ISPS Handa Women's Australian Open Tuesday Notes and Interviews

Photo Credit: Stefan Postles/Getty Images

Jessica Korda of the United States tee's off during day one of the ISPS Handa Australian Open at Royal Canberra Golf Club.

ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open
The Victoria Golf Club
Victoria, Australia
Pre-Tournament Notes and Interviews
February 11, 2014

Suzann Pettersen, Rolex Rankings No. 2
Paula Creamer, Rolex Rankings No. 12
Jessica Korda, Rolex Rankings No. 24
Cheyenne Woods, Rolex Rankings No. 159

This week the LPGA Tour heads to “The Land Down Under” for the third playing of the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open. The second event on the 2014 LPGA schedule will feature a field of 156 players competing for a $1.2 million purse at The Victoria Golf Club in Victoria, Australia.

After claiming her second-career LPGA Tour victory at the season-opening Pure-Silk Bahamas LPGA Classic, the red-hot Jessica Korda will return to Australia where she became a Rolex First-Time Winner in 2012. Korda showed nerves of steel and claimed her first-career LPGA Tour victory in dramatic fashion, sinking a 25-foot birdie putt on the second hole of a six-player playoff.

With the absence of Rolex Rankings No. 1 Inbee Park in Australia, No. 2 Suzann Pettersen and No. 3 Stacy Lewis will have the opportunity to close in on her commanding lead in the Rolex Rankings. While Lewis began her season with a runner-up finish in the Bahamas, this week will mark the start of Pettersen’s 2014 campaign. The Norwegian will look to continue the momentum she gained last season after picking-up four wins, including one major title.

Teen sensation and New Zealand standout Lydia Ko will be one to watch this week as she returns to Australia where she finished third in 2013. With two LPGA Tour victories already under belt, Ko finished in a tie for seventh in the Bahamas and leads the Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year standings.

As the 2014 LPGA Tour season continues to heat-up, the excitement surrounding the inaugural Race to the CME Globe will also ramp up in Australia. The season-long points race will culminate at the season-ending CME Group Tour Championship and will award the winner with a $1 million prize check – the largest in all of women’s golf. With her win in the Bahamas, Jessica Korda jumped out to the early lead with 500 points.

Winter Olympic Dreams… Coming off arguably one of the best seasons since joining the LPGA Tour in 2003, this week marks Suzann Pettersen’s 2014 debut.

After a season that produced four victories, Pettersen could make a significant dent into Inbee Park’s current lead in the Rolex Rankings with a solid finish this week in the Sandbelt.

While Pettersen might be eyeing the top spot in the Rolex Rankings, she also has one eye completely focused on the current Winter Olympics.

“I've been up all night for the last four days, Norway's doing pretty good,” said Pettersen. “Yesterday was one of the biggest days for us, there was a little bit of a disaster but it was a very good start.  It was very neat.”

From Norway, Pettersen grew-up surrounded by an array of winter athletes including skiers and snowboarders. In fact the No. 2 ranked player on the Rolex Rankings admitted in her pre-tournament press conference to knowing the majority of Norwegian athletes currently competing in Sochi.

“I know pretty much all the Norwegian athletes who's competing, or most of them,” said Pettersen. “It's such a small country and we're a very good community kind of between the different sports so it's a lot of fun to see your friends compete, to do well, not do so well but to see the emotions and see the process they go through.  I just can't wait for Rio myself.”

Growing up in Norway, Pettersen spent a great deal of time on the slopes skiing and admitted if she could participate in one sport in the Winter Olympics, she would pick alpine downhill skiing.

“No, in Norway kids are born with skis on their feet LAUG or in Scotland they're born with golf clubs in their hands,” said Pettersen. “So I mean growing up, it's national thing to do and I guess Winter Olympics is the nation's pride and honour.  If we fail here, it's national depression for months.”

Charge to the Crown… American Jessica Korda’s 2014 season got off to a roaring start in the Bahamas. The dynamic 20-year-old carded here second-career LPGA Tour victory at the season-opening Pure-Silk Bahamas LPGA Classic and this week she returns to a place that feels just like home.

Australia has been good to the Korda family as her dad Petr won the 1998 Australian Open while Jessica became a Rolex First-Time Winner in Melbourne at the 2012 Women’s Australian Open.

“Yeah, I've basically been coming over to Australia since I was a baby so definitely a place I love visiting,” said Korda. “I do feel a little bit like home, I kind of know my way around and just the people are so welcoming so it's hard not to feel like I'm at home.”

Korda’s comfort level this week and her win in the Bahamas could give her just the confidence she needs to make a late charge up the Rolex Rankings and land a coveted spot on the United States Team for the inaugural International Crown.

The first-of-its-kind, biennial, global match play competition will feature teams from eight countries battling to be “Crowned" the world’s best golf nation. While the eight countries that will be competing at Caves Valley in July have already been determined, the players who will be taking part in the inaugural event is still up in the air.

