Evian Resort Golf Club
Sept. 11, 2013
Inbee Park, Rolex Rankings No. 1 and 2012 Evian Masters winner
Stacy Lewis, Rolex Rankings No. 2
Suzann Pettersen, Rolex Rankings No. 3
Lydia Ko, Rolex Rankings No. 8
Karine Icher, Rolex Rankings No. 21
European Solheim Cup Team: Carlota Ciganda, Caroline Hedwall, Catriona Matthew, Anna Nordqvist and Annika Sorenstam
The LPGA Ticker: Evian Championship debuts as fifth LPGA major this week… Inbee Park trying to become first golfer to win 4 professional majors in a season… Course redesign on display beginning Thursday… Tournament features network coverage on NBC this Sunday.
For the first time in history this week, the LPGA will crown its fifth major champion of the season. The inaugural Evian Championship will tee off on Thursday at the newly redesigned Evian Resort Golf Club in Evian-Les-Bains, France.
This year, the tournament has been elevated to major championship status after having been an event on the LPGA Tour since 2000 and it will now be played as the season’s fifth and final major. The Evian Championship will take place on the challenging Evian Resort Golf Club, which underwent a multimillion redesign over the past 14 months. A strong international field comprised of 120 players from the LPGA and Ladies European Tour will be on display this week as they compete for a $3.25 million purse and a $487,500 first-place prize. To signify the event’s new major championship status, each of the four other major championship flags will fly behind the 18th green this week.
EVIAN VIDEO: What does Karrie Webb think about a fifth major?
Chasing Her Fourth Major of 2013…Rolex Rankings No. 1 Inbee Park knows something about the pressure she’ll face this week as she tries to become the first golfer in history – male or female – to win four professional major titles in a season. After all, she dealt with that same pressure just a month ago at the RICOH Women’s British Open.
While Park fell short in her bid to capture a fourth consecutive major title at the RICOH Women’s British Open in early August, she learned a lot that week at St. Andrews about the scrutiny that surrounds such a historic bid. And entering this week’s Evian Championship, she feels that going through that experience will only help her going forward.
“Because I've already felt that kind of pressure before, I think that's why I don't feel it as much this week,” Park said. “I feel a lot more comfortable. I feel like I have experienced something that was so big.
“This week is still very big pressure for me but the experience has helped me a lot. I feel more comfortable going into this week, that's for sure.”
Park has a chance to make history and she’s fully aware of what is in front of her. Still, she said that winning this week would mean a lot to her for reasons beyond just a fourth major title.
“I mean four out of five majors is very amazing, an amazing thing to achieve,” Park said. “I would really love to win this week not because I'm playing for four majors but because the tournament is really special for me. I just really want to do my best.”
What a year it’s been…When Inbee Park won the 2012 Evian Masters, it ended what had been a four-year winless drought for her on the LPGA Tour. Park admits that the victory in Evian helped boost her confidence after she had reached a point where she wondered if she would ever return to the winner’s circle again following her victory at the 2008 U.S. Women’s Open at the age of 19.
Now fast forward 14 months to Park’s return to Evian-Les-Baines, France, and she finds herself in a far different position. The 25-year-old is now ranked No. 1 in the world and has won seven times since her victory here last year, including three major championships this year. Just one walk around town when she’s home in South Korea is symbolic of how much her life has changed over that span.
“When I won Evian last year here, it was only my second win on the LPGA Tour and I wasn't that much recognized back in Korean because there are so many players who won so many more events than me,” Park said. “ I was just one of the Koreans that's playing on the LPGA Tour.
“Now so many people now recognize me. And everything about media, all the families and friends, especially when I walk outside the house and go anywhere in Korea, a lot of people come up to me. It's like I'm a celebrity.”
New Name, New Look…In addition to becoming a major and changing the title to The Evian Championship, this week’s tournament in Evian will showcase one other major difference from years past – a multi-million dollar, challenging redesign of the golf course.
The Evian Resort Golf Club underwent a major renovation over the past 14 months that included reshaping of all of the greens and adding 82 new bunkers. Golf architects Dave Sampson, Jeremy Slessor and Steve Smyers were instrumental in helping alter the course, focusing in large part on the four-hole finishing stretch. Formerly a reachable par-5, the 18th hole has been transformed into a demanding par-4, creating a more dramatic finish. Additional changes include “swing” holes on the newly redesigned 13th and 15th holes which can be set up as reachable par-5’s and the new par-3 16th hole which will be played over water to a pitched green. The fifth hole has also been shifted from a par-4 to a picturesque and demanding par 3.
“I was really amazed to see the course change dramatically in one year,” said Inbee Park, who won the 2012 Evian Masters at this venue. “I couldn't imagine how much work they have put in to make this work. This course looks great. The layout is great. I think it's really like a true major golf course now.”
There have been some challenges with the redesign of the golf course due to some less than ideal weather in the Evian area over the past couple weeks. But while heavy rain in recent days and a hotter than usual August have hampered the efforts to have the golf course in perfect shape for this week, the players appreciate the effort that has gone into making this a more challenging track and they look forward to seeing how things shape up in the years to come.
“You have to open up for the changes,” said Suzann Pettersen. “I think the changes also kind of grow on you as you get to know this course better. It's kind of hard to say after having only played it a couple of times.
“Obviously a year into a huge project like this, it might take two years for it to settle in. The changes are going to be tough. Probably a much tougher course the way the greens are designed now. It's going to be a tough course to play and compete. I guess that's what really decides a major champion. You have got to be able to excel no matter what course.”
A rivalry developing? While much of the attention this year on the LPGA Tour has focused on Inbee Park’s stunning season, there has been another player drumming up plenty of buzz herself – Rolex Rankings No. 2 Stacy Lewis. The 2012 Rolex Player of the Year started off the ’13 campaign very strong with back-to-back wins in Singapore and Phoenix that boosted her to become only the second American to hold the title of No. 1 player in the world.
Lewis’ success didn’t stop there either as she won the 2013 RICOH Women’s British Open at St. Andrews – the only major not to be claimed by Inbee Park this year. So when Park was sitting with the media on Wednesday afternoon in Evian, she was asked if she believes Lewis and her are developing a strong rivalry at the top of women’s golf.
“Starting since last year I always watched Stacy's score after I finish my round,” Park said. “She's been somebody that I have always thought that she has the game to be No. 1. She definitely she is good ball striker. I really try to learn from her what she is doing good at. I think she is such a nice person outside the golf course, too. I think having somebody like that, definitely helps your game to improve.”
Lewis agreed that Park’s success this year has only helped her to elevate her own game.
“I watched Yani a lot when she was in her run,” Lewis said. “We seemed to play a lot together, so I learned a lot playing with Yani and kind of watched what she was doing. Now you're kind of doing the same with Inbee. We're making each better. We're pushing to work harder. I think it's great for both of us.
“I've had different people throughout my career that that have made me better. As players that's what we're always trying to do. I'm trying to hang with Inbee. I have got to win two majors to keep up with her. I'm just trying to hang in with her. I watch her scores. I watch what she's doing. I watch how she is preparing, how she is putting. I think you can learn a lot by watching people when they are playing their best.”
Giving back: Suzann Pettersen captured her 12th career LPGA victory two weeks ago at the Safeway Classic Presented by Coca-Cola in Portland, Ore. While that win was special for the 32-year-old Norwegian, it was nothing compared to the happiness she received from a tournament that took place this past weekend.
