ShopRite LPGA Classic Presented by Acer Wednesday Notes and Interviews

Michelle Wie
Photo Credit: Hunter Martin/Getty Images

Michelle Wie hits her tee shot on the third hole during the final round of the ShopRite LPGA Classic Presented by Acer at Stockton Seaview Hotel and Golf Club on June 2, 2013 in Galloway, New Jersey.

Stockton Seaview Resort - Bay Course
Galloway, New Jersey
Wednesday Pre-Tournament Notes
May 28, 2014

Rolex Rankings No. 1, Inbee Park
Rolex Rankings No. 10, Michelle Wie
Rolex Rankings No. 12, Lizette Salas

The LPGA makes its 26th trip to the Jersey Shore this week for the ShopRite LPGA Classic, featuring 10 of the top-10 in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings and a $1.5 million purse. The event is one of three 54-hole tournaments on tour this season and the first this year.

Past champions Karrie Webb, Stacy Lewis, Brittany Lincicome, and Ai Miyazato are all in the field this week and looking to become the fourth career multiple winner at the ShopRite Classic.

SHOCKING MISSED CUT
Inbee Park missed her first cut in over a year last week in Mobile, Ala. and she said the poor performance came to her as a shock. Park shot rounds of 74-76 and missed her first cut since the Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic last May.

“Yeah. I mean I didn’t try to do much of a change on my putting stroke or swing or anything,” said Park. “Even if I wasn’t winning this year, and obviously last week give me some kind of a shock.”

Although she hasn’t notched a win yet this year, Park isn’t panicking just yet. She has six top-10 finishes including a runner-up and a third place finish and leads the Tour in putting average (28.91). But the 25-year old said it was her work on the greens last week that disappointed her the most.

“So I can definitely give it some change this week, like maybe a little putting stroke change,” said Park. I wasn’t putting great this year, but I didn’t really change anything or try to change anything because I was still finishing Top 5, still finishing Top 3.”

I’M NO. 1!
The sound the “No. 1 player in the world” introduction before her name still hasn’t gotten old for Inbee Park. And after 59 consecutive weeks of holding the top-ranked spot in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings, the South Korean cherishes the position more than ever before.

“It never gets old, obviously because that’s where you want to be obviously,” said Park.  “And yeah, that’s a place that you never get sick of. It feels great to be up there, and everybody is trying to push me to play bet­ter.  Sometimes you don’t play good, but there is weeks that you can play good.”

Park has yet to record a win yet this season in her first nine starts and knows that the players just below her in the rankings are within striking distance of dethroning her from No. 1

“I think, you know, anyone, the tournament from anybody, Top 5 can probably take over,” said Park. “So I think whoever has the win first is going to take over No. 1, and I kind of have a feeling that we might get in a couple of No. 1 players this year. But as long as I can stay up there by the end of the season I think I’ll be happy.”

THIS GIRL THROWS STRIKES
It didn’t draw the fanfare - or laughter - that rapper 50 Cent’s first pitch did at the New York Mets game, but Gerina Piller fired a strike down the middle Tuesday night to open the Philadelphia Phillies game against the Colorado Rockies.

“Just one of these opportunities you’ll never forget,” said Piller. “Obviously I’m a professional golfer and I’m sure people come out to see what we do and like to see behind the scenes and are fascinated by what we do. And it was kind of that, I just stayed behind the scenes. Just to be in the clubhouse and to be around the people that work there, they don’t think it’s any big deal but my eyes were probably so big, taking it all in.”

SALAS BACK FOR MORE
While some may have taken the momentum from a first career victory at Kingsmill to see if that could carry over into the following week, Lizette Salas needed the time off after her first career win. Her parents hadn’t been at Kingsmill - one of the first times in her career they didn’t make a tournament - and so she had to get back to California and see them and get recharged for the pivotal summer stretch.

