Marathon Classic Presented by Owens Corning and O-I Pre-Tournament Notes and Interviews

Stacy Lewis
Photo Credit: Harry How/Getty Images

Stacy Lewis signs autographs after round two of the Manulife Financial LPGA Classic at the Grey Silo Golf Course in Waterloo, Canada.

Marathon Classic Presented by Owings Corning & O-I
Highland Meadows Golf Club
Sylvania, Ohio
Pre-tournament Notes and Interviews
July 16 and 17, 2013

July 17, 2013

Stacy Lewis, Rolex Rankings No. 2
Paula Creamer, Rolex Rankings No. 14

After 28 years of hosting the Toledo Classic, legendary Jamie Farr has passed the torch on to the Marathon Petroleum Corporation, who will be the title sponsor for this year’s Marathon Classic presented by Owens Corning & O-I at Highland Meadows Golf Club in Sylvania, Ohio.  The event also makes its return to global television via Golf Channel and the LPGA’s international television partners that will bring the tournament to more than 160 countries around the world. 

So Yeon Ryu looks to defend her title and break into the winner’s column for the first time this season after two runner-up finishes at the Kraft Nabisco Championship and the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship.  Ryu won last year’s Jamie Farr Toledo Classic as a rookie thanks to an impressive final-round, 9-under-par 62. The great round gave her a seven-stroke victory over runner-up Angela Stanford and it marked her first LPGA tournament win as a member. She won 2011 U.S. Women’s Open while playing on the KLPGA Tour.

Face of the franchise: For Rolex Rankings No. 2 Stacy Lewis, this week’s tournament is more than just another even on the schedule.  Just one glimpse around Highland Meadow’s Golf Club and Lewis’ face can be seen everywhere; from posters to programs, Lewis is the face of the Marathon Classic.

“A lot of the other players have been giving me hard time about how my picture is everywhere.  They're signing posters with my picture on it, programs with my picture on it,” Lewis said. “It's cool how they really kind of supported me over the last year.  I'm excited to see their response from hosting the tournament.  They've had a great reaction so far.”

Lewis, who wears the well-known Marathon “M” on her shirt, has been working with Marathon Petroleum Company for over a year now.  The idea for a tournament first came up last year when CEO Gary Heminger asked Lewis why he should sponsor an LPGA event.

“It kind of caught me off guard but at the same time, that's what we're here to do as players.  We have to sell ourselves and sell our tour,” Stacy said. “I think I must have given him a pretty good response because we're at this point here today.”

The relationship between Lewis and Marathon has been a mutually beneficial one, with both parties doing everything they can to promote the event and make it even better next year. 

“I've heard my commercial has been running nonstop around here.  My aunt said they were getting tired to watching me and hearing my voice all the time on the radio,” Lewis said. “They've done a lot for the event so far.  I played with Gary today, and he said, I want to know how we can make this better.  I want to know what we need to do better for next year.”

The Marathon Classic is only beginning of what should be a strong imprint left on the game by Lewis.
“I've always said at the end of game I want to leave this tour better than when I got here,” Stacy said.

“Getting tournament sponsors and increasing purses and things like that, that's what we're trying to do here.”


Getting comfortable:
Rolex Rankings No. 14 Paula Creamer returns to Toledo as a past winner of the Marathon Classic and the nine-year Tour veteran is looking forward to playing off good memories this week. She won the event back in 2008, the same year she had a career-high four Tour victories.

“There are so many great memories that I've had here,” said Creamer. “I've had kind of a mixed bag of events or times here, but I do enjoy coming back.  So many wonderful fans.  Everybody here in Toledo just loves women's golf. It's exciting when you can come to a place you've won.  I mean, I shot my low round here before.  Just being able to come back, we have missed it on the schedule, and hopefully be back many more years.”

Creamer’s career-low round of 60 came in the first round in 2008 which helped her clinch her seventh-career victory. She said the track at Highland Meadows is a good challenge for players unfamiliar with its quirks, but she said once you do your homework, you better be ready to put up some birdies.

“I think it's a golf course that once you feel comfortable you do play very well out here,” said Creamer. “You see the greens, they're small greens; tucked pin placements; you have to be really good with your irons.  You have to also make a lot of birdies and no bogeys, and those are people that are so steady and don't make many mistakes.

“When the putter gets hot, you can make a lot of putts out here once you see it,” said Creamer. “I think that the more that you play this golf course the more comfortable you feel.  Having the fans behind you here is something that I think is a big bonus.  Just being able to have that little extra support always helps when you're out there.”

Creamer will make her 69th start this week since her last victory at the 2010 U.S. Women’s Open at Oakmont.


Hometown hero:
For any golfer, playing a Tour event in your hometown is special but for Stacy Lewis – it’s become nothing short of ordinary.  Lewis was born in Toledo, and this week’s Marathon Classic marks what will be her third “hometown” event of the year.

“Gosh, I love being back here.  This course, this place, is very special to me,” Lewis said. “It was the first LPGA tournament I ever even went to as a fan.  I have a lot of great memories here.”

Stacy was also embraced as the hometown kid in Arkansas, where she went to college, and in Texas, where she spent most of her childhood.  The crowds will be behind Lewis again this week in Ohio, along with many members of her family.

“Probably the best part would be having my family out,” Lewis said. “I get to hang out with my family, which when we're on the road so much throughout the year that time you get with your family is really special.”


Countdown to Solheim:
Even though Fourth of July has come and gone, thoughts of national pride and patriotism are only getting started as LPGA players prepare for the Solheim Cup which will be played next month, August 15-18. The Marathon Classic Presented by Owings Corning & O-I is the second to last event players can earn points toward making the U.S. team and pressure will begin to mount on players who are on the bubble.

“It's still by far the best week that we have - that I have - on tour,” Paula Creamer said. “It's just so exciting to be able to be on a team.  Everybody knows how patriotic I am wearing red, white, and blue.”

The event heads back to the United States this year, where it will be held at Colorado Golf Club in Parker, Colorado.  Creamer and the rest of the United States team are excited to bring it back onto their home turf after losing to the European team in Ireland in 2011.

“I am so excited,” said Stacy Lewis, who ranks first in U.S. Solheim Cup Team points with 834.5. “This Solheim Cup has been on my radar for two years now with the way things ended in Ireland. I didn't play well.  The team -- it didn't turn out the way we wanted.”

Creamer believes it will be different this year, and that home course advantage will give them the edge they need to take the cup back from Europe.

“There is a difference here in the States and when we go across the pond over there,” Creamer said. “We've never lost on home soil. I'm very aware of that. I think every other player is.  I think it's going to be a tough match this year.  Europe has an amazing team.  All the girls are playing really strong.”
As they look to defend their home turf in Parker, the U.S. women will look to a strong fan base to provide much needed support.

“We thrive off of the fans,” said Creamer. “I don't think people necessarily understand that.  When they are super excited, we are. Having the fans there to support that, there is nothing better than that.  Seeing everybody in their red, white, and blue cheering for their country, there is nothing better.”


