CN Canadian Women's Open Pre-Tournament Notes and Interviews Aug. 20

Photo Credit: Harry How/Getty Images

Amateur Lydia Ko of New Zealand and caddie Brian Alexander pose with the trophy after the final round of the Canadian Women's Open at The Vancouver Golf Club on August 26, 2012 in Coquitlam, Canada.

CN Canadian Women’s Open
Royal Mayfair Golf Club
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Pre-tournament Notes and Interviews
August 20, 2013

Lydia Ko, Rolex Rankings No. 19 and defending champion
Inbee Park, Rolex Rankings No. 1
Lorie Kane, four-time LPGA Tour winner

The LPGA Tour heads north of the border for the second time this season for the CN Canadian Women’s Open where 16-year old amateur Lydia Ko will defend her first LPGA victory. Ko rewrote the Tour’s record books last year when she became the youngest winner in LPGA history at 15 years and four months old after a 13-under par performance in Vancouver. The New Zealand native will tee it up with 155 of the world’s best female golfers again, this time at Royal Mayfair Golf Club in Edmonton.

The field features 156 players including six amateurs and a crop of young Canadian rising stars who will play as sponsor’s invites. Eleven of the 12 Solheim Cup team members are slated to play in Edmonton this week including the star of the biennial event, Caroline Hedwall. The Swede will be bringing plenty of positive momentum to Canada after becoming the first player to go 5-0 in Solheim Cup history en route to Europe’s 18-10 victory last week at Colorado Golf Club. Hedwall sank the clinching putt on the 18th hole to defeat Michelle Wie 1 up and helped the Europeans defeat Team USA for the first time on U.S. soil.

Fellow European teammate Charley Hull will also be in the field this week playing on a sponsor exemption. Hull, who became the youngest player in Solheim Cup history at 17 years, four months and 25 days, posted an impressive 2-1-0 record over three days and routed American Paula Creamer in Sunday singles 5&4. The England native has had an impressive start to her young professional career and has recorded four runner-up finishes in her first nine starts on the Ladies European Tour.

Twenty-two of the top 25 players in the Rolex Rankings will be in Edmonton this week including all 10 players in the top-10. No. 1 Inbee Park will try to continue her stellar play and will be looking for her seventh victory of the 2013 season. Park, who won the first three majors of the year, has a strong lead in the Player of the Year race (281 points) and leads the money list with $2,147,619.

It’s already been a year: Lydia Ko has come to understand the saying “time flies when you’re having fun” and the 16-year old amateur cannot believe it’s been a year’s time since she became the youngest winner in LPGA Tour history in Vancouver at the 2012 CN Canadian Women’s Open. When asked if she could fathom a year passing since her historic win, Ko said she couldn’t but has had a lot of fun since then.

“No, not really,” Ko said. “Time flies, and lots of things have happened since then.  I've been really enjoying it the last year.”

This week in Canada will mark Ko’s 10th LPGA Tour event in 2013 and she’ll try to add on to her four top-10 finishes she’s racked up this year. She said she’s really been trying to experience the life as a globe-trotting teenager playing in professional golf events.

“You know, I've been getting a whole new experience, because courses change,” said Ko. “I've been getting a feel for all these different types of golf courses in different countries and situations.  I've been really enjoying it.  It doesn't feel like I've played 10 already, but yeah, it's been really cool to have that opportunity to play this many.”

Ko finished tied for 42nd in the Tour’s fourth major and last stop at the RICOH Women’s British Open at St. Andrews and went sightseeing in England for an entire week after the event. Stops included Buckingham Palace and local theatre shows.

“It's been pretty special,” said Ko. “I would never have imagined myself to have flown to Scotland and then go and do some sightseeing, going to London, watching some theater stuff.  It's definitely a whole different life as a teenager. It's been really cool to get this opportunity to actually be a tourist rather than a full‑time golfer.”

Refreshed and ready: Inbee Park will be the first to admit she was disappointed in falling short of four-consecutive major wins at the RICOH Women’s British Open, but getting through the week at St. Andrews without a win might have been a blessing in disguise.

