Kia Classic Pre-tournament Notes Wednesday

Aviara Golf Club
Park Hyatt Aviara Golf Resort, Carlsbad, California
Wednesday Pre-Tournament Notes and Interviews
March 26, 2014


Rolex Rankings No. 1  Inbee Park
Rolex Rankings No. 3  Stacy Lewis
Rolex Rankings No. 4  Lydia Ko
Rolex Rankings No. 8  Paula Creamer


ANYTHING COULD HAPPEN

Inbee Park said she has been keeping an eye on the Rolex Rankings which will determine her teammates for the International Crown. Park said she really looks forward to playing in the match play format and knows the setup will provide plenty of exciting golf at Caves Valley in Owings Mills, Md.

“I talked with So Young a little bit about who’s going to be on the team and who do we want on the team,” said Park. “It’s not we decide the team, but obviously the best four players in the top get to be on the team.  I’m really looking forward to playing in International Crown because we never had something like this be­fore. It’s like a totally different format to stroke play.  It’s match play.  Anything can happen.”

Park said when she talked to fellow South Korean and No. 6 So Yeon Ryu about their chances in the new
team event, they said their team would be the favorite in a stroke play event.

“So Young and I were talking about if this was stroke play, I think we would have had more chance, but since it’s match play, so you just don’t know what’s going to happen,” said Park.  “So you just gotta be a little bit lucky and we gotta play very, very good.”

INSTAGRAM TAKEOVER
Ever wondered what Morgal Pressel does during a pro-am day or what she carries around in her golf bag? If you are curious, don’t miss the LPGA’s Insta­gram’s feed (@lpga_tour) today to see images from Morgan’s day.


THE SOCIAL SCENE
Rookie sensation and Rolex Ranking #4 Lydia Ko stopped by to take over the LPGA Facebook page today at 11:30 AM PT (2:30 PM ET) for a Fan Q&A. Lydia answered questions ranging from her golf game to her favorite movie. Be sure to catch up on all her answers by visiting the LPGA Facebook page (facebook.com/lpga.official)!

“It’s good to kind of get to know your followers and your fans.” Ko said. “I think having that kind of social network definitely helps connect to your fans.”

CLEAR THE MIND

No. 1 Inbee Park has dealt with plenty of mental hurdles through her rise to the top of the Rolex Rankings. She’s managed the pressure of holding the No. 1 ranking in the world and winning major championship but knows she hasn’t done it all alone. Park has been working with a mental coach since the 2008 U.S. Wom­en’s Open and says her work always gives her a clearness in her mind to let her perform at a high level. Her coach, Sue Kung Cho, is based in Korea and doesn’t travel full-time with Park. So when she does help Park in person, it’s a special occasion.

“My mental coach doesn’t come to many tournaments,” said Park. “She probably comes to like three tourna­ments per year, so whenever she comes, I feel so comfortable.  And you know, my head is just so clean.  So whenever she comes I’m just really comfortable.  So I’m really looking forward to seeing her.

Park said Cho helps her most when she’s down on herself and turns things around in a positive light.

“It has been like six, seven years,” said Park.  “We always talk on the phone maybe two times a week and we just go through things, what I need to think about this week and what when I’m going in a very negative way, she turns me into a little bit positive way.  She’s a good mentor for me.”

PACKING IN SOME GOLF
Green Bay Packers Quarterback Aaron Rodgers stopped by the Aviara Golf Club today to play in the pro-am with So Yeon Ryu and Natalie Gulbis.  Rodgers, an avid golfer had some high praise for the women on tour and is hoping they can teach him a few tricks.

“It’s fun to be in this environment and see the ladies doing what they do best - playing golf and they are just so talented.” Rogers said. “Try to pick up the little things that they’re doing and stay out of their way.”



NO. 1 SCENARIOS
The top spot in the Rolex Rankings is up for grabs this week. No. 2 Suzann Pettersen must win this week in Carlsbad and No. 1 Inbee Park must finish in a tie for second with four or more players or a worse finish for Pettersen to overtake No. 1. This week marked the 50th consecutive week Park has been ranked the best player in the world and the South Korean said those 50 weeks have gone by in a whirlwind.

“One thing for sure, the time has gone really quick, because it feels like I was No. 1 just yesterday in Hawaii and we were all celebrating because I was No. 1,” said Park. “It’s already been 50 weeks, and I’ve played some good golf in those times. I’m just really proud of myself that it already is the 50th week.  Yeah, it’s not the easiest place to be in, but it’s a lot of fun.I’m trying to enjoy it.  I’m getting more used to it.

QUOTE OF THE DAY
“It’s a showing of where the game is going. I think the most growth for golf is in the women’s side. So it’s nice to see the R&A take that initiative and put it out there and see if it’s something that the members are willing to do. When I saw it, I was very excited about it.”
- Stacy Lewis on the R&A’s decision to bring a vote to its membership to admit female members.

