Regional Sports News
St Annes Old Links has been confirmed as the Final Qualifying venue for the 2018 Ricoh Women’s British Open.
The Final Qualifying event will be played on Monday 30 July ahead of the Championship returning to nearby Royal Lytham & St Annes from 2-5 August, which will mark the fifth time the world-renowned links has hosted the Women’s British Open.
Professional and elite amateur golfers will compete for the available qualifying places over one round of 18 holes.
Johnnie Cole-Hamilton, Executive Director – Championships at The R&A, said, “St Annes Old Links is one of Great Britain and Ireland’s most prominent links courses and has a highly regarded reputation for hosting professional and elite amateur events.
“We look forward to an exciting Final Qualifying event when golfers will compete for the final places available in the Ricoh Women’s British Open.” St Annes Old Links has been a qualifying venue for The Open on many occasions, most recently in 2012, and will host Final Qualifying in 2018 ahead of The 147th Open at Carnoustie. It becomes the first venue to host final qualifying at both the Open Championship and Ricoh Women’s British Open in the same year. It has also held a number of elite amateur events including this year’s Boys Home Internationals, the English Women’s Open Amateur Stroke Play Championship and the Girls Home Internationals.
Pre-Qualifying for the Ricoh Women’s British Open will be hosted at Hankley Common for the second consecutive year on Monday 16th July 2018.
The Women’s British Open was founded by the Ladies’ Golf Union (LGU) in 1976 and has been staged in conjunction with IMG, a global leader in sports, events, media and fashion, since 1984. The event has been co-sanctioned by the LPGA and LET since 1994, and gained Major status in 2001. The LGU merged with The R&A on 1 January 2017.
Ricoh, a global technology company specialising in office imaging equipment, production print solutions, document management systems and IT services, has been the title sponsor of the Ricoh Women’s British Open since 2007.
In The Winner's Circle with Stacy Lewis
*Updated winner’s check in U.S. dollars
IN THE WINNER’S CIRCLE with STACY LEWIS
2013 RICOH Women’s British Open
The Old Course, St. Andrews
Born: The Woodlands, Texas
Lives: Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.
Birthdate: February 16, 1985 – currently 28 years, 5 months, and 19 days
Qualified for LPGA Tour: Earned medalist honors at the 2008 LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament
Turned Professional: June 2008
o LPGA: Eighth-career victory; second-career major championship Previous wins: 2011 Kraft Nabisco Championship, 2012 Mobile Bay LPGA Classic, 2012 ShopRite LPGA Classic, 2012 Navistar LPGA Classic, 2012 Mizuno Classic, 2013 HSBC Women’s Champions, 2013 RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup
o CAREER: With the $402,583 first-place check, Stacy surpasses LPGA and World Golf Halls of Famer Nancy Lopez to move into the 40th spot on the LPGA Career Money List with $5,412,824
o SEASON: Crosses the $1 million in season earnings for the third time in her career: Stacy has earned $1,319,382 this season and is 2nd on the 2013 LPGA Official Money List
· ROLEX RANKINGS
o Maintains the No. 2 spot in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings.
· TOURNAMENT SPECIFIC
o Previous finishes at the U.S. Women’s Open: 2007 - CUT; 2008 – T3; 2009 – T48; 2010 – T14; 2011 – T34; 2012 – T46
· OF NOTE
o Breaks a streak of 10-consecutive Asian-born players winning LPGA major championships and is the first American to win a major since she won her first major title at the 2011 Kraft Nabisco Championship
o First American to win the Women’s British Open since Sherri Steinhauer won in 2006
· SOLHEIM CUP
o Earned 120 points and finishes the U.S. Solheim Cup Team points race ranked first with 977 points
· 2013 IN A NUTSHELL
o 17 events, 17 cuts made, $1,319,382 earned, 3 wins, 12 top-10s
· 2012 RECAP
o Earned Rolex Player of the Year honors, becoming the first American player to win the award since Beth Daniel in 1994
o 26 events, 25 cuts made, $1,872,409 earned (3), four victories, 12 additional top-10 finishes, three runner-up finishes
o Placed in the top-10 in nine additional categories including greens in regulation (75%), putts per greens in regulation (1.751), scoring average (70.333), rounds under par (58), birdies (362), eagles (12), rounds in the 60’s (33), sub-par holes (374), and finished third on the money list with $1,872,409
RICOH Women’s British Open
The Old Course, St. Andrews
Final-round Notes and Interviews
August 4, 2013
Stacy Lewis -8, Rolex Rankings No. 2
Na Yeon Choi -6, Rolex Rankings No. 4
Inbee Park +6, Rolex Rankings No. 1
Sunday’s Final-round Recap
All eyes were set on Rolex Rankings No.1 Inbee Park this week at St. Andrews hoping to catch a glimpse of history at the RICOH Women’s British Open. But it was the No. 2 player in the world who ended up stealing the headlines.
American Stacy Lewis shot a final-round, even-par 72 at the famed Old Course to win her second-career major championship with a two-shot victory over South Koreans Na Yeon Choi and Hee Young Park. Lewis birdied the 71st and 72nd holes of the tournament to move her to 8-under par which proved to be the winning score.
"We're at the home of golf,” said Lewis. “To end birdie-birdie is amazing. It's been a perfect day."
The victory is Lewis’ second major win and first since the 2011 Kraft Nabisco Championship which was also the last time an American claimed a major title. The win snapped a streak of 10 winless majors for the United States.
“I'm pretty excited about that,” said Lewis. “I guess it was the longest stretch we've ever had for an American gap; I don't know if that's for sure. But we get asked about it. I got asked about it this week. Every major, we get asked about it, and it definitely gets old, so more than anything, you guys can't ask me the question for awhile.”
The win also earned Lewis 120 U.S. Solheim Cup Team points, helping her finish first in the U.S. points race with 977 points. She’ll be making her second appearance at the biennial team event in two weeks at the Colorado Golf Club in Parker, Colo. Eight Americans finished this week in the top-20.
“It's nice just to be playing well going into the Solheim Cup and see Morgan is playing well, Paula is playing well and to see the American flag up on the board has definitely been a lot of fun this week,” said Lewis.
Lewis started her day on Sunday with a 4:30 a.m. wake up call and had 36 holes to play after tournament play was suspended on Saturday due to high winds. She got off to solid start, shooting a 3-under 69 for her third round score, and began the final round one shot off third-round leader and fellow American Morgan Pressel.
But it wasn’t smooth sailing for the reigning Rolex Player of the Year. She had to grind through an up-and-down final round that included five birdies and five bogeys. It was a rough start for Lewis, as she went 2-over-par through the first five holes after dropping shots on Nos. 2 and 4.
The 28-year old was playing five groups in front of Na Yeon Choi, who proved to be Lewis’ biggest challenger of the day. Choi made the turn at 8-under par while Lewis picked up her second-consecutive bogey on the par 4 12th hole to drop to 6-under. Choi then carded her third birdie of the round on No. 10 to extend her lead to three shots over Lewis.
But the back nine at the Old Course proved to be quite the test for the players throughout the week and was the perfect challenge for those trying to close out on a high note. Choi found herself in trouble midway through the back nine and had some added pressure mounted on her when she took a look at the leaderboard
“I watched it a little bit because I thought I was leading and then after two bogeys, I thought, I have to check, so I checked the leaderboard,” said Choi. “It was okay, but like after a couple holes later, Stacy went up, and I think I got a little pressure when I check the leaderboard.”
Choi picked up back-to-back bogeys on Nos. 13 and 14 just as Lewis hit a miraculous second shot into the par 4 17th green to within three feet of the hole. She sank the putt for a two-shot swing and a share of the lead as she headed to Tom Morris, the famous 18th hole at St. Andrews.
“I hit the perfect golf shot (on 17),” said Lewis. “I mean, that was the shot ‑‑ I saw the shot in my head, but to actually pull it off, when it counts, it doesn't ‑‑ a shot like that doesn't happen very often. So I knew after I hit it close, I was like, all right, I have to make this putt; somehow this putt was going to go in, because the shot was so good.”
After striping her drive to within 40 yards of the green on 18, Lewis and her caddie, Travis Wilson, decided to go with her putter for her second shot.
“Travis, he didn't even give me a number,” said Lewis. We were playing something on the ground, we never even thought about flying anything up there…So, you know, right away Travis said, ‘Why don't you putt it.’ And actually in the practice round, I threw some balls down there and hit some putts from there. I knew it was possible. As soon as he felt confident with the putter, it made me even more confident with it, because I think that was the only shot from where I was that you could get it somewhat close.”
Lewis whacked it 20 feet past the hole and worked on some memories from 2008 when she went 5-0 at the Old Course in the Curtis Cup.
“I remember one of my matches in Curtis Cup, the pin was in that similar place, and I remember having a putt back up the hill and leaving it short,” said Lewis. “So that's kind of the mistake there is to not get the put to the hole, because you say the swale on the other side, you think it's downhill but it's actually back up the hill.
“So I had a little bit of knowledge there, and that whole right half of the green doesn't break as much as you think,” said Lewis. “It's kind of a visual thing with the other side of the green. I knew what that putt did. The hardest part was just getting it to the hole. Right off the face, it looked pretty good, and it was pretty cool when it went in.”
Finishing out on a high note, Lewis still had to wait for Choi to finish out her last three holes. Choi didn’t do herself any favors after finding trouble in the deep rough on the 17th hole. She chipped to six feet but pushed her par putt to drop two shots behind Lewis. She failed at holing out from the fairway on the 18th and the title was Lewis’. The Woodlands, Texas native said the win ranks high in her career accomplishment and isn’t sure she has ever finished a tournament in the fashion she did today.
“It's up there with the Kraft, for sure,” said Lewis. “The finish might be even be better than the Kraft truthfully. I made a pretty good putt at the Kraft, too. 17 must be my hole for some reason. It might be ahead of the Kraft. To make those two birdies on 18, that's probably the hardest hole location we had all week there. And to birdie 17, any day, is good, let alone the final round of a major.”
Difficult Finish: With six holes to play, Na Yeon Choi held a three-shot lead over the field and looked to be close to locking up a second major title. But the back nine on the Old Course at St. Andrews has been difficult for most players this week and that back stretch proved to be the downfall of Choi’s chances.
Back-to-back bogeys on 13 and 14 dropped Choi down to 7-under-par and Stacy Lewis’ remarkable birdie on the 17th suddenly made it a tie atop the leaderboard. After Lewis made birdie on the 18th to take a one-shot lead, Choi needed to make at least one birdie over the final three holes. Instead, she made bogey on the 17th to finish in a tie for
“First two days, I didn't miss not many fairways, I didn't miss ‑‑ not many greens,” Choi said. “But today, I got maybe five or six bunkers out there…as long as you hit the bunker, you have to lay up. So it was kind of like driving me crazy out there.”
When hearing that Lewis tallied a birdie-birdie finish on 17 and 18 to get to 8-under, Choi had nothing but compliments for her fellow competitor.
“That's huge, especially this golf course,” Choi said. “I mean, I feel like I missed a couple putts out there, but still, she's playing well. She's playing better than me. I think that's why she won. I think I have to accept that.”
All great things must come to an end: Inbee Park came into this week’s RICOH Women’s British Open with high hopes of making history by becoming the first golfer – male or female – to win four professional majors in a season. That feat was not to be this week, as Park struggled over her final 32 holes on Sunday. The No. 1 player in the Rolex Rankings shot rounds of 74-78 to finish in a tie for 42nd at 6-over-par.
“The fourth round, I really got off to a bad start,” Park said. “I four-putted the first hole, really slow start. Really tough to get your day going after that kind of a hole, but, you know, just glad that this tournament is over, and I've gone through four rounds under pressure.
“It's something that I've never experienced before, and I just had a great experience. I might not have won this week, but I've learned.”
Known as one of the best putters currently in the game, Park struggled with her flat stick through the week. That was particularly true in her final round on Sunday when she tallied 40 putts in the round.
Park will have another opportunity to become the first player to win four professional majors in a season when she competes next month in The Evian Championship, which becomes the LPGA’s fifth major for the first time this year. The 25-year-old South Korean doesn’t expect to have nearly the amount of attention focused on her that week as she did in St. Andrews.
But while her streak of consecutive majors won came to an end at three, Park was able to reflect positively upon the opportunity that she had at making history this week.
“I've done something amazing this season, winning three in a row,” Park said. “I don't even know if I can do that again. That's going to be really tough. It might take a long time to beat that record. “
Two is better than one: New Zealand’s Lydia Ko and England’s Georgia Hall tied for the Smyth Salver, which is awarded to the leading amateur at the RICOH Women’s British Open. The pair both finished at 6-over-par 294.
This is the second straight year that Ko has won the Smyth Salver, as she won it last year at Royal Liverpool. She becomes only the third player to take home the honor twice.
Golden ticket winners: Natalie Gulbis, Nicole Castrale and Pernilla Lindberg punched their "Ticket to CME Group Titleholders" at the RICOH Women’s British Open, each earning a spot in the season-ending CME Group Titleholders event, which will be held Nov. 21-24, 2012 in Naples, Fla. The third-annual CME Group Titleholders is a season finale with a field made up of three qualifiers from every LPGA Tour tournament.
Tweet of the Day: "I thought the Curtis Cup was as good as it could get here." – Dale Lewis after Stacy won the WBO. She went 5-0 here for the U.S. in '08.” -- @Golfweek_Baldry
Quotable: “Unless I win four Majors in a row, I think I'll always remember this moment. You know, something like this, not many people get to experience and I was the lucky one to experience this stuff.”
– Inbee Park
STACY LEWIS, Rolex Rankings No. 2
COLIN CALLANDER: We welcome Stacy Lewis, winner of the Ricoh Women's British Open, 8‑under par and a total of 280, a two‑shot victory. Your initial thoughts having won the U.S. Women's Open.
STACY LEWIS: It's just crazy, I was just hanging in there all day, and then, you know, 17 and 18 just happened so fast that I don't know if it's really hit me yet. It was so hard, you had to stay focused on the next shot, you couldn't even really think about the end.
You know, I made par on 16 and thought if I could par 17 and birdie 18 somehow, that you know, that might be good enough for a playoff. Just my patience what won it for me today, and it's really cool to have that trophy.
COLIN CALLANDER: You all talked about how difficult the weather was yesterday, but clearly today was much easier by any stretch of the imagination.
STACY LEWIS: Yeah, this morning was nice. We could get out there. You could make some birdies. The wind wasn't too bad. And then, you know, I think this morning into 1, I had like a gap wedge, and then this afternoon, I hit 6‑iron, so the wind definitely started blowing.
Once you made the turn, the loop out there, 7 on in, it was just hard. The wind was brutal, and you had to fight to make some pars, and you know, I never thought birdieing the last two was even possible.
Q. Tell me, with your back, is two rounds in one day, does that put a lot of pressure on it, or not?
STACY LEWIS: No, my back was great today. If anything, it's keeping your legs loose, and even after I finished I didn't want to sit down because after I sat down, I knew I would get tired. So just tried to keep moving all day. My body felt great. I had no issues with my back, so I felt good out there today.
Q. How important was it for you making a birdie on the 17th hole, watching the leaderboard just in front of you?
STACY LEWIS: You know, I was honestly trying to make par on 17. I was trying to hit it down there to the front of the green and 2‑putt and move on. That was kind of the goal.
And then I hit the perfect golf shot. I mean, that was the shot ‑‑ I saw the shot in my head, but to actually pull it off, when it counts, it doesn't ‑‑ a shot like that doesn't happen very often.
So I knew after I hit it close, I was like, all right, I have to make this putt; somehow this putt was going to go in, because the shot was so good.
Q. Before I get to the question I had, I wonder if you can kind of describe the flight of the ball on 17, what you were seeing and what it did.
STACY LEWIS: It was ‑‑ I don't know how far it was to the pin. I knew I was 160 to the front so I don't know how far the pin was on, but we were just trying to land it around that front number. And the shot I saw was a little ‑‑ kind of a low 5‑iron, and you know, what we wanted to do was start it at the front right of the green and let it turn with the wind and it would knock it down, it would hit into the slope and it would roll up there. Somehow, it did that.
So, it's one of those shots you see in your head but you don't really ever pull it off, and it just ‑‑ off the clubface, it was perfect. I was just yelling at it to get down, because if you land it up on top, it was going to go over. So I was fortunate laying it into the slope and it killed it a little bit.
Q. Laying up on 18 from where you were, could just talk about your decision to go with putter.
STACY LEWIS: Travis, he didn't even give me a number. We were playing something on the ground, we never even thought about flying anything up there. But we were talking about whether we were going to putt it or chip it, and the chip shot, it was a flat and then it went down and then back up. So we were worried about it hitting on a flat and then missing the down and going straight into the slope.
So, you know, right away Travis said, "Why don't you putt it." And actually in the practise round, I threw some balls down there and hit some putts from there. I knew it was possible.
As soon as he felt confident with the putter, it made me even more confident with it, because I think that was the only shot from where I was that you could get it somewhat close.
Q. At the beginning of the year, you talked about the pressures of being Player of the Year and then No. 1 being a bit overwhelming. Did it almost set up well for you this week, that all of the attention was on Inbee and you could just do your thing or how much of a role do you think that played?
STACY LEWIS: That was some of it, but I still had things I had to do this week. I mean, Inbee deserved the attention, so I was totally fine with it. I know that position she's in is very hard, and she did extremely well, all year, playing with it. Nice to know I guess that she's human (laughter).
But, you know, I love this place, and I knew I was playing well. I don't know, I had a good feeling about it, and it just ‑‑ that's just nice the way it all worked out.
Q. So you've won two Majors and you know what it's like to go through the pressure; is it possible to do what Inbee Park hasn't done this week, and is it possible in the future?
STACY LEWIS: Honestly, I didn't think you could win ‑‑ I thought winning three in a year would be hard, let alone three in a row.
You know, the four, I don't know if you ever see the three in a row again. I mean, that's pretty incredible, just to do that, to deal ‑‑ she went to the U.S. Open with all the questions, and she had to answer all the questions, every single day, about winning it, what would it feel like, what would it feel like, and she still did it. That's the most impressive part to me. But I find it hard to believe that anybody ever does get four of them in a year.
Q. Curtis Cup, I know you went 5‑0, did you have the clinching point?
STACY LEWIS: I did.
Q. Two or three people ‑‑ or nobody ‑‑
STACY LEWIS: People thought I was on 16, people thought I was going to end on 17, and so everybody was crowded around 17, because that's where they thought it was going to happen, but I holed my putt first, so I technically got the winning point.
Q. I wonder if you can talk about just your affection for St. Andrews and what you've done there twice in the last five years, and how the finish just kind of adds to the whole substance of it all?
STACY LEWIS: Yeah, when we came here for Curtis Cup, we got off the plane and we got here early in the morning and it was raining side ways and we all put on our Jane jackets and our rain gear and we came out and just walked around. Instantly, I fell in love with it. I think it's more the history of it more than anything, just knowing all the great champions that have played here. Golf was started here. I mean, it's amazing to even think of. I was saying to Travis as we were walking up 18 the other day, just to think, who would have thought everything would start here.
I don't know, I love this golf course more than I think any links course I've played. You can get rewarded for good shots. There's not any crazy bunkers right in the dead center of the fairway. You can at least kind of play around things and get rewarded for good shots, and that's what I like. But, I don't know, I love this golf course, and I think I was happy being here all week, and I was comfortable and I think that's a lot of the reason I'm here right now.
Q. After winning the U.S. Open, Inbee wins, you finish tied for 42nd, pretty far behind; at that point, are you feeling as if you're losing ground through no fault of your own? I mean, how do you explain that a few weeks later, you win and she finishes tied for 42nd?
STACY LEWIS: That's golf. I mean, I don't know. You know, I was definitely disappointed with the U.S. Open, because that's one I was looking forward to all year. But you know, after that week, I just got back to work, and I started working on my game, and I kind of ‑‑ I felt it coming around. I shot 64 both the final rounds the last two weeks coming into this week, so I knew I was playing good golf. It was just kind of putting it all together.
You know, golf is a crazy game. Some people play well on some courses; some people don't. It's just kind of the way it is. Inbee's dealt with a lot, so I'm sure she's exhausted and ready for a little break.
Q. Do you remember the first time you saw St. Andrews on television? And before the tournament started, you said you can tell the players who have been there in the final round because they have adjusted to what your body does and the pressure; can you talk about having been there, how that helped?
STACY LEWIS: Yeah, I don't remember honestly the first time I saw it on TV or anything like that. I mean, obviously I watched the men's Majors, but I don't really remember too much of it.
But as far as being in those final groups, you know to just keep hanging in there, you know it's playing hard. You know ‑‑ I mean, the hole locations, there are a couple on the back nine that were really hard, and so I saw my name falling down that leaderboard, but I knew eventually it would go back up, if I could just make some pars and just sneak a birdie on the par 5.
But, you know, you look at ‑‑ look at who ended up at the top. You've got Morgan and Na Yeon Choi. They know how to win Majors. They know you just keep hanging in there. I made bogey on 15 and walking off that tee, I said to myself, "I can still win this. Just keep your head in it and don't get frustrated."
I never allowed myself to think: Oh, I'm out of it, that lost me the golf tournament.
Q. You're improved over a year at the British Open, can you explain that you've come to grips with links golf, and is the difference between 11th and 8th the last couple of years and winning, the experience at the Old Course five years ago?
STACY LEWIS: Yeah, I had gotten better at this tournament, I think just learning how to hit little chip shots around the green, learning how to putt from 40 yards away on 18, learning that the putter is the shot there, not trying to flop it up there or anything like that. It's a totally different style of golf. You're going to get weird bounces. It's understanding how it works, and I think every year I've kind of done that.
But I played it ‑‑ the Curtis Cup week, I played the course 11 times that week, so I saw it in a right‑to‑left wind, a left‑to‑right wind, in rain, in sun. I saw it in all the conditions, and so I knew, you know, during the practise round, I told my caddie, I said, you know, this hole is into the wind, but if it's downwind, what are we going to do. So we talked about all the scenarios. When stuff changed out there, we rolled with it and it didn't seem like a big deal.
Q. Earlier this year, you talked about how you were working on your emotions and not getting too upset when things weren't going right. Today, you had a number of setbacks with five bogeys. How much was that tested?
STACY LEWIS: It was tested a lot today. It was tested all week really. It was between the delays yesterday and all that, your emotions are tested there. People were pretty upset about not playing yesterday, some were happy; so all week was kind of pretty emotional.
But I was certainly tested, that's for sure. I got mad at myself but I found a way to, if I made bogey, I was off that green, I was on the next tee, and I was thinking about the next shot at hand. So I forgot about what I was doing.
Somehow this week I was just able to move on to the next shot. It's easier said than done, but this week, I don't know why I was completely different, but I made bogey on 2 and I said, all right, I hit a drive in the bunker, and I didn't hit a very good wedge shot in there, so I probably deserved make bogey, so let's go figure out how I'm not going to hit it in the bunker on the next hole. That was my mentality all day; it was, what do I have to do for the next shot.
Q. Could I ask, did you have any specialty mementos from St. Andrews and the Curtis Cup, any paintings or anything, and do you intend to buy any tomorrow?
STACY LEWIS: I should probably take some home with me I guess. I have a lot of pictures on the bridge and stuff like that and the trophy, so pictures with this will definitely go right next to it.
Q. How did you feel about not playing yesterday?
STACY LEWIS: You know, I was ‑‑ I wanted it to be fair. As the day went on, we could get the feeling that we weren't going to go back out there, and you know, people that have played in it were obviously very upset. But truthfully, I was happy that I didn't get out there. Paula, I think she was the last person to hit into 1 and she hit 5‑wood into 1 yesterday.
Obviously it was unplayable and I think once I got out there and saw some of the hole locations, the hole locations weren't set up for a bunch of wind. So I don't know if we kind of put ourselves behind the 8‑ball a little bit with that, but I mean, for me and the leaders, we were all glad we didn't get out there.
Q. And a real quick question about Phil; do you have the kind of relationship with him ‑‑ have you communicated with him since his British Open win, and have you take anything from seeing him finally win that thing?
STACY LEWIS: I haven't talked with him directly, but you know, the people at KPMG, they were actually very excited. They had spoken to him, and they were ‑‑ right after Phil won, they said, all right, you have to do it now. To actually do it is kind of crazy. They are definitely very excited.
Q. Could you go over the details of your bogeys on 12, 13 and 15, and secondly, as you're looking at that and remembering, if there was ever a time when your patience was most tested, when you felt it was the most bleak in other words?
STACY LEWIS: All right, my bogeys, on 11, I hit it ‑‑ gosh, I was pretty far right. I hit a 5‑iron off the tee and just kind of blocked it and it rode the wind. I had a really hard 2‑putt and I 3‑putted there.
Q. How far?
STACY LEWIS: I don't even know. It was far. The pin was in kind of a funky spot, and the goal there was to get left of the flag and I missed it on the wrong side.
And then 12, I hit it in the left rough off the tee, which is not ‑‑ that was kind of my play was to go down there, and then I hit it front right down in the front part of the green, and the pin was up on the left shelf, which is obviously another really hard 2‑putt. The pin was ‑‑ I don't even know ‑‑ we were talking about it afterwards. I don't know where you hit it on 12. I don't know if you hit it ‑‑ if you hit it to the hole, it's going to go over.
So the hole location there was just really hard. The first putt barely got up the ridge. I was fortunate it stayed there. So I took my bogey and ran out of there.
14, I hit the green in two and made birdie.
15 was the other bogey. 15 I hit the fairway and then actually thought I hit a pretty good shot. The wind kind of switched as we were coming in. It had been downwind on 11, 12, 13 and 14, it was kind of helping and we got to 15 and it switched back in and I didn't hit enough club, so I hit the wrong club there and was short of the green.
Hit a good chip shot to five feet and just hit a terrible putt. That was probably the time when I was probably most frustrated, because I had been hanging in there all day, and it was a pretty straight 5‑footer and I missed it. That was kind of the moment when I could have gotten frustrated but I held it together and finished really good.
Q. The putt on 18, can you just talk about that, because seemed like you saw that very well, the birdie putt that you made?