Players have until have the 2014 Kia Classic to land position on the team and represent their country. While Korda is on the outside looking in ranked 24th on the Rolex Rankings, she understands the chance to wear red, white and blue and represent her country would be unparalleled.

“It's always a great honor to be representing the United States, wearing red, white and blue and kind of having your country on your shoulders basically,” said Korda. “It's something that's basically indescribable. You feel a lot of pressure but you feel a lot of excitement.  It's a lot of fun. It would be great to make it but it is going to be tough.”

Below are the standings based on the Rolex Rankings that were released on February 10th.

1) South Korea 23   2) United States 37   3) Japan 123
Inbee Park 1   Stacy Lewis  3   Mika Miyazato  22
So Yeon Ryu 5   Lexi Thompson 9   Ai Miyazato 24
Na Yeon Choi 7   Cristie Kerr 12   Sakura Yokomine 37
I.K. Kim 10   Paula Creamer 13   Rikako Morita 40
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Ha Na Jang 14   Lizette Salas  18   Miki Saiki 47
Amy Yang  15   Angela Stanford 19   Shiho Oyama  48
               
4) Thailand 253   5) Spain 259   6) Sweden 311
Pornanong Phatlum 30   Beatriz Recari 20   Caroline Hedwall  21
Ariya Jutanugarn 32   Azahara Munoz  35   Anna Nordqvist  27
Moriya Jutanugarn 82   Carolta Ciganda 39   Pernilla Lindberg 114
Thidapa Suwannapura 109   Belen Mozo 165   Mikaela Parmlid 149
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Onnarin Sattayabanphot 143   Mireia Prat 246   Camilla Lennarth 194
Nontaya Srisawang 172   Maria Hernandez  325   Karin Sjodin  213
               
7) Chinese Taipei 355   8) Australia 356      
Yani Tseng 43   Karrie Webb  8      
Teresa Lu 52   Katherine Kirk  106      
Candie Kung 95   Stacey Keating 116      
Hsuan-Yu Yao 166   Lindsey Wright 126      
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------      
Yun-Jye Wei  217   Rebecca Artis 136      
Tzu-Chi Lin 409   Sarah Jane Smith 163      

 

So Happy Together…  Paula Creamer has never competed in Australia due to conflicting dates with the tournament and friends’ weddings. While Creamer will be competing in Australia this week she is also ironically in the midst of planning for her own wedding.

“As you can see in the last couple of months, my friends get married in the off season and a lot of the times it's been around the dates of the Australian events and I haven't been able to come over,” said Creamer. “This year I'm wedding free LAUG so I was able to make the trip over.  Like I said, my 10 years out on tour, I just can't believe I have not been here. Driving through from the airport here to the city and everything, it's just so beautiful.  Hopefully one of the days I can go out and kind of venture out and see parts of it.”

Creamer got engaged during the off season and admits to beginning the 2014 season the happiest she has ever been. Her happiness was perfectly reflected in the Bahamas as she posted a tie for third finish at the season-opening event.

“They always say a happy person always plays good golf and this and that,” said Creamer. “I have been ever since I picked up a club but this is just something completely different.  I had one of the best off seasons of my life, that's for sure; when you get to get a new shiny ring on your finger, there's nothing better than that. Diamonds are a girl's best friend but the fact that I get to marry my best friend is something that is so exciting. Everybody talks about it and my friends make so much fun of me because I'm always in La-La land floating around, I'm so happy over here.”  It has, it's made a big difference in the way that I look at my life and the way I look at the opportunities and the things that I've been blessed with.  I've taken it in a new and exciting way.  Ten years out here and I'm 27-years-old, time goes by but I'm ready for the next 10.”

While most people would consider 27-years-old young, Creamer noted she is quite old compared to all the young guns just beginning their LPGA careers.

“I’m 27, I'm ancient out here, I'm old,” said Creamer with a smile. “Twenty-seven when I started, when I was 18, I thought that was young and now - gees I'm a veteran LAUG. But it is, it's the way golf is going, it's the way women's golf has been.  When I was 18 I was given so many opportunities, sponsor's exemptions and things like that, and now that's happening so much more for young girls to be around it.”

No Change of Plans… Last week proved to be one to remember for Symetra Tour member Cheyenne Woods. The Arizona native beat out an elite list of players at the Ladies European Tour’s (LET) Australian Ladies Masters for her second professional victory.

Already quite the celebrity on social networks, Woods saw an immediate increase in followers on Instagram and Twitter including fans showing their support and congratulations. Along with the array of adoring fans, Woods received a special tweet and text message from her uncle, Tiger Woods.

“Yeah, he (Tiger) texted me after I finished playing and congratulated me and also sent out a Tweet to congratulate me,” said Woods. “So it's kind of cool that he was following along with the rest of my family.”