For the second year in a row, Pettersen hosted the Suzann Pro Challenge in her hometown of Oslo, Norway. Joined by fellow LPGA players Paula Creamer, Jessica Korda, Ai Miyazato, Yani Tseng, Sandra Gal and Beatriz Recari for her event, Pettersen helped to raise money for an organization that’s close to her heart. That’s Right to Play, which is a global organization that uses the transformative power to play – playing sports and playing games – to educate and empower children facing adversity and works with more than one million children on a weekly basis.
“It's always been a dream of mine to have my own tournament,” Pettersen said. “I mean, not necessarily like a full event, but an event that can help others, benefit others. Obviously coming off the win in Portland, which is what we work for, what we train for, you go up early every morning to get the job done, you win by yourself. To actually host an event where you feel like you can help make a difference around the world means so much more to me.”
Pettersen has seen the effects of Right to Play firsthand. She traveled to Mozambique last year to visit schools and children who are impacted by the organization, which chose Pettersen to be one of their ambassadors. She called the experience life-changing and said that it changed her perspective on life. It also made her even more driven to have a successful event to benefit those children and she is thankful for all of the support from fans and her fellow LPGA players who have taken part.
“For me to host this for a second year, it was a fantastic turnout,” Pettersen said. “The girls did a phenomenal job. I can't thank them enough. They put on a show that I don't think you can find on any other Tour where the players give so much of themselves. I think they all had a very good time.It was just a fantastic turnout and we raised a lot of money, which was the most important thing.”
Viva la France! Karine Icher has been having quite an impressive season on the LPGA Tour this year and the France native would love nothing more than to cap it off with her first LPGA victory on home soil. It would be particularly special considering that this is the first time that a major championship has been held in her country.
“I hope to bring more teenagers and young players to golf because golf in France is small,” Icher said of what it means to have the Evian Championship here. “It's a small country and we don't have a lot of following for it. Hopefully some young teenagers and players are going to come and watch it and maybe want to try golf later.”
Since giving birth to daughter, Lola, in August 2011, Icher has seen her golf game flourish. She has posted 10 top-10 finishes, 23 top-25 finishes and five top-5 finishes since coming back on Tour in February 2012. Icher also earned a spot on the European Solheim Cup Team this year, marking just her second appearance in the event and her first since 2002. While in her five seasons prior to giving birth to her first child, Icher posted seven top-10 finishes and an equal number of top-25 finishes (22).
So is now a great time for Icher to have this major championship in France?
“I'm playing really well now, so it's perfect timing,” Icher said. “My game is not at the top, I hope, but at a peak. So playing now, it's good timing for me. Once again, the course is very difficult to play and it's hard to do a low score on this golf course and especially with the [wet conditions] this week. So we lose a lot of distance. So it makes it even harder.”
INBEE PARK, Rolex Rankings No. 1
THE MODERATOR: Thank you very much for joining us this morning. Bonjour, everyone. Thank you very much for joining us this morning. We have Rolex Rankings No. 1 Inbee Park with us. Also the defending champion; you won the Evian Masters here last year. First off, welcome back. Always good, I'm sure, to come back here. First off, winning this event last year when it wasn't a major, how different is now to come back with this event having a major title?
INBEE PARK: This tournament has been always a special tournament for me especially winning last year. In four years there was such a special memory.
Coming back here in a year with the course totally changed, I was really amazed to see the course change dramatically in one year. I couldn't imagine how much work they have put in to make this work. This course looks great. The layout is great. I think it's really like a true major golf course now.
I'm really excited to play this week and looking forward to going into this week.
Q. As you mentioned that victory last year was a big one for you. It ended a four year winless drought. And you have been on a roll ever since. Seven victories since your win and six this year. What has the past year, what has that stretch been like for you to be able to put together such tremendous golf?
INBEE PARK: This tournament gave me a lot of confidence going into my game.
And after the win this week last year, I just felt more comfortable on the golf course, more confidence on the course. This tournament and this win gave me the big confidence. I mean, this is always very special. I really want to play on this golf course again.
Q. Part of your incredible year has been the fact that you won the first three majors of the LPGA season. Didn't win the British, but now you have the chance to become the first golfer ever in history to win four professional major titles in the same season. What does that accomplishment mean to you? Are you focused on it this week? Do you think about what that would mean to be the first to do that?
INBEE PARK: Well, I mean four out of five majors is very amazing, an amazing thing to achieve. I would really love to win this week not because I'm playing for four majors but because the tournament is really special for me. I just really want to do my best.
I'm sure the experience I had in the British Open, all the pressure I had and the things I experienced in the British will help me going through this week. I think this week is going to be a much better week.
Q. Is any hole out now here that you think, Oh, golly, I would rather have that hole from last year?
INBEE PARK: I have got to say the 18th hole. It's became a much tougher hole almost teeing up from the same spot, becoming par 4 from par 5. So it is a very tough hole. Especially going to long clubs in the second shot with a little bit of a downhill lie, slice hole, just a very challenging hole.
I had a lot of success on the 18th hole last year. This year the par is going to be a very good score. That is something I'm going to try to
Q. Can you remember what you got last year on that hole?
INBEE PARK: I think I at least birdied like twice or three times last year.
Q. What other changes do you notice to the course? Looking at the greens yesterday walking around, I'd like to hear your quotes and feelings about that. What else besides the 18th?
INBEE PARK: Everything on the golf course, a lot of the fairway bunkers came into play. The built a lot of fairway bunkers and obviously they lengthened a lot of the holes.
Some of the fairways were really sloped and they really evened that out to not slope that much. The greens are a lot bigger. They were a lot smaller. Now greens are really huge and a lot of undulation. So you really need to pick your spot where you can land it.
Q. Can you talk about the pressure that you felt at the Women's British Open with so much talk of history and how it affected you and maybe how it compares to what you are feeling now?
INBEE PARK: I think just because I've already felt that kind of pressure before this year, I think that's why I don't feel it as much this year. I feel a lot more comfortable. I feel like I have experienced something that was so big.
This week is still very big pressure for me but the experience has helped me a lot. I feel more comfortable going into this week, that's for sure.
Q. Did you watch the Solheim Cup at all?
INBEE PARK: Yes, I did.
Q. And what were your thoughts watching that? What new matches would you like to have that would involve you?
INBEE PARK: Well, I think the team play in itself is very exciting. It puts so much pressure on you. It's something that's really different to what we're playing at the moment. We're playing individual game. That is something you have to have your teamwork with your teammates. I really wanted to be part of it too.
We're going to have International Crown starting next year. So all the Asian players, all the players who didn't get to play in the Solheim are really excited to play next year in the International Crown. I would love to play in some kind of team play. I think that's going to be exciting.
Q. Could there be a Korean team, purely Korean against America or against
INBEE PARK: Well, I don't know. Whatever they can put on, I think, is going to be fun, you know.
Q. International Crown is country versus country. There are eight countries that will qualify for the event with a total of four players per country qualifying by Rolex Rankings. So right now South Korea is the top country because I think the total right now is like 20 points maybe because you guys are ranked so high up there. Inbee leading the way at the No. 1 ranking. Looking forward to seeing you in that competition.
INBEE PARK: So hard to get in the Korean team because you pretty much have to be World Ranking No. 10 to get in. Hopefully I'll get in.
