Marathon Classic Presented by Owens Corning and O-I
Highland Meadows Golf Club
Wednesday Pre-Tournament Notes
July 16, 2014
The 29th edition of the Marathon Classic Presented by Owens Corning and O-I will tee it up at Highland Meadows Golf Club on Thursday. The favorites are obvious - No. 1 player in the world Stacy Lewis, U.S. Women’s Open winner Michelle Wie, and fan favorite and 2008 champion Paula Creamer.
The course is in as good of shape as it’s ever been for this event, according to players, and the layout has been lengthened from previous years to 6,512 yards. Still, the narrow fairways and small greens remain on the historic layout. Seven former champions of this event will navigate their way around the par-71 layout.
WIE BOUNCING BACK AFTER SEASON’S 1ST MISSED CUT
Michelle Wie remembers the first time she came to Highland Meadows Golf Club to play the LPGA event that’s been hosted here since 1984. It was 11 years ago, and she was just 13. She didn’t make the cut with a 73-72 and brings a dramatically different strategy 11 years later to Toledo this week.
“I definitely remember coming here when I was 13. Kind of wide eyed not knowing. I hit a lot of drivers back then. Frustrated I couldn’t do that on every hole,” Wie said.
Wie’s realized the error of her ways back then now as she’s gained experience. The narrow fairways and small greens put a premium on driving accuracy, and so she’ll still pull driver but it won’t be near as many times as she did back then.
“Probably about like four or five [drivers per round]. It’s still a good amount of drivers here,” she said. “Yeah, frustrated the first time I played. I was like, ‘Why isn’t it wider? So many trees.’”
And despite coming here for years, Wie’s never seen the course in as good of shape as it is this year. It’s always been good, but this year is on another level.
“The course condition this year more than any other is perfect. It’s amazing,” Wie said. “A lot of players have talked about how great it is this year.”
Wie returns here after her first missed cut of the season at the Ricoh Women’s British Open. Rounds of 75-78 left her three shots back of the cut, so she spent her down time going to an Eminem concert in England before flying back to the States.
“Definitely disappointed in myself. I was just in my bed with the sheets over my head wallowing in self-pity. You know, my friends just didn’t let me do that,” she said. “The concert was a nice surprise, but it was a lot of fun.”
Rolex Rankings No. 1 Stacy Lewis gets teased for having so many ‘hometown’ events on Tour and has biased cheering sections at three stops where she considers in one way or another ‘home.’ Two of Lewis’ three victories this season have come at those stops: one in Texas where she grew up and considers her hometown and just last month in Northwest Arkansas where she played collegiate golf. She’ll try to make it a triple play this week and win in Toledo where she was actually born.
“It’s always fun coming back here just for me,” said Lewis. “As soon as I won in Arkansas I was getting messages from all the Marathon people. Now you need to come win in Toledo, too, so no pressure. It would be awesome to win here. I mean, I’ve just come in here so many years, playing as an amateur, coming here as a kid, this place and this tournament means a lot to me.”
Lewis used to come to the event as a young girl and appreciates the history that comes with the event that returns to the Toledo area for the 29th time. The 29-year old said that playing in front of an overly-supportive crowd proved to be a challenge early on in her career but said she has worked on channeling the positive energy in a good way.
“I mean, there is always pressure. I don’t know if it’s a good or bad thing, but I have a few hometown events. I’ve been able to learn over the years how to handle that pressure,” said Lewis. “You can feel it with the crowd and with the fans. They want you to do well and they want you to win. It’s hard, because you put a lot of pressure on yourself. You start going for shots you shouldn’t or hitting a putt five, six feet by. You start doing things differently.
“So I’ve really kind of learned from that, learned how to stay in the zone, stay in my routine and what I can control. Figured that out in Texas and Arkansas. Hopefully I figure it out here, too.”
AMERICANS SOARING HEADING INTO INTERNATIONAL CROWN
Three majors to start the year, three different American winners – a feat that hasn’t been accomplished by American players on tour since 1999. Eight Americans sit in the top 16 in the Rolex Rankings and an American has won 11 of 17 events on Tour this season.
“I think it was just a matter of time. I mean, there are so many great American players out here. It was only a matter of time before we started winning,” Lexi Thompson said.
The Americans will have a chance to prove the United States is the preeminent nation in women’s golf at next week’s International Crown, which pits eight countries against each other in the inaugural event. The United States is looking to avenge the 2013 Solheim Cup loss they took from the Europeans.
“Any time I can represent my country, wake up and put the red, white, and blue on, it’s the highest honor I can have,” Thompson said. “Really look forward to being part of a team event, and hopefully win and redeem ourselves.”
Added Stacy Lewis: “For so long we were constantly asked, “Where are you guys? Where are you guys?’ We’re here and we’re doing great,” world No. 1 Stacy Lewis said. “I think everybody has been playing such good golf. Going into next week is exciting. We’ve already been talking about it and figuring out pairings and things.”
They’ll also have to figure out how to play with a new-found target on their back since the Americans took over the No. 1 seed in the final tournament before seeding was finalized. That’s a target they want and embrace though.
