JTBC Founders Cup Wednesday Notes and Interviews

Karrie Webb
Photo Credit: Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Karrie Webb of Australia poses with the championship trophy after the final round of the RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup at Wildfire Golf Club.

Wildfire Golf Club
JW Marriott Desert Ridge, Phoenix, Arizona
Wednesday Pre-Tournament Notes and Interviews
March 19, 2014

Sponsor Invite Cheyenne Woods
Rolex Rankings No. 6 Karrie Webb
Rolex Rankings No. 8 Paula Creamer

You go girls
While this week’s event is named for the 13 women who paved the way for the LPGA Tour in its earliest stages, the JTBC Founders Cup is always committed to growing the game for the future generation. The LPGA-USGA Girls Golf program held a special press conference on Wednesday to announce the 2014 National Ambassadors and celebrate the 30,000th participant in the ever-growing program.

Stacy Lewis, Brittany Lincicome, Lizette Salas, Tiffany Joh and Lexi Thompson will serve as ambassadors this year and were all welcomed by local members of the Phoenix area Girls Golf program. Each LPGA Tour player represents one of the five E’s of the program: Enrich (Lewis), Empower (Lincicome), Energize (Salas), Engage (Joh) and Exercise (Thompson). Lincicome, an alumna of the Girls Golf program, spoke about the memories she had when she was a member as a young girl.

“I think it was just great to get together with a group of girls,” said Lincicome. “A lot of females don’t think that golf is so much the cool thing to do. But just to get all the girls together and to put it into a fun setting, and I remember like the summer camps, they were the highlight of my year. I couldn’t wait for the summer camps to roll around and to go hang out with other girls my age and to go do something that I love to do.”

The program was also celebrating a monumental accomplishment with its 30,000th member enrolled in 2013. Before the inaugural Founders Cup in 2010, the Girls Golf program had 5,000 members and now has the goal of reaching 40,000 by the end of 2014. Lincicome and the rest of the ambassadors shared encouraging words to the young players in attendance.

“To have 30,000 girls involved in the Girls Golf Program, it gives me cold chills when I heard that last night at the meeting,” said Lincicome. “It’s pretty incredible to see how far it’s come since, gosh, when I was little; that was a few years ago.

“These girls, you all have amazing talent and please just stick with it,” said Lincicome. “Don’t let anybody tell you ‑‑ I had to play on the boys golf team growing up and you guys might have to do the same ‑‑ we are getting more girls but there still is not enough to fill high school golf teams. Just go out and kick the boys’ booties, and enjoy doing it, because I know I did.”

The Social Scene
This entire week at the JTBC Founders Cup, all LPGA rookies have been tasked with taking as many “selfies” as they can with LPGA founders, Hall of Famers and Pioneers and post the photos to their various social media channels. Be sure to search #LPGARookieSelfies to see their work, including many photos from Lydia Ko (@lydsko) on her Instagram account.

Founders made an impact
Since the inaugural Founders Cup in 2011, this special event has grown and now is about celebrating the past present and future of women’s golf while honoring the 13 founders. The importance of the role those 13 women played does not escape LPGA veterans Karrie Webb and Paula Creamer.

“I have tons of respect for them, for what they went through.” said Creamer. “To have Marilynn Smith call you over in front of a hundred people that are standing there: Paula, I need to tell you something; okay, it’s what you do. I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for the Founders.”

Webb, owner of 40 LPGA tour victories, turned professional in 1994 and was able to be around the founders as they traveled to five or six events a year back then.

“I feel fortunate enough that when I was a rookie on Tour, the Founders were young enough still to travel a little bit more.” Webb said. “You got to sit down and hear their stories, and really truly appreciate where we were, and where the Tour had come from its beginnings.”

Webb has been around long enough to appreciate how hard those before her worked to provide opportunities she had throughout her career. Her hopes for her impact on the sport are the same.

“We still have to have the goal that we are going to leave the Tour in a better place than what we found it.”

