Safeway Classic Presented by Coca-Cola Wednesday Notes and Interviews

Photo Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

Mika Miyazato of Japan poses with the trophy on the 18th hole after her 13 under par victory during the final round of the Safeway Classic at Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club on August 19, 2012 in North Plains, Oregon.

Safeway Classic Presented by Coca-Cola
Columbia Edgewater Country Club
Portland, Oregon
Pre-tournament Notes and Interviews
August 28, 2013

Stacy Lewis, Rolex Rankings No. 1
Suzann Pettersen, Rolex Rankings No. 3
Paula Creamer, Rolex Rankings No. 11
Mika Miyazato, Rolex Rankings No. 19 & defending champion

A 40-year Portland, Oregon tradition continues this week at the Safeway Classic Presented by Coca-Cola where Japan native Mika Miyazato hopes to deliver a successful title defense after capturing her first LPGA victory at the event last year. The tournament returns to Columbia Edgewater Country Club, which hosted the event as recently as five years ago, will feature a 144-player field, vying for a $195,000 first-place check.

Miyazato became the sixth Rolex First-Time winner at last year’s event with an impressive wire-to-wire victory over Inbee Park and Brittany Lincicome. She will face the challenge of defending her title at the revamped event which returns to a beloved venue and moves to a four-day layout. While the 23-year-old only boasts two top-finishes so far this season including a third place finish at the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship, she is hopeful for a successful title defense for her second-career victory.

Refreshed and ready to go… The exhaustion of a grueling stretch of tournaments that included the Ricoh Women’s British Open, Solheim Cup, and CN Canadian Women’s Open hit Rolex Rankings No. 2 Stacy Lewis head-on during last week’s event in Canada. The physical and mental demands of the tournaments forced the former University of Arkansas Razorback to withdraw after the exhaustion became so excruciating; it left her forgetting the simplest mundane tasks on the golf course. 

“Yeah, it's everything from the British until Solheim Cup, hit me last week,” said Lewis. “I was tired, but I didn't expect to feel the way I did on the golf course.  I was out there, I overshot and I completely forgot what shot I was hitting, how far I was, that's not like me at all.”

Last week marked the first-time in Lewis’ four-years on the LPGA Tour that she has pulled out of an event. The decision wasn’t an easy one for the eight-time LPGA Tour winner who received encouragement to get some much needed rest from those closest to her, including caddie Travis Wilson.

“I had never (withdrawn) I think it's just my personality,” said Lewis. “It was physically hard for me to, I was nervous calling the official telling them I had to pull out. I called four or five people that were closest to me and they gave me good advice.  I asked them what I should do. They all said the same thing. My caddy was the one that truthfully kind of pushed me to do it because he saw the way I was on the golf course.”

After spending a few days in Canada where she visited the spa and went on a hiking excursion, Lewis is vying for her third LPGA Tour victory this year at the Safeway Classic Presented by Coca-Cola. Current Rolex Rankings No. 1 Inbee Park withdrew from the event on Tuesday after experiencing flu-like symptoms which has left Lewis eyeing the coveted number one spot in the rankings.

“I think the Player of the Year and Money List is going to be tough,” said Lewis. “I mean, winning three majors, that's pretty good. I think I would have to win a couple more times to really give any of that a run.  It's not going to stop me from trying. I think there's always a chance. I think you can always play better; you can always work harder. I want to give her a run, but at the same time I want to take care of myself and still try to win golf tournaments.  In the end that's kind of what you want to do.”

New clubs, same goal: Defending champion Mika Miyazato said she had some nerves coming into this week as a defending champion. It will be the first title defense in Miyazato’s career after she became a Rolex First-Time Winner at the Safeway Classic Presented by Coca-Cola last season at Pumpkin Ridge outside of Portland.

“I feel more nervous before the tournament, but not too much,” said Miyazato. “It's the same tournament but different golf course this year and the four day tournament.”

The 22-year old has been trying to soak in the experience as a defending champion and when she saw her picture on the front of the program this year she made sure she grabbed a copy as a memento.