An Interview With: INBEE PARK

            THE MODERATOR:  All right.  I am pleased to welcome in Rolex Rankings No. 1 Inbee Park into the interview room here at the Kia Classic.  Thanks for coming in.  Happy 50th week at No. 1.  Just saw that come in on Monday.  Is that anything special?  Is that something that you looked at and they just told you and you said, oh, happy 50th?  Is that something you take into consideration and something you're really, really proud of?
INBEE PARK:  Yeah.  One thing for sure, the time has gone really quick, because it feels like I was No. 1 just yesterday in Hawaii and we were all celebrating because I was No. 1.
Yeah, it's already been 50 weeks, and I've played some good golf in those times, and yeah, just really proud of myself that it already is the 50th week.  Yeah, it's not the easiest place to be in, but it's a lot of fun.
THE MODERATOR:  Trying to enjoy it.
INBEE PARK:  Yeah.  I'm trying to enjoy it.  I'm getting more used to it.

THE MODERATOR:  Back in Thailand with your first start this season, and we talked a lot.  It was your first start coming off of such a amazing year last year, and you said you were a little nervous.  You said I don't know how much my training was going to translate.  You were very unsure.  You got three consecutive Top 10s to start off the year.  Doesn't look like you were taking too much time off to get back in the swing of things.  Talk about your start this year and how pleased you are with how you've been able to transition from the off season into another very, for what it's been, good season so far.
INBEE PARK:  Yeah.  Last year I had a great win in the first tournament, and after that I kind of had a little bit of a slow time.  You know, I played good, but had kind of bad final rounds, finished Top 10s and 20s and 30s.
I think this year, I think I'm a lot more consistent, like off the tees, on the greens.  I mean not necessarily on the greens.  I haven't been really putting well the last few weeks, but yeah, I feel like my game is really ready.  I just need to have the putts fall a little bit more.
Yeah, I feel like I'm hitting it good, but last three, four tournaments I've played and I only need a couple, two, three more putts to fall and I was just right there.  I know I'm getting close to it and I just don't want to rush to win, because I think it will come if I be patient and just play my game.

THE MODERATOR:  Good.  Now, you mentioned you have spent a lot of time in this area, Southern California, LA area in the off season.  You said it's almost like a second home.  You feel very comfortable.  Your family's coming in this weekend.  You said your grandpa, parents, your mental coach.  How much does that play a factor in being in a comfortable setting?  I know you say you love having your family around.  How much does that play into being comfortable for a week?
INBEE PARK:  Yeah.  My mental coach doesn't come to many tournaments.  She probably comes to like three tournaments per year, so whenever she comes, I feel so comfortable.  And you know, my head is just so clean.  So whenever she comes I'm just really comfortable.  So I'm really looking forward to seeing her, and obviously my family, and I think it's going to be good, and I'm just really used to this weather because I spent a lot of time here in Southern California.  It's lovely weather.  I like a little bit cooler weather, which is perfect.
Yeah, I've played many times on this golf course in the off season, and yeah, I feel like I'm ready and I'm ready for it, ready for this week.

THE MODERATOR:  Talk about your mental coach.  How long have you been working with her?  What's her name and what do you guys work on?  Do you do mostly stuff over the phone?  What does she do with you throughout the season?
INBEE PARK:  Started working with her just after the 2008 U. S. Open, so it has been like six, seven years.  Yeah, we always talk on the phone maybe two times a week and we just go through things, what I need to think about this week and what when I'm going in a very negative way, she turns me into a little bit positive way.  So yeah, she's a good mentor for me.
THE MODERATOR:  What's her name?
INBEE PARK:  Sue Kung Cho.
THE MODERATOR:  How did you guys meet up?
INBEE PARK:  My management ‑‑ I was looking for a mental coach, and my management company contact her.  She's the best sports psychologist in Korea.
THE MODERATOR:  All right.  Questions for Inbee.

            Q.  You're only 25 and you already have four majors.  What is it that makes you so good on difficult courses, like Tiger Woods says he wants to play the most difficult courses.  He thinks he has a better chance to win on them.  Why have you been so successful in the majors?
INBEE PARK:  Because I think I'm just the type of player like who wants to sometimes scramble for pars, and you know, whenever you make pars and, you know, sometimes you pick up a shot off the field.  I think it's a good challenge.  I like the challenge on the golf courses.  And like I don't like the golf courses where you have to make ten birdies to win, birdie after birdie.  I think scrambling for par sometimes and putting in like clutch putt pars.  I think those challenges are I think a lot of fun, and when you have to think a lot on the golf courses, where you need to put the balls instead of just middle, middle, middle and just stop right there.  So I just like a little bit of different things on the golf courses.  Yeah.

