THE MODERATOR: Lydia, thoughts on the course. I know there's some changes. I know they've been working on it a lot. You saw it a couple of times already this week. What are your thoughts initially?
LYDIA KO: I think it's a little drier compared to last year. It was a little drier yesterday because we didn't have the rain, and then the rain overnight kind of made it a little wet, but you know, they moved some of the tees up, which is I think really good on hole 14 or something.
I was pretty surprised. I didn't know this and I hit my shot, and I was wondering why my drive was so farther up, but it was because the tee was up. It wasn't me.
But you know, I think the course is great. There are definitely tough holes out there, but at the same time there are some opportunities for us to make some birdies.
THE MODERATOR: Now, your runner‑up finish here last year pretty much solidified you maybe going pro. How much of an influence did that finish here make you think, you know what, I really belong out here; I need to make a very conscious decision to finally go pro?
LYDIA KO: Yeah. This was the last tournament I played as an amateur, and I got a lot of confidence coming off the Canadian Women's Open and then playing well here, so I think that just gave confidence in my game, and I kind of felt that maybe I am ready to turn pro; and a month later I did that. And it was kind of good to not get asked the "win are you turning pro question."
THE MODERATOR: I'm done with that.
LYDIA KO: Yeah. Same here.
THE MODERATOR: I know you've had a little bit of an ailing wrist, but you said it feels a lot better this week. Talk about your condition right now and how you feel.
LYDIA KO: Yeah. My wrist definitely feels a lot better. It felt pretty good to play, and I haven't been worrying about it, which is really good, because the game itself is pretty tough, and there are other things I need to worry about. So my wrist is feeling good and I think I'm feeling good. So hopefully I'm prepared for what's coming the next couple of days.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for Lydia.
LYDIA KO: Yeah. I played with Minjee (Lee) a lot of times, because Australia is pretty much neighbor countries. We went over, they went over. We played and I think quality, very competitive rounds; and you know, we'll be friends for a long time. So it's kind of cool to see her as a pro now; and you know, we're both pros, so yeah, we'll definitely be competing, but at the same time we'll be supporting each other.
Q. And do you have a few others almost your age bracket?
LYDIA KO: Sue Oh from Australia. I think that really would be the closest in age. And also Xi Yu Lin, who plays on the LPGA. She's I think 17, 18 also. So we're probably the closest in age with Ariya (Jutanugarn) and Charley (Hull).
Q. Do you tend to mix, the young ones, socially?
LYDIA KO: Yeah. I mean I don't get to see Charley often because she comes over sometimes, but she has played quite a few LPGA events this year. But Ariya, she practices at the Leadbetter Academy, and that's where I practice, so I get to see her more often than I get to see the other girls.
THE MODERATOR: I know you'll grimace when I ask this question, but once again, this week you have the chance of becoming No. 1. I keep asking you, but a great opportunity again this week to win a major and to also over take No. 1. How special would that combination be rather than just winning a normal event?
LYDIA KO: Yeah. Just I think everybody prepares to, I guess, perform their best at a major, and I think everybody works hard to kind of get there, be at the top during the majors.
And I played well at Wegmans. I wasn't that far off from being at the top. So yeah, I mean it would be great to, I guess, become world No. 1 and win, but you know, I'm just going to go out there and just play my best because that's what everyone else is going to do.
THE MODERATOR: You've had a couple weeks off since your last start. Have you done anything special, anything fun? What have you been up to?
LYDIA KO: Actually, the first few weeks or the first week because I had two weeks off, the first week I was in Orlando ‑‑ well, both weeks I was in Orlando, but the first week I didn't play any golf.
I pretty much chilled out at home, you know, went out, had some food, had cheeseburgers, tacos, all that. So yeah, you know, I just tried to be a normal teenager, had some fatty food. That's not what the normal athlete would be. But I just enjoyed not touching my clubs and not having to worry about what else that's going on.
THE MODERATOR: Is that the longest time you've gone with a break without your clubs since the beginning of the season, during the season?
LYDIA KO: I think so, yeah. During that whole time I really did nothing. So I was just chilled out, and I probably gained some weight within that time, too, but to, I guess, have a week off during the season, that's not what I would have planned, but I think it was a good time for me.
THE MODERATOR: It was a well‑deserved week I think. I know at the beginning of the year you were a little concerned about your schedule. You guys always said you don't want to play too many weeks, and pace yourself. We're going into the final stretch of the year. How do you feel like you've balanced the life of a professional tour player?