STACY LEWIS: Yeah, I remember one of my matches in Curtis Cup, the pin was in that similar place, and I remember having a putt back up the hill and leaving it short.
So that's kind of the mistake there is to not get the put to the hole, because you say the swale on the other side, you think it's downhill but it's actually back up the hill. So I had a little bit of knowledge there, and that whole right half of the green doesn't break as much as you think. It's kind of a visual thing with the other side of the green.
I knew what that putt did. The hardest part was just getting it to the hole. Right off the face, it looked pretty good, and it was pretty cool when it went in.
Q. How does it feel to get a major win right before the Solheim Cup?
STACY LEWIS: I'm very excited. I'm tired about hearing about the last American to win a major, so I'm glad we got rid of that. It's been a little while so I'm glad that's off the table.
It's nice just to be playing well going into the Solheim Cup and see Morgan is playing well, Paula is playing well and to see the American flag up on the board has definitely been a lot of fun this week.
Q. Where would you rank this finish in your career, 17 and 18?
STACY LEWIS: It's up there with the craft, for sure. The finish might be even be better than the craft truth fly. I made a pretty good putt at the craft, too. 17 must be my hole for some reason. It might be ahead of the Kraft.
To make those two birdies on 18, that's probably the hardest hole location we had all week there. And to birdie 17, any day, is good, let alone the final round of a major.
So the finish is definitely one of my best.
Q. And then second, one of your close friends was telling me a little bit ago that you really want to get No. 1 back really badly. Can you talk about that a little bit, chasing down Inbee?
STACY LEWIS: Yeah, you know, I was pretty ‑‑ I don't feel like I lost it. I definitely haven't been playing my best the last few months, but I don't feel like I lost it. I just feel like Inbee was playing better.
So if anything, it made me want to go practise and want to work harder to be better. It made me realize that, you know, what I was doing was pretty good, but she's doing something that's even better now, so I need to go out there and I need to work hard. If I get back there, you know, when I get there, I just want to enjoy it more. When I got there in March, I was overwhelmed and busy and never really got to enjoy it. So I want to get back there just so I can enjoy it a little more.
Q. How do you feel about the fact that you've got ‑‑ one of the Asian winners over the last 11 Majors, and before then, it was you, as well?
STACY LEWIS: I'm pretty excited about that. I guess it was the longest stretch we've ever had for an American gap; I don't know if that's for sure. But we get asked about it. I got asked about it this week. Every major, we get asked about it, and it definitely gets old, so more than anything, you guys can't ask me the question for awhile.
Q. Do you have any sympathy for Inbee Park and how do you think she'll deal with it?
STACY LEWIS: I think she's doing okay (laughter). I think she's doing just fine.
NA YEON CHOI, Rolex Rankings No. 4
Q. I know not quite the finish that you were hoping for but just take me through this final round, your thoughts on it?
NA YEON CHOI: I mean, I know that was like a great opportunity to, you know, finish great, but I don't know, my focus wasn't bad. I think, you know, sometimes when I play 36 holes, I felt like after like 30 holes, I felt like very tired. But I was okay, and I think I missed a lot of putts out there.
Still I've got a good experience with this course, and you know, I practised with my coach like last eight, nine days, and I'm pretty sure he has some answers for my game, so you know, I'm expecting that, and still season going so far, so also we have one more major tournament, so we'll see.
Q. When you take a look at the back side of this golf course, kind of what ‑‑ it's usually definitely more difficult; did you kind of know that when you were making the turn thinking, I kind of have to keep pushing through this stretch, not make too many mistakes?
NA YEON CHOI: I mean, like if I compare first day and second day and today, like first two days, I didn't miss not many fairways, I didn't miss ‑‑ not many greens. But today, I got maybe five or six bunkers out there. I think that that was like kind of the low key. I think I should hit the first and then try like birdie chance or par chance, but if as long as you hit the bunker, you have to lay up. So it was kind of like driving my crazy out there.
But I try to, you know, stay calm, and still, a good experience. I learned many things, after the round always missing something out there, and I think that was the putting this week, so I need to keep working on my putting, especially speed. Actually green speed was fast today. So I just keep working on and make some good results in my five tour.
Q. Can you take me through some of the bogeys on the back side?
NA YEON CHOI: I got bogey on 13, that was actually 3‑putt. And then 14, that was a 3‑putt, too. The 14 was a par 5 and I drove very well, but my third shot was in fescue and my birdie putt was almost 30‑yard putt, so I missed a par putt, so bogey.
And then bogey on 17, I missed a par putt, like four or five feet par putt, I missed it.
Q. How aware are you of what Stacy was doing, especially as she was kind of coming down the stretch with her birdies on 17 and 18?
NA YEON CHOI: Oh, I didn't know where she got birdie. She got birdie on 17 and 18? That's huge, especially this golf course. I mean, I feel like I missed a couple putts out there, but still, she's playing well. She's playing better than me. I think that's why she won. I think I have to accept that.
Q. Were you looking at the leaderboard down the stretch?
NA YEON CHOI: Yes, actually I watch it a little bit because I thought I was leading and then after two bogeys, I thought, I have to check, so I checked the leaderboard and I mean, it was okay, but like after a couple holes later, Stacy went up, and I think I got a little pressure when I check the leaderboard.
But, I mean, no regret. That's what I can do right now.
Q. And on 18, being two shots down, were you thinking to hole that second shot?
NA YEON CHOI: That's what my caddie said. I tried to keep like visualise my ball landing there and roll. I tried my best.
INBEE PARK, Rolex Rankings No. 1
INBEE PARK: It was a tough day today, so I'm just glad that the 18th hole, that's the toughest hole, playing all the tough holes on the back nine, 18 holes feels like a relief. Feels like almost there.
Q. Walking off the 18th hole, is there a feeling of disappointment?
INBEE PARK: I mean, fourth round, I really got off to a bad start. I 4-putted the first hole, really slow start. Really tough to get your day going after that kind of a hole, but, you know, just glad that this tournament is over, and I've gone through four rounds of under pressure.
So it's something that I've never experienced before, and I just had a great experience. I might not have won this week, but I've learned.
Q. Saying you're glad it's over, did you not enjoy the week --
INBEE PARK: I enjoyed it but 36 holes in the final round under the pressure was very tough. I feel like I have a relief now, and I'm really relieved that -- I really enjoyed this week, every moment that I was here.
Yeah, but it is tough to be in the center of everything for a week, and I feel exhausted a little bit.
Q. You were 6-under par through ten holes in the opening round, do you look back at a moment during the week where things really changed for you; if so, where would that be?
INBEE PARK: It would have been probably the back nine for the first round. Yeah, I mean, it's just a couple bad drives, and I was really having trouble on the greens after that.
Especially around 3 and 4, there's a lot of 3-putts and 4-putts, so I left a lot of shots on the greens, but the greens were just really tough to judge the speed; they were great one minute, and one minute they were slow. It was a tough tournament, tough greens to read, tough greens to judge, but this has been a great experience for me.
I still have a lot to learn and a lot of room to improve.
Q. Apart from the fact that the media can be very annoying, what else did you learn this week?
INBEE PARK: Obviously this week playing under the pressure, that's one thing that I've learned. You know, everything I think, my play -- just I would never experience some kind of things like that where I go for four Majors in a row and everybody watching me. Felt a little bit weird. I get to do interview even if I shot a 6-over today. Just everything about this tournament is new for me.
Q. Now what, now what are you going to do, are you going to go home and drive your Ferrari around Korea?
INBEE PARK: Yeah, sounds nice. I want to relax for two or three days just doing nothing, get my energy back up and just get ready to go again.
Q. What was going through your mind walking up the 18th?
INBEE PARK: It was a tough day today, so I'm just glad that the 18th hole is not the toughest hole. Playing all the tough holes on the back nine, just 18th hole feels like a relief and feels like almost there.
Like I said, just glad it's over, and you know, this great experience that I had, I will never forget.
Q. Was it hard to motivate yourself?
INBEE PARK: Yeah, when you're so far from the lead, it is hard to get your motivation going and get your inspiration going for something. Especially I got off to a really bad start off No. 1. I really tried to push myself to play as good as I can, but the course was playing quite tough. It didn't really quite putt well out there today.
Q. The weather problems hanging around yesterday kind of helped?
INBEE PARK: Yeah, five-hour layover wasn't the easiest thing, but everybody, most of the people had to deal with that.
Q. What do you think it will be like at Evian?
INBEE PARK: I think it will be much less than this -- well, I think. But I have done something like this already, so, you know, I could do anything from now on.
Q. Having come so close, do you think it can be done in the future?
INBEE PARK: Well, I don't really know. I mean, I've done something amazing this season, winning three in a row. I don't even know if I can do that again. That's going to be really tough. It might take a long time to beat that record.
Q. You still have a chance to become the first person and win four Majors, that's not over?
INBEE PARK: I'm trying to get my game back on a good level when I was playing in the U.S. Open. It's been mostly putting this week that I had trouble with, a lot of 3-putts, and even a 4-putt.
Q. What's been your favourite part of the week?
INBEE PARK: Favourite part is I never had this many people rooting for me and wanting me to play good. Never had those feelings before, so that has been nice.
Q. Yesterday, what was that like, waiting and waiting and waiting; did you get back out or --
INBEE PARK: I really wanted to play yesterday. I was ready to play in the wind. I played four holes in really windy conditions, and you know, I was handling myself really good out there and felt really good about my game. We really didn't get to play anymore golf after that, so, yeah, too bad.
Q. That would have helped yesterday to keep --
INBEE PARK: Because I see the results, you might say that, but you just never know. I think I could have been better than this maybe.
Q. You kind of got some bad breaks in the weather all around, and you said that's just kind of the way it goes?
INBEE PARK: The weather and the mother of nature has to be on your side in the British Open if you're going to win this week. Yeah, it didn't happen for me this year, but I have a lot more years to go.
Q. Where do you go -- do you go back to the United States now?
INBEE PARK: I go back to Korea tomorrow.
Q. Do you get a chance then to relax a little bit? I know you were there.
INBEE PARK: Yeah, I think so. I have two weeks there so probably get some time to rest.
Q. When you go back home tomorrow, will they be talking more about you've won three majors, or that you didn't win this major?
INBEE PARK: I don't really know. I mean, I don't really know what they are going to talk about.
Q. Did you put any money on yourself before you left Las Vegas?
INBEE PARK: No (laughing).
Q. Did you buy a house in Vegas?
INBEE PARK: I put an offer on a couple of houses so might get good news, but not something confirmed yet.
Q. Do you watch the Solheim Cup at all? Do you pay any attention, or do you take a break away from golf?
INBEE PARK: I watch, but I don't watch it right on TV for five hours. I watch when I get time. I think this one will be fun, so I'll definitely watch.
Q. If you can't win this, who would you like to see win this today?
INBEE PARK: Well, I mean, Na Yeon Choi is a very good friend of mine, so I would really love her to win, so she's a great friend of mine, so rooting for her.
Q. You're still only 25, so you've got a lot more years left; do you think you'll always look back on this week and say, hey, you know, I faced something --
INBEE PARK: Yeah, of course, I think so. Unless I win four Majors in a row, I think I'll always remember this moment. You know, something like this, not many people get to experience and I was the lucky one to experience this stuff.
Morgan Pressel Leads by One after Third Round of RICOH Women’s British Open
Pressel seeking second major title and spot on the U.S. Solheim Cup Team
FIFE, Scotland – American Morgan Pressel holed a 20-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole to take a one-shot lead into the final round of the RICOH Women’s British Open. After strong winds prevented the majority of the third round from being played on Saturday, Pressel and many others headed out early Sunday morning to complete the third round.
Pressel shot a 1-under 71 to take sole possession of the third-round lead at the Old Course at St. Andrews. The 25-year-old won her first major title at the 2007 Kraft Nabisco Championship, becoming the youngest major winner in LPGA history at 18 years, 10 months, 9 days. Now she’s 18 holes away from capturing major win No. 2, although it will be a test of stamina during the final round as many of the leaders will be playing their second round of the day.
“So far, so good,” Pressel said of how she was feeling. “Going to go get a little bite to eat and relax a little bit before my next round. It's really tough out there. Especially that back nine plays really difficult.
“I think we saw a lot of back and forth today on the leaderboard and I'm sure more of the same will happen this afternoon. I just want to hang tough and hit good shots.”
Pressel entered the week sitting in 12th on the points list for the U.S. Solheim Cup Team and one spot behind Jennifer Johnson in the Rolex Rankings. A win at the Women’s British Open would earn Pressel 120 points and would secure her spot via the points list for the U.S. Solheim Cup Team, which will be announced after the finish of play tonight at St. Andrews.
Fellow American Stacy Lewis fired a 3-under 69 in the third round. Her 8-under-par total through 54 holes was good for the clubhouse lead when the No. 2 player in the Rolex Rankings finished her round and she’ll enter the final 18 holes just one shot back of Pressel.
“I really hit the ball well this morning and stayed patient on the greens,” Lewis said. “I had a bunch of opportunities and if you can just get a couple putts to fall here and there, you're right where you need to be.”
Third-round play officially resumed at 6:15 a.m. Sunday morning and there was plenty of movement near the top of the leaderboard.
Second-round leader Na Yeon Choi got off to a rough start in her day with a double bogey on the second hole. She had a rollercoaster round, making three straight birdies at one point on front nine before bogeying three out of four holes on the back side to finish with a 2-over 74 to sit two shots off the lead at 7-under-par.
Joining Choi at 7-under-par are Suzann Pettersen of Norway, Miki Saiki of Japan and fellow South Korean Hee Young Park.
Rolex Rankings No. 1 Inbee Park wasn’t able to make a big move in her run at history early Sunday morning. Park entered the third round sitting eight shots off the lead in her chase to become the first golfer – male or female – to win four majors in a single season. She was 1-under through four holes in the third round when play was suspended on Saturday afternoon. But Park ended up shooting a 2-over 74 that moved her to even par for the tournament and she was 10 shots off the lead when she finished her round.
Scotland native Catriona Matthew excited the home crowd and put herself right into contention by finishing birdie-eagle to shoot a 4-under 68 in the third round. A huge roar rang out on the 18th when Matthew holed out from 67 yards to move to 6-under-par through 54 holes and will enter the final round just three shots off the leader, Pressel.
Players will not be repaired for the fourth round, which began at 8 a.m. while the third round was still being completed. The last group is expected to tee off around 1:40 p.m.
A total of 18 holes remain this afternoon before a champion is crowned at this year’s RICOH Women’s British Open but the lengthy day on the links is nothing new for the majority of the LPGA players.
“This is I think the third time we have done 36 holes in the last five Majors,” Lewis said. “So I think we are all kind of used to it and you've just got to grind it out.”
High Winds Force Suspension of Third-Round Play at RICOH Women's British Open
Play will resume at 6:15 a.m. on Sunday morning
FIFE, Scotland – The third round of the RICOH Women’s British Open at the Old Course at St. Andrews was suspended on Saturday due to high winds that resulted in unplayable course conditions. Play is scheduled to resume at 6:15 a.m. local time on Sunday morning with seven groups left to tee off in the third round.
A total of nine players had finished the third round when play was initially suspended at 12:31 p.m. local time. A wind gust of 40 mph resulted in five players almost simultaneously calling for rulings due to balls moving on the green. A decision was made to halt play shortly thereafter. While officials had hoped to resume play at some point later in the day, the conditions had not drastically improved and the decision was made at 6:00 p.m. to suspend play until Sunday morning.
The fourth round is scheduled to start at approximately 8:00 a.m. with the last group expected to tee off around 1:40 p.m. Players will not be repaired for the final round of play.
“This is a major championship and every endeavor will be made to finish 72 holes,” said Susan Simpson, Ladies Golf Union (LGU) head of golf operations. “So if we need to go to Monday, then we'll go to Monday.”
RICOH Women’s British Open
The Old Course, St. Andrews
Second-round Notes and Interviews
August 2, 2013
Na Yeon Choi -10, Rolex Rankings No. 4
Miki Saiki -9, Rolex Rankings No. 41
Morgan Pressel -8, Rolex Rankings No. 51
Suzann Pettersen -7, Rolex Rankings No. 3
Stacy Lewis -5, Rolex Rankings No. 2
Paula Creamer -4, Rolex Rankings No. 11
Inbee Park -2, Rolex Rankings No. 1
Friday’s Second-round Recap
Inbee Park hasn’t had to come from behind very often in major championships this season. But if Park’s streak of consecutive major titles is to reach four at the RICOH Women’s British Open this week, that’s exactly what she’ll have to do.
Park struggled as the winds picked up Friday afternoon at the Old Course at St. Andrews, shooting a 1-over 73 to put her at 2-under-par for the championship and eight shots out of the lead held by her friend and Rolex Rankings No. 4 Na Yeon Choi.
During a week in which all eyes have been focused on Park as she tried to become the first golfer—male or female – to win four professional majors in a season, the No. 1 player in the Rolex Rankings admitted Friday to feeling some of the pressure of her Grand Slam chase. But she stressed that it’s not hampered her in her chase but rather has given her confidence going forward.
“When you experience something big like this, some kind of big pressure like this, you're just really not afraid of any kind of pressure,” Park said. “How can it get bigger than this? If you experience something like this, you're just ready to go and ready to experience something ‑‑ anything's going to be less than this.”
Park certainly has her work cut out for her as she chases Choi, who seeks her second career major championship this week following a win at the 2012 U.S. Women’s Open. Choi fired a 5-under 67 on Friday to take a one-stroke lead over Japan’s Miki Saiki, who shot the round of the day with a 66.
While most of the low scores were found in the morning wave of play when the wind proved to be much calmer, Choi was one of the few players who was able to deliver a low number as the winds from the North Sea gusted up to 35 mph. Particularly impressive was Choi’s play on the more difficult back nine where she carded a 34.
“The weather wasn't good,” Choi said. “It was very hard. But my focus was very good and my caddie helped me a lot.”
She added, “I had a daily goal every day so I just tried to stick with the goal. It could be like par is 74 or 75 today, but I didn't care, like every hole, par 3, par 4, par 5, doesn't matter for me. I just try to play one shot at a time and I think that's why I had great results.”
American Morgan Pressel is alone in third place at 8-under-par following a 70 on Friday. Pressel is enjoying a resurgence in the majors this summer with a tie for third at the Wegmans LPGA Championship and a tie for 20th at the U.S. Women’s Open.
Rolex Rankings No. 3 Suzann Pettersen, South Korea’s Jee Young Lee and American Nicole Castrale are tied for fourth at 7-under-par.
For Park, the spotlight remains bright despite the eight shot deficit.
“You just never know what's going to happen the next two days,” Park said. “Especially if the conditions get tougher, I think anything could happen out here.”
A total of 69 players made the 36-hole cut which fell at 1-over-par 145
Unique preparation: With rain pouring down this past Sunday and the course at St. Andrews closed, Na Yeon Choi decided to find a different way to prepare for this week’s RICOH Women’s British Open. The 25-year-old headed with her caddie for the week and a local caddie from St. Andrews out to the Old Course to walk the golf course – but not in the usual way.
Choi and the two caddies walked St. Andrews backwards, beginning at the 18th green and making their way all the way around it back to the first tee. Choi said that she had heard that it was the way people used to play this golf course a long time ago and she was able to see the lines better from the tee boxes to the greens.
Seems like the preparation worked, as Choi holds the 36-hole lead after shooting a 5-under 67 on Friday afternoon when blustery conditions proved to make scoring quite difficult.
“This kind of weather, I have to focus my game. It doesn't matter where my ball is going,” Choi said. “It could be like bad luck and bad bounce. I couldn't control that, so I really tried to stay in the moment and to stay positive.”
Luck of the draw: Looking at the leaderboard on Friday afternoon, there were very few players near the top of it who were still on the golf course. As the winds picked up around midday on Friday at St. Andrews, it became clear that those players who had already completed their rounds were at a significant advantage over those playing in the afternoon.
Winds blew steady around 20 mph for most of the afternoon and gusted all the way up to 35 mph, making scoring conditions much more difficult for those players who were put in the morning-afternoon draw over the first two rounds.
“I think because there's such a big difference from the morning to the afternoon today with the tee times, that played a huge part with just making birdies and pars out there,” Paula Creamer said of the difference in scores. “The good thing is, tomorrow we're all around the same time and we're going to go through the same conditions.”
Two is the magic number: Miki Saiki’s run up the leaderboard came in dramatic fashion on Friday morning thanks to a pair of twos that she recorded on the front nine of her round.
Saiki, who plays on the JLPGA Tour in Japan, holed out for eagle on two of the par-4s on the front nine of the Old Course at St. Andrews – No. 4 and No. 7. Both shots came from over 100 yards as she holed one with an eight iron and the other with a wedge.
Had she ever done something like this in a round?
“First time,” Saiki said.
Saiki, who shot 30 on the front nine and tied the low round of the week with her 6-under 66, is no stranger to shooting low scores at the RICOH Women’s British Open. She actually tied for the low round of the week when this event was last held at St. Andrews back in 2007, shooting a 67 in the final round to finish in a tie for seventh.
"Because it is a major and we are here at the Old Course and surrounded by so much history then it must rate as my best ever round," Saiki said of her 66 on Friday.
Everybody’s Working for the Weekend: A total of 69 players made the cut, which fell at 1-over-par 145. The cut line ties for the lowest in tournament history, which also occurred in 2008 and 2011.
U.S. Solheim Cup Team Taking Shape, But Uncertainties Remain: By virtue of making the cut at the RICOH Women’s British Open, Lizette Salas is guaranteed a spot on the 2013 U.S. Solheim Cup Team via the Rolex Rankings category. She is joined by the top-seven players on the U.S. Team points list who are also locked in for spots. Four positions remain up for grabs and the Old Course at St. Andrews will be the venue where the plot unfolds this weekend.
Salas will play on her first Solheim Cup team alongside veterans Stacy Lewis, Paula Creamer, Cristie Kerr, Angela Stanford and Brittany Lincicome, as well as newcomers Lexi Thompson and Jessica Korda. Salas can still move into the points qualification and free up the spot she currently holds in the Rolex category. The second Rolex Rankings spot remains up for grabs.
Brittany Lang, currently in the eighth and final points spot, can still be knocked out of her guaranteed spot. Players who still have a mathematical chance to qualify via the points list include Salas, Gerina Piller, Morgan Pressel and Michelle Wie, all of whom must win the RICOH Women’s British Open to guarantee a spot.
Players in contention this weekend with a mathematical chance to qualify via Rolex Rankings include Danielle Kang and Nicole Castrale. Jennifer Johnson missed the cut and can no longer qualify via the points race, but is still mathematically in the running for a Rolex Rankings spot pending finishes by others.
The 2013 Solheim Cup will be played at Colorado Golf Club in Parker, Colorado, Aug. 16-18.
Loving Scottish golf? Morgan Pressel is in contention to win the second major championship of her career and qualify for her fourth U.S. Solheim Cup Team this weekend at the RICOH Women’s British Open. The 25-year-old American is two shots off the pace of leader Na Yeon Choi at 8-under-par. Not bad for a player who previously despised links golf.
“Everything happens for a reason, and I think that my past struggles here at St. Andrews as well as links golf in general my first two years on Tour taught me a lot,” Pressel said.
Pressel fired a 2-under-par 70 on Friday in relatively calm conditions on Friday morning to move into solo third place with 36 holes remaining at St. Andrews. She is currently 12th in the U.S. Solheim Cup Team points race and needs a win to earn a guaranteed spot via points. She is also in the mix for an automatic spot via the Rolex Rankings category.
“At this point, you know, I've played well for two days, and I'm more focused on this tournament,” Pressel said, when asked about Solheim Cup qualification. “I feel like I've given myself the best opportunity to play on the team in the last couple months. We'll see how it falls at the end of the week but I feel good about where I am.”
Move of the Day: Belonged to Jee Young Lee and Suzann Pettersen, who each fired a 5-under 67 to jump from a tie for 38th into a tie for fourth at 7-under-par.
Pettersen spoke early in the week about her confusion as to why for some reason she has always found trouble at this major. But despite missing the cut at last year’s event at Royal Liverpool, Pettersen felt that she had once again found a certain comfort level with links golf.
“I think I said last year, that was the most comfortable I felt on a links course, and this year, I really feel like I'm in control of my game,” Pettersen said. “I feel like I'm really simplifying everything. Obviously you've got to give yourself a few chances and stay out of trouble, and if you give yourself enough chances, you're going to drop a few and just stay out of the big numbers.”
Tweet of the Day: “After magical mystery tour of 14 fairway, Inbee makes 12-foot par save. She should have an eraser on that club. It makes mistakes disappear.” -- @RonSirak
Quotable: “Whether I win this week, whether I don't, the last two days what I experienced was great. You know, if I can handle this kind of pressure, if I face this kind of pressure, I'm really not afraid of any kind of pressure from now on in my career.” – Inbee Park
Of Note: Defending champion Jiyai Shin shot an even-par 72 on Friday and sits in a tie for 31st at 1-under-par…Notable players to miss the cut include 2010 & 2011 RICOH Women’s British Open champion Yani Tseng, Laura Davies, and LPGA and World Golf Halls of Fame members Karrie Webb and Juli Inkster…A total of four amateurs made the cut in this week’s championship – Georgia Hall, Celine Boutier, Emily Taylor and Lydia Ko.
NA YEON CHOI, Rolex Rankings No. 4
COLIN CALLANDER: Good afternoon, we have Na Yeon Choi, the championship leader at 10‑under par after two 67s. Very well played, how do you feel after that second round?
NA YEON CHOI: Thank you. First of all, I'm very satisfied the last two rounds. You know, especially today, the weather wasn't good. It was very hard. But my focus was very good and my caddie helped me a lot.
And you know, I had a daily goal every day so I just tried to stick with the goal. It could be like par is 74 or 75 today, but I didn't care, like every hole, par 3, par 4, par 5, doesn't matter for me. I just try to play one shot at a time and I think that's why I had great results.
COLIN CALLANDER: Was that your goal for today, to play one shot at a time?