            Q.  Just one more question.  When you were 17, you did well on the Duramed Futures Tour, 11 Top 10s, I believe it was.  When you see a player like Lydia Ko at 16 doing what she's doing, are players, the younger players getting better quicker now or is she just an exception?
INBEE PARK:  I think tour in general I think is getting younger and younger and a lot of young players are playing very mature games and they are becoming a lot of ‑‑ they're becoming very good players, I think.
But they get a lot of experiences out on the tour, even before they turn professional and I think those opportunities and those experiences really help them to get used to the tour.  And like playing with the professionals when they are in amateur career, I think that really helps because I played a lot of professional events when I was a junior golfer.  And I think I always learned a lot when I played with professionals.

            Q.  Looking back on last year, you had such a great run, and then you went to the British Open with so much pressure.  At the end of the year did you look back and think about that, and were you able to get refreshed, too, because it was a lot of pressure; right?
INBEE PARK:  Yeah.  I think I ‑‑ you know, I really got ‑‑ yeah, I think I was really ‑‑ I had a lot of pressure at the end of the season last year, and yeah, I expected a lot more than what I should have.  But those experiences you have to experience.  I think not many people get to experience that.  So it's good that I got that out of the way, and you know, this year if I have the same situation, I will maybe be a little bit better and a little bit more mature.  So yeah, in the off season when you have off time and you spend time with family and you're back home, you know, I usually get refreshed.  And I feel very refreshed starting this season.

THE MODERATOR:  Not to look past this week, but next week is Kraft, kind of a moment in history for you where you got your first of your three major wins.  Talk about the mentality going into next week.  Is there something that you're thinking of already or mentally preparing?  It's going to be a very big week for you, defending champ.  Have you been thinking about it a little bit?
INBEE PARK:  Yeah.  I think so.  Just going in as a defending champion.  I've never defended a tournament before, so I think it will be good to do in a major tournament.
That course, I'm so comfortable on that golf course, and this week I think I can take it as like very good practice and good momentum for the tournament, next week's tournament.  And yeah, I think I've been there for the media day, and yeah, seeing the golf course and I practiced a couple of times there.  So it reminds me of very good memories, and I'm really looking forward to going there and playing again.

THE MODERATOR:  This week's a huge week, the last International Crown team to be set by players.  Talk about representing your country.  I know you'll talk about the Solheim Cup and the Americans and Europeans getting to play on the big stage.  This event gets to showcase eight different countries of the best players from around the world.  Talk about that event and the excitement and if you guys have talked amongst yourselves with the players that are already now supposedly on the team, but we won't see until next week.
INBEE PARK:  Yeah.  I talked with So Young a little bit about who's going to be on the team and who do we want on the team.  It's not we decide the team, but obviously the best four players in the top get to be on the team.
And yeah, I'm really looking forward to playing in International Crown because we never had something like this before, yeah, it's like a totally different format to stroke play.  It's match play.  Anything can happen.
We actually kind of ‑‑ So Young and I were talking about if this was stroke play, I think we would have had more chance, but since it's match play, so you just don't know what's going to happen.  So you just gotta be a little bit lucky and we gotta play very, very good.
So yeah, we're trying to get ourselves ready.  And yeah, we're already really excited, and this week at Kia the last spot is up for grabs, so yeah, hopefully we will play good and have some fun in the final round.  I'm just glad that I'm not in that position to get on the team.

THE MODERATOR:  Talk about you guys and your chemistry.  A lot of you are friends.  I know you're very close with So Young.  You guys are more ‑‑ you call yourselves the silent assassins.  You guys are very calm‑demeanored people.  You guys are going to have to make decisions.  Have you guys talked about that?  You have a little bit of seniority being No. 1, I guess, but stepping up into that leader position, have you thought of that?
INBEE PARK:  No.  In Korean culture, Asian culture, we always have to play the role, and it looks like I'm probably one of the oldest in the group because we have the young Korean players.
So I don't know.  I mean I don't need to be a leader.  But I think the four of us are good friends, so we can build some kind of good relationship with each other, and I think we can build a good team.           

THE MODERATOR:  Any other questions for Inbee?  All right, well, thank you for coming in.  Best of luck this week.

 

An Interview With: STACY LEWIS

            THE MODERATOR:  All right.  We're here with Stacy Lewis.  Stacy, welcome to the interview room today.  I wanted to ask you, you know, coming off your great finish last week at Founders, last year you led the tour in Top 10 finishes, and this year you became the first player with four Top 10 finishes.  And of course, last year you finished tied for ninth here.  Can you talk a little bit about what makes you so consistent week in and week out?
STACY LEWIS:  You know, I don't really know what it is.  I mean I know my game's gotten ‑‑ you know, it's just gotten to a point where I can not play so good and still be up in contention.  And my goal every week is to win.  It's to give myself a chance to win, and so finishing in Top 10, you're obviously doing that.
You know, the second place thing kind of gets old after a while, but at the same time, you can't complain because you're doing something right.  To put yourself there every single week, you're doing something right.
And coming off of last week I was just encouraged that I made some putts at the end of the rounds.  That was kind of what kind of got me last year is I'd get off to good starts and I never finished it.  So I'm finishing my rounds a little bit better, and that's what I'm encouraged about.