While the victory marked the former Wake Forest University Demon Deacon’s first victory on a major professional tour, she plans to remain focused on earning her LPGA Tour card through the Symetra Tour. For the third season, the Symetra Tour will award ten fully-exempt LPGA Tour cards based on the season-ending Volvik Race for the Card (money list) standings.

The Official Qualifying Tour of the LPGA kicks-off its 2014 season next week in Mesa, Arizona and Woods plans on being in the field in the Tour’s first two events of the season.

“This week I still plan on going back to Phoenix Arizona where I'm from,” said Woods. “I have a Symetra Tour event there, which is the qualifying tour for LPGA that I'll be playing the full season of.  So I'll be there for that event and then the next week I'll be in LA for another Symetra Tour event. So, so far my plans haven't changed, I still plan on playing Symetra and just earning my way, working my way towards LPGA.”

 

Suzann Pettersen, Rolex Rankings No. 2

THE MODERATOR: Susan, thank you for coming in, marvellous to see you again.  The list of your victories go on and on, when I was trying to look at your bio.
SUZANN PETTERSEN:  That's nice; I've been onto it for a while.

THE MODERATOR: We've actually spoken of that before, to say that the young girls that are coming through, the strength of them, how strong they are physically and mentally.  Do you see that much more now than when you started?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: You know I think actually the change in the game of golf and the approach actually changed before I got into it.  I think Tiger in the late 90s was one of the first, at least the first male really - I don't know if he was the person who really took the serious and total approach but I guess he kick started what you now can see a new type of player. 

You see the young players coming out, they're really prepared, they're physically strong, stronger than probably when I started, mentally up there with the best, competing with the best in the world; just really solid players.  It's really fascinating to see how good they are at such a young age because I felt like I was fairly good at the time but I was kind of keeping up with the best amateurs in Europe when I was about 18/19 it felt like that was my kind of confidence to kick start my professional career.

But these girls out here, I mean they go from, they seem to just be very comfortable at the best stage of women's golf.

THE MODERATOR:  Have you had a chance to see this golf course, have you played here before?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: No, I have not played here.  I've played 18 holes yesterday.  It reminds me very much about the other courses in this area, Royal Melbourne, I played a couple of years ago, I played Yara Yarra way back, one of my first years on tour.  But it's typical links course.  It's not the type of course that I've seen pretty much since the British, so it's a little bit unusual.  I play more of traditional or American courses over the last two or three months.  So you've got to adjust accordingly and hopefully there'll be a kind of kick start that gives us a nice challenge earlier on in the year. 

But it's been a good off season for me, I've been doing a lot of training, kept myself busy and I feel like I'm very eager to start competing again.

Q.  Suzann, you had a great year last year, probably your best year I would imagine.  What was it that kicked that in for you?  Why did you do so well last year?  Have you been able to work out what the secret was?
SUZANN PETTERSEN:  There's no secret.  I guess it's really hard work over a long time.  I've managed to stay in fairly good condition healthwise, no massive injuries.  That has made a problem for me to kind of prepare the way I feel like I need to prepare.  I've been practising the way I wanted to practice and I felt like I showed up more often to tournaments well prepared to actually play. 

So for me there's no secret, it's a lot of hard work and it's all got to click at the right time, but that's the fun challenge.

Q.  You say you've been playing on American style courses recently, do you enjoy the greater challenge that these sorts of conditions demand from players?  Your whole game is tested in these conditions, is that when you enjoy it?
SUZANN PETTERSEN:  Yeah for sure, I think I'm mentally - after having seen Royal Melbourne two years - is it two years ago?

THE MODERATOR: Two years ago.
SUZANN PETTERSEN:  That being the first tournament of the year, I wasn't quite ready for that task at that moment.  It's nice to kind of ease in, to kind of build your confidence so you don't go straight into it.

So I guess that experience has kind of made me a little bit aware of what I can expect.  So it's not as a surprise now as it was two years ago, but I remember back then it was a very tough task LAUG to get around that course, having seen it on TV, seen the guys play, they make it look so easy but that was definitely a tough course.

But this course is in very good shape, firm holes, very good variety off the tees.

Q.  As a top grade player do you feel like you should start favorite?
SUZANN PETTERSEN:  I guess being a favourite is not a bad thing.

Q. I mean do you feel like you can go out and win?
SUZANN PETTERSEN:  I would not be here if not, so I guess so and I guess being a favourite means a lot of pressure, more expectations but it also means that you're probably pretty good.  That's how I look at it.

Q.  You spoke about the wind before, how seriously do you take that?  If the wind picks up do you feel like your experience can help you in those conditions where others might struggle?  Is that your thinking?
SUZANN PETTERSEN:  I think this is a course where the wind kind of brings the character to the course as well.  So I hope it's not horrendous conditions like it was on Sunday, when it was blowing 40 miles per hour; that was tough, I was out here LAUG.  I don't think it was playable on certain holes.