Tweet of the Day:
“Very sweet of my pro am group at @MarathonLPGA to sing happy birthday to me! #24” -- @LizetteSalas5

 

STACY LEWIS, Rolex Rankings No. 2

MODERATOR:  Good afternoon, everyone.  We'd like to welcome Rolex Rankings No. 2, Stacy Lewis, into the interview room.  Thank you so much for joining us today.
I know you just got off a very hot day out on the golf course.  I'm sure it's always great to be back here in Toledo, one of your many hometown events you get to enjoy on the LPGA Tour.
What are some of your favorite things about coming back to Toledo?
STACY LEWIS:  Gosh, I love being back here.  This course, this place, is very special to me.  It was the first LPGA tournament I ever even went to as a fan.  I have a lot of great memories here.
Probably the best part would be having my family out.  I get hang out with my family, which we're on the road so much throughout the year that that time you get with your family is really special.
So coming back, golf course is always the same every year, which is quite nice actually when we're always hopping around to different courses.  It's nice to come back to something we're used to.

MODERATOR:  This year it's the same tournament we've always been used to, different title name, which is a familiar name to you as you wear it right there proudly on your shirt.  You've been sponsored by Marathon for quite a while.
What does it mean to you to be able to have sponsors of yours then come on and take on titles of events that are helping to prolong and really generating a great future here for this event in Toledo?
STACY LEWIS:  Yeah, this week, it's really special for me to come.  I really feel like a part of -- Marathon being the title sponsor, I felt like I helped do that and was a part of that.  So it's really special to come back.
They're so excited about it.  I've been working with them a little over a year now, and so have gotten to know a lot of the people with the company.  Just really cool to see it all come together.
I've always said at the end of game I want to leave this tour better than when I got here.  Getting tournament sponsors and increasing purses and things like that, that's what we're trying to do here.
So I feel like I've at least accomplished it one week, and so now we just got to keep it going.
MODERATOR:  As I was joking about a hometown event, it does seem everywhere you look you see your pictures.  You're on the magazine covers, the programs, you're on all the ads.  So we were joking, do you almost feel like it's a Stacy-Lewis-sponsored tournament or the Marathon-sponsored event?
STACY LEWIS:  I have been -- you know, a lot of the other players have been giving me hard time about how my picture is everywhere.  They're signing posters with my picture on it, programs with my picture on it.
It's cool, though.  It's cool how they really kind of supported me over the last year.  I'm excited to see their response from hosting the tournament.  They've had a great reaction so far.
I'm excited to see at the end of the week.  From talking to them it's going to be long term, but just making sure everything went the way they wanted it to.

MODERATOR:  It's been quite a year for if you look back really dating back to last May or so is when things really started getting rolling.  You're now No. 2 in the world; you had a stint at No. 1 back in February-March time.
STACY LEWIS:  Uh-huh.

MODERATOR:  What has this whole ride been like for in terms of putting together so many victories, so many top 10 finishes, you've been so consistent it seems over this stretch.  What is it like now coming back to these events and being at this level that you're at now?
STACY LEWIS:  Well, every year I've come back to this tournament I've come back at a higher level.  I played as an amateur a couple times, and that really kind of sets the foundation of learning how to get better.  This is the highest I've ever been ranked coming into this tournament, so there is an extra spotlight every week, as it always is.  I'm always busy.
The last year has been a learning process for me learning how to manage the requests for my time and the demands and saying no to a lot of things.  It's really taken me almost a year to really understand it and how to make it work for me.
I feel like I've finally gotten to that point, and I think that's why my golf has been so consistent.  Every week is busy and I'm going with the flow and having fun with it and trying walk around with a smile on my face, because there are a lot of things that are worse than playing golf every day.

MODERATOR:  You understand now having been at No. 1 what it takes to be up at that level.  All the requirements, the media requests, all the demands or your time.  When you look at Inbee Park has been doing this year, and we've all seen how impressive she is on the golf course, how impressive is it when you consider now all of a sudden all these demands now that she's No. 1 in the world?  Do you sympathize a little bit with what she's been going through in terms of what that takes to be at that high level, especially in the midst of all that attention?
STACY LEWIS:  Yeah, I think the hardest part about being No. 1 is keeping your golf game in check.  There are so many requests, and a lot of what Inbee is getting is probably from overseas.  So you're doing some time changes and trying to figure all that kind of stuff out.  It's very hard.  Your golf game definitely takes a little bit of a hit.
So it's even more impressive the way she's playing.  She keeps winning, keeps winning, keeps winning.  We were joking last week that she must have felt like she played terrible last week and she finished 14th.
It just shows she's human.  That's golf.  When she gets rolling with her putter, she's very hard to beat.  But it's good for golf.  We've got a lot of buzz about winning the Grand Slam.  We got two more majors that she has to win.
All the buzz and talk about is great for women's golf.

Q.  Can you go into some detail about what you may have done to facilitate this marriage of this sponsor and this tournament?
STACY LEWIS:  Yeah, we got introduced to the Marathon folks through Jeff Silverman, tournament director.  He kind of put a bug in my ear.  We need to get a long-term tournament sponsor here.  I started working with Marathon, and they're a company they don't like to jump in things lightly.  They really like to think about it and make sure it fits with what they're doing.
We started last year.  I did a couple events for them.  They've done a lot of marketing just into golf in general.  You see their commercials on the Golf Channel and things like that.
So I guess it was about this time last year when I was doing the outing for Marathon.  They do a big event for all their customers.
Gary, their CEO, it was one of the first times I met him and he said, Why should I sponsor an LPGA tournament?  Kind of caught me off guard.
But at the same time, that's what we're here to do as players.  We have to sell ourselves and sell our tour.
I think I must have given him a pretty good response because we're at this point here today.  It's been cool to go through the process with them and see how excited they are for this event.  All the little things that they've done, the little tee box markers and all the signage on the course, they've done a lot more marketing leading up to the event.
I've heard my commercial has been running nonstop around here.  My aunt said they were getting tired to watching me and hearing my voice all the time on the radio.
They've done a lot for the event so far.  I played with Gary today, and he said, I want to know how we can make this better.  I want to know what we need to do better for next year.
So he's got ideas.  I think this is just the beginning.

Q.  If I can follow up, Paula was in here earlier, and she won in tournament in '08 when it was the Owens Corning Classic and she's wearing that big panther around.
STACY LEWIS:  Uh-huh.

Q.  Probably isn't pressure, but is there a greater desire to do well under these circumstances for a player like you?
STACY LEWIS:  Yeah, I think I have a few tournaments on my list that are ones that I definitely want to win.  Winning this week would be too perfect for Marathon.  Make it too easy on them.
It would be kind of the perfect way to start the tournament if I did.  But I don't really see it as pressure.  I think I'm trying to win every single week.  If it happens to be one of the ones that is on my list, that's great; if not, I'll be back here next year to try it again.

Q.  What was your reaction when you reached No. 1?
STACY LEWIS:  You know, it didn't really settle in for a few days.  I was so busy.  I was running around like crazy.  I don't think it really hit me until kind of I got to the Kraft.  There was a lot of attention, a lot of questions.
I don't know, it was kind of one of those things you work so hard for and it was kind of like, All right.  Now what do I do?  I'm No. 1 in the world.  You just go back to what you were doing.  You don't really feel any different, I don't think you're a different person, but it's just kind of one of those goals you can just check off the list.

Q.  You were quoted as saying you were more comfortable as an underdog throughout your life.  That's out the window now.  How do you handle this?
STACY LEWIS:  I don't know.  I guess in some aspects I still kind of see myself as an underdog in a sense.  We're always asked about the Korean players, why they're always playing so well.  So I still feel like I still am that underdog a little bit.
I always played better when my back is against the ball.  When things are hard, that's when I do my best.  I don't know if maybe I'm just too hard on myself and I always want to try to get better.  That's just kind of the way I am.