NA YEON CHOI: Yeah, I couldn't tell you like my secret daily goal, but yeah, this kind of weather, I have to focus my game. It doesn't matter where my ball is going. It could be like bad luck and bad bounce. I couldn't control that, so I really tried to stay in the moment and to stay positive.
COLIN CALLANDER: How many shots harder do you think today was than yesterday?
NA YEON CHOI: I think at least three or four strokes harder than yesterday.
Q. What type of goal ‑‑
NA YEON CHOI: It's more like technically goal, that kind of thing.
Q. Would you have thought a 67 was possible when you started?
NA YEON CHOI: I don't think so. I mean, today 67 was my best score out there, and I don't think I could have shoot lower than 67.
Q. Since you won the U.S. Open last year, can you talk about what you've worked on as a player, and I know maybe you've been a little frustrated with some results this year, but how you feel like you've ‑‑ I guess improved and matured as a player since winning that tournament?
NA YEON CHOI: Well, actually, my coach is here this week, and he came from Korea. Last time I saw him, like that was in February. And then this week, he saw me and then he said, like, hey, Na Yeon, where has all the confidence gone.
I think this year, I had pressure a lot from all the Korean fans and media, also family. But I mean, last two months, I hit it very well. Just my putter didn't go in. I think that's not because like, you know, technique. I think that was like because mental wasn't strong.
So you know, this week, my coach is encouraging me a lot, and he gave me a pep talk, and also my mental coach, Pia and Lynn, they are here. This week, all my teams are here, my trainer, manager, coach, mental coach, caddie, everybody is here. If I have a good result this week, that's because I have a good team this week.
Q. What's your coach's name, and how long have you been working with him?
NA YEON CHOI: My coach, his name is Robin Symes. Actually he's Irish. I met him seven years ago in Korea.
This week, my caddie is friend of my coach, also Irish, and they grew up together from Ireland. My caddie also a pro, and they control me a lot this week. I still have to go two more days, but they controlled me a lot, and like hundred percent, I trust them.
Q. And is this your caddie for this week?
NA YEON CHOI: Yeah, my caddie this week is just for this week.
Q. After Inbee won the Women's Open in 2008, she had about a four‑year period where she talked about that pressure, too, to repeat it. Have you guys talked a little bit about that? Is there I guess more expectations on you, and do you have to sort of deal with that after you've had that major breakthrough?
NA YEON CHOI: You know what, I'm a long time friend with Inbee, but we never talk about golf, especially off the golf course, we never ‑‑ like being golfers. We always just talk about, just friends, or like movie or music or something.
Actually, I don't know how tough it was she had it, like tough time between that four years, but I can guarantee she was really tough ‑‑ a tough time. It's hard to even ask her, because I know that kind of feeling, so that's kind of too emotional I think, so I never ask, and all my friends never ask me, also.
And the caddie, his name is David Young (ph).
COLIN CALLANDER: Do you know why your coach was in Korea when you met him?
NA YEON CHOI: He came to Korea like seven years ago. I was only high school. He was a teaching pro in Korea, still right now.
COLIN CALLANDER: Whereabouts in Korea?
NA YEON CHOI: Right now just a little outside of Seoul, and he has a big academy there and he has a lot of students there.
Q. I don't remember your exact card, but I don't think you dropped a shot over ‑‑ how many holes? Did you make bogey on the last nine?
NA YEON CHOI: Only 7th.
Q. What was more impressive or do you think was better for you, the birdies that you made, or not making any bogeys from, say, 13 through 17?
NA YEON CHOI: I mean, like obviously the back nine is more difficult than the front nine. I think that I would like to have more birdies rather than bogey.
Every time, if I have birdie, I got good vibes from there, and especially if I make the putt, and I got confidence from that, because the last two or three months, my putting was like ‑‑ every day, like hit 15, 16 greens and 35 putts or 34 putts, but I missed so many birdie putts out there. But the last two days, I made it.
I missed a couple birdie putts today, and also yesterday, but I made like some long putts and that gave me confidence I think.
Q. Why are you making them now?
NA YEON CHOI: I think a little bit I change my routine in basic stuff or technically. Also, like last week, couple days, I tried close eye and hit a putt. That kind of gave me some confidence I think.
I mean, like two months ago ‑‑ like two months ago, I couldn't even do it closed eye on practise green, I couldn't hit it. I couldn't trust myself.
But this week, my coach gave me a lot of confidence and then I trust myself, so I tried a lot of putts with the closed eye and just to see the line, just it's all imagination, just my ball going in, going in, that kind of practise.
Q. Did you make any putts with your eyes closed out there?
NA YEON CHOI: Not on the course. Not on the course.
COLIN CALLANDER: Could you go through the details of the birdies for us?
NA YEON CHOI: It's hard to remember, especially like today, like No. 3, I think my birdie putt was very close ‑‑ I'm sorry, like five hours out there, this kind of weather, it's hard to remember.
I think I still remember like 17, that's the only one I can remember, 17 and 18. 17, it's kind of difficult hole for today I think. 15, 17 was very difficult.
15, I hit 3‑hybrid from tee shot and then I hit 3‑wood from second shot, which means like second shot was longer than tee shot. But I still hit a good shot from the second shot and I made a par.
17, I hit driver and 3‑hybrid for a second shot and then my birdie putt was like 45‑yard putt, and I made a 2‑putt. Those two holes were like the most difficult holes today.
Q. 45 yards?
NA YEON CHOI: Yeah.
COLIN CALLANDER: What was your best birdie today, do you remember that?
NA YEON CHOI: I think 15, I hit little past the green from the second shot. So like I hit it past from the fringe but I made it like 35 feet.
COLIN CALLANDER: Was that the longest putt of the day?
NA YEON CHOI: No, actually on fifth hole, that was the longest birdie putt I made. That was like a little more than 40 feet.
COLIN CALLANDER: Thank you very much indeed, good luck tomorrow.
MIKI SAIKI, Rolex Rankings No. 41
COLIN CALLANDER: Good morning, we have Miki Saiki. She has just fired a 66, 6‑under par. As background, the 66 is the lowest score shot at this championship. The last time around there were two 67s, one by Miki herself, and one by Lorena Ochoa.
Many congratulations. You must be absolutely delighted with your score today.
MIKI SAIKI: I would have wanted to morning a low score today, as well. There's a couple 6‑unders, myself, as well, back in 2007, so I wanted to shoot a more lower score today if I could have but other than that it was a great round.
COLIN CALLANDER: Have you ever had two eagles in one round on par 4s?
MIKI SAIKI: First time.
Q. Could you talk us through those two eagles, please.
MIKI SAIKI: The first one on No. 4 was 127 yards to the hole and a shot with an 8‑iron. The one on 7 was 108 yards to the pin. It went on the green.
Q. What do you know about St. Andrews and do you know about the history of the town? What can you tell us?
MIKI SAIKI: Not very much but not about the town, no.
COLIN CALLANDER: Having shot 67 last time, you must have been looking forward to coming back?
MIKI SAIKI: Yes, if I have a chance, definitely.
Q. Is that the first time you've holed two shots in a round or made two eagles in the same round in tournament play?
MIKI SAIKI: Yeah, this is the first time.
Q. Could you just tell us about the year and how the season has been going?
MIKI SAIKI: I have won twice on the Japan ladies tour back in Japan, so I think I'm playing pretty consistent this year.
Q. Can I ask about any hobbies away from golf?
MIKI SAIKI: Shopping (laughter).
Q. What do you like shopping for?
MIKI SAIKI: Jewelry ‑‑
Q. Have you bought any at St. Andrews?
MIKI SAIKI: Not yet.
Q. When did you leave school and were you at university in Japan?
MIKI SAIKI: Graduated Tohoku University School in Sendai, Japan. Turned pro in middle of the fourth year of university, but eventually graduated but playing as a professional.
Q. Is there any figure in golf that acted as an inspiration to take up the game?
MIKI SAIKI: My grandfather loves golf and he always inspires me to be a professional. At first I didn't take it seriously but when he passed away, I decided to live up to his dream of me turning professional.
Q. The 6‑under round over the Old Course, how does that rate in your career?
MIKI SAIKI: I think today, I would rate it the highest just because it's a major, and the history of the course, as you take all that into consideration, yeah.
Q. Do you have any ambitions to play in America on the LPGA Tour?
MIKI SAIKI: For now, I think I'll play mainly on the Japan ladies tour. But if I have a chance to play the majors, including the Ricoh Women's British Open, I'll keep on trying.
Q. Did your grandfather tell you about St. Andrews? Did he ever play here?
MIKI SAIKI: Not much, no. We never kind of talked about St. Andrews in particular.
Q. And he never came here?
MIKI SAIKI: My grand father passed away before I first played St. Andrews, so we never talked about St. Andrews in particular, no.
Q. How good of a golfer was your grandfather? Was he a low handicap?
MIKI SAIKI: Level par handicap.
COLIN CALLANDER: Did your parents play golf?
MIKI SAIKI: They do.
COLIN CALLANDER: Are they good players, too?
MIKI SAIKI: Yes, my father was a very good player, as well, but a long time ago.
COLIN CALLANDER: Does he play international golf for Japan?
MIKI SAIKI: Amateur.
Q. And your mother?
MIKI SAIKI: She's an avid golfer but not on the level that my grandfather or father was.
Q. This score today, will this make a big impact back in Japan, and are you fairly well known there?
MIKI SAIKI: Yes, obviously I'm one of the top players, this tournament is through TV Asahi back in Japan, but the air time is late at night. I hope the people back in Japan, my fans, still wake up and watch me play.
COLIN CALLANDER: Thank you very much.
MORGAN PRESSEL, Rolex Rankings No. 51
MORGAN PRESSEL: I played very well today. Didn't really put myself in any trouble. I only had one par putt of maybe about six or seven feet on 11 that was a tap‑in. There's a lot of birdie putts out there.
I gave myself a lot of chances and they were scaring the hole but just didn't go in. On the last hole, I was ready to give a big fist‑pump but that was in the middle of the hole but it was on the low side.
Q. Getting into the Solheim Cup for the United States, how often do you think about that when you're out there?
MORGAN PRESSEL: At this point, you know, I've played well for two days, and I'm more focused on this tournament. I feel like I've given myself the best opportunity to play on the team in the last couple months. We'll see how it falls at the end of the week but I feel good about where I am.
Q. Over the last few years, it's been a reasonably tough journey for you. I know you had wrist and thumb injuries last year; what's turned it and how good do you feel about your game once again?
MORGAN PRESSEL: I feel good, probably better than I did before the injury, which is nice. I practised very hard and kind of in a good place in my life, so it's been more fun playing golf. I enjoy the travel a little bit more, and just enjoy competing and playing well.
Q. And as a newlywed and life as a married woman on the Tour, how is that shaping up?
MORGAN PRESSEL: It's great. My husband is very supportive. He is unfortunately not here this week but as he constantly reminds me, he has a job, as well, even though I would like him to be out here all the time. He's always got my back.
Q. It's always something to get off to a great start as you did yesterday, but then it's important to back it up, and you must feel like you've done that today?
MORGAN PRESSEL: Well, definitely. We had ideal conditions this morning, and definitely after the rain, it played tough but even on those tough holes, still didn't put myself in any trouble and that was the key out there. I putted ball where I can see it and was able to ‑‑ I made a lot of pars. I gave myself chances at birdies but at the end of the day I made a lot of pars.
Q. That's one of the things about St. Andrews, is you hear a lot of players say, I gave myself chances, I gave myself chances, and the greens have so many subtleties in there, and they are big by their very nature.
MORGAN PRESSEL: Yeah, sometimes a straight putt is the hardest; it's hard to aim right at the hole. I practised a lot, a lot of straight putts leading up to this week or earlier in the week here. Just burning the heart, I needed to hit a few of them and I just didn't it. Sometimes I tried to read too much break into them.
They are so subtle because they are fairly flat for the most part. There's a few areas of the greens that are certainly a little more severe, but there's a lot of makeable putts, but sometimes the straight putts are the hardest.
Q. We touched on this yesterday but have you thought of your former self and to hear you reveling in the unique nature of links golf now, if we had said to you that five years ago, you would be having these kind of thoughts and conversations, what would you have said then?
MORGAN PRESSEL: I would have said that I'd probably grown up a bit (laughing), I guess it will come. I mean, everything happens for a reason, and I think that my past struggles here at St. Andrews as well as links golf in general my first two years on Tour taught me a lot.
This is my 8th year, and that makes me feel really old sometimes at 25, but I've learned a lot in those eight years. Everybody says build on your experiences and learn from all of your mistakes but sometimes you don't see that until a little bit further down the road.
Q. Embracing the challenge as you are, how does that involve you for the weekend, having given yourself this position at the halfway stage?
MORGAN PRESSEL: Well, I don't know where it will end up at the end of the day, but I'm going to go back and take a nap while everybody else plays in the wind.
You know, I'm happy. I'll be in contention going into the weekend, and I'm playing well, so I can't ask for much more than that.
SUZANN PETTERSEN, Rolex Rankings No. 3
Q. 5‑under par; what did you basically come to grips with on the Old Course today?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Continue what I did yesterday, a very stress‑free 2‑under, felt like I left a couple out there. Had a good night's sleep and just kept digging at it. It feels like the wind, not as much as we had ‑‑ but got to play smart on the way out, smart on the way in. I just spoke to Peter, he said if I can come back even par, that's usually a good job around this course.
Q. The wind picking up obviously for the afternoon, and obviously good side of the draw in that respect, you'll be able to watch others tackle that today?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Yeah, I think over the years, I think it evens out. I think I had the worst part of the draw last year. But I'm very happy with the way I played. Feeling great with my putter, so that's for me a very, very good sign.
Q. And you can watch it from the comfort of a most amazing residence. You probably have one of the best views in golf this week?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: I have the best seat in the house, for sure. What time is it, 11.30? I can sit there and watch golf for the next eight hours.
Q. This is the major that's probably the major that's frustrated you more than the others. Do you feel more confident about your ability to perhaps try and go and pull this one off this time?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Well, I think I said last year, that was the most comfortable I felt on a links course, and this year, I really feel like I'm in control of my game. I feel like I'm really simplifying everything.
Obviously you've got to give yourself a few chances and stay out of trouble, and if you give yourself enough chances, you're going to drop a few and just stay out of the big numbers.
Q. A nice early start, and you made the most of it. You must be very, very pleased with your morning's work?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Yeah, very happy with this round. Got off to a fairly quick start. Gave myself plenty of chances and don't feel like I left anything out there really. Finishing stretch is quite a few tough holes, so if you want to play smart, you're still leaving yourself a lot of long approaches. I think it's just hard to hit them close. Even now, very, very happy.
Q. When you headed out first thing this morning, you would have recognised that there were challenges to be taken does. That bring a pressure in its own chance a little bit?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Not really. Just got to go out there and follow your game plan, have a game plan for all different conditions. We didn't really expect it to rain but things change quite quickly around this place, and it is supposed to be windy this afternoon, so I guess a little bit lucky with the draw.
Q. When you headed into this week, did you feel that you were sort of on course for a decent week? Did it feel like you brought your A Game here, or have you found it as the week's gone on?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: No, I felt like I did fantastic preparation prior to. First year coming straight off ‑‑ I was pretty close to coming off Evian, which had been a nightmare for me to adjust to the two contrasts of how golf was played. I feel like I've mentally prepared well, and trusting my game.
Q. In terms of the British Open and what it means to you, it's been the one that's cost you perhaps the most problems over the years, do you feel that change in the schedule is something that helps you in that regard?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: I don't think it's caused many problems, but hasn't really given me any super‑highs. Overall, I'm very excited about this week and just trying to take advantage of the second time around here and trying to play accordingly to the conditions.
Q. And does St. Andrews make it extra special, sort of kind of almost a Super British Open in some respects; it elevates it above the others?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Yeah, I think so. Every time you turn a corner coming around the hotel down 17, it's always a spectacular view and it's always stunning every single time. So really just trying to take it all in and enjoy myself.
Q. And heading into the weekend, what are the thought processes having given yourself this platform now?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Just got to go out and keep doing what I'm doing, giving myself a lot of great chances, playing smart, trying to play to my strengths and not really take too many risks of being greedy off the tee and so far it's paid off.
Q. It's an exciting time of the year, isn't it, Solheim Cup around the corner, as well?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: I can't wait to take them down. (Laughter).
STACY LEWIS, Rolex Rankings No. 2
Q. Given the conditions this afternoon, how happy are you with that round of level par?
STACY LEWIS: I would have liked to have gotten one there at the end. I had two good chances on 17 and 18. But overall, it was playing so hard out there. It was just a grind. You had to make ‑‑ at least I had to make a bunch of 4‑ or 5‑footers for par, and even par on a day like this when it's windy is a good score.
Q. You talked about your Curtis Cup experience here and experiencing so many facets of this golf course, but had you gone through 32‑mile‑an‑hour a winds back then?
STACY LEWIS: We had a little bit of wind. I don't remember it being quite that much. I think holes 11 through 17, I had 4‑ or 5‑iron into every single hole, so it was so long. You really just had to make some good two putts, and it was definitely playing hard.
Q. You've had a good season by anybody's standard, two wins, you've reached No. 1 in the world, but you've been relatively quiet in the Majors ‑‑ puzzling, I'm sure, for you. But what's clicking this week compared to other Majors this year?
STACY LEWIS: I think I'm just putting a little better. I'm making those key putts and making some birdies, a couple longer putts here and there. I was looking forward to this one.
I love this golf course, so I think I knew I'd play a little bit better here. I don't know why the other Majors were the way they were, but I'm just glad I'm playing good here.
PAULA CREAMER, Rolex Rankings No. 11
Q. Are you disappointed with that?
PAULA CREAMER: Not really. I felt like I gave one away on 17 and didn't make birdie on the par 5, but other than that, I played really well. I hit a lot of good golf shots. On that back nine, it's hard. When you make that turn to come around back into the wind right‑to‑left, it's playing difficult. So you take some on the front and just trying to coast on it on the back.
Q. Most difficult nine holes of the year?
PAULA CREAMER: I don't know about most difficult of the year, I think because there's such a big difference from the morning to the afternoon today with the tee times, that played a huge part with just making birdies and pars out there. But it's just a pretty difficult back nine, coming into the stretch of the last six holes, those are hard. But the good thing is, tomorrow we're all around the same time and we're going to go through the same conditions.
Q. Do you enjoy that challenge?
PAULA CREAMER: Oh, I love it. I love the harder, the better, the wind, just everything about it. There's just so much thinking going on. We sleep good at night after days like this, and that's what a British Open is about. You want to be able to shape the ball and you want to be able to think about different things, and yesterday was kind of a fluke.
Q. Do you pay any attention to the leaderboard or how things stand or how far back you are?
PAULA CREAMER: Not really, not today, just because I knew the morning played a bit easier and there were some birdies to be made early on, and just on the back nine, like I said. The front nine, you can make birdies. It's still very difficult, but you're having short irons in. On the back nine, you're hitting 5‑woods and four rescues, things like that. But I wasn't a very good leaderboard watcher today, but I will be tomorrow.
INBEE PARK, Rolex Rankings No. 1
INBEE PARK: A little bit of everything wasn't really working well out there today but it was very tough conditions. I just don't feel like I played horrible today. I think I grinded really well out there today. 1‑over today, a little bit unlucky with the draw, getting afternoon today, not playing in the morning when it's lovely but that's the way it is.
Q. You said yesterday you were a little concerned with a couple of shots you hit on the back nine, did you manage to fix those today?
INBEE PARK: Well, not perfectly fix it, but I didn't miss that many shots to the right today, mostly to the left. I would say I fixed it a little bit because it's going the other way, but I'm trying to get that straight the next two days; whether I win or whether I don't, the last two days that I had here, lots of great moments that I've collected ‑‑ if I can handle this kind of pressure, I'm not afraid of anything in my career from now on.
Q. Do you feel like you've handled it well? Are you satisfied?
INBEE PARK: Well, not satisfied ‑‑ but last two days ‑‑ it was a great experience, I've got to say.
Q. Your caddie said you found a little something on the back nine, what did you find and how much confidence can you take from where you finished up?
INBEE PARK: Well, today my play was overall pretty much the same with the ball‑striking. Not everything clicked, but I feel like I'm almost getting there and I feel like it's getting better than yesterday's back nine, so just trying to take it step‑by‑step.
Q. Would you like the wind to blow tomorrow? With you like conditions to be tough or like it was on day one?
INBEE PARK: I would say I wanted it to blow and conditions to be tough, because I'm so far back. Just I need to narrow some gap in these tough conditions.
Q. You're a very composed person, so when you're nervous, how does that show in you? How do you feel when you're nervous?
INBEE PARK: Well, I can see ‑‑ because I'm not striking the ball that bad or putting that bad, so that tells me that I'm not feeling the pressure. Might not be 100 percent, but trying to get there, trying to make it there. Whether I win this week, whether I don't, the last two days what I experienced was great. You know, if I can handle this kind of pressure, if I face this kind of pressure, I'm really not afraid of any kind of pressure from now on in my career.
That's something that not everybody gets to experience, so yeah, it's a great experience.
Q. You had a few lucky breaks on the back nine, too, can you talk about that part of it, deal with the bad breaks?
INBEE PARK: Yeah, this course, you're always going to get a bad bounce, bad breaks. I guess everybody gets bad bounces here, so you have to kind of play with that, too.
Q. When did you start feeling this pressure?
INBEE PARK: Just every ‑‑ I think since I got here I think I started.
Q. When you first got to the golf course?
INBEE PARK: Yeah, yeah.
Q. How difficult was the wind on the back nine? A lot of the players have said it was pretty tough.
INBEE PARK: Yeah, especially coming in holes from 13 to 17, it is playing really long with the wind and everything blowing sideways, it's tough to hit it right at the pin. You have to really aim far away from the pin, so that's the tough part. Yeah, I mean, the course was playing a bit long for me, and on the back nine, I was hitting like rescues, 5‑woods, 3‑woods.
Q. What happened on your shot on 14, the third shot on the par 5?
INBEE PARK: That was a really bad lie, and everything was going into the grain and going into the wind. I thought it wasn't going to come out very nice, but actually it came out really hot and ran ‑‑ I think it ran a lot. I didn't see the shot.
Q. You were still able to save par there, so maybe you didn't score as well as you wanted to, you still had some big putts, actually, on the back.
INBEE PARK: Yeah, especially on 13, 14, the par 5, great save there. You know, I made some good putts out there today. Made some great saves. I think everybody would have made some great saves today. I think a lot of people was putting for pars this afternoon.
Yeah, that's something that you have to deal with when you're playing with the wind. It's tough playing with the wind.
Q. Are you still in it?
INBEE PARK: Yeah, I would say you just never know what's going to happen the next two days. Especially if the conditions get tougher, I think anything could happen out here.
Q. Some people love to play from the lead and some people like to come from behind. Do you mind trying to catch up?
INBEE PARK: Yeah, I don't mind both ways. When you're behind, you feel a little bit less pressure, but you have to play harder to get there.
Q. What did you do on the first hole?
INBEE PARK: I missed the green to the right and didn't get up‑and‑down from there.
Q. That drive on 1 was probably ‑‑ did that get you off to a little bit of a bad ‑‑
INBEE PARK: It was left. I was trying to avoid right because I missed a couple of shots right yesterday. The left shot, I didn't really mind.
Q. Can you think of a putt where you felt like the way you hit it, that the pressure was there, when you're talking about your swing?
INBEE PARK: I mean, I don't feel it like in one putt or some putts, but just I think overall, you know, I think I just feel it ‑‑ I don't know exactly what putts or what shots I hit.
Q. How have you handled other people here, everybody is asking you so many questions everywhere, so how do you think? How do you handle this?
INBEE PARK: Well, this is pretty much the only week I'm going to get that much, so I should enjoy this moment (laughter). I'm trying to enjoy every moment that I'm here. Yeah, it's something different, and yeah, I should enjoy this moment.
Q. Did you foresee this, that you would one day have all these people around you?
INBEE PARK: I mean, it feels a little bit awkward for me, but this is coming with good playing and with great results of golf.
So, yeah, I'm happy with it.
Q. When you talk about having the experience of feeling the pressure and it will help you the rest of your career, do you think this could all relate, sort of, to when Annika played the Colonial, and having gone through that experience, it helped her the rest of the way?
INBEE PARK: Yeah, I think so. When you experience something big like this, some kind of big pressure like this, you're just really not afraid of any kind of pressure. How can this get bigger than this? If you experience something like this, you're just ready to go and ready to experience something ‑‑ anything's going to be less than this.
Q. When you go back to your room at night, do you feel more exhausted than a typical week, just carrying the load of everyone?
INBEE PARK: I mean, not exactly. I think I still have a lot of energy, so I don't feel like I'm exhausted when I go home, especially with weather here, it's not so hot, so it doesn't really exhaust you.
RICOH Women’s British Open
The Old Course, St. Andrews
First-round Notes and Interviews
August 1, 2013
Morgan Pressel -6, Rolex Rankings No. 51
Camilla Lennarth -6, Rolex Rankings No. 340
Stacy Lewis -5, Rolex Rankings No. 2
Na Yeon Choi -5, Rolex Rankings No. 4
Nicole Castrale -5, Rolex Rankings No. 77
Ryann O’Toole -5, Rolex Rankings No. 234
Catriona Matthew, -4, Rolex Rankings No. 10
Paula Creamer -4, Rolex Rankings No. 11
Inbee Park -3, Rolex Rankings No. 1
Thursday’s First-round Recap
Inbee Park’s march toward history kicked off in Thursday’s first round of the RICOH Women’s British Open and for a significant portion of the morning, the leaderboard looked much like it had in the previous three LPGA major championships this year – with Park’s name right at the top.
Then Park got a reminder that capturing an unprecedented fourth consecutive major in a season likely wouldn’t be that easy.
A few wayward drives and two three-putts in her final three holes resulted in Park opening up this week’s major with what she described as “a rollercoaster” round. She shot a 3-under 69 that featured seven birdies, two bogeys and a double bogey on the Old Course at St. Andrews to put herself three shots behind first-round leaders Morgan Pressel and Camilla Lennarth, who each fired a 6-under 66.
