Davies – ready to take on St Andrews

Laura Davies
Q. Thank you for coming in. Amazed when I heard you had never played the Old Course before. What are your thoughts?
Davies: No, I think it’s probably a heck of a course. It’s just natural. When you watch it on telly, you get certain ideas of how you think it’s going to be, and it was nothing like it. It’s much smaller, the way all of the fairways, you know, tie together and everything’s close by. It’s just a great atmosphere to play a championship like the British Open.

Q. Is it the atmosphere or the golf course that makes it so special?
Davies: Everything, it’s magnificent. The greens, I’ve never been on greens like it, it’s natural, blending into the edges of the fringe and running into the fairways. The size of the greens are amazing. You can’t appreciate it; you hear about it and think they are exaggerating and they are not.

Q. Will you be back here again?
Davies: If we have The Open here, I’ll be back.

Q. You mentioned that you would change your shoes in your car, is that true?
Davies: Yes, it’s more convenient. Yes, it’s easier, you meet on the putting green and come over.

Q. Have you been into the clubhouse?
Davies: I had my golf balls down there went and got some golf balls down there it’s fantastic, The Open trophies, see them up close like that obviously the history, everything about it, it’s amazing.

Q. What is the locker room like?
Davies: Yeah, underneath when you go in reception, around the staircase, it’s beautiful, very nice. It’s just numbers, there are no names on the locker. Mine just says locker No. 32.

Q. Some of the players have hired local caddies to go around with them in practice.
Davies: Yeah, I heard that, not a bad idea. One of the guys we had in the group today, they were giving me and Johnny a few tips. Yeah, obviously they know how to play the grass.

Q. Does this course suit your game?
Davies: Yes, I think so. All of the championship courses you could play I love Lytham, my favourite course but didn’t necessarily suit my game and this one does. Not necessarily saying that I’m going to do well and win or anything, but if I play my game, I’ll have a chance because it sets up so well.

Q. So today is the first time you played?
Davies: Today no, I lied. I played 18 1 and 18 yesterday. Ripped it out of bounds on the first and I was a I saw an Ian Baker Finch, somebody saw me do it, knocking it out of bounds. It was windy.

Q. Do you wish you could have played this course in your prime?
Davies: I still am. Yes, I think I’ve got as much of a chance this week as I had in ’94, ’95 or ’96, my three best years. I’m striking it better now than I’ve ever done, so as far as I’m concerned, it’s come at a perfect time.

Q. Is there a reason for not ever having played at St Andrews?
Davies: Well, I don’t I’ve been playing for, what, 23 years now. And I play 33 tournaments a year, and the last thing I want to do when I have a couple of weeks off is fly up to Scotland and get a tee time with loads of amateur golfers; so that was my idea of hell. (Laughter) So I waited for the right time and here we are at the British Open and it couldn’t be better.

Q. Have you ever played it on PlayStation?
Davies: I don’t like PlayStation. I’m not keen on that. No, I’m just really pleased to be here. It’s not like I’ve got anything against St. Andrews. It’s just our paths have never crossed before, and the British Open obviously is the ideal opportunity to come and see it. I’m not saying I don’t want to play it or haven’t wanted to play it. There’s loads of great golf courses I’ve not played, but maybe when I stop playing on the Tour I’ll play all of the courses I’ve missed out on. At the moment it not on the schedule to play golf on a week off. I haven’t played golf with my brother I think for about 16 years, so ask him about it. I just don’t play.

Q. What do you think about the 17th being a par 5?
Davies: Well, I’ve never played it as a par 4 so it just seems as an easy par 5 really. Whether it’s a par 4 or a par 5 it’s a really difficult hole. I hit a great tee shot today and hopefully I’ll hit four more of them. But if you don’t hit the tee shot, you won’t hit the green; and if you miss the green, we all know what can happen. Today was the Pro Am and pretty much straightforward but I’m not daft enough to think it might be that straightforward again. The fact that it’s 5 probably helps a little bit, but it’s not an issue either way I would expect.

Q. How far did you hit it?
Davies: 30 feet. My only birdie of the day. I could not make a putt out there, not for lack of trying but couldn’t make any.

Q. Should the men play it as a par 5, do you think?
Davies: Like I said, we’ve never been here before. So who is to say the men shouldn’t play it as a 5, who knows. It’s a great hole as it is, and whether it’s a four or a five; it makes a difference, four shots at end of the week. So the winner will be four shots more under par than if it would have been a par 5 four. Maybe mentally if you say it’s a par 4, the average would be slightly less purely because it’s a par 4. I think if you mind that, you play it that way another year, the stroke average on the hole will be lower than if it was a four.