MODERATOR:  Talking about American golf, in just about a month now, this is the last U.S. event we'll have before the Solheim Cup.  We've got nice poster over there.  How excited are you for that event?  And with only two events left before the team is announced, how much do you start thinking about it now?
STACY LEWIS:  I am so excited.  This Solheim Cup has been on my radar for two years now with the way things ended in Ireland.  I didn't play well.  The team -- it didn't turn out the way we wanted.
So I'm really excited for I guess it's about three weeks now.  So it's getting close.  It's fun.  Actually between Angela, Paula, and myself, we've been talking about who the picks would be, how the team is coming together.
Talked to Meg a little bit about it.  I'm glad I'm not in her position making those picks.
It's fun, though.  You're seeing who is playing well under pressure and who plays well when the pressure is on.  That's what you need for Solheim.  It's exciting.  I'm excited for the way the team is coming together.
Especially the young girls are playing good, and I'm excited about that.

MODERATOR:  The team will be announced at the end of the British at St. Andrews.  Is there a better venue you can imagine?
STACY LEWIS:  I think we need to do that every year.  It's the perfect place.  I mean, for me, I played the 2008 Curtis Cup there, so it's a special place for me.  I love that golf course.
So to go there, and, one, play my first British Open, and then announce the teams right afterwards on the 18th green with all the people around, I mean, couldn't be more perfect.
It's going to be such a cool setting.  I know Angela, she was going back and forth whether she was going to play the British.  She's like, I have to be there when they announce the teams.  That's going to be way too cool.
So she'll be there, and we'll see who ends up on the team.

 

PAULA CREAMER, Rolex Rankings No. 14

MODERATOR:  We'd like to welcome Rolex Rankings No. 14, Paula Creamer, into the interview room.  This certainly has to feel like a great place to come back to.  2008 winner here in Toledo, and I know everybody talks a lot about how much they love coming back to this event.
How is it for you?
PAULA CREAMER:  No, it is.  There are so many great memories that I've had here.  I've had kind of a mixed bag of events or times here, but I do enjoy coming back.  So many wonderful fans.  Everybody here in Toledo just loves women's golf.
It's exciting when you can come to a place you've won.  I mean, I shot my low round here before.  Just being able to come back, we have missed it on the schedule, and hopefully be back many more years.

MODERATOR:  When you look at the list of winners - Se Ri Pal won five times, Annika, Meg Mallon -- it's a tremendous list.  Is there something about this golf course that helps identify great players?
PAULA CREAMER:  I think it's a golf course that once you feel comfortable you do play very well out here.  You see the greens, they're small greens; tucked pin placements; you have to be really good with your irons.  You have to also make a lot of birdies and no bogeys, and those are people that are so steady and don't make many mistakes.
When the putter gets hot, you can make a lot of putts out here once you see it.  I think that the more that you play this golf course the more comfortable you feel.  Having the fans behind you here is something that I think is a big bonus.  Just being able to have that little extra support always helps when you're out there.

MODERATOR:  I know we always get some different weather every week out here in tour.  The heat wave seems to be hitting Toledo this week.  What's going to be the key to not getting too, I guess, overheated out there on the golf course.
PAULA CREAMER:  It's always hot here.  It's either hot or raining or the bridges are getting overflowed.  I mean, it's always something out here.
You know, who knows what's going to happen come Saturday, Sunday.  But being able to travel all over the world, obviously you do have different temperatures, different climates.
Living in Florida I feel like I'm plenty used to humidity and the mugginess.  Last week in Toronto, record storm, and of course the LPGA was coming into town and it was warm on the weekend there.
Being hydrated is going to be very important.  Especially to all the fans that come out and watch.  Better bring a water and maybe a sun umbrella because it's going to be warm and toasty for sure.
MODERATOR:  Questions for Paula.

Q.  Talk about how you're feeling and playing and what you think your expectations are for this week.
PAULA CREAMER:  You know, I've been starting to play really well the last couple months.  Had a really good Open showing.  Kind of after Rochester looked at my game a little bit more and tried fine tune some things.
I'm hitting the ball great.  I didn't have a very good putting week last week.  I hit great putts but just couldn't read those greens.  That sometimes happens.  Sometimes golf courses just don't fit your eye.
Coming into this week the way that I am hitting the ball and the way I do see these greens, I'm feeling really good.  It's just a matter of time of being able to put four good rounds of golf together.
The fact that you've been going against some players that are just super hot right now is a little bit not in your favor in a sense because you just have so much confidence and you're the one tat is trying to get out there and make those putts.
26-under par last week, that's a crazy low number.  I think it's going to take another low number this weekend.  Mentally you have to prepare and be able to go out and make a bunch of birdies.  I think I can do that out here.  I've done it before; no reason I can't do it now.

Q.  When you won here in '08, you were and maybe still are affiliated with Owens Corning, and it was the Owens Corning Classic.  Stacy will be in in a little while, and she's affiliated with Marathon.  In that situation, is there more pressure to perform well?
PAULA CREAMER:  Of course.  Having sponsors in general you want to represent yourself well.  You're representing their company.
But at the same time, when they have an event they've obviously put a little bit extra into the LPGA.  I feel that way when I go to the Ricoh Women's British Open.  I wear Ricoh on my left sleeve.
You know, Stacy, I know what it feels like to come to an event when, yes, you are looked a bit more upon by your sponsors and things because you're representing them.
But I think that's a great thing, that we can have ambassadors for these big companies that want to support an LPGA event.
And I don't think it's a nervous type of feeling.  It's more pressure of your expectations a little almost too high in a sense because you want to do well for them.

Q.  Are you still affiliated with Owens Corning?
PAULA CREAMER:  Yes.

Q.  You've been pretty healthy this year I take it.  That's got to be a welcome relief from the last few years, right?
PAULA CREAMER:  It has.  I had that car accident in Thailand, but other than that I've been pretty healthy.  Found out a couple things of maybe why I've been sick in the past.  But I feel really good, probably the best I've felt.  Been able to just kind of work on my game as much as I could with no setbacks.

Q.  What was the extent of the thing in Thailand physically for you?
PAULA CREAMER:  My vertebras were a little bit out of place and had to kind of work through that.  Obviously getting in a car was one of scariest things I ever had to do after that.
But that happens.  We all learned a lesson in a sense.  We're lucky to just honestly be alive and walking around.  A little bit more carefree on a golf course after something like that happens.
You know, people go through stuff like that.  Mine was just a bit more publicized.  Like I said, it took me a good couple months to be in a car and drive.  When you're going 90 miles per hour and you smash between two cars, a lot of things can happen.
To be able to play that week after, I don't know how I did it, but we did it.

Q.  You've gone through an experience, a transformation on the tour.  Do you feel like players and fans and everybody are embracing the kind of global personality of the tour?  Where would you like to see the tour go from here?
PAULA CREAMER:  I mean, being a global player I do like it.  I do appreciate being able to travel all over the world.  I have many different sponsors throughout the world.
However, this is our home here in the States.  We want to have as many events as we can here.  We want to grow the game in America.  It's hard for people to watch us when we are overseas.  You can't take away the fans and the golf over there and what Asia has done for the women's game.
But at the same time, this is where we are based out of.  I would love to see more events here in the States.  Television is obviously a huge thing just to be able to be in the mass market of media.  Having those opportunities is huge, especially for the future of the game and future of women's golf.
But like I said, you can't away what the other parts of the world are doing for women's golf.

