Meijer LPGA Classic Presented by Kraft Wednesday Notes and Interviews

Stacy Lewis
Photo Credit: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Stacy Lewis watches hits from the 17th fairway during the second round of the Marathon Classic presented by Owens Corning and O-I at Highland Meadows Golf Club in Sylvania, Ohio.

Rolex Rankings No. 1 Stacy Lewis
Rolex Rankings No. 2 Lydia Ko

This week’s Meijer LPGA Classic presented by Kraft will mark the LPGA Tour’s first stop in Michigan since 2000 when the Oldsmobile Classic in East Lansing ended its 9-year run. It will also mark the first annual golf event to take place in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula since 2009 when the PGA Tour last hosted the Buick Open in Grand Blanc.

KO READY TO GO AFTER TWO WEEKS OFF
Lydia Ko, who won the last full field event prior to the Meijer LPGA Classic, and is looking forward to getting back out on the course.

“I’ve been really enjoying it so far,” Ko said of her time in Michigan. “I got to have a proper practice round yesterday and then, you know, played my pro-am earlier today. So yeah, I mean, the course is in really good conditions, the green is really pure, and after a little bit of the rain and thunderstorm on Monday, I think the course is really showing what it’s got.”

While the Rolex Rankings No. 2 is excited to get back out on the course, she also took advantage of her time off.

“I went to the Universal Studios with some of the players that live in Orlando, so we had some fun there,” Ko said. “I’m not really good with rides, so to kind of experience that, that was really cool. I kind of feel like a tourist even though I live in Orlando.”

While she wasn’t much for the rides that Universal Studios had to offer she was able to get some photos with some of her favorite movie characters.

“Definitely the Minions. I’ve got a Minion head cover. We waited in line like half an hour for that. I really enjoyed it.”

ANOTHER FAMILY AFFAIR FOR LEWIS
While Michigan might not be one of the many stops on Tour that Stacy Lewis has called home, this week will still have the feel of a homecoming as over 15 members of her family will be in town for the Meijer LPGA Classic Presented by Kraft.

“I do, I have quite a bit, a lot of family actually coming up from Ohio, so the Lew Crew will be out again in force this week,” Lewis said. “My little nephew will be running around so hopefully he brings me some good luck this weekend.”

Lewis’ nephew Cole Wysocki, who has been known to wear a shirt that says, “My aunt’s a better golfer than yours”, was in attendance when Lewis won the North Texas Shootout earlier this season and was a hit with the Golf Channel cameras.

“Of course, he runs the show. It doesn’t matter whether I’m playing in a golf tournament or not, he just wants to hang out and be able to hit some shots. So he will definitely probably steal the show this
weekend.”

PLAYERS HAVE RAVE REVIEWS FOR BLYTHEFIELD
Several of the world’s top players have had rave reviews for Blythefield Country Club as the host course for the inaugural Meijer LPGA Classic Presented by Kraft.

“The course is in perfect shape,” said Michelle Wie. “It’s absolutely phenomenal how good this golf course is condition wise and the layout is a lot of fun as well.”

Rolex Rankings No. 1 Stacy Lewis echoed Wie’s comments on the course and the Grand Rapids market.

“It’s a great town for us to be playing in, a good size town, and the golf course is great. It’s a good track. You’ve got to hit -- you’ve got some wedges in there where you’ve got to make some birdies but you’ve got to hit some good shots, too. It’s a great golf course for us and we’ve had some pretty good crowds out I think already for just being a pro-am day.”

QUOTE OF THE DAY
“Well, number one because we’re great golfers. I don’t think people realize how good we are. I think a lot of people, they come out and they see us hit the ball down the first hole and they’re all -- their jaws are just hanging open because they don’t realize how far we can hit it and how good we are. They’re going to be entertained..”

-Stacy Lewis on why casual sports fans should come out to the Meijer LPGA Classic Presented by Kraft

TV Coverage
Golf Channel will once again be covering the LPGA this week. The airtimes are as follows:
Thursday 5:00-7:00pm
Friday 5:00-7:00pm
Saturday 5:00-7:00pm
Sunday 5:00-7:00pm

 

 

Rolex Rankings No. 1 Stacy Lewis

MODERATOR:  Happy to be joined by Rolex Ranking No. 1 Stacy Lewis here at the Meijer LPGA Classic.  Stacy, it's another new event for the LPGA.  What are your initial thoughts on Blythefield?