Q. Can you talk about just how all the attention you got this year, the pressure that's come with it, just how it's affected you as a player and person?
INBEE PARK: I really think this season I'm really learning some new things every week. Especially after Kraft, after that I actually felt some kind of pressure after that. It built up a little bit more and more every week that went on.
I feel like the pressure is my friend now. It's getting a lot more comfortable on me. I'm trying to learn everything. I'm trying to learn from everything, yeah.
Q. We've seen around the world the attention you get at the events. What is it like now when you go back to Korea? What is it like with the media there? How much has it changed over the past year in terms of how much you are recognized?
INBEE PARK: When I won Evian last year here, it was only my second win on the LPGA Tour and I wasn't that much recognized back in Korean because there are so many players who won so many more events than me. I was just one of the Korean that's playing on the LPGA Tour.
Now so many people now realize me. And everything about media, all the families and friends, especially when I walk outside the house and go anywhere in Korea, a lot of people come up to me. It's like I'm a celebrity.
Q. Coming on from that, what do you do to get rid of the pressure to relax? What do you do in some downtime?
INBEE PARK: I mean, I don't outside the golf course something other than golf is what I do. Especially like this week I actually went to (indiscernible), and I got a stunning view from there. It's so relaxing when you can do something other than golf when you are not on the golf course. Trying to go sightseeing or go to movies or do something other than golf, something other than something that won't put too much pressure on you. I'm trying to do such things like that.
INBEE PARK: Well, I like when I'm in Korea, I like driving. I like watching movies. I like dramas, Korean dramas.
Q. How much have you gotten to drive that new Ferrari around when you have been in Korea?
INBEE PARK: A lot. I went for a drive a lot, you know, couple hours, probably three times a week when I'm there, yeah.
Q. Can you talk about what led to your resurgence? If you are going to point to one thing, what kind of initiated the run of victories?
INBEE PARK: Well, I think actually winning Evian here last year gave me a hope to win again. I really thought, you know, I wasn't going to be able to win again for not winning for four years.
The win here definitely gave me some kind of hope to win again. That really gave me a lot of confidence on my game.
My game was improving the start of last year, the beginning of the year, but I just couldn't finish in the top 10 before I came here. After the confidence I got here, I was able to go and win.
Q. Obviously winning the Open, U.S. Open, was a huge boost. In this four years how disappointed did you feel how low did you get not winning again until you got here?
INBEE PARK: It was really hard because as a golfer you want to, you know, go to the tournament and you want to win. I couldn't have done it for over a hundred tournaments and that was quite hard.
Sometimes I really wanted to give up and do something that doesn't give me as much stress. There is a lot of thoughts going on in those times. I really thought I have to be patient and wait for the time to come and it finally did.
Q. What would you have considered as a career that wouldn't have any stress?
INBEE PARK: What is it?
Q. What did you have in mind? What ran through your head?
INBEE PARK: I thought because the golf is giving me so much stress, other than golf wouldn't give me so much stress. I was really young back then and I thought if I don't play golf, I would be stress free.
Now I think about it and it's really not true. Everything that you do, there has stress to it. This is something that I can handle now. Back then I wasn't ready to handle this kind of pressure, handle that kind of stress.
INBEE PARK: He asked me about how I feel now. I got a good relax from Korea the last ten days. I feel really good about coming here. I'm healthy.
INBEE PARK: I think somebody to watch out this week is definitely Stacy. I think she is in her best condition at the moment, especially coming from a win from British Open and runner up finish from last week.
I played Stacy last year here in the final round. We had a really good competition. So I think her game really suits this golf course.
Q. When you won the Evian last year, if somebody said to you what's going to happen a year around or 14 months, would you have believed it?
INBEE PARK: I would have believed it because that's something that I want to believe in. Something like that could happen. I obviously have proven that, yeah.
Q. Now we have five majors for women's golf. You still have a chance to win four of them.
INBEE PARK: Well, I think that this means we have so many good tournaments, so many good major tournaments on the LPGA Tour. I think it's very good for the Tour and for the players, I think it's a lot more opportunity to play in the challenging golf course. You can challenge yourself. It's a lot more opportunities for players, I think.
Q. Is Stacy a rival? Is she somebody you pay attention to and pushes you?
INBEE PARK: Yeah, starting since last year I always watched Stacy's score after I finish my round. She's been somebody that I have always thought that she has the game to be No. 1. She definitely she is good ball striker.
I really try to learn from her what she is doing good at. I think she is such a nice person outside the golf course, too. I think having somebody like that, definitely helps your game to improve.
Q. Could you pick out any European players that you see as sort of your chief challenges here?
INBEE PARK: I was watching the Solheim Cup and there were so many talented European players. One of them will be Caroline Hedwall. Her game at the Solheim with the pressure was amazing. So I think she would be one of the ones to watch out.
Catriona Matthew, I'm playing with her the next two days and she definitely has the game to play good on this golf course.
Q. Along on that line, what young players do you see coming up maybe from Korea or that you see that you think have potential and are going to rise and blossom?
INBEE PARK: I have got to say Lydia, Lydia Ko. She has proven that she can win out here right now. No really words to describe her.
Q. Anybody else?
INBEE PARK: Younger generation?
Q. Did you get to watch Charley Hull?
INBEE PARK: I have watched her also and I think she she will be one of the ones that will be competing with Lydia, yeah.
Q. Your the World Ranking No. 1 and you won majors in several of the five, what is it that if you had one wish like for four years ago, it would have been majors or World Ranking No. 1, but what is it now?
INBEE PARK: What is my goal now? Something to wish? I just want to be happier person, I mean happy person. Probably I wish that tomorrow is more happy than today. If you can leave your day with a smile, I think that's all I can ask for really.
INBEE PARK: I think a lot of the players are really competing for each other and there is a lot of Korean players that are inspiring each other, so I think that really helps to improve your game.
Also the support from the families and all the people back in Korea. Golf is just so natural when you are growing up in Korea, I think. They just love golf.
Q. What is the condition of your confidence for this tournament?
INBEE PARK: I get to read these greens a little bit better last year. I was struggling on these greens five or six years when I came here. Now the greens are totally changed and everybody is playing a new green. I think the speed is good. And I just really need to see these greens a lot more.
I came here Saturday to see this course enough. So I think that would help me this weekend.
STACY LEWIS, Rolex Rankings No. 2
THE MODERATOR: We'd like to welcome Rolex Rankings No. 2, Stacy Lewis, into the interview room. Thank you for joining us today. You've had a lot of success here at this venue. I know it's a little different golf course now with the redesign. Finished runner up the last two years. Is there any difference coming to Evian with this major title and how does your experience in the past here help you?
STACY LEWIS: I really don't think this tournament changes a lot, I mean, for the players. This was one of our biggest purses anyway. I think your approach changes. I don't think for me the mentality doesn't really change. It's still a good tournament you are trying to win, so whether it has a major title or not doesn't really matter to me.
It is nice coming back. The last two years I obviously played really well here. I have good memories, so it's nice coming back to that.
A little disappointed that the golf course is a different just because I played well on the other one. It is what it is and you go out there and try do this again.
Q. I know you won the last major that we played at the women's British. Is there something different though when you capture a major victories and you start adding those to your résumé?