“I think we’re all going to enjoy the pressure. There’s always pressure playing a team event at home. Everybody wants you to play well,” Lewis said.
BEST PLAY NOMINEE
Paula Creamer sank the putt that was seen around the world during the Tour’s stop in Singapore earlier this season and the legacy of the phenomenal putt lives on. Creamer was nominated for and ESPY in the Best Play category. The winner will be decided tonight during the award show by a fan vote and she has already made it through two rounds of head-to-head votes with other nominees. Creamer’s 75-foot eagle putt made it to the final four nominees and is up against Auburn’s Chris Davis’ 109 yard game-winning return against Alabama.
Creamer said the nomination was a huge deal to her and even if she doesn’t win the award during tonight’s show, she’ll always be able to hang on to footage of the tape for other reasons.
“No, it was a huge deal for me. I was so excited when I saw,” Creamer said. “Obviously you get your female golfers and athletes, but best play, I mean, it’s a tough competition, especially going against that Auburn game.”
Creamer said she’ll even be able to use the putt for leverage once she and her fiancé, Derek, have kids.
“Just to be in that and have the fans support - I was the only girl - that was awesome,” said Creamer. “The putt was just, I will never forget that. I always say, I told Derek, my fiancée, whenever we have kids and they start mouthing off and saying you’re not cool, I’m going to show them that putt. I have one time I can use it as my go to. I don’t know. It’s neat that it was captured all over the world, too. It was exciting for just golf in general. I couldn’t do it again. I don’t have to do it again. That’s the good thing.”
THERE’S A PARTY ON THE 14TH HOLE
The 14th hole went crazy a year ago. Paula Creamer, the fan favorite, and Beatriz Racari were having an epic back nine battle when the hard-charging youngster in third, Lexi Thompson, stepped to the tee of the 181-yard par-3. She hit a 6-iron that ended up 181 yards later below dirt for an ace!
“High fiving everyone going into that green was probably one of the best shots of my career,” Thompson said.
That was even cooler because of the environment of that hole. It’s set up to rival the loudest holes on tour.
“It was definitely a lot cooler there,” Thompson said of acing the 14th. “About four or five people deep, four or five rows deep that day, but every day pretty much gets a huge crowd on that hole, which is really good to see.”
Creamer loves the environment of the hole and wishes there were more like that in golf, but was admittedly nervous about her caddie’s participation in the caddie race down that hole.
“Always afraid my caddie is going to go down,” Creamer said with a laugh. “Just take it easy. Bag is bigger than he is.”
Lewis, though, wasn’t as concerned about her caddie’s participation.
“He doesn’t really do anything quick, so I don’t see him running down there,” she said with a laugh.
Paula Creamer returns to Highland Meadows with a sense of comfort stemming from a strong history of playing well at the Sylvania-based track. Creamer has recorded top-5 finishes in half of her starts at this event (four out of eight appearances) including a victory in 2008 and a runner-up finish a year ago.
“I think the golf course is playing the hardest it is this year, and it’s still a good test of golf,” said Creamer. “You can still make a lot of birdies. I don’t know. I feel comfortable. I feel very confident out here. Shot some low numbers. Being in contention always helps, too.”
Creamer shot the low round of her career (60) in the first round of her victorious week in 2008 and battled Beatriz Recari down the stretch, settling for runner-up honors after Recari birdied the 72nd hole for her third career victory. Creamer has made plenty of good memories in Ohio and said the close-knit community in the Toledo area provides a unique feel and credits the spectators for luring players back every year.
“Just by the fans. I have people that have come out, especially little girls that have come out in the last five, six years and aren’t so little anymore,” said Creamer. “They’re 13, 14 years old. It’s really neat to see. But every day we have a lot people that come out. This is a great golf course for spectators, too. We’re all pretty much bunched around together. It’s a good course to walk.”
“I think as players we’ve always supported this event. It’s been around for so long,” said Creamer. “There is no reason why you would skip it. It’s a great tournament, it’s a great venue, and a lot of fun things happen out on the golf course. I think it’s fun for spectators to watch.”
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“I love this golf course. Shot 60 here.” –Paula Creamer on Highland Meadows Golf Club
MODERATOR: It is my pleasure to welcome in two of our biggest stars on the LPGA Tour - I want to thank both of you for coming in today - Stacy Lewis and Paula Creamer, two of probably the fan favorites this week.
Stacy yesterday you said, This week I'm from Toledo. You're trying to make it I think a Stacy Lewis sweep. You own in Texas, Arkansas, and now you're trying to go here as your third hometown event. Trying to make it three for three. Talk about coming back here and having your hometown event once again.
STACY LEWIS: Yeah, well, it's always fun coming back here just for me. Just having the family connection, we have big family dinners on the weekends stuff. So just to be able to hang out and to have that time to relax is always nice.
As soon as I won in Arkansas I was getting messages from all the Marathon people. Now you need to come win in Toledo, too, so no pressure. It would be awesome to win here. I mean, I've just come in here so many years, playing as an amateur, coming here as a kid, this place and this tournament means a lot to me.