I don't know, I mean, I'll see what the different days brings.  I'll just try to get into a good start and just try and find a good rhythm straight off the bat and see what the week brings.

Q.  Suzann, Jessica Korda was in earlier and she's re-making her whole swing, changing it completely.  When you reflect on your swing, has it changed much since you came in as a professional until now?
SUZANN PETTERSEN:  Not really.  I guess golf is about continuous process.  I think we golfers, we seem to be a bit of perfectionists.  It's like you feel like you can do things better even though it might be at a fairly good level, you might feel like you've got more in you, you feel like you can do things better, do things better day in/day out.  The consistency is probably what, for me, is the most important thing.

I mean, Jessica is still a very young player; she's got a fantastic talent.  She's already won a couple of times out here; she knows what she's doing.  I think the only one who can really know if a change is worth doing is yourself.

Q.  But you haven't remade your swing at any stage, you may have changed but it…
SUZANN PETTERSEN:  I mean, I guess basic thing has kind of stayed the same but I've approached it in different ways.  I feel like I've settled in with what I feel I'm best at.  I guess I'm too old to start changing.  I'm going to just stick to what I have.

Q.  Do you have your eye on No. 1?
SUZANN PETTERSEN:   Not really, I just want to see my…

Q.  It's not important?
SUZANN PETTERSEN:  Not really, I just want to check how good I can possibly be; that's my entire dream, that's my goal. If that is being No. 1, if that is being No. 2 for the rest of my life, then that's what I got.  I feel like I've got more in me.  I feel like my best golf is still to come.  I was home last year; I was touching on where I feel like I should be.  It had been a solid year and the good weeks, and that's what's kind of driven me through the Winter.  I mean, I was glad I didn't get to that spot because it's also given me a little bit more of  motivation to dig a little bit deeper and grind it a little bit harder.

So I mean, basically I just want to see how good I can be.  I don't want to leave this game knowing I could have done more or I've left it out there.  I mean, I just want to give it all and I feel like I can be pretty good, so whatever that number is, it is.

Q. Are you interested in the Winter Olympics?
SUZANN PETTERSEN:  I've been up all night for the last four days, Norway's doing pretty good.  Yesterday was one of the biggest days for us, there was a little bit of a disaster but it was a very good start.  It was very neat, I know pretty much all the Norwegian athletes who's competing, or most of them.  It's such a small country and we're a very good community kind of between the different sports so it's a lot of fun to see your friends compete, to do well, not do so well but to see the emotions and see the process they go through.  I just can't wait for Rio myself.

Q.  Can every kid in Norway ski or skate?
SUZANN PETTERSEN:  Pardon me?

Q. Every kid in Norway, can they ski or skate?
SUZANN PETTERSEN:  No, in Norway kids are born with skis on their feet LAUG or in Scotland they're born with golf clubs in their hands.  So I mean growing up, it's national thing to do and I guess Winter Olympics is the nation's pride and honour.  If we fail here, it's national depression for months.

Q.  If you were in that Winter Olympic team for Norway, what sport would you be competing in?
SUZANN PETTERSEN:  I mean it probably would be alpine, downhill.   I like skiing.

Q.  That's lunacy you realise?
SUZANN PETTERSEN:  That's ski's Formula One so I guess that's what you want to do.

Q. What will you do at the first hole here; will you have a bash at the green?
SUZANN PETTERSEN:  It's a par 3 isn't it?

Q.  I hear it's a par 3.
SUZANN PETTERSEN:  No, it's a par 4.  I don't know the lay out.  Hit it down there and get it on the green.

Q. What about 18, can you reach 18?
SUZANN PETTERSEN:  Yeah, yesterday I had 7 iron left.  I'm actually hitting it a bit further now, so I can finally compete with these long young guns.  So I can't wait to face Jessica Korda now.  We have our internal battle, she's one up for the year but I didn't play Bahamas so I don't know if it counts.

Yeah, 18 looks reachable yesterday. The only par 5 that's definitely not reachable where I'm not even going to try and give it a go is 17?

Q.  17.
SUZANN PETTERSEN:  It's not even worth trying to pump the driver down there because even if you hit it, it's not reachable.  There's this howling downwind, which there wasn't yesterday.

Paula Creamer, Rolex Rankings No. 12

THE MODERATOR:  Paula, welcome to Melbourne.
PAULA CREAMER: Thank you.

THE MODERATOR: But I can tell by the sound of you, you're not very well.
PAULA CREAMER: I'm not feeling the best but it's alright, it hasn't made my welcome here any worse.  It's very nice to come to Australia, it's my first time.

THE MODERATOR: You've had a chance to look at the course?
PAULA CREAMER: I played 18 holes this morning.  I think it is great for golf.  I think it's in awesome shape, the greens are fast, and the fairways are perfect.  The bunkers are tough, every bunker's kind of different but I really like it.  I think it suits my game really well and I'm looking forward to the tournament to start on Thursday, get another practice round in tomorrow and hopefully it'll be ready for four good days.