“I feel like I'm a lot more relaxed now,” said Park. “I mean, I experienced some big pressure in British Open.  That week was big, and it could have been great if I could have played a little bit better, but some weeks you don't play your best.  “But I had a great experience there, so I think that experience will help me throughout this season and my career.”

Park returned home to South Korea for the two weeks in between Tour stops and said while she tried to get some rest, her presence and appearance was in high demand. She even got to make a wish come true through her ambassador role with the Make a Wish Foundation. Park played a round of golf with one of the program’s participants.

“When I was in Korea I obviously met up with my family and friends and I did some charity work,” said Park. “I did some stuff for sponsors.  Everything kept me really busy.  I really enjoyed my time there.  I feel like I'm more refreshed, feel like I'm ready to go again.”

Park, who is trying to build off of six Tour victories this season, said she was able to tweak some things in her game while home. As she feels super confident in many aspects of her play, Park’s humbleness still exudes when asked if she expects to win every week.

“I mean, I don't expect to win every week,” said Park. “That's definitely not the case at all times.  It depends how my condition is, how my ball‑striking is, how my body is.  I feel really good about this week.  I'm hitting the ball great and putting really good.  I love these greens here, so I feel good about it.  I feel like I'm ready and feel like all the pressure is off, and I feel like I'm starting new now.”

Park also spoke about the emotional toll she has taken this season with having been in contention so many weeks. She said some words the rest of the field this week probably wouldn’t be thrilled to hear from the world’s No. 1 player.

“You definitely need a rest, especially the season that I had this year,” said Park. “It takes a lot of energy off of you playing every week by week, especially being in contention a lot of the weeks.  That takes a lot of energy, so you definitely need time to rest and time to refresh.  I feel like I just did that the last two weeks.”

Sportswoman of the Year: Inbee Park garnered another honor for her stellar play on the LPGA Tour, this time from a national organization. Park was nominated by the Women’s Sports Foundation for their ‘Sportswoman of the Year Award’ in the individual category. The South Korean is one of eight finalists who were considered for the award based on their athletic achievements between August 13, 2012, and July 31, 2013. The winners are determined by the Women’s Sports Foundation’s Awards Committee and the public.

“It’s such a big honor to be actually nominated as a nominee,” said Park. “Especially as an LPGA player in that kind of award is huge. That gives a lot more concentration and inspiration to play well.”

Past winners of the award include fellow LPGA Tour pro Yani Tseng, U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team member Alex Morgan, Olympic volleyball gold medalists Misty May and Kerri Walsh and WNBA star Lisa Leslie. Park said she thinks being nominated for the award is a testament to the LPGA as a whole getting recognized on a larger stage in the sports world.

“I think we should be proud of how much attention we are getting,” said Park. “If you can play well on the LPGA Tour, you can get as much attention as you want.”

Public voting for the award concludes at 11:59pm E.S.T., September 9, 2013. Vote for Inbee for the Women’s Sports Foundation Sportswoman of the Year Click Here

Looking forward to the Crown: Rolex Rankings No. 1 Inbee Park spent part of this past weekend watching the Solheim Cup on TV, and while she hasn’t had the opportunity to play in the event since she’s neither European nor American, Park enjoyed watching what has become one of the premier events in women’s golf.

“I think it looked really good as a friendship for all the players,” Park said. “Obviously a lot of people watched Solheim Cup, and it’s very exciting. It’s a different kind of format where you don’t play by yourself but you play with your team. That’s not something that we always do here. It’s nice to see very good competition like that and everybody really wants to win for their team.”

Park may not be able to participate in the Solheim Cup but she’ll have the opportunity to possibly represent her country next year at the inaugural International Crown. Four players from eight different countries will be competing for the chance to be crowned the best golfing country in the world. And there’s no question that Park really wants to be a part of a unique and special team event.

“I think it's going to be very huge, especially over in Asia,” Park said. “It's going to get a lot of big impact on women's golf.  A lot of people back in Korea asked me why we weren't playing Solheim, so we expect to see you playing, what type of format it was and what type of players was playing on it.  They were saying like all the Korean people who were watching TV and following me, they were like, oh, it's not fun this week because you are not playing.  So I told them next year that we have something similar like that, a team play where we can play.  Yeah, it'll be nice.”