“I went straight home to see my family and it just kind of worked out great,” Salas said. “Kind of recharged the batteries, saw my swing coach for a couple of days and just really hung out with family and really thanked them in person, everyone that supported me through the years. “

That included hosting a junior golf clinic on Tuesday last week for the kids of her hometown of Azusa, Cali, but now she’s back to work, back to try to hold another trophy come Sunday.

“Well, definitely confidence does change after you get your first win. I was very happy, and to see the results finally be where I wanted them to be, but the goals are still the same,” Salas said. “I think everything has to be simple, especially for me, just hitting fairways and greens and hitting your spots on the greens. But yeah, I’m definitely walking a little more with my head held up high a little bit, and yeah, just feeling confident.”

AMERICANS THRIVING OFF OF EACH OTHER
Safe bet if you look at a leaderboard recently, it’s stacked with Americans. Five of the last six winners have been American and on the year, seven of 12 events have been won by an American. Needless to say, the American players - fresh off losses in 2011 and 2013 to the European team - are looking forward to the 2015 Solheim Cup.

“That just gives us such a confident boost going into the Solheim Cup for next year and even International Crown. I think we’re all just playing our own game,” said 24-year-old first-time winner Lizette Salas. “We’re not thinking about beating every other country. I think we’re just playing USA kind of golf. This is looking great for the U.S., and I’m just glad to be a part of it.”
Part of that momentum is spurring the next. With eight Americans in the top 17 in the Rolex Rankings, there’s a growing pressure to respond to what their fellow players are doing.

“I think we motivate each other. It’s nice to see some people win. It makes me want to win, and I think we just definitely push each other, definitely,” Michelle Wie said. “You know, when we play well, we definitely congratulate each other. Definitely a big team. We’re definitely excited for Solheim.”

MAJOR SIMILARITIES
The Bay Course has rough that’s been taken out of Donald Ross’ Pinehurst No. 2, but walking the course this week, players say it’s hard not to notice the turtle-backed greens that Ross is famous for and how those could potentially prepare them for what awaits at the US Women’s Open in three weeks.

“Yeah, definitely,” said Lizette Salas when asked if she sees similarities. “You see a lot of the false fronts, you see a lot of the areas where the ball tends to run out a little bit more. I definitely see that it’s a good prep for the U.S. Open, so I’ll see next week. That’s where I’m headed, to Pinehurst, to go do some prep work, and I’m just excited just to be back at work.”

CAREER YEAR BUT WIE STILL HASN’T PEAKED
Michelle Wie’s got a win to go with seven top-10s in only 10 starts this year and her worst finish of the year is tied for 16th. But in her mind, this is just a start to where her game’s heading.

“I definitely feel like I haven’t peaked yet,’ Wie said. “I definitely want to get better and better. I just want to take small steps every day, just get a little bit better each and every day and definitely don’t slack.”

Wie said she’s enjoyed playing well even more because after experiencing what she considered a low point to her career in 2012 that she’s had to work back from. Even though she first played this tournament 10 years ago as an amateur, it’s easy to forget that she’s only 24 years old.

“It’s fun when you work hard and practice hard and you see results. So this year it’s been a lot of fun and definitely motivating me to work even harder just because it’s fun to play well,” she said.

 

Rolex Rankings No. 1, Inbee Park

THE MODERATOR:  It is my pleasure to welcome in the Rolex Rankings No. 1 player in the world Inbee Park.  Inbee, 59th week consecutively in a row at the top of the rankings.  Hopefully sound doesn't get old, does it?
INBEE PARK: 
No.  It never gets old, obviously because that's where you want to be obviously.  And yeah, that's a place that you never get sick of.
           
So yeah, it feels great to be up there, and everybody is trying to push me to play better.  Sometimes you don't play good, but there is weeks that you can play good.  So just trying to build confidence.
           
THE MODERATOR:  This season's been a lot different than the past couple of years where there's been a few players dominating.  We've had so many different winners this year.  You're still looking for your first win.  What do you think the outlook is with the state of the tour with so many different winners?  What do you think it is?
INBEE PARK:
  Yeah.  I think we're going to have a lot of winners this year.  I don't think one player is going to dominate the tour this year.  Looks like everybody is really improving, trying to push everybody.  And everybody is playing so good.
           