THE MODERATOR: Is it all you imagined, no doubt you've heard things overseas and people talking about playing in Melbourne?
PAULA CREAMER: It's better, it's definitely better.  I'm very pleased, everybody's been so nice, they've been very welcoming and the golf course, like I said, it's just awesome.  You have to be a good ball striker, you have to be really precise with your irons and it exceeded my expectations for sure.

Q.  Paula, first question, why is it this year that you came to Australia, what made the difference there rather than any other year and the second one was does the course and the setup, do you think that it will have a bit of a US Open type feel about it, in the sense that you'll have to grind it out?  It's probably not going to yield really low scores, would you think?
PAULA CREAMER: Well the first question, there's no reason why I've never come to Australia, it's just been schedule conflicts.  As you can see in the last couple of months, my friends get married in the off season and a lot of the times it's been around the dates of the Australian events and I haven't been able to come over.  This year I'm wedding free LAUG so I was able to make the trip over.  Like I said, my 10 years out on tour, I just can't believe I have not been here. Driving through from the airport here to the city and everything, it's just so beautiful.  Hopefully one of the days I can go out and kind of venture out and see parts of it. 

The second part, I know that a lot of it is going to be determined where the pin positions are.  I know they're not going to put them in the middle of the greens; they're going to make it tough.  There's a bunch of those run offs that you just can't go for flags.  It's not the longest golf course, I think when the wind picks up it will be a little bit different, so I'm glad I'm playing in the afternoon tomorrow, to see that, because I played very early where it was very calm.  But it's going to dictate just where the pins are for how low the scores will be.  If you hit a good putt on line where you want, these greens are so good that it's going to go in.  It's just giving yourself opportunities of making birdies and you're kind of pulling back when the pins are in the difficult spot. 

Q.  Sorry to focus on your ailment, is it just a cold that you've got?
PAULA CREAMER: Yeah, 16 and half hours on a plane is LAUG probably not ideal.  I felt good coming here on the plane, maybe just tired or a little bit.  My body's just a little bit achy but I think by Thursday I'll be good to go.  I don't think it's anything real serious but I don't sound very good.  A good night's sleep tonight and I think I'll be fine.

Q.  A good night's sleep rather than push through?
PAULA CREAMER: Yeah, a good night, yes.   I'll be ready; I'll try and figure it out LAUG.

Q.  Paula, you talked about having other weddings to go to but pretty soon you're going to have your own to go to.  You just got engaged.  I know you've talked a little bit about how happy you are right now.  Can you just kind of elaborate on that a little bit and how much that's helped your game?
PAULA CREAMER:  They always say a happy person always plays good golf and this and that. I have been ever since I picked up a club but this is just something completely different.  I had one of the best off seasons of my life, that's for sure; when you get to get a new shiny ring on your finger, there's nothing better than that. Diamonds are a girl's best friend but the fact that I get to marry my best friend is something that is so exciting. Everybody talks about it and my friends make so much fun of me because I'm always in La-La land floating around, I'm so happy over here.  It has, it's made a big difference in the way that I look at my life and the way I look at the opportunities and the things that I've been blessed with.  I've taken it in a new and exciting way.  Ten years out here and I'm 27 years old, time goes by but I'm ready for the next 10.

Q.  We think in Australia we're lucky, we have so many good players coming through, men and women.  Cheyenne Woods won last week and I'm not sure just how much of that you actually saw but I'm sure, like everybody, you're aware of the burden she's had to carry with that surname. How significant a win do you think that was given what she's had to live growing up with?
PAULA CREAMER:  I mean, any time you have to deal with other outside agencies, type of stuff like that, I think it's impressive.  It just shows golf and the way it's going and the way the talent is, it's pretty neat that you can be able to watch something like that.  I'm sure in her career, that's not the first and that's not the last.

Q. At 27 you're still young yourself.  You haven't been out here for 10 years, in the time that you've been watching and playing, has the quality and the depth of quality increased significantly as far as you're concerned?
PAULA CREAMER: Oh, for sure.  I’m 27, I'm ancient out here, I'm old.  Twenty seven when I started, when I was 18, I thought that was young and now - gees I'm a veteran LAUG.  But it is.   It's the way golf it going, it's the way women's golf has been.  When I was 18 I was given so many opportunities, sponsor's exemptions and things like that, and now that's happening so much more for young girls to be around it.

 I don't necessarily think just because you're 16, 17 years old you need to go and turn professional, it's not for everybody.  You need to grow as a person, you have the rest of your life to come out here and be a professional golfer.  I think that the team that's around you and the support that you have is a huge part.  I still travel a lot with my parents. They're not here these three weeks but I think it's very important to be grounded.

When I was 18, it's so different.  I had to grow up so much faster and embrace the role that you've been given and like I said, it's not for everybody but when you have a good solid person, you're given that opportunity and they'll take it and they'll run with it.