Youth rising: Lydia Ko became the youngest winner in LPGA history at last year’s CN Canadian Women’s Open, and there is plenty of young talent vying to take home this year’s trophy with much of that talent coming from Canada itself.

A total of 20 players from Canada are in this week’s field at the Royal Mayfair Golf Club in Edmonton. Eleven of those players are sponsor invites including six amateurs. One of those is Smith Falls, Ontario native Brooke Henderson, 15, who will be playing in her third LPGA Tour event this season.

LPGA Tour veteran and proud Canadian Lorie Kane played with Henderson in the final round of the Manulife Financial LPGA Classic last month. Kane was very impressed with what she saw in Henderson.

“I kept thinking to myself, okay, anything I can do she can do better,” Kane said with a laugh. “I’d hit it six feet, she’d hit it in five feet. Danny [Sharp, Kane’s caddie] reminded me that she may have beaten me by a couple of shots. He said, ‘You got dusted by a 15 year old,’ and I said, ‘Thank you for that.’”

All joking aside, Kane is very proud of the fact that the future of Canadian golf is so well represented this week. University of Alabama graduate and Paris, Ontario native Jennifer Kirby will be in the field here in Edmonton and has had a strong start to her professional career, winning her pro debut back in June at the CN Canadian Women’s Tour event in Quebec. She also played in Manulife Financial Classic last month and finished T41. 

Augusta James (Bath, Ontario) will make her second appearance in the Canadian Women’s Open. The Golf Canada Team member became NC State’s first-ever ACC Freshman of the Year in 2012 and also landed a spot on the 2012 All-ACC Women’s Golf Team.

“I have to give hats off to Golf Canada and what they're trying to do,” Kane said. “I had the opportunity to be involved with the pro‑am the Monday of the RBC Canadian Men's Open with the Canadian Golf Foundation.  We're trying to really come up with a plan to help young kids get involved in the game, keep them into the game, keep them part of Team Canada as an amateur and then encourage them and support them through the first stages of being a young professional.  It's not an easy transition. 

“As a female, I think we tend to lose girls.  We'll step away at this level for reasons, if women want to have families, but to keep them involved in the game.  I come from a family of all girls, and we only have one golfer other than myself in the family, and that's my dad.  You know, it is tough.  But with the help of Golf Canada and the Future Links program, I think you're right.  It's a rising future for women's golf here in this country.”

Of Note…Seven past champions are in the field this week: Lydia Ko (2012), Brittany Lincicome (2011), Michelle Wie (2010), Suzann Pettersen (2009), Katherine Hull-Kirk (2008), Cristie Kerr (2006) and Meena Lee (2005). Hanna Kanh (70), Sandra Changkija (71), Paz Echeverria (71) and Nicole Forsner (71) all earned spots in the field this week at the Monday qualifier which was held at Edmonton Petroleum Golf & Country Club.

Quotables: “I saw her actually on Sunday when I came out here and practiced on the greens.  Looks like she played the course before me. I could give her advice, but I don't think she really needs advice.  She's a good enough player, I think.  I mean, she's a very talented player.” –Inbee Park on whether she lent any advice to 16-year old and defending champion Lydia Ko

“No, I don't really think about money, I just hit the ball.  My parents are the ones that are thinking about money and expenses.” Lydia Ko on if she ever thinks about all of the money she could have collected if she turned pro

“I was wondering why that question wasn't coming up (laughing).  Yeah, I am thinking of college, but I'm not thinking of playing college golf.  That's a different route I'm taking.  And still, like I can't talk to the college coaches, so it's quite a hard thing to make a decision right now. Pro, we're thinking about when it's the right time to turn pro.  We're thinking.” Lydia Ko on where she is in the process of deciding to turn professional

“Like I say every time I'm in here, I plan to be back throughout the week, I hope.  But we can't tell our stories without your help, and one of the big components to help generate the interest in this country is to tell all the stories, and all the stories mean there's 19 young kids from Canada this week, and each of them have a different path in getting here, and if we help tell and sell their story, then maybe their journey will be a little bit more successful.” Lorie Kane addressing the assembled media at Royal Mayfair Golf Club

Tweet of the Day: “Just slept for 14 hours…guess I was tired” -@Beany25 Catriona Matthew on her post-Solheim Cup sleep regimen.