So it's good that everybody is helping each other's game; and yeah, I didn't have a good week last week, but you always get a time that you're not playing so well.  And I was very confident after a two‑week break, and I was hitting the ball great, I was putting great.  And yeah, I was very confident coming into last week, and once the tournament started, I just don't know what happened.  I lost everything.  I was hitting the ball bad.  I was putting so bad last week, and yeah, just feeling not very confident this week, but trying to build the confidence before the Open.  And I think these two weeks going to be very good preparation for the U.S. Open.  And that's what I'm trying to really focus on.
           
THE MODERATOR:  Does it feel weird not playing on the weekend?  Your last missed cut was almost a year ago, last May.  Does it feel weird?
INBEE PARK: 
Yeah.  I mean I didn't try to do much of a change on my putting stroke or swing or anything.  Even if I wasn't winning this year, and obviously last week give me some kind of a shock.
           
So I can definitely give it some change this week, like maybe a little putting stroke change.  I wasn't putting great this year, but I didn't really change anything or try to change anything because I was still finishing Top 5, still finishing Top 3.
           
I really think I needed that time where I really needed a break and just tried different things and tried to find that trophy, you know.  Yeah, you know, it's good that I get this time going before the Open.  It's not during the U.S. Open.  So yeah, I think I didn't play well this last year at this time.  It's almost the same, like Bahamas before this week, I missed cut last year.  And then after a couple of weeks of, you know, not very good weeks, then I started winning three in a row.  So hopefully same thing is going to happen.  Just wishing for luck.
           
THE MODERATOR:  Questions for Inbee.

Q.  First, what do you think about this course here at the Seaview, and how much do you know about it and how it relates also to Pinehurst?
INBEE PARK:
  Yeah.  I've played quite ‑‑ you know, I think four years here on this golf course.  And this golf course, I really like this golf course, the layout.  And there's some dogleg holes and not every hole is a driver hole.
           
And like last week's golf course and the next week's golf course is very favors long hitters' golf course.  And I'm not a long hitter.  So last week and next week is going to be a challenge for me.
           
But this week definitely it suits my game out of the three weeks, and yeah, this golf course makes you think.  And you know, off the tee sometimes you have to lay up, sometimes you have to be more aggressive.  And small greens, you have to play accurate.  So the putting I'm trying to putt, roll some good putts, but these greens I putted last three days, and it's not easy to read these greens.  They're very sensitive.  Some putts I hit it right edge, it breaks, and some putts it doesn't break.  You really have to hit it really pure to make the putts.  So I'm just trying to get my confidence going for the putting.

Q.  How much do you like coming here to New Jersey and to the people around here as well?
INBEE PARK:
  Yeah, I mean I always like playing in the East Coast of the country, and yeah, I think it's good fun and people are very fun.  And I played with really good guys today, with four amateurs today.  It was very fun.
           
And yeah, we always like coming here and playing.

Q.  Inbee, you had such a wonderful year last year winning the first three majors and all.  How does that match up with your expectations for this year?  Obviously to duplicate the three would be amazing, but what were your expectations coming into this year and how tough is it to go without a win even though you have played well?
INBEE PARK:
  Yeah, I mean except for last week, I really think I played great this year.  Every part of my game improved except for my putting this year.
           
I mean obviously last week everything was bad, but except for last week everything improved.  I felt like my game everything improved except for the putting.  I think that's really a good sign.
           
The putting, some years you don't putt as good as last year.  I probably won't get a year that I'm going to putt like last year.  It's going to be very tough to beat.
           
But yeah, definitely my goal was to win tournaments this year, and obviously the one I missed last year is the British Open.  So winning that tournament would be the biggest goal this year and playing some good golf on the major tournaments.
           