MODERATOR: Paula, last year right down to the wire. Beatriz even joked about it yesterday and said everybody was rooting for Paula. You're beloved here. You're a champ here. Talk about last year.
PAULA CREAMER: Yeah, I love this golf course. Shot 60 here. Have a lot of really good memories. Just fits my game. I think the people are great. It's a Wednesday and there are a bunch of people out there watching.
It's a tournament that is run through the community. It is great to come out and have a lot of fans. I had ties with Owens Corning for quite a while. Just coming back to kind of the Pink Panther area is great. You see so many kids come out and watch, especially on the weekends.
The golf course is probably if the best shape I've seen it. The rough is thick, the greens are pretty bouncy, and it's going to be a good test of golf.
It's playing a lot longer than it has in the past.
MODERATOR: The storyline all the season has been the Americans. Had a little bit of a shocker last week, and Mo would be the first one to say. Talk about that momentum and going into next week, huge event for the LPGA Tour. Been a long time coming with the International Crown. Both of you representing Team USA.
How big is it for you guys playing so well successfully taking that momentum into next week.
STACY LEWIS: Well, it's great when you see your friends doing well, especially Americans. For so long we were constantly asked, Where you guys? Where you guys? We're here and we're doing great. We're doing it in a good way, too.
I think everybody has been playing such good golf. Going into next week is exciting. We've already been talking about it and figuring out pairings and things.
It's fun whenever you get those opportunities, especially when we are playing good golf. It's a good golf course at Caves Valley. That's kind of right up all our alleys right there, too.
I think the fact that the momentum keeps going and we want the Americans to keep winning, which is good when you see them on the board. Everybody starts playing better.
MODERATOR: No. 1 on the caddie bid; you have the No. 1 ranking. You guys are the No. 1 ranked team going into it. I hate the word pressure. It's overused. But you have the target on your back. Are you using that as inspiration or trying ignore it?
STACY LEWIS: I mean, we announced the teams at Kraft for the International Crown. I was pretty excited that we took that No. 1 ranking back. I think everybody on the team is excited as well. Because I think that's where we think we should be.
So I think we're all going to enjoy the pressure. There is always pressure playing a team event at home. Everybody wants you to play well. But I think that's where we want to be. Everybody is playing great golf. When you see your friends do well and be successful and see what goes into making that happen, it makes you work harder.
I think that's what you're seeing. Lexi is learning how to win. She's learning how to get in contention and stay there.
Same with Michelle.
Paula has had kind of a good year coming back from some stuff.
So it's great to see. I like seeing the young kids be successful and to win. They're talented. I've been saying if for two, three years they're talented enough. It's just nice to see to happening.
Q. Paula, all the players keep saying how unique of an experience it is here. The community really supports the LPGA. How do you notice that year in, year out?
PAULA CREAMER: Just by the fans. I have people that have come out, especially little girls that have come out in the last five, six years and aren't so little anymore. They're 13, 14 years old. It's really neat to see.
But every day we have a lot people that come out. This is a great golf course for spectators, too. We're all pretty much bunched around together. It's a good course to walk. The weather is always very nice. Last couple years it's been pretty hot.
I think as players we've always supported this event. It's been around for so long. There is no reason why you would skip it. It's a great tournament, it's a great venue, and a lot of fun things happen out on the golf course. I think it's fun for spectators to watch.
Q. You've had success here. Why? Does the course fit your game?
PAULA CREAMER: You have to hit the ball in the fairway. You get your putter rolling out here you can make a lot of birdies.
The greens are pretty specific of where you need to be. I think the golf course, you know, you have to take advantage of some of the par-5s. The par-3s you hit some good irons into them.
I think the golf course is playing the hardest it is this year, and it's still a good test of golf. You can still make a lot of birdies. I don't know. I feel comfortable. I feel very confident out here.
Shot some low numbers. Being in contention always helps, too.
Q. Stacy, this being like a hometown tournament for you, do you feel any pressure to perform? I know you like being in front of family and friends, but do you feel any pressure?
STACY LEWIS: Yeah, I mean, there is always pressure. I don't know if it's a good or bad thing, but I have a few hometown events. I've been able to learn over the years how to handle that pressure. You can feel it with the crowd and with the fans. They want you to do well and they want you to win.
It's hard, because you put a lot of pressure on yourself. You start going for shots you shouldn't or hitting a putt five, six feet by. You start doing things differently.
So I've really kind of learned from that, learned how to stay in the zone, stay in my routine and what I can control. Figured that out in Texas and Arkansas. Hopefully I figure it out here, too.
PAULA CREAMER: I need more hometown tournaments. Four of them. Look at you. (Laughter.)
Q. It's always very warm here. Do you feel like the weather is going to change the course at all as far as speed or anything?
STACY LEWIS: I think the golf course is drier than in past years. Hopefully we don't get any rain today because I think it's great. Definitely playing a little longer as Paula said.
I think that's just because it's cooler. The ball isn't quite flying as far and just having some longer shots into holes. I think we're all kind of welcoming the cooler weather.
