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Top Rolex players gathering for tenth Kingsmill Championship
May 13, 2014

Interviews - Tuesday:
Rolex Rankings No. 3, Lydia Ko
Rolex Rankings No. 3, Suzann Pettersen
Rolex Rankings No. 2 Stacy Lewis
Rolex Rankings No. 8 Paula Creamer

The LPGA makes its tenth trip to Kingsmill this week with a 144-player field, featuring eight of the top-10 in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings and a $1.3 million purse.

Stacy Lewis is in the field this week and looking for back-to-back wins after running away with the North Texas Shootout two weeks ago. Her final-round 7-under 64 pushed her six strokes ahead of Meena Lee and marked the largest margin of victory since Jiyai Shin won the 2012 Women’s British Open by nine.

The winners of the first nine events of the 2014 season all rank in the top 30 in the Rolex Rankings and only Jessica Korda (No. 26) ranks outside of the top 12 among those winners.

Seventeen LPGA Tour rookies are also in the field including Rolex Rankings No. 3 Lydia Ko who is fresh off a win three weeks ago at the Swinging Skirts Classic and has a demanding lead in the Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year race. The 17-year old from New Zealand already has two top-10 finishes this season and leads Mirim Lee by 164 points on the points list.

Ko isn’t the only teenager in the field this week either with Lexi Thompson, Ashlan Ramsey, Charley Hull and Xi Yu Lin also in the field.

Teenager takeover: Lydia Ko stood on the press conference stage three weeks removed from her 17th birthday with a host of media waiting with questions Tuesday at the Kingsmill Championship Presented by JTBC. Ko, along with 19-year-old Lexi Thompson, are two of the favorites in the event and both rank in the top six in the world as teenagers. So it’s no surprise that the questions centered around can you maintain this?

But Ko is not worried about burnout or fatigue. While trying to stay in the moment of here and now and not look ahead, she’s noticed that Michelle Wie and Lexi Thompson’s golf has only gotten better recently.

“I’m just trying to enjoy the moment. I think when I enjoy it, that’s when I play the best,” Ko said. “I enjoyed myself in San Francisco, so that made me realize I do need to have fun out there to play good golf.”

Suzann Pettersen, at 33, is one of the veterans of the top-10 world rankings and says the younger girls are keeping her hungry with their wins to start the season.

“First of all, I think that’s fantastic for these young stars to rise up and kind of deliver in the biggest arena,” Pettersen said. “It’s been a great month f or the LPGA, April, but overall, it’s been a great year so far for the LPGA. It really showcases the depth of women’s golf at the moment.

“They keep pushing the boundaries, and it helps us, the older pack, kind of try to keep up and stay ahead of ‘em,” Pettersen said.

Kingsmill draws rave reviews: Any golf course a player wins at is going to have a special place in their hearts, but that’s not the reason Suzann Pettersen’s raving about Kingsmill Resort’s River Course.

“You know, I’ve been looking forward to this tournament since that last putt dropped last year. This is by far one of my favorite stops,” Pettersen said. “I mean, we can say that each and every week, but I’ve had some great success here.”

In addition to one of the “best golf courses” they play all year, Pettersen’s staying on property at Kingsmill Resort and has found solace away from the golf course, too.

“I’m staying here at the resort. It’s just very pleasant and nice and calm. You have all the facilities you need,” Pettersen said. “If you can’t find peace here I don’t think you’ll find it anywhere.”

It’s Lydia Ko’s first time at Kingsmill, and if first impressions mean the most, Kingsmill’s got a lifelong fan as well. Ko, in her first event since winning the Swinging Skirts Classic, praised the condition the course is in and how different the layout is to the courses they usually play.

“There are a couple more dogleg holes out here than the others courses I’ve played, especially on the back nine,” Ko said. “The greens and everything condition-wise, it’s really good. They always seem to put the bunkers where my driver distance goes. It’s just a really nice golf course.”

Ko and Pettersen looking forward to Pinehurst: The USGA’s decision to play the US Open and US Women’s Open on back-to-back weeks at Pinehurst No. 2 is a good one, according to Lydia Ko, who played the course last week during her week off.

The New Zealand native is hoping to capture some of the mojo from Michael Campbell, who is also from New Zealand and won at Pinehurst in 2005. Campbell called her a couple months ago and offered his advice on Pinehurst No. 2. She initially didn’t recognize the number and wasn’t going to pick up.

“I thought he got the wrong number,’” said Ko with a laugh. “But I was like, ‘Man, luckily I did pick up the phone.”

Pettersen said she’ll venture down to Pinehurst after this week to get her initial look at the golf course. She called up an old friend, though, for some advice on Pinehurst No. 2 last week - Tiger Woods. He said the golf course has changed a lot, and Pettersen thinks she’ll be able to get information about the course from watching the men’s broadcast the week prior.

“I think it’s great to get tested on the same course that the guys have just played,” Pettersen said. “I think that’s a great kind of challenge.”

Quote of the day: Lydia Ko on her recognition last month as one of the 100 most influential people by Time Magazine: “It was just an honor for me to be among those names. I saw the magazine at Publix one day and I said, ‘Oh, that’s me.’ So I was really excited.”

Qualifiers: The qualifiers for this tournament are Katy Harris and Louise Friberg.

Could Inbee Park's 57-week run be over? The 57-week run of Inbee Park as No. 1 in the Rolex World Golf Rankings could come to an end this week. The scenario is pretty simple: If Stacy Lewis or Lydia Ko win, they own the top spot and Park’s run is over. Park’s not playing this week so a solo second-place finish by Lewis – as long as Ko doesn’t win – would also push her ahead of Park.

Lewis enjoyed a brief four-week run as No. 1 before Park started her 57-week stranglehold. So after a win in her last start at the North Texas Shootout, does a shot to recapture No. 1 serve as a motivation or distraction for the world’s No. 2 golfer.

“Yeah, I mean, it’s a motivation. I wouldn’t say it’s my No. 1 goal,” Lewis said. “My No. 1 goal is to win tournaments. Obviously the rankings and the Money List, everything like that takes care of itself. The goal doesn’t change: win tournaments.”

But Lewis is a straight shooter and No. 1 is the goal and that hasn’t changed.

“Obviously I do really want to get to No. 1 in the world,” Lewis said. “Whether it happens this week or a few weeks from now, it doesn’t really matter.”

Whether the rankings state it or not, no one on the LPGA is playing better and more consistent golf this year than Lewis. She’s the leader in points for the Race to the CME Globe (1,979) and the Rolex Player of the Year, and she’s the leader on the money list ($833,976).