THE MODERATOR:  Now, other players have been saying that course conditions have improved here from last year?
STACY LEWIS:  Yes.

THE MODERATOR:  Can you talk a little bit about that, especially as you got out around the course yesterday?
STACY LEWIS:  Yeah.  The course is a dramatic difference.  It's in which better shape.  The fairways are not rolling out so much.  The greens are not rolling out so much.  There's good and bad to that.  You're going to have longer shots into the Green but at the same time they're going to be a little more consistent as far as the bounces and if you hit it in a certain spot, you know it's going to stop.  So greens are rolling a lot better and everything is better.  And usually when you come to a course the second year, it continues to get better.

THE MODERATOR:  And today during the pro am we have Green Bay Packer quarterback Aaron Rogers teeing off at 12.  You're a football fan.  Are you going to get out there and watch him at all?
STACY LEWIS:  I think I'm at 12:10, so hopefully I'll get out there and watch him a little bit.  I'm a little bummed that I'm not playing with him.  But I like being around other athletes and seeing what makes them successful.  Most quarterbacks are pretty good golfers, too.  So we'll see how he does.

THE MODERATOR:  Who's your football team?
STACY LEWIS:  I don't have an NFL team.  I'm more in the Fantasy Football deal.  But two years ago he was my starting quarterback.

THE MODERATOR:  Very nice.  We have the International Crown teams are going to be set after this week.  You've had a chance to play with the team, be on the Solheim Cup.  Can you talk about what it means to you to represent your country playing against the seven other teams and the general excitement around the International Crown.
STACY LEWIS:  Yeah.  Any time you get to wear the American flag, get all your gear and you're announced representing your country, it's an honor.  And it was a goal of mine to make the Crown, and I'm excited just to be a part of the first year of it.  I don't know ‑‑ I think we're kind of all up in the air and how the format is going to play out and how it's all going to work, but it's just a lot of fun to play team golf.  And we're going to play some best ball, so to play with people that you're normally playing against every week, it's fun.  We can kind of learn a lot from each other and help ish other out.  So I think we're all just looking forward to the event and you know, it's going to be fun to see what happens this week with am a couple of the teams coming down to the wire.

THE MODERATOR:  And finally, the R&A had a big announcement today.  They announced that they're allowing a vote to admit women as members.
STACY LEWIS:  Right.

THE MODERATOR:  What are your thoughts on that statement.
STACY LEWIS:  Well, I'm excited about it, you know.  We get to play at St. Andrews this year, and you know, it's a showing of where the game is going.  You know, the women's ‑‑ I think the most growth for golf is in the women's side.  So it's nice to see the R&A take that initiative and put it out there and see if it's something that the members are willing to do, but you know, when I saw it, I was very excited about it.
THE MODERATOR:  Very nice.  We'll open it up for questions, if anyone has any.

            Q.  When you say that second place was getting old would you say you're satisfied with your start to the season or it's really coming down to winning?
STACY LEWIS:  Yeah.  I'm somewhat satisfied.  You know, ultimately my goal is to win golf tournaments.  So I'm not quite getting to where I want to be, but at the same time, you know, right now I'm trying to build up for the Kraft, and I want to be playing my best golf kind of at the end of this week and going into next week.
So that's kind of the ultimate thing is the majors, but you know, I don't know as golfers if we're ever really satisfied, just the nature of what we do.
But you know, gotten off to a really good start, kind of continuing what I was doing at the end of last year.

            Q.  You won at St. Andrews last year.  Did the subject come up much when you were using the clubhouse and kind of hanging around?  Was there a vibe or did everybody just kind of ‑‑ was everybody focused on the business of playing golf and ignoring the R&A and all that?
STACY LEWIS:  Yeah, I think, you know, there was a lot of talk about the male‑only ‑‑ the other male‑only clubs and hosting British opens.  That was kind of the main topic when we were there.  But I remember when I played the Curtis Cup there in 2008, you know, that was kind of the first time that they let us use the entire clubhouse.  They let us into places where women hadn't been before, and so that was kind of ‑‑ for me when it kind of hit home with what this was all about.  But at the British, there wasn't a lot of talk about it.  I think we all just wanted to focus on the task at hand and also celebrate that we were playing at St. Andrews.

            Q.  One other topic, totally different topic.  A lot of those men have been really getting into stats lately with analyzing their stats and more than ever.  And granted, they have shot link and you guys don't, but how much of that do you do at the end of the year looking at numbers and looking at different analyses?
STACY LEWIS:  I look at numbers a little bit.  I think the numbers, if you look at stats by themselves, they're sometimes deceiving.  So I think you have to kind of look at it as a whole.
But you know, I don't know.  I'm not super picky on that kind of stuff.  You know, I know when I'm not hitting my irons well and I'm not hitting enough greens or if I'm not putting well.  I don't need to know an average or a number to tell me that.  I kind of go more off of feel than an actual number.