Miyazato got off to a slow start this season and didn’t pick up her first top-10 until her seventh event at the Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic where she tied for fourth. She said the rocky start could have been attributed to an entire equipment swap when she changed all of her clubs to TaylorMade. When asked what the biggest difference in her game is this year compared to last year, she said it had to be the club change.

“The big difference is change of the club,” said Miyazato. “I change the first tournament this year. In the beginning not so much good, but start May much better feeling with my club.”

Miyazato has since gotten a grip on her new set and feels very comfortable with her short game, part of her game she has been concentrating on recently. With feeling a little nervous about defending champion obligations this week, she said she actually feels less pressure because of the course change from Pumpkin Ridge. The fifth-year pro said Columbia Edgewater suits her game event better than Pumpkin Ridge.

“I like both golf course, but maybe more here, it’s better for my game,” said Miyazato.

Just Do It: Rolex Rankings No. 3 Suzann Pettersen says she feels right at home when she returns to Portland each year and usually has a full schedule other than playing golf. Pettersen has been sponsored by Nike for the majority of her 11-year career on the LPGA Tour.

“It's obviously a lot of fun to be back here for me,” said Pettersen. “It has become kind of a second home, but it feels like a second home having the Nike family around me. Yesterday I spent a little time with them…I had kind of a lot of meetings yesterday.  Product development, feedback, shoes, apparel, yes.”

Pettersen said the attention to detail by the Nike team with everything from her apparel to the intricacies of her new model of shoes show how much they care about their athletes.
 
“They are really asking me, that's one of the nicest things about Nike,” said Pettersen. “They are so athlete‑oriented.  They are really looking at their product development from their athletes and the feedback they get from their athletes because obviously we are people who spend probably the most time in their apparel, in their shoes, with their products.  So it's fantastic to be a part of it and see the results.

“I must say being with Nike and being an Nike athlete is like a dream come true.  Any type of sport.  It's a fantastic comfort.”

With all of the comforts of her first-class equipment and apparel, Pettersen is hoping to get her second win of the season this week in Portland. She won earlier this year at the LOTTE LGPA Championship in Hawaii. The Norwegian is a Safeway Classic former champ when she won in 2011 at Pumpkin Ridge and said she’s hoping to get her second win in Portland at a different course.

“It's just neat to be here,” said Pettersen. “I have a lot of great memories both on and off the golf course.  It's nice to be back here at Columbia Edgewater.  I've been long enough on Tour that I should play this track a few times, even though I've always played better on the other side. It's a good course.  It's in good shape and I'm glad to be here.”

Pettersen’s best finish at Columbia Edgewater came the last time the Tour played at the Portland-based course in 2008 when she tied for 17th.  

Paving the way… Commissioner of the LPGA Tour Mike Whan, often says the goal of the LPGA is to “leave the game better than we found it” and nobody epitomizes the quote better than Paula Creamer. At this week’s Safeway Classic Presented by Coca-Cola the player known as “Pink Panther” played host to nine service men from Lewis-McChord base and their daughters.

“I had about nine soldiers and Air Force men come out and watch me play nine holes from Lewis-McChord base,” said Creamer. “It's really great to just give back to the military. I come from a military family and there's so many special ties, especially with my foundation. It's nice to be able to give them the opportunity to come out here and watch the golfers as well.  It's pretty cool.  They brought some of their daughters out.  They're able to come back on the weekend.”

This week however isn’t the only week Creamer can be seen going above and beyond for her fans. A role model for many aspiring LPGA Tour players, Creamer views paving the way for other young girls to achieve their dreams as a priority. At last year’s event in Portland, Oregon, the nine-time LPGA Tour winner gave her watch to a member of the local First Tee chapter.

“I try to as much as I can,” said Creamer. “I think it's pretty cool to give back to junior golf. They are the future to have LPGA and just golf in general. I've always found that I love kids. I love giving back, like I said, especially to the First Tee being an ambassador for them. It’s easy when you do have great sponsors and they allow me to do that kind of thing. If it helps one person out there out there just get the bug a little more than they had before, then I think I’m doing my job out here.”