 

INBEE PARK, Rolex Rankings No. 1

THE MODERATOR:  I would like to welcome in Rolex Rankings No. 1 Inbee Park to the media center.  Thanks for coming in.  Last time we saw you, you were at the Women's British Open going for that fourth consecutive major.  Came up a little short, but you got some well‑deserved time off, went back to Korea.  Take us through the last two weeks.  Did you get any rest?  What have you been doing?
INBEE PARK:  When I was in Korea I obviously met up with my family and friends and I did some charity work.  I did some stuff for sponsors.  Everything kept me really busy.  Yeah, I really enjoyed my time there.  I feel like I'm more refreshed, feel like I'm ready to go again.

THE MODERATOR:  What was the charity work?
INBEE PARK:  Well, I'm an ambassador in Korea for Make‑A‑Wish Foundation, and one of the kids' wishes were playing golf with me, so I did their wish and spent some time with them.  Yeah, I went to a hospital for heart disease with my sponsor.

THE MODERATOR:  You played here in 2007 when it was here last.  Do you have any memories that you're trying to play off of the course?  You said you got in Saturday so you've had a couple practice rounds.  Anything about the course that maybe surprised you or you didn't quite remember?
INBEE PARK:  Well, yeah, I knew that I played this golf course, but I saw the golf course and it looked pretty new to me.  The course is very challenging, I think, very narrow fairways and fast greens.  The greens are rolling so pure.  I love greens like this.  The last couple weeks, last month actually, we didn't get this kind of speed yet, so I'm really excited to play fast greens and pure greens again.  Yeah, I love the golf course here, yeah.

THE MODERATOR:  Lydia was just in here a few hours ago and she obviously won this event.  You were runner‑up, but you got the first‑place check.  But she said she saw you on the practice green and she was taking notes on your putting.  Were you trying not to give her too many pointers because she might be gunning for you again?
INBEE PARK:  No, not at all.  I saw her actually on Sunday when I came out here and practiced on the greens.  Looks like she played the course before me.  Yeah, I could give her advice, but I don't think she really needs advice.  She's a good enough player, I think.  I mean, she's a very talented player.
            Last year I had a good memory of Canadian Open where I finished second but got a first‑place check.  It would be nice if I could actually get the trophy and the first‑place check this time.  But yeah, I'll try my best this week and just see what happens.

THE MODERATOR:  Now, I asked Lydia, as well, big week in women's golf last week.  You said you watched the Solheim Cup last week.  What did you take away from that event and the competition and the spectacle?  It put a really good spotlight on women's golf.  What did you make of it?
INBEE PARK:  Yeah, I watched a little bit, and looks like every ‑‑ I think it looked really good as a friendship for all the players.  Obviously a lot of people watched Solheim Cup, and it's very exciting.  It's a different kind of format where you don't play by yourself but you play with your team.  That's not something that we always do here.  It's nice to see very good competition like that and everybody really wants to win for their team.
            Yeah, especially when we have International Crown next year, I want to be part of it.  This time, Solheim, I'm not European or American, so I couldn't be part of it.  But next year we get some similar opportunity like that, so it'll be nice to compete in that and be part of it, yeah.

THE MODERATOR:  Yeah, a lot of people said where are the Asians this week, where are the Australians, and maybe people aren't necessarily too familiar with that event.  How big do you think that event will be, being able to showcase how global this Tour is?
INBEE PARK:  I think it's going to be very huge, especially over in Asia.  It's going to get a lot of big impact on women's golf.  A lot of people back in Korea asked me why we weren't playing Solheim, so we expect to see you playing, what type of format it was and what type of players was playing on it.  They were saying like all the Korean people who were watching TV and following me, they were like, oh, it's not fun this week because you are not playing.  So I told them next year that we have something similar like that, a team play where we can play.  Yeah, it'll be nice.

Q.  Can you talk about there's a lot of expectations on you, the record and stuff at the British Open.  Do you feel like there's a weight off your shoulders now coming to Edmonton?
INBEE PARK:  Yeah, I feel like I'm a lot more relaxed now.  I mean, I experienced some big pressure in British Open.  Yeah, that week was big, and it could have been great if I could have played a little bit better, but some weeks you don't play your best.  Yeah, but I had a great experience there, so I think that experience will help me throughout this season and my career.