Q.  You've got things to do before that, but are you already a little excited for Solheim cup?
PAULA CREAMER:  Oh, of course.  Walking in and seeing this picture to my left, you know, it's still by far the best week that we have - that I have - on tour.
It's just so exciting to be able to be on a team.  Everybody knows how patriotic I am wearing red, white, and blue.
The golf you see during that week is incredible.  The way people hit shots at the big moments, putts at the time right times, things like that, there is nothing better than that.  Being able to have Meg as our captain, I got to play any first Solheim Cup with Meg.  It's going to so much fun in Colorado.
We have we have a great group of girls, and it's going to be a tight race coming down the stretch the next couple events.  We'll see who is pulling through at the British Open.

Q.  To follow up on Toms' question, there as of time not too long ago there were five LPGA tournaments within three hours of here.  I know you remember some of them; maybe not all.  Now this is the only tournament really in the Midwest.  Is that a concern, or do you see that low point already being hit and the rebuilding of it coming in the future?
PAULA CREAMER:  I think the rebuilding part is coming through.  I think our commissioner is doing a really good job getting events back and getting new ones.  Obviously several years ago things changes with him coming into it.  He had a lot to take care of out here for us.
I think he's doing a great job with just bringing it back to the market.  It's just finding the right sponsors, the right times, the right weeks.  You know, I hope in five years we do have that back.
I do feel like it's headed in the right direction.

PAULA CREAMER:  I hope in five years we do have that back.  I do feel like it's headed in the right direction.  We have a great group of girls.  Everybody says that every week, how much they enjoy the pro-ams, how fan-friendly we are, all of that.
But it's time to get more events here in the States, and I know the commissioner knows that and he's doing his best to do it.  We have to sell that as well as players.

Q.  Paula, back to the Solheim Cup, what kind of craziness can the fans expect in Colorado?
PAULA CREAMER:  Oh, goodness.  Well, from us?  From us as players?  Just what the fans experience?  Oh, goodness, of a lot of intense players, that's for sure.
There is a difference obviously here in the States and we go across the pond over there.  Everybody is very appreciative of good shots, which is nice, in both places.
We've never lost on home soil.  I'm very aware of that.  I think every other player is.  I think it's going to be a tough match this year.  Europe has an amazing team.  All the girls are playing really strong.
But we thrive off of the fans.  I don't think people necessarily understand that.  When we are super excited, we are.  We were the ones thriving off of them and giving us that energy.  We play two matches a day.  It's going to be a grueling test.
But at the same time, we're so motivated and we're so pumped up.  And having the fans there to support that, there is nothing better than that.  Seeing everybody in their red, white, and blue cheering for your country, there is nothing better.

Q.  The problem is that one time where you might here cheers if you miss a putt from the European fans.  Is that hard to accept?
PAULA CREAMER:  It's worse over there than it is over here.

Q.  Yeah.
PAULA CREAMER:  It is, but it's part of it.  You know, it's just the way it is.  That's the way the Solheim Cup, the same with the Ryder Cup.  It's that duel, that fight, that rivalry that you have.  It's amazing.  It's three days.  You wait two years for three days to go out there and just grind it out.  You take it for what it's worth.
If people cheer when you miss a putt, it just almost motivates you more to get back out there and go make the next one.

Q.  As a big statistics guy, first of all, you have more top 20s than anybody on tour.  You've finished in the top 20 eleven times this year.  I always break down your rounds.  You're first rounds, though they're not terrible, always seem to be like a stroke and a half worse than your other three rounds.  You start with a 72 or 73, and then Inbee or somebody else is eight strokes ahead of you, and then you have a hard time getting back and you finish fourth.  Are you aware of that?
PAULA CREAMER:  Very much, yeah.

Q.  Is there something you have to do in your preparation to make Thursday a better round?
PAULA CREAMER:  I think sometimes a lot of it is sometimes also conditions of when you do go out.
U.S. Open is a prime example.  What was I, I was late/early.  British -- or U.S. Open you kind of want to go out early/late just so you can kind of set standards, set the score for the day.
When you tee off when you're already back and haven't even played your first hole -- what did she shoot the first day?  I mean, you haven't even hit your first tee shot in the U.S. Open and you're thinking supposed to be even par.  That's what you want, is even par.  1-under, 1-over is never going to kill you in the first round of a U.S. Open.  8-under par, yeah, that's a hard thinking to kind of go up against.
But that's just one week.  I don't know.  I've always been kind of a slow starter in a sense throughout my whole career.  I don't know if it's nerves or trying to be a little bit too perfect.  I obviously have that tendency of trying to be too perfect out on the golf course.
I'm very aware of it.  It's just letting it happen and get getting in my own way.  This year I've done a better job of that, but I've learning and maturing just as much as I have every other year.
It is kind of my first and second rounds that kind of put me out of the tournament.  Then I go out and win a weekend and that kind of thing.

Q.  Your 60 here was a first-round one.
PAULA CREAMER:  Yes.

Q.  The Thailand situation, you mentioned to come back and play the next week, how did you manage to do that?  And secondly, did you subsequently miss any time at all?
PAULA CREAMER:  I don't know how I did it, honestly.  It took me maybe an hour every morning to actually get into the car to even go to the golf course.  My caddie had to drive 30 minutes from his hotel to meet me at my hotel to help me get into the car.
We were going to Singapore, so that event after Thailand -- well, the accident happened Sunday and then Singapore was the next event.
I couldn't have done it without Colin.  I played I think five holes in the Pro-Am and I my neck, I couldn't do it, so I didn't play a practice round.  I just went out and trusted Colin.
Sometimes they say when you're sick or you're injured you kind of forget about everything else and your mind is on something completely different.  I've learned a lot from that.  Back to that last question was is you get in your own way and you think too much.
Unfortunately it was an accident that took my mind of the game of golf, but it shows you that can do it.  It's in there.  I think I finished like fourth that week or something, too.  It was crazy.
But you learn a lot from that.  It was unfortunate that I was in a car accident.  So was Ai Miyazato and so was my caddie, Colin and a couple of the Bridgestone guys.  We all walked away.  That's the most important thing.

Q.  Why do you think this tournament has such staying power both on the tour and here in Toledo?
PAULA CREAMER:  The fans, for sure.  Everybody that comes out and supports us.  The sponsors have been around for so long.  Can't take away what Judd has done here.  He's an amazing tournament director.
All the volunteers, everybody.  Judd is a good friend of mine now.  It's nice when you can come to a place and someone is so involved in women's golf.  If it wasn't for him and Jamie Farr, too.  I know his name is not on the tournament anymore, but it wouldn't be here if it wasn't for him as well.
MODERATOR:  Last question because I know Paula has to go practice before she plays in the pro-am.

Q.  Sure.  You won U.S. Open in 2010.  I'm sure you have expectations of winning more majors.  Can players sometimes put too much pressure on themselves to win that?  I mean, what will it be like five years from now?  Will Paula Creamer win another major?
PAULA CREAMER:  I better win another major.  No, you know, golf, it's like sports.  You have your highs and you have your lows.  I just continue working on my game.  I know I started off really strong at the beginning of my career.
You know, like I said, this is really only my ninth year, and it's incredible what I have accomplished; however, it's not enough.  I'm not satisfied at all with that.  Those were my expectations.
It's just now kind of I've gone through the last in the last three years as an individual and obviously going through surgery and things like that.  Of course we look the majors and wins.  I do.  I'm very aware U.S. Open was my last win.  Not a day goes by that I don't think about it.
But it motivates me, and like I said, if I can just become the best golfer that I can be, hopefully in five years, yes, I'll have more than one major.