THE MODERATOR:  Now, a new homeowner, just bought a house in Las Vegas.  You got to go home for two weeks after the stop in Dallas.  What's been the best purchase you've made for the house?  You guys have any furniture?  What's it look like inside?
INBEE PARK:
  I think it's ready for people to live in now.  Yeah, the deliveries came quite quick; and it's furnished, and yeah, I can go there and relax now.
           
THE MODERATOR:  How nice is it to have actually a base in the U. S. instead of kind of traveling around, having to go back to Korea, not knowing?  How much does that help you to have a home base in the U. S. now?
INBEE PARK:
  Yeah.  I think you don't have to fly as much.  And yeah, having a place I think it gives you a more relaxing feeling and second home in the U. S.  This is where I spend most of the time.  So it's always nice to have a house.

Q.  Inbee, can you ‑‑ what effect do you think having the U.S. Open back to back will have on women's golf?  And do you have any concerns about maybe the state of the course on the second week depending on how the men play and the weather, that kind of thing?
INBEE PARK:
  Yeah, I mean it's good.  I think we're going to get a lot more exposure this year playing back‑to‑back U. S. Open with men.
           
I think course wise, we might get some bad lies, but I'm sure the USGA is going to take care of that and trying to make the best conditions for us to play.  So I really trust them on that, and they are really good at course setting.
           
So yeah, I think it's going to be good fun, and we can watch men play and maybe learn from them a little bit, and then try to apply to our game on the next week.
           
So I think it's going to be very good.

Q.  Inbee, you mentioned how great it is to hear you're No. 1 every week for 50‑something straight weeks.  Is it something you think about on a week‑to‑week basis?  And also, could you talk about the challengers coming from behind you like Stacy and Lydia?
INBEE PARK:
  I think, you know, anyone, the tournament from anybody, Top 5 can probably take over.  So I think whoever has the win first is going to take over No. 1, and I kind of have a feeling that we might get in a couple of No. 1 players this year.
           
But as long as I can stay up there by the end of the season I think I'll be happy.

Q.  Inbee, everybody is talking about the U.S. Open, and I'm sure you saw that Lucy made it as an 11‑year‑old, and she'll be out there on the course with you guys.  First, what was your initial impression when you see an 11‑year‑old is going to be playing the U.S. Open against all you guys?  And also, maybe what advice would you have for her to keep her grounded since she's doing this at such a young age?
INBEE PARK:
  Yeah.  It's amazing.  I don't even know what I was doing when I was 11.  I think being able to get experience to play in the U.S. Open is going to be such a nice experience for a young girl, and obviously, you know, she's going to have fun no matter what, whether she plays good or bad.
           
I think if I was her, I would just try to learn from other players and whoever player she is playing with, and trying to have fun.  I mean she wouldn't be thinking much.  She will just be trying to have fun and just, yeah, go out there and show what she can show us.


Rolex Rankings No. 10, Michelle Wie

THE MODERATOR:  All right.  It is my pleasure to welcome in Rolex Rankings No. 10 now, Michelle Wie, here into the interview room at the ShopRite LPGA Classic.  Michelle, congratulations on such a great year so far.  You moved up two spots into the Rolex Rankings cracking into the Top 10.  There's been a lot of highlights for your year so far, but what have you been most proud of so far?
MICHELLE WIE:
  I'm just going out there and working hard, and I just want to get better and better every week.  And it's fun.  It's fun when you work hard and practice hard and you kind of see results.  So this year it's been a lot of fun and definitely motivating me to work even harder just because it's fun to play well.

Q.  Korda just became the eighth American to win on tour, really staggering statistics, so everybody's been saying what's wrong with the Americans the past couple of years?  Where do you think this resurgence is coming from?
MICHELLE WIE:
  I just think we have a lot of great American players; all of the young American players, you got Lexi, Korda, Lizette, and you know, I just think that we ‑‑ I don't know.  I think we motivate each other.
           
It's nice to see some people win.  It makes me want to win, and I think we just definitely push each other, definitely.  You know, when we play well, we definitely congratulate each other.  Definitely a big team.  We're definitely excited for Solheim.
           