Q.  Do you come into tournaments now expecting to win?  Is that where you are?
INBEE PARK:  I mean, I don't expect to win every week.  That's definitely not the case at all times.  It depends how my condition is, how my ball‑striking is, how my body is.  I mean, I feel really good about this week.  I'm hitting the ball great and putting really good.  I love these greens here, so I feel good about it.  I feel like I'm ready and feel like all the pressure is off, and I feel like I'm starting new now.

THE MODERATOR:  Two weeks off; I know you practice hours and hours, you're one of the first ones on the range, one of the last ones to leave.  Do you cherish your time to practice and really get technically sound rather than competing week to week and try to figure it out?  Do you take into consideration the practice week is very, very important or do you like the grind of playing every week?
INBEE PARK:  Well, I like actually working on my game while I'm on the golf course.  It's better if I'm actually even playing a tournament and working on things during the tournament because no better test than tournament golf than everything else.  But you definitely need a rest, especially the season that I had this year.  It takes a lot of energy off of you playing every week by week, especially being in contention a lot of the weeks.  That takes a lot of energy, so you definitely need time to rest and time to refresh.  I feel like I just did that the last two weeks.

Q.  Can you elaborate a little bit more on the course?  There's a lot of guarded greens here.  The wind can be a bit tricky.  What are you finding is going to be the challenge of this course?
INBEE PARK:  Well, I think the challenge here will be hitting fairways, and obviously you have to avoid three‑putts because these greens are so quick that downhill putts, you can a little bit over‑hit it and it can go 15 feet past.  I've been working a lot on the greens to get the speed right.  I mean, I know the wind today, it blew a little bit on the back nine for me, and I couldn't read the wind exactly because a lot of trees were blocking it.  It'll be important to actually read the wind and actually get the right speed of the greens.  But everything about this golf course ‑‑ this golf course played a little bit long today, but if it dries out a little bit, I think it's going to play at a very good distance.  I think it's really like a major setting golf course.  It's very challenging.  It's going to test a lot of parts of your game, yeah.

Q.  What happened with you this year?  You've been on Tour for a while, and now all of a sudden you're dominant.  What was the switch that got flipped, and how can I flip that same switch?
INBEE PARK:  Well, I think just everything just ‑‑ I had my bad times after the win in U.S. Open, and I wasn't experienced or I wasn't used to the Tour.  My game was just not ready yet.  But over the time, I worked on everything a little bit, little bit by little bit, and it improved, I think, every year.
           
Last year I've learned a lot from finishing second places a lot last year.  I think I finished six times second place or something like that.  So after that kind of experience, this year when I'm in contention I feel a lot more comfortable and I have a lot more confidence to win.

 

LYDIA KO, Rolex Rankings No. 19

THE MODERATOR:  It's my pleasure to welcome in our defending champion this week, Lydia Ko.  Welcome back.  Thanks for joining us.  Can you believe it's almost been a full year since you made history becoming the youngest winner on the LPGA Tour?
LYDIA KO:  No, not really.  Time flies, and lots of things have happened since then.  I've been really enjoying it the last year.

THE MODERATOR:  Now, this is your 10th LPGA Tour event this season; you're almost like a regular.  How much has this entire year, you played in all four majors this year, been playing on big stages in events like this, how much more comfortable do you feel coming out to events and trying to contend every week?
LYDIA KO:  You know, I've been getting a whole new experience, because courses change.  I've been getting a feel for all these different types of golf courses in different countries and situations.  I've been really enjoying it.  It doesn't feel like I've played 10 already, but yeah, it's been really cool to have that opportunity to play this many.

THE MODERATOR:  Time flies when you're having fun, I guess.
LYDIA KO:  Yes.

THE MODERATOR:  And you said you got to do a little sightseeing at the women's British Open.  Talk about just taking advantage of traveling the world.  You get to do something that not many teenagers get to do and things that you've been looking forward to and you're trying to take advantage of that situation.
LYDIA KO:  Yeah, it's been pretty special.  I would never have imagined myself to have flown to Scotland and then go and do some sightseeing, going to London, watching some theater stuff.  Yeah, it's definitely a whole different life as a teenager.  Yeah, it's been really cool to get this opportunity to actually be a tourist rather than a full‑time golfer.