            Q.  Looking towards the International Crown, it's going to be a round‑robin format.  Do you really care too much about strategy when you play match play or are you someone that wants to go out there and make a bunch of birdies and try to make them beat you?
STACY LEWIS:  Yeah.  I think with match play you're just trying to win your match.  I think people are going to try to put some strategy in, who tees off with who and who plays together, but I think with the crown what's going to happen is you just gotta go out there and get the point, and that's going to be the kind of goal for everybody, and what usually wins points in Match Play is making birdies.  So it's just going out there and try to win holes and take care of ‑‑ you know, get it over as quick as possible.

            Q.  You talked a little bit about the layout, the holes you consider most challenging and your collectively on the par‑3s?
STACY LEWIS:  Probably the hardest hole is probably 18.  Just coming down the end you've gotta hit a really good drive and then the second shot is probably one of the hardest second shots we have in.  And then the par‑3s, you know, I think of 11.  11 I think is kind of a sneaky, hard par‑3.
I don't know, I mean there's some holes that are tough on this golf course, but then there's holes that you can make birdies on.  You know, the par‑5s you're going to have wedges into most of them.  16 tee usually gets moved up on the weekend to make it drivable.  So I mean there's plenty of holes you can make birdies on.  But I think now a lot of the par‑4s we're going to be having, where last year we had maybe 9‑irons and wedges we're going to be hitting 6, 7, 8 irons in instead.  So I think this year it's going to play a little bit different as far as the length of the golf course, but there's still plenty of opportunities to make some birdies.
THE MODERATOR:  All right.  Well, thank you, Stacy.

STACY LEWIS:  Thank you.

 

An Interview With: PAULA CREAMER

            THE MODERATOR:  All right.  I'd like to welcome in Rolex Rankings No. 8 Paula Creamer into the interview room here at the Kia Classic.  Paula, thanks for coming in.
PAULA CREAMER:  Thank you.

THE MODERATOR:  Tell me about taking some early looks at the course, everyone's kind of been commenting on how improved the conditions here are at Aviara.  Talk about the course setup this week and your thoughts on the overall setup.
PAULA CREAMER:  Yeah, the fairways and the rough are definitely in much better shape than they were last year.  It's a great golf course, you just have to put the ball in the right spot.
The greens are going to be the tough part about it.  I know the afternoon ‑‑ they're pretty soft right now, and the afternoons they're going to get pretty beat up, but you just have to take it for what it is and hopefully hit it as close as you can.  But they're really receptive right now, so you don't have to worry too much about bouncing and landing it short and things like that.  You can pretty much fly at most pins.

THE MODERATOR:  You're a few weeks removed from the putt, the big win.  How important was it to play well last week?  You had a top 20 in Phoenix.  How important was that for you to stay with that momentum and not get caught up in the win?  I know you celebrated and got to enjoy it, but how important was that?
PAULA CREAMER:  You always want to come back and play well.  I had two weeks off, and you just want to go and you want to keep continuing what you're doing, but at the same time, yeah, it is a little bit added kind of pressure towards it, because you want to go back to back.  That's what everyone wants to do, win one and the next one and the next one.  But you can't get too far ahead of yourself.
I didn't play that well on Thursday and Friday.  Had a great Saturday, didn't play quite as well on Sunday.  But pleased with my performance in a sense, but getting ready for this week and Kraft next week.

THE MODERATOR:  Talk about everyone kind of uses this swing as the prep for Kraft, the first major.  Do you prepare any differently?  Just obviously no one wants to look past this week.  They want to win the week they're in, but obviously Kraft, everybody wants to perform well.  Talk about your preparation for that and going into next week.
PAULA CREAMER:  I think it's important, you have to be very precise with your irons next week.  So this is a good tuneup for that this week, just because of the size of the greens here.  And you know, every week is different.  You know, it is a major next week, but this is just as big of a tournament.  And so you know, you want to focus as much as you can on this week and play well.
But yeah, there is things that you kind of have to work on a little bit.  You know, it's a little bit more dry down in the desert there, but for the most part it comes down to putting the ball in the right spots, and you have to do that here, which you have to do next week.  So it's a good tuneup for that.

THE MODERATOR:  Now, Derek came out last week.  Is he here this week?  Talk about wedding plans.  I know that's a big project for you off the course.  That's a big thing that's going on.  Where are you at in wedding plans?
PAULA CREAMER:  I can't tell you where I'm at in my wedding plans.

THE MODERATOR:  Just give us a little detail.
PAULA CREAMER:  No, I am.  I'm definitely planning, and you know, it's fun.  It takes a big distraction.  It helps me to kind of break away from golf, and being able to do something like that, it's a once‑in‑a‑lifetime opportunity, and I'm taking it for what it's worth and milking every second of my bride year.  So it's fun.  I've been getting a lot of bride gifts and things, and I just go with it.  I mean I'm full speed ahead.  That's for sure.