The putt heard ‘round the world
Paula Creamer’s downhilll 75-foot eagle putt to win at the HSBC Women’s Champions in Singapore has received plenty of attention over the last two weeks. There were 89 million impressions within 24 hours of the ball rolling in the hole on Twitter alone. The story was featured all over the news including NBC Nightly News and the lead on Sports Center the next morning.

“You know it was exciting, and I never realized how big the putt really was.” explained Creamer. “I just was excited I finally won, let alone like I said, a 75 footer. “

It was her colorful reaction that made the moment even more special.

“My reaction was just, that was me.” Creamer explained as she beamed. “What do you do? You can’t plan for that. That’s just pure genuine of holy smokes, it just went in the hole from that far away.”

For a recap of all the coverage of “The Putt” be sure to watch the link.

www.lpga.com/media-library/videos/2014/players/creamer_paula/putt-heard-round-the-world.aspx

Home grown
Cheyenne Woods is playing in her hometown of Phoenix as a sponsor invite at this week’s JTBC Founders Cup. The RACV Volvik Masters champion says being at home has provided a lot of comfort that isn’t always available out on the road while playing on the Symetra Tour.

“A lot of the year, I’m in hotel rooms, living out of a suitcase,” said Woods. “This week, staying at home, had my own car, a home cooked meal that my mom is cooking for me every night, it’s nice to be at home and have that extra comfort.”

Although she is in her hometown, Woods doesn’t have all that much experience plaing at Wildfire Golf Club.

“I don’t have a lot of history at this course, I’ve played only a handful of times.” said Woods. “I played a Cactus Tour event here last year and then just a random round here or there. But I don’t get to come out here that often.”

Despite the lack of experience on the course, Woods is excited to be playing in this tournament and to be on the doorstep of achieving her dream of playing in the LPGA.

“It’s exciting for me because I have been playing competitively since I was eight years old and it’s all been my dream to play the LPGA Tour.” said Woods. “So for me to have an opportunity to play in an event like this means a lot. But it would mean even more if I was able to earn my status here and be able to play full time. That’s always been a goal of mine and my ultimate dream, but I think it’s definitely close and I’m looking forward to when it’s finally here.”

Scenarios for No. 1
Suzann Pettersen has an opportunity to become No. 1 in the world this week at JTBC Founders Cup but she must win the event to do so.

If Pettersen wins the JTBC Founders Cup and Inbee Park finishes third or worse (without any ties), Pettersen would take over the No. 1 spot in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings. Pettersen could also take over the top spot if she wins and Park finishes tied for second with at least three other players.

Karrie Webb, Rolex Rankings No. 6

THE MODERATOR:  Good afternoon.  We would like to welcome a very special guest into the interview room, Rolex Rankings No. 6 Karrie Webb and Hall of Famer; I can't not say that every time that you're in the interview room.

First off, this event is pretty special for you in the fact that you won the inaugural event back here in 2011.  We have all seen what this event has grown and become honoring the history of the 13 Founders and celebrating the future of women's golf with girls golf.  But what does it mean for you when you come back here each year?
           
KARRIE WEBB:
  Well, I think it's a very special event.  I think when Mike first talked about the idea of this event, I think it was definitely needed.
           
I think it was needed for the current players, because I feel fortunate enough that when I was a rookie on Tour, the Founders were young enough still to travel a little bit more and they were out four or five, six times a year.  So you got to see them more.  You got to sit down and hear their stories, and really truly appreciate where we were, and where the Tour had come from its beginnings.
           
So I felt like that was lacking, because the girls didn't get to see the Founders very much, I think just to see them come out, in one week, hear all their stories, I think it was great for the girls to not feel perhaps as entitled and know that we've got to work probably not as hard as our Founders did, but we still have to have the goal that we are going to leave the Tour in a better place than what we found it.
           
