RICOH Women’s British Open
Carnoustie Golf Links
July 26-27, 2011
Pre-tournament notes and interviews
Catriona Matthew, Rolex Rankings No. 35
Yani Tseng, Rolex Rankings No. 1
Melissa Reid, Rolex Rankings No. 39
Michelle Wie, Rolex Rankings No. 14
Paula Creamer, Rolex Rankings No. 9
Cristie Kerr, Rolex Rankings No. 2
Suzann Pettersen, Rolex Rankings No. 3
Ai Miyazato, Rolex Rankings No. 6
The LPGA will officially kick off its final major of the 2011 season, the RICOH Women’s British Open, on Thursday in Carnoustie, Scotland. For the first time in the history of the Women’s British Open, the storied Carnoustie Golf Links will play host to the event which boasts a field of 144 players who are competing for a $2.5 million purse.
Defending champion and current Rolex Rankings No. 1 Yani Tseng headlines the star-studded field. Last year at Royal Birkdale in Southport, England, Tseng became the youngest player in LPGA history to win three major championship titles by taking a one-stroke victory over Katherine Hull. Tseng will have some tough competition to defend her title as she’ll be joined in the field this week by the rest of the top-10 in the Rolex Rankings: No. 2 Cristie Kerr, No. 3 Suzann Pettersen, No. 4 Jiyai Shin, No. 5 Na Yeon Choi, No. 6 and last week’s Evian Masters champion Ai Miyazato, No. 7 I.K. Kim, No. 8 Sun-Ju Ahn, No. 9 Paula Creamer and No. 10 Karrie Webb.
Aiming for a repeat: Yani Tseng had never played the Carnoustie Golf Links prior to this week but it didn’t take long for the defending champion of the RICOH Women’s British Open to develop a good feeling about the course.
Tseng played nine holes on Monday at Carnoustie and then 18 holes during Tuesday’s pro-am. She discovered a golf course that will give the players quite a challenge no matter what the conditions will be like this week.
“You can hit a good shot and you land in the bunker, you never know,” Tseng said. “You just need to be patient and just do what you can do and make this shot and just hit it and go. I mean, the course, there's so many ways you can play. You can be aggressive, you can play safe, you can hit a driver or an iron. There's so much imagination and creative shots on this golf course, just you never know. So it's a very, very fun course.”
Last year, Tseng finished at 11-under-par 277 to take a one-stroke victory over Katherine Hull at the Royal Birkdale Golf Club and become the youngest player in LPGA history to win three major championship titles. Tseng had also won the first major of the 2010 season, the Kraft Nabisco Championship. Tseng has carried her success from 2010 into this season. She took over the top spot in the Rolex Rankings in mid-February, just before the LPGA Tour’s season-opening Thailand LPGA Classic. Tseng went on to win that event, giving her four victories in her first four starts worldwide this year. After capturing the LPGA State Farm Classic, Tseng, 22, followed up the win by capturing her fourth career major title at the Wegmans LPGA Championship and becoming the youngest golfer in LPGA history to win four majors.
Tseng will attempt to capture her fifth major championship this week at Carnoustie and she’s pleased with the state her game coming off a 12th place finish at last week’s Evian Masters.
“I feel very confident right now, and I feel comfortable,” Tseng said. “I don't feel like I get so much attention and I just feel very relaxed, and tomorrow I'm just going to be positive and smile and then be patient, and that's all I can do. There's nothing much I can really control because it's just the wind and the bounce of the golf course. You can't control much, just have to go out and play the golf course.”
A memorable finishing hole: Nearly every golfer has seen video from Jean Van De Velde’s triple-bogey collapse on the 18th hole at Carnoustie during the Open Championship back in 1999. So it’s no surprise that the par-4 called “Home” has a reputation for being one of the tougher closing holes in all of golf.
But whether that will be true for the women this week remains to be seen. The tees have been moved up about 100 yards from where the men played the hole during the last Open Championship at Carnoustie in 2007. For this year’s RICOH Women’s British Open, the 18th hole is playing as a 386-yard par-4. According to the players, it has taken away some of the expected difficulty.
“The setup was a little bit different than what I thought it was going to be here,” Paula Creamer said of the course. “It is playing pretty short. I think 6 could have been moved back further, that par‑5, and it could have been a little bit different, making it more of a three‑shot type of hole, and if it's downwind and we get there, great. And 18, why not play it further back and even play it all the way back and make it a par‑5.
“18 doesn't play I don't think the way it should be played, but it is what it is. I know that we have, I think it's like 40 yards in between tees, depending on which way the wind direction is, to set it up for that. But it's also the first year that we're here, too, so who knows what they can do with the pin placements out there, tuck them behind bunkers and whatnot to make it a little bit harder for us.”
Creamer wasn’t the only player to express those sentiments, although the feeling is that the hole might play drastically different if the wind picks up. So far the players have practiced this week in nearly ideal conditions with no rain and minimal wind.
“I do, yeah,” Tseng said when asked if she wished the tees had been moved back. “Yesterday I was hitting 80 yards for my second shot, and I looked back, that's the river, that's very far back. Where the person was hitting from there, and we're out here, it's totally different. They put all the bunkers out of play, put the burns out of play, so it's a little different. If it's windy that bunker is still going to be in play, and I think 18 hole ‑‑ the last hole is going to change a lot…But if they move back it would just ‑‑ I think it's going to be a little different story, too.”
Gaining some local knowledge: Paula Creamer had the opportunity to get an early look at the Carnoustie Championship course, as she made a trip to Scotland prior to last week’s Evian Masters. Before heading to France, Creamer played Carnoustie twice with a local caddy – Danny, who she said was the club champ -- and had her regular caddy, Colin Cann, walk along to take notes on the course.
