Defending Evian Masters champion, Karrie Webb

Webb – returning to Evian

Q. You are coming back here as the defending champion. Can you talk about coming back and defending your title?
Karrie Webb: I think it’s always great to be back at Evian, I think it’s one of the most beautiful places in the world and probably the most beautiful place that I’ve ever played in my career, and obviously to come back as defending champion it’s a great feeling. I played well here last year and played really well under a lot of pressure coming down the stretch, and winning here was special. It’s an event a lot of players hold in high regard because obviously of the scenery and how well we’re treated by everybody here, and obviously we play for a big purse, but all in all it’s a great tournament and I’m happy to be back here.

Q. It was an exciting finish. You were a couple behind with a few holes to play. What do you remember particularly about last year?
Karrie: Well, actually what I remember, number 11, I think, back up the hill – Michelle Wie birdied that hole last year, and I three putted, and that made a two shot swing that made her two shots ahead with seven holes to go. I just remember walking up to the hill to the next tee telling myself out of that group, and anyone else in contention, you know, I should have been the least nervous and should be the one that is reveling in that situation. Michelle Wie has never won, and I would assume the others were feeling the nerves as well, so I thought I needed to take control and play a good seven holes and hopefully that would be good enough.

Q. How did you control your nerves on that 12th tee, then?
Karrie: Well, I put a really good swing on the I think I birdied the next hole, so that’s a great birdie on the 12th hole, and from there I just didn’t really miss a shot. And I’m trying to think where I made my other birdie. I know I birdied 17. I think I might have birdied 14 as well coming in. So I closed in seven holes really well, and up until that point I wasn’t playing with a lot of freedom and as much trust as I had been playing with earlier in the week. And I think that was a really good kick in the butt and made me realize that, you know, that was where I needed to take control of things and realise that the other two players I was playing with were probably more nervous than me, and I needed to take control of the situation.

Q. We are halfway through 2007. How do you sum up this year?
Karrie: I got off to a good start, won both tournaments in Australia and played well in the States, but it’s been an up and down summer for me there. I wouldn’t say I’m ecstatic. Actually, the last two-and-a-half months has been the most consistent I’ve hit the ball in my whole career, and I haven’t really made any putts. I feel like if I can just keep being patient I’ve gone book to cross handed putting, and the putter I used in ’99 through 2002, I think. And just the few changes I’ve made, I feel, will get me going in the right direction. If I stay patient with my swing I could have a good finish to the end.

Q. Do you feel like you’re actually putting okay; it’s just a matter of now getting them to drop?
Karrie: I have had stretches where I felt like I have been putting well, but I went through a period where I wasn’t hitting my spots, so it’s been more of an adjustment that way, and, you know, I went back to cross handed. I did a test on a machine that showed my stroke, and I saw exactly what I saw at the end of ’98 with my conventional putting stroke, and then obviously I tested cross handed, and I saw exactly at the end of ’98 when I putted cross handed, and I felt that was going to give me a good opportunity for putting.

Q. What are your thoughts about winning this year?
Karrie: You have the best memories of the year before, and I played well, and I’m hoping that gives me confidence this week to go out there and at least give myself a chance to win.

Q. We’ve been here for a week and it’s rained almost every day. How is it?
Karrie: It’s pretty boggy out there today. It’s better out there today than it was yesterday. The water is coming off of the ground right now, so it will be interesting to see how it will be. The greens are soft, which by the end of day makes them quite bumpy, so hopefully we don’t get anymore rain for the rest of the week and by Friday, Saturday, Sunday they’ll be in the shape we normally see.

Q. If you had to describe the difference between playing in the States and coming across to Europe and playing a couple of tournaments, is there any clear difference in style of course, type of game you have to play?
Karrie: I don’t think so. I think, you know, we always play pretty similar courses every week. More variety, a little more of a variety in the conditioning of the golf courses, I think, is probably the main difference. You know, I just play them as I see them. I don’t try to compare.