We came from the British, but those hundred degree days are not fun for us. It's good. It's great for the fans. Get more people out here. I think it's going to be a good week.
Q. How does fitness play an important part in your game?
PAULA CREAMER: In mine it's huge. You know, I have new training for the last two year. His name is Jon Burke. I do a lot of MMA boxing, a lot of my own body weight. I used to lift a lot and I totally changed that. After I had surgery I realized I needed to make certain things in my body a little bit stronger. Working out isn't just to be physically fit out here. It's to prevent injuries as well.
It was a long year. We travel a lot. A lot of airplanes. Just being healthy in general is important. This is my tenth year out on tour. From when I first came out and now, it's a huge -- you just can see. You know, your body does get tired over time. We're constantly on the go, not only playing and practicing, but with media and partners and sponsors. You still have to stay as strong as you were in January in November.
Q. So it's an all-year-round program for you?
PAULA CREAMER: For me it's been probably the best thing that's happened to me is learning about your body, about what it needs. It's like you practice for certain reasons, for your golf swing. If you don't feel your body the proper way you're not going to be able to do that.
Stacy works out just as much. Different types of workouts, but it's all how your body relates to it.
Q. For both of you, you recognize, notice, enjoy 14 as a party hole with the caddie race?
PAULA CREAMER: Always afraid my caddie is going to go down on me. Just take it easy. Bag is bigger than he is. I'm like, Just take it easy. Run down there. A little competitive of course.
I turn around. I can't watch. It's a lot of fun. That's the way it should be. I wish golf, we could have parties out there and have a song walking on the first tee. That would be awesome. But it is nice to have that. The fans really get going in that section.
STACY LEWIS: Yeah, I like it, too. It's a cool concept. We have it at some other events on the tour. The hardest part about 14 is the hole is so long. Everybody expects you to hit a 4-iron to five feet, which is just not going to happen.
Maybe if we were hitting some shorter clubs in there they would see some more birdies. They still seem to have fun with it no matter what. The caddies have gotten into it over the years. I don't think my caddie will be running down there. He doesn't really do anything quick, so I don't see him running down there. (Laughter.)
PAULA CREAMER: We're killing our caddies.
Q. Paula, you mentioned if you could have a song walking out on hole. What would that song be?
PAULA CREAMER: It wouldn't be the Pink Panther I don't think. It's too -- I don't know. Maybe like California Girl or something like that. I have to think about it. Have to be a pretty awesome one, though.
Q. If you're in Ohio, go for Sloopy.
PAULA CREAMER: But I'm a California girl. That's why I need another hometown here.
Q. How about you, Stacy?
STACY LEWIS: No idea.
PAULA CREAMER: Nothing. There would be no song.
STACY LEWIS: There would be a song. But, yeah, I wouldn't need one. Just walk out there. Maybe a country song or something like that being from Texas. I don't know what I would do.
Q. Why doesn't it happen if the players want that?
STACY LEWIS: I don't know if the players necessarily want it. I think it would be cool like at a Solheim Cup or a special event. Can't do it week in and week out. Be a little distracting, I think.
But I think it would be cool like at a smaller event, like Solheim Cup or International Crown. That would be a cool concept, actually.
PAULA CREAMER: Now it's going to happen.
STACY LEWIS: You're calling your boss now.
MODERATOR: Paula, you're up for an ESPY. Very exciting. Very cool. For your best play, something that happened months ago but it's still been recognized. You're in the final four. Everyone vote for Paula.
How cool is that to see something that you did become so mainstream? Doesn't seem like it may be a huge deal for you, but for the LPGA...
PAULA CREAMER: No, it was a huge deal for me. I was so excited when I saw. Obviously you get your female golfers and athletes, but best play, I mean, it's a tough competition, especially going against that Auburn game.
Just to be in that and have the fans support -- I was the only girl -- that was awesome. The putt was just -- I will never forget that. I always say -- I told Derek, my fiancee, whenever we have kids and they start mouthing off and saying you're not cool, I'm going to show them that putt. I have one time I can use it as my go-to.
I don't know. It's neat that it was captured all over the world, too. It was exciting for just golf in general. I couldn't do it again. I don't have to do it again. That's the good thing.
MODERATOR: Once is enough.
Q. First, Paula, I'm sure when the season started the first thing on your checklist was you wanted to win a tournament, which you took care of very early. Comparing your stats for this year to the first nine years, your driving average is up. A lot. Ten yards, maybe more than that. But your fairways and greens in regulation, although good for most people, haven't been Paula-like this year. When the season started, did you get together with your team and say, Things are changing out there; I need to add more yardage even if it means giving up some fairways? Are you satisfied with the results?
PAULA CREAMER: Yeah, my whole thing is I know I need to get longer for the game of golf. I'm tall. I'm strong. No reason why I can't hit it farther. Lots of it was swing changing. That's why I did it last year. It's still a work in progress.
Equipment, new ball, you know, all comes together. Yeah, when you're making -- sometimes when you have to hit it farther you are going to lose a little bit of accuracy. I'm okay with that. No reason why. I don't sit there and look at the stats and say this. I know when I miss fairways and when I'm in the rough and things.