Q.  The athleticism of the young players coming through, have you noticed a different type of athlete is finding its way into the women's game?
PAULA CREAMER: I mean you see it in almost all sports.  I mean you saw it in the men's with Tiger and you saw it out her with Annika, she really started to get fit and we had to keep up with it. I feel very lucky and very blessed that I'm out in this era right now, where nutrition and being physically fit - I mean, I travel 30 weeks of the year, all over the place, it's not the easiest of lives of having your body be your job, so you have to learn how to take care of it.  The equipment and balls, that's a whole other story, and just even the way you work with your golf swing, all these videos, TrackMan, this and that.  I mean, it's just amazing.  I don’t even know what it's going to be like in 20 years, what the kids in junior golf are going to have.

But I am, I feel very lucky that I'm a part of this era and we're here today the way that Annika changed the bar and that's going to continue going on from here in out.

Jessica Korda, Rolex Rankings No. 24

THE MODERATOR:  Jess, you played this morning, you just got off the course literally, how was it?
JESSICA KORDA: It's in really good shape.  The greens are rolling really nice and I'm just really happy to be back on a golf course that I've seen before.

THE MODERATOR: You've played this course before in 2012?
JESSICA KORDA: That was last year, the LET after Gold Coast went to New Zealand and I stayed here in Melbourne and played here, the Royal and Metropolitan.

THE MODERATOR:  You've got fantastic memories of the Sand-belt after 2012 and you've had a great start in the Bahamas this year, you must be confident going into this week?
JESSICA KORDA: Yes, definitely, I mean, winning anywhere would give me a lot of confidence but the fact that I keep doing it outside of the United States is kind of bitter sweet.

Q. You got a great reaction in 2012? 
JESSICA KORDA:  Yeah, I've basically been coming over to Australia since I was a baby so definitely a place I love visiting.  I do feel a little bit like home, I kind of know my way around and just the people are so welcoming so it's hard not to feel like I'm at home.

Q. Were you surprised by the reaction after your win here?
JESSICA KORDA: Win here?

Q.  Yes.
JESSICA KORDA:  Yes and no.  I knew that it was going to be big just because of the history and my dad winning and also being in Melbourne.  It definitely - it was very special to win here.  I think I'll hold it as one of my favorite events that ever happened in my life basically.

Q.  Jess, how do you feel about this style of golf that you have to play here, because it's obviously very different to a lot of the courses in America, probably more suits your style because I just noticed yesterday it's quite bouncy out there.  You're not going to be able to stop the ball, are you - not too easily anyway?
JESSICA KORDA: I mean, the good thing about here is that even if you can't stop it on the green, you can still kind of run it up there, run it close or definitely having good yardages this week is going to be very important and picking the right clubs and the right shots. Sometimes you're going to have to take a lower trajectory and run it in there.  Sometimes you're going to try and hit it high into the wind and kind of stop it on the green.  Honestly, it really just depends on the weather, how tough the golf course is going to play.

Q.  Jess, in a bit more detail, what did you make of your form last week?
JESSICA KORDA: My form?

Q.  Yes.
JESSICA KORDA: I played really well, I hit a lot of good shots, just a lot of putts didn't drop, which was tough and the greens were a little bit bouncy.  They're actually tearing the golf course up today or yesterday, yesterday and today they're ripping it all up, so it will be interesting to see what it looks like next year. 

I felt like I played really well, just a couple of odd bounces here and there.

Q. Is it seen as a big boost to American golf to have another American winner?
JESSICA KORDA: I would hope so.  It's always good to see American flags on top of the leader board, being an American and hopefully inspiring some young girls to pick up the game of golf and give it a go and see if they like it or not.  Who knows what they're going to be in a couple of years' time.

Q.  Cheyenne, did she win earlier than you thought she would?  You must have played together?
JESSICA KORDA: I've never actually played golf with Cheyenne, I only know her kind of courteously saying hello and stuff like that.  It's good. It was very weird to see the name Woods on top of a leader board at a women's tournament, but it was nice.  It's good for her because I know what it's like to kind of have a big last name and for her to not let it define her was awesome.

Q.  Have you had a chance to have a word with her about that sort of connection?
JESSICA KORDA: No, I haven't seen anybody.

Q.  Would you try and have a word with her this week?
JESSICA KORDA: I don't think it's something that really comes up in conversation, that's more for you guys than us really.  We know who we are and we play our games, just like anybody else out there.

Q.  You just referenced seeing another American winner, it moved you up in the Rolex rankings, which means the win moved you up in the international Crown standings, do you think about that week in and week out or do you just kind of try to block it out?
JESSICA KORDA: I try and block it out as much as I can.  It's tough to move yourself up on Rolex rankings because it depends on how they rate the field, so it's nothing really that I can do.  If I have a good week I have a chance of getting knocked out by somebody from a different tournament.  So on that aspect it's definitely tough to kind of influence it but if I try and play as best as I can hopefully I move up.