Creamer changed up the setup of her golf bag this week to prepare for the conditions at Carnoustie. Instead of a 5 and a 7-wood she normally carries, Creamer went with a few rescues and hybrids while adding a 4-iron and a different 5-iron to the bag. She also has only three wedges instead of her usual four. It’s all an attempt to adapt to this links-style golf course, which she is happy to do.
“I love this golf course,” Creamer said. “I think it's by far one of my favorite links golf courses that I've played. I think it's very fair, but it's hard. I think it has every aspect of golf that you need. You have to hit all kinds of shots, and that's what I like. I like the harder the better. It is fair at the same time. You get some hard bounces here and there, but you don't get hard bounces into those little bunkers, which is kind of a nice change. But Mother Nature is in control out here. That's going to dictate the scores for sure.”
Shifting to the long putter: Michelle Wie made a change to her putter two weeks ago and she used a belly putter for the first time in her career at last week’s Evian Masters. Wie, who plans on using the longer putter again this week at the Women’s British Open, was asked the reasoning behind her decision to switch putters.
“I thought it was time for a change,” Wie said. “I'm a tall person. It's actually kind of funny, it's a belly putter for me, and I saw Jiyai Shin putting yesterday on the putting green, and while she was kind of bent over, I put my putter next to her, and it kind of came up to her shoulders. It was kind of funny.
“But I like it. I'm obviously just trying out different grips and different ways to do it, but I just thought it was time for a change, and we'll see. I like it so far.”
Wie was asked if she got any questions or comments from other players about making the switch to a belly putter at this point in her career.
“You know, some people asked me what made me change it,” Wie said. “But I think everyone has experienced changing putters, changing techniques. It's nothing thrilling, I guess.”
A championship history: This may be the first time that the Carnoustie Golf Links has hosted the Women’s British Open, but the course certainly is no stranger to major championships.
Carnoustie has hosted The Open Championship on seven occasions, most recently the 2007 Open Championship, where Padraig Harrington defeated Sergio Garia in a playoff. Prior to 2007, Carnoustie also hosted The Open Championship in 1999 (Paul Lawrie of Scotland defeated Justin Leonard and Jean Van De Velde of France in a playoff); 1975 (Tom Watson defeated Australian Jack Newton in a playoff); 1968 (Gary Player won while Jack Nicklaus and Bob Charles finished second); 1953 (Ben Hogan); 1937 (Henry Cotton) and 1931 (Tommy Amour).
Getting to know Carnoustie: The prestigious Championship course at Carnoustie is well known to many of the LPGA players from having seen it on television when its hosted The Open Championship. But for many of the players, this week marks the first time that they have ever actually played the course.
On Tuesday, there were a number of strong reviews from the players were able to get a first look at the golf course.
Rolex Rankings No. 2 Kerr played eight holes, No. 1-4 and No. 15-18, at Carnoustie on Monday and then she was scheduled to play all 18 holes on Tuesday afternoon during the tournament’s pro-am.
“I think it's fantastic,” Kerr said of the course. “You can see why it's one of the great golf courses that there are over here. It's challenging but fair. It’s interesting, and it's all about the conditions here. I think we're supposed to get some rain or something on Thursday, so it's going to play ‑‑ it never plays the same in a tournament as it does in the practice rounds. It's just perfect weather right now.”
Suzann Pettersen, who played the golf course for only the second time on Tuesday morning in the pro-am, also shared Kerr’s sentiments about the challenges that Carnoustie presents.
“Of all the links courses that I've played in the British Open, I think this will be my favorite,” Pettersen said. “Like I said, I haven't seen it from a nasty kind of condition perspective. It's been very nice, very generous I would say. I think it's a fair course. You can kind of avoid the problems, and good shots are nicely rewarded, and really tough par‑3s.
“The finishing stretch there, depending on what the wind does, but 15, 16, 17 and 18 is probably one of the best finishing holes on any of these courses around here. It's going to be a good test.”
There is a strong international flavor at this year’s RICOH Women’s British Open with a total of 25 countries represented in the field. There are 37 players from the U.S., 28 players from Korea and 12 from England. Among the other countries represented are South Africa, Slovakia, Denmark, Japan and Italy.
Emotions still running strong: Just a couple days after donning a black armband in remembrance of all the lives lost during the two terrorist attacks that devastated her hometown of Oslo, Norway, Suzann Pettersen still appears to be carrying a heavy heart. As the 30-year-old sat on stage in the interview room at the RICOH Women’s British Open on Tuesday afternoon, her solemn tone spoke volumes about how the tragic events still are resonating with her.
“It's still heartbreaking,” Pettersen said.
On Monday, the city of Oslo was filled with more than 150,000 people who gathered to mourn the 76 people that were killed during a bombing in Oslo and a shooting at a youth camp on a nearby island. For Pettersen, who has always carried a strong sense of pride for her native country, it was a sign of how Norwegians have banded together following such a senseless act.
“Really what's amazing through all this is how we all stick together,” Pettersen said. “We stay strong together. Obviously no one can do anything about what actually happened, but we can all stay together for the future. It's just so sad, very, very sad.”
Pettersen, who learned of last Friday’s tragedy from her parents after finishing her second round at the Evian Masters, played the final two rounds of the tournament while wearing the black armband, even though her heart was with everyone in Norway. The No. 3 player in the Rolex Rankings will be in the field at the final major of the year this week, when the Women’s British Open is played at the storied Carnoustie Golf Links for the first time. And there is no doubt that Pettersen will have Norway on her mind again as she attempts to win her second career major title.
“It’s kind of our 9/11 because of the size of our country,” Pettersen said of the tragedy.