Statistics from the golf course back up her dominance, too. She’s No. 1 in greens in regulation (79 percent), putts per green in regulation (1.749), birdies (155) and rounds in the 60s (19). Therefore, it comes with little surprise that she’s got eight top-10 finishes in nine events.

Kerr's illness forces her out of Pro-Am: Cristie Kerr is not only the defending champion but also a three-time winner at the Kingsmill Championship Presented by JTBC, but she wasn’t in the field for the Wednesday Pro-Am. She had to withdraw after waking up ill on Wednesday morning.

Kerr is planning on playing in the event and will make herself available for the media on Friday.

An American resurgence: After losses in the last two Solheim Cups, including a romp by the Europeans in the 2013, the Americans have made a resurgence in tour this season. Eight players have won 10 events, five of which have been Americans. Of the top 16 in the Rolex World Rankings, seven are Americans.

“It’s great. It’s great for women’s golf. It’s great for women’s sports in general. We’ve been asked many years now, ‘Where are the Americans? Where are the Americans?’ We’re here. We’ve always been there, just a little outnumbered at times,” said Paula Creamer to the Daily Press’ David Teel. “There’s a lot of great juniors that are coming through the ranks as well. You see a lot of hope for us. It’s just getting the job done, is what it comes down to. There’s so many great players, which makes it exciting, but at the same time, we’re here, we live here in the States and we want to see that red, white and blue on the leaderboard.”

At just 29, Lewis considers herself the veteran of the group and has been particularly impressed with the way Lexi Thompson and Michelle Wie are playing this year. Thompson “hits golf shots that nobody else can hit,” and Wie is “really coming into her own.” Wie, more than anyone else on tour, has a “Tiger-effect” to her on the women’s game, according to Lewis.

“You ask people who don’t know much about golf and they know who Tiger and Michelle Wie are,” Lewis said. “It’s a testament to her and her ability to play. Like Lexi, she can hit golf shots you’ve never seen. Playing with her at home I just sit there in amazement.”

With Lewis, Wie, Thompson, Creamer, Jessica Korda, and Lizette Salas all 30 or less, the Americans look set to mark their mark for years going forward.

“For all the Americans I wish it was a Solheim Cup year,” Lewis said.

Lewis will be able to prove what the Americans have to offer July 24-27 at the International Crown when they battle seven other countries for which reigns supreme globally, and Lewis, Thompson, Creamer, Korda and Salas are all in the field this week.

Lewis shares her story: Before heading into the media room to discuss a potential return to No. 1, Stacy Lewis stopped by a luncheon that focused on building self esteem and empowering women in the military on Tuesday, where she received an award for battling through scoliosis, 7.5 years in a back brace and later surgery to become one of the world’s top golfers.

“It was cool to be able to talk to those ladies. Hopefully they can relate a little bit to my story. More than anything just to say thank you for what they do,” Lewis said.

Creamer has also been heavily involved in supporting the military since her arrival on tour and took the time to go meet with high-ranking military personnel on Monday at the Pentagon before her arrival at Kingsmill.

“It’s for my foundation. The last year-and-a-half, two years, I’ve just been putting my time in to going to bases, doing things with soldiers, sailors, air men, Marines. Both men and women. Now it’s time I can kind of use my voice. It was a big moment just to be able to meet – those are the busiest, most powerful men in the world. To have four meetings, all in one day, back-to-back-to-back was truly amazing,” Creamer said.

“I have the utmost respect for our men and women that go and serve our country, and if I can help them in any way, that’s what I’m trying to do.”


Rolex Rankings No. 3, Lydia Ko

MODERATOR: Like to thank everyone for being here, and welcome Lydia Ko into the interview room here at of the Kingsmill Championship. Lydia, this is your first event since winning the Swinging Skirts a couple weeks ago. What is your preparation like come into this tournament, and how do you feel? Does it give you an added boost of confidence starting the tournament off on a good note, I guess, coming in as a champion of a past event?
LYDIA KO: Yeah, in a way I kind of wanted to play Texas. (No microphone.)

MODERATOR: Do you have a little bit more confidence as you approach the first tee on Thursday knowing that you did just come off a win?
LYDIA KO: Yeah, I feel really confident. The last time I played I won, so, yeah, I feel very confident about my game. I'm not trying to overdo it and not be overly confident.

Being confident is great, but I don't want to be overconfident.

MODERATOR: Back to Swinging Skirts, your dad was there to see your first win. You're very close with your family. How often does your dad and your sister get back to the States to see you play?
LYDIA KO: Not often. My dad's second time there, so it was different having both of my parents. Normally it's just my mom. My sister is coming out to the U.S. Open, so I'm really excited to see her.

Yeah, it's kind of hard to touch base with her because she's all the way on the other side of the world. Most of the time she's working, so it's really hard to contact her. Same with my dad because he's over there.

MODERATOR: Your sister is working. What does she do?
LYDIA KO: She studied architecture for five years and now she works for a company and they do a couple airlines.

So she does ticketing and all those things.

MODERATOR: Very nice. You had two weeks off as you mentioned. What did you do?
LYDIA KO: I had a couple days off. You know, I had an extra day where I looked around beautiful San Francisco. I went to the Alcatraz prison and had some Dungeness crab, which I think is a must when you're there.

Yeah, I kind of relaxed and then I went and visited Pinehurst.

MODERATOR: Open up for questions.

Q. I think you have would have been about eight when Michael Campbell won the U. S. Open at Pinehurst. Do you remember that at all and what that meant to golf in New Zealand?
LYDIA KO: I don't really remember that point. Michael Campbell IS obviously a huge star in New Zealand and he's done a lot for golf in New Zealand. Yeah, his win was kind of like a confidence boost for the whole country.

Yeah, I guess like he kind of inspired kids like my age to kind of play golf and enjoy it and I guess give us a dream that one day we may be able to be in that position.

Yeah, but now I realize more what he's done now than I did as an eight year old.

Q. Just your impressions of this course, you first look at it, and also, what you found at Pinehurst last week when you practiced there.
LYDIA KO: Yeah, it's my first time in Virginia, so this is totally different to the other courses I played. It's just really nice here, apart from it being a little humid right now.

The course is in really good condition. It's really good to, I guess, come back to another great golf course.

Yeah, Pinehurst is definitely different to this. When I played it it was quite long. You know, a par 70 I think, so that's different to what we normally play. I've played par 71s 1 and 72s, but not 70, and that's length as well.