THE MODERATOR:   When you see players like Stacy Lewis now when are kind of on the top of the game, but also honoring those former players and honoring the pioneers and everyone that helped make this, does it give you a little bit of satisfaction to see that other younger players are really embracing that and understanding the importance of those who came before them? KARRIE WEBB:  Yeah, definitely.  I think that in itself is the success of the event, let alone the amount of money that's been donated to girls golf and how much that's grown in the few years that the Founders Cup has been around.
           
But yeah, I think it's great for especially our top players who are in here speaking to you to have that appreciation.
           
THE MODERATOR:  For you, it's been a great start to the year, captured your 40th career LPGA victory in Australia, was that number, 40, significant for you?  We know the fact of winning at home I'm sure was pretty special.
KARRIE WEBB:  I don't think it meant anything until I did it until someone actually said it was 40.  You know, you're always just trying to get the next one, and I knew I was on 39, but until someone said 40, I was like, you know, whenever I had gotten to 32, 33, that was the next goal that I had not really been thinking about it as a goal; that the short‑term goal was to actually win.
           
So to do that in Australia, too, was very special, and on a great golf course, and my parents were there.
           
THE MODERATOR:   When you hit milestones like that, do you ever take the time to reflect on all that you've been able to do so far in your career, out do you kind of wait until later onto really reflect back on all of that?
KARRIE WEBB:  No, I think I've ‑‑ the last ‑‑ every year you get older, you appreciate more the things that you did when you were younger.  I think at the time, I was playing really well and winning six or seven times a year.  That person, that kid, would have said that they were appreciating what was going on, but I can tell you that I didn't.
           
You know, recently, Stacy Lewis had 13 Top 10s in a row, and I didn't even know that at the time that I had 16 Top 10s in a row.  And then someone asked me about it and I said, well, I didn't know I had 16 Top 10s in a row, and at the time I probably would have been pissed off that I didn't win more in that period.  So I didn't care that I had had 16 Top 10s.
           
And now, if I can string two or three together, I'm ecstatic and I'm on a roll.  That's the things that you learn as you get older.

Q.  Victories, 19 years apart now from No. 1 to number 40.  Does the fire still burn in you the same way as it did 19 years ago?  And two, do you now see yourself as being in a position almost like Louise and some of those other players were where you're a role model for the younger players out here?
KARRIE WEBB:  First question, definitely the fire still burns.  I think you can probably go and ask Ian Triggs right now if it still burns.  I'm still just as hard on myself and still suspect the people around me to have the high standards that I set myself.
           
I'm probably not the same as ‑‑ I think I have a lot more perspective than I did from the first win and appreciate the good golf a lot more than I did.  Then as far as comparing myself to Louise, I don't know if I'm quite there yet but I guess I tried to set an example just by how I conduct myself.
           
I don't really feel like ‑‑ I feel like when I first came on Tour, there was a group of senior players that would ‑‑ if you stepped out of line, they would tell you that you stepped out of line, and I don't feel like I'm one of those people.  I feel like if I just lead by example, hopefully people will notice.

Q.  Have you had a chance to play with Cheyenne Woods, competitively or a practice round?
KARRIE WEBB:  No, I haven't.

Q.  Have you seen her?
KARRIE WEBB:  I've seen her at tournaments and stuff but I haven't ‑‑ I mean, it's a great win of hers at the Australian Masters at the beginning of the year, and probably a breakout thing for her, maybe gets her to the next step in her career.

Q.  Back when Mike Whan first proposed this tournament, it seemed like maybe a good idea but was it the wrong time?  Because if you remember back, the Tour schedule had really shrunk to where there were just 23 events and limited opportunities, and then here is Mike asking players to play for free.  I was just wondering back then, how bold and risky of an idea was it of Mike and what does it say about him?
KARRIE WEBB:  I think that was my first year on the board ‑‑ yeah, probably was my first year on the board, and it was definitely ‑‑ or it was my second ‑‑ he talked about it during my first year on the board and then we started it.  It was definitely bold and risky.
           