Q.  You're a fiery competitor, we saw that at Solheim Cup especially.  What would it mean to you to make that team?
JESSICA KORDA: It's always a great honor to be representing the United States, wearing red, white and blue and kind of having your country on your shoulders basically. It's something that's basically indescribable.  You feel a lot of pressure but you feel a lot of excitement.  It's a lot of fun. It would be great to make it but it is going to be tough.

Q.  You're making some pretty big swing changes and it's already paid off with that win in the Bahamas.  How difficult is this, to make the swing changes yet also concentrate on putting together a good score now that the season's already started?
JESSICA KORDA: You know, we kind of implemented these swing changes also into my workouts, so I'd come off a golf course and go to the gym and kind of work on it there as well, which is very important for muscle memory.  Having golf related workouts is, I think, key as well, because you train the same muscles you would be using when you're playing.  I think that that's what helped me kind of transition the changes a little bit easier.  I still miss a lot of shots, it still creeps in.  It's going to take a while to really get it all out but I'm happy with the way it's going and we'll see.

Q.  Can you give us a précis of what the changes are all about, is it shot shape or trajectory?
JESSICA KORDA: No it's changing my swing plane actually.  I was very steep coming towards the ball and my hands were dropping behind me, which was putting a lot of pressure on my wrists and on my shoulders especially coming into different types of grasses.  It was really tough on my body and we're just changing the wing plane and making my posture better, change my grip.  So I mean there was basically just strip the whole game and build it back up from Ground Zero.

 

Cheyenne Woods, Rolex Rankings No. 159

THE MODERATOR:  This is actually just part of it all now, more cameras, sometimes they're slow, sometimes they're ready, but they're here anyway.  How has it been since Sunday?
CHEYENNE WOODS: Oh wow, it feels like it was so long ago because so much has happened, but it's been really exciting.  I've had a few interviews here and there, a lot of contact from my family back home and friends texting, and Twitting, Instagram, so it's been really, really  exciting and to see how excited everybody is feels good.

THE MODERATOR: It did go onto the Golf Channel, there were a couple of hours there I believe after Pebble Beach, so were they all glued to the TV watching you?
CHEYENNE WOODS: They were and I hear the Golf Channel will replay it again this week, so they're all going to record it and make sure they have it tuned it. So it's good that they're so far away from me but still able to watch and support.

THE MODERATOR: Have you looked at the golf course, have you played any holes here so far?
CHEYENNE WOODS: Yeah I just finished playing; actually I played the full 18.  The course is beautiful, it's in great shape. It's really interesting; you definitely have to place the ball pretty well this week.  So I'm looking forward to it.

THE MODERATOR:  Of course, not jumping the gun, but it would be enormous if you did as well this week as you did last week.
CHEYENNE WOODS: It would, that would be ideal, for sure.  But I'm just going to take it one day at a time. My game feels good and it feels good that I was able to put four solid rounds together last week. So I guess I'll take it one day at a time.

Q.  Cheyenne, do you like the attention?
CHEYENNE WOODS:  I mean, for me it's just what comes with it.  Just having the last name of has always drawn a lot of attention, so for me this is normal; the interviews or the TV cameras following me, so it's just what I've always known.

Q.  If it gets bigger and bigger, would you imagine you'll enjoy that and it would in a way help you?
CHEYENNE WOODS: I don't think it would go either way, hurt me or help me but it is exciting to see people excited about golf or excited about  whatever I'm doing out here, so either way I think it's positive for the game and positive for women's golf.

Q.  With that win last week, how long had you always known that your career would go in this direction, that you'd be successful? Have you always had that belief?
CHEYENNE WOODS: Yes, I mean I've always, since I started playing golf at five or six years old, I always saw myself playing professionally and being successful and playing on the LPGA one day.  So from the beginning I always knew that this is where I would be, so it's really exciting to finally kind of see it play out.

Q.  It's just been a whirlwind, hasn't it?  It's not just in Australia, it's from the States.  You've had way more focus. I know you just said that you've had it for your life, but it must have magnified tenfold in the last days?
CHEYENNE WOODS: Yeah definitely and I see it most just through social media.  A lot of followers, Twitter, Instagram, just people contacting me through that and showing that they've seen me play or seen an article here, an article there.  So it's crazy to me that I'm over here and it's spread so far and so fast to so many people.

Q.  How will you go about focusing that energy and attention into a good performance?  Talking about taking it one day at a time, any particular routines or method you've got to do that?
CHEYENNE WOODS: For me it's just going through my normal preparation of a tournament, playing a practice round, Pro-Am tomorrow, just relaxing at the hotel, just really focusing on this one week.  So nothing has changed from how I prepared last week to this week.

