Open and she was definitely thinking about it.  I think it's just your personality whether it affects you or not.

Q.  You're used to the Solheim Cup the way it is.  I was wondering if I could get from the three of you, with the way the Asians are playing now on Tour, obviously Australians in the past have played well, have you ever thought of the Solheim Cup as something along the lines of a Presidents Cup or you could also have an international team or maybe the three of them could be part of the Solheim Cup?
PAULA CREAMER:  No, the Solheim's the Solheim, the Ryder Cup's the Ryder Cup.  The tradition, everything that's gone behind it, that's what it is.  I think if we added something, we used to have something like the Lexus Cup where you could have international teams and things like that be a part of it.  But the Solheim, that's our pride and joy, that's what we -- my highlight of my golf career is playing on that team and going out with the girls that we play against every week. 

Is it unfortunate they can't be a part of that?  Yes, but that's why there is a Presidents Cup and there's no reason we can't have a First Ladies Cup, something like that.  I think that's the other way to look it.  But I don't think you should ever change the Solheim.  It is what it is.

STACY LEWIS:  I agree, Solheim is U.S. and Europe and I think if you even asked some of those other players, they would say that it needs to stay that way.  But we do have the International Crown starting next year at Cave Valley and that's going to involve eight countries from all over the world.  They'll qualify off the Rolex Rankings.  I think Korea's leading the list right now, Japan's in there, Australia, U.S., so that will be kind of our version of the Presidents Cup coming up.

BRITTANY LANG:  It is better that they added that, what's the tournament called?  The International Crown.  We had the Lexus Cup beforehand when the other countries got to participate and that went away seven years ago, so it's good they're going to have that.  But I agree with these girls, you can't change that tradition, U.S. versus Europe, and that's how it should be.

Q.  Brittany, you're coming in as defending champion, you said this was your first win last year.  How does that feel different from other tournaments that you've gone to?
BRITTANY LANG:  Yeah, like I said, this is a first for me and it's been a very fun week.  The fans have been amazing.  Every tee box I've been up to, they cheer when I come up there and I've never experienced something like that, so I'm just really trying to enjoy it and trying to represent myself well this week and have a good week for them.  The fans have been amazing, it's been one of the coolest weeks.

Q.  Is there a little bit of extra pressure having that title to defend?
BRITTANY LANG:  Maybe.  I don't feel it.  I've been playing well and feeling good.  Like I said, I'm just going to try to enjoy the week because this has never happened to me before and just try to enjoy the fans and just have a good week out of it.

Q.  Compared to last year, the course is a lot wetter obviously, the rain just hasn't stopped.  Challenges that you're seeing that present in comparison to last year for all three of you?
BRITTANY LANG:  The course condition is night and day from last year.  It was very warm, dried out, firm and fast.  It's fine now.  It's not unplayable by any means, it's just soft.  I'm hitting more club off the tee, more drivers, more 3-woods, but it's still -- it's very scorable as it was last year, still able to make a lot more birdies, just playing a little bit longer is all.

STACY LEWIS:  Yeah, the course is very different from last year.  I think I hit a lot more drivers, a lot longer clubs into the greens but the greens are holding better.  You're still going to see low scores, you're still going to see a lot of birdies.  I don't know, this course, the way it sets up off the tee, it's just a birdie fest, you've got to go out there and make some putts.

PAULA CREAMER:  Hopefully Mother Nature can hold off this afternoon.  By Sunday it might be a little bit drier out there, but it is.  You're going to see a lot of birdies.  Last year the longer players couldn't hit many drivers; this year pretty much I don't think there's that many holes where you really don't hit driver.  That's really the only big difference.  I think 17 might play a little bit easier this year than last year, you can almost hold that green now.  It will still be a great tournament no matter what.  Like I said, you can't control Mother Nature and unfortunately it's been a rough couple of days.

Q.  This question's for Brittany Lang, the defending champion.  I was hoping you could tell us something about Stacy and Paula that we don't know.  They get a lot of attention compared to you.  Can you give us some background as to what these players are really like?
STACY LEWIS:  Can we turn your mic off?

BRITTANY LANG:  I've known these girls forever, so long.  I've known Stacy, I played high school golf with Stacy a little bit, and Paula since I was probably 12 or 13.  The cool thing about these girls -- just kidding.  What you see is what you get.  They're good girls, they're good people. 

I would probably say for Stacy, people don't realize how much charity work she does.  They see the golfer and they know she's had back problems and they know she does good things, but I don't think they realize how much good she does.  She probably won't talk about it, but she is one of the most giving people I've ever met, so that's one for Stacy. 

Paula, what you see is what you get.  These are the girls, I promise you, they're not any different behind closed doors, they're the exact same.

PAULA CREAMER:  Better make that good here.

BRITTANY LANG:  I don't know, they're just good girls.  Paula's going to be in my wedding in January, so we're obviously very close.