I love the concept of what the Founders Cup was standing for but I, one, didn't know if a title sponsor would not want to have a purse, because, you know, that's a big thing at the end of a tournament that the champion holds up a big trophy and a big check.
           
You know, I think if you look at where we were then and where we are now, it's hard to equate a value to it.  But could have been the reason why we had such a quick turnaround and are now playing 32 or 33 events.  It's a short time for the schedule to have grown as strongly as it has.
           
I think one of those factors could be that for one event and one year, we played, again, like you said, at a time where he was asking us to play for no purse when opportunities were limited, especially in the United States; that, you know, people maybe took notice that we were prepared to do that in a time where, you know, maybe we shouldn't have been prepared to do that; and just the positive feedback that we have gotten from this event over the four ‑‑ well, this is the fourth year; I think has helped us grow to where we are.

Q.  How important is it to come in this short time?
KARRIE WEBB:  Well, I think just touching on the same things that I spoke about, I think the importance of this event ‑‑ the Junior girls golf program and now we have 30,000 already in March.
           
So eventually, that's what's going to pay off from this event is that hopefully 20 or 30 or 40 of the girls out here are a part of that growth.

Q.  Coming off your 40th win, you joked a minute ago about being happy with three Top 10s now.  Is that because your body is changing?  Is your skill‑set eroding?  Where are you in the spectrum?
KARRIE WEBB:  Well, without being too sarcastic, I'm No. 6 in the world, so I don't know if it's my skill‑set eroding.
           
It's just harder to do than I thought back then, and I think youth has its place in the game of golf, and you see that every week.  And ask those same girls, ten years from now, is the game different; do you play the game differently now than you did then.
           
I think even though I was achieving the things I was achieving at a young age, now I know ‑‑ at the time I thought I knew everything and that I knew what was going on and I knew how to play the game of golf, and I was playing that on pure talent and not a lot of understanding of what was going on.  It's just a lot harder to do.  I think when you play without fear or without knowing, you sometimes can achieve things that you don't achieve as easily when you get older.

Q.  How do you see the competition base these days compared to back when you were starting really on your run?
KARRIE WEBB:  I think the fields are certainly deeper.  I think, you know ‑‑ obviously we have 16 and 17‑year‑olds out here now.  When I was a rookie on Tour, I was the youngest on Tour and I was 21.  Now those girls have been on Tour for five years.
           
And you're calling me a veteran at 28, 29, so those girls are going to be a veteran at 22, 23 now.
           
The fields are certainly deeper.  I think when I first came on Tour, you'd say 20 or 30 players had a realistic chance of winning every week.  People outside of that group would win but that was the group and I think that's definitely expanded to 50 or 60 definitely.
           
Again you still have the surprise winners ‑‑ and to me, it never surprises me because I feel anyone is capable of winning out here.  That's why they have an LPGA Tour card.
           
THE MODERATOR:   As you were talking about how you've seen the Tour evolve, with the state it is now, with the new Race to the CME Globe, 23 official events,32 total events, seeing the Tour elevate again, what does it mean for the LPGA Tour reach back to this level?
KARRIE WEBB:  Well, I can tell you that I didn't think that we would be back to this level so soon.  I think it's definitely a credit to Mike Whan and his staff for the job that they have done.

I have sat on the board during that whole time and I've seen the inner workings of what the job that Mike does and the motivation he gives to his staff.  I think it's great that we are in this position.
           
I don't see it necessary to be back to playing 38 and 39 events like we did ‑‑ I think we even had 40 events when I first came on Tour.  I think I don't see that necessary.  I think we can build a strong schedule with a max of maybe one or two more events, but even if we stayed at 32 or 34, make those events stronger, make the purses higher, and you probably heard Mike say this, but get on network TV, those sort of things.  That's going to grow our tour, not the number of events that we have, but making those events better.