STACY LEWIS:  Well, the only time I've ever been here was I came for the Meijer pro‑am in I think 2009 so I only spent a day here.  It's been nice to come back.  It's a great town for us to be playing in, a good size town, and the golf course is great.  It's a good track.  You've got to hit ‑‑ you've got some wedges in there where you've got to make some birdies but you've got to hit some good shots, too.  It's a great golf course for us and we've had some pretty good crowds out I think already for just being a pro‑am day.

MODERATOR:  Another new event for the LPGA this year.  What does that mean to the tour?

STACY LEWIS:  Well, I think this event is an example of how far we've come over the last three years.  I think three or four years ago we wouldn't have even thought about coming here, so it just shows how far we've come and how people are starting to believe in us and seeing value in our tour and it's a great thing.  We're adding events in the U.S. playing in this size of town, which is the type of places we should be playing, so I think things will go well this year.  It seems to be great already and I hope we're here for many years to come. 

MODERATOR:  Going back to your game, you had a week off after the International Crown.  What'd you do heading into this week?

STACY LEWIS:  Well, the week off was very necessary.  The last three events I played in, I've been running on fumes.  I've had a pretty long couple of months here and I needed a week off, I needed some time.  The game kind of got off track and I think it was just a little bit of being tired and just not having the energy to prepare the way I needed to.  So it's been good to have been able to practice and kind of get things going in the right direction.

MODERATOR:  We'll open it up for questions for Stacy.

Q.  Stacy, besides being the No. 1 player on the tour, you lead the tour in victories, top 5s, top 10s.  I think you've made 51 consecutive cuts.  You lead in the Rolex Player of the Year, which has a Hall of Fame point.  You lead in the Vare Trophy, which has a Fall of Fame point.  You're way ahead in the CME Race to the Globe.  You lead in everything except for Rookie of the Year, which you don't qualify for.  Does it ever happen where you start to get complacent now and you wake up in the morning, your alarm goes off and you say, well, I lead the league in everything, I'll just stay in bed today?

STACY LEWIS:  No, I can tell you that doesn't happen at all.  That's not me and that's not who I am.  I'm out trying to win every single week and that's never going to change.  It doesn't matter if I win four or five events in a row, I'm still going to be out there preparing the same way I would.  It's nice to have all those stats and everything, but everybody's coming after me.  We've got a ton of events still to play this year, there's a lot to play for, especially at the end of the year with the CME, we've got a lot of money really to play for.  So just trying to keep my game fresh, keep my legs fresh, but I'm trying to win, that's the main goal.

Q.  Stacy, how much pride do you take in being the No. 1 player in the world? 

STACY LEWIS:  You know, No. 1 is ‑ it's one of those things, you're accomplishing a goal, but the strange thing is everybody thinks everything changes after that and really everything's the same.  You wake up as the same person, you prepare the same way.  The only thing that's different is that more people out there recognize you, more people are following.  But that's the great part about it is it's getting people to pay attention.  I don't know, it's where I want to be so you can't say it doesn't matter because it does, but it's not the number one goal.  Winning tournaments is really the goal, but No. 1's really cool.  I mean, how many people can say they've been No. 1 in the world at anything?

Q.  Stacy, from what you've seen on the course, is there any one or two holes that aren't necessarily the most difficult for you but the ones you go, yeah, I'm going to have to watch out for that? 

STACY LEWIS:  Well, this golf course, the front nine you kind of ease into it with a bunch of par 3s and a bunch of par 5s.  I think the golf tournament is really going to be decided on the last four or five holes.  You've got some really good pretty long par 4s coming in so I think that's kind of the meat of the golf course.  I think if you can get off to a good start, you put yourself in a good spot and then just try to have a good finish there coming in.  But I think we've got 17, whether they move the tee up or not, it's a short hole so you can make some birdies there, but then 18 you've got 5 and 6‑irons into that green.  So there's going to be I think a lot of drama there at the end, and this course, it requires you to hit those good shots coming in.