THE MODERATOR:  Perfect.  Questions for Paula.

            Q.  Paula, the thing that I heard after the putt was not so much even how difficult the putt was, but your reaction, and how much people loved your reaction to it.  Obviously it's completely spur of the moment.
PAULA CREAMER:  Oh, yeah.  You can't plan that.

            Q.  Not even the putt or the reaction.
PAULA CREAMER:  Hunh‑uh.

            Q.  But what has been the reaction to the reaction, I guess?  I think people are almost seeing you a little bit differently.
PAULA CREAMER:  Well, yes and no.  I mean first I said the putt, the putt, you know, that kind of thing.  But the reaction afterwards was just ‑‑ that was me.  It was just pure genuine.  I couldn't believe ‑‑ I was just as shocked as everybody else was.
Of course, I'm trying to make it and get it as close as I can, but for it to go in at that time, at that moment, you know, I think my overall reaction was did I just win?  Did that just go in?  Like what's going on?  And it was just pure just excitement.
And you know, it was just something that I will ‑‑ I'll never forget.  Like it was probably one of the highlights of my career, just because of everything that's led up to it.  It's three‑and‑a‑half years since I've won, and it felt like it was my first win, and I acted like it was my first win.
But it sure did feel good, and that was basically what you saw.  And I've had a lot of people come up to me and just talk about the reaction.  And I just did it.  I don't know how.  That's what I felt at that moment.

THE MODERATOR:  Last week we played back the clippings of it in five different languages, all the clips after it and you just were standing there shaking your head.
PAULA CREAMER:  It's crazy.  Like I said, you can't plan anything like that.  And for it to have been so much exposure and everywhere, I mean nightly news, things like that, I just never realized how big of a putt it really was.  I was just excited I won.  I didn't even think about all the other things that went along with it.

            Q.  It's funny that you mentioned, too, that so much of the emotion was about the previous years; right?
PAULA CREAMER:  Uh‑huh.

            Q.  And you're not thinking about that necessarily at the time, but it started building up in your life?
PAULA CREAMER:  Well, and that's what it was, it was like, gosh, here I am, and I was thinking I would make maybe like a five‑footer or something to win.  I didn't think I'd make a 75‑footer.  For it to, like I said, to go and to happen that way, and my friends were there.  And you couldn't have planned it any better, and being able to call home, call my dad and my mom and then Derek, you know.  It just made it so special.
And being in Singapore, it isn't quite close to the United States, and to have all of the media afterwards was pretty neat.  Felt like my own major.

            Q.  You announced your engagement on Twitter, but more importantly, you were blocked by Juli Inkster on Twitter.
PAULA CREAMER:  I know.  I've been blocked for a long time by Juli.

            Q.  Have you been able to, now that she's a Solheim Cup captain, get this clarified or is she just inept?
PAULA CREAMER:  You know, honestly, that's been like a year and a half going on.  And I kept telling her, you know you're blocking me from Twitter; and she was like, I have to get Haley or Boo to help with it, and she just hasn't done it.  So then she gets Solheim captain.  I said I'm throwing you under the bus now because I can and I will, and still unblocked.  So I said, okay, we'll see.  We'll see what kind of participant I will be, I need my peanut butter sandwich on this hole at this moment (laughs).

            Q.  Your thoughts on the Aviara layout, specifically the 18th hole, and are you also trying to leave yourself 75‑footers now?
PAULA CREAMER:  No.  I'm definitely ‑‑ every time ‑‑ it's funny, every time I walk down the putting green, they go, oh, the green's not big enough for you.  And I'm like, oh, I have to hear that for the next two years, I think.
But no, I think the 18th hole is great.  17 is a good par‑5; and then 16 is fun, that par‑4 where they move up the tee box sometimes, and even the back box it's a good hole.
You know, it's a fun golf course.  I think it's one of the prettiest golf courses that we play, just with the flowers.  It's so green.  You know, everywhere around the green, they always look so nice.
You know, I'm glad I'm playing it and not walking it outside the ropes.  It's probably a pretty difficult spectator course to walk, but we get so many good fans out here, too, and that's really nice to have that, that local support, to be able to come out and play.  And they get to see an awesome golf course.

THE MODERATOR:  Final week for International Crown push until the members are set.  I asked Stacy; I asked Inbee who came through here earlier on that final push.  You're pretty much a lock with you and Stacy.  Angela, Lizette and Gerina have mathematical chances to get in.  Have you talked to them about making the team or have you guys talked amongst yourselves about this event which could probably bring a lot of exposure to the tour?
PAULA CREAMER:  No.  We haven't really talked about it.  It's kind of like you know what you need to do to get on the team, and they're all three such great players, and it's going to be a fun format.  You know, I'm interested to see how it all plays out with the matches against each other and things, but whenever you get to represent your country, there's nothing better than that.
And the team that we will have, no matter what, we've all played together, which is pretty cool, and not a lot of the teams have that type of experience.
But it is going to be, you know, an interesting kind of finish these next couple ‑‑ after Kraft to see the lockdown, but I'm sure that they know what they need to do to get on the team.