Q.  After 40 wins and a Hall of Fame career, what's the best part about playing on the LPGA Tour to this day?
KARRIE WEBB:  Well, I get to do what I love and it's what I dreamed about doing as a little girl.
           
I don't think that that ever is going to diminish.  Sure, you can wake up one day and say you don't want to go and do that, because some days it is a grind.  I love to compete, and I think the day that I don't play out here won't be because I don't have that love or desire to compete.  It will just be that I've had enough of the grind on the range or on the putting green and trying to make an imperfect sport perfect, you know, make me perfect.
           
So that will be when I retire.
           
THE MODERATOR:  Thank you very much for coming in, best of luck this week.
           

Paula Creamer, Rolex Rankings No. 8

THE MODERATOR:  What everybody has been asking you about, I think we are now calling it the putt, because it's been everywhere and we have seen it, and there's a video we posted on LPGA.com of all the different announcers from around the world that talked about that.

Take me back to that moment and what it's been like since the reaction of sinking such a remarkable putt.
           
PAULA CREAMER:  Yeah, it's been pretty cool to come back.  It was nice to have two weeks off after that and just truly enjoy it.  It's been a long time coming; I think just to hold a trophy, let alone in that style and that fashion for sure.
           
But it was remarkable.  The time that it happened, everything, and my reaction was just, that was me.  I had ‑‑ what do you do?  You can't plan for that?  That's just pure genuine of holy smokes, it just went in the hole from that far away.
           
You know, it was, it was exciting, and I never realized how big the putt really was.  I just was excited I finally won, let alone like I said, a 75‑footer.  It is; that's golf, that's the way things happen, and Colin was shaking his head at me just because, you know, we've had a lot of up‑and‑downs on the golf course with things and finally something kind of went my way, on a moment, he just shook his head at me.
           
THE MODERATOR:  For having to endure so many times of being asked when are you going to get back in the winner's circle, I think you put an exclamation point on ending those questions for sure.
PAULA CREAMER:  Now it's going to be:  When are you going to win again probably or your next major, but that's okay.  We take one at a time.
           
THE MODERATOR:  The victory, overall how you've been playing this year, seems you've been the most comfortable with where you've been in your game and where you're at.
PAULA CREAMER:  I definitely feel like how I started as a rookie coming out and playing and just a lot of confidence, and you have a good mind‑set of if you hit a bad shot, it's okay.  You go get it up‑and‑down or go do something remarkable, and that's kind of always been the way that I've played.
           
I feel very comfortable with my swing now.  David Whelan and I, I keep saying we've been working so hard and people have kind of questioned, you know, why were you doing this, why were you doing that; it's all to get better.  It's all to move forward and to try and reach my goals, and I do.  I feel confident and making some more putts, and when that happens, good things had only happen.
           
THE MODERATOR:  We've been talking a lot about the Race to the CME Globe and you're leading the points, and we're still very early in the year.  What does it mean to see yourself at the top of the Money List early, showing that your performance is coming together?
PAULA CREAMER:  It's definitely a good start.  It's still very early in the season, and my goals are always to maintain and be consistent.  I can't complain with how I've started, that's for sure.  But you can't control anybody else.  You can't control what people do.  You can only do what's in your own hands.
           
I'm just going to keep continuing playing, trying to play the way that I have been and stick with my same swing thoughts and things and hopefully when it comes time to play for that million dollars, I'll be in that group of nine and hopefully have a chance.

Q.  When John Senden won last week in Tampa he had a big, ten‑foot breaking putt that he hit to inches so save his par and win his tournament, what he said is he just looked at it lightly.  How hard did you work on that putt of yours?
PAULA CREAMER:  You could see I was walking over because there's so many ways to play those long putts.  I was talking to Colin, it's more about from that distance, what you leave yourself, and I wish you could kind of hear ‑‑ I said, I know the higher I play it, it's going to be the fastest coming down, but it's really the only way that I can get it somewhat close or make it type of way to putt.
           
