Championship Dates: July 28-31, 2011
Defending Champion: Yani Tseng
Course: Carnoustie Golf Links (Carnoustie, Angus, Scotland)
Teleconference Interview Transcript with Catriona Matthew and Janice Moodie
(The two Scots will be playing at home this year. Matthew became the first Scot to win the Ricoh Women's British Open in 2009 and Moodie's best finish in the event is a tie for third.)
Q. Catriona, you were playing at Carnoustie, in May, were you?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: Yeah, I went up there about six weeks ago now and played a practise round.
Q. Have you played there before?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: I played there years before in the Scottish Ladies, I had not played it in a while. Came back to me as I played it. I think it will be in great shape by the time we get there. It was certainly looking good for me over there. We got a perfect day, which was nice, no wind and sunny. So hopefully we are going to have four days of that.
Q. How did you find the course after that all of these years? It's quite a long course. Were you off the back tips?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: Well, kind of played off where we thought the tees might be. Obviously, you know, with any links course, it just depends what the weather is like and what the wind is like.
We just probably had a slight breeze, and certainly the back nine will be challenging. It was playing into the wind, so it all just depends on wind how the course plays I think. But it certainly looks like it will be in good shape.
Q. After all of the courses the Open has been to in the last few years, this is basically another notch to go to Carnoustie, where the Ricoh Women's Open has never been.
CATRIONA MATTHEW: Oh, definitely. A lot of players over here are all talking about coming to Carnoustie and asking me what it's like and if I've played there and that, and they are certainly all excited about coming over and playing it. Obviously they have watched the men play there the last couple of times. So I think you always like coming to courses you know are well known and that have had big tournaments on before.
Q. Do you think that, as you say, the weather is a big factor, but could this potentially be the toughest test for a Ricoh British Women's Open?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: Obviously, yes, it's going to be a difficult course. I don't know what ‑‑ I think Steve there said the rough will be quite thick and that will make it more difficult again. Well, depending on the weather. Lytham is a tough course if it's windy with all of the bunkers. But to say it's going to be the hardest ever, I think we need to wait and see what the weather is going to be like more than anything. It will certainly be one of the hardest.
Q. Yani Tseng, I know she won at Birkdale, but does she fly the ball well for a links?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: Yeah, I played with her a few times this year. Yeah, I mean, she drives it long and straight and you know, she's not got that high a ball flight and she can hit her irons both ways. Certainly the way she's been playing this year, I would say she would be the hot favourite going into it.
Q. And you've had some good rounds, haven't you, recently?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: Yeah, I feel as though I've been playing well. I had I think three or four Top‑10s already this year. So yeah, I'm playing well. I'm looking forward to next week, and then getting home and playing Evian and then up to Carnoustie.
Q. What kind of advantage do you think you retain from links golf, having played it all those years, and obviously at Lytham, suggested you do have some advantage?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: You would have thought I must have some advantage, just you know, I'm used to maybe bad conditions if the weather is bad or playing those little chip‑and‑run shots which are kind of alien maybe to some of the American players or foreign players. I think maybe you're used to it having growing up playing them, so maybe just gives you a slight edge.
Q. Obviously the way Yani is playing, it adds an exciting prospect for fans to get the chance to watch her.
CATRIONA MATTHEW: Yeah, certainly, I've been lucky enough, I've played with her out in Asia this year, and then I think I played with her at the Kia Classic, as well, and she's very impressive to watch. Her ball‑striking is phenomenal, really.
She's just about getting like Annika where if she putts well, she'll be hard to beat every week. She hits it long and she hits it straight, which is a obviously great advantage.
Q. Coining the phrase, you liken her to Annika, isn't it.
CATRIONA MATTHEW: Yeah, certainly from what I've seen this year if she putts well, she's tough to beat. I think she probably showed that last week.
Q. Is she a crowd favourite?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: I think she's beginning to be more of a crowd favourite. Now that she's winning more events, people are seeing her more as the kind of, be No. 1 player, and she's getting obviously more people following her and things.
Q. Have the girls been out this year and how are they?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: Yeah, they are out for a few weeks. They are both doing very well. As I say, we are heading to the zoo tomorrow here, so we'll see what that's like. But no, they are having good fun. Obviously the day care out here is great, and I think they are taking a train trip up the mountains next week at the U.S. Open. They are having good fun.
Q. What do you know of next week's course, or do you like it?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: I don't know it. I didn't make that. That was the first U.S. Open I tried for and I didn't make it. So I haven't played in that one. I think now it's going to be set up at like 7,000 yards. But I think we are at like 8,000 feet, so the ball does go further hopefully.
Q. You're having a great season, and you're on the verge of getting in the Solheim again.
CATRIONA MATTHEW: Yeah, definitely, if I can keep playing how I'm playing. I think I'm in there at the moment World Ranking‑wise, but obviously looking forward to playing in that if I can.
Q. I'm sure everybody probably knows but Catriona is far too modest to mention she won the Scottish Amateur then, I can't remember the year, but you beat, but you beat Fiona Anderson in the final, didn't you.