STACY LEWIS:  She helped you find your dress, right?

BRITTANY LANG:  She did.  That's the girl you want to take with you.

Q.  What do we not know about Brittany Lang?  I know previously you said your passion about dancing, Brittany.  You told us that in the Bahamas.
PAULA CREAMER:  She has some moves, I'll tell you.

STACY LEWIS:  She could probably have her own show, reality TV show for Brittany Lang, that'd be pretty good actually.

PAULA CREAMER:  That's the thing, you're so interesting, you don't think you're interesting.  I think that Brittany, she never gives up, she's just a fighter, she grinds through everything.  You see that when she's out there, but there's a difference.  She will not -- if she wants to tell you something, she's going to tell you and she has the thickest skin I've ever seen.  It's pretty cool we can sit here and say we've known each other for so long, that's the other neat experience, to have junior golf.  Like you said, I'll be in her wedding.  Who would have thought that 15 years ago that we would be sitting here saying that, but it's pretty neat.

Q.  You guys touched on this a little earlier, there are thunderstorms on their way in this afternoon and it's supposed to be beautiful on the weekend.  How much is involved in almost playing it by ear, obviously practice on the soft conditions today since you got here.  Will there be a certain amount of you have to play it by ear on the weekend as conditions change?
STACY LEWIS:  As golfers that's kind of what we do, we always have to adjust.  Just when you think it's going to be one way, maybe the rain misses us and the course dries out.  We're always having to adjust depending on if it rains, if it doesn't rain.  Really the last two months everywhere we played I think it's rained.  If anything, we're used to playing in the rain so I guess we should be kind of used to this weather.  But we're always having to adjust, so it's just kind of part of what we do.

Q.  One last question, I just have to ask this, Paula, can you show us your While We're Young impression?
PAULA CREAMER:  No, I can't, no.  I was so nervous doing that, my goodness.  No.  That was a one-time deal.  We say it now a little bit out there, "While we're young," but I don't do my (inaudible) moves.

BRITTANY LANG:  How did you come up with that?

Q.  Hi, ladies.  Wondering, Brittany, when a player on Tour is on a hot streak like the one Inbee's on now, does it force you to adjust your game at all, does it force you to be more aggressive?  Do you find yourself watching the scoreboard a little bit more?  How does it change things?
BRITTANY LANG:  It's funny because somebody asked me that at the U.S. Open.  Normally when you play a U.S. Open, you're trying to hit fairways and greens and make pars and you're in good shape.  But Inbee was 10-under par, and I felt like I was playing an Open like I was supposed to play an Open and I was 12 shots back.  Actually it's like the Open week every week with Inbee Park actually, exactly like that because she makes every putt and she doesn't make many mistakes.  That's exactly right, you do have to play more aggressive.  I think she's making the Tour better obviously, but she's making the players better for sure.

STACY LEWIS:  I think Yani did it in 2011.  People just get on streaks where you're playing well (inaudible) really good, and if anything it makes you better, you have to start playing better, you have to work harder.  Inbee's doing what she did probably because of the way Yani played.  It's just kind of a cycle and we'll see who this affects now. 

PAULA CREAMER:  It's the same with Annika in '05 when she was so hot and then Lorena came in after her, and now Yani.  I mean, it's just kind of a domino effect.  It's pretty neat to see that.  Obviously we want to be that person in that chair, but the same thing is with Brittany, I played junior golf with Inbee and when you know someone and you see how hard they work over such a long period of time, it's so impressive what she's doing, but at the same time it's elevating all of us, it's where we need to be.  If we're not, she's going to leave us all in the dust, she's just playing so well.  Obviously streaks don't last forever, but what she's been doing is changing women's golf and it's almost like the next Se Ri Pak movement for Korea.  It's pretty interesting to watch.

Q.  I just wanted to ask Brittany what her thoughts were when she approached 18 this week.  You birdied it the last four, five times you played it?
STACY LEWIS:  How many times did you play it?

BRITTANY LANG:  I don't remember, a lot.  Tuesday and Wednesday I birdied it both days there, so I think I have like seven birdies in a row, except in regulation, I didn't birdie in regulation last year.  No, it was really special coming up.  Yesterday I just played the back nine with a friend late in the afternoon and walking up, it was pretty cool to look at the grandstands.  I was smiling when I was walking up, it was very special to be back.

Q.  And minus 16 was the number last year.  Do you see similar numbers this year?
BRITTANY LANG:  Yeah, absolutely, if not lower, I think.

STACY LEWIS:  Lower?

BRITTANY LANG:  You'd better watch out.

PAULA CREAMER:  You must really like that walk up 18, huh?