 

Stacy Lewis, Rolex Rankings No. 2

THE MODERATOR:  I'd like to welcome Stacy Lewis into the interview room.  Stacy, thanks for coming in. We're back in Portland this week.  Your best finish here is a tie for 8th.  Obviously a new venue, but how nice is it to be back here?
STACY LEWIS:  It's great.  Portland is a place we've been for a long time.  It's such a good golfing community for us and a great place for our Tour to play.
           
I was excited with the course change.  The other one, it's a good golf course, but it didn't quite fit my eye.  So I was excited to get here.  While I didn't play it for a tournament, I had played it a couple of times and knew it was something that would fit my eye.

THE MODERATOR:  What are your thoughts on it so far?
STACY LEWIS:  It's great.  I love it.  I was out there yesterday; I played 18 holes.  It's old school.  You know, it's old style.  The tee to green is really close.  Each hole has character to it.  You can't just bomb it straight down the middle and have a shot.  You have to play stuff around trees and kind of work the ball, so I think that fits with my game pretty good.

THE MODERATOR:  You withdrew last week in Canada, but I saw your Tweet this morning saying you're ready to go.  Obviously you are feeling better, but how excited are you?
STACY LEWIS:  Yeah, it's everything from the British until Solheim Cup, hit me last week.  I was tired, but I didn't expect to feel the way I did on the golf course.  I was out there, I overshot and I completely forgot what shot I was hitting, how far I was, that's not like me at all.
           
I needed to clear my head, kind of take in what really happened over the last three weeks and clear my mind and allow my body to rest.  I didn't touch a golf club until Monday, so I needed to put the clubs away and just relax a little bit.

Q.  What did you do?  Anything fun or just ‑‑
STACY LEWIS:  Well, I had to stay up in Canada because we had some passport issues.  I stayed up in Canada, went to a spa, went hiking.  I completely got away.  I turned my phone off and just got away from everything.  It was probably the best thing I could have done.
           
I saw people ‑‑ I see people this week and they are like, man, you look a lot better this week.  I guess I should take that as a compliment, not that I looked terrible last week.

Q.  You are currently the top‑ranked American on Tour with International Crown in its inaugural year next year, how excited are you and what are your thoughts on that event?
STACY LEWIS:  Well, I'm excited to see how the teams come together.  I was kind of looking yesterday that you guys came up with the countries that would be in it.  I was surprised at a couple, actually.  I'm excited to see how it all comes together.  I'm excited for the fans to really ‑‑ I think in those team events, you see players' personalities more.  I think you will see the personalities of the Koreans.  That is their knock.  Everybody thinks they don’t' have personalities, but a lot of them have great personalities.  I think that's going to come through in that event, and it's really ‑‑ it's going to be competitive and it's going to be fun.

Q.  You went to University of Arkansas.  I know one of your hobbies is watching SEC football.  With football starting this week, will you be calling the Hogs a lot this year?
STACY LEWIS:  I'm going to go, I think at least one game is on the list.  I'm excited for it to start this weekend.  I'm excited to have next weekend off because I'm going to spend all Saturday on my couch watching football.
           
I love this time of the year.  I wish we were a little bit closer to the US most of the season so we could watch a little bit more.  I love college football and I love this time of year.

Q.  Aside from the obvious, is there anything you do in terms of preparation for 72 holes over 54?  Any mental changes you make for a tournament that's an extra 18?
STACY LEWIS:  I don't think you change your preparation at all.  It definitely makes the week a little bit shorter.  Other than that, the preparation is the same.
           
I like 72‑hole events better just because at 54 they feel like such a sprint that if you have a bad stretch of six or nine holes you are pretty much out of it.  I like the 72‑hole events.  I feel like you get a better winner over those four days versus three.

Q.  With Inbee withdrawing and there's still a major left, any chance you can catch her for some of the postseason stuff?
STACY LEWIS:  I think the Player of the Year and Money List is going to be tough.  I mean, winning three majors, that's pretty good.  I think I would have to win a couple more times to really give any of that a run.  It's not going to stop me from trying.  I think there's always a chance.  I think you can always play better; you can always work harder.
           