“I played very good on the front nine and then I had a little bit shaky on the back nine,” Park said. “But I still feel really good about the game. I was 6‑under through ten holes and that means I could do the same thing tomorrow.
“There was a couple of bad drives and a couple of bad putts on the back nine, but it's the first round…A little bit disappointing, but I'm glad that I've done that in the first round instead of the final round.”
Pressel may be chasing her second career major title and a spot on this year’s U.S. Solheim Cup this week but all eyes were on Park Thursday as she began her chase at a historic Grand Slam. Park is trying to become the first golfer – male or female—to win four professional majors in a single season.
Park’s hunt for the Grand Slam has drawn worldwide attention and in spite of the increased attention focused on her this week at St. Andrews, the 25-year-old South Korean didn’t seem to be fazed by the pressure at the start Thursday’s first round.
After teeing off at 7:03 a.m. local time in cloudy conditions with a light drizzle, Park wasted no time getting her name on the leaderboard. She birdied the first hole and then managed to take advantage of the easier part of the golf course as she shot 31 on the front nine. Known for her solid putting, Park put on a clinic with her flat stick over the first 10 holes of her round. She sank birdie putts that measured close to 40, 30, 20 and 10 feet during that stretch and once again showed why she’s considered to be one of the best putters currently in the game.
Park moved to 6-under-par when she made a 5-foot birdie putt on the 10th, but gave the stroke back with a bogey on the par-4 13th. After driving the ball into the heather, Park had to slash out with her second shot and then hit her third to about 15 feet. She missed that putt for par and had to settle for bogey as she headed to the final stretch of holes.
Things proved to be more difficult for Park at the end of her round, as her driver wasn’t quite as steady. She missed a few fairways coming down the stretch, most of them to the right-hand side, and then three-putted on No. 16 and 17 as she carded a double bogey and then bogey to drop to 2-under-par. A birdie on the final hole got Inbee back to 3-under-par for the day.
Pressel meanwhile took advantage of calm, sunny conditions in the afternoon of Thursday’s first round to make seven birdies and shoot 66. The 25-year-old American had a chance to go to 7-under-par on 18 but missed her birdie putt, which kept her from matching her lowest round in a major championship -- 65 which she shot in the third round of the 2010 RICOH Women’s British Open at Royal Birkdale.
Fellow American Stacy Lewis also put herself in the hunt for a second career major title on Thursday, shooting a 5-under 67 to take the early clubhouse lead. She finished the day in a tie for second with six other players including Rolex Ranking No. 3 Na Yeon Choi. Lewis managed to take advantage of the difficult finishing at St. Andrews, firing a 31 on the back nine to take advantage of the favorable scoring conditions on Thursday.
“I got more comfortable with my putter, made a couple of good putts for par,” Lewis said. “To come away, shooting 5‑under on the back nine on this golf course, I don't care if it's calm or if it's windy, it's a good score, so I'm very happy with the day.”
As for Park, her race at history will continue on Friday when she tees off at 11:48 a.m. local time. While the normally stoic Park didn’t show any outward signs of feeling the pressure of her chase leading up to Thursday’s first round, she acknowledged afterward that she’s glad the first part of her journey this week has been completed.
“I was a little bit nervous this morning before I teed off,” Park said. “But then once the round started, and especially playing so good in the first few holes, that really gave me a lot of confidence. I didn't feel much pressure when I was playing during the round. I'm just glad that it is already started and I got the first round under my belt.”
Eyes on the prize: Morgan Pressel strengthened her chances of making the 2013 U.S. Solheim Cup Team with a first-round 66 at the RICOH Women’s British Open. Meg Mallon’s 12-player squad will be finalized following play on Sunday and Pressel is currently on the outside looking in, one Rolex Ranking spot out of an automatic qualifying spot.
“I wish I had about a dollar every time somebody asked me that,” Pressel said, referring to how often she thinks about making the Solheim Cup team. “I'd be a bizillionaire.”
She added, “Having played on three teams, it's something that I don't want to miss and something that I'm definitely thinking about, and at the same time, trying not to think about and trying to worry about focusing on this week.”
The 25-year-old is a three-time U.S. Team member who recorded a 4-0 record during a 2011 loss to the Europeans. This week she is seeking her second major championship victory. In 2007, Pressel became the youngest major championship winner in LPGA history at the Kraft Nabisco Championship at the age of 19.
Early bird gets the worm? Stacy Lewis can’t remember a previous tournament when her tee time was in the six o’clock hour. But there she was on Thursday morning at the Old Course at St. Andrews teeing off at 6:41 a.m. in the second group of the day.
“I think that's probably the earliest actual tee time I've had,” Lewis said. “Sometimes when we have restarts for rain delays, we go out pretty early, but I don't have recall a tee time being in the 6s.”
The early wakeup call actually seemed to suit Lewis, who was the early clubhouse leader with a 5-under 67. But in spite of a birdie on the first hole, Lewis actually took some time to get things going in her round.
After making the turn at even par, Lewis managed to take advantage of the more difficult part of the golf course. She shot 31 on the back side, recording five birdies and capping off her round by making a solid birdie putt on the 18th hole to take early possession of the lead.
“I was very frustrated with the front nine,” Lewis said.” Especially the way I played the ninth hole, which is a pretty easy hole. I decided to hook it into the rough off the tee and then hit it to the far right of the green and 3‑putt it.
“I was very frustrated with the way I was playing, but at the same time, I knew I was hitting it good, and that's the key on this golf course. If you've got control of your golf ball; if you can cut it back into the wind or ride the wind, or if you can hit the shots, you're going to be fine, and I knew I was doing that. I just had to stay patient with the putter.”
All eyes on Inbee: It didn’t take long for players to take notice of what Inbee Park was doing at the start of her round on Thursday at the RICOH Women’s British Open. After birdies on five of her first eight holes, Park’s name was once again atop the leaderboard at a major – something that’s happened with regularity throughout this season.
Former Rolex Rankings No. 1 Stacy Lewis said that she was getting ready to tee off on the 11th when she and Karrie Webb caught a glimpse of the leaderboard for the first time and saw Park’s name at 5-under-par through eight holes.
“We just kind of both looked at the leaderboard for the same time and both looked at each other and shook our heads,” Lewis said. “We knew she was going to be there, but it's like she keeps doing it over and over and over again.”
Comeback trail? It’s been a long road back for Nicole Castrale. After season-ending shoulder in June 2010 and the birth of her daughter, Eleni, in November 2011, Castrale found herself sitting 500th in the world and far from the position she once held as one of the top Americans on the LPGA Tour.
But when she returned to the Tour last year, Castrale was focused not just on trying to move back up the rankings and into contention. She wanted to make a case for a spot on the 2013 U.S. Solheim Cup Team and with the team set to be selected on Sunday evening, she’s trying her best to make that final push this week at the RICOH Women’s British Open.
Castrale got off to a good start on Thursday, opening the championship at St. Andrews with a 5-under 67 to put her into a tie for second.
“I knew it was going to be an uphill battle trying to make the team this year,” Castrale said of her Solheim Cup chances. “I’ve got myself back ranked to 75th in the world so I feel like I’ve done a pretty good job of moving up in the last two years. Although I wasn’t able to get Top-50 in the world at this point, and you know, that’s probably what’s going to make it World Ranking-wise for that second spot.
“I still have a chance this week. I've been fighting all year, so just see what happens, see what Mother Nature brings. This golf course can change from minute to minute really. We'll just see what happens.”
Castrale could also become one of the LPGA Tour players to win after becoming a mom. It wouldn’t be the first time it’s happened at this championship either, as Catriona Matthew won the 2009 RICOH Women’s British Open just months after giving birth to her second daughter, Sophie.
“Catriona is really just one example,” Castrale said of other successful moms on the LPGA Tour. “You look at Juli Inkster, Hall of Famer American, who has had an outstanding career and she's a mom of two girls. So it's definitely possible to do it out here. Is it a little tougher? Sure, you have to have your priorities in order, maybe you don't practise quite as long, but it's quality. You have the trophy there ‑‑ but once you go home, as much as I would obviously love to win here, I know when I get home back to the U.S., we have our trophy at the home.”
Changing Aim: Ryann O’Toole isn’t afraid to make changes to her golf game, even the week before a major championship.
O’Toole started working with Mark Sweeney and AimPoint last week in order to help her putting. After a couple sessions last week, she said that she walked the course with Sweeney at St. Andrews on Sunday. And in Thursday’s first round when she shot a 5-under 67, she already was seeing a difference in her putting even if most of it happened later in her round when she began to trust what she had learned.
“A challenge your first round in, but I think it really helped,” said O’Toole, who needed 31 putts on Thursday. “It helped on 17 when I made a 20‑footer to save myself, when I would have read it outside the edge and it was dead straight, so just trying to trust what you are being taught and go from there.”
Tweet of the Day: “Morgan Pressel cracks she's at home this wk. She did, after all, grow up at St. Andrews CC & attend St. Andrews School, both in Boca Raton.” -- @RandallMellGC
Quotable: “Just look at the year she's had thus far. She's calm, cool and collected really. She says she gets nervous; no one can tell. Even if she's nervous, she finds a way to be able to handle it inside, so you have to give her props for that. Just because she looks calm, she's doing something right on the inside, as well.” – Nicole Castrale on Inbee Park
Of Note: Defending champion Jiyai Shin shot an opening round 1-under 71 and sits in a tie for 54th…A total of 73 players recorded rounds under par in Thursday’s first round. That’s more than half the field (144 players)…Top-ranked amateur Lydia Ko opened up this week’s championship with a 3-under 69,
MORGAN PRESSEL, Rolex Rankings No. 51
COLIN CALLANDER: Good afternoon, we have Morgan Pressel who has fired a 6‑under par 66, leading the championship, congratulations, you must be very pleased with the start.
MORGAN PRESSEL: Definitely. I felt good out there. I knew I could shoot 6‑under out here at St. Andrews, and nice to get off to a good start in this tournament.
COLIN CALLANDER: The conditions seemed to be calm to start, got up and then dropped again, would that be correct?
MORGAN PRESSEL: Yeah, planning my outfit for today, I anticipated wearing my rain pants and rain jacket all day long. So I was very happy that ‑‑ it really only rained on us for one hole at most. Right after the rain, the wind actually switched to maybe a little bit of a different direction and kind of calmed down and that made our back nine play a little bit easier.
Q. When you say the wind switched, did you have a little bit of help on the back nine?
MORGAN PRESSEL: It wasn't necessarily helping, but it wasn't into us. It was mostly cross. Really until maybe ‑‑ the second shot into 16 and 17 played into the wind, but the rest of the back nine was almost dead across, which made that par 5 nearly reachable and certainly some of the holes not play quite as long. But also, it wasn't very strong. So it made it more playable.
Q. It's a major and you're only thinking about your golf out there, but going in, how much is Solheim Cup weighing on your mind and how important was today in regards to that?
MORGAN PRESSEL: Well, it was definitely important. I wish I had about a dollar every time somebody asked me that (laughing). You know, it's a special week, the Solheim Cup and that's why everybody cares so much about it and that's why I care so much about it.
Having played on three teams, it's something that I don't want to miss and something that I'm definitely thinking about, and at the same time, trying not to think about and trying to worry about focusing on this week. That was my biggest goal coming into this week was not to think about Solheim Cup and I only thought about it maybe a handful of times on every shot ‑‑ not on every shot.
When it did come up, I tried to say, hey, there's a lead out there and I'm trying to chase that lead. I'm not worried about finishing in the Top‑20 or worried about my ranking or anything like that. If I play my game, I'll be on that team.
Q. If you had a dollar for every time you thought about the Solheim Cup ‑‑
MORGAN PRESSEL: I'd be a bizillionaire. I've had a lot of support and it's been nice. I saw Laura Diaz on ‑‑ I made birdie on 15 I think, and I looked over and she was on, would it be the third hole, and she gave me a little thumbs‑up. I've had a few players on the team send me notes, focus on your game, you know what you can do and don't worry about it.
That's definitely helpful and very kind, and I appreciate it very much. I hope to be in Denver.
Q. You made that nice run at Wegman's LPGA Championship. How important was that to you in confirming that your form is returning and you're healing?
MORGAN PRESSEL: Definitely. Before that, I had struggled a little bit, but I felt like I was playing well, and I was hitting it well, and on the range I was hitting every target that I looked at. I would get on the golf course, and I struggled.
So it took a little bit of a shift in my mental attitude out on the golf course, and a little bit more positive thinking. Since then, I've really tried to commit myself to shots like I probably never have done in my career, and I think that's definitely why I'm playing better.
Q. The other players who have all been here up near the top of the leaderboard were telling us they were up at 4.00, 4.30 this morning; did you enjoy your lie‑in?
MORGAN PRESSEL: Yes, I did get a nice rest. I still was up at 5.30, but that's just me. I was going to go back to bed and I said, you know, I should probably stay up, because I'm just going to have to do it again tomorrow.
Tomorrow will be an early start, so it will be a quick turnaround. It's supposed to be windy tomorrow, I believe. I don't know if it will be windier in the morning or the afternoon, just going to get up early. I like that. I like to wake up early. It doesn't bother me. Get out there and go to work and take an afternoon nap.
Q. Did playing with Catriona, did that help at all, a home player?
MORGAN PRESSEL: I enjoyed very much playing with Catriona. She's a great person, and we had a lot of fun out there. We talked a lot and I was telling her ‑‑ that she birdied the last two holes, you know, in front of the crowd. I said, "You're just such a crowd pleaser." It was fun to see everybody pulling for her.
She played very well. She certainly left some shots out there and still shot 4‑under par.
Q. What did you do when you got up at 5.30?
MORGAN PRESSEL: Working on some of my travel and stuff, boring stuff, the other side of the job, booking flights.
Q. You and I talked coming into this week about how much your attitude has changed regarding links golf in general. Can you just go back and give me some specifics of when were here in 2007 and what bothered you, and maybe how your mind‑set was different going around today?
MORGAN PRESSEL: I don't know 100 per cent the differences. I mean, when I was here last time, I also had a local caddie. My caddie at the time had a family emergency, had to go home from Evian. So I don't know that I was really happy enough necessarily even being here, and the weather was terrible. I wasn't really used to that. I don't know the course management. I studied this golf course up‑and‑down for three days, and I still feel like could I have done a lot more work.
I think coming into this week, I was a lot better prepared in that sense, and just had a better game plan. I mean, I probably hit driver everywhere, and hope that it didn't end up in a bunker; whereas now, I understand a little bit more how penal those bunkers can be and how important it is to avoid them. But yeah, on that back nine today, I had chances to aim at flags, and I did. So it's a little bit of give and take.
COLIN CALLANDER: Could we go through the birdies, please, the details.
MORGAN PRESSEL: On the first hole, I hit gap wedge from 118 and got a little bit lucky. I didn't hit a great shot but it went to about a foot, so it was a nice start to the day.
COLIN CALLANDER: Did that just get over the water?
MORGAN PRESSEL: The pin was in the back, so it cleared by quite a bit. I didn't hit a great shot.
And then on 5, I was maybe ten yards from the front edge and had 75 to the pin, because the pin was so far back. I hit it to about two feet.
On 6, I hit a driver in the right bunker, and then pitched out and 2‑putted for bogey.
On 9, I hit a 56 from 98 yards to two feet.
On 11, I hit an 8‑iron from maybe 158, I believe it was, to ten feet.
On 13 was a good birdie. I hit a driver and then hit an 8‑iron from 142 or so to about 20 feet and made birdie.
On 14, I hit driver, 3‑wood to just short of the green, a little pitch shot to about five feet.
On 15, I hit a poor 3‑wood off the tee into the right kind of fescue, so it was very light. There wasn't a whole lot over there, and hit a 6‑iron to about 15 feet and made that.
COLIN CALLANDER: On 18, you had a pretty realistic chance for another birdie.
MORGAN PRESSEL: Yeah, 18, I had a chance but just didn't get it to the hole. Didn't hit it quite firm enough, which can certainly happen out here.
Q. On your putting, how do you feel around the greens here, and is there anything you would change, because you were sinking some really good putts.
MORGAN PRESSEL: Yeah, I don't know if there's anything that I'd necessarily change, but I feel like I've been putting well. I worked a lot on especially speed the first few days here, because I had a few long putts, and every one that I had, I had a tap‑in left, which makes the day much less stressful.
You know, I think the greens are fairly tricky to read and I think I did a good job reading them today, because they are so subtle and was able to make some putts.
Q. Coming back to the other question about 2007, and now you've obviously played a lot more links golf; has that helped you, or is it that you've matured in your putting attitude and outlook?
MORGAN PRESSEL: A little bit of both. When I came ‑‑ after I played here last time, I was pretty down on links golf and didn't really look forward to coming to the British Open.
Q. I remember.
MORGAN PRESSEL: Even if you look at my first round at Birkdale the next year, I think I shot 77 and I was ready to book my flight home. It was kind of that next day when I went out and I shot 65, and I was kind of like, you know, I can do this. And it gave me a better outlook for all the British Opens I've played since then.
Like I said, I've just gotten better at managing my game and hitting shots. At British Opens, you don't just hit a stock draw, it just doesn't work. You have to hit high shots, low shots, bump it, putt it from 40 yards off the green sometimes, do whatever it takes. I think as a creative person naturally, I think I just had to implement that a little bit better out here. I think that's certainly helped.
Q. What did the gallery ‑‑
MORGAN PRESSEL: It was funny ‑‑ and I live at St. Andrews Country Club. So I've got, you know, unfortunately not here in Scotland. But I photo ‑‑ I cracked myself up last week when I posted a photo of the little tee marker at home, and I said, "What's all the fuss about St. Andrews, I'm already here" ‑‑
COLIN CALLANDER: Where is St. Andrews Country Club?
MORGAN PRESSEL: In Boca Raton, Florida. And so is St. Andrews School.
COLIN CALLANDER: You're at home then.
MORGAN PRESSEL: I know. I feel right at home. It's almost as warm today, too, which was nice.
Q. On the first par 5, how did you play that shot?
MORGAN PRESSEL: I just hit a 65‑yard pitch shot. I mean, I had 75 still, which is almost ‑‑ I hit like a three‑quarter lob‑wedge. I played a high shot. Yesterday I hit it there, as well, in the practise round, and I took a sand wedge and I just hit it full to see just for my mind‑set to say, look, you're going to hit a full sand wedge and it's still not going to go over the green, because it's 110 yards from where I was on the back of the green.
Kind of goofing off yesterday allowed me to stand there and say, you know, it's a long way, get it to the hole.
Q. What's the longest shot you hit ‑‑
MORGAN PRESSEL: Of all the times I've been here, I'm not sure. I didn't have really that many tremendously long putts today. You know, maybe 50, 60 feet. But when the opportunity presents itself, I could be putting from a long way away.
COLIN CALLANDER: Thank you, Morgan, good luck tomorrow.
CAMILLA LENNARTH, Rolex Rankings No. 340
Q. Congratulations, fantastic opening round. Your first time at St. Andrews?
CAMILLA LENNARTH: Yeah, first time at St. Andrews and first time at the British Open.
Q. How do you rate your performance?
CAMILLA LENNARTH: I'm very satisfied, definitely. I hit all the fairways and all the greens, and it went pretty smooth out there.
Q. What was the highlight of your round today?
CAMILLA LENNARTH: I actually think the highlight was ‑‑ I made birdie on the first hole. I felt like, okay, well, I'm at least going to make one birdie.
Q. So what was your mentality going out there?
CAMILLA LENNARTH: I've been very excited, ever since I qualified on Monday, I've been looking forward to this. I'm just very happy I made it here. No matter what happens out here, I'm just going to enjoy every moment and take it all in.
Q. Are you surprised you're tied for the lead?
CAMILLA LENNARTH: Of course I'm surprised that I'm tied for the lead, but I know I can hit good golf shots. It's just a matter of putting them all together at once, and I did today and I'm satisfied.
Q. Did you have a local caddie or friend?
CAMILLA LENNARTH: No, Markus, been on the bag since Holland. So we have been doing pretty well, and I'm very happy that I have the same person on the bag all the time, because when I get nervous, he knows what to tell me and calm me down and when to talk and not, and he's learned my game pretty well.
Q. Can you talk me through your birdies?
CAMILLA LENNARTH: The first one, I knocked them close, but not like ‑‑ you know, they were in good birdie range. But lately, last week in London, I started to putt well again. So I just kind of carried that on to this week.
And putting well usually just kind of takes on a little pressure on the shots hitting into the green, because you feel like, okay, well, I'm rolling it well, and that makes you, you know, just kind of take your shoulders down a little bit and take a breather and you know you're going to have a shot at the hole at least.
STACY LEWIS, Rolex Rankings No. 2
COLIN CALLANDER: Good morning, early first round leader, 67, 5‑under par. You must be delighted with the start.
STACY LEWIS: I am. I kind of got to actually a frustrating start. I birdied the first, but then played 1‑over the rest of the front nine, which is the front nine ‑‑ which is the nine you need to score on. So with the hole locations today, the front was definitely playing the easiest. I just didn't take advantage of it, so I was a little bit frustrated going into the back nine.
But it all kind of turned on 11. I hit a great slot in there to five or six feet and made that for birdie and then from there, I played solid. I got more comfortable with my putter, made a couple of good putts for par, and you know, to come away, shooting 5‑under on the back nine on this golf course, I don't care if it's calm or if it's windy, it's a good score, so I'm very happy with the day.
COLIN CALLANDER: You teed up before 7.00 this morning, what time did you actually surface.
STACY LEWIS: I was up at about 4.30 this morning. I probably could have slept in a little bit more, but I wanted to make sure I was awake for that tee time. This course and the way the weather is supposed to be today, the early tee time is definitely what you wanted, so I wasn't going to complain about waking up a little bit earlier.
Q. Is that the earliest you've ever surfaced for a golf round?
STACY LEWIS: I think that's probably the earliest actual tee time I've had. Sometimes when we have restarts for rain delays, we go out pretty early, but I don't have recall a tee time being in the 6s.
Q. Were you surprised to be an early tee time?
STACY LEWIS: Yeah, I don't remember how they have done tee times in the past with kind of those marquee groups going off first like that. Obviously they want you first off in the afternoon, is kind of the goal of it, but I don't remember ever going off that early.
Q. Wonder what your expectations were coming in here.
STACY LEWIS: I think everybody expects to win, expects to be in contention, but you know, more than anything I was looking forward to playing this course. I love this course. I loved it when I played Curtis Cup here. I don't know, I feel so comfortable here that it's a much different feeling to any other British Open I've ever played just because I know the golf course.
Usually you go to an Open and you have no clue where all the bunkers are and things like that, so I felt more comfortable. But my goal every week is to give myself a chance to win on Sunday, and this is certainly a good start to getting there.
Q. What is it about this place that makes you feel so comfortable and brings out the best in you?
STACY LEWIS: I honestly don't know what it is. You know, you can miss it left here but usually my miss is right, so that doesn't really make much sense.
I think you really just have to think your way around, I think that's what it is. You can play it off of mounds, you can run some shots up there, and just adapting with the golf course and the weather and things like that. I think having good memories certainly makes you like a place more, but this tournament's been on my radar since they announced it.
COLIN CALLANDER: Because of the 5‑0 in the Curtis Cup?
STACY LEWIS: I played really good that week, and it was so much fun. Our team rooms were right behind the first tee box right in the clubhouse. Our team rooms were in there and they let us kind of roam the place. They showed us all around. It was so cool. I had a local caddie that week that I told him, I said, I want to know all the stories. So he just told me all the stories all week. I love the history of this place.
Q. Obviously after nine holes, Inbee was playing and as you say, you had not got off to the best of starts, were you conscious that she had got off to a good start and you had to pick things up a bit?
STACY LEWIS: I knew with the hole locations on the front nine that people were going to make birdies. It was funny, Karrie and I were on the 10th green and we saw a leaderboard for the first time and I think Inbee was 5‑under through eight and we just kind of both looked at the leaderboard for the same time and both looked at each other and shook our heads. We knew she was going to be there, but it's like she keeps doing it over and over and over again.
The front nine is usually where you score, but for me it was the opposite, and I feel lucky to get way with one today.
Q. What was the key and what's the key for you playing links golf versus the rest of the golf that you're used to playing the other 51 weeks of the year?
STACY LEWIS: The key today was probably my putter on the back nine. I got more comfortable with the putter and was seeing the lines a little bit better, making better strokes.
So that was probably the key and then links golf, I love it. It takes a couple years of learning it and understanding it and knowing you're going to get some bad bounces, knowing you're going to get some good bounces and just a lot of it is just adapting with the weather, adapting with the way the golf course is playing.
Today it's playing pretty similar to the way it played on Monday because we got the rain, but then yesterday it had dried out and the balls were starting to roll out a little bit more, so not as many drivers off tees and then you get out there today and it's wet and you've got to hit a few more drivers.
You just have to adapt with the changing of the course and the changing of the weather.
Q. Number of times you took driver yesterday compared to today?
STACY LEWIS: I hit driver pretty much every hole on the back nine, and yesterday maybe I hit it, gosh, maybe once on the par 5. Yesterday I was hitting a lot of 3‑woods off the tee on the back nine and today it was all drivers.
Q. What was the pick of your birdies on the back nine, the best birdie?
STACY LEWIS: The best birdie? It was probably the chip‑in. I hit probably my worst iron shot of the day on 15. Hit it in the fairway and just fatted my iron shot and was about 15 yards short of the front of the green and chipped it in for birdie.
So I thought it was going to ‑‑ that was one of the good breaks, because I thought it was actually going to stop and for some reason it kept breaking and went right in the side door. It was kind of a cool way to keep that run going.
Q. What did you hit on the first hole?
STACY LEWIS: Hit a good drive. Was right in the middle of a divot and kind of fatted it on to the front of the green. I made ‑‑ I was only about five paces on the front, so I was probably a good 50, 60 feet and made that for birdie. That was definitely the longest putt of the day.
Q. When you made the turn, were you frustrated, upset? Did you think you had given away an opportunity? How did you really look at it when you made the turn?