STACY LEWIS: I think that's what everybody plays for is to win majors. It's nice winning other events, but to have the majors, I think that's the ultimate for me.
The British was just awesome. It's still kind of sinking in that I won there. Now knowing that we have another opportunity to win a major and add that to our résumé.
Q. Overall when you look at your career over the past year, what you have been able to do really in the last two years, what has been the biggest difference for you and how has that translated to the success that we've seen?
STACY LEWIS: I mean, it's really kind of been a slow progress for me. I think that my golf swing getting better, putting getting better just kind of gradually. But I think a lot of it is being comfortable, being comfortable in those last groups, being comfortable with your name on the leaderboard, with all the attention, with people expecting you to win. It's a different mentality there. It's just getting comfortable there. I feel like I've done a good job of learning and trying to adjust to it and I continue to do that.
Q. Inbee said that she now looks at you as kind of a rival, someone that every time she finishes, she looks up to see what you've shot and that you keep pushing her to be even better. How has that developed for you as well? You guys have been close even with the remarkable year that Inbee has had?
STACY LEWIS: Yeah, I watch Yani a lot when she was in her run. We seemed to play a lot together, so I learned a lot playing with Yani and kind of watched what she was doing.
Now you're kind of doing the same with Inbee. We're making each better. We're pushing to work harder. I think it's great for both of us.
I've had different people throughout my career that that have made me better. As players that's what we're always trying to do. I'm trying to hang with Inbee. I have got to win two majors to keep up with her. I'm just trying to hang in with her.
I do, I watch her scores. I watch what she's doing. I watch how she is preparing, how she is cutting. I think you can learn a lot by watching people when they are playing their best.
Q. Could you tell us who you work with on your golf swing and do you have a separate coach for short game and do you have a mental coach?
STACY LEWIS: I work with Joe Hallet. He is based in Nashville, Tennessee. I worked with him since the end of my rookie year. I basically do everything with him. I do my long game, I do short game.
I use AimPoint. I work with Mark Sweeney a little bit.
But mental side, I don't really have a mental coach. I count on people that I've talked to throughout my career. I have different coaches from college that I might talk to. I don't like really like people telling me how to think so I kind of figure it out myself.
Q. Can you give me a few of your takes on the new layout on the course and what do you think about it?
STACY LEWIS: It's interesting. I think it it's hard to tell with this first year. I don't think the golf course is quite ready for us. Give it another year, I think it will be in really good shape. I don't think we're quite playing it the way it's supposed to be played.
There are some good changes. There are some maybe I don't quite agree with. I think it's too early to kind of judge what the changes are.
Q. What is the biggest differences?
STACY LEWIS: Obviously the biggest difference is the greens. I think some were made bigger, some were made smaller. Some have more humps in them, some have less humps in them.
The biggest difference is the greens and then the finishing holes. I do like the 16, 17, 18. I like the changes there. I think they have a lot more going on at those last few holes. But, I don't know, the biggest difference is the greens.
Off the tee shots are a little different, some bunkering and things like that. They are still kind of hidden off the side. They didn't level those out at all. You are hitting off the slope still and you just now hit to the right spots of the green.
Q. What do you think of Inbee Park?
STACY LEWIS: Pretty open question. I mean, obviously it's been great for women's golf. It's very impressive what she's done.
It started at this tournament last year. She really started playing golf, good golf. You look back over the last year and what she's accomplished and it's very impressive. She is great to play with, fun to play with. It's a little bit of getting the attention she deserves. It took her a while, but she's getting it.
Q. Coming off the victory at the women's British, second at Safeway, how do you feel about your game right now? I know every season goes through ups and downs, but what is the state of your game at this moment?
STACY LEWIS: Obviously I'm in a good place. Going bogey free, that was kind of one of the things my coach and I, we put goals in the back of our minds that aren't related to winning tournaments or anything like that. It was one of those I had in my mind but I never thought it was possible, and to actually do it is really cool. It just shows how consistent I was. I hit some bad shots, but I got over it and I was able to get up and down from 100 yards a couple of times.
It just shows my game is in a good place. I'm hitting fairways, hitting greens, making putts. I'm excited about where my game is at.
Now, this week, it's learning a new golf course and knowing where you can miss it and where you can't. I think that is the biggest issue this week.
Q. Looking from the outside, you seem like you have got much stronger mentally. I mean, you still seem to me to be hard on yourself, but it doesn't seem to affect you in a negative way any more?
STACY LEWIS: I think that's been a lot of the difference the last couple of years. I'm always going to be hard on myself, that's just the way it is, but I had to find a way to not make it carry over to the next hole, to the next round. It's a struggle. It still is. I wouldn't say it's perfect yet. It's never ever going to be.
It's definitely changed the way I played. I wouldn't have won the British if I hadn't gotten better at that the last few years. I wouldn't have been bogey free at Safeway. It's something I continually have to work with to kind of reel it back in and realize you are not going to be perfect out there. It's something that happened me a lot over the last few years.
Q. The Solheim Cup experience, is that something you just flush out or to do you examine it and take things a way from it?
STACY LEWIS: I think you take a little bit from it, but for me there are a lot of things that happened that were out of my control. I've been a person if I can't control it then I can't worry about it.
There are a lot of things that happened that I couldn't control. I have got to find a way to move on from them. I don't really know what I'm going to take from that yet. I don't think I quite figured that out.
I learned a lot playing with Paula; I know that. I learned about how to win those matches that are tight at the end, how do keep your head in there. I think that keeps getting me mentally stronger.
SUZANN PETTERSEN, Rolex Rankings No. 3
THE MODERATOR: Good afternoon, everyone. We would like to welcome Rolex Rankings No. 3, Suzann Pettersen, into the interview room. Thank you for joining us here today. First off, coming off a great win just a couple of weeks ago at the Safeway Classic. Twelfth career victory on the LPGA Tour for you. Do they get sweeter as they keep coming?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Every win has its own story. I think it's been a very good month for me and pretty much all European players combined. It was a great kickoff to start a three weeks rest with the Solheim, and you are kind of riding on a high, even so in Canada.
I must say in Portland I was starting to feel it. I started to get really tired. I was trying to hang in. It was nice to top it off with a win and go back home and kind of try to recover for this tournament.
Q. By recovering, you hosted your own event for the second year, Suzann Pro Challenge. Your fellow European teammates were there, what has that event meant to you?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: It's always been a dream of mine to have my own tournament. I mean, not necessarily like a full event, but an event that can help others, benefit others.
Obviously coming off the win in Portland, which is what we work for, what we train for, you go up early every morning to get the job done, you win by yourself. To actually host an event where you feel like you can help make a difference around the world means so much more to me. I don't know if it's the age or the experience we have traveling the world and seeing a lot of different cultures, seeing a lot of needs.
But for me to host this for a second year, it was a fantastic turnout. The girls did a phenomenal job. I can't thank them enough. They put on a show that I don't think you can find on any other Tour where the players give so much of themselves. I think they all had a very good time.
It was just a fantastic turnout and we raised a lot of money, which was the most important thing. It was a huge success and we're already starting to analyze and evaluate for next year.
Q. When you see your fellow players take part, what does it say about this Tour? What does it say about the players that you can get so many of them to help out?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: All the players out here are tough competitors we play on a regular basis. You put that aside, we're all great friends. I think the friendship shows the character of this Tour. You help each other. I guess that's what friends are for. Even though our time is very precious, I know the schedule is tight. They all took the time to come and help me raise a lot of money for Right To Play where I'm an ambassador, it just creates what LPGA is all about, together we can create miracles.