I want to give her a run, but at the same time I want to take care of myself and still try to win golf tournaments.  In the end that's kind of what you want to do.
           
Part of the reason I withdrew last week was to prepare for this week, but to also make sure my energy level was good going into Evian.  I played well there the last few years and I wanted to be 100 percent going into that week.

Q.  And withdrawing, I think you said you had never done that before?
STACY LEWIS:  Yeah.

Q.  Was it physical or mental that you were feeling?
STACY LEWIS:  I had never ‑‑ I think it's just my personality.  It was physically hard for me to ‑‑ I was nervous calling the official telling them I had to pull out.  I called four or five people that were closest to me and they gave me good advice.  I asked them what I should do.  They all said the same thing.  My caddy was the one that truthfully kind of pushed me to do it because he saw the way I was on the golf course.
           
And I would say it was probably 50/50, though, mental and physical.  Any time you win a big tournament like the British, coming off of that you need some time to decompress.  We went straight from the British to Solheim Cup.  So I had two weeks of Solheim Cup stuff and never got time to kind of decompress off of that, so mentally I was fried.  And then physically we played so much golf in Colorado at altitude and walking up and down the hills, that was definitely part of it.

Q.  Did you get a chance to really appreciate what you have done at S. Andrews, kind of the scope of it and the history and all that?
STACY LEWIS:  I don't think I have yet.  It really ‑‑ that 36 holes on Sunday happened so fast.  You are grinding all day and then all of a sudden I hit a great shot on 17 and make a putt on 18 and I'm done, you know.  Now what do I do?  I did media for a couple hours after that.  We celebrated, I got on the plane the next morning and I was going into the next thing.  I never really got to enjoy it.
           
The last few days my coach has been sending me pictures of it saying remember you did do this.  You did win the British.  You did do this at the home of golf.  So I have good people around me that are helping me making sure that I remember what I did two weeks ago.

Q.  Just want to ask you about the scoliosis that you overcame as a teenager and all that you went through physically to have a chance to play.  Do you feel sometimes ‑‑ do you have to almost pinch yourself to say I'm really lucky to be able to be doing what I'm doing at this point?
STACY LEWIS:  Yeah, I think about ten years ago is when I had surgery.  Coming out of surgery, not knowing if I'm going to play golf, but not even knowing how ‑‑ I mean, I could barely sit up by myself.  The surgery in my back, it puts everything in perspective.
           
At the end of the day, a bad shot, pulling out of the tournament, pulling out of a tournament, a bad round really not that big of a deal.  I get to do what I love every day.  I get to play golf.  I don't know how I get to do it.  It's amazing what doctors are able to do now.  To think that I have a rod and five screws attached to my spine and I bend and I twist every single day.  It doesn't make sense, but it makes you so much more thankful for everything I get to do.

 
SUZANN PETTERSEN, Rolex Rankings No. 3

Q.  Opening up, how does it feel being back in Portland?
SUZANN PETTERSEN:  It's obviously a lot of fun to be back here for me.  It has become kind of a second home, but it feels like a second home having the Nike family around me.
           
Yesterday I spent a little time with them.  It's just neat to be here.  I have a lot of great memories both on and off the golf course.  It's nice to be back here at Columbia Edgewater.  I've been long enough on Tour that I should play this track a few times, even though I've always played better on the other side.
           
It's a good course.  It's in good shape and I'm glad to be here.

Q.  Talk about coming off Solheim.  You played really well and so did a lot of other players.  Everyone was kind of surprised about that in Canada.  You guys all played really well.  Talk about the momentum of that and how you are trying to take your good play away.
SUZANN PETTERSEN:  I just think obviously Solheim is a big week.  It can easily be an energy kind of draining week.  I think most of us, you kind of live on such a high that it's kind of ‑‑ you don't really fall down that easily.  It kind of keeps you going for a few more days.
           