June 9, 2013

Inbee Park, Rolex Rankings No. 1
Jennifer Kirby, CN Canadian Women’s Tour professional
Brooke Henderson, Team Canada Amateur Team member


Inbee back in action:
Rolex Rankings No. 1 Inbee Park returns to Waterloo, Ontario this week with a lot of extra eyes set on her as she shoots for four straight LPGA Tour wins and coming off her third-consecutive major win at the U.S. Women’s Open. Park said the attention she received after her record-setting win at Sebonack Golf Club in Southampton, N.Y. two weeks ago was nothing she could prepare herself for. She made a media tour Monday morning in New York City following her win that included stops at the Today Show, Golf Channel’s Morning Drive, ESPN’s Sportscenter.

“I mean, it's been different,” said Park. “That's something that I have never experienced before and three straight wins, three straight majors, something I've never seen it before and it's something that's great.  Last week was quite busy…I didn't know something like that happens after the win.  I'm used to getting a lot of attention on the golf course, but off the golf course in a city like New York, that big of a city, a lot of people looking at me, it was weird getting that kind of attention outside the golf course.

“It was a little fun for me, I did a lot of things that I'm going to experience from now on is going to be a little different than I've experienced before,” said Park. “I'm trying to get used to it, not totally used to it yet, but still learning.”  

Park said dealing with gaining superstar status after the U.S. Women’s Open has been a learning process but tried to enjoy her time off the course while her family was in the States. She spent time house-hunting in Las Vegas with her fiancé and didn’t get much practice time in because of the excessive heat in the desert area.

“I got to relax the last couple days before I came here,” said Park. “It was nice to get to spend a lot of time with the family, especially in America, especially they came and see my wins in U.S. Open and weeks before, too.  It was a very good memory.”


Moving forward:
Park said she knows it will be a challenge trying to stay focused on the task at hand each day moving forward and blocking out the big picture of setting records and making history. She claims she tries to improve her game every day and said after her win on Long Island that “it’s scary of what I’m capable of doing.” She said she has room for improvement which is bad news for the rest of her competitors and she’s concentrating on her mental game.

“Pretty much everything, sometimes my ball-striking skills not as good as I want, sometimes my short game skills not as good as I want, sometimes my mentality is not there,” said Park. “It really depends on every week but I think these days it's more of a mentality level that I need to keep calm, try to concentrate on this week instead of thinking about last few weeks that I had. 

“I think I really need to forget about those things now and have a fresh start from now on, treat every tournament the same,” said Park. “I mean, it's really tough to do, forgetting something that I've done in the past.  I mean, I wouldn't forget those things but I just want to refresh my mind and really want to start new this week.”

Park lost in a four-player sudden-death playoff to Brittany Lang last year in Waterloo for a runner-up finish, one of six she recorded last season. She said the course at Grey Silo is playing differently than last year after a few days of heavy rain have saturated the track.

I played a practice round last two days here and the course is playing quite different, it's playing a lot longer,” said Park. “Last year it was very firm and running, the greens were firm, the fairways were firm.  We're not getting any run this week.  The holes I was hitting pitching wedge, 9 iron, I'm hitting more like 6 irons in now, so it will be a longer golf course for me.  But greens are stopping so we can attack the pins here.  The greens are a little bit slower than last year but I think by the tournament, if they get good weather, I think it will quicken up a little bit.” 

Even after a poor final round last year, Park still managed her way into the playoff and said she’s definitely looking forward to getting back in the swing of things on a course she feels very comfortable on.

“I've had a good result here last year, and I have a good memory.  I played very good the first three days of the tournament and I didn't play that well in the final day but still got into the playoff.  I feel very good about this golf course, I think I still shot like 16-under or something here, so this is definitely a course I like.”

See you at St. Andrews: Five spots are up for grabs this week for entry into next month’s RICOH Women’s British Open. Players in the field this week at the Manulife Financial LPGA Classic and not otherwise qualified for the fourth major of the season have a chance to play their way in to the event at the historic Old Course at St. Andrews. The five spots will be determined by 36-hole scores (rounds 1 and 2) and ties will be broken by 54-hole, then if necessary, 72 hole scores.  

Oh Canada: Canada natives Brooke Henderson and Jennifer Kirby are both playing in this week’s event on sponsor invitations and are two players who are helping in carrying the torch for the future of Canadian women’s golf. Henderson, who is 15 and still an amateur, and Kirby, a recent University of Alabama graduate, both have professional wins to their names and hope that continue on a winning path. Canadians have been winless on the LPGA Tour since Lorie Kane won the LPGA TakeFuji Classic in 2001. Both young players said Kane has helping them in their careers so far.

“I mean, Lori's definitely instrumental in Canadian golf and she's also gracious to everyone that's on the -- in the Canadians, I guess, when we're on Tour, she's always ‘what do you need, if you need anything ask me, what are you doing here, do you want to play a round.’  She's always helpful in asking you if you need anything,” said Kirby.