But I would rather keep going on this track. I think it's a positive thing for me. I think it's something that my team is obviously very aware of. But I have to get longer to keep going and to change my game.
Q. Stacy, you're definitely one of the most intense people I've ever met. Almost to the point when things aren't going right nobody wants to go near you. We've seen this work for you and against you. On the other hand, I've shut off my TV in anger a few times and said, So and so didn't beat Stacy today, Stacy beat Stacy. Do you feel like you're able to control that better now than you were, say, two years ago?
STACY LEWIS: Oh, yeah, I made a conscious effort over the last year to try to be better that way. I think it's part of being a top player, being No. 1 in the world, that it always goes together.
You can't be No. 1 in the world throwing your clubs around and doing that kind of stuff. I had to learn that. I had to grow. I had to figure that out on my own.
Yeah, everybody can sit there and tell you that, but it's something you have to learn.
It's something over really the last six months coming into this year that was a goal. I needed to bounce back quicker and not let things bother me so much. A lot of times is wasn't necessarily golf that was bothering me. It was other things I was letting get under my skin.
So I really feel like I've done a good job of it this year. I'm seeing that in my play, playing more consistently, bouncing back from bad rounds and bad holes.
It's something I'm working on and have to work on for the rest of my life because it's just my personality and the way I am.
Q. You've gotten to where you are, No. 1 in the world, player the year a couple years ago, with the issues with your back as a youngster. Do you ever just sit there and say, Wow, silly ride?
STACY LEWIS: Yeah, I say wow all the time. Even I wouldn't have predicted any of this five or six years ago. It was never a goal. I mean, I never thought I could be No. 1 in the world.
I wanted to come out here and win golf tournaments and be competitive. Everything else from there has been a blessing. It's been a crazy ride I've been on in the last two years.
My caddie threw out a stat or somebody, I had not been in the top 10 three times in the last year or something like that. It's just crazy when you think about it. I don't think about that stuff.
I just go out there and play golf and try to win tournaments. It's been a really fun ride.
Q. The ladies when they're going out to hole No. 1 that they're thinking about it long before they go up to it because you have to take two accurate shots. Would you say that's accurate for you?
STACY LEWIS: Yeah, the first hole here is one of the hard starting holes we have. I remember when I played my first event. I was an amateur. I was so nervous. I was like, Can I please just start on 10 so I can rip driver down there? Of course I have to start on 1. You have to hit a 3-wood or iron or something.
I just remember being so nervous. I could barely get the ball on the tee. Yeah, it's a hard hole. You got to hit a good drive. You got to be in the fair way. Then you still have a long iron into the green.
Even if you make bogey there are other opportunities. You just got to hang in there. But I like it. It's a cool starting hole.
MODERATOR: You just got back from the Women’s British Open. How was that experience?
LYDIA KO: Overall, I had a really good time there, especially learning the last day how to control your ball when it’s so windy. That was a good experience for me.
MODERATOR: Halfway through your rookie season, did you ever think you would get to No. 2 in the world this quickly?
LYDIA KO: No, not really. In a normal life basis, I don’t feel like I’m the No. 2 player in the world. That’s not what I really think about. But to be in that position right now, I’m really grateful.
Q. Considering you won your first tournament at 15, No. 2 in the world at 17, have you been able to fathom what you have done? Most 15-year-olds don’t do that.
LYDIA KO: When I’m out here playing golf I don’t think about what I’ve won or what position I was a week ago. I just try to think of a week as a whole new week and a day as a whole new day.
I think when I kind of realized what I’ve done is in the awards ceremony when they read what you’ve done in the years past.
But I don’t really think about it, but I’m grateful and try to take it in and concentrate on my game.
Q: When you started playing competitively, is this something you set your heart on to be the best in the world?
LYDIA KO: Yeah, I mean to be the world No. 1 player, that’s always been a big goal, but hopefully I can get in that position sometime.
I don’t think I need to be in that position right now. Hopefully that time will come for me, but I’ll have to work hard for me to be able to get in that position.
Q: How do you look at the Marathon Classic as far as a regroup and move forward?
LYDIA KO: I didn’t play well on the last day, but it was tough conditions on that last day. Obviously I could have done much better, but this is a whole new week. It’s a little windy out here, not as windy as it was the last day, but I think playing in that kind of wind on the weekend definitely helps with experience.
Q: What do you expect while you’re here? What are your expectations coming into this tournament?
LYDIA KO: I think I came in 7th last year. so I really enjoyed my week here. So I’m just going to have lots of fun here and hopefully my week will start off good tomorrow.
I haven’t really set a position goal yet, but I’m just going to try my best and enjoy my time out here.
Q: What’s the biggest difference between being an amateur and being a professional?
LYDIA KO: I think it’s more playing full time on tour. Last year I got to play 11 LPGA tournaments, but this year I’m going to play in the high 20s.
So I think I’m playing competitive golf multiple weeks in a row, and I think that’s the biggest difference.
But I’ve been trying to balance my schedule out so I’m not overly tired during the third week in a row of a tournament.