Q. Perhaps there is an excitement not knowing about the conditions?
Karrie: Earlier in my career I played at the old course, so I’m excited to play there. I’ve played there once professionally, and I was really excited to see the British Open was there.

Q. How badly do you aspire to be number one in the game?
Karrie: I wouldn’t say that I badly aspire to be number one. I think that it’s definitely an achievable goal for me, and it’s something that ultimately if I play good enough golf I can achieve that. I guess because I achieved it once before it’s not something that is grinding away at me, that it’s something I have to do. To achieve it again would be great, an accomplishment more the second time than the first, but in saying that, you know, Lorena is a great player, a wonderful girl, and she’s playing the best golf out of anybody, and she’s exciting to watch. I think with Lorena, she’s fun to watch and there is a loose shot here and there, and that always makes you think you have a chance to keep up. And then she has the capability of blowing everybody away at any time of the day. Whereas with Annika you were the one that had to play unbelievably because she wasn’t going to make any mistakes. But I feel like Lorena has that capability. I’m not saying it is a negative thing. I think it just makes it really exciting. She’s an exciting player to watch.

Q. Last year Michelle Wie pushed you all the way, and now she seems to be in a slump the first one, really, of her golfing life. What’s your take on that?
Karrie: Yeah, I would hate to be in Michelle’s shoes; I really feel badly for her. I think what people forget is that she is only 17, and what she has already accomplished as 17 year-old, some people would love to do that through their whole career. Yes, she hasn’t won, but too many people have been too hard on her. She’s been sort of in the spotlight, and it’s difficult to be in that position. So obviously once you get to that spot, people see what you’re made of and whether you’re going to take a step forward and continue to be a solid player or whether it will knock you down if you don’t achieve what you’re supposed to achieve. I can only imagine the way she must be feeling right now. I think there’s a little bit of nerves, really, and she’s still the most athletically posed. Whether she does it now or at 24 or at 30, it will be great.

Last year’s Evian runner-up, Michelle Wie

Michelle Wie is hoping for a return to form

Q. You’ve played at the Evian Masters so well; you’ve tied for second here. Talk about being back here.
Michelle: It’s so great to be back here. I thought, why not get out of country for a little bit, thought it might be good, and this is so nice here. It’s so beautiful here and all the people are so nice. I feel like I’m back at home. This is already my fourth year here, and it just feels really welcoming.

Q. You’ve had a wrist injury this year. How everything is going?
Michelle: My wrist is doing better. Unfortunately I had a tough year this year, because it was very unfortunate that I fell on it, but it’s all better; it’s healing. The bone’s healed and everything, and I have to get it stronger because it’s been in a cast and splints and bandages, and it needs some fresh air now. It needs to get stronger. I’ve been working out a lot now and trying to get back into the shape and trying to get the feel back.

Q. Are you in favor of introducing doping controls?
Michelle: I think drug testing is drug testing. I mean, they do it in every other sport, but I think it’s sad that they have suspicions of people, but drug testing is drug testing. I don’t think I’m going to get caught, so I’m not worrying about it.

Q. I saw you here a couple of years ago when you played. How do you think you have changed in the last two years with your maturity as a golfer? What are the things that you’ve learned about dealing with media people? How much better are you now in those two years?
Michelle: I don’t know. Hopefully I got a lot better. The first time I played here I was 14, and it seems like way back! I look at pictures back then and I think, wow, I look really different. A lot of things have changed. The world has changed; I’ve changed, grown a little bit taller, hopefully my game has matured a lot. I felt like last year playing when I was healthy my game was consistent, and I feel like my putting and my short game I’m gaining a lot more shots on. I feel like I’m getting better and better. Unfortunately, I got sidetracked this year with my injury, but I feel like what doesn’t kill me is going to make me stronger, and hopefully this will make me a stronger mentally and physically. I feel like I’m maturing as a person, changing a little bit every year, but hopefully staying true to myself.