Henderson played a practice round with Kane on Tuesday and said she feels that the amateur players involved in the Team Canada program are in good hands

It's a great program, there's a lot of coaches and a lot of support, from my head coach, Tristan Mullally, and my assistant coach, Ann Carroll, and I have fitness and physiotherapist and mental coaches,” said Henderson. “It's a whole team.  I'm traveling with teammates and my best friends to tournaments, so it's a whole great experience.  Definitely traveling with them is a comfort factor traveling to big events where I don't really know what to expect, having them there definitely helps.”

Kirby is also a product of Team Canada and said the support system they provide even helps with the transition into the professional ranks. Kirby won her professional debut last month at a CN Canadian Women’s Open event and will also play at the CN Canadian Women’s Open, the LPGA’s second stop in Canada, in August.

“I mean, I didn't have the best year at school (Alabama).  It wasn't bad, but I felt like I was starting to play better and I had pretty low expectations going into that week,” said Kirby. “I remember over the first tee I actually thought to myself, oh, my gosh, this is the first shot I'm hitting as a professional, but it was like pouring rain so I didn't really think about it that much.  The whole first day it was raining, so really I was just focused on the next shot and keeping dry.  Then when it was all over, everyone kept saying oh, you're one for one, you won your first event as a pro.  I never really thought about it.”

Tweet of the Day: @InbeePark wins @LPGA Kia Most Compelling Performance Award for June. At this rate she will be able to open her own dealership” --@RonSirak


Quotable: “
If (kids) think of me as I thought of Se Ri, it's like a dream come true” –Inbee Park on playing the part of a role model for young golfers

 
INBEE PARK, Rolex Rankings No. 1

MODERATOR:  I'd like to welcome in Rolex Rankings No. 1 Inbee Park, coming off three straight victories, three straight majors as well.  Let's start off, how are you feeling?  Has everything sunk in?  How are you doing just in terms of dealing with everything, all the attention you've been getting the past couple weeks.
INBEE PARK:  Yeah, I mean, it's been different.  That's something that I have never experienced before and three straight wins, three straight majors, something I've never seen it before and it's something that's great.  Last week was quite busy.  I got to relax the last couple days before I came here.  It was nice to get to spend a lot of time with the family, especially in America, especially they came and see my wins in U.S. Open and weeks before, too.  It was a very good memory.

MODERATOR:  You said it was really special to have your family there for that win.  Talk about the whirlwind after the 24 hours where you went to New York City, did the whole media tour, you carried around the trophy in New York City, your whole family was with you.  Just talk about that experience and being able to do something so unique that really no other LPGA player's been able to do and have your family there to do it, just talk about that for a little bit.
INBEE PARK:  Yeah, I didn't know something like that after the win.  I'm used to getting a lot of attention on the golf course, but off the golf course in a city like New York, that big of a city, a lot of people looking at me, it was weird getting that kind of attention outside the golf course.  It was really different.  It was a little fun for me, I did a lot of things that I'm going to experience from now on is going to be a little different than I've experienced before.  I'm trying to get used to it, not totally used to it yet, but still learning.

MODERATOR:  I hear your mom and dad were excited to meet Matt Lauer at The Today Show and he wasn't even there.  Were they a little disappointed, let down, or were they still excited?
INBEE PARK:  No, they were really excited that I get to go places like that, meet somebody they only saw on TV and it was just a very cool experience for everybody in my family and for myself, too.

MODERATOR:  Then you got some time off but you just told me it wasn't very relaxing.  During your time off you did a lot of house hunting with your fiance.  Talk about the off week and how important it was to just get off the golf course and do something other than golf and not deal with a lot of media throughout the entire week.  How important was that?
INBEE PARK:  The first couple days after the Open was I think pretty much on the phone nonstop for two days talking to media, talking to friends and family.  It's just been ringing nonstop.  It's very good to have that kind of attention, the people congratulating, but when it gets to four or five hours straight on the phone you get a little bit tired, but it was fun. 

After those two days we went house hunting in Las Vegas and we saw a couple of good houses.  It was way too hot to do house hunting or golfing, the weather was just killing me.  I feel really relieved coming here with cloud cover, no sun and just really happy to see no sun this week.

MODERATOR:  You said the one thing probably in Las Vegas with the house, you need to have a pool, that's probably one of the top things.  One of my favorite lines from you last week or at the Open was during the ceremony where you said, "It's almost scary what I'm capable of doing."  I think you were kind of surprised that you were even accomplishing what you were accomplishing.  Talk about improving because you're always keen on improving every day, taking every day as it is.  I think the scariest part for us is that you have room for improvement in any part of your game. 
What's been the one thing that you've been really concentrating on?  Obviously you didn't get to practice too much this past week, but one thing in your game coming into this week you're hoping to improve upon?
INBEE PARK:  Pretty much everything, sometimes my ball-striking skills not as good as I want, sometimes my short game skills not as good as I want, sometimes my mentality is not there.  It really depends on every week but I think these days it's more of a mentality level that I need to keep calm, try to concentrate on this week instead of thinking about last few weeks that I had.  I think I really need to forget about those things now and have a fresh start from now on, treat every tournament the same.  I mean, it's really tough to do, forgetting something that I've done in the past.  I mean, I wouldn't forget those things but I just want to refresh my mind and really want to start new this week.