“Sports means nothing when it comes to situations like this,” she added. “But you go out there and you fight for your heart and you fight for your friends and fellow Norwegians at home.”
The Women's British Open was first held in 1976. The tournament joined the LPGA schedule in 1994 and became an LPGA Major championship in 2001. Se Ri Pak became the first player to win the event as a Major in 2001, when she defeated the field at Sunningdale Golf Club. Six former RICOH Women's British Open champions will compete for the trophy this week. Karrie Webb (2002, Turnberry), Karen Stupples (2004, Sunningdale), Jeong Jang (2005, Royal Birkdale), Sherri Steinhauer (2006, Royal Lytham and St. Annes), Jiyai Shin (2008, Sunningdale), Catriona Matthew (2009, Royal Lytham) and Tseng, the defending champion (Royal Birkdale).
THE MODERATOR: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. We welcome Catriona Matthew, the 2009 champion, here today. Also an ambassador for Carnoustie country, I believe. This must bring back a lot of great memories for you.
CATRIONA MATTHEW: Yeah, it's great to be back here again. I played a lot here as an amateur, played the Scottish Ladies here, so looking forward to playing here. I played a few months ago just to refresh my memory with it, but the course is in great shape, played yesterday, and really looking forward to playing this week.
THE MODERATOR: What is it about this course that stands out as far as you're concerned?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: I think it's just probably one of the best links courses in Scotland, just difficult with the bunkering off the tee, and the greens are fairly tricky to get into if you get out of position. I suppose you just need to try and hit the fairways and that gives you the best shot into the greens.
Q. There's a suggestion in some of the Scottish papers today that the head greenkeeper John Philp has presented a watered‑down version of Carnoustie, not the real Carnoustie.
CATRIONA MATTHEW: Obviously that's their opinion. I obviously didn't play here when the men played when it was kind of named "Car‑nasty." It'll still be a tough test. Like any links course, it depends on the wind. If there's no wind on a links course, none of them are overly difficult. But they're kind of designed and set up to play probably in a bit of a breeze.
Q. Did you win any amateur titles here?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: I won the Scottish Ladies, maybe '91, early '90s.
Q. Obviously you've got that win, but it was some time ago ‑‑
CATRIONA MATTHEW: Only two years. Laugter
Q. How much can you thrive on obviously the victory at Lytham? When you arrive here, how much does that stir the emotions and boost the confidence?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: I think it probably helps me relax a little bit more. Obviously playing in this event there's probably a little bit of added pressure with it being your home major. So nice to have won it, and it definitely lets me relax a little bit more and enjoy the event more.
Q. What sort of player do you think will do well here this week? What does it take to play Carnoustie?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: I think you've just got to drive the ball well. I think if you can ‑‑ from playing yesterday, if you drove the ball well, you had a lot of birdie chances out there. I think if you can drive it well and keep it out of the bunkers, that gives you a great chance.
Q. You've been playing pretty solidly this year. How do you fancy your chances?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: Yeah, I feel as if I've been playing really well this year. Worked hard on my swing over the last year and feel as if I'm hitting it as well as I ever have done. Yeah, I've been playing well, so yeah, my chances are pretty good if I can hole some putts. That's what it comes down to in the end.
Q. Could I just ask about this season, how difficult it is now with the girls getting older and traveling? There's not so many runs in America. Just talk about the season.
CATRIONA MATTHEW: Yeah, they've probably come now to ‑‑ it's obviously more difficult with over overseas events and things, but they've probably come to about 60 per cent of the events. We were all just out in America for six weeks, so it's certainly different traveling with four of us, but you kind of adapt and get used to it.
These two weeks we're just on our own, so it's a little bit more relaxing. But it was good fun traveling with them. But it's nice at times to have a week on your own. They're enjoying being spoilt by their grandparents.
Q. What does being a Carnoustie ambassador involve exactly?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: Really just to try and promote just necessarily just Carnoustie but the whole area. Obviously there are a lot of good other golf courses in this area. Playing in a America a lot, that's obviously where the bulk of the visitors come from, to try and encourage them to come over and play, not necessarily just Carnoustie but Montrose and Monifieth and all the other good courses in this area.
Q. (No microphone.)
CATRIONA MATTHEW: I expect it to, yeah, early start. Links golf that seems like the best time to play. Obviously you never know, you can have a good draw or a bad draw; a lot depends on the weather, but certainly playing early can sometimes be an advantage and get out maybe before the wind picks up or maybe the rain comes tomorrow.
Q. What time does that mean getting up?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: Not that early. I have it down to a fine art. Probably about maybe 5:00. I don't get up too early. Used to these early starts now.
THE MODERATOR: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. We have Yani Tseng, defending champion, in the interview area. Yani comes into this championship having won once in Taiwan and three times on the LPGA Tour this year including her fourth major championship. You must be excited and in that sort of form to be here.
YANI TSENG: Yeah, sounds really good.
THE MODERATOR: Have you had a chance to play the course?
YANI TSENG: Yeah, I played 18 holes in the pro‑am. I played nine holes on Monday, and I love this course. I love the links courses. I'm so excited to be here at the home of golf, and I just can't wait to go out and play in the tournament tomorrow.
THE MODERATOR: What is it you love about the golf course?
YANI TSENG: Just you can hit a good shot and you land in the bunker, you never know. You just need to be patient and just do what you can do and make this shot and just hit it and go. I mean, the course, there's so many ways you can play. You can be aggressive, you can play safe, you can hit a driver or an iron. There's so much imagination and creative shots on this golf course, just you never know. So it's a very, very fun course.
THE MODERATOR: How do you think it compares to last year's venue?
YANI TSENG: I feel like I have so many great memories of the British Open, so I just feel so excited to be here. I'm smiling all week. I just feel like very happy to come back, just play it again and see all the fans, the media, the people here, just really, really nice, and just so happy to be here.