By the time you tee it up on Thursday of the following week, you're pretty much ready to go.  I think it's ‑‑ I've always felt good coming off of Solheim week.  You play aggressively, you putt to the hole.  I mean, it's like it really pays off that you play match play for a week, a week in advance.  So I'm still feeling good and excited to tee it off tomorrow.

Q.  How do you describe the holes at Solheim?
SUZANN PETTERSEN:  I mean, the Europeans, we usually win the party.  When we won, I think we won the party, too.

Q.  I have a question here.  I'm doing a book on childhood idols.  Asking some of the players, who was your very first idol back when you were a little kid?  Does somebody come to mind?
SUZANN PETTERSEN:  Obviously being Norwegian, I looked up to a lot of our skiers, a lot of our big‑time skiers.  (Indiscernible) is probably the biggest Olympian with the most medals and world championships in Olympics in Norway.  It's such a small country so it's so easy to kind of see them as role models.
           
When you grow up, you actually get to know them and you get to put their personality to their name in like the real world.  I would say a lot of the skiers.
           
Then obviously Annika was one of my big role models.

Q.  What was it like to meet her for the first time?  Was it surreal?  Every time somebody meets that boyhood or childhood idols, it's like oh?
SUZANN PETTERSEN:  Yeah, I mean, you know, it's kind of weird how it goes, especially when you grow up and you are competitive yourself.  I think it's just ‑‑ for me it was just nice to get to know them, like to get to know them off the camera.  You usually have an image of what they are on the camera and to meet them in person and kind of get a personal relationship gives it just a little bit different edge, I guess.  So for me, it was quite neat.
           
I remember at first you ask a lot of questions, everything you've wondered for years.  They are so genuine and so nice to sit there and take the time to answer.  And then from there, I mean, a lot of them are very good friends of mine.  So it's kind of fun.

Q.  Annika has been mentioned by so many players as somebody they looked up to.  Obviously there are young women looking up to you now.  Do you feel that?  Do you think about that at all?
SUZANN PETTERSEN:  No, I don't really think about that.  Annika was for me obviously because she is from Sweden and I'm from Norway.  What she did was show me that ‑‑ she kind of walked that path for me.  And I took a lot from what she did and taking all the challenges there is when you play golf up in Scandinavia, especially during the wintertime.
           
I mean, obviously I have been on Tour for a long time and obviously I'm probably one of the more older ‑‑

Q.  Veteran?
SUZANN PETTERSEN:  Veterans.  Not veterans.  There is a lot of younger players on Tour now that obviously might have looked up to you when they kind of grew up and you try to be as real as you can be.  I mean, you can only be you and I am aware of it.  You try to kind of think of that when you take actions.
           
It's kind of hard because as long as you are competing, you don't really look at it that way.  I don't know, I just think it's surreal to think that people look up to what I do.  I still don't ‑‑

Q.  The last thing for me.  With Annika, did your careers overlap?
SUZANN PETTERSEN:  Yeah.

Q.  What was it like to play with her the first time?
SUZANN PETTERSEN:  She's become a very good friend of mine.  I still stay in touch with her and see her play all kinds of different sports these days.  It's a nice link for me to have that even though to this day I could give her a call if I have questions.  It's always nice to kind of have someone to play ball with, someone who's done it, experienced it.
           
Obviously she did it her way, you have got to find your own way.  But getting good advice never hurts.  And I don't think it will ever hurt anyone in the future.

Q.  Aside from the obvious about playing 54 or 72 holes, is there anything mentally or physically that you need to ‑‑ that's different?
SUZANN PETTERSEN:  No, I just think a proper golf tournament is played over 72 holes.  In the past obviously Safeway, this tournament, has had two days of Pro‑Ams.  It's really hard to get 72 holes in.  I'm very glad, especially on a course like this, where it kind of sets the group to play four rounds.