I could go farther left and be a little bit safer and kind of be maybe hopefully just inside off his mark, but I don't play that way and he knows that and he just said just do it ‑‑ you know what you're doing and that kind of thing.
           
But those are just feel putts.  It was 75 feet but it was really like 35 feet because I was putting it sidewise across the ridge and the last part of it was just straight downhill. 

Q.  As you well know, this is a frustrating game, and ten years that you've been out here, you've had one caddie, one coach, one agent, one equipment company.  A lot of players when they struggle a little bit make changes; how did you stay so patient and so committed to the people around you?
PAULA CREAMER:  Well, I'm very big into loyalty.  I've been so lucky to have a coach that understands my type of play; a caddie that is just such a hard worker, and he took a chance with me.  You know, 18 years old, a rookie, coming out, still in high school, and at that time, that was kind of unheard of, and now it's like, normal.  But it was; it was different, and the same manager with Jay.
           
It's funny you look at it, with my sponsors, I've only played one ball also, TaylorMade Bridgestone, and I like that.  I think that they took a chance with me, and I've always felt very strong with them.  I think the biggest, not recognition or whatnot, but it needs to go to them.  They have always dealt with me.  I'm not ‑‑ I'm easy but I'm not that easy.
           
David has definitely ‑‑ I must have sent him ten videos in the week, just each week of my golf swing; I was just constantly working on it.  We have such a good relationship and that's what it comes down to is communication, relationship.  In those tough times it was very easy to get frustrated and mad at each other, like why isn't this working and you had to be patient, and you had to learn that.
           
That was probably the biggest thing I've ever learned is how to mature in a situation like that, because they only want what's best for me, too.  It's hard to kind of think that way when you're making bogeys and you're not hitting it down the fairway and you look at them and it's easy to blame them.  But it all came down to me and I think that they kind of saw that near the end.  The beginning was tough.  I was looking at them like, what are we doing, why are we doing this and they are just like, keep it going, keep it going and I'm like, okay, and it all kind of happens for a reason.

Q.  Cheyenne Woods was in here earlier ‑‑ what do you know of her ‑‑
PAULA CREAMER:  I think that she's definitely handled herself very well and she will continue to.  She has a great golf swing.  She's won and she knows what it's like to feel and how to do it and get the job done, and I'm sure she's going to be around for a long time and her names going to be more and more on the leaderboard as it goes.
           
I think a lot of it, her going and playing on the Ladies European Tour, I don't know what that's like, I can't relate to that but I know competition is competition wherever you're at and I think it was a smart thing to do.  Just like I said, her name will be much more on the leaderboard here in the LPGA, as well. 

Q.  What makes playing here at the LPGA Founders Cup special to you?
PAULA CREAMER:  Oh, just the title of the tournament.  I mean, I think the fact that Marilynn Smith comes out and watches me for three holes today and calls me over after I hit a slot and says, "I need to tell you something."   She goes, "I don't care if you want to hear it or not, I want to tell you."
           
I'm like, "Okay."
           
She's like, "You need to keep your left foot down; you're getting too jumpy on your golf swing."
           
I was like, "okay," and then I went out and started hitting the ball pretty well, pretty decent.  It's one of my tendencies.
           
But to have Marilynn Smith call you over in front of a hundred people that are standing there:  Paula, I need to tell you something; okay, it's what you do.  I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for the Founders.
           
Phoenix is a great place and great spot for golf.  We always get such great fans, and they do a lot for girls golf here and for the juniors.  And what's what it all comes down to is showing the game to the young ones.  They are the future of golf.  If they can't see it, how are they going to get involved the in game.
           
So many families come out.  But just the fact that it is for them and it's a tribute and we can do what we can, because like I said, we wouldn't be here if it wasn't for them.