STACY LEWIS: I was very frustrated with the front nine. Especially the way I played the ninth hole, which is a pretty easy hole. I decided to hook it into the rough off the tee and then hit it to the far right of the green and 3‑putt it.
I was very frustrated with the way I was playing, but at the same time, I knew I was hitting it good, and that's the key on this golf course. If you've got control of your golf ball; if you can cut it back into the wind or ride the wind, or if you can hit the shots, you're going to be fine, and I knew I was doing that. I just had to stay patient with the putter.
Q. I know anything can happen over 72 holes, but today, if you didn't take advantage of today, did you kind of basically leave something out there?
STACY LEWIS: Oh, for sure, making the turn, I needed something ‑‑ I knew I needed at least 3‑under on the back nine, because I needed to keep myself in this golf tournament. I think you shoot over par when it's like it is right now, you're going to shoot your way out of it.
So I knew I needed a good one, but at the same time, the weather could get horrible tomorrow and it could bring everybody back together. So you just never know.
But if there's good weather, you've got to take advantage of it.
COLIN CALLANDER: Seems to me any 2 on 11 is a good score, what did you do there?
STACY LEWIS: I hit a little 7‑iron in there to about five, six feet and made a little slider for birdie. 11 is usually a hole where you take your 3 and run to the next, and I got a 2, so that was pretty nice.
The 3 on 18, I hit driver and I had 110 to the pin and just hit pitching wedge. It went up to the hole and spun back. I had about an 8‑footer up the hill and made that. The one thing I like about this course is that you have some hard holes.
16 and 17 are hard holes, playing pretty hard, but then you've always got 18 in the back of your mind where you can make a birdie. That's what I like about here, and any time you birdie the last, it's always nice.
Q. What was the club on 11?
STACY LEWIS: 7‑iron.
12, I hit a little pitching wedge in there to about 15 feet and made that.
Then 14, I had about 240 to the front edge and just hit 3‑wood up. I was short right of the green and chipped it to about two feet and made that.
Then 15 I chipped it in there.
Bogeyed 9. I hit it left off the tee and kind of ‑‑ I hit a decent shot. I just couldn't go at the pin at all from where I was, and I had ‑‑ I don't even know how wide the ninth green is, but I was about as far as you could be from that pin and I 3‑putted that.
COLIN CALLANDER: You were up at 4.30 this morning; what's the plan for the rest of the day?
STACY LEWIS: Rest of the day ‑‑ what is it, noon? I guess I can have lunch finally. I'll get a workout in. I have some friends and family here and just go relax and enjoy the town and enjoy being here. I mean, whether the weather is good or bad, you're in St. Andrews, so you can't complain.
Q. Is that your earliest tee time?
STACY LEWIS: I don't have remember having a tee time in the 6s.
COLIN CALLANDER: Thank you very much, good luck tomorrow.
NA YEON CHOI, Rolex Rankings No. 4
Q. Nice birdie at 18, had to feel good to finish there. Just tell me about your round.
NA YEON CHOI: I had a lot of birdies out there. I think 18 birdie was highlight today. I missed not many fairways. I didn't miss very many greens and my shot was great today.
I mean, my coach, he's here and then like we came here on Saturday, we practiced like five days before the tournament and I got a really good tip from him. I really tried to just stick with that goal, that little tip. So I think that worked very well but still I have to play 54 more holes, so hopefully, I keep that feeling until like Sunday.
Q. So just give me your impressions of the Old Course at St. Andrews. Obviously now you've played it a few times in practise, played today's tournament round. What's it like to be here?
NA YEON CHOI: Actually, first day, when I got here, I felt really, really difficult ‑‑ weather wasn't bad, like rain and wind or very bad.
So first I was thinking like course is really, really difficult, but like weather was getting better and then I felt ‑‑ I got a few birdies out there and I got some confidence from there. Then first day, I played with a local caddie here and then I got really good information from him and he said ‑‑ I still remember, he said if I respect to the golf course, then the course will respect me, too.
I mean, I got like really good ‑‑ some fresh feeling when I got here. This is like, you know, Home of Golf, and a lot of people are very nice to all the players. So I try to just enjoy the golf course.
Q. You're certainly one of the favourites every time you play, but it's Inbee who is getting all the attention right now. Just tell me about ‑‑ I don't know if you look at the Korean media or anything like that, but how's that reaction to Inbee been?
NA YEON CHOI: Actually not many Korean media ask me this week. I think all the spotlight to Inbee. I think she has a pretty ‑‑ pressure on herself, but she is the best player in the world right now and she have to take it. She's my friend, so hopefully she enjoys all the pressure.
But I mean, still, a lot of good player playing well, and Inbee ‑‑ being No. 1, I think it all motivates and kind of she inspires all the players.
Q. Do you feel like you got a little bit lucky this morning with the weather, not too windy and the course was somewhat soft; do you think the morning wave of scores is going to be safe?
NA YEON CHOI: I think so. But I think even this afternoon is not much wind right now, but I heard the weather like pretty bad the next two days.
So I mean ‑‑ but we can't control that. I mean, everybody has to play, prepare with the wind or the rain. So we just have to enjoy or accept all the weather.
NICOLE CASTRALE, Rolex Rankings No. 77
COLIN CALLANDER: Good afternoon, we have Nicole Castrale with us, who just shot a 5‑under par 67 to be co‑leader of the tournament, congratulations. You must be very pleased with the round.
NICOLE CASTRALE: Absolutely. The weather was really pretty good considering the forecast, I think it was supposed to be a lot worse. So it definitely was different today. The front nine, the wind was a little opposite, so I picked some targets that were a little different than what we played it this week and years past.
Just tried to give myself good opportunities on the greens and I think I had good speed of the greens all day. Back nine got a little windier, kind of switched back to the old wind and really just hung in there towards the end, because it can get quite tough out there.
Q. Can you speak to, you made the Solheim Cup at the top of your game and the challenges you've gone through to get back to a spot like this.
NICOLE CASTRALE: 2010, had season‑ending shoulder surgery and 2011, we had our first child.
So I knew it was going to be an uphill battle trying to make the team this year. I started last year ranked 500th in the world and I knew I was probably 12, 13 events behind everyone else on the points list who was playing. So my goal was never to make the Solheim Cup on point. Obviously I could do it but that was definitely uphill.
I've got myself back ranked to 75th in the world, so I feel like I've done a pretty good job of moving up in the last two years. Although I wasn't able to get Top‑50 in the world at this point, and you know, that's probably what's going to make it World Ranking‑wise for that second spot.
I still have a chance this week. I've been fighting all year, so just see what happens, see what Mother Nature brings. This golf course can change from minute to minute really. We'll just see what happens.
Q. You talked about having a child, Catriona Matthew won this event after having a second child; does that inspire you, that you can come back and reach the heights again?
NICOLE CASTRALE: Absolutely. Catriona is really just one example. You look at Juli Inkster, Hall of Famer American, who has had an outstanding career and she's a mom of two girls. So it's definitely possible to do it out here.
Is it a little tougher? Sure, you have to have your priorities in order, maybe you don't practise quite as long, but it's quality. You have the trophy there ‑‑ but once you go home, as much as I would obviously love to win here, I know when I get home back to the U.S., we have our trophy at the home.
COLIN CALLANDER: What's the name of your child?
NICOLE CASTRALE: Eleni.
Q. If I remember right, the shoulder surgery was in June or so, and then the baby came the next November. How much were you really able to play like yourself, even in that short period of time?
NICOLE CASTRALE: I believe in 2010, I probably played about seven events before I had surgery. Then in 2011, I believe I probably played around the same amount, seven or eight events, and then we just ‑‑ I was having some ‑‑ somewhat complications and we decided to stop playing. It was the best off‑season. We had her on 11‑11‑11, so she's kind of like our lucky charm.
Obviously, I didn't play a lot the last two years. So last year was kind of a rebuilding year, getting back out there. I felt like I did a pretty good job. It's not like my World Ranking had plummeted; just because it doesn't freeze when you get hurt or have a child. So our goal was just to get back to where we were, and it was going to take time.
Q. Do you feel that's where you are now, maybe before the shoulder surgery, are you back to that position in terms of your game?
NICOLE CASTRALE: We are getting there. It's definitely been a battle this year. I'm just going to keep on fighting.
Q. So much focus is on Inbee Park this week and the history she can make, and she got off to a great start; did you look at any leaderboards and did you have any thoughts on what she was doing?
NICOLE CASTRALE: My husband, Craig, who caddies for me, I believe he said she was 5‑under through eight.
It's amazing; the fact we all possibly can play with history. I played with her a few times this year, and it's amazing what she's done to this point, the composure she has. I don't know what she shot today but I'm going to guess she'll be in the mix come Sunday.
Q. Did Craig tell you that? What was your reaction?
NICOLE CASTRALE: I wasn't surprised. I mean, just look at the year she's had thus far. She's calm, cool and collected really. She says she gets nervous; no one can tell. Even if she's nervous, she finds a way to be able to handle it inside, so you have to give her props for that. Just because she looks calm, she's doing something right on the inside, as well.
Q. Can you just talk about what the Solheim Cup means to you?
NICOLE CASTRALE: Yeah, playing on this tour, it would be hard to find any American every two years that their goal is not to play on the Solheim Cup. I've been fortunate, I've played on two, and like I said, that was a goal of mine going into last year. I'm just going to give it my all the next two days and see what happens.
Q. You talk about Inbee's inner calm. She actually admitted it deserted her from 13 through 17 today, where she bogeyed and had a double‑bogey, as well. Does that surprise you that she had a mini‑meltdown and does that give you maybe a bit of hope that she's human, after all?
NICOLE CASTRALE: I don't know if you've been out on the golf course but you don't have to have a meltdown to make a double‑bogey. You could hit a good tee shot and it ricocheted left into a bunker that you then have no shot to get it out of.
So meltdown, I don't think so, and I bet she's not thinking she's had a meltdown, either. I mean, 3‑under par, any time at a major in the first round, I think is a good start?
Q. The point she was making, mentally she lost it a little bit in that passage, I know that everyone can make bogeys, but does it surprise you that she would make that admission that she struggled for a while?
NICOLE CASTRALE: I would say it's human. I mean, it's normal. I don't know if you would find any player that says they don't struggle at some point in their career, just because she's won three Majors to this point, I'm sure at times during those ‑‑ I mean, she didn't play No. 18 on the 72nd hole at Rochester very well. I bet you she had some inner struggles there, but in the end she was able to get it done.
You know, she's human. We're all trying to do the same thing. We are trying to get the ball in the hole with the least amount of strokes, and there you go.
COLIN CALLANDER: You got the ball in the hole very well today. Could we go over the six birdies, please.
NICOLE CASTRALE: Sure. I made birdie on 2. All the first few holes look alike. I hit 8‑iron to about five feet and made that.
No. 5, I made birdie. I hit 9‑iron to about 12 feet.
No. 7, I hit 9‑iron again to about six feet.
No. 8, I hit a gripped 8‑iron to about six feet, made that.
No. 9, I made a long putt, about a 60‑footer, so that was my bomb for the day.
No. 11, I hit 7‑iron to about 12 feet, made that.
No. 15, I 3‑putted and made bogey.
Then finished off with three pars.
COLIN CALLANDER: Thank you very much indeed, good luck tomorrow.
RYANN O’TOOLE, Rolex Rankings No. 234
Q. 5‑under, what worked well for you?
RYANN O'TOOLE: Ball‑striking was definitely on today. I didn't put myself in trouble at all, so that was nice. Stayed out of the bunkers, which I think is obviously key. But my irons were on target today. I hit some really good long iron shots. Hit some good short iron shots. I had a bogey‑free round.
I think just, you know, treated this course kind of like an Open. Tried to figure out where to miss it, the best place to hit it on the greens where it's the easiest putts to have. I left a lot out there. I had a lot of birdie opportunities. For a while, the longest putt I had was 25 feet and kind of inside 15. But I made some good putts.
I've been working with Joe Hallett, so I think my game is really coming along in that sense and I just started AimPoint with Mark Sweeney before I came, so trying to implement that. So a challenge your first round in, but I think it really helped. It helped on 17 when I made a 20‑footer to save myself, when I would have read it outside the edge and it was dead straight, so just trying to trust what you are being taught and go from there.
Q. When did you start working with AimPoint?
RYANN O'TOOLE: I had a session with them last Wednesday and worked with them again on Thursday, and he's helped me out all week. He walked the course with me on Sunday and walked it with me on Sunday, and came out on Wednesday a bit. He's trying to make sure that I had it down.
But still, anything that's new, whether it be a swing change or whatever, you get into the tournament, you want to, you don't do it as quickly or you don't ‑‑ you kind of question it, and that was I think the beginning process of, hey, just trust it and let them fall. So I think all of my putts, if I missed on the edge, a little slow today, and I think that was about it.
Q. When you play in the afternoon and you see the low scores in the morning and conditions are pretty calm, do you put a low number in your mind that you have to make as many birdies and not par as usually do in an Open?
RYANN O'TOOLE: That's the hard thing, you go out in the afternoon and people have already finished or are playing and doing well. It's hard not to chase and that's always been my biggest struggle because I go out and try to press.
The first two holes, I had really easy birdie putts that I just missed inside ten feet and my caddie had to kind of remind me of what my process was, make pars, and I just went back to that and told myself I'd rather have 18 of those all day and have a stress‑free round. I'm bound to make something, and I did. I just hung out and waited and they dropped.
I mean, you know, those holes that you kind of have to work a little bit, you don't want those. I'd rather just go fairway, green and 2‑putt all day.
Q. Is this your first time this week playing here?
RYANN O'TOOLE: I played in the British last year.
Q. But this golf course?
RYANN O'TOOLE: This golf course, first time I've ever been here, yeah.
Q. Thoughts early on in the week?
RYANN O'TOOLE: It's a super‑cool course. The whole week is a lot of prep for it, because you could play each hole so differently, and it's really trying to figure out targets, and go, okay, where is my biggest landing spots and what does it take to get there.
I think being long helps in a sense, like you don't always have to take driver. The last 12 holes, I took driver twice, on 17 and 18. So I told my caddie, we go off 17, I haven't hit driver in a long time. It is a really cool course like I said. Your misses are on the green. So what, you have a 60‑footer, but you prefer that than chipping over the mounds or the bunkers. This course is awesome.
To be able to look backwards as you're playing and go, oh, you can play the course this way, too, down the opposite way, it's just a phenomenal golf course.
CATRIONA MATTHEW, Rolex Rankings No. 10
Q. Great finish, leaves you two shots off the pace as we speak, very handily. Satisfied?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: Yeah, very pleased. Always nice to finish with two birdies, especially 17, this year being a par 4, nice to birdie that one and a nice one on 18. Overall pretty pleased. I think this is going to be the easiest day from the weather forecast and nice to see a few birdies on the board.
Q. We were looking at and you following you, the par putt on 16 seemed to be a really big one?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: Yeah that was a good 2‑putt. Gave me momentum to go into the last two holes. 17 was a tough hole, so par there is good. Gave me momentum to finish off.
Q. Played so solidly, particularly in the Majors this year, how would you gauge your form at this stage of your career coming into this one?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: I would say my form is probably the best it's ever been. Probably playing as well as I ever have. Maybe I'm maturing well with age.
Q. I would say so, definitely. In terms of the definitely of preparation that you've undertaken coming into this week, is it more than you would normally have done, given the ambition to do well here?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: I've had two weeks at home, so I played more links golf, been out at North Berwick in the evenings, the weather has been so nice. Kids have had me on the beach all the time.
Q. Nice to see you reunited with Graeme on
RICOH Women’s British Open
The Old Course, St. Andrews
Pre-tournament Notes and Interviews
July 31, 2013
Suzann Pettersen, Rolex Rankings No. 3
Jiyai Shin, Rolex Rankings No. 8 and defending champion
Catriona Matthew, Rolex Rankings No. 10
Paula Creamer, Rolex Rankings No. 11
Beatriz Recari, Rolex Rankings No. 18
The iconic Swilcan Bridge is waiting to greet its next champion this week, as the LPGA returns for a second time to The Old Course at St. Andrews for the RICOH Women’s British Open. Six years after Lorena Ochoa became the first woman to win a major championship contested on the famous Old Course, there is once again significant history on the line this week at the Home of Golf with Rolex Rankings No. 1 Inbee Park trying to become the first golfer – male or female – to win four professional major titles in a single season.
But Park certainly will have some competition this week at St. Andrews as 19 of the top 20 golfers in the Rolex Rankings are the in the field of 144 players this week. That includes Rolex Rankings No. 2 Stacy Lewis, No. 3 Suzann Pettersen and No. 8 Jiyai Shin, who is also the defending champion.
Last year Shin battled the elements at the difficult Royal Liverpool Golf Club and captured her second career major championship in dominating fashion. She shot rounds of 71-73 in a 36-hole finale on Sunday to take a record-breaking, nine-shot victory. Shin, who won the 2008 RICOH Women’s British Open at Sunningdale, finished at 9-under-par and was the only player in the field who managed to finish under par.
Defending under the radar? Usually it’s the defending champion who comes into the week of a tournament with the majority of the attention and focus on her. But with the run Inbee Park has been on in the majors so far this season, 2012 winner Jiyai Shin comes into this week’s RICOH Women’s British Open with relative anonymity.
Not that it bothers Shin at all. In fact, she’s more focused on what she’s been able to learn from Park than trying to gain more attention than the current world No. 1.
“She plays so good and then her putting looks like very smooth in any conditions,” Shin said. “Especially when I see her, she looks like very comfortable all the time and then it looks like she doesn't get any pressure out there during the play. Well, I really ‑‑ inspired from her.”
Shin has not played on the LPGA Tour since missing the cut at the U.S. Women’s Open. She began the year with a victory at the season-opening ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open – her 11th career LPGA victory – and has added three top seven finishes including a tie for seventh at the Kraft Nabisco Championship. In June, she crossed the $6 million mark in career earnings and currently sits 30th on the LPGA Career Money List.
Taking it all in: For anyone walking around the grounds at St. Andrews, it would be hard to miss all of the history that has surrounded the Home of Golf for hundreds of years. There is a mystique and an aura of being around this town that everyone seems to pick up on as soon as they step foot here.
And after watching players take numerous photographs around the golf course that they have put on Twitter and Instagram, it’s clear to see that they appreciate the experience of being at St. Andrews.
“I take like hundreds of pictures at the golf course [this week],” said 2012 RICOH Women’s British Open winner Jiyai Shin.
So what is it that people find so special about coming to St. Andrews?
“I think it's just the vibe of the place,” said Scotland native Catriona Matthew. “I don't think it matters when you come to play it, whether it's January or July, there's always people around 18, and I think 1 and 18 are just always how you pictured them on television and it's great fun to play here.”
Creamer’s memories of 2007: Paula Creamer sat on her hotel balcony and watched Lorena Ochoa make the Sunday walk over the Swilcan Bridge in 2007 on the way to a victory at the RICOH Women’s British Open. Creamer tied for seventh that week, but it would be three years before she stepped into the major championship winner’s circle at the U.S. Women’s Open.
“I remember watching her walk over the bridge on 18 and thinking to myself – I played well that Sunday, but still – I was thinking, man, I wish I could be in her shoes right now and feel that feeling,” Creamer said.
Creamer has four top-10 finishes at the RICOH Women’s British Open including a career-best third place finish last year. She is winless on Tour since the 2010 U.S. Women’s Open, but returns to the Old Course at St. Andrews this week following a second-place finish two weeks ago at the Marathon Classic in Toledo.
The “Pink Panther” enters this week with an appreciation for what Inbee Park has done this year – and the attention she has taken away.
“It's kind of nice, everybody does talk about it, you can go about your business,” Creamer said. “Everyone is kind of watching what Inbee is doing in a sense.”
Home favorite: Catriona Matthew has come closer than anyone this year to besting Inbee Park in a major championship. Back in June, Matthew forced a playoff with Park at the Wegmans LPGA Championship, the second major of the season. Although she lost on the third playoff hole to Park, Matthew has been pleased with how she’s performed in the majors this season.
Matthew has finished in the top 15 in each of the first three majors this season. In addition to her runner-up finish at the Wegmans LPGA Championship, Matthew finished T7 at the Kraft Nabisco Championship and T15 at the U.S. Women’s Open.
The native of North Berwick, Scotland became the first Scottish woman to win a major championship four years ago when she won the 2009 RICOH Women’s British Open at Royal Lytham and St. Annes. Matthew has performed well in her home event the past couple years, recording top-10 finishes at the RICOH Women’s Open in each of the last two seasons.
Matthew’s first major championship came just 11 weeks after she gave birth to her second daughter, Sophie. Now she’s on another big stage at the Home of Golf so could this be the week that Matthew breaks through for a second major title?
“Obviously to win, for me personally to win at Scotland and at St. Andrews and to beat Inbee, yeah, would be a big deal,” Matthew said. “When I won the British the last time, I just had Sophie, my second child, so that was quite a big deal, so maybe I need the big occasion to win.”
Matthew was then asked in jest by a reporter if she might end up having another child just to get another major.
“I think I’ll stop at two,” she said laughing.
Taking a cue from others? Suzann Pettersen loves coming back to Europe to play golf, but trying to put a finger on why she hasn’t fared well at the RICOH Women’s British Open is a bit of a difficult task for the native of Oslo, Norway.
“It’s probably the one and only major I’ve never really been in contention,” Pettersen said. “I’m a little bit surprised by it because I feel like with my shot-making and being creative with shots, it should probably suit my game quite a lot to play links golf.”
Pettersen’s best finish at the RICOH Women’s British Open was a tie for 14th in 2010 at Royal Birkdale. It’s her only top 20 finish in 11 appearances at the event and she’s missed the cut here a total of five times. But while she has yet to have success here, Pettersen said that she takes motivation from others who have finally broke through at big events like Phil Mickelson at the Open Championship earlier this month.
“You can look at any sport for inspiration, look at Andy Murray, a fantastic kind of fighter, never gives up, makes the changes that's needed to the game,” Pettersen said. “And obviously the actual sport is different once you kind of ‑‑ once the gun goes off. But the preparations and the mentality behind it, I think it's very, very similar.
“I actually didn't watch too much of the men's open because I was not in front of a TV, but I think it was pretty cool for Phil Mickelson to win the Scottish and then to kind of take that confidence into the British Open and be patient enough to just go out and play probably his best round ever on Sunday under extremely tough conditions.”
Tweet of the Day: Help Me! #hellsbunker @RICOHWomensBrit #standrews -- @TheIreneCho
Quotable: “I believe that if Inbee does win this, it's a Grand Slam in my eyes. Whenever you win four Majors in a row, I think it doesn't really matter what you call it. It's impressive as it is.” – Paula Creamer on Inbee Park
Of Note…On Wednesday it was announced that the RICOH Women’s British Open will be hosted in 2015 at Turnberry’s famous Ailsa course for only the second time in the Championship’s history. Turnberry has hosted the Open Championship a total of four times, most recently in 2009…The last time that the RICOH Women’s British Open was conducted at Turnberry was in 2002 and Karrie Webb became the first player to win the Championship three times that year...
SUZANN PETTERSEN, Rolex Rankings No. 3
COLIN CALLANDER: Good afternoon, we have Suzann Pettersen. Thank you very much indeed for coming in to join us.
This is the second time you have played this championship here at St. Andrews. Do you have any particular memories of the first time?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Sure, I mean, it was very special to come here the first time around in 2007. I came here earlier, I remember, to play the course a few times just to kind of let the course grow on you. I must say, the more I played it, the more I grew to love it, how special it felt.
Trying to learn from the experience in 2007 this year, but I must say, I've played quite a lot of golf since and I don't remember every bounce and shot that I hit back then. But the course is in great shape and the few changes they have done, to be quite honest, I don't really remember what it was before, but as it sits right now, it looks very, very good.
COLIN CALLANDER: You said you've played a lot of golf since 2007 and you've obviously seen a lot of changes in tour life. Seems that there are more very, very good players out here now than in those days, would that be the case, do you think?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Well, I guess the LPGA has changed a lot since I first came out in 2002, 2003. I guess the top has changed, but I also think the depth is deeper. I think that we are playing against so many young girls now. They are so good at such an early age, it's just fun to see. It's always fun to come to Europe and play the majors here; being European, they feel a little bit more special. I'm really excited to get started.
Q. You had an excellent career so far but you never really made it in the British Open. Why is that?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Well, that's a good question. You know, it's probably the one and only major I've never really been in contention.
I'm a little bit surprised by it because I feel like my shot‑making and being creative with shots, it should probably suit my game quite a lot to play links golf. We used to play a lot of links growing up. I used to play the British Girls', the British Ladies'. Used to play tons of European Team Championships on English courses.
But obviously, I think in the past, I've had a struggle to adjust from playing in Evian on kind of uneven lies and trying not to spin the ball off the greens to kind of adjust to links golf. I think the two extremes, back‑to‑back weeks; I think I have a better chance to prepare this time.
Obviously it wouldn't ‑‑ this is probably going to be my one and only shot at a British Open at St. Andrews. I don't know if I'm going to be around next time St. Andrews comes on the British Open rotation, so I think a lot of us I think feel a little bit lucky to have a second go at this course.
Q. I'm writing a story about Lorena Ochoa winning here in 2007, and going back to 2007, do you think ‑‑ she was there as a top player, and coming here, do you think it was meant to be for her to win?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: I mean, she was very good at the time. I mean, she was dominating. She had tons of confidence. I remember she prepared this tournament really well. She played a lot of practise rounds and she kind of stuck to her strategy. She warmed up quite a lot, too, didn't she. She just played outstanding.
I think it was one of her biggest kind of achievements to kind of win The British Open at St. Andrew. To look back at your career and say, I won the British Open at the Home of Golf, that would mean a lot to anyone playing at this level.
I think for her, it just tops her career. When did she retire, 2009? 2010. She's had quite a few years after that where she was performing fantastic.
We miss her out here. I miss her. She's a good friend of mine. I know she's like really done with golf, but she made a huge impact on our tour and she kind of took the level to ‑‑ well, her game kind of made us work even harder coming from behind. She was an excellent No. 1 and a very, very sweet girl.