LYDIA KO: I think I've done that pretty good. I've actually ‑‑ I haven't played four weeks in a row yet, so three weeks was my max. But I'm planning on playing four weeks in a row for the Asian swing, so it'll be my first, and I'll have to, you know, I guess, manage my energy along those weeks, because some of the places can be quite windy or hot.
So yeah, you know, other than that I think we've been scheduling it pretty good. I don't feel like I'm tired and I'm ready to have a break.
THE MODERATOR: No cheeseburgers in Asia, though.
LYDIA KO: No. No cheeseburgers, but it might taste a little different. Might have kimchi in Korea. You never know.
THE MODERATOR: All right. Any other questions for Lydia?
Q. Lydia, when you were here last year you were an amateur. You finished runnerup. A lot of people say that the transition from an amateur to a professional is a really tough one to deal with. You look from your results and the way you've handled yourself as if it's been very straightforward. Do you feel that's been the case?
LYDIA KO: You know, I don't know. I mean I announced turning pro during my exams, so during that time I said, okay, I'm not doing any media. I just want to focus on these exam papers because I needed to pass them.
So you know, I think that was a really good time for me where I just didn't need to focus on golf and just concentrate on like being that normal 16, 17‑year‑old. And I think that kind of helped with the easy transition.
And also, it just, me having played 11 LPGA events last year, that definitely helped with experience for this year.
Q. Did you set out specific goals for the year and have you achieved them?
LYDIA KO: I didn't make a whole goal overall. But I try and make goals for every tournament coming in, and you know, obviously I can't play great every time, but I've been making I think reasonable goals for myself.
Q. Are you still an avid reader?
LYDIA KO: When I'm into a book, like I'm like in it. Like I would read it, you know, when I'm eating, you know. I would just read it the whole time. But I haven't found ‑‑ I read like four books in like one week, and they were pretty thick books, so since then I haven't found a book that was just as good.
But I think I gotta get back into reading a lot because it's definitely going to help me even with talking because obviously English isn't my first language.
THE MODERATOR: She's looking for book recommendations.
Q. I was going to say, what was your book of the year?
LYDIA KO: It was the series of "Mortal Instruments." I kind of saw the movie, and then I read the books two, three, four, and then I've been reading the "Divergent" books also. So they've been good. I like something ‑‑ obviously they're not real, but something with some action.
THE MODERATOR: Perfect. Any other questions? All right. Well, thank you for coming in. Good luck this week.
LYDIA KO: Thank you.
THE MODERATOR: We honor the champions here and you can't escape it, but just talk about returning back here as a defending champ and how special it's been.
SUZANN PETTERSEN: I mean it's always nice to come back to Evian, a little different to see myself on every poster around the city, but at the same time a very proud moment last year to put my name on this beautiful trophy and capture my second major.
So this place has always been on my bucket list to win, and now my next thing on my bucket list is to put my name on that trophy twice. So happy to be back here. Feeling great and looking forward to getting started.
THE MODERATOR: You said you didn't feel like you wanted to return that trophy just yet.
SUZANN PETTERSEN: No. That's definitely a nice one to keep. But I'm ready for a new battle. I'm ready for a new fight, and I think we got four nice days ahead of us, so we can compete full rounds. We didn't do that last year.
No, just came off the golf course. The course is in good shape. The greens are getting better and better. So we'll see what the scores are going to be like, but it's in good shape.
THE MODERATOR: Perfect. Past couple of seasons you've finished off the years very strong, wins late coming in the year, a lot of top finishes. Playing very well again at this point in the season, do you feel like something is coming in this last run, the final events of the year?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Yeah. I've definitely played some really good golf the last month. Unfortunately haven't been able to kind of take it all the way, but I've been there every Sunday, even though I kind of haven't played the best that day. But I think that's the better problem to have than not playing good at all.
Sometimes golf is an easy game and everything kind of goes your way, and other times it's brutal. It can be very frustrating, but that's sports. That's why we love this sport because the good days makes up for so many like frustrating days.
So for me it's been a good month. I'm feeling good. I've been able to kind of put in the work that I feel is needed, and it's nice when mind and body kind of cooperate.
THE MODERATOR: Have you thought about maybe the issues that you've been having on Sundays, like you said, the goal is to be in contention on Sunday, but you said sometimes it's physical; maybe it's mental. Have you thought about it or pinpointed it?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: I haven't tried to put too much thought into it, to be honest. I feel I have a great recipe of how to kind of close the deal, but like I said, I mean golf is a funny sport. You can have a great warmup and then you go out on the course and you feel like you're always fighting everything and the putter goes cold.