So I think it's going to be tricky, but I'm really excited to play there.

Q. What are your thoughts about the men and women playing back-to-back Opens on the same course, and just what it might bring to golf and the atmosphere?
LYDIA KO: I think it's going to be really cool. Obviously there will be a lot of spectators watching the men, so hopefully a lot of them can stay and watch the women as well.

When I was out there, there were a lot of those kind of white tents for the VIPs and merchandise. So it's all kind of being done, and it's quite exciting that we've only got like a month or so until that time comes.

Yeah, I'm really excited to have the men's in front, because I'm going to go there and watch them play a little bit and hopefully get some autographs. I've never really watched a men's PGA TOUR event.

Q. Whose autograph do you want?
LYDIA KO: I've already got my favorite player, Phil Mickelson, so maybe my No. 2, Adam Scott. (Laughter.)

MODERATOR: Good choice.
LYDIA KO: A lot of girls apparently like him. He's married now, so...

Q. For a lot of golfers it can be a grind out here. Talking to some of the other golfers, when they talk about you they say you're a lot of the fun. Is that the way golf has been for you, or maybe you're just to...
LYDIA KO: No, I try and have fun out here. I guess it means business. Everybody is trying to play their best. All of the players out here are great golfers. They want to win. Everyone is here to win. They're not here to come second or whatever.

Yeah, I'm just trying to enjoy the moment. I think when I enjoy it, that's when the play the best. Yeah, I enjoyed myself in San Francisco, so that made me realize I do need to have fun out there to I guess play golf and -- I'm never going to play good golf every single time, but if I'm confident in my game, I'm sure the time will come.

Q. The other thing they say about you is you're going to be the next big star out here. How do you keep that out of your lady on the such an age?
LYDIA KO: I'm just playing a tournament at a time, round at a time, a hole at a time. Yeah, just like I said, I'm trying to enjoy the moment and not think about what's going to be happening in the couple years or whatever.

So it's my first year on the tour. I'm really having fun. I just feel fortunate that I'm having this opportunity to play on the tour as a 17, 16 year old.

Q. One last thing: I read an interview where you said you were a Se Ri Pak girl or she had an influence on your career growing up as a very young person.
LYDIA KO: Yeah, Se Ri Pak, she's a huge influence to I think a lot of the Korean players out here. I started my golf in Korea, so I think when she won her U.S. Open and she was one of the big Korean players out here on the tour.

So she's been a huge influence. It's really cool that I get to play alongside her sometimes and I get to see her. It's just really cool for me being out here. I'm seeing these people that are in articles and TV, so to kind of have them right there putting next to me or whatever, it's really exciting for me.

Q. Did you model your game after Se Ri or somebody else? And also, have you undergone any kind of mental strength training or anything like to keep composure and poise in such a tough game under such pressure?
LYDIA KO: I personally think that every player is different. Everybody has got a different swing, even if they have the same coach.

So, every player is, I guess, built differently. I tried to copy Se Ri and personally like her, but she's definitely a great player to I guess kind of look up to. Yeah, I think the first every round I ever watched outside the ropes was Se Ri playing in Korea.

So, yeah, I don't really remember them, but my dad took me there. I'm pretty sure I had a lot of fun watching her. She's such a great player to look up to.

And my mental training, yeah, I have a mental performance coach. Yeah, because I'm over here it's a lot of Skype work, but I haven't talked to him that much in depth lately.

I talk to him, but obviously I can't really do one-on-one talking. But we text and Facebook now and then. He says, You go get 'em. It's just really good to have the support.

Q. I know you're a big photography fan. Just wondering, did you upgrade any of your camera equipment off after you in San Francisco?
LYDIA KO: No, I already bought a camera just before then, and so...My mom will yell at me if I get another one.

I'm not that good to get those $1000 cameras anyway. But I'm going to see Gabe. I'm going to try and model some of his photos. That should be very exciting. I'm excited.

Q. Obviously wondering just about the No. 1 ranking. You're so young, but here you are at No. 3. Is No. 1 a goal of yours or something you don't think about?
LYDIA KO: Hopefully one day I'll be able to become world No. 1. I don't know if that might happen or not. Yeah, I'm going to work really hard towards that.

Yeah, I don't like to think about the rankings and things. I try and just think about that tournament and just try and get a good performance there. I think that's more important.

When I try and think about the result before, I guess, something happens, it doesn't go as well as I would like.

Q. Just wondering, have you been surprised at how quickly the success has come for you, and what challenges do you face on this tour as a teenager that a lot of other ladies don't?
LYDIA KO: Yeah, a lot of things have been different. First Canadian Open Women's win, that was totally out of what I had imagined. I went out there to make the cut and just try my best, and I just won it.

Yeah, you know, everything has happened really fast the last two years, especially the last year. But it's definitely going the right way. I'm excited about that. I've just been trying to have some fun, which is different to when I was playing as an amateur.

But I do feel a little bit more pressure, feeling like there is something more on the line, but I'm just trying to have fun. I think I that that's what's going to keep my head on the right way.

Q. (No microphone.)
LYDIA KO: School. I guess school is a big thing. I've still got one more year to go. We go to year 13 in New Zealand and I've finished my year 12, so I could actually go to college. Yea, so I guess it's an extra bit of work I'm doing, but that's why I kind of miss school.

I'm always -- like a lot of the teenagers say, I don't want to go to school and sleep in and everything. I'm the opposite. I want to go to school and see my friends. I want to be sitting down and write whatever the teacher writes and stuff.

It's like it's a little different, but to me that would be the hardest part, just doing education with -- playing golf.

Q. Were you aware that Time Magazine had a list of the 100 most influential people? And how surprised were you to be included on that list?
LYDIA KO: Yeah, I think that was announced on my birthday, so it was perfect, perfect timing. Yeah, I was really surprised. I kind of thought to myself, What did I do to be in the top 100? But I'm honored to be amongst those big name.

I would have liked to go to the gala thing they have but, yeah, it was just an honor for me to be among those names. I saw the magazine at Publix one day and I said, Oh, that's me. So I was really excited.

The things that Annika said about me were really nice of her. She's one of my role models as well. Yeah, very exciting.

Q. When and where is that gala, and do you have a golfing commitment? Is that why you can't or couldn't attend?
LYDIA KO: I'm not really sure where it is. Yeah, my mom would probably know.
MODERATOR: I think they did host it last week.