THE MODERATOR:  And all seven of you, like you said, have Solheim Cup experience.  How much do you think that will come into play in terms of playing four‑ball matchups?
PAULA CREAMER:  You know, it's obviously a big thing when you have team chemistry with each other and you know what you need to do, but it all comes down to making birdies and being there for your partner at the same time, and you have to have a good pairing with each other, and like I said, I think it's a big thing that we do know each other already from Solheim.  We have the upper hand in that, but at the same time it's still a golf tournament and anything can happen.  Just because you have good chemistry, you still have to go out and get the job done.

THE MODERATOR:  Now, it would be you, Stacy, Lexi and Cristie Kerr if it were played today, you guys would be in.  Inbee said the Korean culture is the oldest person takes the lead.  Are you just going to say, hey, Kerr, tell us what to do.  There's no captains or anything.  Who would take the lead out of that?
PAULA CREAMER:  I don't know if Kerr wants to take the lead on that one.  But I don't know.  I think when the team's discussed or made, we'll talk about that one then.

            Q.  Paula, how much do you enjoy playing here in San Diego and what would it mean to win the Kia Classic?
PAULA CREAMER:  Oh, being a California girl, I love coming here, and I love being able to have a lot of my family come out and watch.
You know, I had a lot of the Marines from Camp Pendleton come out yesterday and they got to watch and walk with me nine holes, and it's so fun.  It's nice to be on the West Coast, and I miss it.  We don't get to come out here enough, that's for sure.
But to win here would be great.  I mean any win is a good one, but here just because of all my family that gets to come out and watch, there's nothing better than winning in front of your loved ones and your family.  So I'm going to be pushing it and grinding out there as much as I possibly can to hopefully be in contention on Sunday.

            Q.  Paula, you were having a really good week here last year until the last round.
PAULA CREAMER:  Yeah.

            Q.  Can you kind of reflect on both the week, how it went and then that last round, what got away from you in the last round?
PAULA CREAMER:  You know, sometimes it happens, you just don't play well on your Sundays, but last year Sunday I couldn't get anything going at all, and I played with I. K., and she played really well.  But I just ‑‑ I don't know.  I think I ‑‑ maybe I got a little bit too far ahead of myself before I teed off and maybe a little bit too nervous, things like that, you know, learning ‑‑ you have to learn a lot about yourself in those kind of situations and try to be able to control it.
But I do like this golf course.  You know, it is tricky with the putts.  You know, there's a lot of breaking putts and there's a lot of putts that go certain directions that they just shouldn't go and that kind of thing.  You have to be very mentally strong, I think, out here.  There's going to be a lot of birdies made, but you gotta ‑‑ you know, you can't push it.  You can't be too super aggressive as well because if you get above the hole on some of these, it's in death zone.
And I think, you know, knowing the golf course, I came out and played it a couple of times this off season.  My fiancé lives in Newport Beach, so we drove out here and came out and played.  And you do that not that often, go play tournament courses, but for me this is a big week, and I want to play well, and last year was a good start for me to feel good out here.

            Q.  In the buildup to Singapore, how did you feel about your game to that point, and what do you feel like you've improved upon most recently in the last year?
PAULA CREAMER:  I had a great off season.  I worked really, really hard.  I didn't take a ton of time off, but you know, I maybe took a week and a half, two weeks off.  But I allowed myself to have breaks even in January and things like that when I needed it, just because I wasn't forced to go out and, oh, I only have three weeks left, two weeks left, that kind of thing.  I just kind of paced through it.
You know, my coach, David Whelan and I, we've been together since I was 16, and you know, we just broke down my golf swing at the end of last year, pretty much in September basically, and I just kept going with it, and I knew it was going to be a tough time.  And now I've kind of grooved that.  I was able to play with it in tournament, wasn't great in the tournament.  But just being able to take it from the range and the driving range to the course is one of the hardest things to do, especially when you have expectations and things to come out here and play strong.
But I'm making more putts.  Just more consistent.  I'm longer.  I definitely have gained about 15, 20 yards off the tee easily.  You know, that makes life a lot easier coming into some of the holes with a club less.
But just more consistent, and you know, like I said, not changing too many things.  You know, something ‑‑ sticking to the original plan is I think the key to what I've been doing so far.
And I knew it was coming, the win, sooner rather than later.  I've been just hitting the ball so well, Bahamas, Australia.  Didn't play that great in Thailand, but was ready for Singapore.

THE MODERATOR:  All right.  Any other questions?  All right.  Well, thank you for coming in.
PAULA CREAMER:  Thank you.