THE MODERATOR:  A new course this year.  Last year you won in Vancouver.  You've had a couple practice rounds.  What are you taking away from the course from what you've seen the past couple days?
LYDIA KO:  You know, it's par‑70 here, and I think the distance is like 6,400, so yeah, it's definitely different to last year.  The course setup is a bit different.  But I played well last year, so I know hopefully I'll be able to do that again this year.  But I've just got to try my best.  The course looks like it's in really good form.  Yeah, I think it'll be really good.

THE MODERATOR:  I saw someone tweet your putting.  I don't know if you played a practice round or were on the putting green with Inbee.  Has she been giving you any pointers or have you gotten to practice together at all?
LYDIA KO:  Yeah, I saw her on Sunday.  I was putting and then she came along and did some putting, as well.  No, I didn't ask her any questions, but I stopped and then looked at how the world No. 1 putts.  Yeah, I kind of looked at her stroke and saw what kind of the differences were with mine.

Q.  I wanted to ask you as an amateur it means you won't be able to collect the prize money if you win.  How hard is that for you knowing it's like a $300,000 check?
LYDIA KO:  You know, I've played the other tournaments and it's not like I've been getting any then.  No, it's not really hard.  I know the amateurs aren't going to get any money anyway.  Yeah, I don't really think about it.  It's not like I count how much I'm earning each week.

Q.  Does that impede you, not being able to cash in on that as far as travel, all expenses like that?
LYDIA KO:  No, I don't really think about money, I just hit the ball.  My parents are the ones that are thinking about money and expenses.

Q.  What's the best piece of advice you've received from anybody regarding kind of dealing with early success at such a young age?
LYDIA KO:  You know, everybody ‑‑ well, I said I don't want to take it very fast and I've got lots of time, and people have been agreeing with that.  So I think that's been really supportive in that way, not saying all these advices but kind of agreeing with the option we took.

Q.  Last year you mentioned that the U.S. Amateur was still a bigger win even after you won this tournament.  12 months later have you changed your mind at all considering who you beat last year in Vancouver?
LYDIA KO:  Yeah, I think it's on the same level now that I've thought about it.  Yeah, I mean, I probably said that about the U.S. Am because I really, really wanted to win it, and the Canadian Open I didn't know that I'd ever win it, and I kind of got it done.  Yeah, I think because it was a huge surprise, it kind of didn't sink in yet at that moment, but now when I look back at it, it was a really big week in my life.

Q.  For the umpteenth time, have your plans changed at all?  Last year you said you had designs on going to a U.S. college, maybe Stanford.  What are your plans now a year later?
LYDIA KO:  I was wondering why that question wasn't coming up (laughing).  Yeah, I am thinking of college, but I'm not thinking of playing college golf.  That's a different route I'm taking.  And still, like I can't talk to the college coaches, so it's quite a hard thing to make a decision right now.
           
Pro, we're thinking about when it's the right time to turn pro.  We're thinking.

THE MODERATOR:  It was just a huge week in women's golf.  The Solheim Cup just finished.  Did you follow it at all?
LYDIA KO:  Yeah, I watched on the first day.  I was doing some putting out here and then I went into the small nine‑hole clubhouse, and yeah, I watched everybody play.  People were sinking putts from everywhere and hitting it really close.  Yeah, it's quite an inspirational week, even though I'm not an American or a European.  It was really cool to watch.

Q.  Now, Charley Hull, another teenager in the field this week, just played in the Solheim Cup.  How does it feel to see another girl around your age doing really well on the international stage?
LYDIA KO:  You know, she obviously proved herself out there last week, and she's obviously a really great player.  Yeah, it kind of makes me feel better seeing that I'm not the youngest one, I'm not the young one, so yeah, that feels good.