Q.  In this tournament, Stacy and Karrie both did the Singapore, Phoenix double; do you think the way it fits in the schedule where you're on the super high and you get a chance to catch your breath and you're still really riding the momentum, that maybe that has something to do with that?
PAULA CREAMER:  You mean like off of a win?  It's nice that you do get two weeks off in between.  It's not ‑‑ you can kind of regroup and then come back out and play.  It's hard to go tournament, tournament, tournament and do well and to win back‑to‑back, that kind of way.
           
But to have the two weeks off, yeah, I can see why ‑‑ and those girls, you know, this golf course fits their games really well, too.  It's nice when you can come to a golf course after you win and feel comfortable on it and to go out and do it.  But I think it's a nice rest but it's also ‑‑ these golf courses are a lot like what we play in Asia with the run‑offs and that kind of thing.  There's no rough.  Even though we're in Asia over there, it's similar to that, you don't have to hit a flop‑shot or things like that.  It's still the same type of game.

Q.  You've always been someone who paid close attention to the Founders and made sure you went over and talked to them and just the elder generation.  Did someone pull you aside when you were younger and say, hey, this is really important, because not everyone's like that or did you just think within yourself that this is the right thing to do?
PAULA CREAMER:  I guess my parents taught me well, too.  You know, it's respect.  I have tons of respect for them, for what they went through ‑‑ in any sport, especially women, trailblazing a path for us just as female athletes.

I got to meet Kathy Whitworth when I was very young.  I played in her tournament, and I went and talked to her.  I think my parents were always very big on, don't be shy, don't be nervous, go up and if you have a question, ask.  They'd be more than glad to come and help you and that kind of thing.
           
And I do; like I said, it's just a respect.  I finds that it's important to give that when you don't normally get to see these women.  I wasn't there to watch them play and things like that.  I find it remarkable what they have done.  But I would have to say my parents kind of taught me what ‑‑ how to do that.  I'm interested to learn, too, about what they went through.

 

Cheyenne Woods, Sponsor Invite

THE MODERATOR:  Talk about playing at home this year.
CHEYENNE WOODS:  A lot of the year, I'm in hotel rooms, living out of a suitcase, so this week, staying at home, had my own car, a home‑cooked meal that my mom is cooking for me every night, it's nice to be at home and have that extra comfort.
           
THE MODERATOR:   Your name has been in the headlines a lot this year, particularly after your first big win on the Ladies European Tour, you won the RACV Volvik Masters in Australia.  What has that win done for your confidence level and how has that changed how you view your career already?
CHEYENNE WOODS:  For me, it's just shown that I'm able to win.  You know, I've been competing at the professional level for the past year and a half, and to be able to have that win under my belt really helps me know that I'm capable of that, and every time I come out here to play, I do come out to win.
           
So with that competitive nature, that win helps with my confidence and in the future hopefully I'll be able to have a few more wins.

Q.  You have stated that you're playing the Symetra Tour primarily this year.  What was in your decision factor of doing that, focusing on the Symetra Tour, the LPGA's official qualifying tour?
CHEYENNE WOODS:  For me the Symetra Tour was the opportunity for me to earn my status on the LPGA.  I have been fortunate enough to receive invites to this event and the Australian Masters, but I don't want to depend on invites and have to try to hopefully play well and earn my way here.  I'd rather play a full season on Symetra and have a great year and earn it that way playing Top‑10 on the Money List.
            So that's always been my plan, so I don't plan on changing it after the win or whether anything else happens, you know, unless I win here, that would be good.  But other than that, I plan on playing the Symetra.

Q.  What is your first memory of going to an LPGA event and who you followed around, and how much experience do you have at this particular course?
CHEYENNE WOODS:  I started watching the ladies ‑‑ when they were out at Moon Valley, I remember I was there when Annika shot 59.  That was my home course growing up and so I would go out there every day.
           
And I remember on the driving range I got to meet Grace Park.  She is one of my favorites and still is one of my favorites that I've ever watched play.  So just being able to watch them and see them firsthand and how friendly they were, that's really exciting for me growing up.
           