 

July 16, 2013

Marathon Classic Presented by Owings Corning & O-I
Highland Meadows Golf Club
Sylvania, Ohio
Pre-tournament Notes and Interviews
July 15, 2013

Inbee Park, Rolex Rankings No. 1
So Yeon Ryu, Rolex Rankings No. 5 & defending champion

After 28 years of hosting the Toledo Classic, legendary Jamie Farr has passed the torch on to the Marathon Petroleum Corporation, who will be the title sponsor for this year’s Marathon Classic presented by Owens Corning & O-I at Highland Meadows Golf Club in Sylvania, Ohio.  The event also makes its return to global television via Golf Channel and the LPGA’s international television partners that will bring the tournament to more than 160 countries around the world. 

So Yeon Ryu looks to defend her title and break into the winner’s column for the first time this season after two runner-up finishes at the Kraft Nabisco Championship and the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship.  Ryu won last year’s Jamie Farr Toledo Classic as a rookie thanks to an impressive final-round, 9-under-par 62. The great round gave her a seven-stroke victory over runner-up Angela Stanford and it marked her first LPGA tournament win as a member. She won 2011 U.S. Women’s Open while playing on the KLPGA Tour.

Good fortune? When So Yeon Ryu arrived in Toledo on Sunday night, the 23-year-old South Korean received a little sign that perhaps she might be in for a good week as she prepared to defend her title at the Marathon Classic Presented by Owens Corning and O-I.

Ryu ate dinner at a Chinese restaurant when she got to Toledo and when she cracked open her fortune cookie it said, ‘You will get what your heart desires.’

“My heart desires I really want to win the tournament,” Ryu said. “So hopefully I can get another trophy at here, then now it feels really great. laug

Ryu hasn’t won on the LPGA Tour since her victory last year in Toledo but she has certainly been delivering solid performances week in and week out. She has six top-10 finishes already in 2013 and has moved up to No. 5 in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings.

The 2012 Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year has been putting together a solid follow up performance to her stellar rookie season. She currently is in the top 10 in seven statistical categories including greens in regulation and scoring average.

Sky-high expectations: With six victories already in 2013, winning has looked easy for Inbee Park but last week’s Manulife Financial LPGA Classic proved a perfect example that even playing really good golf isn’t always enough to win on the LPGA Tour, or even finish in the top-10.
           
“I played great last week,” said Park. “Just my putts didn't fall in as much as I wanted to, but hit the ball great.  I shot 16‑under for four days.  That's very low number. Sometimes you get tournaments where a lot of people play better than you. Golf is a sport where you could win this week and miss the cut next week. It's so hard to be consistent.”
           
Park finished at 16-under 268 in Waterloo but only finished tied for 14th, falling short of capturing her fourth-consecutive Tour victory.

“Expectations of people can go up to the sky,” said Park. “After winning so many tournaments this year, people expect a lot more from me. But I'm just a human and just a golfer.  I have limits. I'm not God.””

Despite finishing outside the top-10 for the first time since the ShopRite LPGA Classic in May, Park feels that she is still playing some of the best golf of her career.

“You really have to be yourself.  If you think you're doing great, you're doing great ‑ no matter what other people say,” Park said.

Park returns to Highland Meadows Golf Club this week with a sense of comfort on the track at the Sylvania-based club. She has improved her finishes in each of her four appearances at the event and will work off a tied for third finish at last year’s tournament.

“When I first came here to Highland Meadows, I thought this course was a tough golf course,” said Park.  “Fairways were narrow and it just looked for the first time like very tough golf course. But it seemed like everybody was scoring so low out here that I couldn't keep up with them for first couple years.  Then I start to really get used to this golf course and used to seeing this golf course and start to get a lot more comfortable.

“My game sharpened up a lot last year, and I really came close to winning and So Yeon just ran away with 9‑ or 10‑under last day,” said Park. “She played great out here last year. Last year here that was best I played in this golf course.  That definitely gives me a lot of confidence going into this week.”

Change of heart, change of mind: After a brilliant rookie season in 2012 where she finished sixth on the Official Money List and won the Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year, So Yeon Ryu had an up and down start to the season and felt she hit her low point when she missed the cut at the Wegman’s LPGA Championship. She then rebounded with a runner-up finish at the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship Presented by P&G and a solo third at the U.S. Women’s Open, putting Wegman’s behind her.

“I just totally reset my mind,” said Ryu. “This is my second year on the LPGA, and if I look back to last year, I played incredibly well. Every year is different.  Also every tournament is different.  So just forget about last year and then just focus on now.  Just think about what I can do right now.”

Ryu is hardly having a forgettable season, as she currently sits at No. 5 on both the Rolex Rankings and the LPGA Tour Official Money List, and is ranked in the top-10 in seven of the statistical categories on tour.

“I had two goals,” said Ryu. “One is I want another major tournament.  Then another goal is I want to finish the top 5 in the world. Now I'm playing well so I’m really happy with it, but if I can jump up more, I hope I can.”

She looks to achieve her goals by putting her highs and lows behind her, whether it’s her successful rookie campaign or her missed cut at Wegmans, Ryu wants to focus on the present and not the past.
“The thing is I don't have to compare with anything, not last year or other players.  These days I'm just totally think about right now,” Ryu said.

School’s Out! Since winning her second LPGA Tour win last season in Toledo and claiming Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year honors, So Yeon Ryu checked off another amazing accomplishment off her list of life goals this past winter. Ryu graduated from Yonsei University (Seoul) in February with a bachelor’s degree in sports management and studied physical education and sports marketing. The 23-year old said she has been using her time traveling on Tour in the U.S. to observe the differences in physical education between the States and South Korea.

I was studying about the physical education, I really always studying about what's different about Korean physical education and American physical education,” said Ryu. “Then these days I'm traveling a lot and I have a chance to visit a lot of high school and elementary school so I can compare to what's really different.

“Also when I was here at media day I went to elementary school and I saw what they are doing during the summertime,” said Ryu. “So it's kind of really great study for me.  It's not just in the university, but it's really great chance to be learn everything in here.”

Ryu said once she retires from the Tour, she’ll have her eye on a spot in the LPGA’s marketing department.  

“Then if I retire as a golfer, I want to study about sports marketing (laughing),” said Ryu. “It’d be a big move up to my interests, but I think the LPGA is really great role model to me. Also the LPGA sign is, See why the LPGA is different.  I really like that banner.  It's really a good sentence.  So I want to study about that.  So if I have opportunity, I really want to working at the LPGA.”

Looking forward to the Old Course: This week marks the final tournament before the LPGA heads across the Atlantic for the fourth major of the season, the RICOH Women’s British Open.  This year’s event will be held at the Old Course at St. Andrews, the course that is considered by many to be the “home of golf”.

“It's really historical place,” So Yeon Ryu said. “I'm not really part of the old generation so maybe I really don't know about golf history, but it's a really great chance to feel what it was like a hundred years ago in golf. I can't wait to go there.”

Every golfer dreams of the chance to play the Old Course at St. Andrews and that dream will come true for Ryu and fellow South Korean Inbee Park in two weeks at the RICOH Women’s British Open.

“I’m so happy to go to home of golf,” said Park. “That's every golfer's dream, going there and playing as a professional golfer. That's a golf course where you want to go and play well, and hopefully you can hold the trophy on the golf course.”