Q. What will you do if it starts bothering you?
Michelle: If it does hurt during the round, I know I have some things I can do, I have a brace, so it puts comfort into my mind. I don’t feel like I need it at this point. Like I said, it’s getting stronger and stronger, and I just have to play until it feels better.

Q. You turn 18 in October. Will we see you full-time on the LPGA?
Michelle: I’m not sure yet. I haven’t really decided what I really want to do yet. 18 is a big year – it changes everything. I’m going to make a smart decision, figure out what I really want to do and move forward onto it. I’m not really sure yet.

Q. You are incredibly young. Is there something other than golf that interests you in doing as a career?
Michelle: Yeah, I mean, obviously I’m still so young. Other kids my age are just thinking about what they want to do as a career, and obviously golf is what interests me the most, and I just love it. I love doing it; I don’t think of it as my career, I just love playing golf. Obviously, I do have a lot of interests; that’s why I’m going to college, to broaden my interest, in case I turn 25 and I want to do something else, then I have my education to fall back on. I’m interested in the whole business side of things and really interested in that and obviously fashion. I like a lot of things. I just don’t want my life to revolve around golf. Golf is my main interest and my main passion, and I love doing it, but at the same time I love doing other stuff as well, and you never know what’s going to happen ten years down the road or whatever. So I’m keeping my options open but right now golf is my only interest.

Q. So the world actually expects to see you on the LPGA, but in reality that may not happen?
Michelle: A lot of things happen. People don’t realize that I’m still young and I have my whole life in front of me. I want to be able to choose what I want to do in my life, and right now I’m just so happy playing golf right now.

Q. I want to ask you about a course that I recently visited call Kohala in Hawaii. What does it mean to you?
Michelle: Kohala means a lot to me. It’s a special place to me. That’s where I practiced on, and I played a lot of the courses, Olomana, Hawaii, and they have the greatest significance to me because that’s where I grew up. That’s where I spent eight hours of my life every single day. The people are so great there, and it’s just the greatest feeling when you go back.

Q. Which wrist is it? I thought you had problems with both wrists?
Michelle: It’s mainly the left now.

Q. So the left was the real problem?
Michelle: Well, they were quite big, but the last one was the “accident” one, so to speak.

Q. Do you have a target in mind for this event?
Michelle: This week I just want to be able to play as freely as I did last year, as happy as I did. No thoughts in my mind, just out there, me and the golf ball and the golf hole and the beautiful golf course and just to play. Just to be my 17 year old self again and to have no worries and hit the golf ball into the hole, and that’s all I’m asking right now. I just want to be able to play a pain free round, not hurt and be able to play very well.

Q. Does that mean if you play rounds without pain but perhaps miss the cut you will be satisfied then?
Michelle:Is there a cut this week? There is? Oh, yeah, there is. You know, it all depends. I just want to be able to play pain-free. If I do play pain-free and I don’t play very well, it’s going to disappoint me, but I just want to be able to play care-free, and I think if I do that then I’ll play very well.

Q. Who have you got on the bag this week? Who is caddying for you?
Michelle: David Clark.

Q. And he has caddied for a little while?
Michelle: Yeah, for this year, yeah.

Q. When are you going to Stanford? What are you due to study?
Michelle: Stanford begins end of September, which I just realised I have two more months of summer, which excited me quite a bit, actually. It’s going to be fun. I haven’t decided what I want to major in yet, but I want to take a lot of courses to broaden my horizons and experiences in things, because the great thing about Stanford is there are so many smart people and people with other talents and spectacular and extraordinary people there that it’s going to be a great learning experience to be around them. So I’m just really excited.

Q. Are you staying in student accommodations?
Michelle: Yes.

Two-time Evian Masters champion, Annika Sorenstam

Ochoa – a strong contender

Q. Lorena, you have played very well here at the Evian Masters, finishing in the top-five every year you’ve played here. Can you start by talking about being back here at the Evian Masters?
Lorena: Yes, I love to play here. It is a golf course where I feel very comfortable. I have good memories and I was close a few times to winning the tournament. So this is just a good week for me. I feel comfortable with my game right now. I just finished the pro-am. I hit the ball very good today and I gave myself a lot of birdie chances. I like my chances to win the tournament. There are so many good players and the golf course is tough, but I’m just trying to play my own game and take one day at a time. Hopefully I will be out there on Sunday.