MODERATOR:  Moving forward to this week, last year you were runnerup first year you played here.  Talk about this course, what you look forward to playing on here and what you really think will set up well for you.
INBEE PARK:  Last year -- I played a practice round last two days here and the course is playing quite different, it's playing a lot longer.  Last year it was very firm and running, the greens were firm, the fairways were firm, we were getting probably three, four (indiscernible) every hole.  We're not getting any run this week.  The holes I was hitting pitching wedge, 9 iron, I'm hitting more like 6 irons in now, so it will be a longer golf course for me.  But greens are stopping so we can attack the pins here.  The greens are a little bit slower than last year but I think by the tournament, if they get good weather, I think it will quicken up a little bit.  I've had a good result here last year, and I have a good memory.  I played very good the first three days of the tournament and I didn't play that well in the final day but still got into the playoff.  I feel very good about this golf course, I think I still shot like 16-under or something here, so this is definitely a course I like.

Q.  Inbee, after the U.S. Open, obviously there's a lot of emphasis on the majors right now, coming back to Waterloo now and this tournament of course, but how difficult is it to keep from going up and down as far as emotionally and in your mindset?  Is that a tough thing to do, especially at your age?
INBEE PARK:  Yeah, it is tough.  If I were to play this tournament right after U.S. Open, I think it would have been a lot tougher for me just coming off from the Sunday win and trying -- competition this week is going to be pretty tough.  But I've just done something like in Arkansas when I won, I thought I wouldn't be able to concentrate on U.S. Open because I just won, but that's something that I was able to do and I think this week's the same.  I had a week off last week.  I feel more relaxed, I feel more refreshed, so I feel a lot better this week.  I think I'm calmed down a lot now.

Q.  You heard a lot of questions, I assume anyway you heard a lot of questions about playing the British in a few weeks at St. Andrews.  How many times have you heard that question about what's going to happen?  Does it almost intimidate?
INBEE PARK:  I try to not think about it, but I think about 50 people reminded me, how do you feel about playing.  I still feel great.  I don't treat tournaments differently, it's another tournament for me.  I think I'm very lucky that I get that kind of opportunity where I have a chance to win four straight majors.  All those things are just a gift for me for playing good golf.  Not many people get that opportunity and I think I'm the lucky one to get that opportunity, so I think I should appreciate it.

Q.  With what you've experienced since winning the three majors, nothing against us, but do you almost regret seeing the media come along with all those questions, and can they actually put a negative in your mind as well asking about the toughness of doing the Grand Slam, that type of thing?  Does that -- can they put a negative thought in your head?
INBEE PARK:  Well, if I think about it so much, what I think I need to do is separate myself from outside the golf course and inside the golf course.  When I'm inside the golf course, I can't think about too many things.  When I'm outside the golf course, whether I want to hear or I don't want to hear, I'm going to hear it, there's no doubt about that.  So I'm a human and I think a lot of same things that everybody else does and I hear all the things that everybody talk about.  I think about it and I know I want to do something that somebody's never done before, yeah.  But I just know that that wouldn't be so helpful on the golf course, so I try to concentrate just on golf on the golf course.  Think as much as I want off the golf course, but just on the golf course I try to just do whatever I'm doing on the golf course.

Q.  You said you heard from a lot of people last week after winning the Women's Open.  Any surprise people call you to congratulate you about your wins, somebody you may not have -- maybe someone from Korea that you hadn't heard from or one of the legend golf players from the States?
INBEE PARK:  I always get a letter from Arnold Palmer for winning, that's been something very special for me here.  I got a congratulations letter from president of Korea, so that was something very special.  I think I've got it when I won U.S. Open and I got it just last week from her.  It's special, I think, not many people get to do that.

Q.  What would it mean to you to complete the Slam?
INBEE PARK:  Well, it would mean everything, it would mean the world to me.  Something I've been dreaming of.  I don't think I even dreamed that far, to be honest.  I never dreamed doing a calendar Grand Slam, never.  I thought I would be very lucky if I do a Grand Slam, just a Grand Slam, not a calendar Grand Slam.  That's a tough thing.  It would just mean a lot, something very special, doing something nobody's ever done before is just very good.  I don't think about it so deeply.  I mean, it would mean a lot, yeah.

Q.  You grew up watching Se Ri Pak and now a lot of young players look up to you.  Do you have anything to say to them?
INBEE PARK:  Well, I watched Se Ri playing and I grew up looking at her playing and being inspiration for somebody is just very special for me.  I thought I would never get that kind of moment because there's so many good Korean players in my age, too.  Yeah, it feels great.  If they're going to think of me as I thought of Se Ri, it's like a dream come true.