But I think more than anything it's mental. You gotta try and bounce back, bounce back strong and just stick to the routine and get back in your own little bubble.
THE MODERATOR: I'm sure we'll see some killer instincts.
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Absolutely.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for Suzann.
Q. I watched you on the sixth tee. I think it must have been about 290 yards. Are you hitting the ball a lot longer than you were last year?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Yeah, I am. I'm probably ‑‑ with the driver I'm quite a bit longer, and with the irons I'm probably a club longer. I just think I'm more efficient with the speed, technique is pretty solid, so I'm generating more speed at the ball. That's about it.
Q. But you looked pretty solid last year, so I mean ‑‑
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Yeah, but you can always get better. Golf is a perfectionist's sport.
No, it's good that you feel you have yardage in the bag if you really need to. But I think the most important thing is to kind of control your distance control. I mean that's what this game is all about. So as long as you know how far you hit each club, I think that's the most important.
Q. And I saw you had David Leadbetter out there with you. Is there anything you're working on? Seems to me like your game is pretty solid.
SUZANN PETTERSEN: No. I mean not a lot. Not too much hard work at this point. I feel good. I feel fresh. I feel energized, which is probably the most important thing for me. When my body goes tired, my technique seems to kind of lack a bit of quality. But I feel good. I've rested up and ready to go.
Q. And just on that Sunday thing, is it a question of the media sometimes latching on to things? Everyone is going on about Rory McIlroy not being able to play on a Friday, and then he went out and shot something like a 60 ‑‑
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Hopefully this is not going to continue. Hopefully this is something they can keep asking me about. So I'm going to try and put an end to it right here and right now.
Q. Do you work on the mental side of thing?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: For sure. I mean, I think golf, if you look at the depth of women's golf, I mean I think anyone out there can get the ball from A to B. Everyone can putt on a good day, so what differentiates the champ from second place, third place, tenth place is mental. So I think mental strength is definitely the key to success out here.
Q. Okay. Good luck.
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Thank you.
THE MODERATOR: You're in contention to win the Rolex Annika Major Award with a win here this week. Your goal, and you've always said it, is to do well at majors, win majors. What would it mean to you to put your name on that award the first year?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: No. Definitely. I mean when you look at the schedule starting a new year, you always try to kind of map out the biggest events, the five majors, a couple of other key events. But those are the event you really want to try and perform well.
Unfortunately I missed the first major, which was for me a huge disappointment, but at the same time you can only do what the body allows you to, and I've been trying to come back and play as good as I could the last couple. And been almost getting the job done, so thankfully we have one more major, and I would really like to be there on Sunday and try for that one more.
THE MODERATOR: You said you feel well rested, but your week off you were pretty busy.
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Yeah.
THE MODERATOR: You played hostess again, your third annual charity event up in Norway.
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Yeah. We had a fantastic tournament. Seven spectacular girls dedicating their time and effort and energy to come to Norway and support the Right to Play charity, and we raised twice the money we did last year, which was fantastic, and the crowd loves the girls.
They're not only good golfers, they're also really good girls who putts on a great show for the crowd, so the public loves them. Everyone was happy. The sun was shining. I can't ask for much more.
THE MODERATOR: You keep topping it every year. Next year, double the players? Double the ‑‑ I don't know. You have really nice cars driving them around; everything is luxury. How do you top it?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: No. You know, I know what these girls are used to. We travel the world, and I know what we usually get every week, and I try to accommodate them as good as I possibly can.
Being the hostess you really feel the pressure, but the girls are so easy and laid back, and we'll see what next year is going to be like, but I can definitely see maybe a change of format to kind of just tweak it so the crowd and the public kind of don't get bored with the format.
So we'll see, but who knows. I got a huge vision for this tournament, and if it stays like it is, if it ends up being a regular tournament down the road, I don't know. But it's definitely an event for the future. So I'm not going to let it go.
THE MODERATOR: And you always said it could possibly lead to bigger and better things for the growth of golf in Norway, possibly the LPGA.
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Yeah. You know what, Norway is in the bid for the 2019 Solheim Cup, so with that kind of on the horizon, that possibly happening, it's a great event to kind of kick‑start and try to boost the interest around golf in Norway.