Q. Oh. One other thing. You mentioned that Kingsmill course is totally different from what you've seen elsewhere on tour. What about it is totally different, and how did you play when you were out there?
LYDIA KO: I think there are a couple more dogleg holes out here than the other courses I've played, especially on the back nine. The greens and everything condition-wise, it's really good. Yeah, they always seem to put the bunkers where my drive distance goes, so there it is.

Yeah, it's just a really nice golf course. I didn't know what to expect coming in here because I've never been in this area before. I think I'm going to enjoy myself.

Q. Do you miss being in New Zealand? How much do you miss home?
LYDIA KO: Yeah, I miss home quite a lot. I don't really have friends here. When I'm back in Orlando all I see -- well, I go to the academy and I see more golfers or I see some of the tour players that live out there.

So I feel like I'm still living that tour life even if it's an off week. If I would be home I would see my school friends and teachers, so it's a little different that way. I definitely miss New Zealand. It's totally two different countries, but I'm really enjoying myself out here.

Q. Last thing is who do you consider the biggest sports star in New Zealand, and where do you rank now in this do you think? If there is a top 100 influential or whatever.
LYDIA KO: New Zealand a pretty big with rugby, everybody knows the All Blacks. I think they were on 60 Minutes the other day. That's pretty cool. Luckily I got to meet a couple of them.

Rugby, they're into rugby, so great that we've got a really strong rugby team. I don't think they lost a match last year, which is pretty impressive as well.

Q. You ever met Michael Campbell or played with him?
LYDIA KO: No, but I just got a phone call one day. It was an unknown number and I wasn't going to answer it. Luckily I did. I was kind of surprised when he was like, Hi, I'm Michael Campbell. I'm like, Excuse me?

No, I was surprised.

Q. When was that?
LYDIA KO: I think it was a couple nights ago. He gave me a couple advice and, yeah, it was pretty exciting for me to have somebody like him, his profile to call me.

I thought he got the wrong number. Yeah, but I was like, Man, luckily I did pick up the phone.

Q. You mentioned you would like to go to college. Is that still a plan? Would you go somewhere in the U.S.?
LYDIA KO: Yeah, I plan to go to college, but my head is more on high school. I want to go to college. It might be in the States and might be in Korea. I don't really know where.

A lot of things are happening right now, so to kind of think about what's going to happen in a year or so is not really what I try to think about.

Definitely college is what I want to do.

Q. I wore my ski cap every single day and it's freezing, windy, et cetera. This week's going to be very, very much different than that. How does the weather affect you, and what do you think about hot and then cold and windy?
LYDIA KO: I think I would prefer the cold, because, I mean, you can put more layers on but you've got a limit to how many layer you can put off, take off.

No, I would rather the cold because you've got hand warmers and everything to I guess kind of keep you warm. Would have been great if it was a couple degrees warmer in San Francisco, but I kind of knew what to expect because I was there like a month or so ago and it was really cold then, too.

Yeah, it's different here. There I had my hand warmers every day; here I'm going to have my cool towel every day.

Yeah, it's different. I think a lot of it is going to be about energy, not overdoing anything, and I guess just productive work.

Q. There have been so many young stars, athletes that have had success at young ages and then kind of burned out. I'm wondering if you have noticed that or if like your parents and the people around you have done anything to kind of try and keep you grounded.
LYDIA KO: I don't think that has been the case for everyone. You know, you can see by Lexi and Michelle, they're playing pretty awesome right now. Lexi with a major win at the Kraft, and then Hawaii, Michelle and Hawaii. She won there.

Yeah, I don't think that's the case for everyone. Yeah, that why I'm just trying to enjoy the moment. I think that's a huge key. When you enjoy it you're going to have a longer career.

Q. One more thing: Is there any way to tell how much growing up in New Zealand has affected kind of your approach and just sort of the way you approach golf and the success you've had as opposed to maybe having grown up in Korea?
LYDIA KO: I don't really know what it would have been if I had grown up in Korea because I haven't spent much time over there. I don't really know how to compare that.

New Zealand I think is a great country to play golf. In my golf club when you're under 17 it's $100 for the year as a membership. That's pretty cheap. You've got the swimming pool, the gym, the golf club, the range, and everything.

So that's really cheap. Some people pay $100 to play one round. So I think it's a really great golfing country. It's really relaxed, so I really like that as well. Some people might think it's kind of slow and a little too laid back. I'm more used to that. So when I'm more in the city I kind of get a headache and stuff.

To me, I really loved growing up in New Zealand.

Rolex Rankings No. 3, Suzann Pettersen

MODERATOR: I would like to welcome Suzann Pettersen into the interview room. Suzann, you return to Kingsmill where you came up short last year in a two-hole playoff. Do you have any sort of feelings as you come back to this tournament?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: You know, I've been looking forward to this tournament since that last putt dropped last year. This is by far one of my favorite stops. I mean, we can say that each and every week, but I've had some great success here.

I love the course. I think it's one of the best courses we play all year. I'm staying here at the resort. It's just very pleasant and nice and calm. You have all the facilities you need.

If you can't find peace here I don't think you'll fond it anywhere.

MODERATOR: Do you love it more knowing it was your first win in 2007?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: It might have something to do with it, but even before I won it I always thought this was the best course. As I have always loved the course, they have obviously had a few changes since 2007.

Overall I feel very happy with my game. I feel great. I'm happy that I kind of managed to get back and get a couple tournaments in before we got here after being out with an injury.

Ready to go.

MODERATOR: Touching on that, are you satisfied with your play returning from injury? And even this year overall, do you feel good about the state of your game?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: What, I started off -- felt like i had a really good off season. You never really know where your game is at until you really start off. I played fantastic in Australia. Had one bad round. Seems like every tournament I've had one lousy day that's kind of taken me out of it.

So having said that, no, I don't feel like I've performed to my standards up until then. When I felt like the game was coming along and my back dropped.

It was bad timing. It's never good timing when you get an injury and can't play, but it really felt like I was building momentum for Kraft, which was on my mind back then.

But I was faced with a new challenge of trying to get healthy and get back ASAP.

I was almost surprised how quick kind of turned around and I was able to go back out and practice at play at San Francisco, which I never thought I was going to play, and Texas.

My game is in good shape. For me, it almost feels like this is where my season starts because obviously so many hurdles up and down you never really feel like you get going.

I mean, you feel like you're just sitting there at home doing nothing. It's been painful being out, but at the same time very inspiring. You really appreciate it when you come back.

MODERATOR: You said your season starts now. Do you have extra motivation for this tournament then?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Yeah, for sure. I had great practice at home, week of practice at home. Feeling very well-prepared. All you can do is let go and play the course.