 

An Interview With: LYDIA KO

            THE MODERATOR:  All right.  I'm now joined by Lydia Ko, Rolex Rankings No. 4 player in the world.  Lydia, thanks for coming in today.  Let's talk about your runner‑up finish last week.  You played really well all week.  You had the lead going into the final round.  You didn't come out on top, but you said you learned a ton of lessons.  Just tell us what you took out of that finish last week.
LYDIA KO:  Yeah.  Obviously I was hitting really good.  I was really confident all week, and there were a lot of birdie opportunities out there, so I kind of took the most of it.  Yeah, I didn't become the winner at the end of the day, but I came off of the golf course with a lot of positives.

THE MODERATOR:  Now, you kind of did your homework for this week.  I know you came out here to Aviara a couple of weeks ago and played the course.  Was that your decision to come out and get an early look or how did that decision come into coming out here well in advance of the tournament?
LYDIA KO:  I was here for some other reasons, and you know, I was in California.  So I thought might as well just come here and have a look at the course.  You know, I heard a lot of good things about it, and I wanted to come out and see.
And I love coming out to Carlsbad itself.  So it's really nice to come out.

THE MODERATOR:  You've got new clubs; you've got your sponsor.  How are things going with the transition of all your new stuff and all your new gear?
LYDIA KO:  It's going good.  I thinks good golf definitely helps that transition.  But they're feeling good.  Obviously they're not perfect.  Nothing's ever really perfect.  So we can always make those little changes, but for now, I think it feels really good.

THE MODERATOR:  You got a couple of looks at the course.  Talk about course conditions, how this track sets up for your game and what you're looking forward to the most.
LYDIA KO:  There has been some rain, you know, last night and then the night before, so I think the course is playing slightly wetter, and I think coming off a very desert, dry golf course is definitely going to play different.
But you know, I think the greens, they're big and elevated, so you really need to hit them at the right places.

THE MODERATOR:  You have a new caddie on the bag since a couple of weeks ago, Mark.  Talk about your guys' relationship, how he helped you last week.  How's that been going?
LYDIA KO:  Yeah.  It was my first week with him.  You kind of learn more about each other, and I guess I know what kind of a caddie he is.
I will say I don't fully know him right now.  It's only been one week.  I guess it takes a couple of weeks to kind of get to know each other, but he's been a help and I think he's pretty good.
THE MODERATOR:  Questions for Lydia.

            Q.  You shot up to No. 4 in the world pretty quickly.  When you turned pro, was your goal to become No. 1 or are you just going to let the results take care of that or is that one of your goals, No. 1 in the world?
LYDIA KO:  It's always been like always my dream to become world No. 1, and that's what everybody strives for, but yeah, there's no rush.
No, it's kind of like a learning year.  If I play well, you know, hopefully I'll be able to get there at one stage.  But I just want to really enjoy the moment and have fun on the tour right now.

THE MODERATOR:  The Golf Channel shoot last night, you got all dressed up.  You've been taking part informant photo shoots, all the stuff that comes along with being an LPGA Tour member.  How fun has that been and be able to get to do the fun off course stuff you've embraced, social media and things like that?
LYDIA KO:  It's been really good.  Like yesterday's shoot is not something you would do like as a normal golfer.  But it was really interesting.  You know, I was holding like the professional signs, like now I'm a professional.  So I guess it's kind of linked to myself.

            Q.  You're looking forward to having a good week here and getting your game tuned up for next week?
LYDIA KO:  Yeah.  Hopefully my momentum from last week will kind of continue into this week.  Hopefully it will continue into next week.
But yeah, I just want to take it a week at a time this week.  I'm just going to concentrate on the Kia Classic and next week it's going to be all about the Kraft.  But yeah, I'm really excited to play there again.  I played there last year, so it's much better going into a major knowing the course a little bit better than not knowing at all.

            Q.  Meghan mentioned social media, Lydia.  How do you feel about Twitter and do you like using it?  Is it something you feel that's worth your time?
LYDIA KO:  I tweet sometimes, but I don't treat every single day.  Lots of comments were you should tweet more often, put some more photos up.  But no, I don't do it all the time.  When I get time or something exciting comes up, I do it.
But yeah, I mean it's good to kind of get to know your followers and your fans also, so I think having that kind of a social network definitely helps connect you to your fans.

            Q.  You're traveling all around the world now and at age 16 when you go to a place you've never been before, do you explore or kind of stick to the golf course or do you like to explore other countries and cities?
LYDIA KO:  If I get time, I do like to do something exciting.  A lot of the time ‑‑ most of the time I just go from the golf course to the hotel or stores or restaurants, so that's pretty boring.  But no, it would be good to get some time to kind of go to some places, but I think I might do that more next year when I kind of get used to tour stuff and then kind of settle myself in.

            THE MODERATOR:  Any other questions?  All right.  Well, thanks for coming in.  Best of luck this week.

Topics: Kia Classic, Notes and Interviews

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