THE MODERATOR:  Now, you played well here last year; tied for ninth.  It was your best finish at this event.  You opened with a 68.  You feel comfortable on this course?  How does it feel coming back here to Seaview?
MICHELLE WIE:
  It's a great golf course.  My caddie and I were talking about this a lot, too.  It's almost a good practice for Pinehurst, because they're both Donald Ross, and I'm definitely taking that into consideration playing this golf course, kind of getting a feel for Donald Ross golf courses.
           
It's a great golf course.  It's tough.  It's not your really easy golf course.  The heather is up this year.  The rough is up.  It's in great condition this year again.  It just depends on the weather.  But I'm really excited for this week.
           
THE MODERATOR:  Questions for Michelle.

Q.  Michelle, how much work has it taken to get your game to this point, and how rewarding is it for you after the struggles you went through after getting out of college?
MICHELLE WIE:
  Yeah.  I just ‑‑ I put in a lot of hours, put a lot of sweat ‑‑ cliche, sweat tears and blood into it.  But you know, it's fine.  I definitely feel like I haven't peaked yet.  I definitely want to get better and better.
           
I just want to take small steps every day, just get a little bit better each and every day, and definitely don't slack.  I just want to keep working hard.  I'm really enjoying it, so it's been a lot of fun.

Q.  I know you probably saw the news about Lucy making the U.S. Open cut, beating your record a couple of weeks ago, I guess, for the U.S. Amateur Public Links by about a week as far as the youngest golfer.  What do you think about having such a young golfer?
MICHELLE WIE:
  She did?  Really?

Q.  Yes, she did.  By seven whole days.  I'm sorry to tell you.
MICHELLE WIE:
  I'm crushed.

Q.  Only seven days.  Only seven days.  But you've been in her shoes, so to speak.  You were just talking about the young golfers coming up.  I mean, one, I guess, how young is too young, but also what advice maybe would you have for her as she's coming up?  So young in this world?
MICHELLE WIE: 
I think it's great.  It's really funny.  I watched the Drive, Chip and Putt, and I remember I was like ‑‑ then I saw her I was like, hey, she looks familiar.  But I think it's really cool.  I'm really excited for her.  I think she's going to have a great experience.
           
You know, it's almost like I just want her to go out there and just absorb it all in and just have fun, you know.  I think it's a great age to go out there, just play without any pressure, and you know, she's a great player.  Hopefully I can meet her.  But it's going to be great.
           
THE MODERATOR:  Someone said she should be paired up with Laura Davies for the U.S. Open, maybe get a 50‑year‑old and an 11‑year‑old.
MICHELLE WIE: 
Throw Juli in the mix?  (Laughs).

Q.  Michelle, a lot of people put expectations on you.  I'm sure you had high expectations for yourself.  How did you deal mentally when you were struggling a little bit to not maybe meet those expectations?
MICHELLE WIE:
  You know, it's tough.  You know, I definitely had ‑‑ I have very high expectations of myself, and then also everyone had expectations of myself as well, too.
           
But you know, there's really nothing you can control.  The only thing you can control is how much effort you put into it, how hard you work, and you can only really control yourself.
           
And you know, a lot of times when you're struggling it's tough.  You know, it's hard to kind of keep working hard at it, but I just kept believing in myself.  My coach believed in me.  My family believed in me, my fans and everyone supported me.
           
You know, just go out there and just live your life and have fun playing golf.  You know, it's a great game.  I'm really lucky to be able to do it for a living.  So I just go out there, count my blessings every day, and I'm just so grateful that I'm healthy and playing golf and out here having fun.

Q.  Is there a specific part of your game that's better now than it was a year ago?  Just everything?  What's been the biggest change, the biggest thing you've improved on?
MICHELLE WIE:
  You know, I've just been improving on everything.  That's kind of what I've always been working on.  If I work on one thing too much, then the other thing kind of fails, so you just have to kind of work on everything at all times.