MODERATOR: Questions?

Q. Not exactly sure what a blown up back entails. Was it disk? Pinched nerve? Did the doctors find out precisely what was wrong?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: When I aggravated it it felt like a pain I had 10 years ago when I had a ruptured disk in L4, L5. This pain was exactly the same pain, which is why it very scarey at the time. It was kind of a nervy pain but a pain you can't hold. A very sharp pain.

Good thing this time it didn't good down my legs. It was more local. At the same time, you're so paralyzed. You can't move, sit, bend, get in and out of cars. You can't dress. For me to play golf when it happened was just not even on my mind. I couldn't even stand up.

So people ask me how did you feel not playing Kraft? I'm like, I'm so far from playing golf it doesn't even bother me to watch it. It's one thing to be injured not be able to practice and you can kind of tweak a little bit. But when you can't even stand up and get off the chair, I mean, your L. Ko - 05.13.14 priority is to kind of feel better and try to move as close to normal.

The MRIs they took of the back said the picture hadn't changed much since 10 year ago. So they think since I recovered fairly quick, it was 10, 20% disc and mostly -- 80% functional, muscular, how I move.

So I've just been resting it. Touch wood I didn't have to go in and do anything more serious. They say it'll probably be all good from now on. I shouldn't worry too much, but obviously you take precautions in the morning to kind of help strengthen it. I get treatment every day.

It's like the same procedures, but what I've taken from it is kind of I pace my practice a lot more. I don't go out and grind on the range. I kind of do my preparation and get out of there. I try not to overload too much.

Q. In just ten events, eight different winners. Everything from teenagers to Karrie Webb. It just has been quite a showcase as far as different talent. Talk about that and how tough that makes it to try to be No. 1 when you have as many good players right now as are maybe going to be in the mix for the next few years to get that ranking.
SUZANN PETTERSEN: First of all, I think that's fantastic for these young stars to rise up and kind of deliver on the biggest arena. Like I said, it's been a great month for LPGA, April, but overall it's been a great year so far for the LPGA. It really showcases the depth of women's golf at the moment.

I mean, Webby, she's been around for decades and is still very much capable of winning tournaments at all different courses. We get chased by those young girls, which is good for us. I consider myself one the older ones.

It's great. They keep pushing the boundaries, and it helps us, the older pack, kind of try to keep up and stay ahead of 'em.

But I think it's great to see Michelle, Lydia, Lexi, all these young guns. It's great to have good young Americans playing well. That's going to help grow the LPGA here in America as well.

It's been a great year. I would like to add my name to the list of winners on the LPGA fairly soon, rather than later. But I mean, the LPGA is in a great state right now. Our schedule is really solid. We have good partners. We play great courses.

I can't wait to play the U.S. Open the week after the men's. It's going to be a great test. I think each and ever week you just got to be spot on with your game, otherwise you're getting outplayed by talent and good golfers out here.

Q. At the Solheim Cup you were cracking up a lot with Charley Hull, and sort of you reflected on how that reminded you of being a teenager. She's out here this week. Talk about what you've seen in her game and just the type of kid she is.
SUZANN PETTERSEN: I mean, I think the Solheim said it all, who she is as a person. She's so genuine, very talented. She has a lot of skills when it comes to playing golf.

It's great to see a young kid like Charley who goes about her business in her own way: fearless. She's an aggressive player. I mean, I think that's what kind of reminds me of her that I had in me when I was younger. You just go out and you bomb it. You're not afraid of what not to do; you just look at what you want to do and hit a good shot.

If it doesn't come out, you go up and you deal with it. That's just the way she. She had her first European win in Morocco earlier this year. She's a player for the future. I'm glad we have her on the European side.

Q. The kids you're talking about...
SUZANN PETTERSEN: They're kids. I could be their mom.

Q. Turning pro at 15, 16, do you think we're also going to see -- can they sustain and play golf 30 years and still be 40 years old?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: That's a very good question, because, I mean, these young kids, we're so used to seeing a lot of young Korean players on the LPGA.

They come out and have their rookie season on the LPGA when they're 18. You talk with them and they're like, I don't really feel like a rookie. I played professionally in Korea for like five years. They been playing in the game at such a serious note and high level for so long.

It's easy to relate to the Koreans because they've been around for much longer than some of new stars just coming up. You see very few left a long time. They come out and they're hot for a streak of three, four years, and then they kind of slowly fall off.

Se Ri Pak is obviously the opposite. She's been around forever. You see more players coming out very young, and then obviously you got to pace yourself. It's a game where you grow with the age. You can only do so much, because you also develop as you grow. You get older, you get smarter.

I wish I knew what I know today 15 years ago, but it's kind of par of journey. You kind of grow. I think that's the great thing with golf: you kind of mature with the game.

I'm very proud of the way Lydia, Lexi, all these girls carry themselves. It's a lot on their shoulders. Not just on the golf course, but everything that comes with it.

Do they last decades in the game at the highest level? If you can stay injury-free and not overly pace it, yes you can. But I think when you're young and kind of eager to get going, it's hard to kind of find your pace and not overdo it.

I was one of them. I've had my fair share of injuries. You don't want to listen to your body. It's not what you want to do. You just want to go out and play and get better and practice even more and play more tournaments.

And then you have more physical aspects related to physical training and this and that. So the total package needs to be balanced if you want to stay in the game over a long time.

It's definitely a game where -- look at tennis. You're done late 20s, early 30s. Here you have the chance to play as long as you want. Look at Juli Inkster.

I don't know. You can be in this game forever, but you really got to be smart and try and have some good people around you that can help and guide you in the right way and hopefully not overdo stuff too early.

Q. You mentioned earlier the Open. Has your more measured practice routine precluded you going to Pinehurst and practicing at all or have you been able to go there and play?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: I will go there after this week. I don't know. If you go back to Bay Hill and ask the superintendant how the greens look, I don't think they look too good because I've been chipping off the putting greens to prepare myself. There are a few divots right on the practice greens in Bay Hill that I been trying to cover. I have been filling in sand...

You kind of know what you're expecting. I've been talking to several players, caddies. I even talked to Tiger last week and tried to get some advice from him.

Having said that, I would think this year of not going to see the course prior. Sometimes you can overdo stuff if you overthink it and by the time the week comes it's like too much. So I was thinking of e not going and see the course prior to, but I was recommended to go see it at least once. I'm going to take that advice.

Q. Do you like the what the USGA is doing having the men and women back to back on the same land?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: I totally see what they want to get out of it. Obviously you can see it's a huge cost savings for their sake. I think it's great to get tested on the same course that the guys have just played. I think that's a great kind of challenge.