Q. The course is looking very friendly at the moment. Had you expected it to be sort of tougher and nastier altogether?
YANI TSENG: Yeah, I think it's going to be tougher, all the pressure I have this week and all the people who's watching me. But I just want to enjoy it. But this golf course is ‑‑ every day it plays different. Maybe an iron today and hit a driver tomorrow. You couldn't be surprised if you're hitting shots in the bunker or you couldn't be surprised if you hit like 5‑iron today and hit a 3‑wood tomorrow because the wind is going to be different. So just need to be very patient, and I think this week everybody is going to be tough, and then I heard tomorrow is going to be raining all day, and I'm looking forward ‑‑ if there's no rain it will feel weird. This is the British Open. The wind is going to pick up and it will be raining. I think it's going to be fun.
Q. Would you have liked to see the 18th playing longer, because you're 100 yards in front of where the men were in 2007?
YANI TSENG: I do, yeah. Yesterday I was hitting 80 yards for my second shot, and I looked back, that's the river, that's very far back where the person was hitting from there, and we're out here, it's totally different. They put all the bunkers out of play, put the burns out of play, so it's a little different. If it's windy that bunker is still going to be in play, and I think 18 hole ‑‑ the last hole is going to change a lot, short par‑5, long par‑3 and then good par‑4 at the end, and it just plays so different. But if they move back it would just ‑‑ I think it's going to be a little different story, too.
Q. If you had been setting the tees would you have put it back at 18?
YANI TSENG: Yeah, for sure. It's a good advantage for me if you put it back ten yards because the bunker I know is ‑‑ you still have to hit it straight, but I just feel like the bunker is more in play for me. But it's good, I just maybe try to make everybody fair, and you still have to hit it straight. Right or left it'll be in the bunker or in the rough. It's very different.
Q. How confident are you feeling that you can retain your title here at Carnoustie?
YANI TSENG: Actually I feel very confident right now, and I feel comfortable. I don't feel like I get so much attention and I just feel very relaxed, and tomorrow I'm just going to be positive and smile and then be patient, and that's all I can do. There's nothing much I can really control because it's just the wind and the bounce of the golf course. You can't control much, just have to go out and play the golf course.
Q. This course is renowned globally as one of if not the toughest links courses in the world. Is that an opinion that you share?
YANI TSENG: I do, I feel that. I was writing on my Facebook today, this is the top three in the world tough golf courses. I think it's one of my favourite golf courses. When I came here, I played after a couple holes, I just love it. I love this golf course. I don't know if I'm going to shoot a good score, but I just feel like I will have lots of fun on this golf course.
Q. All of your success you've had over the last year, how often do you manage to get home and what's sort of been the reaction back in Taiwan?
YANI TSENG: Yeah, it's huge. I mean, all the people ‑‑ more people recognise me when I walk on the street. People will say, oh, you did a very good job and we're always cheering for you, and I feel like in the States or here, I don't feel like I'm alone. So many people are supporting Taiwan. And now the TV coverage on the LPGA is more and all the people are going to follow me in Taiwan. It's lots of fun. Now I'm wearing the pink on Sunday, so now lots of people in Taiwan are wearing the pink and watching on the TV to cheer for me, too.
Q. (No microphone.)
YANI TSENG: Today I haven't played yet. In the morning it was so breezy.
Q. How about yesterday?
YANI TSENG: Yesterday I played good. I played with a pro from Japan. She's going to be TV.
Q. The 18th hole, what did you hit?
YANI TSENG: Oh, on the 18th hole? I hit driver down the fairway, and I had 85 shot to the pin, and I hit a wedge, little wedge. It was very different. But when I had a practice round at 18 it was a little into the wind. Yesterday the pin was front, and when I practice round the pin was back, and I hit a 7‑ or 8‑iron. It's a big difference between the front and back, and the wind just switches a little bit, it could be like two, three clubs different.
Q. Are you going to hit a driver?
YANI TSENG: Yeah, I'll hit a driver. I asked my caddie, is it a 3‑wood or a rescue. He's like, just driver, be aggressive. It doesn't matter, you just need to hit it straight, whether you hit a rescue or a driver or a 3‑wood. I feel very comfortable with my driver, so I just hit a driver and take all the bunkers out of play.
Q. In Taiwan is it the same as in Japan with people admiring women golfers as much if not more than the men?
YANI TSENG: I think so now. I think it's getting much better now. We are trying to catch Japan, too, because Japan is very, very popular for golf of the but now we have like three or four players play on the LPGA and people are watching in Taiwan and more people are watching golf. Even they don't play, but they know how to golf, they know the rules of golf. I think it's getting much better now.
Q. Is the ladies' game better than the men's game?
YANI TSENG: Yeah, I think so, too.
Q. Do you have any clubs in Taiwan that are men only, or can you join any club you want to if you're a woman?
YANI TSENG: No, I think everybody is very ‑‑ you can be a member and play, but even if you're not a member you still can play the golf course.
THE MODERATOR: Ladies and gentlemen, we have Melissa Reid here. She comes into the tournament in fourth place on the LET Henderson Money List having won the Dutch Open. Are you looking forward to the championship?
MELISSA REID: Yeah, I am. I think ‑‑ I've never been to Carnoustie before, so it was my third time around yesterday, and I was kind of expecting it to be really quite difficult, and not that it's not difficult, but it's much more fair than what I was kind of expecting. But yeah, it's in fantastic shape.
THE MODERATOR: Had you watched it on TV in Opens in the past?