Q. Can you talk about this year with how well you have played and taking over the number one spot in the world?
Lorena: This year has been great to me. There have been a lot of good things inside and outside of the golf course. I have really learned a lot from what happened during the 2006 season. It was very important for me to get that many wins and to finish number one on the money list. Most importantly my goal was to be number one (in the world) and getting that news this year was a great feeling. It was something I’ve been waiting a long time to get to. It’s been a lot of hard work in the process of waiting five years to get to the top. Right now I’m really enjoying myself. I’d like to stay there and I really like being number one. I need to keep working hard and make sure I do things right. I know Annika and there are so many good players behind me, I really need to stay consistent and keep playing good. This is a good part of the year for me and I’m not going to change anything. I’m just going to try to enjoy myself and give myself chances to win tournaments and be happy.

Q. It is incredible how both hands are as brown as each other.
Lorena: (laughter) Yes. I don’t wear a golf club. (laughter) How do you say it? I mean golf glove. I don’t even know how to say it.

Q. How much practice do you actually do? I would be interested to know your work ethic.
Lorena: I just have to work really hard for sure. At the same time for me the most important part is the off-season. Just to make sure that I get at least eight weeks of really hard work and a routine. Even nutrition. Working over eight hours and then going to the gym in the afternoon to work out and lift weights. I’ve realised that the time I have off I have to spend eight weeks and I can’t waste anytime. I don’t play any golf tournaments during that time. I like to stay home for eight weeks straight. And now when I’m traveling I just try to maintain myself as much as I can. Being in shape is very good. I feel that was the difference in the 2006 season, just being in shape at the end of the year. Being strong and being able to play good tournaments. At the beginning of the season everybody is ready to go. By the middle of the season and at the end of the season it’s hard to stay strong, myself included. But you have to be prepared to be strong and to finish good. When I’m here I practice a lot. I don’t want to say I’m the one that practices the most, because there are some players who get here before the sun rises (laughter) and they leave when it is dark. I consider myself a hard worker. I analyse a lot of my game and just a few of the areas I need to work on. When I need to go to the range I go, but sometimes I don’t even go to the range and focus on maybe putting.

Q. You are incredibly dedicated to the game of golf. What do you like to do when you are away from the golf course?
Lorena: Just go home. That is my priority. When I have some time off I always go home and see the people that I love. I like different sports. I especially like to water ski. I do that a lot and I think that helps my upper body to be strong and maybe it will improve my game. Sometimes when I go to the gym I even ask the trainer if it is a good exercise to water ski.

Q. When was the last time you did a marathon or eco or climbed a mountain?
Lorena: I did a half marathon in February. I was very happy to train hard and I had a good run and a good time. I don’t do any high peaks when I go home, but a lot of hiking. I’m going to wait a little bit for that. I have to rest myself first.

Q. Your brother climbed Mt. Everest, correct? Do you aspire to do that as well?
Lorena: I would love to go to the Himalayas and go to the bottom of the mountain and walk around and just see how it feels to be up there. There are some beautiful places to walk down on the bottom there, but I’m not going to try to do Mt. Everest, no, one is enough.

Q. Your brother has done the eco-challenge before, is that something that you would consider one day?
Lorena: Yes, I already did a couple of those with my brother. I was the girl of the team. You usually have to pick a girl with the other men. I made the team and it was a great feeling. To finish the entire race was even better than winning a golf tournament. To do the training and go through it and seeing the finish line. And the adrenaline and I was so tired. I would love to do it again. Like I said I think right now I need to rest and the same with marathons. I would love to run marathons, but right now that is not smart. I would prefer to keep myself rested.

Morgan Pressel