Q.  Michelle, so does it feel like a decade since you first came here and played in the Pro‑Am as an amateur?
MICHELLE WIE:
  Feels like a million years ago.  But I mean it's pretty cool.  I mean last year I came here, they're like, oh, happy ten‑year anniversary.  I was like, excuse me?  (Laughs).  But it's pretty cool.  There's a lot of great memories here, and it's good to come back.
           
THE MODERATOR:  I think they ran an interview with Kay maybe?
MICHELLE WIE:
  I don't know.
THE MODERATOR:  Yeah.  It was cute.  I'll put it that way.  (Laughs).

Q.  Obviously you've been in the spotlight for half your life really.  How has being in the spot light and getting so much attention at an early age, how has that affected you through your life and how has it influenced the woman you are today?
MICHELLE WIE:
  I definitely think I grew up a lot faster, but at the same time I kind of have like two sides of me, like when I was at school, I was completely immature, like immature 13‑ year‑old, and when I was out here, you know, you learn to speak in front of the press and to be around older players and be around pro am partners and everything, so definitely felt like I grew up, it was kind of like this where I was becoming more immature off the golf course and more mature on the course.
           
But it was fine.  I don't really pay attention to any of the media or anything.  I don't read anything.  I still don't.
           
But you know, it was tough at times.  It wasn't all easy.  But at the same time, you know, I think that being in the spotlight at such a young age, it definitely gave me a lot of opportunities, and I'm forever grateful for that.

Q.  I also wanted to ask you how things changed after you graduated from Stanford.  What did that four years, how did that affect you?  In a positive way, obviously.
MICHELLE WIE: 
Yeah.  I mean going to Stanford, it was the four best years of my life, definitely.  I learned so much about myself and got to meet so many cool people.  And just being able to achieve one of my biggest dreams, going to Stanford, getting my degree from Stanford was one of my biggest dreams growing up and just to be able to check that off my checklist was pretty amazing for me.

Q.  When you look back and having so much of your career still ahead of you, would you change anything, if you had a do‑over?
MICHELLE WIE: 
No, I mean no.  I mean I'm not saying that every decision I did, everything I did was perfect and I made no mistakes.  I've made plenty of mistakes, but at the same time, you know, I'm glad I made those mistakes just because I learned so much from them.
           
I think they're all experience.  Everything happens for a reason.  And you know, I think everything happened for the best.  Even my downs and my ups, you know, I think that I appreciate everything so much more just because I went through such a big low.  So I'm not taking anything for granted.  You know, just playing well, being healthy, you know, everything, I'm so much more grateful for it.
           
So you know, I'm probably going to make a ton of mistakes in the future, but there's really nothing I can do about it.  I'm just going to take risks and just try to live my life.

Q.  Looking ahead to Pinehurst, what are your thoughts on the double dip, both tournaments playing back to back?
MICHELLE WIE:
  I'm excited.  I'm really excited about it, because I think hopefully we'll have a lot more galleries out there, a lot more fans will stay through the men's event and kind of into ours.
           
I think that it's going to be very interesting.  I think that if it is successful, it definitely opens up the door for us for the future.  Maybe we can play Merion, play Beth Page.  It opens the door for us.  I think it's a really interesting concept, and I'm real excited.

Q.  What are your thoughts on the tournament itself?  Do you love it?  Does it frustrate you?  Just the demands of the Open.
MICHELLE WIE:
  I love the Open.  The U.S. Open is definitely one of my favorites out of the year.  It's definitely one of the tournaments that I put the most pressure on myself.  I get the most nervous for it.  So this year I'm going to try not to get nervous about it, try not to feel so much pressure, but definitely winning the U.S. Open is definitely one of my biggest goals.

Q.  And sort of sticking to Pinehurst, the greens, the way the ball runs off, if a lot of people miss greens in regulation, that's usually the case.  Does it help you, does that hurt you that style?
MICHELLE WIE:
  I think length always helps at U. S. Opens, but at the same time it's all about placement, I think, especially because of the Donald Ross golf course.  The greens may be big.
           