Q. Do you prepare differently for a major? You talked about Loren applying lots of rounds; what have you done to prepare for this week?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: I had a pretty rough U.S. Open. I put a lot of pressure on myself. I think in my own head, I kind of made it bigger than I had to and kind of didn't really succeed with that formula. This week, I feel a little bit more laid back and I feel I've done the preparation that needs to be done.
This week is just about polishing what's already been worked on and you know what, a links course grows on you the more you play it. So this is definitely a week where if you're going to work on something, you'd better go on the course and work on the shots and the different holes and the different conditions you're going to face, because standing on the range doesn't quite ‑‑ I mean, you can probably work on some fundamentals.
But I think you've got to go out on the course, see the ball, see the bounces and just kind of find one strategy that kind of you can speak to. So that's what I've been trying to do. I feel a lot more laid back this week than I did at the U.S. Open, so I'm going to try and bounce back and see if I can play good for once at the British Open.
Q. Can you draw inspiration from Phil Mickelson breaking through and getting links golf?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Sure. You can look at any sport for inspiration, look at Andy Murray, a fantastic kind of fighter, never gives up, makes the changes that's needed to the game. And obviously the actual sport is different once you kind of ‑‑ once the gun goes off. But the preparations and the mentality behind it, I think it's very, very similar.
I actually didn't watch too much of the men's open because I was not in front of a TV, but I think it was pretty cool for Phil Mickelson to win the Scottish and then to kind of take that confidence into the British Open and be patient enough to just go out and play probably his best round ever on Sunday under extremely tough conditions.
Q. You said about your creativity and shot‑making, obviously Phil has had that reputation, as well, but maybe needed that patience on a links course.
SUZANN PETTERSEN: I think it's nice to be creative. I think sometimes I'm trying to be creative and maybe just simplify everything. I think around this place, I guess the key is to stay out of the bunkers, fairway bunkers, and I must say, the fairways are fairly wide, fairly deep.
If you play a good strategy, you definitely play out of the bunkers and eliminate a bad penalty. Obviously you've got to have a few bounces going your way, as well.
COLIN CALLANDER: Suzann, thank you very much and good luck this week.
JIYAI SHIN, Rolex Rankings No. 8
COLIN CALLANDER: I'd like to welcome defending champion Jiyai Shin. Must be great to be back considering how well you played last year.
JIYAI SHIN: Well, I'm always happy to play in this tournament, especially this year we play the St. Andrews golf course. I'm really waiting for this tournament, and then, well, I have a great memory from last year.
Well, I can't believe that a year has gone, time is going so quick. But just like I'm really great to play a links course in bad weather, but hopefully stays like this for this week.
COLIN CALLANDER: You played very, very well in the bad weather last year. Perhaps it is might be an advantage to you if there was some bad weather?
JIYAI SHIN: It was a great experience of my life I think. Because, you know, I never played in bad weather. So it was a great challenge by myself, and then I tried to keep confidence in myself, and then it was working. I think that experience definitely helped with this week, too.
COLIN CALLANDER: Are you enjoying your week in St. Andrews so far?
JIYAI SHIN: Yes, actually I take like hundreds of pictures at the golf course. Then I played in 2007, too, so ‑‑ well, it's always a great honor to play here. I'm really happy to play St. Andrews.
Q. Can you recall how difficult it was last year, mainly the wind? And you said that was the most difficult conditions you've ever played in, yeah?
JIYAI SHIN: Yes, and then especially Royal Liverpool was a really tough golf course, too. And then last year, I played practise round only eight holes, because I arrived from Virginia on Tuesday in the afternoon. So I didn't play the Pro‑Am and I didn't play any practise rounds. So I'm just walking to the golf course, and it looks really tough. I won at Sunningdale golf course, I know it's a totally different course shape, but I have good confidence with this tournament I think with the British Open.
And then also, when I play with the bad weather, I just keep patient and keep focused on myself, so definitely last year was great work with the mind psychologist.
Q. Does this course also suit your eye? Do you like this course as well, standing on the tees?
JIYAI SHIN: I do. I really like it, this course. And, well, especially this week when I had my practise round Monday and yesterday was the Pro‑Am, my concentrating in my mind and my shot is really good, so I have a good feeling. On Tuesday, we took a photo toot with a few other players on the bridge on No. 18, and then they give me the trophy. I know it comes from last year, but it felt like, really ready, because I really tried to make it exactly the same on Sunday with holding the trophy.
Q. How would you compare this course to last year's at Lytham? And what would you say is the main strengths of your game?
JIYAI SHIN: Lytham is more narrow, the fairways, and this course is very wide. But they also put a lot of bunkers on the fairway, it's still really hard, and I'm not a long hitter, so I just had a lot of time with my driving irons and hybrid from the fairways. So fortunately these courses have big greens. I think I can make ‑‑ definitely we need good speed on these greens.
Back to 2007 in my memory, I hit it like 54 yards birdie putt. So I never get that distance, I try, but hopefully not this week.
COLIN CALLANDER: Did you hole that very long putt?
JIYAI SHIN: No, left it a few yards short.
Q. You only played eight holes before last year ‑‑ why going into a major did you cut it so fine?
JIYAI SHIN: On Wednesday, my tee time was pretty late, like around 11 o'clock, and then when it started, all the bad weather come up. So it was really heavy rain, so I couldn't play the other holes. So I just working on 11 holes.
I think that Wednesday ‑‑ same as on Sunday, so if I played, it was good practise for the Sunday.
Q. You said you're not a long hitter. Can you give us an example, say the 17th, for instance, what clubs you'll be hitting there?
JIYAI SHIN: Yesterday, I hit a really good drive shot and I hit a 5‑wood. It just made the green. And on Monday, I hit a 3‑wood from the fairway. I know it's a pretty long way for me, but I think I'm in good control with my fairway wood. And especially last year on the 72nd hole, I hit driver, 3‑wood, still left like 55 yards to the hole. So I know the major tournaments, they are always tough and make it long, but that's why I hit it is a lot of times, practise with my fairway wood.
Q. What's your average drive?
JIYAI SHIN: 240.
Q. Do you feel that the level of pressure has now been lifted off your shoulders because of what Inbee has done this season? Do you feel relaxed coming in as defending champion?
JIYAI SHIN: Well, I played already two times with Inbee and last year I played a whole round with Inbee, so I learn from her playing, because she plays so good and then her putting looks like very smooth in any conditions.
Especially when I see her, she looks like very comfortable all the time and then it looks like she doesn't get any pressure out there during the play. Well, I really ‑‑ inspired from her.
COLIN CALLANDER: She's done so well this year, she's in the spotlight, does that make it easier for you coming here?
JIYAI SHIN: Well, it makes it more challenge. You know, so many good players out there, and then I practise so hard and I really prepare for this tournament, too. I think it should make a good make a good game for all the players, me, too.
COLIN CALLANDER: You've won this tournament twice; is it your favourite tournament?
JIYAI SHIN: Yes, any conditions.
COLIN CALLANDER: Thank you very much, good luck.
CATRIONA MATTHEW, Rolex Rankings No. 10
COLIN CALLANDER: We welcome Catriona Matthew, winner of the 2009 Ricoh Women's British Open, who is obviously well known in these parts, and, in fact, did very well the last time the championship was here, I think I'm right in saying you finished tied seventh. You've come into this championship in a good run of form, you must be looking forward to it.
CATRIONA MATTHEW: Yeah, really looking forward to it. Played well in all the major this year. Nice to be back at St. Andrews, always one of my courses to come and play since amateur days. Yeah, we get a buzz no matter when you are playing, coming up 1 and up 18, so excited about the week.
COLIN CALLANDER: Is there anything in particular you like about playing at the Old Course, or is it just the vibe of the place?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: I think it's just the vibe of the place. I don't think it matters when you come to play it, whether it's January or July, there's always people around 18, and I think 1 and 18 are just always how you pictured them on television and it's great fun to play here.
Q. How many times have you played the Old Course, and what's your history here then?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: I don't know the exact number I've played. We had an amateur tournament, the St Rule Trophy, I maybe played in it, maybe, eight or nine, ten times, and won it, I'm not quite sure, a couple of time I won it. Obviously that was awhile ago now but I played again in '07. So I've probably played, I don't know, 30, 40 rounds on it.
Q. You've been playing in more than one tour for a year now. What's the difference in the standard. There seems to be a great raising of the standard all around. At the same time, your performance is up, as well?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: Yeah, I think definitely, this is my 19th year on Tour now, and on the LET and the LPGA the standard and depth has increased dramatically from when I first started.
Maybe when I first started there were maybe 30 people each week who could win, and now I would say that just about everyone who is teeing it up has a chance of winning, and certainly the LPGA is a world tour now and more and more people are gravitating towards it. So if you don't keep improving, you're going to be off the Tour, so it kind of spurs you on.
Q. I imagine there's both benefits and challenges to playing on home soil; familiar surroundings, but a lot of attention. How do you weigh that, and is it an advantage?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: Overall it's an advantage. There's obviously added pressure of playing at home, and obviously you want to do well. Obviously putting pressure on myself to do well in front of the home fans, but you don't often get an opportunity to play at home and so you've just got to try to enjoy it the few times I do manage to play in Scotland.
Q. This is the first big test with the changes to the course made over the winter. Can you talk us through them, and did you notice anything in particular that catches your eye?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: I came up to play probably a month ago and I probably wouldn't have realized there would have been bunkers to the right of No. 2. I think that change, the bunkers there, makes the second shot a little harder. 11, again, subtle change. I don't think you'd notice that unless you'd played the course a lot.
17 is probably the one I would have noticed the mounding to the left of the Road Hole bunker, but again it probably just takes out the going left if the pin is on the back left because you never know what kind of kick you'll get. Overall, I think the changes are pretty subtle.
Q. There was a bit of controversy at the time, but in terms of changing a course like the Old Course ‑‑
CATRIONA MATTHEW: I think the changes were so ‑‑ I honestly don't think ‑‑ they were so subtle. I think probably if you look back to, what, 150 years ago, the course has changed a little bit over the years, so just a natural progression.
Q. From the different occasions you've played this course, what's the difference of playing it with grandstands and other tournament fixtures, as opposed to playing it in your amateur days?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: The difference that stands out ‑‑ it's probably one of the courses where 1 and 18 don't really change a lot with the stands because there's not much room for stands. So there's sort of not a whole lot of change. But the quality on the course ‑‑ inaudible ‑‑ it always just adds to the buzz I think when you see the stands out there and people are out watching, so it makes it more exciting I think ‑‑
CATRIONA MATTHEW: ‑‑ TV tower certainly helps, yeah, because lots of the drives, you do probably struggle to find something to aim at, so the TV towers are certainly very useful.
Q. Your record obviously speaks for itself on links but what would you say makes you a good player on links courses?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: Well, up until Lytham, I had not played particularly well on links courses. Obviously I grew up on them ‑‑ maybe you're used to playing more of the bump‑and‑run shots. Especially if the weather gets back, maybe you hang in a bit more, you're used to playing in that kind of weather; don't try and let it get you down. Just know that playing golf in Scotland, it might be 70 degrees one day and blowing a gale the next day. I suppose that's the challenge you've just got to accept I think.
Q. Can you speak about the kind of qualities as a player that you need, especially on your first visit to the course?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: I think certainly playing links golf, you've just got to accept perhaps that you're going to have maybe the odd bad bounce, because the fairways are undulating and it's going to kick, and know that you're going to get a bad kick. So you have to accept that and think that you can get a good kick somewhere else and you can get in get bad lies in bunkers.
Overall you just have to try and ‑‑ I know it's kind of what everybody says; you have to stay patient and not let the course annoy you and just try to get on with it.
Q. As much as you might not want to, I wonder if you can go over the closing half hour or so at Rochester. I wasn't there, but I'm curious from a context of Inbee and as well as she's playing, just how much everything has to go perfectly right for someone to be at this stage of doing something really grand.
CATRIONA MATTHEW: Yeah, obviously to have won the first two Majors for Inbee is just a phenomenal feat; for anyone to come in with a chance of winning a fourth one is amazing.
Obviously she's got a big element of luck, I think on that Sunday in Rochester, we played 36 holes on Sunday, and from what I heard she had not played particularly well in the second round and hadn't hit many fairways and had been struggling. And I just kind of came out of the pack and had a really good two rounds and ended up ‑‑ it wasn't actually until I got to 18 green and I realised that if I holed two putts ‑‑ I left myself a long one, and two putts, and I might have a chance of a playoff.
And she came out and played really well in the playoff and hit the shots. So I suppose that's why she's world No. 1, she managed to put behind her kind of her bad play on Sunday in the second round and played really good in the playoff.
The first playoff hole, I hit a really good drive, and hit just a little 7‑iron and I thought it was perfect and it just ran up, probably a yard less had run back down the hill and been pretty close. Yeah, just little things like that that happen.
Q. You talked earlier about how players have to keep improving. Your game obviously wasn't shabby four years ago, but would you say you're a better player now given all the work you've put in the last few years?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: I think so. I mean, obviously I still feel that I can improve. I think when I get to the stage where I feel that I can't improve anymore, I guess that's when you should start getting worried.
Yeah, I feel as though I'm still working on things. I think golf is always an ongoing process. I don't think you ever feel as though you've ever mastered it. I still work hard with my coach and there's all these little things I'm trying to work on. I feel as though I'm probably hitting it as well and swinging it as well as I have done, so hopefully I can do that the next few days.
Q. In a few weeks is the Solheim Cup, and you've already secured your place; what does that mean to you at this stage of the career?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: Yeah, I loved the Solheim Cup. That's probably the best week of every two years. It's just such a different atmosphere: You've got teammates and you're not out there on your own. It's always great fun.
I think this year we are going to have a really good team with a slightly different look. I think it's going to be a fun team, so new youngsters coming up. I think match play just can be more exciting sometimes, so it gets you away from the 72‑hole stroke play. I just love it.
Q. Going to be a hell of a lot of support for Inbee this week; does that motivate you at all, and is it a bit daunting the thought of being the one who spoils the party?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: I wouldn't say it's daunting. Obviously for women's golf, if she won it would be an amazing story and the media would be kind of all over it.
So for women's golf, it would be fantastic if she won but obviously we are going to be out there trying to stop her. I think a lot will just come down to the last few holes on Sunday and hopefully you're in the position; and if she's there, she's there, and if she's not, she's not.
But the way she's playing, I would think she's going to have a chance. Obviously she's the one to beat this week. If you can beat her, you're going to be in there with having a chance to win it.
Q. You know the history of golf well; how would you rate the achievement of four consecutive Majors in the history of the sport?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: Oh, it would be unbelievable. Well, Tiger did it but not in a calendar year, and to do it in a calendar year would be a phenomenal feat, one of those feats you would think maybe could never be repeated. But there always seems to be someone who comes along who defies the record books.
Q. Your career spanned Annika, Lorena Ochoa, and now Inbee. How would you compare the three, different strengths?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: It's always difficult to compare different players from maybe different eras. But Annika was a fantastic ball‑striker. I think if she putted as well as Inbee or Lorena did, she really would have been unbeatable, and she just about was unbeatable. But putting was probably her weakest part of her game.
Inbee and Lorena's putting is probably the strongest part of their game. It's not that they hit the ball badly or anything, but it's all relative when you're No. 1. I would say Inbee's putting this year has been phenomenal.
Q. What would you say is the strongest part of your game, and is any part of your game that you're still working particularly on?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: Still working on all of it. Probably pretty consistent. I would have said I'm a pretty good driver of the golf ball. Putting tends to be perhaps a little bit streaky.
So I was working on my short game and I think that's always somewhere where I can improve on, so short game and putting is usually where I'm trying to work the most.
Anyone, you just watch golf every week, it's the person who holes putts in the end. When you get to the standard where everyone is capable of hitting the ball, it's who makes an up‑and‑down at the right time or who holes a putt for birdie or to save par is always usually the person who makes a good save or putts well this week that wins.
Q. You've carried the flag for a number of years for Scotland; slightly disappointing that there's only two this week? Is that kind of the lowest number you can recall for a while?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: Yeah, it probably is actually. Very disappointing there's only two of us. Carly did well qualifying at Kingsbarns.
Yeah, I don't know what ‑‑ I think there's some good youngsters coming up. I played with Connie Jaffrey yesterday, the Scottish Girls' Champion, a good player but just seems to be struggling with that position from amateur into the pro ranks. Hopefully we'll get a few in the next years.
Q. It was suggested that you were perhaps, as a world‑class golfer, one of the most underappreciated in women's sports; in terms of denying Inbee her bit of history this week, do you think that would change and you would finally get the recognition that perhaps your career has deserved?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: I mean, obviously to win, for me personally to win at Scotland and at St. Andrews and to beat Inbee, yeah, would be a big deal. When I won the British the last time, I just had Sophie, my second child, so that was quite a big deal, so maybe I need the big occasion to win ‑‑ think I'll stop at two. (Laughter).
COLIN CALLANDER: Thank you very much and good luck this week.
PAULA CREAMER, Rolex Rankings No. 11
COLIN CALLANDER: We welcome Paula Creamer. Is it good to be back at St. Andrews?
PAULA CREAMER: It's great, being back at St. Andrews, there's a lot of media going on with Inbee, and just to be coming back, it's pretty special. A lot of great memories here and hopefully they will continue through this week.
COLIN CALLANDER: Do you feel a little different here than other courses in the rota?
PAULA CREAMER: Oh, yes. Just as a golfer, doesn't matter if you come here for an event or not, just being the Home of Golf and all the history that's happened and just to kind of walk these fairways where the greatest players have ever played, it's humbling and it's exciting and at the same time you want to do well and be contention on Sunday.
COLIN CALLANDER: I think I'm right in saying you might have been here a few times over the years not to do with the championship; is that correct?
PAULA CREAMER: Yeah, I came here before the Open in '07 spent about four days out here and took all my pictures so when I came for the first Ricoh event, I got it all out of my system and I was ready to focus on golf.
I didn't do that this year, but I definitely took all my pictures on Monday, so now I got it out of my system for the tournament.
Q. A riddle for you: Can a player win a Grand Slam by winning four, when there's five Majors?
PAULA CREAMER: I believe that if Inbee does win this, it's a Grand Slam in my eyes. Whenever you win four Majors in a row, I think it doesn't really matter what you call it. It's impressive as it is. You know, we've had five Majors in the past and it went to four and now we have five again. I don't think it makes it any different.
But you know, I think that it's kind of a no‑brainer in my eyes as a golfer; if you win four Majors in a row, that's a Slam to me.
Q. Of all the years to add a fifth major, is it kind of unfortunate that it dovetailed with Inbee's historic run?
PAULA CREAMER: Not unfortunate, no. No, I don't ‑‑ who is going to say that Inbee was going to win or somebody was going to win three majors in a row? You can never predict that.
But like I said, you can't take away what she's done now. It's kind of nice coming into this week, all the hype is on Inbee and you can kind of float under the radar. But, you know, for what Inbee has done, whatever happens this week for her, just in the sense that we added a fifth major doesn't make it any different to me.
Q. In the six years since you were last year, St. Andrews, the Old Course, has undergone quite a few changes. Have you noticed them, and do you like them?
PAULA CREAMER: I think for me, what is it, 11, the par 3, adding a section on the green, just a couple more pins there is a little bit different, making it a little bit bigger, it's a little bit more playable.
Yeah, the changes are noticeable. I think if I came out and played every year, it would have been a little bit more of a drastic change. When we come here, it's just always blowing all over the place in the wind and things like that, so you don't really get to study each section.
I think the changes are good. I don't think you need to do too much out here. It's history and it is what it is. But this grass has been around for a long time, and it does need to kind of get worked on at times, and I don't think it's a bad thing.
Q. You mentioned coming to St. Andrews and taking pictures and all the rest of it, where would St. Andrews or the Old Course rank in your favourite golf courses?
PAULA CREAMER: Oh, it's definitely up there. I just think the fact that you can come ‑‑ I've never smiled so much on a golf course when you're wearing your rain gear and you're trying to hit a huge cut into a right‑to‑left wind. Normally you're thinking, gosh, how many holes do we have left. And when you're here, it's just like, okay, it's just keep going and bring it on.
I think that that plays a huge impact on where it would lie ‑‑ definitely be my Top‑5 for sure. It's just a great golf course whether it's sunny or howling wind.
Q. If Inbee were to win this week, would you consider it the single greatest achievement in LPGA history, and if she doesn't, what would you consider now to be the greatest achievement in LPGA history?
PAULA CREAMER: Wow.
Q. Good luck with that.
PAULA CREAMER: Next question. (Laughter) goodness. Welcome back. Welcome back.
Q. I'll be here all week.
PAULA CREAMER: Can you repeat that one?
Q. What would you consider now to be the greatest achievement in LPGA history, and if Inbee were to win ‑‑ whatever you can think of ‑‑
PAULA CREAMER: That's a loaded question.
COLIN CALLANDER: Three girls have already won three Majors in a year.
PAULA CREAMER: Oh, goodness, definitely if Inbee wins this week it could be the greatest thing ‑‑ gosh, I'll have to get back to you. Honestly I really have to give it some thought.
Q. In fairness, that was a hard question, but I just wanted to wake you up for the week.
PAULA CREAMER: Thank you.
Q. And secondly, there's kind of some singular focus about one player this week, and rightly so; does that carry over to the players? I know you guys are all worried about your own games and care about your own results, but is there any talk amongst you?
PAULA CREAMER: About Inbee? Oh, for sure. Without a doubt. Like I said, it's kind of nice, everybody does talk about it, you can go about your business. You see someone's name on the board, everyone is kind of watching what Inbee is doing in a sense.
But you still have to worry about your own game, like what you said. But just playing junior golf with her and kind of really just growing up with her, it is exciting to see. Do I want to be that person to hopefully stop her? For sure.
At the same time, if she does win, that's amazing; and to be a part of that and to actually know her and play at the same time, that would be incredible, too.
Q. With what she's got going right now, and you came aboard when Annika was just starting to wind down and the heart of Lorena; how does she stack up perception‑wise or feeling‑wise as a dominant player with those two ‑‑ and you can even throw Yani in if you want.
PAULA CREAMER: To me she's just very different than Annika, Lorena, Yani. Sometimes you want to know what she's feeling; what is going through her head. With Annika, with Lorena, with Yani, you knew what was going on. We have so much respect for players that dominate the game and raise the bar and change what we're doing.
With Inbee, it's much harder to see. Obviously she's one of the greatest putters. She has so much confidence in it, and the way she plays the game, it's so steady. She never makes mistakes and if she does, she somehow manages to walk away with a par.
And you know, when you watch ‑‑ I played with Annika a lot in '05, and she was just constantly a fiery player. Same with Lorena. You see they are not going to let it down, and watching Inbee, playing with Inbee, is very different to that.
Q. A lot of players have mentioned how inscrutable Inbee is, and you mentioned also that you grew up playing junior golf with her; have you ever seen a more human side even away from the course ‑‑ would you describe her personality? What have you seen that the public doesn't see on the course?
PAULA CREAMER: She is, she's a really nice girl. She's definitely in her world when she's out on the golf course, as so she should be and so am I. But she is, everybody's different when they are outside of their golf clothes and that kind of thing.
She's always been like this playing golf, always been very much to herself. That's just her demeanor. That's her personality. She does act (inaudible) and thing like that and ask about how you're doing, and especially we have like a junior golf relationship going through here. We've seen each other grow up, as well.
But Inbee is quiet, and there's nothing wrong with that. That's just who she is.
Q. I'm writing a story about Lorena winning here in 2007, and obviously she's not here to repeat her feat, but going back in 2007, coming here for the first time to the home of the golf, do you think it was meant to be for her?
PAULA CREAMER: Well, obviously every top player wants to win and be on the big stages, and being the first time it was here, looking back on it and what Lorena has done for golf, yeah, definitely. She played great that week.
I know I played with her in a couple British Opens before that, and she struggled. She never liked playing in the wind over here. She always has hit a high ball flight. To kind of come and defeat all of that and win at St. Andrews, it's pretty remarkable.
Q. Do you have a special memory, when she won here, something she said, something she did?
PAULA CREAMER: I remember on Sunday, I was watching from my balcony, and it was pretty cool to see ‑‑ you know, it was raining, and then all of a sudden, it just stopped. It kind of really ‑‑ stuff like that, it's just meant to be and that's the way it goes.
I remember watching her walk over the bridge on 18 and thinking to myself ‑‑ I played well that Sunday, but still, I was thinking, man, I wish I could be in her shoes right now and feel that feeling. But when the rain stopped, just you knew it was meant to be.
COLIN CALLANDER: Paula, thank you very much indeed. Good luck this week.
BEATRIZ RECARI, Rolex Rankings No. 18
COLIN CALLANDER: Good afternoon, we have Beatriz Recari here with us today. You're having a very, very good season, won twice on the LPGA Tour, No. 6 I think in the Money List. What's it like to be here in St. Andrews?
BEATRIZ RECARI: It's great to be back and it's great to be back after six years after being an amateur. I'm really enjoying the progression. I had a great season last year but I knew I probably had to improve my short game, and I did that over the winter, and it's obviously paying off, two wins, that's great. I hope that I can get my first win here.
COLIN CALLANDER: Your first major championship was 2007; did that come as a bit of a culture shock to you, playing links golf?
BEATRIZ RECARI: A little bit. Although I grew up playing some amateur tournaments on links courses, it was definitely a change with the setup in the major events, big, big tournaments, the biggest I had played up until then. And it was a little bit of shock and everything was new, definitely, and the conditions were ‑‑ I remember it was really windy and obviously the course was playing like a major golf course.
I remember great excitement and great experience, and I'm just really happy to come back and really with the experience that I've learned and that I've gained over the years to improve my results over here.
COLIN CALLANDER: How much golf had you played in the U.K. before that, or was that the first time?
BEATRIZ RECARI: No, I mean, I would spend my summers ‑‑ as an amateur, I always spent my summers over here playing the British Girls', and British Stroke Play, European Championship. I remember somehow, I spent an entire summer over here, so, yeah, just trying to learn and improve my game.