 

LORIE KANE, Rolex Rankings No. 272

THE MODERATOR:  I'd like to welcome Lorie Kane into the interview room.  Thanks for coming in.  A big week for you.  You're always a superstar up in Canada.  I was in Waterloo with you a couple weeks ago and everyone wants a piece of you and now you're here and you're an ambassador.  Talk about how good it is to be back in Canada and how good it is to come back and be at home in your country.
LORIE KANE:  Yes.  It's the other side of the country, but it is Canada and it is great to be back at Edmonton.  I was here in June to do the media blitz and to start the Miracle Match drive, and happy to say that that has gone very well and continues to grow.

Royal Mayfair hosted us in '07 and is in really fine shape.  I got to play nine holes yesterday in the ladies' pro‑am.  We'll go out this afternoon to play the back nine and then play in the pro‑am tomorrow morning with Club Mojo and his guest from CN.  It's been a real pleasure to be involved and to be the ambassador for the Miracle Match and CN and help promote golf in Canada and more importantly the dollars that will be raised will be unbelievable.

THE MODERATOR:  Now, talk about CN being such a strong supporter of women's golf, and this event that they put on, which I just looked at the past champions list, which is Meg Mallon, Beth Daniels, Suzann Pettersen, just like a major list of champions.  Talk about the event they put on every year and the courses you go to.
LORIE KANE:  Yeah, it goes without saying that in 2006 we didn't have the CN ‑‑ well, we had our first CN Canadian Women's Open, and prior to that we were struggling to gain hold of a title sponsor who understood what we could help them do and grow their business and ours, as well.  And as a result of that and a connection with Golf Canada, they have moved us around this country quite gracefully to some of the best properties that we have.  As a result of that, it's our national open, and it doesn't surprise me the champions that we've had.
           
In 2007 Lorena Ochoa played here and played some brilliant golf.  The golf course stood up to us, and I think this week will be a great test.  The rough is long, and it's a little soft.  I think with the rain that we've had.
           
But we have to thank CN because the LPGA has grown leaps and bounds since 2006, and the dollars that have been raised for charity and children's hospitals will surpass I'm pretty sure the goal to get over $10 million.
           
That's what I'm here to celebrate this week.  My relationship with CN has been an important one to me.  I know how important it's been to our Tour from a business standpoint and giving us an opportunity to help grow the game in this country, to have two women's golf tournaments supported the way they are with the fan base, it's really exciting.

THE MODERATOR:  Now, not only being an ambassador for CN and the Tour but for young Canadian golfers.  We say it every year that they're exciting and they're coming.  We have a handful in the field this week, and some shining stars that I think are going to be a force to be reckoned with in the years to come.
LORIE KANE:  I had the pleasure to playing Sunday's round at Manual Life with Brooke Henderson, and 15 years old, and I kept thinking to myself, okay, anything I can do she can do better.  I'd hit it in six feet, she'd hit it in five feet.  Danny reminded me that she may have beaten me by a couple of shots, and Danny Sharp is my caddie, he said, "You got dusted by a 15 year old," and I said, "Thank you for that."
            But you're right.  Again, I have to give hats off to Golf Canada and what they're trying to do.  I had the opportunity to be involved with the pro‑am the Monday of the RBC Canadian Men's Open with the Canadian Golf Foundation.  We're trying to really come up with a plan to help young kids get involved in the game, keep them into the game, keep them part of Team Canada as an amateur and then encourage them and support them through the first stages of being a young professional.  It's not an easy transition.  Some might say, well, why is it our job to keep ‑‑ help support a young professional in their endeavor, because once you turn pro you turn pro.  But my feeling is it just continues to circle, and the younger player will want to stay involved in the game.
           
As a female, I think we tend to lose girls.  We'll step away at this level for reasons, if women want to have families, but to keep them involved in the game.  I come from a family of all girls, and we only have one golfer other than myself in the family, and that's my dad.  You know, it is tough.  But with the help of Golf Canada and the Future Links program, I think you're right.  It's a rising future for women's golf here in this country.

THE MODERATOR:  I remember Brooke said she had a practice round with you in Waterloo and she came in for a press conference and said, I picked Lorie's brain, so I think you've played the role already just to give them a little feedback.  They've seen you succeed on Tour.
LORIE KANE:  Well, I picked the same brains of Dawn Coe‑Jones, Gail Graham, Lisa Walters, and of course my champion for me was Jocelyn Bourassa, who is the only Canadian to win the Canadian Open, and at the time in 1975 it was La Canadienne, and we would love to have another Canadian win.  We've got a few girls walked in the room here, and yeah, we're strong.  We've got some really great talent.
           