No matter where they finish on the leader board at St. Andrews, both Ryu and Park will take home memorable experiences after playing one of golf’s most historic courses.

“It's a lot about history making…that golf course is such a unique golf course, Park said. “Everything about that golf course is just very special.  Every piece of it.”

Quote of the Day: I mean, expectations of people can go up to the sky.  After winning so many tournaments this year, people expect a lot more from me.  But I'm just a human and just a golfer.  I have limits.  I'm not God.” –Inbee Park on staying level headed with extra expectations to win
 
INBEE PARK, Rolex Rankings No. 1

MODERATOR:  Thank you for coming in.  I don't think I need to do much introduction.  I think everybody knows who you are.  Six‑time winner this year, Rolex Rankings No. 1.  Thanks for coming in out of your busy stretch of media obligations.
           
Let's just start off with that.  Just talk about dealing with all the good attention that you're getting and how you've been able to ‑‑ hopefully you've been able to embrace it.  Have you been able to enjoy it at least a little bit now that you're getting more comfortable telling your story and the demand for you?

INBEE PARK:  It's nice to have a lot of fans and a lot of people following me around when I'm playing the golf course.  When I'm playing the tournament a lot of people come out and watch me and root for me.  A lot of fans' attention means a lot of fans and I can share a lot more of my story to a lot of people.
           
So it's such a good opportunity that I'm having at the moment.  Sometimes it just gets really hard because I'm running such a tight schedule and I have to play the tournament.  I mean, if this is a total off week and I'm just doing the media, probably I could handle it a lot better.
           
But really burned out when I'm on the golf course.  It's such a hot weather.  After nine holes and some practice you really want to go home, but I still have three hours to go.  Sometimes it's hard.
           
But I don't know how Lorena, Annika or Yani done it for such a long time.  I start to feel like it's getting a little bit too much.  I start to feel like last weekend ‑‑ I've only done it for two weeks which is not long, but it's just hard for me.  I don't know how people did it for such a long time.  I really admire them for what they were doing.
           
Yeah, I'm trying to enjoy.  This is what it comes with playing good golf; this is what it comes with, you know, winning great tournaments.  That's some kind of thing that I need to handle and some kind of things that I need to be good at.

MODERATOR:  Well I can say you're doing a great job.  Well done.  Very admirable. Let's just talk about last week.  You went for four in a row.  People say, What happened?  I just looked at your rounds, and you had four rounds in the 60s and you had a top 15.  You didn't play bad by any means, but did you get any backlash of, Oh, she didn't get the four in a row?  I mean, it's kind of trying to understand that it's not that easy.
INBEE PARK:  I played great last week.  Just my putts didn't fall in as much as I wanted to, but hit the ball great.  I shot 16‑under for four days.  That's very low number.  16‑under can finish in top 10.

MODERATOR:  Sure.
INBEE PARK:  I mean, a lot of people just played better than me.  Sometimes you get tournaments where a lot of people play better than you.  I mean, golf is a sport where you could win this week and miss the cut next week.  It's so hard to be consistent.
          
  I mean, expectations of people can go up to the sky.  After winning so many tournaments this year, people expect a lot more from me.  But I'm just a human and just a golfer.  I have limits.  I'm not God.
           
You just can't be thinking too much of what people saying or what people talking about me.  If you listen to everybody, you know, how could you keep your thoughts?
           
So you really have to be yourself.  If you think you're doing great, you're doing great ‑ no matter what other people say.
          
Even if I didn't win four in a row I had a great week last week.  Even if I didn't play as well this week, I'm fine.
           
But a lot of people think, What's happening to her?  But it's just about the tension.  People think different ways as I do.  Some people think same way I do.  Everybody thoughts are different, so I can't control what everybody is thinking.

MODERATOR:  Sure.  Do you think that was maybe a blessing in disguise for an event like that to happen last week where 26‑under didn't win the event, it just got them into the playoff?  Where that shows how hard it is to win week in and week out.
           
Do you think that was a good thing maybe that you didn't have to go in ‑ and you weren't runner up or something ‑ but to see performances like Hee Young and Angela or to see such a low score didn't win outright?  Do you think that helped a little bit?

INBEE PARK:  Yeah, I mean, everybody knows the fact that LPGA Tour is so competitive.  Everybody out here can play.  Winning out here is very tough thing.  Everybody knows that.  Last week we proved that.
           
I'm not a person where I like super‑low‑scoring golf courses.  I love the challenges of the golf course.  I love making pars.  I mean, birdies are fun, but it's tough to make ten of them every day for me.
           
So, yeah, I consider myself very good player in major championships where the challenges come into play, where the thinking is coming into play.  Playing a lot of birdie golf courses, you know, they could really test your game, too.
           
You have to think of your shots and really have to be sharp with the tee game.  It's just different types.  I think some people like very‑low‑scoring golf courses.  Somebody like tough golf course.  I think I'm on the tougher golf courses.
           
I think it depends on the player, but LPGA Tour is very competitive.  I mean, 16‑under got me into playoff last year.  I shot 16‑under, which was the same score as last year, but they improved ten shots.  That's amazing.

MODERATOR:  It is.  Talk about the course here.  Moving forward to this week.  You've improved.  Looking at your record at this tournament, you've improved every year.  It was a missed cut your first year; tied for 25th; 6th; and tied for 3rd last year.
Talk about your setup and how your game sets up for this course.
INBEE PARK:  When I first come here to Highland Meadows, I thought this course was tough golf courses.  Fairways were narrow and it just looked for the first time like very tough golf course.
           
But it seemed like everybody was scoring so low out here that I couldn't keep up with them for first couple years.  Then I start to really get used to this golf course and used to seeing this golf course and start to get a lot more comfortable.
           
My game sharpened up a lot last year, and I really crime close to winning and So Yeon just ran away with 9‑ or 10‑under last day.  She played great out here last year.
           
Last year here that was best I played in this golf course.  That definitely gives me a lot of confidence going into this week.

Q.  What all the reminders of what could still be coming for you, do you have any time to relax or get your mind off this?  Do you have to make a real effort to do that?
INBEE PARK:  Well, a lot of people wants a little bit of pieces of me, so it's tough to, you know, find a lot of relaxing time in this kind of situation.
           
I don't think I'll be getting a lot more relaxed until we finish British Open or we finish Evian Masters.  But I'm really look forward to summer vacation after British Open with family.  Really looking forward to some time off, that's for sure.
           
But, I mean, this is time that I really need to keep my game going and really need to sharpen up my game.  So, I mean, I know right now is not the time that I could relax.  I really want to keep it going for maybe a month, and then I could have as much time as I want.

Q.  With the chase for the Grand Slam, are you feeling more pressure after each victory?
INBEE PARK:  Yes, I do.  First major didn't really think about any kind of history or anything.
           
After winning second one, at the interview with the Golf Channel they just told me I was like third player to win two major tournaments in a row.
           
So now after the tournament I start to think a little bit about going in a row of major championship.  After U.S. Open I felt a lot more pressure than those two before.
           
It's just raise little bit by little bit every tournament I played in.  Obviously British Open is going to be the highlight.  I handle quite good in situations of appreciate in U.S. Open.  I think I had a very good practice there, so I want to handle it very nicely in the Open.

Q.  In a couple weeks going to the British Open in St. Andrews, can you talk about how exciting it would be just to go there and how exciting it would be to win.
INBEE PARK:  So happy to go to home of golf.  That's every golfer's dream, going there and playing as a professional golfer.  That's a golf course where you want to go and play well, and hopefully you can hold the trophy on this golf course.
           