Q. This week we now have a fifth major, which another chance for the players to come for increased stakes for an opportunity. What does it mean now adding Evian Championship as a fifth major to the Tour?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: It's always fantastic to come back here. Evian has always been a special place on the calendar. So to come back here in a different month, different atmosphere, seeing the course, I think it's an phenomenal addition to our schedule. It gives the fall a little more of a boost.
We used to have Evian and British so close together like toward the end of July beginning of August and it almost felt like it was not too many peaks after that. You felt like the main part of the season was over even though we have fantastic events in Asia.
It just adds that little bit of extra high going into the fall season and very nice to be back and I'm glad. For me it's always had a special feeling, but I guess this tournament will now grow on us for each year that we come back.
Q. Can you give us an illustration of something the money raised by your tournament is being used for?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Right To Play is an organization. It was founded by Johann Olav Koss, then an Olympic speed skater in '94, after the Lillehammer Olympics. It was originally called Olympic Aid and it was associated to the IOC.
In '98, it changed names to Right To Play and it literally benefits kids around the world in disadvantaged areas, helping them create education, education and learning about life through playing activities. What we take for granted.
Last year, after the event I actually went down to one of those projects to Africa, in Mozambique. We went to see how I think there is a lot of charities and a lot of times you donate kind of blindfolded. You don't really know where the money is going, what they are doing, if they are actually make it all the way to where they are supposed to be.
But to actually go down there, first of all, to meet the kids and to see the smile on their face and to see the spirit they live by it was heart breaking to start off. But at the same time, it puts your life in perspective, how lucky we are.
But also the most basic things in life, how we grow up, being able to just throw a football on a football field, just around a nice environment, these kids have nothing. To give them the opportunity to get education and learning life lessons through planned activity is pretty much what this is all about. Being able to participate with the kids throughout these activities last year was it really changed my life. It changed how I look at things, put things in perspective. It really shows how fortunate we are to, first of all, grow up where you grow up and then just lucky to be in the environment that we grow up in.
We played all kinds of different sports, so a lot of activities over the years. They educate coaches. They go in and they learn about the sicknesses, like malaria, all kinds of different diseases that for them is very vital to know things about. They learn about school education. They have classes. They learn about they dance, they sing. I mean, it's just a lot of activities for the schools. Obviously it's not only the kids, but they educate the coaches, the school systems.
Right To Play has over a million kids in activities around the world every week. Obviously it's quite a big organization. Once you have seen one kid smile, I mean, you just want to give more and do more.
I remember after last year we were all sitting together having dinner and we looked at each other, well, I guess it's back to reality now. As we said it, it was just wrong. I guess this is reality and we are going back to our (inaudible). That's how it felt.
Ever since whenever I can support and help charities, other organizations, it just really puts life in perspective. It shows how great the game of golf is or the sports in general, how you can use sports to help others.
Q. They were asking before this press conference started about Solheim Cup experience. You have been a part of so many. Where does this one rank?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: First of all, to do something that's never been done before was a lot of fun. It was a huge test to start the week. We had a phenomenal team. It was probably the youngest team I've been a part of.
The aftermath was it was probably a new generation stepping up that was well needed. New experience, new energy. Young girls who just wanted to go out there and prove everyone wrong that we could actually win on American soil. It kind of fed off to all of us, all of the more experienced players on the team.
It was a fantastic mix. I think we all complimented each other really well on and off the golf course. Even though it was (inaudible) and early in the week (inaudible) and everyone felt comfortable. So fantastic week. It's impossible to bring different victories we've had during the Solheim because each one has its own story, each one has a captain and their team.
And obviously (inaudible) did a phenomenal job and I think she needs a lot of credit. First of all, the picture that she decided to go for and also how she played. I think sitting out on Saturday afternoon, walk alongside supporting the youngsters that were out fighting for the rest of us, it was almost more fun to watch them than to play myself. I think that shows the character and how the European teams work. We are all in for the best cause and it was just phenomenal to watch how the youngsters took the Americans on.
For us to go out and put record numbers on the paper at the end of the day on Sunday was (inaudible). It was a huge success and they are a fantastic team.
The best part of it is you to get to know all these young girls on different levels than just being on the golf course. I think you build friends for life, a girl like Charley Hull is one of a kind. To actually get to know her a little bit better than just playing a round of golf with her in a competitive matter is I mean, we are still high fiving, shouting all our great it's just a fantastic feeling. We have the songs. We have so many memories. It doesn't go through a day without kind of having a highlight from that week.
Q. You talked about the younger players. There seems to be this new wave of young European talent. When we're here this championship seems to kind of showcase that European talent. What has impressed you most about these young plays and this new wave of talent?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: I'm just really proud of how they handle themselves, how they prepare themselves. I mean, Solheim just seems to bring out so much more of who you are at the golf course. I guess you are so in the spotlight. You go through motions you might not ever ever feel anything like.
And you know what, sometimes I remember myself my first couple of years, it was hard to know really how to deal with all the emotions and feelings we go through. These girls, they are so ready. I mean, I would say they are ready to take on the challenges, ready to take on what it really takes to carry yourself. They know how to handle themselves and really proud how they all got together and supported each other. That's what this event is all about. It's not about individuals. It's about how the team gets together and makes all of us feel comfortable.
Q. Do you see any of the younger girls featuring in this tournament?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Absolutely. The entire team of this European team is here. I think all of them pretty much played everything since at least on the LPGA schedule. And I wouldn't be surprised if you see all 24 players (inaudible) being up there this week.
So nice to come home. (Inaudible) around Europe about the victory and I think that's what ladies golf in Europe needs.
Q. Can you talk about the changes to the course?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: It's always nice to come back here. I have played here enough times to kind of you have to open up for the changes. I think the changes also kind of grow on you as you get to know this course better. It's kind of hard to say after having only played it a couple of times.
Obviously a year into a huge project like this, it might take two years for it to settle in. The changes are going to be tough. Probably a much tougher course the way the greens are designed now. It's going to be a tough course to play and compete. I guess that's what really decides a major champion. You have got to be able to excel no matter what course.
Q. This tournament now become as major. Does it make a difference to play a major or just a tournament?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Not really. For me, I prepare for every tournament the same. I come here to win and that's also how I play.
Obviously some of the I never won this tournament. It is maybe a good wait not to win this tournament before it became a major. So hopefully I can put my name on the trophy this year or years to come.
Evian has been a seminal (inaudible) for ladies golf. For them to get the credit of adding a fifth major to the schedule was the right move. And hopefully we can showcase this place on the new course around the world.
Q. Do you have some trick or things you always do that are part of your preparation?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: I know my game pretty well, what needs to be worked on. It is a lot of maintenance, just boring maintenance work. When you finally get to the tournament week, you can relax. You don't have to stress. You don't have to force too many things on the range or the putting green.
Once I get here, it's getting used to the speed of the greens. This week is a little bit more preparation even though the greens are new and no one has seen it. It takes a little bit more time around this place than it has in the past.
Overall, it's going to be a pretty good challenge to get around this course now.