MELISSA REID: Yeah, obviously I've done some research on it having watched the Opens and things like that. I kind of knew what to expect. There's a few holes that are very different. 18, for example, I think maybe they could have moved that back a little bit, brought the burn a little bit more into play. But yeah, it's obviously very different when you play it yourself than on TV, but it's in superb condition.
THE MODERATOR: Does it strike you as being a good course?
MELISSA REID: Yeah, I mean it's definitely going to be one of my top five golf courses that I've played. I just think if you drive the ball well, which I would say is one of the strongest parts of my game, then you kind of eliminate a lot of the trouble, and you've got more chances than somebody who's not driving it great.
THE MODERATOR: You've been playing very solidly this year. How do you fancy your chances going in?
MELISSA REID: Yeah, I mean, I've played all right this year. I would quite like to have had a few more better results than what I have. I had a virus for a few weeks which kind of made me quite weak, so the win in Holland was actually very, very nice, came at a good time, and I certainly feel that my game is much more mature than what it was a year ago. My swing feels a lot better, and I feel very calm about this week. There's something about it; I just feel quite settled here to be honest.
THE MODERATOR: Is that something different from normal?
MELISSA REID: I don't know. I think maybe obviously the more British Opens, the more bigger tournaments, the more you play bigger tournaments the more comfortable you feel there. This is my fourth British Open, so obviously the whole arena and stuff is getting a lot more comfortable.
THE MODERATOR: Do you rate this as sort of the No. 1 tournament of the year or is it something you think about?
MELISSA REID: Yeah, I mean, obviously Evian is a big event for us, as well, but I think every single Brit, if they could have one tournament in their whole career, it would be this one. As a Brit obviously we do our best to try and prepare as best we can for this week and kind of get our games in good enough shape to perform well in this British Open.
Q. You've played the course now. Do you feel that some of the tees could be back apart from 18? Do you feel some of the other tees could be a bit back and perhaps to your advantage?
MELISSA REID: Yeah, I do. I feel like the par‑5s you can reach with mid irons, and that's what I mean, I was kind of expecting you'd have to hit a really good 3‑wood and then maybe you have a chance of getting on in two. But you're hitting mid irons into par‑5s. I know the wind hasn't blown yet so tomorrow morning could be a 3‑wood. But I think 17 they could have moved back, either moved that back or moved that forward and made it a par‑4, either hit it on or lay up. And also 18, I was a little bit ‑‑ I was quite shocked with 18 to be honest. I thought the burn would definitely be in play on the drive, and it's just a driver‑wedge. I've hit driver‑wedge in there two days now, so it's a little bit ‑‑ I definitely thought they would move that tee back.
Q. Which do you think will be the problem holes out there? You've mentioned a few are easy. Which are the hard ones?
MELISSA REID: It completely depends on the wind. 15, 16 are definitely tough. The first seven holes you've definitely got your birdie opportunities, and then the mid six holes ‑‑ actually really all the way through from about the eighth hole or ninth hole all the way through to about 16 are the tough holes where you've got to stay very patient during them holes, and if you come out there level par, you've definitely picked a couple up on the field I'd say.
Q. Mel, if you don't get any wind, will the scores be pretty scarily low?
MELISSA REID: Yeah, I think so. I think you're going to have to be in double digits to finish top seven. I think the scores will be ‑‑ or even top ten. I think the scores will be very, very low if the wind stays down as it is, because that's the only thing that can protect this course really is the wind. I obviously would like the wind, but I know I played with Laura this morning, she'd like the wind up, as well, just because I feel like it would eliminate basically half the field because they're not used to it, whereas the Brits and the Europeans, we're a lot more used to the wind and used to playing in tougher conditions.
I would prefer the wind up, but I've heard that it's going to be quite calm all week. If there's no wind, I think it brings every single player into it, whereas I think if the wind picks up it takes half the field out.
Q. You talked about the sort of feeling of calm that you've got at the moment, and presumably that's very welcome, but can you elaborate on why you're feeling so composed?
MELISSA REID: I don't know, really. I mean, I've got a lot of good people, I've got my manager here and my family, I've got my mom and dad coming in, my coach is here, my best mate is here, and I just feel I've got quite a good team around me to kind of take me away from the golf course. I played actually really well last week in Evian, I just didn't play great the first two days, so that gave me a lot of confidence.
I'm working on a few things in my swing, and I'm starting to feel very comfortable with it now. Maybe that's why the sense of calmness and just have a little bit more self‑belief, and if you don't have that self‑belief you can get a bit shaky. But I don't know, I've just not really let it happen a few times, whereas this week I do feel that I'm ready to just let it happen basically.
Q. Is this the first time you've felt like that coming into this tournament?
MELISSA REID: I guess so. I mean, I felt confident last year to be honest, I just got off to a bad start. You've just got to be very, very patient in big tournaments like this, and I do feel that ‑‑ I've just changed a few things in my preparation like the way I've been practising and stuff, and it gives me a kind of bubble really. I'm not really paying very much attention to anything else apart from what works for me and just trying to get a bit of rhythm basically to my practice routines.
THE MODERATOR: Ladies and gentlemen, we have Michelle Wie with us in the interview area. Welcome to Carnoustie. Can I start by asking your initial thoughts on the golf course.
MICHELLE WIE: Well, I heard a lot about the golf course before I came over here, and I played on Monday morning, and when I first got here I was really excited when I got to the golf course. It was very interesting. It definitely has a lot of character. It's very unique. And I'm really excited to play this week. I think it's a great golf course, and it's definitely a bit challenging I'd have to say, and especially with the wind, it's been changing over the last three days. But the weather has been pretty good so far, so I think it's going to be a good week.
THE MODERATOR: What makes it unique as far as you're concerned?