MODERATOR:  You have another big day coming up this week, 25th birthday on Friday.  Have any special plans, anything in particular you're looking to do?
INBEE PARK:  No, it's just a birthday.  I mean, everybody gets their birthday once in a year.  I mean, I always get my birthday in the week of tournament because it's in July.  It would be great if I could win this week as a birthday gift.  Yeah, we'll celebrate at dinner.

Q.  Happy birthday, Inbee.
INBEE PARK:  Thank you.

Q.  You're half of my age, so don't feel bad.  How much attention do you pay to Yani Tseng?  She was in the position you're in now at one point looking to be a very dominant player -- not that she won't be again because I think she will be -- but do you look at that, hate to sound negative, but as something that can happen to a young player, come along, you know, you can hit those rough patches.  Does that play in your mind or do you even want to think about that?
INBEE PARK:  Well, she's gotten to the point where she wanted to be and she was No. 1 for a long time.  She handled this kind of pressure, she handled all the media attention.  I mean, I really admire her for doing that and controlling herself for -- I think she's done it for almost three years.  I think that's very talented.  She still has a lot of potential and she's a very talented player so she can bounce back at any time.  I think as a golfer you always get tough times.  I'm sure I've done it before, I'm sure everybody's done it before.  They get their bad times and they get their good times, so I think you just really have to be patient.

Q.  We have an extensive Korean community here and we hear a lot of Koreans will come to Waterloo to see you play.  What would you say to them?
INBEE PARK:   (Answer in Korean.)

Q.  You said your mom and dad were with you at the Women's Open.  Will they be out with you the rest of this year?  Will they be at the Women's British?  Can you talk a little bit about their schedule?
INBEE PARK:  Yeah, they were coming to Evian at the beginning of the year, they are coming to Evian.  This last week they decided they want to come to British now, so I'm trying to book their rooms at the last minute.  That's pretty tough.  I'm trying to find them accommodations so they can come, and they said they're coming no matter what.  Even if they have to sleep on the couch, they said they're coming.

Q.  Is it hard to not have them travel with you?
INBEE PARK:  Well, I don't want them traveling with me full time, no, not full time, but there's moments that I really want to share with my family.  Yeah, I definitely want them to come and they've been very supportive of me all my life, they're very special to me.  As long as they want to come, there is no reason for me to stop them if it's not, you know, every tournament in my schedule.

 

JENNIFER KIRBY, CN Canadian Women’s Tour professional
BROOKE HENDERSON, Team Canada Amateur Team member

MODERATOR:  I'd like to welcome into the interview room Jennifer Kirby and Brooke Henderson, our two sponsor invites this week.  Guys, thanks for coming in.  I'd like to start off, Jennifer, talk about receiving the invitation to come play in this event.  I know you played in it last year, and to get that phone call or email, however you got it, just talk about getting invited into an event where it's close to your home and you get to tee it up in front of your friends and family.
JENNIFER KIRBY:  Yeah, I'm very grateful that I got the sponsor's exemption.  It was nice last year getting in as an amateur, but it meant a lot more to me this year just being able to play as a professional.  I haven't gone through Q School yet so it kind of filled up the schedule a little bit more and made it a lot easier for me.

MODERATOR:  Brooke, first time here, what did you think of the course?  I know you said you're done practicing today.  How do you think this course sets up for you?
BROOKE HENDERSON:  I like the course a lot, I'm really looking forward to the week and getting some experience.  Yeah, the course is great.  I played it yesterday and again today with Lori Kane, so I'm really looking forward to it.

MODERATOR:  Now what's your relationship like with Lori?  Does she give you pointers, does she help you out?  How's that relationship with a veteran Canadian?
BROOKE HENDERSON:  Yes, she was definitely giving me some pointers out there.  It was just a great experience to be able to play with her.

MODERATOR:  Did she give you any specific tips or anything that stuck out to you that you're very thankful for?
BROOKE HENDERSON:  Yeah, she gave me a few key pointers as in always be your own best friend, so definitely that hits home and I'm going to take with me.

MODERATOR:  Now you're coming off playing in the U.S. Women's Open.  Talk about that entire week.  That had to be very exciting.  And also talk about going into that week knowing how tough that course could have been and teeing it up next to some of the best players in the world.
BROOKE HENDERSON:  It was a beautiful course, it was in great condition, really tough.  There was some wind and fog at some times.  I did make the cut, which was my goal.  Just the whole experience of the U.S. Women's Open was great.