Q. Last time I spoke to you, you were learning Japanese; are you still doing that?
BEATRIZ RECARI: Yes, I am.
Q. Could you give yourself a handicap?
BEATRIZ RECARI: 35. My Japanese is really basic. The thing is I study a lot during the winter and the summer when I have time off and then I really try to have as many lessons as I can.
But you know, it's just a completely different language. I have to start from scratch. There is nothing that I can really resemble to any language that I speak and I have to learn three different alphabets.
I knew it was going to be a challenge and I knew I had to putt a lot of time into it. During the season, you know, I always get caught up with different things and I get lazy and I don't want to study. But I'm still focused on that and I want to learn and improve. I think that it's such a great culture and the people are so welcoming that I think I really want to hopefully speak it fluently at some point.
So I'm still in it, it's a project, but like I say, I have to really be a little bit more disciplined and study a little bit more during the year.
Q. Do you speak to the Japanese girls? Do you work with them?
BEATRIZ RECARI: I do. I mean, I know basic words, basic sentences like: Are you hungry, it's raining, are you cold, are you sleepy, are you tired. They find it cute. But then after that, you know, I can't keep up. But they appreciate it. They laugh and they obviously appreciate it.
When people that don't speak my mother tongue, they try to speak Spanish, I really appreciate it, too. So I think it's a good ask of respect, and like I said, I love the culture and I'm determined to make it a conquest.
Q. Do you speak any other languages apart from English? Have you tried to learn any other languages?
BEATRIZ RECARI: Yes, I speak Norwegian and I speak French from school, so that's four, Spanish, English, French, Norwegian.
Q. Which courses did you play when you were over here as an amateur in the U.K.? Did you play links courses?
BEATRIZ RECARI: Yes, I played an average of three or four tournaments every year over here in the U.K. I obviously remember when I played Royal Portrush, No. 13, the Calamity Hole, the par 3, where I remember it was raining and I almost had to hit driver. It was going anywhere else except for on the green. It's an amazing golf course. It's definitely my favourite golf course I've played in my life.
Q. What's the Norwegian connection?
BEATRIZ RECARI: My boyfriend is Norwegian.
Q. Most people have been asked about who might win here and Inbee's progression to a potential fourth major; is that good for the women's game, or is that detrimental?
BEATRIZ RECARI: I think it's great for the women's game. I really think. So I think she's playing an amazing level of golf, consistent, and obviously handling pressure, week‑after‑week in the majors, I can't imagine how much pressure she must have felt, not only worldwide, but in her own country. I think it's great, because this is really where we are going.
You know, this is a global tour, and we are the best tour in the world. We are playing with many different nationalities, and nobody has ever achieved that. You always see ‑‑ I love watching tennis, and you always see like one year Nadal is dominating and another Djokovic is dominating.
You don't see it, because golf, it takes a lot more; it's just so many other different factors that have to play in, different courses, different setups. Some courses are playing longer, some courses are playing shorter and benefits some players more than others. And she's won three out of three. I mean, I think that's amazing, and I think that's good for us and it's definitely drawing attention to us, which we deserve.
Q. So in terms of the projection of the women's game, per se, it's a huge benefit.
BEATRIZ RECARI: I definitely think so. I definitely think so. I understand that generally a sponsor ‑‑ inaudible ‑‑ nationalities to win, but this is where we are going. We are global and it's the best player no matter where she comes from.
Q. With the disparate purses between the men's and women's game, will what Inbee is doing have a Tiger Woods effect and drive up the financial rewards available?
BEATRIZ RECARI: I think so, but like I said, if it all comes down to getting attention and if more attention gets more viewers, more viewers gets us more sponsors, definitely. I definitely think it's beneficial.
Do I want her to get the fourth major this week? No, I want to take it. But, you know, she's won three out of three; that is huge. I don't think anyone ‑‑ I mean, you all play, and even at the top level, I don't think anyone can understand what she's achieved so far. It takes lots of guts to keep herself cool.
I've played in Korea before and I'm not Korean and I feel the pressure and I feel the excitement that the Korean people show, and how much they want their own players to win.
So after I won last week, I got a lot of Spanish media requests, and after three days, I was almost exhausted. I can't imagine the requests she must have had, and still keep cool and focus on what she has to do and win tournaments.
Q. Given what Inbee was saying yesterday, she had been doing a lot of Korean media, she was over there on the weekend, are you surprised that's what she did in the weekend before a major and she's pretty much flown around the world?
BEATRIZ RECARI: I said it before, I see it both ways. I'm surprised and at the same time, I'm not. I think that when you know a week is approaching where you're going to get the same question asked over and over and over again, something that you don't want to think about, but obviously people ask you about, so it's going to be in your head, I understand that she wanted to be with family and she just wanted to be with people that just appreciate her for who she is, not what she does, and her name, just Inbee as a person.
But at the same time, I know that once they know you are there, they are not going to leave you alone. So I don't know how it was for her. I know that she bought a Ferrari, that sounds very cool, but you know, again, it's just so personal. I don't know if I would have done it but if she did it, I bet it was a very well‑thought decision and that it was worth it for her.
COLIN CALLANDER: Thank you very much indeed. Good luck this week.
2013 RICOH Women's British Open
Thursday, August 01, 2013
Pairings Sheet For Round 1
Tee #1 6:30AM Rikako Morita Kyoto Japan
Group #1 Cristie Kerr Miami FL
Brittany Lincicome Seminole FL
Tee #1 6:41AM Mika Miyazato Okinawa Japan
Group #2 Stacy Lewis The Woodlands TX
Karrie Webb Ayr Queensland Australia
Tee #1 6:52AM Ai Miyazato Okinawa Japan
Group #3 Paula Creamer Pleasanton CA
Sandra Gal Cologne Germany
Tee #1 7:03AM Jodi Ewart Shadoff North Yorkshire, England
Group #4 Beatriz Recari Pamplona Spain
Inbee Park Seoul South Korea
Tee #1 7:14AM Sakura Yokomine Japan
Group #5 Karen Stupples England
Anna Nordqvist Eskilstuna Sweden
Tee #1 7:25AM Chie Arimura Japan
Group #6 Lexi Thompson Coral Springs FL
*Lydia Ko New Zealand
Tee #1 7:36AM Gwladys Nocera Moulins France
Group #7 Jeong Jang South Korea
Carlota Ciganda Spain
Tee #1 7:47AM Na Yeon Choi South Korea
Group #8 Liz Young England
Amelia Lewis Jacksonville FL
Tee #1 7:58AM Moira Dunn Utica NY
Group #9 Line Vedel Denmark
Katie Futcher The Woodlands TX
Tee #1 8:09AM Julieta Granada Paraguay
Group #10 Beth Allen San Diego CA
Sophie Gustafson Sweden
Tee #1 8:20AM Chella Choi South Korea
Group #11 Whitney Hillier Australia
Christel Boeljon Beverwijk Netherlands
Tee #1 8:31AM Felicity Johnson England
Group #12 Shanshan Feng Guangzhou China
Mindy Kim Diamond Bar CA
Tee #1 8:42AM Trish Johnson England
Group #13 Mi-Jeong Jeon Dajeon South Korea
Mina Harigae Monterey CA
Tee #1 8:53AM *Amy Boulden Wales
Group #14 Juli Inkster Los Altos CA
Caroline Hedwall Sweden
Tee #1 9:04AM Jennifer Johnson Carlsbad CA
Group #15 Vicky Hurst Melbourne FL
Hee Young Park South Korea
Tee #1 9:15AM Stacey Keating Australia
Group #16 Haeji Kang South Korea
Katie M. Burnett Brunswick, GA
Tee #1 9:26AM Nicole Castrale Palm Desert CA
Group #17 Christina Kim San Jose CA
Katherine Hull-Kirk Sunrise Beach Australia
Tee #1 9:37AM Cindy LaCrosse Tampa FL
Group #18 Sarah Kemp Tuncurry Australia
Mo Martin Altadena CA
Tee #1 9:48AM Helen Alfredsson Sweden
Group #19 *Celine Boutier Clamart, France
Brittany Lang Mckinney TX
Tee #1 9:59AM Becky Morgan Monmouth Wales
Group #20 Paola Moreno Cali Colombia
Austin Ernst Greenville, SC
Tee #1 10:10AM Moriya Jutanugarn Thailand
Group #21 Ilhee Lee Seoul South Korea
Caroline Masson Germany
Tee #1 10:21AM Danielle Kang Oak Park CA
Group #22 Minea Blomqvist Finland
*Sarah-Jane Boyd Cornwall, England
Tee #1 10:32AM Lisa McCloskey Houston, TX
Group #23 Kristy McPherson Conway SC
Bree Arthur Australia
Tee #1 10:43AM Nicole Hage Coral Springs FL
Group #24 Xi Yu Lin Chinese Tapei
Louise Larsson Sweden
Tee #1 11:15AM Ayako Uehara Japan
Group #25 Florentyna Parker England
Yani Tseng Lake Nona FL
Tee #1 11:26AM *Georgia Hall England
Group #26 Laura Davies Lyne England
So Yeon Ryu South Korea
Tee #1 11:37AM Michelle Wie Honolulu HI
Group #27 Jessica Korda Bradenton FL
*Charley Hull England
Tee #1 11:48AM Jiyai Shin South Korea
Group #28 Morgan Pressel Boca Raton FL
Catriona Matthew N. Berwick Scotland
Tee #1 11:59AM Mamiko Higa Japan
Group #29 Suzann Pettersen Norway
Natalie Gulbis Lake Las Vegas NV
Tee #1 12:10PM Miki Saiki Hiroshima Japan
Group #30 I.K. Kim South Korea
Angela Stanford Saginaw TX
Tee #1 12:21PM Momoko Ueda Kumamoto Japan
Group #31 Azahara Munoz Malaga Spain
Holly Clyburn England
Tee #1 12:32PM Ryann O'Toole California
Group #32 Karine Icher France
Lizette Salas Azusa CA
Tee #1 12:43PM Se Ri Pak South Korea
Group #33 Lee-Anne Pace South Africa
Gerina Piller Roswell NM
Tee #1 12:54PM Jenny Shin Torrence CA
Group #34 Dewi Claire Schreefel The Netherlands
Linda Wessberg Gothenburg Sweden
Tee #1 1:05PM Pornanong Phatlum Chaiyaphum Thailand
Group #35 Belen Mozo Spain
Ashleigh Simon South Africa
Tee #1 1:16PM Hee Kyung Seo South Korea
Group #36 Mikaela Parmlid Gothenburg Sweden
Jennifer Rosales Philippines
Tee #1 1:27PM Marianne Skarpnord Norway
Group #37 *Gabriella Cowley England
Nontaya Srisawang Chiang Mai Thailand
Tee #1 1:38PM Klara Spilkova Czech Republic
Group #38 Lindsey Wright Albury Australia
Mariajo Uribe Bucaramanga Colombia
Tee #1 1:49PM Malene Jorgensen Denmark
Group #39 Thidapa Suwannapura Thailand
Giulia Sergas Italy
Tee #1 2:00PM Alison Walshe Westford MA
Group #40 Amy Yang South Korea
Carly Booth Scotland
Tee #1 2:11PM Sarah Jane Smith Caloundra Queensland
Group #41 Candie Kung Taiwan
Jane Park Rancho Cucamonga CA
Tee #1 2:22PM Sun Young Yoo Seoul South Korea
Group #42 Pernilla Lindberg Bollnas Sweden
Sydnee Michaels Upland CA
Tee #1 2:33PM Veronica Zorzi Italy
Group #43 Ji Young Oh South Korea
*Emily Taylor England
Tee #1 2:44PM Nikki Campbell Canberra Australia
Group #44 Meena Lee South Korea
Jacqui Concolino Orlando, FL
Tee #1 2:55PM Marta Silva Spain
Group #45 Jee Young Lee South Korea
Laura Diaz Scotia NY
Tee #1 3:06PM Irene Cho LA Habra CA
Group #46 Camilla Lennarth Stockholm, Sweden
Eun-Hee Ji South Korea
Tee #1 3:17PM Margherita Rigon Italy
Group #47 Mi Jung Hur South Korea
Sahra Hassan Wales
Tee #1 3:28PM Daniela Holmqvist Berne, Switzerland
Group #48 Dori Carter Valdosta GA
Tania Elosegui San Sebastain, Spain
2013 RICOH Women's British Open
Friday, August 02, 2013
Pairings Sheet For Round 2
Tee #1 6:30AM Ayako Uehara Japan
Group #1 Florentyna Parker England
Yani Tseng Lake Nona FL
Tee #1 6:41AM *Georgia Hall England
Group #2 Laura Davies Lyne England
So Yeon Ryu South Korea
Tee #1 6:52AM Michelle Wie Honolulu HI
Group #3 Jessica Korda Bradenton FL
*Charley Hull England
Tee #1 7:03AM Jiyai Shin South Korea
Group #4 Morgan Pressel Boca Raton FL
Catriona Matthew N. Berwick Scotland
Tee #1 7:14AM Mamiko Higa Japan
Group #5 Suzann Pettersen Norway
Natalie Gulbis Lake Las Vegas NV
Tee #1 7:25AM Miki Saiki Hiroshima Japan
Group #6 I.K. Kim South Korea
Angela Stanford Saginaw TX
Tee #1 7:36AM Momoko Ueda Kumamoto Japan
Group #7 Azahara Munoz Malaga Spain
Holly Clyburn England
Tee #1 7:47AM Ryann O'Toole California
Group #8 Karine Icher France
Lizette Salas Azusa CA
Tee #1 7:58AM Se Ri Pak South Korea
Group #9 Lee-Anne Pace South Africa
Gerina Piller Roswell NM
Tee #1 8:09AM Jenny Shin Torrence CA
Group #10 Dewi Claire Schreefel The Netherlands
Linda Wessberg Gothenburg Sweden
Tee #1 8:20AM Pornanong Phatlum Chaiyaphum Thailand
Group #11 Belen Mozo Spain
Ashleigh Simon South Africa
Tee #1 8:31AM Hee Kyung Seo South Korea
Group #12 Mikaela Parmlid Gothenburg Sweden
Jennifer Rosales Philippines
Tee #1 8:42AM Marianne Skarpnord Norway
Group #13 *Gabriella Cowley England
Nontaya Srisawang Chiang Mai Thailand
Tee #1 8:53AM Klara Spilkova Czech Republic
Group #14 Lindsey Wright Albury Australia
Mariajo Uribe Bucaramanga Colombia
Tee #1 9:04AM Malene Jorgensen Denmark
Group #15 Thidapa Suwannapura Thailand
Giulia Sergas Italy
Tee #1 9:15AM Alison Walshe Westford MA
Group #16 Amy Yang South Korea
Carly Booth Scotland
Tee #1 9:26AM Sarah Jane Smith Caloundra Queensland
Group #17 Candie Kung Taiwan
Jane Park Rancho Cucamonga CA
Tee #1 9:37AM Sun Young Yoo Seoul South Korea
Group #18 Pernilla Lindberg Bollnas Sweden
Sydnee Michaels Upland CA
Tee #1 9:48AM Veronica Zorzi Italy
Group #19 Ji Young Oh South Korea
*Emily Taylor England
Tee #1 9:59AM Nikki Campbell Canberra Australia
Group #20 Meena Lee South Korea
Jacqui Concolino Orlando, FL
Tee #1 10:10AM Marta Silva Spain
Group #21 Jee Young Lee South Korea
Laura Diaz Scotia NY
Tee #1 10:21AM Irene Cho LA Habra CA
Group #22 Camilla Lennarth Stockholm, Sweden
Eun-Hee Ji South Korea
Tee #1 10:32AM Margherita Rigon Italy
Group #23 Mi Jung Hur South Korea
Sahra Hassan Wales
Tee #1 10:43AM Daniela Holmqvist Berne, Switzerland
Group #24 Dori Carter Valdosta GA
Tania Elosegui San Sebastain, Spain
Tee #1 11:15AM Rikako Morita Kyoto Japan
Group #25 Cristie Kerr Miami FL
Brittany Lincicome Seminole FL
Tee #1 11:26AM Mika Miyazato Okinawa Japan
Group #26 Stacy Lewis The Woodlands TX
Karrie Webb Ayr Queensland Australia
Tee #1 11:37AM Ai Miyazato Okinawa Japan
Group #27 Paula Creamer Pleasanton CA
Sandra Gal Cologne Germany
Tee #1 11:48AM Jodi Ewart Shadoff North Yorkshire, England
Group #28 Beatriz Recari Pamplona Spain
Inbee Park Seoul South Korea
Tee #1 11:59AM Sakura Yokomine Japan
Group #29 Karen Stupples England
Anna Nordqvist Eskilstuna Sweden
Tee #1 12:10PM Chie Arimura Japan
Group #30 Lexi Thompson Coral Springs FL
*Lydia Ko New Zealand
Tee #1 12:21PM Gwladys Nocera Moulins France
Group #31 Jeong Jang South Korea
Carlota Ciganda Spain
Tee #1 12:32PM Na Yeon Choi South Korea
Group #32 Liz Young England
Amelia Lewis Jacksonville FL
Tee #1 12:43PM Moira Dunn Utica NY
Group #33 Line Vedel Denmark
Katie Futcher The Woodlands TX
Tee #1 12:54PM Julieta Granada Paraguay
Group #34 Beth Allen San Diego CA
Sophie Gustafson Sweden
Tee #1 1:05PM Chella Choi South Korea
Group #35 Whitney Hillier Australia
Christel Boeljon Beverwijk Netherlands
Tee #1 1:16PM Felicity Johnson England
Group #36 Shanshan Feng Guangzhou China
Mindy Kim Diamond Bar CA
Tee #1 1:27PM Trish Johnson England
Group #37 Mi-Jeong Jeon Dajeon South Korea
Mina Harigae Monterey CA
Tee #1 1:38PM *Amy Boulden Wales
Group #38 Juli Inkster Los Altos CA
Caroline Hedwall Sweden
Tee #1 1:39PM Jennifer Johnson Carlsbad CA
Group #39 Vicky Hurst Melbourne FL
Hee Young Park South Korea
Tee #1 2:00PM Stacey Keating Australia
Group #40 Haeji Kang South Korea
Katie M. Burnett Brunswick, GA
Tee #1 2:11PM Nicole Castrale Palm Desert CA
Group #41 Christina Kim San Jose CA
Katherine Hull-Kirk Sunrise Beach Australia
Tee #1 2:22PM Cindy LaCrosse Tampa FL
Group #42 Sarah Kemp Tuncurry Australia
Mo Martin Altadena CA
Tee #1 2:33PM Helen Alfredsson Sweden
Group #43 *Celine Boutier Clamart, France
Brittany Lang Mckinney TX
Tee #1 2:44PM Becky Morgan Monmouth Wales
Group #44 Paola Moreno Cali Colombia
Austin Ernst Greenville, SC
Tee #1 2:55PM Moriya Jutanugarn Thailand
Group #45 Ilhee Lee Seoul South Korea
Caroline Masson Germany
Tee #1 3:06PM Danielle Kang Oak Park CA
Group #46 Minea Blomqvist Finland
*Sarah-Jane Boyd Cornwall, England
Tee #1 3:17PM Lisa McCloskey Houston, TX
Group #47 Kristy McPherson Conway SC
Bree Arthur Australia
Tee #1 3:28PM Nicole Hage Coral Springs FL
Group #48 Xi Yu Lin Chinese Tapei
Louise Larsson Sweden
RICOH Women’s British Open
The Old Course, St. Andrews
Pre-tournament Notes and Interviews
July 30, 2013
Inbee Park, Rolex Rankings No. 1
Stacy Lewis, Rolex Rankings No. 2
The iconic Swilcan Bridge is waiting to greet its next champion this week, as the LPGA returns for a second time to The Old Course at St. Andrews for the RICOH Women’s British Open. Six years after Lorena Ochoa became the first woman to win a major championship contested on the famous Old Course, there is once again significant history on the line this week at the Home of Golf.
Rolex Rankings No. 1 Inbee Park is trying to become the first golfer – male or female—to capture four professional major championships in a season with a victory at this week’s RICOH Women’s British Open. Her hunt for the “Grand Slam” has drawn worldwide attention and focused the eyes of the media on women’s golf.
Park’s impressive run of consecutive major championship titles began at the Kraft Nabisco Championship in April where she captured a four-stroke victory before leaping into Poppie’s Pond at Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, Calif. She continued the streak last month at the Wegmans LPGA Championship, where 36 holes of regulations – and more – were needed on Sunday. Park defeated Catriona Matthew in a three-hole, sudden-death playoff to claim her second major of the season at Locust Hill Country Club in Pittsford, NY. And at the U.S. Women’s Open, Park wowed the golf world when she defeated I.K. Kim by four shots to become only the second LPGA player in history to capture three consecutive major titles.
For Park to continue that impressive majors streak this week in Scotland, she will have to best 143 of the top golfers in the world as they compete for a $2.75 million purse.
Everyone loves Inbee… even the toll collector. As Inbee Park’s star rises, so does the attention she receives in her native Korea and worldwide. As the winner of the Tour’s first three majors in 2013, Park returned to Seoul last week and was greeted with a celebrity’s welcome with throngs of media at the airport and fans recognizing her on the streets.
“I feel like a lot more people recognize me now,” Park said. “I was driving by the toll gate and some lady was giving me a ticket, a toll ticket and she was like, "Oh, are you Inbee Park?" and she was stopping my car. It's cool to be recognized and to have a lot of fans and I think that really helps me.”
As the requests pour in for Inbee’s time, the 25-year-old continues to appear calm and collected in the face of massive attention. On Tuesday, she spent time with ESPN, Golf Channel, BBC and CNN in addition to a 30 minutes press conference. But the real test comes when she tees off on Thursday in her quest to achieve the Grand Slam.
“Everybody is expecting me to play well, and I have got so many people praying for me, so many people wishing me luck; it's amazing how many people are on my sides, and I think that really comes to my advantage,” Park said. “It really gives me a lot of good energy to come into this weekend and it really motivates me and gives me inspiration to play well this week. It's huge everywhere, I can feel it. But we'll see after this week.”
Commissioner Michael Whan’s take on Inbee Park’s chase of the “Grand Slam”: “I find it strange that we are struggling not to call this a Grand Slam if Inbee Park wins this week’s RICOH Women’s British Open. If a player had won all four global majors in 2011, we would have declared her the Grand Slam winner and she would be posing with all four trophies. If Inbee wins four majors this season, why wouldn’t we call it the same thing? If she wins four, she’ll go to The Evian with a chance at the Super Slam. Winning four major championships in a season – the Grand Slam – would be one of the greatest accomplishments in modern sports and we wish Inbee the best of luck.”
Major Events Looming. In past years, the RICOH Women’s British Open signaled the end of the major championship season for the LPGA. This season, it serves the fourth of five majors on the LPGA’s calendar with The Evian Championship coming up in September. For many U.S. and American players, another big tournament – The Solheim Cup – looms large just two weeks from now. So with all the big events on the LPGA docket this year, how do players peak at the right times?
“You really have to kind of manage your energy level more and there's times where you want to make sure your game is peaking,” Stacy Lewis said. “It's definitely been a little different this year, but at the same time, it's kind of fun, because you have more things to look forward to.”
The LPGA has worked in recent years to spread out of the major championships between April and September to provide more build up to each specific event.
“It's good for the Tour because we've got that exposure spread out over a year instead of just being in two months,” Lewis said.
Duplicate performance? Stacy Lewis wasn’t a member of the LPGA Tour in 2007 when St. Andrews played host to the RICOH Women’s British Open for the very first time.
But top-ranked American is no stranger to creating magic at the Home of Golf. Lewis was a member of the victorious 2008 U.S. Curtis Cup team when the matches were contested at the Old Course. The Woodlands, Texas native put on quite a show that week too, becoming the only player in history to go 5-0 in her matches.
“I have a lot of good memories,” Lewis said. “I played a practice round [Monday] with Alison Walshe, and we played three matches together during that week and won them all. It was cool. We kind of went back and talked about shots we hit, holes we won matches on and things like that.
“So it's really cool to be back, and I remember a lot of the course, which is nice. Because normally coming into the British Open, I don't know new of the golf courses, so coming here knowing the course is really nice.”
Lewis has steadily improved her performance at the RICOH Women’s British Open over the past few years. After missing the cut in her first British in 2009, Lewis has tallied the following finishes: T31 in 2010, T11 in 2011 and T8 for 2012.
“This style of golf is just so different,” Lewis said. “You really have to learn how to play here. You have to learn how to manage your game and how to play certain shots and stay patient. That's the big key out here is that you're going to get some funky bounces and you just kind of have to roll with it and go into it with an open mind, knowing that if the wind blows, it's going to play really hard; if the wind doesn't blow, you're going to have to make some birdies.
“Your game plan changes every day, and it takes playing a lot of it to figure it out.”
Talked about Tweet: It wasn’t long into Inbee Park’s press conference on Tuesday afternoon when someone asked about one of the Tweets that the 25-year-old sent out last week during her trip to Korea. Of course, when you tweet a picture of yourself with a Ferrari, that’s bound to draw some attention.
“With my Ferrari FF♥” -- @InbeePark wrote on July 24.
So did Park splurge and buy herself a Ferrari after such a hot start to the season?
“No, I didn't buy anything for myself,” Park said. “I got a couple of very good presents in Korea. When I was there last week, I got a new Ferrari and I got a gold putter.”
Not bad take-home gifts for Park and she was asked if she had a favorite of the two.
“I like both,” she said with a smile.
Quotable: “As a player, you would like to know if she's human a little bit, to see if she actually feels the nerves like the rest of us do.” – Stacy Lewis on Inbee Park
Of Note…There are six amateurs in the field this week, including top-ranked amateur Lydia Ko….A total of 16 players qualified on Monday for this week’s RICOH Women’s British Open. The winner of Monday’s qualifier was 17-year-old Xiyu Lin, who is a member of the Ladies European Tour. Lin shot 65 at Kingsbarn Golf Links to earn the top spot…All of the major champions from the past six years are in the field with the exception of Lorena Ochoa. The 2007 RICOH Women’s British Open winner is retired from professional golf.