MICHELLE WIE: Well, the greens are a bit bumpy. I mean, not in the sense that the greens are bumpy but there's quite a lot of hills around the greens, it kind of falls off. Obviously you see the bunkers, that's what everybody is talking about. They're pretty tall. There's some bunkers that you really don't want to be in. Actually every bunker you don't want to be in.
But it's a difficult golf course, especially I don't think we've seen it quite windy yet, but I think when the wind starts blowing it's going to be a good challenging challenge off the tee.
THE MODERATOR: Did you watch it during the Opens on TV and things like that?
MICHELLE WIE: You know, Lorie Kane and I this morning on the 18th hole were just talking about what happened there. It has a lot of history for sure. And I think it's going to ‑‑ it's kind of cool to come back and see what the guys did and kind of hear stories. David has a lot of stories about what happened, and it's kind of cool to hear those stories, and hopefully I can make some of mine.
THE MODERATOR: How would you assess your form coming into the championship?
MICHELLE WIE: I'm really excited to play. I've been working really hard on my game. Obviously last week wasn't my best showing, but I'm just really excited to play. I'm really excited to show what I've got and kind of attack the golf course.
Q. Would you have liked to have seen the tee back a bit at 18, a bit tougher in the conditions we have at the moment?
MICHELLE WIE: You know, I'm not really sure because I haven't really played from the back, but I was quite surprised to see how forward it was. But I'm sure even when the water is not in play, when the wind is blowing sideways or into or whatever, it's still a challenging hole for sure. Obviously we're not playing as far back as the men, but even with the tee forward I still think it's a very good finishing hole and a very challenging one.
Q. Can you talk about the decision to switch to the long putter and why you like it?
MICHELLE WIE: Well, I switched right after ‑‑ the week before Evian, right after the Open. I thought it was time for a change. I'm a tall person. It's actually kind of funny, it's a belly putter for me, and I saw Shin putting yesterday on the putting green, and while she was kind of bent over, I put my putter next to her, and it kind of came up to her shoulders. It was kind of funny.
But I like it. I'm obviously just trying out different grips and different ways to do it, but I just thought it was time for a change, and we'll see. I like it so far.
Q. When did you switch to that putter?
MICHELLE WIE: Like two weeks ago. The Nike people were asking me what lie I wanted or how long I wanted it, and I had no clue, so I kind of took a driver out on the driving range, and I said, I think probably an inch longer than my driver. But they made it pretty well. It's the same head as my previous putter, so it looks the same. But we'll see how it works. Hopefully it works well.
Q. When the conditions have been as they are, quite calm in practice, how do you actually anticipate the potential for wind in the tournament itself? Do you actually stand on the tee in practice and visualise less wind?
MICHELLE WIE: It's kind of difficult to, I guess, because when it does blow, it blows in such extreme conditions that it's kind of hard to tell. Obviously we do make plans. We stand on the tee box and we're kind of practising on the practice tee. We're like, this hole if it's downwind we'll hit driver, or into the wind we have to hit it short of the bunker since we can't carry it, so we try to make the best plan we can and look ahead and see what the conditions are like, if it's rainy or windy.
Like I said before, it's kind of tough to really anticipate what the weather is going to be like. You kind of hit low shots on the driving range and then it's going to be calm the entire day, or vice versa. I think that's the beauty of the British Open. You actually don't know what the conditions are until you kind of step onto the first tee.
Q. (No microphone.)
MICHELLE WIE: Yeah, you kind of have to be. You just can't be set on one certain path to play the golf course. There's a lot of bunkers here, a lot of different ways to play. So I guess you have to be. You have to be very adaptable to the conditions. It could be very soft, it could be very firm, it could be very windy or calm. But I have to anticipate for the high winds, but if not, you just have to play it for that, I guess.
Q. On the first day that you practiced with the long putter, did you get thousands of questions from the other girls, or do they keep silent? Do you hear the whispers? What do they ask you?
MICHELLE WIE: You know, some people asked me like what made me change it. But I think everyone has experienced changing putters, changing techniques. It's nothing, I guess, thrilling.
Q. You played with another long putter, didn't you, at the Evian, in Maria Hjorth?
MICHELLE WIE: Yes. I think hers was longer than mine. I think hers comes up to her chest.
Q. Just curious how you would rank this course in terms of difficulty compared to the other venues you've played for the British.
MICHELLE WIE: I think it's kind of difficult to say because when we played Birkdale last year the practice rounds were quite windy and rainy, so obviously when you come to the first tee, that's already a very intimidating factor. Obviously the last couple days it hasn't been like that. It's been very sunny and calm and not that cold even. So I think the course itself, it's a challenge. It's a definite big challenge with all the bunkers, and they're kind of staggered so sometimes you can't really play short of them or long of them, you have to kind of hit in between.
And some of these greens, they're pretty slopey, not in general from front to back, but they have these little hills that they might run off the greens. I definitely think it's a challenge. It's a very good British Open golf course, and we'll see if it starts to rain and blow. But I'm just kind of anticipating some of that.
THE MODERATOR: Ladies and gentlemen, we have Paula Creamer with us. Welcome to Carnoustie. I understand that you are an ambassador for Ricoh, the sponsors of the championship. Can you tell us what that involves?
PAULA CREAMER: Being an ambassador for Ricoh is quite an honour. They're an incredible company, and the fact that they are so heavily involved with the environment and making things better is something that I've always looked at and tried to take part in myself. It shows a lot when a company, a sponsor, wants to get involved with the LPGA, and the fact that the "Super Sunday" on Sunday, the birdies and all the money it's giving back to Japan relief, to be a part of it, like I said, is quite an honour, and I'm very lucky to be an ambassador for them.
THE MODERATOR: Ricoh are a company who are pretty big on teamwork. How important is your team around you this week besides every other week?