It's a lot about history making and historical golf course.  That golf course is such a unique golf course.  It's just in a lot of people's memory.  Everything about little piece of that golf course is just very special.  Every piece of that.

Q.  Then for Evian as a fifth major, you'll be defending there.  Talk about that tournament as being a great tournament and becoming a fifth major.
INBEE PARK:  Yeah, I mean, Evian, this year it became major, but, I mean, last 10, 20 years that we had with Evian we always treated like major tournament anyway, so there is no change to us, to me, in treating.
           
I've always treated Evian as major.  It's such a great tournament and such a nice partner for LPGA.  I love playing in Evian Championship.  Such a beautiful city.
          
  Yeah, being able to go there and defend my title is something that's going to be great.
           
But I haven't done it ‑‑ I mean, this is only my second time as a professional going in as a defending champion.  My first win was four years ago, so it's going to be a while where I'm going somewhere to defend my title.

Q.  Inbee, the Grand Slam has always been defined as four, even though that's not really always been the case on this tour.  But I guess there is really no number involved in it, but if you win the Women's British Open, is that a Grand Slam in your mind?
INBEE PARK:  Yeah, I think I can treat it like a Grand Slam.  It's four out of five, and I've won Evian before.  So truly, if I win British Open, I put my name in every major trophy.
           
So now winning British Open, even if I don't do it this year, in my career if I could win British Open, that will be a Grand Slam for me.

Q.  With the growing number of fans that you're attracting, do you think this helps with the acceptance of the LPGA Tour being a global, worldwide tournament, you know, from maybe Americans in the past that weren't used to that?
INBEE PARK:  Well, it's always great that we get a lot of exposure.  Inbee Park and LPGA is getting a lot of attention and being in a lot of media.
           
I think it's really good for all of us out here playing professional golf.  Everybody is just trying to do that and trying to grow more fan base, trying to communicate more with fans.
           
That's what we live on, so we try to attract more people and get loved by a lot more people.  Yeah, I mean, it's a fun job to have.  LPGA is a partner of us.
           
Also it's a unique experience that people will get when they come and watch us.  We're much better than people think.
           
So hopefully I and a lot more LPGA players can make this tour grow a lot bigger.

MODERATOR:  I have a follow‑up question.  Kind of off the point that Tom said, just telling your story, I mean, I've been sitting next to you in a lot of interview the past couple weeks, you telling your story and us trying to show the personalities of the players.
           
Just in the back there you were on a conference call from call‑ins all over the world.  You said one of the celebrities you love is Brad Pitt, and you love the British breakfast.
           
Tell us on thing that us in the room don't know about you.  Tell us one thing that you might not have told in the story.  On course, off course, anything.  Give us one nugget.

INBEE PARK:  I think I shared it.
MODERATOR:  All right.  I won't put you on the spot.  Perfect.  Any other follow‑ups for Inbee?

Q.  How many parts of the British breakfast can you name?
INBEE PARK:  What is it?
MODERATOR:  How many parts of the British breakfast can you name?  Sausage, hash browns.  She said she'll be looking forward to the sausage and bacon.

 

SO YEON RYU, Rolex Rankings No. 5

MODERATOR:  Okay, I'd like to welcome in the defending champion this week at the Marathon Classic, So Yeon Ryu, ranked No. 5 in the Rolex Rankings this week.
Welcome.  Thanks for joining us.
SO YEON RYU:  Thanks for having me.

MODERATOR:  Talk about coming back to the spot where you got your first win as an LPGA member and your second win in your career.  Talk about just how you're feeling this week.  Once you get here at the course, have you been getting recognized a little bit more than usual?
SO YEON RYU:  Well, today I'm practice just nine holes and feels really good to be back as defending champion.
           
Also Sunday when I arriving here I went to Chinese restaurant and I get a fortune cookie, and that said, You will get what your heart desires.  So I was so happy.  I really want to believe it.
           
And also, my heart desires I really want to win the tournament.  So hopefully I can get another trophy at here, then now it feels really great.  (Laughing.)

MODERATOR:  I hope that fortune cookie is right.
Let's talk about how you've been playing the last couple weeks.  Dating back to Wegmen's you were really down on yourself.  You said you needed to regroup your attitude, mentally.
           
Talk about what you did specifically to really turn around how you kind of handled the ups and downs of not playing well.  You had a top 20 last week and a 2nd and 3rd weeks prior.

SO YEON RYU:  Well, after Wegman's I just totally reset my mind.  This is my second year on LPGA, and last year, I think I couldn't realize it last year, but if I'm look back to last year, I played incredibly well.
           
I finished so many top 10, even top 5.  So really hard thing was, Oh, last year I finished top 5 at this tournament so maybe I have to play well.  I have to finish better than last year kind of thing.  It was really hard.
           
So I just reset my mind.  Every year is different.  Also every tournament is different.  So just forget about last year and then just focus on now.  Just think about what I can do right now.
           
So, yeah, I just kind of like if I'm work out, just work out.  If I'm practice, I practice.  Maybe my putting is not really well.  I just find the solution, what's the problem, and then just enjoy it.
           
The thing is I learn is is don't have to compare with anything, not last year or players, other players or kind of just everything.  These days I'm just totally think about right now.

MODERATOR:  Good.  Well, if you need a confidence booster, I just looked at your stats and you're ranked in the top 10 in seven statistical categories on Tour.  You're in no sophomore slump by any means. 5th on the Money List; 4th in Player of the Year rankings.  We get to see your banner over here.  Love it. So just in your second year, did you have any goals coming into this and have you reassesed, obviously coming off, like you said, a very strong year, still having the top 10 finishes, did you have any goals that you've set and then reassessed throughout the season?
SO YEON RYU:  Well, I had two goals.  One is I want another major tournament.  Then another goal is I want to finish the top 5 in the world.
           
Now I'm playing well so really happy with it, but if I can be more jump up, I wish I can.
           
Also, if I win another major tournament maybe I can jump up like three or four, so I look forward to jump up look forward to hold another major trophy.
           
MODERATOR:  Okay.  Well, Inbee, you might have to hold her down to maybe do that.  You're very close, very good friends.  You've been with her every step of the way through her journey this season and what she's accomplished.
           
Just talk about her and her accomplishments and what everybody says has been pretty remarkable to witness what's been going on this year.  So as a close friend and someone who has seen all the attention she's getting, just talk about that real quick.

SO YEON RYU:  Well, you know what?  These days a lot of people always asking me, Why is Inbee playing so well?  I have a discuss with Inbee and then I said, If I know why you play so well, maybe then I can play more well than you.  I don't know what's going on.  What's problem with you?
           
But honestly, from my opinion, still last year she finished first money ranked.  Her putting was always really great, but honestly last year her shot wasn't really great.  So she played still well last year, but her shot wasn't really great.  So she's a bit hard to make a lot of birdie chance.
           
So kind of example.  If she had a three or five of birdie chance last year, these days, like ten times, eleven times.  And she made a putt over 50%, so that's why she play really well.
           
Also, she change everything about her swing.  Especially last year she was a little bit worry about she change the swing.  But actually these day her fiancee is coach, so they decided to change the swing.  She made it totally really well.
           
So that's why her shot and putting pretty well these days.  Just a lot of media attention to Inbee, so she's a bit hard to handle it, which is really good thing.
           