Q.  Stacy, I know you've played in front of home fans in Texas and Arkansas and Ohio, and speaking of Ohio, pretty close obviously, have you got any family coming up this weekend?

STACY LEWIS:  I do, I have quite a bit, a lot of family actually coming up from Ohio, so the Lew Crew will be out again in force this week.  My little nephew will be running around so hopefully he brings me some good luck this weekend. 

MODERATOR:  Cole was there when you won in Texas obviously.  Is he going to steal the show again with his adorableness?

STACY LEWIS:  Of course, he runs the show.  It doesn't matter whether I'm playing in a golf tournament or not, he just wants to hang out and be able to hit some shots.  So he will definitely probably steal the show this weekend.

MODERATOR:  Still have the tee shirt?

STACY LEWIS:  Yeah, I don't ‑‑ he's probably getting close to outgrowing it, so it might fit for a few more tournaments.

MODERATOR:  And can you tell the writers what it says?

STACY LEWIS:  "My aunt's a better golfer than yours."

Q.  Stacy, talk a little bit about the field in this tournament.  It's pretty much like the field you're going to face next week at the Championship, so is it going to be kind of a little tougher for this tournament or do you focus more on next week?

STACY LEWIS:  Well, you know, I think we all kind of have Rochester in our minds just being a major championship.  You want to play well this week just kind of building into next week.  But the field this week, I mean, it's really good.  I think we always really get good fields, especially the top players like to play leading into a major championship so I think that's why a lot of the girls are here.  It's also a great golf course.  It's really similar I think to what we're going to see next week, so it's actually a really good way to prepare and get ready.  But, you know, once you're out there you're trying to win this week and then just hopefully have some good momentum going into next week.

Q.  Stacy, you were talking about how the past three tournaments or so you haven't been playing as well and the results show that.  Is that a case that you just haven't been playing well or fatigue or how can you explain it?

STACY LEWIS:  I think looking back on it, I think it was a little bit of fatigue.  I don't think I quite realized how much the U.S. Open week and Arkansas took out of me.  One, just being so busy but when you're in contention like that, and Arkansas feels like a major championship to me, there's extra pressure there, so I didn't quite realize how much that took out of me.  Toledo, I was definitely running on fumes, and International Crown week was a little bit easier, I got some of my energy back there.  Just didn't have the energy or the time really to prepare the way I wanted to and unfortunately my game kind of showed that.  But I'm excited about the last week and a half or so, I've really just been able to get back to basics and back to working on what's gotten me to where I am.  I'm excited, I'm excited about where my game's at right now and hopefully where it's going here in the next week or so.

Q.  What part of your game do you think will be challenged the most by this golf course?

STACY LEWIS:  I think the most important part of this golf course is going to be the tee ball, hitting in the fairway.  Everybody thinks, oh, it's not too narrow up there and you put one in the rough and then the golf course just kind of shrinks up a little bit.  So you really have to hit it in the fairways to give yourself opportunities into the greens, especially those long par 4s coming in.  Hitting 4‑ and 5‑irons out of the rough is never where you want to be.  I think put a premium on driving the bail well and if you get in the fairway you can be pretty aggressive going into the greens. 

Q.  We have a couple players from Michigan and Michigan State who have never played in an LPGA tournament before and they were invited.  As the No. 1, what would you tell someone who's never been here before?

STACY LEWIS:  One, I would tell the girls to have fun, that's the most important part.  I was able to play in a few events while I was in college and it was huge for me because I was able to watch how the other players prepared and watch how they got ready every day because that's really important.  I think everybody thinks you come out on tour and all of a sudden you have to do everything different where you really don't, you just have to prepare the right way and learn from everybody you're playing with.  I think that's something I've tried to do all along is pick apart what other people do well and try to put that into my own game.  But number one's having fun.  They're playing here in front of ‑‑ they'll get some hometown, they'll get a hometown feel, have a little rivalry going probably, but it should be fun for them.

Q.  My last question is west Michigan hasn't experienced this in a while.  What would you say to someone who lives in this area who's never experienced the LPGA, why should you come and watch?