And they wanted the course to play the same and they want us to hit kind of the same irons and play kind of the same course. I mean, it remains to see how well the course holds up. You would think for a Men's U.S. Open, by the time Sunday comes around the course is -- I mean, we've seen it before. It would be on the borderline of unplayable at times. The weather, if it's steaming hot and you don't get the rain, it would be roasted out there.

I'm sure the USGA has it all in good hands. They have been out here kind of talking to us making sure that they are as on this task for us as they are for the men. I think it's going to be a good week of golf.

Q. You get some advice from Tiger about back injuries as well?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: I'm just going to tell you that I'm in a much better state than he is right now. I think that's he's already jealous that I'm hitting golf balls.

Q. So he told you he wouldn't be at Pinehurst?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Well, I'm not going to post any news, but, no, I don't think he's going to play the U.S. Open. I don't think he's hitting golf balls at this point. I asked him, because, I mean, sometimes it's good to play ball with players who have been around. Certain players have played certain courses more than others.

All he had to say was he knew the course really well, but it will changed a lot since he was there last. So I am eager to see it. I've seen a million times on TV. I'm going to watch the men, so probably get a lot from just watching the guys play the same course.

So I would like to play and get a bit of a strategy advice. I mean, find how the game plan fits your game and stick to it.

Q. One thing about the young players. Is there something different about Lydia Ko? You've seen a lot of young players come up. Seems like there may be something a little bit different.
SUZANN PETTERSEN: They all have their own style, which I think is great. It adds flavor to the LPGA.

You have Lexi who's like the bomber. She outpowers the courses.

Lydia has every aspect of the game. I've been head to head with her a couple Sundays over the last year. She's gotten most of us for the most part. I managed to get Evian, which is kind of nice. Let her take the small, I'll take the big.

But she's just an all-round great golfer. She's got a great head. Very humble player. She's very well-liked out on tour. She goes about her business in her own way, and I think that's what you've got to do.

Q. I want to ask a little bit about personality-wise you and Stacy Lewis, players that tend to be very hard on themselves, passionate, emotional. You have talked before about getting control of that as you got older. She has too. Do you relate at all to other golfers like that that have that, maybe tend to be a little harder on themselves and takes a little bit of a toll on them?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: To answer your first question, No I don't really look at other players that way. More than not it you, yourself get better at. And the challenge of staying on top of everything, being smart, for me it's been a tough challenge because sometimes you want it so badly that you almost get in your own way.

Obviously there is a lot of good players out there that want to get -- want to beat you, whatever it takes. You got to be tough mentally. I think it's a good enough job to stay on top of yourself and worry about your own stuff.

I do look at other players and see how they deal with things. I'm watching a guy like Jordan Speith over the last year, how he has improved, how he kind of handles himself. I mean, Sunday last week, Sunday of Augusta.

You know, you can see still has a lot room for improvement. There is room for improvement in every player's game.

You learn by going out there. Sometimes you fail and you get up and you try it again. You might fail again before you kind of finally find your own pace. But I think golf is learning process from start to end.

You can only do so much. You've got to take one step at a time, and, yeah, really try to enjoy it.

It's funny, when you've been out with an injury and you can't play and you're like so eager to play. I have watched a lot of golf over the last month. I don't know, I mean, of course I had a lot of time on my hands, but it makes you want to go out. You have to really find the passion and kind of get more appreciative of the game that you love so much.

Q. Last year you and Stacy were 1, 2 in terms of top 10 finishes. How important do you feel that is, to just always be in contention? What does that say about you guys being grinders as well as really good golfers?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: It means a lot. It means that your game is good enough on a weekly basis, week in and out. You can play every course. Not like you're limited on certain golf courses.

If you're in contention every week, you're going to win your fair share. That's how you learn to deal with all these different processes that comes up on the Sunday on the back nine. You learn to know your body and know what you're tendencies will be.

I mean, yeah, top 10 is a great result but that's not why we're out here. Just shows that if you're not winning, you're still up there. That showcases that what you're doing is right and boosts your confidence.

Q. I'm taking a poll: Who's the most intimidating player on tour? Is it you? Based on the Sports Illustrated poll.
SUZANN PETTERSEN: That's not up to me to say. In the Solheim I know the Americans hate me.

Q. When you saw that, what did you think?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: I don't know. I haven't seen it.

Q. Oh, then I'm telling you something new. You were voted the most intimidating player on tour by the LPGA by last month.
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Well done. (Laughter.)

Q. You didn't know that?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: I didn't know that. You asked me and I don't know. I mean, you play hard, you fight hard, I guess. Fair play.


Rolex Rankings No. 2 Stacy Lewis

MODERATOR: Thank you all for coming. I would like to welcome Stacy Lewis into the interview room at the Kingsmill Championship presented by JTBC. Stacy, you're coming off a big win last week. Monkey off your back this season. Looking to go back-to-back in these tournaments. Can you talk about the win last week and coming in to the next tournament? Does that give you added confidence, motivation, and an adrenaline rush as you tee off?
STACY LEWIS: Yeah, I mean, coming off of last week, it was pretty awesome. More than anything, to win the way I did. I was pretty motivated going into that final round.

Just what had happened the week prior and really finishing runner-up a few times, it does get old pretty quick. And so I was pretty motivated going into Sunday.

To have the family there, to have everyone there to celebrate and cheer me on was really, really special.

So, I mean, the game is in a good place. Winning doesn't really change the way I prepare or anything like that. Just more than anything nice to get that monkey off my back.

MODERATOR: Coming into this week you're in a position once again to become No. 1.

MODERATOR: Is that a motivation or a distraction for you since it does become a talking point?
STACY LEWIS: Yeah, I mean, it's a motivation. I wouldn't say it's my No. 1 goal.

My No. 1 goal is to win tournaments. Obviously the rankings and the Money List, everything like that takes care of itself. The goal doesn't change: win tournaments.

Obviously I do really want get to No. 1 in the world. Whether it happens this week or a few weeks from, it now doesn't really matter.

MODERATOR: Perfect. Right before this you attended a luncheon here at Kingsmill. Can you tell us a little bit about the event and what that means to you.
STACY LEWIS: Yeah, it was an appreciation luncheon really for the women in the military. The guys were definitely outnumbered in the room, which was nice to see. They gave me a award for overcoming adversity and kind of my story and everything.

So it was cool to be able to talk to those ladies. Hopefully they can relate a little bit to my story. More than anything just to say thank you for what they do.