CATRIONA MATTHEW: Yeah, that must have been in the early 90s, late 80s. Too long ago for me to remember.
Q. Janice, didn't win one there, too, did she?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: You know, I'm not sure.
Q. Janice won the following year but wouldn't have been at Carnoustie.
CATRIONA MATTHEW: I don't think it's been there that often, so I'd be surprised if she had won it there.
Q. Linzi Morton I think, was it?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: Okay.
CATRIONA MATTHEW: I'm not sure of the exact year. Must have been roundabout then.
Q. What do you make of Rory?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: Phenomenal. I watched as much as I could of it last week. Yeah, he just kind of look the course apart last week. He just looked so comfortable. He drove the ball just long and straight, and just made the course look very easy.
I was pleased for him after his kind of troubles at Augusta. It was nice to see him have the lead and then go on through and win it.
Q. Is that still being talked about, two weeks on over there?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: It certainly had a lot of coverage, his kind of problems at Augusta, but I think now he's won the U.S. Open, I think that will fade away. But certainly June in the U.S. Open, they were talking about that a lot.
Q. And the U.S. Open, two weeks on, are people still talking about it two weeks on?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: Yeah, I would say they are, yeah. Still talking about it. You know, whether he's going to be the next kind of Tiger Woods. You hate to say something like that, but whether he's going to be as dominant as Tiger was. That's kind what have they are wondering over here.
Q. I'm very intrigued about this role that you were given of Carnoustie Country Ambassador. Can you tell me about that? Obviously Scottish golf, Carnoustie in the area?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: Yeah, just really to try, and, you know, obviously they are hoping to get a lot of overseas visitors and things there, and just promote Carnoustie country over here in the States. Obviously I'm over here a lot and a little bit in Asia and try and get people to come over and play. And obviously if they come over to Scotland they are going to play a lot of different courses, but to try to get them to come and play the courses, you know, Carnoustie, and all of the ones roundabout there.
Q. And is there still the sort of interest ‑‑ I started in tourism over 25 years ago, and all you ever got from Americans was where is the nearest golf course and could you get them a ticket to St. Andrews. Is it still the same?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: Yeah, certainly you do see that. The people you play with in the Pro‑Ams, they are all desperate to come over to Scotland and play and play all the courses. You know, they begin to ask, you know, which ones are the good ones that maybe are not as well known that they want to come and play. Certainly I would say definitely it's the place they all want to come and play golf.
Q. Are you still working with Kevin Craggs, Catriona?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: Yes, I am. I've been working hard with him certainly over the winter, and do a lot by video when I'm away and so that works pretty well. Did a video this morning and sent it to him. Waiting for his comments to come back.
Q. What do you feel he's added in particular. He's got a nice way of putting things over, hasn't he.
CATRIONA MATTHEW: Yeah, I think he's worked well with me. He's very enthusiastic and keen. You know, just worked on my takeaway a little bit and trying to get through the ball better.
I think just the way he's explained it, it's really helped, and I feel a lot more confident in my game and I've got just two or three kind of things I work on all the time and just try and stick to them so I don't get too confused and bogged down in all the mechanics.
THE MODERATOR: Janice has joined the call, as well. Have you played at Carnoustie before, Janice?
JANICE MOODIE: Yes, I have.
The MODERATOR: When was the last time?
JANICE MOODIE: Oh, probably in the Scottish Amateur or something like that. So it's been quite a few years. I think it was raining and wet and cold and windy the last time I played there.
Q. Have you got any plans to go there before the tournament to practise?
JANICE MOODIE: You know I'm going to go in early this time. The last time I would fly in on the Monday but I'm actually flying over on Wednesday, arriving Thursday, and probably go there Sunday night. So, you know, get a few more days extra practise on links golf.
Q. Janice, how much are you going to get to play before Carnoustie?
JANICE MOODIE: I actually have a girl, Claire McNeill from Scotland, who has been over helping me for a little bit. So I'll be able to play quite a bit of golf before I get to play. And as I said, I'm coming over on the Thursday, and going to play quite a bit before I play.
And unfortunately, I missed qualifying for the U.S. Open in a playoff, so I'm actually going to have quite a few weeks off before I do play the tournament, and that's going to be my first week back again.
Q. Janice, can I ask you, Catriona had her second baby, and then famously came out and won the British Open. Is there am omen here, is this your second?
JANICE MOODIE: I just had my second, and he's three months old, Matt. And I've had a few tournaments out here in the U.S., so I've made a cut. I actually am striking the ball quite well, but the short game is on the weak side. That's definitely the focus of my game right now is the chipping and putting.
Q. Could this be an omen, second baby syndrome or something?
JANICE MOODIE: Maybe. I'm not going to jinx it. What Catriona did ‑‑ it was funny. I think when I had Craig, and I came out and I played really well right after having him, I think I finished fourth in Hawai'i after having Craig and Catriona has Katie, and it's like, well, if she can do it, I can do it. I definitely think it's been a good thing having the kids, not being as detrimental as some people would think.