STACY LEWIS:  Well, number one because we're great golfers.  I don't think people realize how good we are.  I think a lot of people, they come out and they see us hit the ball down the first hole and they're all ‑‑ their jaws are just hanging open because they don't realize how far we can hit it and how good we are.  They're going to be entertained.  We've had some great finishes this year, a lot of Americans are playing well, a lot of our stars are playing well, so just come out and see some good golf and hopefully you can take a few things into your own golf game.

MODERATOR:  Stacy, combining those last few questions a little bit, Lindsey McPherson from MSU was in here yesterday talking about you were the player that when you walked by her, her jaw dropped ‑‑

STACY LEWIS:  That just means I'm getting old is what that means.

MODERATOR:  All she wanted was a picture with you.  Have you met her yet and what does that mean to you that these younger players are looking up to you?

STACY LEWIS:  Well, it's cool.  Obviously I haven't been able to meet her this week, but yeah, it's a little strange.  I still feel like that kid that was just coming out of college, I don't feel like I've been gone that long, but obviously I have if I've got college kids looking up to me.  But it's a great thing.  All along I've tried to do the right things, prepare the right way and be me and be me and be me who's gotten this far.  That's what I've just tried to do is be a good example, so it's really cool that she's looking up to me that way.


Rolex Rankings No. 2 Lydia Ko

MODERATOR:  Happy to be joined in the media center by Rolex Rankings No. 2 Lydia Ko.  Lydia, another first‑time event for the LPGA Tour.  What were your initial thoughts on Blythefield?

LYDIA KO:  You know, I've been really enjoying it so far.  I got to have a proper practice round yesterday and then, you know, played my pro‑am earlier today.  So yeah, I mean, the course is in really good conditions, the green is really pure, and after a little bit of the rain and thunderstorm on Monday, I think the course is really showing what it's got.

MODERATOR:  You had the last two weeks off.  What are some of the things you did during your time off?

LYDIA KO:  I went to the Universal Studios with some of the players that live in Orlando, so we had some fun there.  I'm not really good with rides, so to kind of experience that, that was really cool.  I kind of feel like a tourist even though I live in Orlando.

MODERATOR:  What was your favorite part about Universal Studios?  What did you enjoy the most?

LYDIA KO:  I kind of had that first week off so I really enjoyed just having that whole week off.  Universal really topped it off, just being able to see kind of the movies come to life and kind of experiencing part of it, that was pretty cool.

MODERATOR:  Which one's your favorite?  What's your favorite character you saw there?

LYDIA KO:  Definitely the Minions.  I've got a Minion head cover.  We waited in line like half an hour for that.  I really enjoyed it.  They're short, quick rides, but I know you kind of experience what it's all about.

MODERATOR:  We'll open it up to questions for Lydia.

Q.  Lydia, you've been here three days.  How comfortable do you feel with the golf course and how does it suit your game?

LYDIA KO:  I guess I'll learn more about it as the days go on, but I've got the notes I need so far and hopefully it will be good for now.  Day one starts tomorrow and I'm really excited about it.

Q.  Lydia, you won the last tournament with a full field event out here topping the one million dollar mark.  I know after the event you said it really hadn't sunk in yet, you didn't really know what it meant to be a millionaire on tour.  Has that actually sunk in for you yet?

LYDIA KO:  I guess kind of because I bought myself a big stereo, so a little bit of that's gone now.  But yeah, you know, I don't really feel like a normal millionaire.  When you talk about it and you talk about others, you go oh, there's a millionaire.  But for me I just feel like a normal player on tour and I've been just having fun.

MODERATOR:  I know afterwards you said you were going to buy something electronic and you ended up getting a stereo.  Do you have anything else in mind if you take home a couple more wins?

LYDIA KO:  I guess winning is great but to me it's not all about money and everything.  Just being able to hold a trophy at the end of the week, that's the best part of it.

MODERATOR:  Any other questions?

Q.  Do you usually play the week before a major?  Is that kind of standard practice for you or are you just doing it because of this week?