PAULA CREAMER: Teamwork is huge. That's what I guess gets me through each year. My team is pretty small, but it's very intricate. I have my parents travel with me, my coach, my manager, my caddie. It's all about teamwork, and you can't do it by yourself. Unfortunately you are the one that hits the shots, but there's a lot of people behind the scenes that help you get to where you need to go.
THE MODERATOR: Who are your coach and caddie?
PAULA CREAMER: My coach is David Whelan, and my caddie is Colin Cann.
THE MODERATOR: Ricoh are also a company that makes businesses more efficient. Have you had to do anything this week to adapt to the links and conditions?
PAULA CREAMER: I have. I've changed the setup in my golf bag definitely as the wind plays a huge factor over here. My setup of my golf bag is different. I normally carry a 5‑ and a 7‑wood. This week I have some rescues and hybrids and I put in a 4‑iron and a different 5‑iron in my bag, and I only have three wedges instead of four. You do have to adapt to the conditions.
THE MODERATOR: I understand you've been to Carnoustie before the Evian. What are your initial thoughts about the golf course?
PAULA CREAMER: I love this golf course. I think it's by far one of my favourite links golf courses that I've played. I think it's very fair, it's hard. I think it has every aspect of golf that you need. You have to hit all kinds of shots, and that's what I like. I like the harder the better. It is fair at the same time. You get some hard bounces here and there, but you don't get hard bounces into those little bunkers, which is kind of a nice change. But Mother Nature is in control out here. That's going to dictate the scores for sure.
THE MODERATOR: How would you assess your form coming into the tournament?
PAULA CREAMER: I feel really good. In these last several tournaments that I've played in, I feel like I'm right in there. This past week I hit the ball really well. I started making a bunch of putts, which was nice. The weekend I didn't play as well as I wanted. But it's just putting myself in contention, that's all I can really ask for. But I do feel good.
I love playing over here, always have. I like the challenge. I like the different type of golf. I like grinding it out, so that's a positive thing for me to look at. I know the weather is not going to be great tomorrow, and I'm excited for that. I don't want it to be sunny. I want it to be blowing and bouncing and getting frustrated out there. I like that.
Q. When you were here a couple of weeks ago I was told that the winds might have been going two different directions on the days you were here. Comparing that to the conditions earlier this week, a lot of the players are saying it's very difficult to judge what they'll do in the tournament. Have you got some sort of advantage having had that experience?
PAULA CREAMER: Well, I played with the wind where 1 was downwind, and today it kind of switched around, so actually it was the first time I've really played it where it's been into. I can tell you, 15, 16 and 18 played a heck of a lot harder when the wind was into than it is now, going down and kind of across. It was a very different golf course when the winds do switch. But I have that ‑‑ I know what it's like. I think the prevailing wind is into on 1, and those finishing holes played downwind, makes it I think a little bit easier.
But overall, who knows what's going to happen. I mean, that's the greatest thing about the British is it can change at any moment. It changes on the golf course, especially around 9, 10, 11, 12. That little area seems to always be opposite of what it should be, and maybe the two days that I played before Evian kind of helped me get used to it, I don't know. But I'd like to say that I kind of have a hands up on playing the golf course with the wind.
Q. You took a local caddie out with you when you were here?
PAULA CREAMER: I did, Danny, yes, the club champ I had on my bag. It was fun, it was a good time. I played with Colin, the head pro, and trying to get as much insight as I can. Like I said, you can't really control where the ball bounces but you can aim in the right direction, that's for sure.
Q. Were you disappointed that 18 is so far up, kind of takes the burn out of play with the prevailing wind?
PAULA CREAMER: It does. The setup was a little bit different than what I thought it was going to be here. It is playing pretty short. I think 6 could have been moved back further, that par‑5, and it could have been a little bit different, making it more of a three‑shot type of hole, and if it's downwind and we get there, great. And 18, why not play it further back and even play it all the way back and make it a par‑5.
17 is a strange hole for us. I think you go 4‑rescue, 5‑iron on a par‑5. But when that wind switches around it's going to be a different story.
18 doesn't play I don't think the way it should be played, but it is what it is, and I know that we have I think it's like 40 yards in between tees, depending on which way the wind direction is, to set it up for that. But it's also the first year that we're here, too, so who knows what they can do with the pin placements out there, tuck them behind bunkers and whatnot to make it a little bit harder for us.
THE MODERATOR: Ladies and gentlemen, we have Cristie Kerr in the interview area. Thank you for coming. You have a great last few years in this championship. You must be looking forward to this week.
CRISTIE KERR: Yeah, I always enjoyed playing over here. I think it's kind of shocking to people that this is my favourite kind of golf, you know. I like golf where you don't have to be perfect, where the bounces are going to be different, and it's interesting every day.
THE MODERATOR: You've had a chance to look at eight holes. Any first thoughts on the course?
CRISTIE KERR: I think it's fantastic. You can see why it's one of the great golf courses that there are over here. It's challenging but fair. You know, it's interesting, and it's all about the conditions here. I think we're supposed to get some rain or something on Thursday, so it's going to play ‑‑ it never plays the same in a tournament as it does in the practice rounds. It's just perfect weather right now.
Q. Have you seen it much on TV in the past and is it the same as you imagined?
CRISTIE KERR: I have seen it. It's always different when you're here in person. On TV it looks like a much bigger golf course, but the 18th hole is much more narrow than it looks on TV, and it's a very good golf hole.
Q. Have you actually played the 18th yet?
CRISTIE KERR: I have, yeah. I played 8 holes yesterday. I played 1 through 4 and then 15 through 18. This is great, the pro‑am here, because we get to play our own ball, so it was good for me to get a chance to rest yesterday and go see part of the course. Yeah, I played 18. It's a pretty good hole.