Q. Janice, can you tell me, do you think Carnoustie deserves it's reputation as one of the toughest courses on the rota?
JANICE MOODIE: Every time I've played it, yes, it's definitely validated its toughness. I think I may be caught it one time when I played in dead‑calm weather. I probably should remember the date and the time.
But all of the other times, it seems to be real windy and real difficult. It's definitely going to be a challenge. I'm actually looking forward to it.
Q. Does that challenge actually appeal or does it intimidate, as well?
JANICE MOODIE: You know, I don't get to play back home very much. So the challenge is ‑‑ we don't do it very often, thank goodness, in that kind of weather. So I'm actually looking forward to the challenge. I'll bring my warm weather gear and my woolly hat and I'll be as prepared as I can be.
Q. Can I ask you something about the Solheim Cup? Can you assess whether you would say it's harder to win a Solheim Cup or a Ryder Cup for Europe?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: Well, certainly at the moment, if you look World Ranking‑wise, it would be harder to win the Solheim Cup, because obviously there's so many European up there in the World Rankings now, they are probably going in the favourite I think. The European Team will probably go in as slight underdogs in the Solheim Cup.
Obviously being at home, it gives that you bit of an advantage. Yeah, I think we'll still have a good chance at beating them.
Q. How does the venue suit, do you think? Does it stack up in your favour?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: Yeah, I played it last year in the Irish Open. Obviously it's a fairly new course there in Ireland. Yeah, hopefully we'll get semi‑decent weather and it won't be too wet. Yeah, I think the greens there are going to be the toughest thing. They are going to be big, undulating greens. So I think whoever gets the hang of the greens the best will probably win.
Q. And the support when The Ryder Cup was at The K Club, it was obviously incredible; are you hoping something similar?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: Yeah, I would think we should get similar. I think Alison has been over to Ireland a few times stepping up support. I don't know if that will be needed or not. Yeah, I think they will have great crowds out there and I'm sure there will be far more Europeans than Americans in the crowd.
Q. Can I ask you, how has your winning a Major, what has that meant for you? Has it changed your life? Can you explain, if you can imagine the ordinary ‑‑ with the Majors being above everything.
CATRIONA MATTHEW: I wouldn't go so far as saying it's changed my life, but certainly obviously winning, being lucky enough to win the British one year is certainly a great achievement.
I think it's just more for myself. It kind of gives that you little bit more inner confidence knowing that you've gone out there and won one. I think it's more ‑‑ for me and my confidence‑wise, it's helped more than anything.
Q. And Janice, how important is it for you to win a Major?
JANICE MOODIE: Oh, I would love to win a Major. I think, you know, you go to a Major, it's one of the toughest weeks that we have of the year, and you know, you've got one of the best fields of the year, as well.
Whoever wins a Major, their game has been on. They have been sharp. They are hitting it down the middle. They are playing well and they deserve to win. It would be the icing on the cake for sure.
Q. Do you think Catriona, probably unfair when she's on the line, but do you think she's had the credit she's deserved for what she's achieved in the game, in addition to the major?
JANICE MOODIE: You know, I think there could definitely be more, you know, backing from sponsorship and stuff like that would be great, a little bit more.
But I think after she won the British, Catriona Matthew definitely was on the map. It was kind of funny, actually. I played in the Pro‑Am and this guy ‑‑ this was just on Monday and the guy is like, 'Oh, so you won the British Open.'
'Actually, no, that's not me, that's Catriona.' (Laughing)
So it was a nice mistake the guy made. Hopefully that might be true in a couple of months time. But no, Catriona is definitely a fantastic player, always has been, very Steady Eddy. Hits it down the middle and doesn't make many mistakes, holes the putts. She's great to play with. She's been a great partner, as well, in the Solheim Cup, and also the World Cup we played in South Africa. So she's just a fantastic player and also role model, too.
CATRIONA MATTHEW: You should be my P.R. agent, Janice. (Laughter).
Q. You saw the reaction to Paul Lawrie, the first Scot to win an Open on a Scottish course in donkey's years, can you imagine that yourselves coming up the 18th at Carnoustie, having won the British Open; for a Scot to win, both of you would be the first Scottish ladies to win a British Open, and certainly to do it on a Scottish course. Would that get the old salt out flying, do you think?
JANICE MOODIE: From my standpoint, I think if we get a Solheim and we hopefully we get tournament golf maybe back in Scotland, for us to come back and play in, too. I really enjoyed when I first started playing, we would come back and play Gleneagles annually, and that was just such a great highlight to be able to come back home and play in front of a home crowd. And I think what Catriona and I would just love to see, you know, women's professional golf back in Scotland, and being definitely a tournament to contend in.
Unfortunately I won't be able to come back and play at the Aberdeen Asset Management tournament, but we need more of those kind of tournaments to get women's golf on the map I think?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: For me, obviously having won it at Lytham, which is obviously England, but to win in Scotland would be just fantastic. The crowds at Lytham were amazing so to actually win in your home country I think would be even more unbelievable. Certainly a good goal to go for.