MODERATOR:  Now, Jennifer, talk about the transition from amateur to professional.  You played at Alabama.  Just talk about turning pro and kind of playing golf as your career, just talk about how that transition's been going for you and, like you said, playing now as a professional for the first time.
JENNIFER KIRBY:  Yeah, this will be my first LPGA event as a pro, but I finished school in May and then declared pro right after.  Definitely a lot different, a lot more on your plate and you have to take care of a lot more, be more independent.  It's also nice to have that extra freedom that I didn't really have in college and make my own decisions, so it's been good.

MODERATOR:  You didn't even mention you won in your professional debut.
JENNIFER KIRBY:  Yes.

MODERATOR:  Talk about that.  Did you have any expectations kind of going into your first event as a professional?  Did it feel any different?  Did you put higher expectations on yourself?  Did you feel pressure that you wanted to do well right off the bat and went out and won your first --
JENNIFER KIRBY:  Not really.  I mean, I didn't have the best year at school.  It wasn't bad, but I felt like I was starting to play better and I had pretty low expectations going into that week.  I remember over the first tee I actually thought to myself, oh, my gosh, this is the first shot I'm hitting as a professional, but it was like pouring rain so I didn't really think about it that much.  The whole first day it was raining, so really I was just focused on the next shot and keeping dry.  Then when it was all over, everyone kept saying oh, you're one for one, you won your first event as a pro.  I never really thought about it.  It did just seem like another amateur event, which was kind of the goal in playing an event like that because I had played it as an amateur so I was very comfortable and a good ease into my career.

MODERATOR:  Like you said, you felt very comfortable going into an event like that.  Coming into an LPGA event, does it feel much harder just knowing that you're going to be going up against a lot of really good players and the best players from around the world?  Does that change your mindset at all or are you going to try to keep your routine the same?
JENNIFER KIRBY:  Yeah, keep it the same.  Obviously I know there's a ton of great players here, the best in the world, but I have to go into each week just trying to do my own thing and see how it goes.  Luckily I've had enough experiences at this stage that it's a bit more comfortable than it was a few years ago and it's almost like a home course, so that's good.

MODERATOR:  I was going to say, you're from Paris, not too far from here.  How many friends and family are you expecting this week?
JENNIFER KIRBY:  I'm sure a lot.  I don't know really, we'll see Thursday.

MODERATOR:  You didn't take a count yet?
JENNIFER KIRBY:  No.

Q.  Jennifer, what did you take away from last year playing this course that you can apply this year in your first professional go around?
JENNIFER KIRBY:  Well, this week I only played 18 holes yesterday and nine holes today because I really feel familiar with the golf course and I know where to hit it and where to miss it, stuff like that.  Also, the scores were extremely low last year and I know that putting is extremely important, so it was nice to get a few extra looks at the greens.  I feel pretty comfortable with it and I got to come up here just a few weeks ago, too, to get an extra look.  I think just knowing what to expect score-wise and, you know, just knowing the target lines off the tees pretty well really helps.

MODERATOR:  Brooke, I have another question for you.  You have your Team Canada gear on.  Talk about just that entire dynamic of what you said, traveling with the team to amateur events and things like that.  What have they done to help you develop as an amateur player as you start to play in more professional events and keep going with your golf career?
BROOKE HENDERSON:  It's a great program, there's a lot of coaches and a lot of support, from my head coach, Tristan Mullally, and my assistant coach, Ann Carroll, and I have fitness and physiotherapist and mental coaches.  It's a whole team.  I'm traveling with teammates and my best friends to tournaments, so it's a whole great experience.  Definitely traveling with them is a comfort factor traveling to big events where I don't really know what to expect, having them there definitely helps.

MODERATOR:  Better than traveling with parents?  Do you think it's better to do just the coaches and the teammates?
BROOKE HENDERSON:  I miss my parents when I'm away.

MODERATOR:  That's the right answer.

Q.  For the both of you, how do you handle the expectations of a country that's sort of starved for an LPGA star to look up to really since Lori (inaudible) 10, 15 years ago when we really haven't had anyone?  Give us your thoughts on that if you could.
JENNIFER KIRBY:  I would say when I'm at Canadian events I know it's a good thing and that's how it should be seen.  Everyone's there to cheer you on, they're not going to root against you if you don't play well, so I think it's nice just having the extra fans and feeling a little more special.

BROOKE HENDERSON:  Definitely there's a lot of support from Canadians and just trying to get out there and play our best ever time.  Hopefully in the future there (inaudible.)

Q.  Might be one of you two?
BROOKE HENDERSON:  Yeah.

Q.  What players did you look up to when you were younger, or even now I guess in your case?

JENNIFER KIRBY:  I definitely looked up to Annika and watched her a lot when I was growing up.  Obviously I look up to Tiger as well even though he's not on the women's side, obviously a great player.  You learn a lot by watching people that are older than you.  I mean, Lori's definitely instrumental in Canadian golf and she's also gracious to everyone that's on the -- in the Canadians, I guess, when we're on Tour, she's always what do you need, if you need anything ask me, what are you doing here, do you want to play a round.  She's always helpful in asking you if you need anything.