I just think it's going to be a fun week.  I think if I read correctly there are 19 Canadians in the field, and that's great, because any time you have an opportunity to play in an LPGA event, to showcase what it might be look for the amateurs who might decide they want to play professional golf, it gives them an opportunity to be showcased in our own country.

Q.  How important is it for this tournament to stick around beyond this year?
LORIE KANE:  Oh, I hope it does.  But again, my goal for this week was to come and celebrate what we have accomplished to this date and not to worry about what's going to happen on Monday.
           
I really feel strongly about that.  You know, I think everything will come together.  Maybe it's wishful thinking, but I'm pretty sure that our brand as an LPGA Tour brand, like I said, what's happening here in this country with women's golf on the rise, you know, I think it'll be fine.

Q.  So how do you see the next generation for the female golfer, and how do you think ‑‑ do you think it's going the right way, or where do you think female golf will go in the next years?
LORIE KANE:  Well, I think you're answering your own question.  Yes, we have all kinds of great things happening because they're getting younger and younger.  If Brooke is 15, I think the average age of probably our national team is maybe 19, those kids are going to go to college, I hope, get some college experience, and then if they choose to turn pro, I think we're in a real healthy position.  I think we've got some very talented young Canadians who are on the rise.
           
One sitting over here right in front of me, or two of them, one behind me.  Rebecca had a great season last year, finished off winning the Tour school; Nicole Vandermade is a regular on the Symetra Tour; Jennifer Kirby, who's playing this week, has just graduated.  The future is bright.  I'm excited about it.
           
At one time we probably only had six ‑‑ my rookie year we might have had six or seven players on the LPGA Tour Canadian.  Now I know this week we've got 19 girls playing in this field.  I think that's a strong number and suggests that women's golf is healthy.

Q.  What about your future?  Do you have to stay in the game to sort of be the icon for these young up and coming golfers?  I know you're tired of the question.
LORIE KANE:  I'm never tired of answering questions.  I don't see an end to anything that I do.  I can only see day‑to‑day and trying to get better.  If it takes another 10 years ‑‑ I'm not planning to leave any time soon, and if I can lend a hand to these younger players, then I'm willing to do that.  Like I said, I was helped ‑‑ I come from our smallest province and they supported me 100 percent, so I'm just trying to pay it forward and give back.  To let these kids know that they have all kinds of game, they just need to believe in themselves.

Q.  You talked about the next generation coming up, so Golf Canada has some good programs in place right now to get these kids prepared.  There seems to be something missing, though, when they graduate and become pro.  In your opinion what is it that's missing that sort of these kids have some great college careers and then they seem to either take a while to find themselves as pro?  What's missing in your opinion?
LORIE KANE:  I don't know that anything is missing.  I think there is a transition time, and it is time.  Funny enough, when we did a little panel chat at the RBC Canadian Open, that was what was guys were saying.  You know, there is a transition period.  I'm an example of a late bloomer I would say.  Mike Weir is the same.  I think the opportunity that the younger player has now, they need to take advantage of all the opportunities that they have and not be afraid to ask for help when they need it.
           
I think some players need to understand what balance means in jumping into the pro ranks, and you can't ‑‑ this is a tough game and you need to have time away from it to learn to grow, to make a step forward.  I don't think there's any missing link other than time.  It just takes ‑‑ I think as Canadians we might take just a little extra time to get where we're going.  But in the end we'll be there in the long haul.  I hope that answered your question.

LORIE KANE:  Thank you very much.  Like I say every time I'm in here, I plan to be back throughout the week, I hope.  But we can't tell our stories without your help, and one of the big components to help generate the interest in this country is to tell all the stories, and all the stories mean there's 19 young kids from Canada this week, and each of them have a different path in getting here, and if we help tell and sell their story, then maybe their journey will be a little bit more successful.
           
And let's not forget the Miracle Match and the over $10 million that I hope we'll be raising in the eight years that we've done this.  Congratulations, CN.

 

Topics: Canadian Pacific Women's Open, Notes and Interviews, Park, Inbee, Kane, Lorie

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