Q.  Inbee withdrew earlier, yesterday.  Does her getting out of the field make a mental note for you guys?  Does that come into any play?
SUZANN PETTERSEN:  No, not really.  I didn't know she had pulled out.  We all want to play the best fields.  For the most part, all the best players in the world play pretty much every week.  Unfortunately, sometimes we get sick or something happens, like Stacy Lewis pulled out last week.  It's just unfortunate, but we're all human beings and sometimes it's tough to get all the tournaments in.

Q.  Do you do a big meeting with Nike in Portland?
SUZANN PETTERSEN:  Yeah, I had kind of a lot of meetings yesterday.  Product development, feedback, shoes, apparel, yes.

Q.  Do you have input?  I like that or I like that?
SUZANN PETTERSEN:  Yeah, they are really asking me, that's one of the nicest thing about Nike.  They are so athlete‑oriented.  They are really looking at their product development from their athletes and the feedback they get from their athletes because obviously we are people who spend probably the most time in their apparel, in their shoes, with their products.  So it's fantastic to be a part of it and see the results.
           
I must say being with Nike and being an Nike athlete is like a dream come true.  Any type of sport.  It's a fantastic comfort.

Q.  Is it mostly clothes and shoes or do you do clubs?
SUZANN PETTERSEN:  Clubs is not here.  Clubs is in Texas.  Everything but clubs is here.

Q.  What was your biggest feedback to them?
SUZANN PETTERSEN:  We have been marketing a little bit the shoe that I'm wearing, so we spent a lot of time with the shoe team, with Toby who has kind of been the guy behind the Free shoe with Nike.  I mean, it's just so many fantastic, knowledgeable people in that system and it's a fun group.

 

Paula Creamer, Rolex Rankings No. 11

Q.  You’ve had a long stretch of three tournaments. How are you feeling heading into this week?
PAULA CREAMER:  I am, I am tired but this is a great golf course for me so I'm going to try and do my best out here and get some good night's sleep and get ready to play.
           
But it is, it's been a long 3 weeks, well this is going into the third week, but it is what it is and we kind of just got to move on.

Q.  Coming off the Solheim Cup as a team competition, you have International Crown coming up next year in its inaugural year.  How excited are you to have another opportunity to compete for your country?
PAULA CREAMER:  I mean, there's nothing better than that.  There's nothing better than representing your country.  Every athlete, that's something that they want to do.  I'm very much into being an American and whatnot and being patriotic, but any time you get to wear red, white and blue it doesn’t get better than that.

Q.  I know you're quite the competitor, but pair you with Stacy Lewis, Cristie Kerr and Angela Stanford.  I mean, that is quite the team you have there?
PAULA CREAMER:  It is.  Right now that would be awesome, it would be fun.  Any time you get to play in a team atmosphere, it's completely different.  Since we have Solheim experience, that makes it even better.

Q.  We've had fighter jets flying over us all week this week.  I know you did something pretty special yesterday.  Can you explain what happened?
PAULA CREAMER:  I had about nine soldiers and Air Force men come out and watch me play nine holes from Lewis-McChord base.  It's really great to just give back to the military.  I come from a military family and there's so many special ties, especially with my foundation.  It's nice to be able to give them the opportunity to come out here and watch the golfers as well.  It's pretty cool.  They brought some of their daughters out.  They're able to come back on the weekend.

Q.  Could you talk about the differences between 72 holes and 54 holes?
PAULA CREAMER:  Well, I mean, pretty much every event we play nowadays is four‑day.  It's a little bit better because the top players are going to rise to the occasion for four‑days.  Three days you have to start off really strong, just because if you get a little bit behind it's a lot harder to catch up.
           
I love four‑day events, always have.  Three‑day events are fun, but it's a better golf tournament really in four days.

Q.  There is a young girl here who last year, you gave her your watch. Do you remember that? How often do you do stuff like that?
PAULA CREAMER:  I try to as much as I can.  I think it's pretty cool to give back to junior golf.  They are the future to have LPGA and just golf in general.  I've always found that I love kids.  I love giving back, like I said, especially to the First Tee being an ambassador for them.  It’s easy when you do have great sponsors and they allow me to do that kind of thing.  If it helps one person out there out there just get the bug a little more than they had before, then I think I’m doing my job out here.