INBEE PARK, Rolex Rankings No. 1
COLIN CALLANDER: Ladies and gentlemen, we have Inbee Park, the world No. 1 with us. Inbee comes in having won the first three legs of the Grand Slam, and you finished I believe 11th the last time the Open was here. Are you glad to be back?
INBEE PARK: Yeah, I'm glad to be back here at St. Andrews and looking forward to playing this week.
COLIN CALLANDER: You're obviously going to be bombarded with questions about the Grand Slam; does that make it a little bit more difficult to perform well this week?
INBEE PARK: I'm just really getting used to it, because I've heard about St. Andrews so many times before I came here this week.
At first, I felt the pressure, but then, you know, as the time goes by, the more experience I get, I really started to get used to it, and once I get on the golf course, I don't get really think about it so much. When I'm off the golf course, I feel the pressure, but I try to concentrate on the golf course.
Q. As we were hearing earlier on from Stacy Lewis, that she found it very difficult to tell if you were playing well or playing badly, because you seem so even tempered, is that part of your secret this year, because you don't get too up or too down, depending if your golf is good?
INBEE PARK: I think that's been my personality forever since I was a little kid. My emotions don't express so much on my face.
Yeah, that's just how I play golf, and it's been working really good on the golf course, so I think found myself, I figured that it was going to be very good on the golf course, and that's why I think I'm that way.
I think it helps a lot, you know, when you are on the golf course when your emotions are very calm. Your feelings are very calm, so I think it helps you to play the game a little bit more consistent.
Q. People talk about pressure, and they often mean pressure from outside influences, but presumably, as a top professional golfer, you bring a lot of your own pressure to play the best golf you can every day.
INBEE PARK: Yeah, obviously it is tougher to play under pressure than without the pressure. This is what I love to do, and if the pressure is something that comes with playing good golf, that's something a professional golfer has to handle, something that I need to handle for doing something I like.
So, yeah, I love to do that ‑‑ instead of, you know, it's much better than playing in the first group out and nobody is watching than having the pressure; yeah, I think I would be playing in the last group and feel the pressure all the time.
Q. We would just like to say that we believe that your putting is the greatest part of your game, and wondering if you have received any tips from fellow pros, maybe even Japanese players throughout the years?
INBEE PARK: I try to learn something from other people's stroke or other people's putting, but maybe they give me a tip ‑‑ but I try to look for like Ai Miyazato's putting stroke for her rhythm and other people's putting strokes, you can learn something from them. I haven't really asked for advice, but I'm sure if I asked for advice, they would have given me some advice.
Q. You talked about since you were a little girl, you were calm, but you've also consulted with a sports psychologist a little bit. I wonder some of the things you've talked to her about and anything you've talked to her about going into this week.
INBEE PARK: Yeah, she makes me a happier person. She makes me a happier person on the golf course and outside the golf course. She teaches me how to handle the pressure on the golf course, and how to enjoy the game of golf, what things to concentrate when I'm on the golf course.
It changes every week, but we try to sort it out. She's here this week ‑‑
COLIN CALLANDER: What's the name of your psychologist?
INBEE PARK: Sookyung Cho.
Q. Am I right that you went to Korea ‑‑ are you a little worried that that's a hectic schedule? When you did you actually get into the U.K.?
INBEE PARK: I was tired physically, but I was a lot more happier mentally being able to see friends and family and being able to communicate with my fans when I get back home.
Physically, I'm a bit tired, but mentally, I was a lot more happier and that gives me a lot of energy coming into this week. So I'm trying to take the positives out of it.
Q. Also, have you been able to practice the specific kind of game you need for this course? It's a different kind of game from what you usually play.
INBEE PARK: Yeah, obviously we have to ‑‑ the wind is a factor this week. I'm kind of a low‑ball flight hitter, and I think this golf course really suits my eye and this golf course really suits my game. St. Andrews has big greens with some big ridges. You're going to hit a lot of greens here, and you're going to have putts that are 30 yards long, 20 yards long. You have to be a good pace putter.
I'm going to hit a lot of putts, so I think it kind of comes to my advantage that I get to use my putter a lot on this golf course. Being in the bad weather, my ball flight is very low, so that also comes into my advantage.
Q. I wonder if you can just share with us how big this story is back home in Korea? You were there last weekend; is the possibility of a Grand Slam, is it leading the sports news? Is it leading the news?
INBEE PARK: Can you repeat the question?
COLIN CALLANDER: Is it a big story, the Grand Slam in your country?
INBEE PARK: If I would achieve?
COLIN CALLANDER: At the moment.
INBEE PARK: At the moment I think I'm getting a lot of attention from everywhere, especially back home in Korea, they are really ‑‑ yeah, it's really big in Korea.
Everybody is expecting me to play well, and I have got so many people praying for me, so many people wishing me luck; it's amazing how many people are on my sides, and I think that really comes to my advantage.
It really gives me a lot of good energy to come into this weekend and it really motivates me and gives me inspiration to play well this week. It's huge everywhere, I can feel it. But we'll see after this week.
Q. Could you talk about the difference between Korean temperaments and western temperaments?
INBEE PARK: There is calm Korean players and there is not calm Korean players and there is calm western players. It's tough to say which side is better.
Q. In general, I've never seen Korean players tossing their clubs around the place or look temperamental on the surface; Koreans do seem to keep their feelings under wraps, don't they?
INBEE PARK: We always learn to be calm on the golf course and not to be so mad on the golf course since we were young kids.
So we are used to controlling our feelings and being calm on the golf course. We see a lot of players ‑‑ some players get mad over the ball, but they don't express so much on the golf course I think.
Q. You mentioned when you're between the ropes, it's the calmest time for you. Everything else, the interviews and stuff, is that more stressful in some ways than going out and concentrating on playing golf?
INBEE PARK: Sometimes all the medias and all the interviews, those are the toughest thing for me, but once you really start to do it a lot and start to get used to it, I can find some fun in those parts, too. Because golf and playing golf on the golf course is the most easiest thing for me, and that's something I'm so used to, that's why it was always easy. But I'm getting used to the other parts of golf, also.
Yeah, it's getting there, but obviously yeah, I am the happiest when I'm on the golf course.
Q. I'm writing a story about Lorena winning here in 2007. She's not here to repeat her feat in 2007, but going back to 2007 and coming here for the first time, as a top player in the world, do you think that it was meant to be?
INBEE PARK: For Lorena? She was playing so good, I remember that was my first year on Tour, and she was just unbeatable. She was such a great player. She had a great swing and great putting. She was just playing so well that I couldn't really even look up to, she was that good.
For her to win at St. Andrews was going to be a very special memory for her, even when she retired, I think this is one of the tournaments that she's going to remember because this is a very special tournament and this is a very special golf course. Every part of this tournament is very special.
So I'm sure it would have felt the same way for Lorena, and it would feel the same way for me, too.
Q. There's been some subtle changes to the golf course since you were here in 2007. Have you noticed them out there?
INBEE PARK: I noticed 17 became a par 4. We played it as a par 5 when we were here in 2007, and they were saying that No. 17 bunker was a little bit deeper, and now it's a little bit shallower.
I don't really remember being in the 17 bunker and know exactly how high it was. But still, you don't want to be in the bunker. I played two different golf courses yesterday and today, no wind yesterday and it blew today. The clubs that I was hitting into was totally different and the greens were getting firmer. The course conditions can change dramatically, so you really need to watch out what course you're playing.
Q. You also mentioned you were looking forward to the breakfasts in Britain. Have you had some nice Scottish breakfast so far?
INBEE PARK: Yeah, I had some outside the car park there, the food was great. I love the bacon and the eggs here.
INBEE PARK: Yeah.
Q. You won the U.S. Open in '08 and then were quiet ‑‑ and then you started winning, kick‑started at Evian last year ‑‑ is there a key factor that's brought on this great spell?
INBEE PARK: Yeah, pretty much everything in my game to my mentality, when I won in '08, I was just very young, just 19, and won a big event. I wasn't experienced on the LPGA Tour. It was only my second year on the Tour. I think those times ‑‑ it was some time that I needed to get used to the tour, get used to travelling, get used to everything, get to know somebody, get to know ‑‑ and it was tough, and I expected more.
Q. Was it more of a maturing process yourself?
INBEE PARK: Yeah, my swing improved over the years, and playing improved over the years, and my thinking process, everything, yeah.
Q. Have you been a student of golf history and reading up on achievements of the past, and if so, can you put what you could do this week and indeed what you already have done this year into that context?
INBEE PARK: I would like to inspire a lot of young golfers. But I don't try to put so much pressure on myself to have to win this week. I mean, you know, three wins, three major wins this year is I think very good for me, something that I really never expected to be doing.
You know, having this kind of opportunity at the British Open, and just the fact that I could have this kind of opportunity is very special. It's an experience that I'll remember forever.
Yeah, if it could happen, it's something that I will never forget. My name will be in the history of golf forever, even after I die, so it will be some special feelings, yeah.
Q. Women's golf in Korea and all the great achievements that women players have had, is it ahead of men's golf in business terms, in media terms, or do you still have to fight the men's game for attention?
COLIN CALLANDER: Is the women's game in Korea bigger than the men's?
INBEE PARK: I'd say it is bigger. The women's game is bigger than the men's in Korea, because they have a lot more tournaments, first, and a lot of women come out to the LPGA Tour, Korean women came out to the LPGA Tour and competing at a world‑class level. We just outnumber them. There is very good Korean men players that are competing in a world‑class ‑‑ but there is a lot more women. People are just a lot more familiar to women's golf.
The amateurs in Korea say they can relate their game to women's better than men's, like the driving distance is similar. The men, they out‑drive them 70 to 80 yards and are playing just a totally different game. I talked to a couple amateurs and they said that they really can't relate their game to Korean men, and the Korean men's tour and Korean women's tour, they find the Korean women's tour more interesting.
Q. Do you see Catriona Matthew as a potential threat for you this week?
INBEE PARK: Yeah, Catriona, I played with her in Wegman's. We played in a playoff, and she's a very good ball‑striker and this kind of golf course really suits her game. So yeah, definitely, I think Catriona is one of the players that I need to look out for this week, yeah.
Q. She is one of only two Scot as the field; does it surprise you that you've come to Scotland and there's only two Scottish players in the field?
INBEE PARK: Oh, really? I thought there would be more than that. But yeah, she's a very good player.
Q. Can you talk about the style of game that you've had to play at Wegman's compared with Sebonack for the Women's Open, and how that will serve you going forward here?
INBEE PARK: Well, totally different golf course than Sebonack. I played pretty much two different golf courses. At Locust Hill, you need to hit fairways and fairways is the most important thing on that golf course, and Sebonack is a second‑shot golf course and you need to place your second shot in the right positions and the greens were tough.
It was different, but if you can hit it straight every shot and hole some putts, it doesn't matter what golf course you play. So winning at Locust Hill gave me a lot of confidence, because I thought ball‑striking, hitting it straight is the weakest part of my game, so, yeah, that tournament the confidence was good for me.
Q. I know everybody is here to win for themselves, but I'm just wondering, maybe in particular some of your closer friends on Tour, whether they are South Koreans or wherever they are from, have they reached out to you to give you any extra good thoughts going into this week because of what you're trying to do?
INBEE PARK: Didn't really get time to talk to so many people. Everybody was just busy. And especially I was so busy in Korea what I was there. And came here, I was busy with a practise round and didn't really talk to them so much yet.
But, yeah, tonight I'm having dinner with a couple of good friends, so, yeah, maybe tonight.
INBEE PARK: No, I didn't buy anything for myself, but I got a couple of very good presents in Korea. When I was there last week, I got a new Ferrari and I got a gold putter.
Q. Which do you like better?
INBEE PARK: I like both (smiling).
Q. I was actually going to ask you about the Ferrari. In terms of Korea, can you just give us a little glimpse to what it was like when you went home and how life is different for you now, like on the streets, because I know the question was asked at Wegman's if you could walk down the street and if anybody would notice you in downtown Seoul, and you said if you were in your golf clothes probably not.
INBEE PARK: I wasn't in my golf clothes when I was walking down the street but a lot of people were recognising me. I was very surprised when I got to the airport, there was so many people there.
Yeah, I feel like a lot of people ‑‑ a lot more people recognise me now. I was just driving by ‑‑ one of the episodes was I was driving by the toll gate and some lady was giving me a ticket, a toll ticket and she was like, "Oh, are you Inbee Park," and she was stopping my car. So there was a lot of episodes there. It's cool to be recognised and to have a lot of fans and I think that really helps me.
Q. Did she charge you?
INBEE PARK: She charged me, yeah. (Laughter).
Q. What model of Ferrari?
INBEE PARK: FX.
Q. Just to be clear on this, they gave it to you, the Ferrari?
INBEE PARK: Yeah, I'm getting it for a year.
Q. For a year?
INBEE PARK: For a year, yeah.
Q. You talked a lot about being able to block out pressure moments like that, and just get on to the golf course. Where did you learn to do that?
INBEE PARK: Where did I learn to do that?
Q. And is it hard to do.
INBEE PARK: Well, yeah, I think most of the part, I've learned a lot from my experience in the past, and the second is I learned to control my feelings a lot by my mental coach.
Yeah, I think experience really helps you, and I was very nervous the first time when I was in the last group. But after being in the last group about 20 times, you feel the pressure, but you have experience with it, so it becomes less and less.
Over the years, I just feel it a little bit less and less and I control my feelings better on the golf course all the time.
Q. Is it harder now than it might have been at Sebonack to realise what you've done and what's at stake? You were two, going for third in a row, and now you're going for four in a row; is it harder than it was at the Women's Open?
INBEE PARK: Yeah, it was hard, but I really didn't expect something from that. I didn't really expect anything from me that week. I really tried not to put pressure on myself. I kept thinking, you know, it's okay if I don't win. I've already won five times, and just wanting more is wanting too much I thought. I thought, there's no expectations and go out there and just have fun, and that really worked. So that's something I'm trying to do this week.
COLIN CALLANDER: What colour is the Ferrari?
INBEE PARK: It's red.
COLIN CALLANDER: Of course. Inbee, thank you very much. Good luck this week.
STACY LEWIS, Rolex Rankings No. 2
COLIN CALLANDER: I'd like to welcome Stacy Lewis today, world No. 2, Rolex Player of the Year last year on the LPGA Tour, and I believe you were 5‑0 at Curtis Cup here back in 2008. You must have some warm memories of the place.
STACY LEWIS: Yeah, I do. It's cool to be back. I have a lot of good memories. I played a practice round yesterday with Alison Walshe, and we played three matches together during that week and won them all. It was cool. We kind of went back and talked about shots we hit, holes we won matches on and things like that.
So it's really cool to be back, and I remember a lot of the course, which is nice. Because normally coming into the British Open, I don't know new of the golf courses, so coming here knowing the course is really nice.
COLIN CALLANDER: How does the course compare between now and then? Is it greener? Browner?
STACY LEWIS: You know, that part of it is pretty similar. That week at the Curtis Cup that we had every weather, every wind direction.
So I definitely got to see a lot of the course. A couple tees are different. Obviously the course made some changes, so it's a little different there, but overall, it's what I remember.
COLIN CALLANDER: You've played quite a few Open courses now. Is this one of your favourites?
STACY LEWIS: I think so ‑‑ part of it is when you play well some, where you definitely like it. I definitely do. Compared to a lot of the other links courses I've played, it's a lot more fair. You hit a good shot, you're rewarded for it. There's bunkers in the right places for missed shots but for good shots, you're going to get rewarded, and I like that.
Q. The Majors have been a little rough for you, and you have not played as well as you wanted to; can you reflect on why that is, and how do you feel like you could maybe change that this week?
STACY LEWIS: You know, I don't really know why. It seems that everything was a little bit different. Wegman's, I wasn't hitting the ball well, and Kraft was a bad putting week and U.S. Open, I wasn't putting well, either. They were all a little different.
You can't really put it on one thing specific, but I feel like the last few weeks, I've worked on a lot of really good things. I've had a couple Top 10s. I feel like my game is moving in the right direction. It's just kind of getting everything together for four days, but I feel like I'm moving and I'm doing the right things now.
Q. A 17‑year‑old Chinese girl burned up Kingsbarns yesterday to qualify. I just wonder if you think that may be the future of women's golf, and also what you make of Shanshan Feng as a player?
STACY LEWIS: Well, it's not surprising, whether he's 15 or 17, the age doesn't really seem to matter anymore on our tour. I think China is a country that as a tour, we were looking to go play there. Shanshan's success is why we are going there this year, why we have a tournament there.
You know, I think like South Korea boomed when Se Ri came out and won, and you know, I think Shanshan winning a major last year is kind of doing the same thing. So I think in the next few years in China, we'll see a lot more players coming out.
Q. And Shanshan, can she compete this week ‑‑
STACY LEWIS: I think this year she probably has not played as well as she did last year but she's a good enough player that at a major, she's going to show up and you can expect her to be there.
Q. You talked about your form in the Majors this year, but in your British Open form, you've improved steadily every year, and presumably comfortable playing on the U.K. courses.
STACY LEWIS: Yeah, this style of golf is just so different. You really have to learn how to play here. You have to learn how to manage your game and how to play certain shots and stay patient. That's the big key out here is that you're going to get some funky bounces and you just kind of have to roll with it and go into it with an open mind, knowing that if the wind blows, it's going to play really hard; if the wind doesn't blow, you're going to have to make some birdies.
Your game plan changes every day, and it takes playing a lot of it to figure it out.
Q. We were following Inbee Park around this morning. Obviously there's a lot of media attention because of the potential fourth major; do you think that will faze her or will she be able to play her own game?
STACY LEWIS: I don't know, you would think after winning two of them it would faze her a little bit, but obviously at the U.S. Open, it didn't.
I don't know, Inbee is playing so good this year, and she is so steady, you would not know whether she's winning a tournament or whether she's losing it, and that's what you need in a major. As a player, I expect her to play well. I expect her to be there on Sunday to be up on the leaderboard having a chance.
But, you know, as a player, you would like to know if she's human a little bit, to see if she actually feels the nerves like the rest of us do.
Q. Can you talk about that in a little more broad sense, and how as you've matured as a golfer, how you do handle that pressure when you become one of the very elite players on the LPGA Tour and how you keep that from becoming too big?
STACY LEWIS: Well, for me, it's been a learning process. You know, I think you have a little bit of success and more people ‑‑ there's more pressure there, and you have some more and every level I've gone up, there's been more and more pressure there. I've had to learn. It's taken me a couple of years to figure it out and I feel like I'm still learning it a little bit.
It's something that you can tell players that have been in contention. They have been in those final groups, seeing their names on leader boards; you can just tell in their demeanor coming up the last few holes that they have been there. You know, I don't know what it is or pinpoint it or what to tell somebody, but you just have to get there and you have to experience it and learn how your body reacts to it.
Q. Stacy, you gave us a little insight into Inbee Park. Can you tell us a little bit more? What's she like to play with? Tell us something to bring her to life for those of us that don't know her that well.
STACY LEWIS: Well, she's very quiet on the golf course. You don't get a lot out of her. It's funny, you always see her and her fiancé when they are traveling, they are always holding hands walking in the airport and they are very cute together. You can tell she's very happy in her life, very happy in her personal life and obviously very happy with where her golf game is. When things are going well off the course, it makes playing a lot easier, so you can just tell she's happy, and I think more than anything, that's what's showing in her game.
Q. Do they hold hands on the course?
STACY LEWIS: Oh, no ‑‑ no, he's outside the ropes (laughing)
Q. Another American with KPMG on his cap won 1.4 million at Muirfield ‑‑ like Wimbledon, do you think it will be the same level of prize money in the women's majors as there is in the men's?
STACY LEWIS: I think that's the ultimate goal for all of us is to be playing for the same amount of money as the guys and playing on the same golf course, the best golf courses like the guys and playing for the same amount of money, that's where we all want to get to. I hope I'm still on Tour when it happens, if it happens. It's something that we struggle to get the recognition and the credibility that we deserve.
I think for what Inbee is doing right now, she's not getting the credit that she deserves for it. If somebody was doing this on the men's tour, it would be being talked over and over and over again for a month before the major, not just a couple days before this that it starts getting talked about.
So I don't think as a tour we've gotten the credibility that we have deserved and it's something that we are struggling to get to.
Q. Would you say in tennis ‑‑ (Inaudible.)
STACY LEWIS: I don't know. And I think it's a lot of ‑‑ it's the sponsors, the guys, they get so much exposure and the crowds they get out and the ratings they get on TV, that certainly has a lot to do with the prize money and the amount these sponsors are willing to put up.
Somehow we have to get more coverage on TV, more people watching us and more people out to tournaments. Tennis, they have a little bit of an advantage with the equal prize money because they are at the same place at the same time playing those events. They have a little bit of help there, where we hardly ever even see the guys. Other than that, I don't know.
Q. With the equality and recognition, does it frustrate you when you see a governing body like the R&A continue to take its major championships to all‑male clubs?
STACY LEWIS: You know, I don't have a problem with the all‑male clubs. I think in Canada, there's an all‑female club, so there you go.
But I don't have a problem with it. I think if the club wants to be that way on tradition, that's fine with me. But I think the clubs are missing out on some really great players getting to play their golf course, and you know, more than anything, I think it's their loss.
Q. Do you not think it's our traditions which are responsible for the way things are; that because it's always been men first since the beginnings of golf?
STACY LEWIS: Not just in golf; however many years ago, it was men first. But society has changed. It's 2013 and women and men are much more equal footing now than we used to be, so golf, it's certainly been slower on some levels. Augusta National allowing two women to join this year was huge for us.
So I think ‑‑ I don't see it being that way for a long time. I think eventually there's going to be some change there just from the pressure outside. But, you know, as a player, I'll just go play someplace else, that's fine with me.
Q. Talk about the responsibility of top players. Sometimes, stepping out of your personality a little bit ‑‑ Inbee is very shy and you started maybe a little shy and you've had to open up and had to have a more expansive personality that for extroverts would be easy. Do you feel that top players have a responsibility to do that to push themselves personality‑wise a little?
STACY LEWIS: Yeah, I think we do. I think that's what drives our tour and all sports in general is the personalities.
I knew when I started playing better, I knew I needed to get comfortable up here and I knew I needed to get comfortable answering questions and do things outside of my comfort zone. I did a photo shoot in dresses and heels and all that and that's not my thing at all, but I needed to do it to get that exposure for our tour.
If you realise the big picture, what's better for the Tour is also going to be good for me and good for everybody else; that it's something you need to do and you need to learn how to do it, and Inbee is doing it. She's learning and she's definitely not as shy as she used to be. She's getting out there a little bit. Hopefully we'll see her kind of start to open up a little bit here soon.
Q. Also, there's so much of the season left still, and Solheim Cup coming up, another major now after this one, the whole swing going to Asia; can you talk about pacing yourself through a year, because it's late July and there's still so much left to go.
STACY LEWIS: Yeah, this year is a little different than past years, because past years, we've had all our Majors kind of crammed into a couple months, and then you can just kind of coast from there.
But now you really have to kind of manage your energy level more and there's times where you want to make sure your game is peaking. It's definitely been a little different this year, but at the same time, it's kind of fun, because you have more things to look forward to. Instead of kind of September, you're kind of winding down your season, instead, we've got another major to play for.
And it's good for the Tour because we've got that exposure spread out over a year instead of just being in two months.
Q. I know everybody including yourself wants to win this week, but curious what the chatter is like in the locker room about Inbee. Are you pulling for history, if you can't win, go for history, or is everyone trying to gun for her? What's the overall feeling?
STACY LEWIS: I don't know, I think everybody personally wants to win. I don't know, I think you want to be that person that kind of spoils history a little bit.
But if Inbee did it, you want her to do it by playing great golf. That's what you want at the end of the day. You want a good golf tournament. You want players competing at the end.
But I wouldn't say players are pulling one way or the other, I don't think.
Q. Just coming back to this question of the huge diversity in prize money between the men and the women, do you think that sponsors, broadcasters, maybe even us guys in the media tent here, are guilty of selling women's golf a little bit short and trying to get world‑class sport on the cheap?
STACY LEWIS: I don't know. That's a pretty broad question. Women's sports in general have struggled. Tennis has probably done the best out of anybody, but women's sports, it's not talked about on SportsCenter and the news, it's not talked about all the time. I don't know how you increase that, other than, all I know how to do is go play better golf.
You see the guys, they get out there, they hit it 300, these 350‑yard drives. We are girls, we are not supposed to hit it that far. But if you put us on the same golf course with comparable clubs on every hole, we would probably compete just with them, and that's what I don't think people realise, we can compete with the guys.
When I'm at home playing with some of the Tour players, I compete with them and we play money games and I take their money sometimes. I don't think people realise how good of a talent we have out here and they don't realise ‑‑ there's some really great golfers out here and I don't think people realise it at all.
Q. Does golf need a Billie Jean King moment?
STACY LEWIS: Yeah, maybe, I don't know. I don't know how you ‑‑ Michelle has played in some PGA TOUR events, but I don't think that's the answer, because the guys play such a different game than us. The clubs they hit and the distances they hit them, they can't compete with that, so I don't know how you cross genders there.
Q. Let's get back to these money games at home, get some names of the conquests.
STACY LEWIS: Some names, I can't give away names (laughing).
Q. What you said, playing at the same venue, all the Grand Slam events, wonder if you can look ahead to next year at Pinehurst, how you think that will go down?
STACY LEWIS: I'll be interested to see how that goes down. I have some worries there, what if there's a Monday playoff. Logistically getting in and out is going to be a mess; what the golf course is going to look like after the guys play it for a week. Those kind of things worry about, but in general, I'm excited to go there, and it's a great golf course; and to play an Open, that's where you want to go. We are getting to play the better golf courses, which I like that a lot. I'm just worried about the whole logistics of it.
Q. (Will you go and watch the men play?)
STACY LEWIS: Probably not. You've been to a U.S. Open, I don't want to go mess with the crowds and try to watch that.
COLIN CALLANDER: Thank you very much and good luck this week.