MODERATOR: Perfect. Let's open it up for questions.
Q. Stacy, obviously a large number of young American golfers, very competitive on the tour at this point in time. What does it mean to be a part of that group, leading that group, and kind of the resurgence for American golf?

STACY LEWIS: Well, I mean, it's great to see. I think Jessica Korda and I, at the players meeting last night they had pictures of all the winners. I think five out of the eight or ten have been American. I think it's an unbelievable thing.

It's a great thing for this tour. We've needed it over the last few years to kind of get sponsors on board and get people paying attention to us, people writing about us, people watching.

That's what we need to do. Young Americans playing well is a great thing. Especially if you look at who they are: Look at Lexi Thompson who can bomb it and hit golf shots that nobody else can hit.

And then you've got Michelle, who, if she's playing well, it's good for everybody on this tour. Michelle is really coming into her own, which is a great thing to see.

She has definitely grown up the last few years and taken ownership of her game. She's playing really good golf. I'm definitely the oldest of the group, but it's nice to show them how to do it, how to win and how to prepare. That's what I'm trying to do, is just be a good example for them.

Q. I believe 2007 on the Pine Needles was your first U.S. Open; isn't that correct? What do you remember about that, and can you take anything out of that going to Pinehurst?
STACY LEWIS: I mean, I don't remember really much about the golf. I think I was a little star struck at the time and didn't really know what to expect.

I had played amateur events in the Pinehurst during amateur golf, whether it was north-south, southern amateur.

So, you know, I like that style of golf. It's going to play hard more than anything. That's what I like about it. A major championship should be hard. There should be birdie holes and holes where you're working your butt off to make par.

I'm just excited more than anything that it's a major championship and I can't wait to get there.

Q. Can you just talk about being in contention as much as you have really over the last I would say almost two years. I mean, just having chance to win the events. I know it's disappointing when you don't win, but on the other side it seems like you're always on the leaderboard.
STACY LEWIS: Yeah, I mean, that's a goal of mine, is to give myself a chance on Sunday. I mean, I don't really know what it is. There is just something in me that I don't give up. Even when I have a bad day, I find a way to shoot 1- or 2-under and keep myself in the tournament.

I think last week in Texas was a great example. Saturday I didn't make anything. I putted horribly, and I was still tied for the lead going into Sunday.

I don't know. I just don't have it in me to quit or say, Oh, I'm barely going to make the cut. If you can barely make the cut and still win the golf tournament.

So I don't know. I don't have it in me it quit. I think that's a lot of it. But I love being in contention. I love hitting shots under pressure and seeing how I respond and seeing the people around me respond.

I think that's the true test of your game. Anybody can hit the first tee shot. It's what do you do after that.

Q. Suzann Pettersen, I asked her a similar question, because like you she's had a lot of top 10s. She said one things that proves is your ability to play no matter what the conditions are or no matter what the course is like, summer, whether it's cold, hot; is that something you take a lot of pride in also, that no matter where, in the United States or Asia, that you've been competitive.
STACY LEWIS: Yeah, I do. I take a lot of pride more in the fact that any type of golf course it is, I can play well on it. When I first game on the tour I played well on the hard golf courses, but then if there were birdiefests and we had to shoot 25-under to win, I wasn't even close.

So I had to learn how to make more birdies, how to be a little bit more aggressive when you can.

You know, now my game is I'm set to play on any golf course. I feel like I can handle any situation. Whether it's windy, firm and fast, soft, I feel like I can play in those situations.

I don't know. I go to a golf course with a game plan. If I play the way I'm capable of, I know I'll be there at least close to the lead at the end.

Q. With the Women's Open, I know that's a huge goal for you to play well there. That's been a rough tournament the last few years. Do you think about that much, or is that something you try not to think about until it's that week?
STACY LEWIS: I really think you got to focus on the task at hand and not worry about it until you get there.

But I do think one thing I worked on this year is kind of trying to stay more level on the golf course and not getting the super highs and lows.

If you get a bad break, it's going to happen. Just kind of rolling on with things instead of letting it affect me so much. I think I've done a really good job of that this year. That's something that going into the Open is going to be something that I want to continue with more than anything.

Yeah, I want to play well, but I want to handle my emotions a lot better, because I think that's kind of what has gotten me at the Open the last few years.

Q. Following up on the success of young Americans question, Lexi and Jessica have had a lot of success as 19 and 21 year olds respectively. When you were that age...
STACY LEWIS: I was in college.

Q. You were in Arkansas I think at that point.

Q. Do you sort of marvel on the their ability to handle pressure on the such a young age considering you've been through it? You played college golf.
STACY LEWIS: I mean, the girls coming out now are younger and younger, and they're competitive at a young age.

Yeah, there are certain golf courses they'll struggle on because they don't know quite the way how to think their way around a golf courses.

But look on the Lexi. When she's comfortable on a golf course she's firing on all cylinders. At 18, 19 years old, I was never in that place. I was a late bloomer. I matured later than them.

That's not surprising. They're so talented. You can't fault them for turning pro early. When you're that good at a young age, you want to take your talent to the next level and keep getting better.

So can't fault them for turning pro early. But they're all really, really talented more than anything.

Q. You mentioned the Open and wanting to play on tough golf courses. No. 2, have you played it before? What are your thoughts on playing after the men and the USGA staging them back to back?
STACY LEWIS: Yeah, obviously I played No. 2 before all the changes. I'm going to go here in about a week and a half and check it out. From what I've heard of the golf course, taking it back to the way it was originally supposed to be played, taking the rough out of there I think is a great move.

Those greens are not made to hit shots out of the rough. That's what I like. I'm looking forward to seeing it for that reason. I think as far as playing after the guys, I think we all know, and the USGA said it too, there will be challenges.

There are things we like and don't like about it. Look at the exposure we'll get from being behind the men and people talking about it. You know, I don't know. I'm really interested to see how it all turns out. I think logistically it could be a mess depending on what happens.

A lot of what the USGA says is it's weather cooperating, what the weather does.

So I'm interested to see how it turns out. I really think the golf course is going to hold up. I think the greens are going to hold up. There will be divots. That's just going to be part of the issue. I am going to practice hitting chip shots out of divots and shots out of divots. That's just the way it's going to be.

But I think there is a lot more positives than negatives to it.