One day she told me, Oh, it's really hard to get a lot of attention.  It's a lot of interview and have to do a lot of things.  I said, You just go.  Somebody really want to interview with someone, but they couldn't because they played not really well.  Now these days you played super great so that's why you had a lot of attention.  You have to nicely represent our country.
           
You know, she did a really great job.  She is really great inspire to a lot of golfer.  Also she's really famous in Korea right now.  But also she's really great ‑‑ I mean, also really popular in the worldwide.  So I really want she inspired really good thing for the all junior golfers.

MODERATOR:  Sure.  You think she might have an effect on the younger generation?  Obviously you guys are kind of in that group of Se Ri's Kids, in that age group.  Do you think there may be a group that's called Inbee's Kids?
SO YEON RYU:  Yeah, everybody call us the Se Ri Kids, and also Inbee is Se Ri kid.  I'm pretty sure already a lot of junior golfer is Inbee Kids right now.
           
I don't want to say it's kind of we're change generation, but anyway someone passed away last week.  They did a great job and that's why Se Ri can inspired about with her; then Se Ri did a great job and Inbee got inspired to her.
           
So I really hopefully can getting great and great as all the Korean golf, and I wish all the Korean golfers really just got to be more enjoy the golf.  Inbee is different as Ok‑Hee Ku or Se Ri.  They are bit really hard to enjoy the golf, because when they really first time came here they couldn't speak English really well and don't really know about American culture.  It's different than Korean.
           
But Inbee really know about it, and these days she really enjoy the traveling and playing golf.
           
So maybe the junior golfer has to change the mindset.  Not just focus on golf, enjoy it and maybe you can playing well kind of thing.
           
So I think Inbee is probably really good role model to all the junior golfer.

Q.  Having one year on the tour behind you, does that make this year just a little bit easier to play in just having a routine and knowing courses and things like that?
SO YEON RYU:  Well, it's definitely easier because i don't have to do the rookie hours.  I spend a lot of time in the rookie hours last year.
           
Also last year I totally didn't know about the golf course, so I have to play the full 18 holes every morning.  This year I already know about the golf course, so I can have more spare time for me.
           
Hardest thing is a lot of people start to compare to last year.  That one is hard thing.  Without that, everything is really great.
           
It's really great opportunity to visiting all the country and all the cities.  So, yeah, be more easier than last year.

Q.  What did winning the U.S. Open do for you, and what do you remember about that week in Colorado?
SO YEON RYU:  You mean 2011 one?  Well, yeah, after U.S. Women's Open a lot of things change, because before I played in KLPGA but now I play in LPGA.  I wasn't really popular in the States but people start to recognize me.
           
Then I living the States and really choose big different thing.
           
Also last year the U.S. Women's Open, the one thing I learned is last year I played the U.S. Open as the defending champion.  It was really too much pressure.  A lot of people really focused on me.  My mind was, Oh, maybe I have to play really well.  It was really not great effort to when I played U.S. Women's Open last year.  That's what I learn about it.
           
Also this tournament I'm here as defending champion, so might be I just do my regular thing.  I don't have to, Oh, I'm a defending champion so I have to do like different way.  I already learn about it, so I just want to focus on this.
           
So that U.S. Open teach me a lot of things.

Q.  When you won the tournament last year, you just destroyed the course the final day.  What did you learn about that as far as trying to win this tournament again?
SO YEON RYU:  Really hard one is last year last round I made a six in a row birdie, so for me, now feels like, Oh, maybe was really easy but really isn't.  Hard to make six in a row birdies.
           
After I made a six in a row birdie, next hole I made a par and all the spectators face was like, What's the problem with her?  Why she hit the par?  But my mind is totally like that.  Last year I finished incredibly well, so maybe I have to really play well as like that.
           
But, well, just nothing really different, because I just want to focus on my ball and focus on each hole.  I think last year the last round my putting was really great, so these days I'm going to be more focused on my putting work.

MODERATOR:  I want to follow up.  Since last year when you won here you had a big accomplishment:  college graduate.  Talk about that and having that, accomplishing that goal.  You always said you always wanted to go to school and get your college degree.  How important was that to finish that while playing on the LPGA and balancing all that schedule, and what do you hope to use that degree with maybe after you're done playing?
SO YEON RYU:  Well, I studying about the physical education, I really always studying about what's the different as Korean physical education and American physical education.  Then these days I'm traveling a lot and I have a chance to visit a lot of high school and elementary school so I can compare to what's really different.
           
It's not just about the paper.  It's really great opportunity to me I'm playing in the States.

MODERATOR:  So you stop at elementary schools and high schools when you travel and watch gym classes and stuff?
SO YEON RYU:  Just sometimes.  Also when I was here at media day I went to elementary school and I see what are they doing at the summertime like that.
           
So it's kind of really great study for me.  It's not just in the university, but it's really great chance to be learn everything in here.
           
Then if I retire as a golfer, I want to studying about sports marketing.  (Laughing.)  Yeah, I'm a big move up to my interesting, but I think the LPGA is really great role model to me.
           
Also the LPGA sign is, See why the LPGA different.  I really like that banner.  It's really a lot of right sentence.  So I want to studying about that.  So if I have opportunity, I really want to working at the LPGA.

MODERATOR:  I'm sure we'll hire you.
SO YEON RYU:  (Laughing.)  Yeah.  Or I'm trying to working at the KLPGA.  Now LPGA and KLPGA is kind of a little bit different, so I just want to working for Korean golf development.

Q.  Jumping a couple weeks ahead to St. Andrews, talk about how excited you are to go to that course.
SO YEON RYU:  It's really historical place.  Also, I'm even not ‑‑ I never playing with the (indiscernible.)  I'm not really like old generation so maybe I really don't know about golf history, but it's really great chance to be I can feel it what's like hundred years ago golf, I can feel the really big different as these days and before technology things.
           
I can't wait.  These days I'm searching a lot of things about St. Andrews.  I saw the picture, and it's really, really nice playing.  So I can't wait to going there.

MODERATOR:  You have to make sure you get a picture on the bridge.  That's the spot.
SO YEON RYU:  I will get a picture.

Q.  This year it's supposed to be a lot hotter during the tournament.  Do you prefer when it's hotter?  What kind of conditions do you like to play in?
SO YEON RYU:  Actually I'm like to play to the hot weather, so I think it's perfect weather for me.  But I was surprised temperature so big different from last year.  It was rainy and it wasn't really hot.  But now it's really hot.  Even really hard to putting practice.  Everybody is really wet.
           
But golf is, we playing at the totally nature, so we have to handle the rainy day, windy day, sunny day.  So maybe a lot of the people should just focus on golf and not really care about the weather.

Q.  Do you see people accepting the global personality of the tour than maybe than they did in the past and kind of embracing that?
MODERATOR:  Do you see the tour embracing the global nature, all the different countries going around the entire world?  Do you see the fans embracing that and accepting that more than maybe five or ten years ago?  Even though she wasn't on the tour.

Q.  Right.
SO YEON RYU:  Oh, absolutely.  Yeah, you know, before I don't have any opportunity to showing my personality or showing my game, but these days I'm playing at the worldwide golf tour, so I have a really great opportunity to showing my golf skill.
           
These days it's really, really great, so it's really great opportunity to show who is So Yeon Ryu and what type of person is So Yeon Ryu.  I can represent myself.  It's a lot different than as like five years ago.  

Topics: Marathon Classic, Park, Inbee, Ryu, So Yeon, Notes and Interviews, Lewis, Stacy, Creamer, Paula [+]

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