Q. It's got quite a reputation, that hole. What do you know of its past?
CRISTIE KERR: Well, obviously the Jean Van de Velde story, everybody knows that. I actually got to meet him last week at the Evian, and Paul Lawrie, and what's happened with Sergio and Ernie Els there before. This is the first time the women have played here.
Q. When you met Jean Van de Velde, did you sort of avoid talking about Carnoustie or did it come up in conversation?
CRISTIE KERR: It honestly really didn't come up. We talked more about wine because he really loves wine. That was pretty much ‑‑ it was the gala dinner last Saturday night at the Royal Hotel in Evian, so it was more about wine than Carnoustie. He just wished me good luck.
Q. I'm looking at your record this year, and you've seemed to do everything else but win. Would that be a fair summation?
CRISTIE KERR: Yes, I think so. I probably would have finished in the top five again if I had a good Sunday a couple days ago. But that's golf. Yeah, I have done everything but win this year. It's a bit frustrating, but I've just got to keep plugging away, and it'll be that much more satisfying.
THE MODERATOR: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. We have Suzann Pettersen in the interview area. You've had some great results, including your victory at Match Play this year. Do you feel confident coming into the tournament?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Sure, just can't transition from playing along on the hillside to playing a links course. But I feel great. I've seen the course twice now. I don't think I'll see the course like this during the tournament days. It's probably going to be a little windier and coming from all different directions. But this is as nice as it gets here, and it's nice to come and get a feel for the course. I feel most of my work this week will be on the course in the preparation because nothing is like playing links golf, and you've just got to go out there and get a feel for the game.
THE MODERATOR: What did you think about the golf course now that you've seen it a couple of times?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Of all the links courses that I've played British Open, I think this will be my favourite. Like I said, I haven't seen it from a nasty kind of condition perspective. It's been very nice, very generous I would say. I think it's a fair course. You can kind of avoid the problems, and good shots are nicely rewarded, and really tough par‑3s. The finishing stretch there, depending on what the wind does, but 15, 16, 17 and 18 is probably one of the best finishing holes on any of these courses around here. It's going to be a good test.
Q. First of all, sympathies for what happened in Norway last week. How do you feel now three or four days after it happened?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: It's still heartbreaking. I talked to ‑‑ over the weekend it was a bit hard to get hold of everybody because everybody was kind of in shock. Yesterday was a fantastic ceremony. It was meant to be a parade, but there was actually too many people to walk in the parade, so they had to cancel the parade and kind of hold more of like a ‑‑ I think it was some kind of a concert. They gathered 150,000 people in Oslo. There are only 500,000 people living in Oslo, barely, so it was as crowded as anyone has seen the place.
Really what's amazing through all this is how we all stick together. We stay strong together. Obviously no one can do anything about what actually happened, but we can all stay together for the future. It's just so sad, very, very sad. Yesterday was the first day of trial for the guy who did it, and he's just a maniac, just a crazy guy. I don't think we could have done anything different to protect the society from people like that, unfortunately.
From my perspective it's kind of like 9/11 because of the size of the country and so many people has been affected in one way or the other. So it's ‑‑ people are really in shock.
Q. As you say, like Scotland, Norway is a small country. Do you know personally any of the families involved?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: No, I don't, not that I know of so far. But it doesn't matter if you know someone close or someone out there, because we all ‑‑ like I said, one loss is one loss from all of us. So unfortunately it was a lot of young people, all young people pretty much. It's sad.
Q. I understand you learned about this from your father. Was that in a telephone call after the second round?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Well, my parents were down there, I finished the round, kind of felt good, and they were all sitting there, and they said, "I guess we've got to give her the breaking news." I said, "What do you mean, breaking news?" I just knew the way they said it was wrong. I thought it was something in the immediate family, that something had happened, just the way they looked. And then they told me all about it, and at the time I think they hadn't even caught the guy who was shooting at the island.
When I went to bed on Friday ‑‑ was it Friday? I think there was 13 dead, and when I woke up on Saturday I think it was 90, so breakfast did not taste good on Saturday morning.
Q. You wore the black armband as a mark of respect on Saturday. Did you think at any time about pulling out of the tournament?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: No, because I think everyone at home would feel like you should go out there and play for us. In Norway they actually cancelled all sports events throughout the weekend. Friday night, every bar, restaurant, any public place was closed. It was a ghost town. I thought, sports means nothing when it comes to situations like this. You go out there and you fight for your heart and you fight for your friends and fellow Norwegians at home.
THE MODERATOR: We have Ai Miyazato here. Welcome to Carnoustie. Congratulations on last week. You must be feeling very confident coming in here.
AI MIYAZATO: Yes, I have very huge confidence right now, but right now I'm just very happy that I could win last week, and now I'm ready for this week.
THE MODERATOR: Have you had a chance to play the Carnoustie course yet?
AI MIYAZATO: No, that was the first time that I played today, and it was an amazing golf course. I'm really happy to be here, and it was really fun to play.
THE MODERATOR: What did you particularly like about the golf course?
AI MIYAZATO: The greens are really slopey. You need to really commit with the tee shots, like almost every single shot, every single hole. But everything is going to be different almost every day, I think. But it's really interesting to play.
Q. Can you talk a little bit about what you did to celebrate after winning the Evian Masters on Sunday?
AI MIYAZATO: I didn't have time to do anything actually because I need to stay in London on Sunday night. But it was nice to have my family over there, you know, my friends over there. We had a very short dinner on Sunday night, but it was really great.
Q. And have you decided yet how much of your winner's check that you are going to donate? I know you had talked about that on Sunday.
AI MIYAZATO: I'm still thinking about it, but I'll donate some of the money.