At the same time I think it's phenomenal how all the girls kind of dedicate their time and how we use the sport, which has given us so much, to help give back and make a difference, and in this case children's lives around the world.
THE MODERATOR: Perfect. Any other questions for Suzann? Thank you for coming in.
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Thanks.
THE MODERATOR: Good afternoon, everyone. We'd like to welcome Rolex Rankings No. 1 Stacy Lewis into the interview room. First off, welcome back to Evian.
STACY LEWIS: Thank you.
THE MODERATOR: I know you just got done playing in the pro am. How is the golf course looking and how excited are you to be back here, final major of the 2014 season?
STACY LEWIS: It's just ‑‑ I mean it's a major championship, so everybody is excited about that. You know, it's another opportunity to win one, which is always a good thing, and you know, the golf course, it's better. It's obviously not as wet, which is good.
Greens are rolling a lot better, but you know, this golf course is just ‑‑ it's a challenge. You know, it's a bit frustrating at times. It tests your patience, and that's the big thing for me this week is the patience level and just not, you know, not letting a bad bounce get to me.
THE MODERATOR: You've been so consistent in the majors so far this year. Third at Kraft, second at the U.S. Women's Open, tied for sixth at Wegmans and tied for twelfth at the Rico women's British Open. I know a lot of players say they judge themselves on major performance, and you show consistency throughout the year, but what does it mean to you when you look at that, no win so far, but to be able to perform so well, all top 12 finishes?
STACY LEWIS: I mean the big thing that sticks out to me is I didn't win one. But that's just me. You know, I'm here to win them.
I mean it's good. I mean I've given myself, which that's what you want to do, and you hope that putts kind of fall your way at the end, and it just hasn't quite done it this year.
So just give myself another chance, and hopefully I'll come out on top this time.
THE MODERATOR: A victory this week would clinch the Rolex Annika Major Award for you. That's all you have to do is win, and you would win that. What would that award mean to you and what would a win mean this week?
STACY LEWIS: The award is a bonus. The win is more what I'm here for.
I mean I think you look at a player's career and it's judged on majors and wins, and that's what I'm here to do. I'm here to win a trophy at the end of the week. So everything else that happens as a result of that it's just a bonus.
THE MODERATOR: When you talk about awards, you did have a great honor this past weekend. You got to go back to the University of Arkansas where you played and you got inducted into the Hall of Fame, the first female golfer to do so. Take me through what was the weekend like and what does that honor mean? That's a pretty prestigious one.
STACY LEWIS: Yeah, it was. It was a great weekend. We actually had a 20‑year reunion with the golf program. Just to have everybody back and hang out with the girls I went to school with was a lot of fun.
And it was really cool. I was inducted with I think eight other guys. I was the only female up there. We had a banquet, got to go on the field during the football game. We were announced at half time, and I thought it was pretty cool that I got the loudest cheers of all the guys, so I was pretty proud of that.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for Stacy.
Q. Obviously I don't know too much about the University of Arkansas. Who were the guys that were inducted?
STACY LEWIS: There were some football players, basketball players, track. There actually was a female basketball players actually as well.
But yeah, it's a pretty football‑dominated university. So that was pretty cool that they made me go last at the banquet because they knew if I went first that everybody would leave, so I thought that was pretty cool.
Q. And you talked at the beginning about being patient here. Are you doing anything to help you become more patient on this golf course?
STACY LEWIS: Yeah. I mean I think ‑‑ I took some time ‑‑ I had the last two weeks off and just kind of was thinking about, you know, what ‑‑ I hadn't played as well as I would have liked the last month or so and just kind of thinking about what was different. And it was my mindset and my patience level. It just hadn't been there.
And that was something to start the year, that was really a goal of mine was to be better at that. So just kind of went back to some things I worked on in the off season. It's just a different way of thinking. You know, this golf course, I mean you look at 15 green right here, you've got a wedge in your hand, but you gotta play away from the hole just to keep it on the green.
So that's the big thing, it's just taking what the golf course gives you and not trying to force it. But at the same time you really have to stay patient because you're going to get some funky lies. They're going to bounce a different direction than you think and you just gotta kind of ride with it.
THE MODERATOR: Are there things that you do to remind yourself of that, to stay patient, to kind of be in the moment? Like you said, sometimes it gets away from you. It's not always an easy thing to remember.