MODERATOR: Is there a comfort that comes with returning to a course and tournament you’ve already played before? because I know that hasn’t always been the case this year as a rookie.
LYDIA KO: Yeah, I landed on Monday night after the British and if it was a course I didn’t know, I’d be worried that I’m not overly prepared; but knowing the course from last year is definitely a little better for me. I can relax a little bit.
But I think the course is in really good condition after seeing the course yesterday.
Q: Going back to what you said about balancing the schedule, what changes have you made as far as working out a little more, dietary changes, anything you’ve done to help that transition?
LYDIA KO: I haven’t worked out anymore or changed my food plans. Pretty much the same. After a three week or two week tournament span, when I come back home I take a couple days off so I can kind of rest up and get prepared for the next one.
Q: How does this course lay out for you and your game personally?
LYDIA KO: Umm, I mean the greens are really small here so when you hit the green and you’re somewhere nearby, I think you’re going to have good opportunities.
I personally like the look of the course; you can hit some drives and some woods off the tee. I don’t know why, but I really like it.
Q: Most of the fans aren’t here because play hasn’t started, but have you noticed a difference in buzz between this tournament on a Wednesday compared to another non-major tournament?
LYDIA KO: I just got in today, but you can definitely see a lot of people coming out for autographs and to see the other players.
Being here last year, there were a lot of fans coming out to watch us, and I think that’s really good for the tournament. It shows how much support we’re getting on the LPGA.
Q: How old were you when you started playing golf and how old were you when you realized you could be pretty good at this?
LYDIA KO: I started when I was 5. I don’t really know exactly at what point I thought I was good. Even now I think there’s a lot for me to learn, so I wouldn’t go I’m really good, I’m the best. I think there’s a lot of things I need to learn, and it’s really good experience for me playing on the Tour.
I’ve been having lots of fun, and getting compliments from other people has definitely helped with my confidence.
Q: What’s the biggest thing you’ve had to get used to on the tour?
LYDIA KO: I think just playing week by week. Sometimes you try to prepare yourself, but you don’t have a lot of time when you think about it. You have Pro-Ams, gala dinners, everything else.
So trying to balance everything out and trying to do the most you can without getting overly tired and being prepared on that Thursday.
Q: Being so young you haven’t developed as a final product as a player, is there a girl you model yourself after or look up to?
LYDIA KO: I’ve always looked up to Michelle Wie. She turned pro at an early age and she graduated from Stanford. I’ve always had a dream of graduating college also, so she’s kind of walked along that path and hopefully I can walk along her path.
Lexi Thompson is another good role model for me.
Q: Have you sought out any advice from Michelle or Lexi?
LYDIA KO: I talk to them when I’m paired up with them and we say, ‘Hello’ and they have given me some advice along the way, especially Michelle, knowing what college was like and trying to do it at the same time.
Q: When would you go to college if you were going to?
LYDIA KO: This is my last year of high school, so I’m going to graduate high school first. It’s hard right now being away from home. My high school’s back in New Zealand.
After that you can kind of go to college anytime. But high school is right here, right now, so I’ve been focusing on that.
MODERATOR: You’ve made a lot of good friends out here. Any more reappearances of the Kang and Ko show on the way, and how have you been able to nurture those relationships?
LYDIA KO: I think we totally forgot about that. But we thought it was kind of a cool idea. It kind of shows other aspects of the LPGA Tour players, because I think a lot of people look in and think of us as just golfers.
Everybody has their personalities and, kind of like Tiffany Joh, she has one where she was singing and all that. We kind of thought of that, and I think we need to go back and do that.
Through that we can show other aspects of the tour.
Q. Your life changed since you won a major. Are things coming a little bit easier for you now? Feel a little bit better?
MICHELLE WIE: Nothing really much has changed. Just been really busy the last couple weeks. Yeah, you know, just I'm really happy to be back here in Toledo. Fun playing in tournaments.
Nothing really much has changed personally for me. Just been really busy.
Q. How hard is it to be at the British Open -- like Mo Martin gets in here at noon on Tuesday -- and have a tournament after in the States? Got to be really tough on everybody. How is that for a golfer to handle?
MICHELLE WIE: Well, I didn't really play the weekend so I had a couple days off.
But, yeah, I luckily got on a flight that didn't get delayed. I've heard some players were having troubles getting here.
It's a great golf course. Just really excited to be back in the States and playing back in Toledo. Yeah, very exciting for us.
Q. Do you remember when you played here at 13?
MICHELLE WIE: Yeah, I definitely remember coming here when I was 13. Kind of wide eyed not knowing. I hit a lot of drivers back then. Frustrated I couldn't do that on every hole.
I think I've learned over the years to get a good game plan going. Yeah, definitely a lot of fun. Very cool to come back and look back that I played 10 plus years.
Q. How has your fitness program changed? Has it consistently stayed the same with strength conditioning, or are you working on more mobility and stability during the tournament season?
MICHELLE WIE: Yeah, obviously during the off-season I do a lot more strength training. Yeah, I'm really limber so stability is big key for me. Doing a lot of corrective exercises. My trainer, he sends me a good program every week to do, so I just try to follow it and listen to him.