Q. How much do you like this course?
Davies: Well, you know, we play lots of courses I like, and I think this is just one that is so generous off the tee, as long as you keep it out of the bunkers and there’s a lot of it out there and a lot of fairway and a lot of light, wispy rough. I played hitting a tee shot it was easy for me as I’ve ever seen probably but I’ve only played it once in a mile wind. If it it’s blowing a gale, hitting the fairways

Q. Can you talk about your caddy?
Davies: My caddy, Johnny, he’s played here 30, 40 times. He’s said all year that looking forward to getting there because you’re going to love it, and he’s quite right.

Q. What’s his name?
Davies: Jonathan Scott.

Q. Have the players been talking about St Andrews?
Davies: Yeah about this week? Oh, no, everyone has really been looking forward to. I have not heard one person say anything other than how excited they are to be here. The men come here so often well, they probably don’t get blasé about it because it’s that sort of place, you’re up for it when you see it. But for us it’s an extra special treat because it’s the first time we’ve been here.

Q. Who does this course especially suit?
Davies: It could suit anybody, it really can suit anybody. But if you start losing your confidence a bit, you’re not 100% sure on where you’re going, if you’re not on the fairways, you can find bits of trouble. I think it’s a great test for everyone and not just for a links; it could be low or high depending on the wind.

Q. Was your shot (out of bounds) yesterday a bad one?
Davies: Oh, no, it ran a long way. It was a pretty decent strike. No, I was knocking it around I had people heckling me on the first tee, as well, so it was a hard shot.

Q. What did they say?
Davies: Don’t hit it out of bounds, basically.

Q. Didn’t you say last week that women’s golf was in trouble?
Davies: No, I never said it was in trouble. I don’t think it’s a shame I was asked questions whether there were young players coming up to take mine and Trish’s place, we had Becky Morgan in America has been playing very consistently. But there don’t seem to be an enormous at the moment it seems like you have to be 14, 15, 16, to be considered you have to be really good at that age to become one of the next really good players and I haven’t even that many young British girls about.

Q. Why do you think that is?
Davies: I have no idea. Who knows? The Americans are producing really good players again now. The Swedes had their run at it. The Spaniards are going to come through I think in a couple of years. They have got lots of really good young players. Hopefully our turn will come and the young girls I do a clinic with Se Ri every year in December, and there’s a girl, she’s eight now, I think one day she will be a fantastic player. She’s not very tall, very little, thin, but just whacks her driver about 190, 180 every single time, got a great swing, a bit of touch. So there’s a potential youngster that might come through in ten year’s time maybe. (Laughter). There’s a few girls that come along on Sunday morning in the winter and they all I forgot their names, the swing stands out, her name doesn’t but her swing does.

Q. How old are they?
D: She was eight, some are nine and ten, the oldest that comes are at 12. The youngest is six, and they are keen.

Q. Michelle Wie, another youngster, is struggling, isn’t she?
Davies: Yeah, it’s just a shame, she’s struggling. She’s obviously had the injury and it seems to be going on a bit. But hopefully she’s over the injury and can start getting confidence back because I know what it’s like to lose confidence. I was practising next to her on the range at Evian last week, and she doesn’t look that confident on the range at the moment but it will turn around. She’s too good. It might be six months, it might be six weeks, would knows. But no question, as good as she is, she will hopefully be winning tournaments soon because it will be good for all of us.

Q. How far were you hitting today?
Davies: Well, we’ve got it close to the front on 18 downwind so that was 290 something I think we’ve got there and drive into the win on No. 2 probably went about probably best drive of the day on two and it went no more than 250. So there’s a 40 , 50 yard difference. But you get very few down or into the wind shots. You get a lot of cross wind.

Lorena Ochoa
Q. Thank you for joining us, Lorena Ochoa, World No. 1. I think you’ve played the course three times, what are your thoughts?
Ochoa: Hello, everyone. Thank you. Yes, I played in the Pro Am and it was my first round. I got here on Sunday and I played the first practise round early on Monday. I was by myself. It was really good just to have a little time around the greens and really see all of the new things. It was a great experience. It’s complicated because my caddy, we had to figure out where to hit it. From the tee it’s a little bit crazy. It’s a really good course, and we enjoyed it. Today, I think today in the third round I finally really just remembered all of the you know, every hole, thinking where I should aim the ball, because everything is very different in the wind. You just have to have a picture in your head of how the golf hole looks and just try to make a decision every day, you know, on every hole, it’s very different. And then long putts is very important. I think we all know that this is new and just having those 50 or 60 or 70 footers, putting is a very unique experience and I’ve been doing a lot of those. I’m feeling good and very excited about tomorrow and I can’t wait to start playing.