Q.  You have talked in years past here about a book I’m doing and about childhood idols.  You are obviously her idol now.  How important is that to you?
PAULA CREAMER:  I mean, it's kind of hard for me to embrace it.  I came out here when I was 18 years old.  I was playing against my role models and I’m playing with my role models to this day like Juli Inkster.  The first couple of years I would be hitting balls next to her on the range and would just watch her and I was so excited to be out there.  To have this influence, to be able to pick up a club and to realize that I have an effect on someone else, I can't quite grasp it.  I'm still learning so much but hopefully I can be a help.  I love what I do.  I take a big pride in coming out here and trying to conduct myself well.  It's a great game that we have and I just hope that I can ‑‑ whether it's the color pink or whatever it is, to get girls involved in this game it’s a good feeling.

Q.  When did you decide you wanted to play on the LPGA Tour?
PAULA CREAMER:  I was about 17.  I played a bunch of the sponsor exemption events in the summer of my junior year before my senior year.  I played pretty well and almost won ShopRite then headed to Q-School in December.

 

MIKA MIYAZATO, Rolex Rankings No. 19

THE MODERATOR:  How are you feeling?  You look like you are nice and relaxed and happy?
MIKA MIYAZATO:  Yes, very relaxed.

Q.  How are you feeling coming into this week as your first time defending as a champion?  Last time was your first win here.  Talk about coming into this week.  Is it any different coming in as defending champ?  Obviously you have your face on the Spectator Guide.  Just talk about the extra hoopla and how you feel as defending champ?
MIKA MIYAZATO:  I feel more nervous before the tournament, but not much.  It's the same tournament but different golf course this year and the four day tournament.  So I don't know.

Q.  The course changing, does that make it so much different?  I mean, it's obviously going to be a whole lot different than last year since it's a totally different course?
MIKA MIYAZATO:  Yes.

Q.  What did you think of the course?  Did you practice today and then play today?
MIKA MIYAZATO:  Yes.

Q.  What are your thoughts on the course?
MIKA MIYAZATO:  It's pretty straight from the tee shot, but it's pretty shape.  And the greens some hole is very small and some hole is pretty big.  So I like this golf course.

Q.  Do you think that suits your game being straight off the tee?  Do you think that helps you a little bit?
MIKA MIYAZATO:  To play aggressive is more important maybe.

Q.  So you think you should be more aggressive this week on this course more so than Pumpkin Ridge?
MIKA MIYAZATO:  Yeah, I think so.

Q.  Is it just certain holes that you think are going to be set up to be aggressive or was it ‑‑
MIKA MIYAZATO:  Front nine is pretty aggressive, I can hit.

Q.  You are coming off a good finish.  You played well last week in Canada.  So what were your strong points last week that you are going to hopefully take into this week?  What did you feel that was really good about your game?
MIKA MIYAZATO:  Much better short game the last week, but last days not so much good the second shot.  Hopefully maybe I will get it fixed this week.

Q.  Second shots weren't as good on the last day?
MIKA MIYAZATO:  Uh‑huh.

Q.  Have you been working on your short game more so coming into this?
MIKA MIYAZATO:  Yes.

Q.  On the off weeks, what have you been working on specifically with a coach?
MIKA MIYAZATO:  It's more a practice the shorter game on the off weeks.

Q.  Now, I want to ask you about the Solheim Cup was just a couple of weeks ago.  Now the new event coming up next year, the International Crown, now you will have a chance to play on a team.  All the Asian countries are left out on the Solheim Cup and you say, What about us?  Talk about the opportunity that you'll get to play with I and some of your other compatriots.  How excited are you?  I mean, that's only one year away and you will get to play on a huge stage.  Talk about how excited you are to do that.
MIKA MIYAZATO:  I don't know, but if I can play it's pretty exciting definitely.  Maybe I or, I don't know, if I could play with Ai, that would be great but if I play the team play, I like team play.

Q.  You like team play?
MIKA MIYAZATO:  Yes.

Q.  So you think it suits you better when you get to play with somebody else and not just yourself?  Do you have experience playing in team play?
MIKA MIYAZATO:  Yeah, I have experience.