LYDIA KO, Rolex Rankings No. 8
THE MODERATOR: It's a pleasure to be joined by 16 year old amateur, Lydia Ko, here in France for the first time for the Evian Championship. Let's start off with just your thoughts on France having traveled here for the first time this week.
LYDIA KO: It seems really quiet, like especially out here. I didn't know really know what to expect coming here. So obviously Switzerland is just across the water. So it's a really beautiful here.
Q. You've had a little time since your second LPGA victory at the CN Canadian Women's Open. You told me you have been watching a lot of tennis?
LYDIA KO: Yeah. I've been watching the U.S. Open and I didn't get to watch the finals, but I saw that Nadal won.
Q. Let's go back to your win in Canada. Your second time winning that event, your fourth professional victory overall. You are only 16. I know you have gotten this question a lot, but what it's like to have that many victories at such a young age?
LYDIA KO: I haven't really been counting. People tell me and I say, Oh, really? And it goes on.
But it was really special, especially to defend the Canadian's Women's Open title again. Again, this year I didn't really have it coming. The second time I'm surprised and I guess surprise is really good. It's been really good the last two years. I have been pretty happy with how I've been playing.
Q. Have you had time to reflect on the fact that you won by five shots running away? There was no doubt about it.
LYDIA KO: I actually had doubted myself, you know, coming down the last hole we were the only group to play the hole. I was like four shots, it's a lot. At that moment I was like, Oh, my God, am I going to hit it in the water? Am I going to 3 putt, all of those thoughts that I you would shouldn't have been thinking about I was.
Like even with my putt, I was like please don't 3 putt in front of this many people. So I kind of got it done in the first putt, so I was really glad that I did.
Q. So you don't didn't get too nervous. What makes you scared in life?
LYDIA KO: I think because I don't have much time off the course and off the golfing, you know, arena, I get really scared when like my parents actually go out at night.
I watch a lot of CSI and all that, so I'm like what if a car crash happens. It's obviously not the ideal thing to think about again, but those CSI kind of things get me worried sometimes.
Q. Are you familiar with CSI, everyone? It's a murder investigation show.
LYDIA KO: My mom tells me not to watch it anymore.
Q. Now we're talking about off time. Besides watching television, what are other things that you like to do when you are not practicing golf?
LYDIA KO: I'm away from home and from school, I sometimes need to do some schoolwork, catch up work. And I'm on Facebook quite a lot.
Q. Facebook is a hobby or is it for fun?
LYDIA KO: Facebook, I'm not with my friends a lot, so I kind of see what they are doing and I get to learn new things, find some places.
I was on Instagram a couple of days ago and I saw that Michelle went to (indiscernible) over here, so I asked her where the was. You get to learn things through that.
I also chat with my friends through Facebook as well.
Q. Talk about some of the reaction of some of the other players on the LPGA. I know you have gotten close with Michelle. I saw you earlier with Suzann Pettersen. What are the players saying to you?
LYDIA KO: Mostly like because I didn't play Portland and stuff they have been congratulating me for the Canadian Women's Open.
I think because everybody is in game mode at the moment, there is not much talk going around. I can see like through Twitter and everything everyone has been congratulating me and saying so many nice things.
Q. Lydia, you are going home after this event, right? How long has it been that you have been on the road?
LYDIA KO: I came out just before Toledo and I didn't go back since then, but it's only my fourth tournament being away. There is have been some two week gaps. But it has been a long time, like two months, since I have gone back home. New Zealand is so far away, it's quite hard to come back and forth.
Q. What are you most looking forward to?
LYDIA KO: I miss my friends and my dad and my sister. I'm not really looking forward to exams because I don't think that's going to go too well. Fingers crossed. I'll have to study a lot in the next two months.
Q. Can you just share a couple of subjects you are going to be tested in?
LYDIA KO: It will be mostly English and photography, along those lines.
Q. You were at the British Open, obviously, and had a very good time there. What other thoughts do you have about being here in Evian and in France and Switzerland? Did you want to visit any other places while you were in the UK?
LYDIA KO: I did some tourism stuff after the British Open around that area, but we didn't have much time, you know, seeing things around here. Just being here is really nice and we're actually staying up in the mountains, so we have a really good view there as well. Like I said, it's really nice. It's quite cool to hear the French speaking people because I've never heard of the language before as well.
Q. You talk about your school stuff, how much do you study when you are on the road?
LYDIA KO: You know, I just try and find time because obviously golf is the bigger part of my life. I try and find time and then do stuff. It's most of the time when it's like the week before the tournament week when it is just most of the time practice.
When it is tournament week, I'm trying to stay more into golf. In my off time, I reflect on what I've done as well.
Q. You are now sort of a specializing in your English and photography. What kind of photography are you doing? Are you taking pictures of landscapes or what?
LYDIA KO: Our project at the moment is just we're making a story. So I took some photos near St. Andrews at the cathedral, back at home. So I'm actually doing treasures of each country, the beauties. That's what I'm doing. Every other student will have their own topic.
Q. Are you picturing the mountains this week?
LYDIA KO: I haven't really got time to take any but hopefully maybe if I finish early one day I will be able to go around and take some photos. The ice on the mountains as well is pretty beautiful.
Q. There was a discussion on the European Tour last week, I think it was, about young players who play with professional golfers who are adults. You had your first win when you were 14, I think. There are some people who say, well, it shouldn't be that young players like you play with a professional adults because it puts too much pressure on them. It may influence the career badly. What do you think about it? Is it a lot of pressure for you to be here and to play against all the very experienced people?
LYDIA KO: You know, I had a lot of pressure like two years ago, three years ago. You know, it's I was like 14 and obviously playing at a professional tournament. They have proven things and they are great players.
One of the big thoughts was I don't want to play bad and slow the whole group down and get them off their rhythm. I think the more I played, the more I learned to kind of go with it.
I've been learning so many things playing with different players from Julie Inkster to Suzann. It's been a really great learning experience.
Q. What is your latest thoughts on whether and when to turn pro?
LYDIA KO: I knew it was you. I was like, Oh, it's finishing. Yeah, like we're thinking about it. But as a joke, like because everybody is asking me when are you turning pro. You should turn pro. I think I better do that soon or that question is going to go for a while.
Never know what's going to happen.
LYDIA KO: It's just more like my mom's job. I just play the white ball and I just do my own thing. My mom does pretty much everything else apart from hitting the golf ball.
KARINE ICHER, Rolex Rankings No. 21 and the top-ranked player from France
THE MODERATOR: Pleasure to welcome Karine Icher at the inaugural Evian Championship. The obvious question, you now have a major in your home country. How does it feel?
KARINE ICHER: It feels really good. I hope to bring more teenagers and young players to golf because golf in France is small. It's a small country and we don't have a lot of following for it. Hopefully some young teenagers and players are going to come and watch it and maybe want to try golf later.
Q. You've had a really good summer leading up to this tournament, successful Solheim Cup, played well at the CN Canadian Open. Tell me about the summer and where it ranks in your career.
KARINE ICHER: For sure Solheim Cup is probably the best memory in my career so far. Winning on the U.S. soil was amazing. Everybody knew it would be very hard, but we did it.
So then I just took the confidence through the Canadian Open and worked pretty well. I hope I'm going to bring it to here in France.
Q. I'll ask you this in English, but it's probably better to answer in French. What would you tell a person who is thinking about coming to the Evian Championship who maybe lives in Evian or very close. Why would you tell them to come out?