Qchoa. What exactly does it mean to you to be at the home of golf? Is that something special for you?
Ochoa: Yeah, for sure. I think for all of us, you know, first time for me and we don’t know if this is going to be the last time. We need to just enjoy every step and every moment. And here we are, stand on the first tee with a big smile and just appreciate. You know, golf is golf, but just if you start thinking about how many legends and players have been here, walking on that 18th fairway, the green, it’s very special.

Q. What did you first think?
Ochoa: Just like all of us, I think we watch mostly the majors on TV and actually my coach, Rafael (Alarcón), he played here before many times. He played here at the Dunhill two years ago with a lot of good players, Ernie Els and a lot of good players. Every time we are being practising on a course, he was like, you know, “This is a shot like St. Andrews.” Like at 3 or 7 or 11, or he always talks about 11 the par 3, how tough it was. You don’t realise how hard it is until you get here. It’s like the Masters. You don’t see 100% how the course is, how hard it plays, until you are here.

Q. What do you remember of St. Andrews?
Ochoa: I remember David Duval’s birdie that’s not the first one, but I remember when he won, very good. And of course when you have those that they replay on the biggest moments of many years before; obviously when Tiger won by a lot, and hopefully we get that good weather. But just it’s nice to just remember those memories.

Q. Have you been practising specifically for this course?
Ochoa: Yes, you know, we always on the range, we always spend time the last three or four months, we know that we are coming here so just try to spend I’m hitting lob shots and trying not to get spin on the ball and try to play against the wind, different shapes and a lot of running like low chips around the green with 6 iron, 5 iron, 4 iron. Just trying to, you know, do something similar that we are going to use this week. And it worked, I think it was important just to get your mind set. I just feel comfortable now. My rhythm is good and my swing and I’m feeling good.

Q. Can you talk about the field of players?
Ochoa: It’s hard to mention a name or say a number. But just the level of golf, it’s really high right now, and as we all know, a lot of it is because of Annika. She just pushed and trying to be a better player and also be really healthy and strong and just right now it’s tough. The competition is really good. At the same time, that’s why I know there are so many good players coming. You know, I really need to keep playing good if I want to maintain my position of being No. 1. It’s going to be a fun race and I’m excited.

Q. Is there more pressure on you now to win?
Ochoa: Do I feel more pressure? No, no, no.

Q. The longer you go without winning a major?
Ochoa: If you have that in your mind when you are playing, I think it would be really bad but I don’t do that. I just go out there and enjoy myself and try to play some good golf. If it happens, it happens. Like I said, I think in 2007 was a year for me to start winning majors and I still have one more chance. I’m going to try hard.

Q. Do you think in ten year’s time there will be 45 Mexican girls…
Ochoa: I don’t know, maybe you can ask them. I just think in a way I don’t know. That’s a tough question. You know, they do have a really good mental side. They are very strong and the way they practise. They practise really hard. They get up really early and stay really late. They are hard workers. I don’t like it very much when they come too young, not only Koreans, but other players when they are 18 and they just turn professionals. You see a lot of players like Paula Creamer and Morgan Pressel, but I think at the end to me, going to college is a great experience and I wouldn’t change that for anything. I would do it again and again and again. You know, I think it’s great to see different players from different parts of the world, but hopefully they wait a little bit longer to turn professional.

Q. I think the second part of that question was, do you think your success will encourage more Mexican girls to come through?
Ochoa: We are waiting for maybe one or two next year, and it looks good. I may be 35 or 45, but hopefully.

Q. What would it mean winning your first major here?
Ochoa: I think for sure, if they will ask you at the end of the year, which major do you want to win and the answer would be all of them and all of them are special. But if you put everything together, it would be very, very special. And here we are, so, you know, hopefully start tomorrow with a good round and the important thing is to be in a good position on Sunday and just try hard.

Q. Where does golf rate in México?
Ochoa: Well, it is improving. It is really making a change in the last three or four years. And we have a lot of golfers read now, a lot of girls playing junior golf or just in college and there are a lot of girls just trying to become professional and play on the LPGA. So it’s a great improvement. I think we are making progress and it’s looking good.

Q. How important is it for you to get out and…?
Ochoa: Very important. I have pretty much my whole family. My mom didn’t make it but my dad, my two brothers, my sister and an aunt. A lot of close friends, some relatives, like 25 Mexicans are here. So it would be nice. It’s very important for me that they are here, and they know and it would be great to share the moment with them.

Q. No Mexican greenskeepers here?
Ochoa: Right.

Q. How many friends and family do you have that have come over to watch you?
Ochoa: 25.