Q.  In Japan you used to play ‑‑
MIKA MIYAZATO:  As amateur.

Q.  And you thought you played pretty well?
MIKA MIYAZATO:  I liked it.

Q.  What is the difference between this year your play and last year?
MIKA MIYAZATO:  What’s  different?

Q.  Yeah, what's the difference?  Do you think something is better or something is not as good?
MIKA MIYAZATO:  The big difference is change of the club.  I change the first tournament this year.

Q.  Your clubs?
MIKA MIYAZATO:  Yes, clubs.  In the beginning not so much good, but start May much better feeling with my club.

Q.  What brand did you ‑‑ you switched brands?
MIKA MIYAZATO:  Everything.

Q.  All clubs?
MIKA MIYAZATO:  Yes.

Q.  Are you TaylorMade now?
MIKA MIYAZATO:  Yes.

Q.  So TaylorMade drivers and irons and putter?
MIKA MIYAZATO:  Yes.

Q.  And the transition wasn't easy, just like Rory McIlroy?  It's the clubs, right?
MIKA MIYAZATO:  Yes.

Q.  You finally got used to them and now you are playing better?
MIKA MIYAZATO:  Much better, yes.

Q.  Were you disappointed when they changed the course?  You didn't get to defend your championship at the same course?
MIKA MIYAZATO:  No, no.

Q.  Why not?
MIKA MIYAZATO:  Not disappointed, no.

Q.  This is your first time seeing it on Monday?  Did you get to see it on Monday?
MIKA MIYAZATO:  Yesterday, yesterday.

Q.  That was your first time?
MIKA MIYAZATO:  Uh‑huh.

Q.  Do you like playing new courses coming in and learning courses or is it ‑‑ because there is no pressure?  I mean, if you went back to Pumpkin Ridge, everyone would expect you to play well?
MIKA MIYAZATO:  Less pressure.

Q.  So less pressure coming into an event where it's a new course?
MIKA MIYAZATO:  Yes, but it's new golf course and the new challenge, I think.

Q.  Still challenging.  Everyone says it's going to be a good test?
MIKA MIYAZATO:  Yeah.

Q.  So do you think you will like this course more than Pumpkin Ridge?
MIKA MIYAZATO:  I like both golf course, but maybe more here is better for my game.

Q.  As far as fitting your game, do you think this course fits your game better than Pumpkin Ridge?
MIKA MIYAZATO:  I think so, yes.

Q.  Do you like to play 72 holes or 54?
MIKA MIYAZATO:  That one is very tough question, but I like 72‑hole play.

Q.  72 better?
MIKA MIYAZATO:  72, yes.

Q.  Do you know why?
MIKA MIYAZATO:  Why?  I don't know.

Q.  Stacy said 54 is too much of a sprint.  You can't really have too many mistakes since there is less time to make up.  She said she likes 72 better also.
MIKA MIYAZATO:  72 is like more chance to get back, I think.

Q.  More chances to get things back.  So if you make a mistake, you can make up for it?
MIKA MIYAZATO:  Yes.

Q.  I think that's the consensus.  I think most players would rather have 72 to get their feet under them, especially on a course that's maybe new?
MIKA MIYAZATO:  Yes.

Q.  You have a lot of young fans here.  I was wondering, when you were growing up, who was your first childhood idol, your hero?
MIKA MIYAZATO:  Annika.

Q.  I've talked to other Japanese players.  They said she was on the magazine covers in Japan all the time?
MIKA MIYAZATO:  Yes.

Q.  So Annika was the biggest one in Japan when you guys were growing up?
MIKA MIYAZATO:  Yes.

Q.  Did you play with her at any time?
MIKA MIYAZATO:  No, no chance to play.

Q.  Have you met her yet?
MIKA MIYAZATO:  No.

Q.  Would you like to?
MIKA MIYAZATO:  Yes, yes.

 

 

Topics: Miyazato, Mika, Portland Classic

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