LYDIA KO:  Umm, umm, like you know, for example, at the Kraft Nabisco, there was Kia Classic there, so I try and ‑‑ I don't feel like I need to play the week before a major.  It was kind of good going into the U.S. Open to watch the men's, that was kind of a different experience.  I don't mind playing or not playing, but I kind of thought this is a great event to play and that's why I'm really excited for it to start.

Q.  Talk about the field that is here at this tournament, how difficult is it and how tough it's going to be to try to win the Classic today.

LYDIA KO:  You know, the top players are out here, so it's always going to be tough.  But at the end of the day all I can do is just play my game.  I can't control what somebody else can do, it's hard enough trying to control what I do on the course.  I'm just going to try my best out there.  I mean, the world's top players are out here so it's always going to be tough field.

Q.  You being a rookie on tour, I'm guessing you've played some tournaments this year where you haven't seen the course before.  This is a situation where likely most of the players haven't seen the course either.  Do you feel any sort of advantage in the fact that you've done this a lot recently?

LYDIA KO:  No, I don't feel like it's an advantage because it's not like I've played here before.  It's kind of more weird that they also haven't played the course.  And, you know, that's why when I came in I couldn't really ask someone, oh, is the rough this tall or what is it like.  But yeah, I guess it's why everyone's working hard, trying to know the course as soon as possible.  I guess they're kind of having a rookie experience of this course.

Q.  Lydia, with the trends in fashion in the LPGA, do you ever feel like with sponsors and everything that you're kind of directed to wear certain things or encouraged to wear certain styles or trends?

LYDIA KO:  No, I'm definitely not the fashionista out here.  There's a lot of girls that wear really pretty clothes.  No, I kind of wear what I get and try and pick out the prettiest or the best clothes.  I mean, looking good is great but to me it's more important I guess to play well.  But when you look good and play well, you've got the whole package.

Q.  One more question, are you a fan of listening to music during practice rounds and practice tees and putting and things, or are you kind of the opposite?

LYDIA KO:  I don't listen to music when I'm like on course practicing, but I do like to listen to it when I'm practicing outside or when I'm training by myself at home.  I kind of grew up not having that many kids or golfers that were similar to my age, there were only a couple of them, so I think music kind of gave me company and it's definitely helped with not getting really bored.

Q.  Do you find that it's more distracting when you're on the course then or you just can't interact with your caddie?

LYDIA KO:  I've never tried, so I'm not really sure.  But today in the pro‑am one of the pro‑am guys asked me if he could listen to some music, so he put some Canadian music up there.  That was the first time where I've done that in real life, but it wasn't too bad.  I mean, he started playing really great, we made an eagle and everything, so he kind of got in the groove.

Q.  So with Michigan hasn't seen an LPGA tournament in 13 years, there's a lot of people that don't understand it, probably haven't seen the game.  What would you say to someone locally why they should come watch you play or the LPGA tournament?

LYDIA KO:  I think the LPGA is getting bigger every year, every tournament, and I can see by spectators that there is getting I guess more interest to the women than before. 

Personally, if I was a spectator I would come out and watch.  The top golfers are here and why not?  This doesn't happen very often.  I think it will be fun and it's going to be a very interesting weekend, and yeah, it's super exciting, especially for I guess coming back in 13 years.

Q.  Last question, what has been the best reaction when people find out how old you are?

LYDIA KO:  Best reaction?  I don't have a best one but I think they're like whoa, you're 17?  Like they wouldn't believe it.  I don't know.  I mean, I'm 17 and I can't really lie about my age or anything.  I think it's just kind of cool for me as a 17‑year old that there are a lot of people or players that are much older than me and I can learn from what they have done in the past.  There are a lot of role models out there.  In my perspective it's kind of cool to I guess be able to play alongside them.

Q.  End up being a Kiwi, is that an edge for you?

LYDIA KO:  Being a New Zealander an advantage?  I don't know.  It's been really cool I guess growing up in New Zealand.  I've been able to practice freely there, so yeah, I think I've learnt some different things in New Zealand and I'm proud to be a New Zealander.

 

 

Topics: Notes and Interviews, Lewis, Stacy, Ko, Lydia, Meijer LPGA Classic

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