Q. Several folks have asked about the American resurgence. Paula Creamer has been part of that with the putt in Singapore. You played a big Solheim Cup match with her last year. Talk a little bit about what she means to the tour and to have her back in the winners circle?
STACY LEWIS: Yeah, Paula is one of those players that moves the needle. Everybody knows her for wearing her pink. What I saw, when we played Solheim Cup together, when she gets in there and is battling and wants to make a putt, she's going to make it. She just has that extra gear.

I'm like, Gosh, where does that come from. I'm trying to ask her all these questions to get it out of her.

But she's really injury-free. Her golf swing is getting better. Winning in Singapore was a huge monkey off her back. She's been close a bunch of times. So it's been nice to see her win and get it done.

For all the Americans I wish it was a Solheim Cup year. I wish we were going to Solheim Cup this August. We can't quite do that.

It's great to see all the young girls playing well and getting recognized for the work.

Q. You said earlier I guess that it's important for Michelle Wie to be back and playing better. Can you expand on that?
STACY LEWIS: Yeah, I think Michelle, I mean, not to the extreme, but she has a Tiger-effect to her. You ask people who don't know much about golf and they know Tiger and Michelle Wie are. It's a testament to her and her ability to play. Like Lexi, she can hit golf shots you've never seen. Playing with her at home I just sit there in amazement.

She's just been through so much. So much scrutiny from the media, from everybody. Everybody thinks they know the right way to do things. It's just nice to see her -- she stuck to her plan. She knows what she needs to do. It's just nice to see her playing some good golf.

Q. Just about everybody we've spoken to the last couple days kind of raves about this stop on the tour. What is it about Kingsmill that makes it one of the more popular stops?
STACY LEWIS: We have been coming here for so long. I think that's a lot of it. We get good crowds every year. We have great fans. People know us year after year. They come back and continue to support us.

I think a lot of it is the golf course. It's always in great shape. And it's hard. Even though everybody continues to gain length and hit it longer, this golf course still plays hard no matter what.

It's just a testament to the course and the maintenance staff. It's always in good shape when we come. It's something we look forward to. It's one of the markets we have done well in over the years, and it's just nice to keep coming back every year.

MODERATOR: Any other questions for Stacy?

Q. Two things kind of related. You play a lot, and you've done that for the last several years. Can you sort of talk about your philosophy on that and just the way the schedule works out. I think last year the Arkansas event, which tends to be taxing for you...
STACY LEWIS: They all are now.

Q. But the Arkansas event was a week before the Open; this year I think it's the week after and then you have the British. Do you have to sort of gear yourself up for that whole stretch?
STACY LEWIS: Well, of course as far as my schedule, I like playing a lot. I tend to play better when I get into a rhythm. So for me, taking three weeks off in the middle of the season, I don't like doing it.

And more than anything, especially in the summertime when we're here in the United States, I like to support the U.S. tournaments. I think we're a U.S.-based tour and I'm an American player, so I would rather support -- no offense to the sponsors over in Asia, but I would just rather support my tournaments that are close to home.

That's a lot of my scheduling reasons.

And then, oh, with Arkansas and all that. Yeah, that whole stretch is gonna be interesting this year. The British has moved closer now to the Open. On purpose I took things kind of easier to started the year where I played three weeks, had two weeks off; played three weeks, had a couple weeks off.

Knowing that I'm playing these next four, having a week off, Arkansas, the British, International Crown, I mean, I know these next two months are going to be busy.

So it's just kind of mentally preparing yourself and knowing when you need to take days off.

But I think, like I said, every week is busy now. Arkansas seems so easy now compared to what it used to be. Just gotten better with managing my schedule, and I now know what I need to do to prepare every week.

I know how much I need to practice. I don't need to sit on the range all day and grind and hit balls. I know how to prepare and do all these extra things and still win.

Q. The British wasn't your first major, but getting that and the way that you won it, did that change something in terms of your confidence?
STACY LEWIS: Yeah, I think what really changed is that throughout the week I was never -- I never really had the lead until the very end. Usually a lot of my wins I had had the lead and kind of had to hold on and never was really at the top all week.

But that week I had to work and just work and work and work and hang and hang and hang around. I think that's what -- that's the way I play.

And so to win that way, for me, it was just really cool those last two holes. To birdie 17 and 18 at the Old Course, St. Andrews, all the history, I mean, you can't really script it any better.

To win my first British Open at the home of golf, I don't know, that's as good as the first one, I think.

Rolex Rankings No. 8 Paula Creamer

On past success here (three top-fives): “ It suits me. It suits me eye. I like the tee shots, I like the putts, the challenge of it. They put the pins in difficult (places) sometimes.”

On meeting with top military brass Monday at Pentagon:
“It’s for my foundation. The last year-and-a-half, two years, I’ve just been putting my time in to going to bases, doing things with soldiers, sailors, air men, Marines. Both men and women. Now it’s time I can kind of use my voice. It was a big moment just to be able to meet – those are the busiest, most powerful men in the world. To have four meetings, all in one day, back-to-back-to-back was truly amazing. I have the utmost respect for our men and women that go and serve our country, and if I can help them in any way, that’s what I’m trying to do.”

On American resurgence:
“It’s great. It’s great for women’s golf. It’s great for women’s sports in general. We’ve been asked many years now, ‘Where are the Americans? Where are the Americans?’ We’re here. We’ve always been there, just a little outnumbered at times. There’s a lot of great juniors that are coming through the ranks as well. You see a lot of hope for us. It’s just getting the job done, is what it comes down to. There’s so many great players, which makes it exciting, but at the same time, we’re here, we live here in the States and we want to see that red, white and blue on the leaderboard.”

On being last American to win U.S. Open:
“That’s our national championship. We all put an extreme amount of pressure on ourselves when we go into that week just because we want it so bad. It can get you in the wrong way, and it can help you win. The best players always rise to the top that week because it is such a grind. More than just getting the ball in the hole, you have to have a really strong mental game. That’s why it’s the hardest tournament of the year.”

On engagement:
“Meeting Derek has obviously been such a blessing for me. He just makes me want to go out and work harder and be better at what I do and help more people in any way I can. It’s crazy. I’m 27 years old and I’ve been out here 10 years. I’ve had the same caddie, same coach, same manager. My team doesn’t change. I think Derek just kind of sparked that fire in me a little more.”

On being a Tour “veteran” at 27:
“I have a different role now than when I was 19, 20 years old. I have to embrace that and that’s a learning experience in itself. I definitely feel like I’m more of a veteran. I definitely have to play my role a little bit differently. That’s something you have to learn. No one can teach you that. You have to go through it and dissect it as you go on.”

*Thanks to David Teel for the assist on quotes



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