KARINE ICHER: Just to come to watch the best players in the world. You can't have better players here. I mean, you have everybody here. It's the if I was major as the Evian Championship and a major in France. It's a huge event. So we are not very lucky to it's not possible to see this kind of player a lot of time for Europe.
In France, maybe people can go to the British and see them, but here it's just amazing to play here on this golf course redesigned because it's in a new golf course now. Just come and watch us to play.
Q. Do you think this new golf course suits your game?
KARINE ICHER: If I play well, yes, it is going to suit my game. I think that is the key. On this golf course you have to play pretty well. Even if you try to read the greens properly and say everything goes to the lake so I'm going to play like this. If you are on the wrong side, you can miss putts and sometimes doing three putts.
So I think I know how to do Top 10 because I've had many times Top 10s in my career, but I never won. So obviously I'm waiting on winning soon.
Q. Is this your first time in France since the Solheim Cup and do you notice a difference in the amount of attention you are getting?
KARINE ICHER: A little bit, yes. People have watched the Solheim Cup and they know who won and they are pretty proud that Europe won. So a little bit, yes.
Q. Do you think this French major comes at a very good point of your career because now you are stronger, wiser and maybe more, I don't know?
KARINE ICHER: Yeah, I'm playing really well now, so it's perfect timing. My game is not at the top, I hope, but at a peak. So playing now, it's good timing for me.
Once again, the course is very difficult to play and it's hard to do a low score on this golf course and especially with the (inaudible) this week. So we lose a lot of distance. So it makes it even harder.
Q. You have been here many times and you know how it works, no?
KARINE ICHER: I know, but it's a different golf course. So there are some tee shots that remain the same and some things are still the same, but it's amazing to see that in nine months they did that kind of redesign of the course. It's much different than it was before, so it's really a new course.
Q. Once again, you said in the French press that you were a little disappointed by the (inaudible). I just read on the (inaudible) that the amateurs, people like me and the public (inaudible), does it make you happy to play in front of your public once a year?
KARINE ICHER: I'm proud and I want to do my best this week. Now the federation, many interviews help a lot of amateur golf, but doesn't help much golf, professional golf. And to have a sport in a country, to promote the sport in the country, it's not by making any event, it's by making a champion like this. You promote the sport. If we want golf in France growing and to be played by everybody and everything, we need a champion. Woman or man, it doesn't matter. But we need a champion.
I would love to be this person, but I think when we are going to have like an Olympic champion or something like that, we are going to promote golf and many, many people are going to try to play golf. To do that, we need help and especially financially help, but help in general.
2013 Solheim Cup Team Press Conference
THE MODERATOR: Good afternoon, everyone. Thank you for joining us. It's my very great pleasure to introduce to you four members of the winning European Solheim Cup team and the assistant captain Annika Sorenstam.
Obviously we're here at the inaugural Evian Championship, which is a major. Everybody is very excited. We have the trophy with us here today. First off, can you just reflect on the victory a month ago and what that meant to you looking back now. Maybe start with Carlota.
CARLOTA CIGANDA: It was such a great week, one of best weeks of my life. It was the atmosphere since the first day, the caddies, the players, all the helpers. We got along really good and I think it was lucky that we were a good team all week. You can see on the course and outside that was the most important.
ANNA NORDQVIST: Obviously it was a very exciting week. Every time you walk by one of your teammates, you are you are still smiling and you still share videos or memories. I think our friendship has grown stronger.
It's been four weeks ever since, but I feel like it's almost like it was yesterday. You walk by someone you are smiling and they are smiling back at you. I think we still have some momentum from it.
CAROLINE HEDWALL: We had a great team spirit and a lot of fun together. That was a big key to the win, I think. I don't know what to tell you. It was just a fun, awesome week.
CATRIONA MATTHEW: Obviously a fantastic week. Like the others said, we had great team spirit. I still played two tournaments since then and the Solheim is the freshest in my mind. It feels like it was no time ago.
Yes, I see the trophy and it brings it all back. So very excited.
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: I agree. I mean, I didn't hit a single shot, but I felt like I hit a lot of shots. You live with the players. It's very different to be outside the ropes in a way, even though I was inside. But it's different from a captain or vice captain's perspective because you live every player's shot. You get involved in their game, you try to inspire them, you support them as much as you can.
Our goal was to create an environment when they feel very good so they can perform at the very best and they did that. I'm very proud of them. They played tough. It was a tough venue, but I think the team atmosphere helped it.
Everybody was so supportive and it was so fun to see and experience. It was very, very special.
Q. You have all been to Evian before, but major changes to the golf course. I'd like to get your feedback to what you think about the tournament and the course?
CARLOTA CIGANDA: I think it's a great place to play a major event. The atmosphere is really good. There have been some changes on the course which I think it's really good because the course is playing really tough. The greens are looking a bit different, so you need to be careful and be very patient out there. I think it's a great change and it's the same for everyone.
I'm looking forward to playing this week and to play the last major of the year.
ANNA NORDQVIST: Evian has always been a great place. Definitely one of my favorite stops on the Tour. I think a lot of the players never really knew what to expect coming here this week, and I think we're all surprised with the amount of work they put in these last couple of years or last year.
And they moved a lot of mud around because you thought, oh, there used to be a huge hill there and it's not anymore. The course is playing really tough. I definitely thinks it a great major championship venue. I'm real excited about this week. The course is going to be playing tough. I think that favors the better players, but there are some really tough holes out there. The greens have a lot of movement in them, so it seems like they have been there for so many years but in a way it seems like we are playing a new course.
CAROLINE HEDWALL: This is just my second time here, but it's a beautiful place and I really like the changes. I love the new par 3s. I think they look beautiful.
I'm just excited to go out and play. It's the last major of the year and it will be a fun week.
CATRIONA MATTHEW: Obviously delighted to be back here again. I played here I don't know if this is my 15th or 16th time. They have always done tweaks to the course over the years, but obviously a make or renovation last year.
It's one of most beautiful courses. You have got the fantastic views. It is going to be a challenge out there. I think with the rain we've had the course is playing pretty long. You have got to get in the right spots on the greens. You have to hit a lot of really good second shots to give yourself some good putts.
It's going to be interesting to see what scoring is like. When you come to a new course or one that's been redone as much as this one has, you never know what the scoring is going to be like. I think come Thursday or Friday, we'll have more idea of how the course is playing and how we're all doing on it.
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: Again, I'm not hitting a shot, but I'm just arrived this morning and I'm going to go out and take a look at the changes.
Actually, I'm one of you guys this week. I'm doing some TV. I'll be the journalist, I'll be talking to the players, getting some feedback and see what they think.
I look forward to seeing the changes I have been coming here probably as long as Catriona has. I've seen the course change every year. It seems like one year you figure it out and come out next year and you have to figure it out again.
But this is a beautiful venue and obviously Frank and the team have done an exceptional job to make it the tournament it is here. I'm proud to be here and watching the ladies play the golf course.
Q. During the Solheim Cup I spoke to Cristie Kerr who said that the chemistry among the American players was better than she had known before. If you were outsiders looking in, why would you think that your chemistry was better than the Americans?
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: I don't know what the atmosphere was before within the U.S. team. As far as from our team, it always starts at the top. I think Liselotte did an excellent job.