STACY LEWIS: Yeah. I mean it's hard. You start trying to force things, and you start working too hard on stuff, which I'm very good at doing that. So it's really just kind of trying to stay big picture, and the big picture is I've had a great year, I've won three times. I've had a bunch of Top 10s. I'm leading a lot of the categories I want to be leading, so it's just getting back to what's gotten me to that point.
And you know, I feel a lot more relaxed than I did at the last major.
THE MODERATOR: And do you think you take away from that, too, you're not putting as much pressure on yourself, like you said, you notice that you don't have any wins in the majors this year, but do you have to kind of step back and not put the pressure on yourself this week to make sure you get that win?
STACY LEWIS: Yeah, for sure. Golf is just a game that the harder you try, the worse you play. So you know, I have that comfort that, you know, I've ‑‑ you know, you look at the LPGA Championship, I didn't exactly play that well, but I hung around long enough and still finished sixth. So I mean I know if I have an off day, I can still come back and have a chance to win, and I need to keep that in the back of my mind.
THE MODERATOR: And that final day at the U.S. Women's Open, that was a pretty impressive round as well. Might see another one here and would come away with not only a major trophy, but the Rolex Annika Major Award as well. Any other questions for Stacy Lewis? All right. Well, thank you very much, Stacy, and best of luck this week.
STACY LEWIS: Thank you.
Tuesday 9th September
What caused you to retire from the Helsingborg Open on Sunday?
It just froze. When I woke up on Saturday morning I had a stiff neck but it’s a little bit better. I managed to hit some balls, not quite properly, but still.
It’s getting warmer.
Hopefully it should be okay by Thursday.
I think I’m going to try and play five holes practice today because obviously I’ve not seen the course. Kris has walked it and I think I’ll try and play five and walk the rest.
It’s one of these things. I’ve got to roll with it and see what’s happening. I was a lot happier on the range and I felt that I could at least swing it because on Sunday I was just really, really struggling and probably shouldn’t have played Saturday because I probably made it worse. On Saturday my thinking was to try and get through that round and wake up the following day and hopefully it was better, but it wasn’t. It was worse on Sunday and there was no way I could have played but today was certainly a lot better.
What are your expectations?
I guess everything has changed now that I’m here after what happened at the weekend. Really my focus is just to be fit to play at the moment. I’m just trying to gauge it, take it easy but also actually try and hit a few balls and stuff as well.
What was the injury called?
I just woke up with a stiff neck; that was it. My neck was totally all jammed up and frozen when I woke up on Saturday morning.
I’m very excited. It’s nice to be playing well coming here because it’s a tough venue and I haven’t played well here for a while, so I’m really looking forward to it.
There are going to be aches and pains but nothing in comparison to Scotland. I’m quite healthy and looking forward to a good week.
Football match? No. That would be sheer stupidity. I’d love to but I’m just not capable anymore, not if I want to walk the next day.
Nothing has changed. Age means nothing as long as you are fit enough to play, which I am. I’ve always been pretty fit and I just want to win. It was really nice a couple of weeks ago because it was unexpected and I didn’t think about it and gave me an eye opener. Perhaps I want to win too much, really. I don’t really know the answer. After two rounds in Scotland I was quite shocked at the position I was in because it was so easy. When I’m trying as hard as I can it’s not that easy, so there’s some sort of lesson to be learnt there.
This week I think a really good week would be top 20, realistically. You want to win but you’ve got to be a little realistic in a field like this. If I played the best I could for four days and putted the best I could, I could win. If I finish top 20 I’ll be happy.
It’s very nice, I like it. I played the qualifier so I had seen the golf course. I like it but it’s difficult because it’s a little long for me and the greens are very difficult.
I want to play my golf. It’s new for me to play a major and the Evian, in France, it’s the first time. I want to try the best I can.
Dad Roger. My mother and boyfriend are here.
I think on the first tee I will be a little nervous but it’s fun because I’m staying with my family.
My wrist is okay, not good, but I had surgery in February and I have played a lot so it’s not very good, but it’s okay.
Welcome to Evian, your thoughts on the place?
I played 18 holes in the Pro-Am and 12 holes today. A lot of the holes are still the same it’s just a few of the par 3s have changed on the back nine. I liked the course the way it was and I’m glad they’ve left most holes very similar or the same. It’s just a few changes and some slopey greens so it’s key here to hit the right level, but it’s playing very long because it’s quite damp so it will be tricky.
– but the sailors praise the new boats
Photo Credit: Dario Belingheri/Bettini Photo
photo David Cannon/Getty images