I talked to a lot of the guys about this.  They said the greens are really big, but the places where you can hit it on the green are really small.  So I think it's just being accurate, being really accurate, being consistent all week.
           
And I think U. S. Open just kind of have to like par is a great score.  USGA always likes to trick it out with long par‑3s or difficult pins, but I think it'll be very fair, and I think it'll be a fun, challenging week.  It's going to be a long week.

Q.  Michelle, looking back on it, just how difficult was it to be ‑‑ to go to Stanford, get a degree and be a professional golfer at the same time and now that, you know, you've got that degree, is it easier for you out here now without having college in the back of your mind all the time?
MICHELLE WIE:
  Yeah.  When I went at school, I didn't think it was that difficult, but looking back on it now, I have no idea how I did it.  I mean it was pretty ridiculous of me to do it.
           
But you know, it was fun.  I definitely learned ‑‑ I think I was very fortunate that I never ‑‑ I never procrastinated ever in school.  Ever since middle school, elementary school, I was always get my homework assignment, I do it that day.  So that really helped me in college.
           
But you know, professors helped me out a lot, and it was fine.  It was okay.  But looking back on it now, my life is so much easier now not having to study or not having to go to school and just kind of molding my schedule however I want to.

Q.  Michelle, back to Pinehurst, do you have any concerns, though, about playing on the course for the second week, the condition that it might be in or divots?  Have you thought about that?
MICHELLE WIE: 
No, not really.  I think that, you know, the USGA told us that ‑‑ well, they want ‑‑ if they want the men to hit 7‑irons into the greens, they want us to hit 7‑irons as well, which puts us in different landing areas completely.
           
There may be some divots around the green, but for the most part I don't think we'll be hitting a lot of flop shots.  I think we'll be putting from off the green or bump‑and‑run, so there won't be that many divots, I don't think.
           
But who knows.  This is definitely the first time.  So I don't know what will happen, but it's definitely going to be very interesting.



Rolex Rankings No. 12, Lizette Salas

THE MODERATOR:  We'd like to welcome Lizette Salas to the media room.  Lizette, obviously great week at Kingsmill.  What are your thoughts heading into this week and what was that like?  How did you spend your off week?
LIZETTE SALAS:
  Well, I went straight home to see my family and just kind of worked out great.  Kind of recharged the batteries, saw my swing coach for a couple of days and just really hung out with family and really thanked them in person, everyone that supported me throughout the years, just had my junior golf clinic on Tuesday.  It was a really low‑key week.  But now it's back to work, and I feel great.  So I'm really glad I took that week off to recharge my batteries, and now I'm out here this week.

Q.  Your parents I know were not there the last time you won.  Are they here this week and kind of what were their thoughts not getting to be there?
LIZETTE SALAS:
  No, unfortunately they're not here this week.  We're trying things ‑‑

Q.  Was it a good omen?
LIZETTE SALAS: 
I don't know, we're just trying things differently.  Yeah, they're a little bummed that they could not witness my first win in person, but you know, it just turned out that way.  But they're still very happy for me.  Now hopefully they get to experience a win with me there, and yeah, but we're just trying things differently.

Q.  First‑time win, does it feel different out here?  Do the goals change, confidence change at all?
LIZETTE SALAS:
  Well, definitely confidence does change after you get your first win.  I was very happy, and to see the results finally be where I wanted them to be, but the goals are still the same.  I think everything has to be simple, especially for me, just hitting fairways and greens and hitting your spots on the greens.  But yeah, I'm definitely walking a little more with my head held up high a little bit, and yeah, just feeling confident.  But I know every week is not going to be the same, and you just have to go about it in the same routine, same mentality.

Q.  Michelle was in here earlier and talked about how this course maybe was a good prelude to the U.S. Women's Open because it was a Donald Ross course.  Do you see that out there, the crowned greens that Ross is famous for?
LIZETTE SALAS: 
Yeah, definitely.  You see a lot of the false fronts, you see a lot of areas where the ball tends to run out a little bit more.  I definitely see that it's a good prep for the U.S. Open, so I'll see next week.  That's where I'm headed, to Pinehurst, to go do some prep work, and I'm excited just to be back at work.