Q.  How many Twitter followers have you got now and how many did you have this time last week?
CHEYENNE WOODS: Last week I had about 20,000 and I probably gained about 5,000 followers in two days, so it's a lot.

Q.  Did you do any interviews back into the States at all?
CHEYENNE WOODS: I spoke with the Golf Channel and that was really it.  I'll speak to the Golf Channel again tonight.

Q.  We have to ask you about Tiger. Have you had any contact with him?
CHEYENNE WOODS: Yeah, he texted me after I finished playing and congratulated me and also sent out a Tweet to congratulate me.  So it's kind of cool that he was following along with the rest of my family.

Q.  You haven't had anything personal with him; you haven't been on the phone or anything like that?
CHEYENNE WOODS: No, I haven't even been on the phone with my Mum or Dad - it's been so crazy.  The phone calls are pretty expensive.  I've got to be careful with my phone bill.

Q.  You must feel different today than you did last week going into the tournament.  For all the desire to take it one day at a time, what pressure are you starting to feel coming into this tournament?
CHEYENNE WOODS: Not a whole lot of pressure.  I know there are a lot of people watching me, a lot more than normal but it does feel completely different from last week.  Last week I was going into the tournament after missing a cut completely and then to win and now coming into this week, after playing so well, it feels really good.  So I will try my best to play one day at a time and just focus on the one shot but it feels good that I was able to play well last week and hopefully that will carry over to this week.

Q. Cheyenne, you talked about that will to win, that belief to win, where do you think that comes from?
CHEYENNE WOODS: I believe that it comes from, a little bit of just me personally, always growing up in an athletic family, not only Tiger plays professionally but a lot of my other family members just played sports in general and always competed, so I've always been very competitive, saw myself being successful. 

Growing up watching Tiger be so successful, I always thought why not me?  Why wouldn't I be able to do that?  No one is stopping me. I guess just being young and then also my grandfather had a huge impact on me, when he got me started and just how much belief he had in me, I think really took an impact and I still carry it today.

Q.  You mentioned your grandfather, I'm sure you've been asked about this a lot but what was that like getting coached by him earlier?  How much did he have to do with you?  There are lots of stories about the way that he Tiger with rattling the coins in the pocket and these sorts of legends that go around?  Did he do that with you?  Did he use those methods?
CHEYENNE WOODS: For me, my relationship with my grandfather was more so over the phone.  He lived in California and my family and I lived in Arizona, so we would only see him on summer vacations.  I was only able to go out onto the course with him a handful of times probably in my whole time being with him, but I would definitely say just him being over the phone and just kind of coaching - not necessarily coaching but leading me through junior golf, what tournaments to play, telling me stories about him and Tiger when he was a junior, just little things like that.  So more just conversations rather than hands on on the course.

Q.  What about Tiger when you were younger, did he have an influence or did you work with him much on golf?
CHEYENNE WOODS: No, not really, I - no, not really LAUG.  I mean I've played with Tiger a few times for sure and he's always been really supportive but never really the mechanics; that's always been left up to my swing coach.  My swing coach was found through Tiger and my grandfather; they researched the best coach in Phoenix for me and set me up with him.  That's helped me tremendously and I still work with him.   It's been 12 years.

Q.  You're still a baby in terms of the experience you're going to gain playing this game and the dust hasn't really settled on what you did last week, but have you got a kind of idea in terms of the learning curve, what you've learnt in the last week as a professional golfer?
CHEYENNE WOODS:  Yeah, I think I've learned a lot in this past week, probably more than I've learned last year.  Mentally I learned a lot.  Mentally l learned what I'm capable of.  I have had the lead in a professional event before but I completely blew it the next day, so for me to be able to have the lead for two consecutive days and follow through and be confident and calm throughout the entire round was really big for me.

Q.  I've just been out on the course, the flies are at an all-time high - they're unbelievable.  How did you cope with them out there?
CHEYENNE WOODS: They're quite annoying but everyone has to deal with them so I'll just have to suck it up and get over it.

Q.  After looking at the course, what part of your game will you have to nail to be competitive this week?
CHEYENNE WOODS: I would say ball striking is very important.  You definitely have to place the ball on this course.  It's not as straight forward and open as Royal Pines last week.  So I'd say ball striking and some of these greens are pretty tricky with the slopes and all of that.  So that's something I'll focus on also.

THE MODERATOR: Your plans after this have they changed at all, or after this week, where do you plan to go?
CHEYENNE WOODS: This week I still plan on going back to Phoenix Arizona where I'm from.  I have a Symetra Tour event there, which is the qualifying tour for LPGA that I'll be playing the full season of.  So I'll be there for that event and then the next week I'll be in LA for another Symetra Tour event. So, so far my plans haven't changed, I still plan on playing Symetra and just earning my way, working my way towards LPGA.

 

Topics: Notes and Interviews, ISPS Handa Women's Australian Open, Creamer, Paula, Pettersen, Suzann, Korda, Jessica [+]

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