Overall, we travel, we see each other in Europe. A lot of us go way back, right? So it was a friendship. With some of the new players I have gotten to know the last few years, we get along. We are friends more. We are golfers, but that really comes second. I think we respect each other very well. It is just a nice atmosphere within the players and within the caddies. Overall, there is just we don't need to pretend. We are just the way we are and it's accepted.
When you can be yourself, it's a lot easier. It comes naturally on our side. I don't know about the U.S. team, but it does play a big role.
I remember having the conversation with Lisa when we won in Ireland. She said what was the recipe there? I said it was the leader. The leader gives the feedback. You got to make sure the players feel comfortable. If they feel comfortable, they play good golf. We all know that they can play good golf, but you have to create the environment so they can play as well as they can. Like I said, it starts at the top.
ANNA NORDQVIST: I think win or lose at the Solheim Cup, we're still going to have a great week. I grew up playing with Caroline, I grew up with Carlota and with Jodi. We all played a lot of amateur golf together and even in college. So to me that didn't feel like rookies, and I think that helped.
Jodi, Charley, Carlota have been friends since way back. I think on a regular basis we know each other very well and we have such strong friendships, so it wasn't just for that week we came together. But we have a lot of good times besides the Solheim Cup week, too.
Q. All Europeans, do they get closer than the Americans get in the amateur arena?
ANNA NORDQVIST: We have a lot of tournaments together growing up. We have a European team championships where we play team events, so alternate shot and better ball is nothing new to us. There is a European Championship, there is British Girls, there's British Amateurs. There are a lot of great European amateur events that we are fortunate enough to be able to play when we grow up. So you get to know them just traveling around Europe.
Q. For the assistant captain, you have been in that role a couple of times now. What would you say if you look back over the other experiences, was there anything that made this win more possible this year not just the better shots, but you have seen many as assistant captain plus as a player.
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: I have been lucky enough to be part of the last two wins. What can I say? I think the players overall, they are a lot more experienced playing in the U.S. Everybody here plays in the U.S. We might be Europeans but a lot of us, that is our home.
So I think if you compare to Solheim Cup 1990, there was only a few that lived in the U.S., maybe Liselotte and maybe somebody. Now it seems like most of them do.
I think just being more comfortable playing over there, you are used to playing against the Cristie Kerrs or Angela Stanford. Now we have this tournament as part of the LPGA. The British Open is now part of the LPGA. So I think we are away, but then we are not really away. I think that's one of the reasons.
The other reason is, again, the players in Europe are getting better and better. It takes 12 players, we talk about that every year. Every point is important. One player is not more important than the other. Every point matters. You have got to make sure that the players believe that. We need everybody. I think that was home this year for sure. Everyone understood their value and that as a team we can do it.
Q. If you look at the list of winners of the Evian Championship, the number of Swedish winners stand out. Why do you think that is?
ANNA NORDQVIST: To be honest, I have no idea. This is my second time here. I think maybe it's pretty similar, the grass and everything is pretty similar to Sweden. I'm guessing the course is played like what we grew up playing. Maybe that is a reason.
I think Annika, it would be better for her to answer this.
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: I think if you look at the Swedish women in general, we get some good golfers over the years. Before this was an LPGA event, there was a lot of Swedes that played here every year. When you feel welcome at a place, a lot of times you play well.
Take Helen Alfredsson, she was one of the first. She was one of the top players in the world. For her to come here and win, she was one of favourites and she did well.
I guess when I played I was one of top players and I played well here. I think it reflects the talent from Sweden. So more to come, in other words.
Q. Who do you think of you can contend for a major championship this week?
CARLOTA CIGANDA: I'm feeling good. I have been working in the last couple of weeks on my swing, I have been hitting the ball better. Obviously there are great players here. You have Inbee Park, she had a great year. She won three majors. You have Stacy Lewis, Suzann Pettersen, these girls over here, everyone is playing so good. There are so many options I don't like to say one name because I think there are so many good players out here.
I think the most patience is going to have chances to win this week because everyone is playing very good.
ANNA NORDQVIST: With a tougher set up, I do think it is going to favor the better players. You are going to have to play well this week to win. I think a lot of the European players have been playing good having some momentum after the Solheim Cup. So hopefully we'll have a European winner, for sure.
CAROLINE HEDWALL: At the same time, it's golf so you never know what happens. Obviously you want to be in contention on Sunday.
CATRIONA MATTHEW: Obviously there is a lot of people in there with a chance this week. Caroline won all five matches at Solheim so that's a pretty good record and obviously coming in with some form. Obviously you have got Inbee and Yani coming in and playing this week. So I think there is great competition.
I think that's what so great in ladies golf at the moment. There is so much competition, so many people who are capable of winning every week, which makes it exciting.
Q. Being paired with Inbee the first two rounds, you are happy about that and all that will go with it?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: I've played with Inbee quite a few times. I think she's a great person to play with. She's got such good tempo. I think if you can work from her tempo, it kind of works and helps my swing just watching her play. Going to be pleased going out and playing with her.
I think it's always nice when you go out and play with people who are playing well. I think sometimes that can drag your game along with it.
Q. Inbee had mentioned you as one of the favorites for the win because she said your game would fit the course. Do you think the same?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: I played the whole course. I feel as though I am playing well. I think anyone is going to want to do well here. Obviously you are hopefully going to drive it fairly long because it's playing quite long with the wet. I think mostly it was going to be trying to get your second shot in good positions. The greens are going to be pretty tricky. They are pretty undulating.
Whoever is in control of their long irons and rescues is going to do well this week.
Q. With this being a major, does the mentality change for any of you? Is there any more focus or do you approach it as in other tournament?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: I suppose I played a lot now and I know kind of I just try and treat it as any other tournament. I think go through the same preparations I would do every week, because every week you are out there trying to win the tournaments. I think sometimes you can really put too much pressure on yourself and prepare differently from what you might normally do.
I really just try and stick to the same preparation each week regardless of whether it's a major or just a regular tournament.
CAROLINE HEDWALL: Well, I'm the same as Catriona. I mean, I try to prepare the same way for a major championship. But at the same time I know I'm going to be a little more pumped on the first tee on Thursday. So hopefully that can just help me play even better.
ANNA NORDQVIST: I think it's still very new that Evian has become a major, so I think you still have (indiscernible) a major this year. But with all the changes and the course playing tougher, it definitely feels like you are more pumped up. And when you start tomorrow, you will definitely be excited to get going.
CARLOTA CIGANDA: I think same as Catriona, I mean, obviously it's a major. It's one more tournament, so you need to do the same preparation as every other week because you want to be at the top and try to win the tournament. So yes, doing everything the same and that's it.
Q. I imagine you guys have played (inaudible) a number of times since Monday. Please tell me what kind of club you use on that hole.
CATRIONA MATTHEW: I played a practice round on Monday and I had 3 rescue in there.
Today, luckily I was playing with person who used to play in the European Tour, so he got a good drive down there so I was excited.
CAROLINE HEDWALL: I was hitting a full 4 iron into the front of the green.
ANNA NORDQVIST: I played for the first time today in the Pro Am and it was blowing, so I actually had a 3 wood into the front of the green and I barely got it on.
CARLOTA CIGANDA: I had a 4 iron on Tuesday and today too, 4 iron.
Q. To the flag?
CARLOTA CIGANDA: Yes.