Here at this course, I don't have a lot of history at this course, I've played only a handful of times.  I played a Cactus Tour event here last year and then just a random round here or there.  But I don't get to come out here that often.

Q.  Did you watch any of Annika's 59, and what did that do for you in terms of blowing your mind as a kid?
CHEYENNE WOODS:  I didn't have the opportunity to watch her play that day, but I remember being on the course and hearing that she had shot 59 and I just couldn't imagine somebody shooting that low.  I remember it was a huge deal and it was so cool because even weeks after ‑‑ that was my home course and so they had the scorecard up in the clubhouse and so it's cool to see that and be so close to it.

Q.  You've been playing competitive golf for a long time; how does it feel now that you're almost at the doorstep of the LPGA?
CHEYENNE WOODS:  It's exciting for me because I have been playing competitively since I was eight years old and it's all been my dream to play the LPGA Tour.
           
So for me to have an opportunity to play in an event like this means a lot.  But it would mean even more if I was able to earn my status here and be able to play full time.  That's always been a goal of mine and my ultimate dream, but I think it's definitely close and I'm looking forward to when it's finally here.

Q.  Is it going fast for you or has it been a long time?
CHEYENNE WOODS:  I feel like the time flew by, and it does feel like just yesterday that I was out here watching the ladies rather than being inside the ropes so I think it's gone by really quick.

Q.  So there's no suffering?
CHEYENNE WOODS:  No, no, never any suffering (laughing).

Q.  How important was it for to you win the tournament in Australia, that you have not just the name, but also the golf to play?
CHEYENNE WOODS:  Yeah, it feels great.  A lot of times I would come to a press conference like that and that was the main topic.  But for people to see that I am able to play and I'm a competitive golfer, and that's what I'm here for ‑‑ I'm not here to answer questions about Tiger or give inside info or whatever.
            I've always been a golfer and I've always been competitive, and for me to actually go out and do what I know I'm capable of doing feels great and for other people to recognize that feels even better.

Q.  Has the name in that sense been difficult because the focus hasn't been on your golf game so often?
CHEYENNE WOODS:  Not necessarily difficult.  It's something that I have always had and I don't know anything different.  Ever since I started playing golf, ever since I was eight years old at tournament, I've had the cameras or interviews; so I've always had those questions thrown at me.  For me it's just normal and what I've always had, so it's not necessarily difficult.  It’s just what my path to professional golf has been.

Q.  Pardon me for asking, but since you talked about it, do you talk with Tiger much?  Has he given you any advice, any advice that you've held on to over the years?
CHEYENNE WOODS:  We definitely talk with occasionally and he definitely keeps up with what I'm doing and is always a fan of how well I play.  But in terms of advice, never really anything on‑course, no mechanics.  I have my swing coach here in Phoenix that I work with.
           
But one thing he's always said is trust your abilities, and I think that's something that really helped me when I won is to trust and to know that I'm able to be in this position and for four days straight be able to carry it out.

Q.  Do you feel that the Wildfire Course suits your game, why or why not?
CHEYENNE WOODS:  I think it does.  I'm generally a pretty straight ball hitter so I don't have to worry about the desert or anything.  And then also, my putting has been really good this season and it's been something that I've been working on along with my short game.  These greens are pretty tricky.  They are firm and good speed and so I think that will help me this week.

Q.  How would you describe your name?
CHEYENNE WOODS:  I'm a pretty steady player.  I don't hit the ball super long, but I definitely keep it in play.  And I think what's made the difference, like I said this year, for me, is my short game.  I've worked a lot on that with my coach here at home and my putting is something I'm always trying to improve on.
           
So I'm able to keep it in play and when I'm able to get up‑and‑down and make those birdies, that's when it makes the difference.
           
THE MODERATOR:  Thank you very much.  We wish you the best of luck this week and hopefully look forward to seeing you more out here on the LPGA Tour.

 

 

Topics: Notes and Interviews, LPGA Founders Cup, Webb, Karrie, Creamer, Paula

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