Q. Nine years ago you hit 14 drivers on this course. How many now?
MICHELLE WIE: Probably about like four or five. It's still a good amount of drivers here. Yeah, frustrated the first time I played. I was like, Why isn't it wider? So many trees. (Laughter.)
Q. (Wind disturbance.) (Question regarding Lydia Ko's role model comments.)
MICHELLE WIE: It's crazy. You know, she doesn't need any role models. I think she is a role model herself. When I first played with her she was like 15 or something and she said she wanted to go to college.
She said I was someone she looked up to, and I thought that was really strange to hear that from other people. You know, she has done really great and has a really great head on her shoulders. I feel very honored that I could help her in any way I can.
I just want to make it easier, because I know what it's like to be young and out on tour. Hopefully I've helped her a little bit.
Q. Why is this course so likable?
MICHELLE WIE: It's a great golf course. So much history. Small greens, narrow fairways. You feel like if you hit good shots you should be rewarded. The course condition this year more than any other year is perfect. It's amazing. A lot of players have talked about how great it is this year.
But it's always great to come back to a tournament that's been here for a very long time. I feel like the fans here really support us. It's always great to come back to a community that supports the LPGA.
Q. First time since 1999 that we Americans have won the first three majors. Do you guys talk about that, or is it something you thought about during the last decade when American golf was quote/unquote down?
MICHELLE WIE: Yeah, we don't really talk about it much with each other. After I saw Mo won, I was very excited for her. That an American won the British Open, it's pretty cool. I saw that stat on Twitter on Sunday. Really interesting and really cool.
Don't talk about it much. Personally when I see it, it's very cool.
Q. You haven't been used to not playing on the weekends this year. You wasted a little time going to an Eminem concert in Wembley. Is that something you thought, Let's get my mind off this and pass a bit of time?
MICHELLE WIE: Yeah, definitely disappointed in myself. I was just in my bed with the like the sheets over my head wallowing in self-pity. You know, my friends just didn't let me do that.
It was good. I just bought the ticket. Had a couple friends in London. The concert was nice surprise, but it was a lot of fun. It was definitely a lot of fun. I think I was just really excited to get back out here on Tuesday and practice. Start of the new week I felt really good.
Q. How are you able to get your mind right after this finish? The travel to get here and the quick turnaround.
MICHELLE WIE: We're used to it, life on the road. We're used to getting there, get used to the jet lag and everything. Really not that big of a deal anymore.
Q. Up for an Espy tonight for best golfer.
MICHELLE WIE: Oh, cool.
Q. Yeah. And Mo is on ESPN for her highlights. You guys have been breaking into mainstream stuff. Obviously on the Today show. How big is that for the LPGA players and the tour? You've been talking about how great it is to be in bigger outlets and bigger stages other than just regional or local.
MICHELLE WIE: Yeah, you know, I feel very proud of our tour. Feel like over the last couple years we really broke through a lot of barriers and are really pushing ourselves.
I feel like we're getting bigger. I feel like it's just so cool that people are starting to notice the different personalities on tour. It's great people start to know about Mo Martin. It's really cool. She's really a cool person.
There are really so many great personalities out here, so it's very -- you know, I'm very lucky to be part of such a cool group of girls and we can start to break barriers.
Q. You touched on the fact that this community supports the LPGA. How do you notice that?
MICHELLE WIE: Yeah, so much history here. It goes way back. You know, the fans have been coming out every year since way back in the day. Just really cool.
You can see that the community loves having us here, and you definitely can feel that.
Q. What's the most challenging hole for you on this course and why?
MICHELLE WIE: I don't know. There are a lot of challenging holes out here. The par-5s are tricky. You know, you have a couple reachable ones, but also ones you can't really reach. So, yeah.
Q. When you look at the world rankings, you, Lexi, on and on, if American golf was supposedly struggling, are you proud when you look and see those names now? Do you feel that you have proved that American golf is back?
MICHELLE WIE: Yeah, it feels great. I always get excited when my Solheim teammates play well. We just played on a couple Solheim Cup teams and just kind of bonded. I definitely root for Americans.
But I still think that our tour so international. I think that's one the biggest keys about our tour. We have so many great international players. You see a lot of Thai girls rising. You see a lot of Korean girls, a lot of Spanish girls, and I think especially with International Crown coming up and the Olympics, it's so great that we have such an international tour.
Q. What was that week like for you last year? Obviously the big hole-in-one on 14.
LEXI THOMPSON: Yeah, this tournament brings back a lot of great memories having a hole-in-one on 14. High-fiving everyone going into that green was probably one of the best shots of my career.
But it was just overall a good week. I think I had a pretty good first day to get me started, and then just tried to keep it going the next few days.
Q. Was it even cooler because of the environment around that hole? Kind of a party hole.
LEXI THOMPSON: Yeah, definitely a lot cooler here. About four or five people deep, four or five rows deep that day, but every day pretty much gets a huge crowd on that hole, which is really good to see.