Q.  I was going to ask do you think Canada's doing enough to develop young players?
BROOKE HENDERSON:  The Team Canada program is truly amazing and there's tons of support.  They're working hard at new programs to help amateurs, turn us into professionals and help us in any way they can.

MODERATOR:  A strength coach and a mental coach, I think that's --
JENNIFER KIRBY:  Yeah, there's definitely a lot of resources in the program.  Beyond that, I'm not really sure.  I mean, I don't know enough to really answer that.

Q.  Jennifer, you talked last week when we chatted, you mentioned about getting your (inaudible) now that you're out on your own.  Have you developed anything individually so to speak when you are practicing?
JENNIFER KIRBY:  I can't think of anything really specific, but I mean, when I was saying that, I think I'm just referring to being able to say hey, this is when I want to get to the golf course, this is when I want to leave.  In college that's not really your decision and oftentimes you get stuck at the golf course for hours after.  But yeah, it's just nice to kind of take each day as it comes and see what fits you.  I think I'm still on that learning curve.

Q.  So it's not really a practice routine, it's more of a scheduling type of thing?
JENNIFER KIRBY:  Yeah, definitely.

Q.  Brooke, as far as you being at the U.S. Women's Open, what did you take away from there, any specific thing?
BROOKE HENDERSON:  Just the whole experience from playing against the best in the world and practicing beside them, having my locker beside some of them was really cool.

MODERATOR:  Who were you next to?
BROOKE HENDERSON:  There were a lot. Stacy Lewis was in there Just the whole experience was awesome.  Beautiful golf course, very tough conditions so I learned how to play a links-style golf course with heavy wind.

Q.  When you're dealing in an atmosphere like that with all those big names around you, do you almost learn you almost have to be, I don't know, kind of uncaring about it?  Do you know what I mean, not be overly impressed by it?
BROOKE HENDERSON:  I definitely look up to them and I try to learn as much as I can just from how they play, how they act, and just look up to them.

MODERATOR:  You don't get starstruck anymore or anything, right?
BROOKE HENDERSON:  Sometimes.  I try not to, though.

Q.  Some ladies were saying that last year this tournament drew one of the biggest crowds they saw on the Tour all year.  Jennifer, you're nodding your head yes.  You already mentioned the Canadian fans and the support that you feel, but how do you deal with that momentum and the pressure of being not only here in your hometown, and Brooke, in your home country, and seeing these massive crowds and maybe you guys are the ones they're following and not some of the other big names?
JENNIFER KIRBY:  I think it's a great thing.  Yeah, I heard that last year, besides the majors, Manulife had the largest attendance of the year so that's awesome.  I know the Canadians love these events.  Like I said before, they're just there cheering you on, and if you want to be one of the best players in the world, you kind of have to get used to that so I think it's great.  I know that they're (inaudible) so that's good.

Q.  Do you thrive off of that?
JENNIFER KIRBY:  I mean, it definitely gets you excited.  I think that's important, it's always a good thing, so yeah.

Q.  Brooke, are you looking forward to the crowd?
BROOKE HENDERSON:  Yeah, it's definitely a big adrenaline rush, but you have to focus on your own game and not focusing on who's in the crowd or how big it is.

Q.  How does your game play here at Grey Silo? 
BROOKE HENDERSON:  I like the course a lot.  I'm looking forward to getting out there on Thursday and trying to have a good round.

Q.  How are you going to do that?  What are you looking for, long drives, solid putting?  What's the focus for the week?
BROOKE HENDERSON:  Definitely have to be smart off the tee, get your lines, but around the greens is definitely a big thing, focusing on some pace putting and just better at getting around the greens and seeing the slopes and how to use them.

Q.  What's the biggest thing you can take away from events like this where you do get to play beside the tops in the world?  You've mentioned watching how they play and learning how to adapt from that, but as far as how to deal with the press and the crowds and everything like that, especially here in your hometown or home country, how did that help being around the stars when that's happening?
BROOKE HENDERSON:  I'm just trying to take as much as I can from the whole experience and playing against the best in the world and playing on a big stage on the LPGA Tour, just trying to take as much as I can for the future.

Q.  I just wanted to ask your impressions of what Lydia Ko has been able to achieve at the same age as you.  Do you watch what she does and your thoughts on it?
BROOKE HENDERSON:  She's amazing, that's for sure.  Definitely pretty cool what she's been able to accomplish and where she's at right now is awesome.  I look forward to watching her in the future.  Definitely I'm trying to win out here also, but she's a great player.

Q.  Do you use her as sort of a measuring stick or do you just focus on what you do?
BROOKE HENDERSON:  I'm just focusing on myself.

MODERATOR:  Good idea.  Have you guys ever met?
BROOKE HENDERSON:  Not really. 

Topics: Notes and Interviews, Manulife Financial LPGA Classic

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