Q.  A lot has been made in the past where have the Americans been.  Now the Americans have won a lot.  Are you glad you don't have to hear any more questions about where are the Americans, and what has been the resurgence, the reason why you think there's been a resurgence this year on Tour?
LIZETTE SALAS: 
I mean, it's been great to see the Americans step up and play great golf.  I think the last six events, five of them have been American winners, and that just gives us such a confidence boost going into the Solheim Cup for next year and even International Crown.  So we're just ‑‑ I think we're just all playing our own game.  We're not thinking about beating every other country.  I think we're just playing USA kind of golf, and it's great to see Michelle and Jessica win and Paula.  This is looking great for the U.S., and I'm just glad to be a part of it.

Q.  Can you guys kind of feed off each other's success a little bit?  You see one person do it ‑‑
LIZETTE SALAS:
  Yeah.

Q.  You can do it too type of thing?
LIZETTE SALAS: 
Yeah, definitely, especially being Solheim Cup teammates and being around each other and practicing together, so we do kind of all feed off of each other.  It's a good thing for the U.S. to finally break through and seeing a lot of American flags on the leaderboard.

Q.  What was it like the final nine holes on Sunday, your mindset, your nerves, and what had you learned from your close calls that you put into effect to get you over the hump?
LIZETTE SALAS:
  Yeah, I think the last nine holes ‑‑ I got a little anxious a little bit because I wanted to increase my lead and increase the gap, but my caddie did a great job of reminding me to just lets hit the fairway, let's hit the green and let's just make it simple.  I think coming down 16, 17 and 18 I was finally relaxed, and when I hit that fairway on 18, I was like, okay, this is it, and let's just try to enjoy the walk up 18.  But I felt good to start off the day.  I felt confident.  Leading up to it I felt like those experiences, those close calls really helped me be ready for Sunday and to be in that position that I was in.  I felt extremely confident, and I wanted to win by 10.  I was out there for a goal, and I was very blessed to come out with that win.

Q.  And also, your dad has been with you through some pretty tough times on the bag.  What was it like to talk to him for the first time after you won?
LIZETTE SALAS:
  Well, I was trying to get a hold of them.  I had some bad reception out at Kingsmill, but he was very happy.  He picked me up from the airport, and it was a very emotional time.  We hugged it out, and I got a little emotional just because my dad has been through it with me every step of the way, and for him to see me get that first win was very, very special.

Q.  You mentioned Michelle before.  When Michelle is playing well, does that kind of give a boost to the whole Tour because she's a player of such high notoriety?
LIZETTE SALAS: 
Yeah, definitely.  She's probably one of the hardest working players out here, and to see her get the results that she has been getting this year, we're all very happy for her, and it's great for our Tour.  She's been out here for quite some time, and she's put in the work.  And to see her success really helps the Tour a lot.

Q.  What are your thoughts on the concept of back‑to‑back Opens at Pinehurst, and have you been to Pinehurst before?
LIZETTE SALAS:
  No, I have not.

Q.  What are you expecting?
LIZETTE SALAS:
  Well, it could either be really good or it could be really bad.  We're just hoping for the best, and obviously we have our own thoughts as to landing areas and collection areas.  They're going to be the same for the women and the men, so we do have our concerns.  But we're just hoping for the best, and one of the USGA officials said, divots are a part of the game, and so we'll see.  Hopefully next week I can practice out of some divots because pretty sure that's what's going to happen at the U.S. Open.
           
We can get some awesome weather, we can get some awful weather.  It's just kind of hit or miss.

 

 

Topics: Notes and Interviews, Wie, Michelle, Salas, Lizette, Park, Inbee, ShopRite LPGA Classic [+]

Andrews Sports MedicineArpin Van LinesFloridas NaturalMedjet AssistMichelob ULTRAPrudentialSmuckers