Q. What was the British like for you? Obviously just got back in. Kind of a different feel to come back to the States.
LEXI THOMPSON: Yeah, it was definitely different golf over there. Bouncing shots, hitting irons off tees and having it roll 50 or more yards, and then you come here and you're barely getting any roll.
It's just different golf. You have to think about a lot more numbers and see shots differently there.
But coming here, this golf course is so flush right now and I guess they got a lot of rain so there is not much roll. The rough is up pretty high, but it's in great shape for us this week.
Q. Looking forward to International Crown next week, is there a kind of vengeance thing after Solheim Cup, losing, and how excited are you about that event?
LEXI THOMPSON: I'm so excited to play next week. Any time I can represent my country, wake up and put red, white, and blue on, it's the highest honor I can have.
Really look forward to being part of a team event, and hopefully win and redeem ourselves.
Q. American women seem to be dominating the LPGA Tour this year. You've won all the majors. Only a couple international players have won has that been a conscious effort? Do you girls talk about that? A little trash talking going on there?
LEXI THOMPSON: No, no trash talking at all. It's not like we, all American players get together and say, All right, one of us has to win this week.
I think it was just a matter of time. I mean, there are so many great American players out here. It was only a matter of time before we started winning.
Anybody in the field, they're obviously a great player to the in the field and they can compete. So it doesn't matter where you're from. What really matters is the talent you bring to the table.
Q. Is there extra appeal of the event with International Crown coming up of the Olympics coming up in two years as well?
LEXI THOMPSON: Yeah, I mean, I think it's great that golf is getting more team events like this. Especially golf being Olympics in 2016. I think we're all really fighting for that and want to be a part of the Olympic team. To say you're an Olympian, that's probably the highest honor you can have. International Crown is just a smaller version of it.
Q. You answered his question, but it was maybe two, three, four years ago we were hearing about the death of American women's golf.
LEXI THOMPSON: Uh-huh.
Q. Was it just a matter of talent growing up and this next generation of which you're one the leaders stepping forward, getting the experience and being able to step forward?
LEXI THOMPSON: I don't -- let's see, that's kind of a tricky...
Q. I know it's an international tour and everything, but it had gotten way international.
LEXI THOMPSON: Yeah, definitely it is. You see a lot of these girls from a lot of different countries. Like I said, it's a global tour. Doesn't matter where you're from.
Players are getting younger and younger, too. People are starting to practice a lot harder knowing what they have to do to win out here. Golf is such is difficult game. I mean, you can struggle all year and just have one week and you can be the winner that week and it can change your whole season or your career.
Q. Kind of off that, you talked about the tour and players are getting younger. What are some of the challenges that a younger golfer faces?
LEXI THOMPSON: Well, I would say when I turned pro when I was 15 years old, it was more just not playing as much. As a young kid I was playing every week as a junior, and amateur. Coming out here I was only playing about 10 times a year for my first few years out here.
The main struggle was just traveling and being around people you didn't really know for the first few years. It takes a few years to get to know a lot of the players out here and make friends and get used to the whole travel schedule.
I usually travel with a parent, which is nice.
Q. Did it make it a little more desire for you to win because you did have to rely on sponsors? You couldn't get the tour membership because you were too young?
LEXI THOMPSON: Well, winning early definitely helped. Winning the Navistar LPGA Classic definitely helped my confidence. And then being able to play full time and full schedule on the LPGA, that's what I really wanted.
But I knew when I turned pro at 15 what the age requirement was and what I had to do. I figured all my sponsor exemptions I had to play well and hopefully get a few wins in there and then go Q-School. But then I ended up petitioning, but I knew I had to play my best.
Q. How has the win at the Kraft Nabisco earlier this year set up the rest of the year? Does it give you more confidence? How has it helped you?
LEXI THOMPSON: Yeah, it's helped out a lot. I always say Kraft Nabisco, I always imagine myself winning that tournament. That golf course sets up really well for my game. I get to hit a lot of drivers and I visualize really well there.
It was definitely a dream come true for me, but it has helped me out with my confidence. Always like to look back at how I played that week, how I was mentally. All those experiences helped. I worked extremely hard in my off-season to come out this year confidently.
Q. Stacy Lewis, I asked her about the young players of the world, who she saw that might have lasting dominate time player for years to come. She named you because of your aggressive style, your length, your improving short game. What do you have to say about that?
LEXI THOMPSON: I didn't know that. It's a very nice comment. Stacy is obviously a great player and an amazing person. To get a comment like that from the No. 1 her means a lot to me. I'm really looking forward to playing with her next week at International Crown, being part of team event with her again.
Q. You are a little bit more of an aggressive player. You like to hit driver. Do you dial it back when come to a place like this?
LEXI THOMPSON: There is a few holes out here I don't hit driver on. I can still play pretty aggressive because you're not getting that much roll out here. No. 1 and 10 I can't hit driver on obviously. I have to hit probably iron or hybrid. Just play smart. It's all about placement out here.
Q. How are you planning on working out the team next week? No captain.
LEXI THOMPSON: I don't think we've figured that out yet. Probably talk about it later this week. Get a few practice rounds in with different groupings. But I think we'll feel our way around it.