Steinhauer – defending champion

Defending champion, Sherri Steinhauer
Q. Sherri, welcome back. How does it feel to be here as defending champion here at St. Andrews?
Steinhauer: It’s an amazing feeling to come here to the home of golf. I have to say, I’ve just been in awe of the golf course and the city, and the aura is really magnificent here.

Q. Have you ever been here in your life before?
Steinhauer: Never.

Q. Was the course as you expected it to be?
Steinhauer: I think it’s always different from what you see on TV. To actually be on it and see that, really, a lot of the shots are blind shots and being here is completely different than watching it on TV. Everybody who plays golf, everybody should come here at some point.

Q. Did it live up to your expectations?
Steinhauer: Oh, yeah. You know, the links style golf that I played over here before at Royal Lytham, it is really with the wind, you’ve got to hit the ball low, run it up. You know, it’s just your true links style type golf course, and it’s so different than back in the United States. It’s a whole different type of golf game, and one that I just really, really enjoy because of the imagination that you have to use to play the golf course.

Q. Do you find it intimidating?
Steinhauer: Would I find it intimidating, yeah, but I have to say that yesterday, I hired a local caddie and went out there with my caddie and a local who has worked here for nine years. He was just a tremendous help just pointing out so many different things; that there’s no way I would have grasped how to play the golf course on my own. So just hearing it from experience from someone who just completely knows the golf course and has seen it in every well, as he says, every day is different. It’s never the same out there. But he’s seen it in so many different conditions; that was a huge, huge help.

Q. What is the local helping with specifically?
Steinhauer: Yeah, he was basically giving targets. There’s a number of different ways that you can approach the golf course. So he was giving me the different schools of thought of ways to approach it. He wasn’t saying, you know, this hole you have to play like this or you have to play like this. He goes: Now, here are the conditions, if the wind is doing this, you can do this. You know, some people on this hole, some people like to play down here, some people like to go over here. It’s what fits your eye. And that was very, very helpful.

Q. Will you use him to caddie for you all week?
Steinhauer: No. I just used him for just the practise round, and I’ll have my regular tour caddie caddie for me the rest of the week.

Q. Quite a few of the girls have been taking out local caddies to practise, haven’t they?
Steinhauer: Yeah, I think just never being here, and because we have such limited time to prepare, it’s definitely beneficial.

Q. Have you ever been to Scotland before?
Steinhauer: I’ve been to Edinburgh, but that’s it. I’ve never been here to St. Andrews.

Q. Is there anything you recognise, any landmarks or anything you’ve remember seeing on

Steinhauer: Probably Tiger’s win last year. He just played flawlessly. It was just a brilliant round of golf and he stayed out of trouble. He makes it look really easy, and I know it’s not easy out there.

Q. What about the history of St. Andrews?
Steinhauer: I guess, you know, when you walk across the bridge, you think of Jack Nicklaus posing for the picture. You think of Tom Morris, the history; it’s just hard to describe the feeling. It’s a surreal feeling being out there and knowing that you’re walking the fairways that all of the greats from the past have walked.

Q. From what you’ve seen so far
Steinhauer: I think it’s hard to compare because there’s just nothing you know, there’s golf courses all over the world that people try to they try to copy and make a links style course, but this ground has been here forever and you just cannot recreate something that they haven’t made changes to. Maybe they have, you know, changed the sides of the bunkers or whatever, but the lay of the land is what it was when golf started and, you know, the subtly, changes that have happened. But you can’t recreate this golf course. In that respect, knowing that how old it is, it is a great, great golf course.
Q. From your reaction, you have not quite
Steinhauer: Absolutely. The players have been talking about it ever since that it was announced that we were going to be playing here in 2007. I know from players that weren’t planning on playing even golf this year, but they said, “I’m going to St. Andrews,” and not going to miss that opportunity. There has been a buzz for quite some time.

Q. How do you feel about playing a links course?
Steinhauer: You know, the difference is that you’re playing a running game. You’re hitting it low, with the wind you’re hitting it low and you’re bumping it up. In the States we don’t play like that. But that’s the only way that I’m changing is probably making a shorter swing and using a lot of imagination and rolling it up. Like I said, that’s not how we play in the United States. But that’s what I believe you have to do over here.

Q. Were you surprised at your victory last year?
Steinhauer: Was I surprised at my victory last year? Yeah, I guess it had not been since 2004, I had not won since. But going back to Royal Lytham brought back great memories and I guess those carried over and I came out on top in the end. But if you say I’m surprised by, you know I’ve been out here a long time, and you expect to do well every week. Obviously when you win, it’s a great feeling. I don’t know that I was surprised. Not that I mean, there’s a lot of great there’s a lot of great players out here, and to beat all of them is truly a wonderful, wonderful feeling.

Ai Miyazato
Q. Thank you for coming in and joining us. You’re playing well recently and you’re at the Old Course here at St. Andrews. Have you had a chance to go out and play the course yet?
Miyazato: Only today.

Q: What were your thoughts on the course?
Miyazato: It’s just an amazing place. I can feel the history and this golf course is tough. But, well, everything is really fun for me. So it’s great, just great.

Q. What history did you know about the course?
Miyazato: That’s a good question. Just about the organisation before, about the formation of the R&A, that was formed about 340 years ago. I heard about that, but other than that, nothing in particular.

Q. Back in Japan you were under a lot of pressure to win, do you feel that it’s affecting your performance?
Miyazato: No, I don’t feel any pressure at all. I actually like the pressure. And I don’t think even if I do, I don’t feel that relates to me playing negatively or badly. And I also want to think positively about those kind of feelings that I get, and make it into a good makes me concentrate on the situation a little bit better.

Q. How does this course fit you?
Miyazato: I think you can play the course in many ways, and it suits many types of golfers.

Q. Have you been in any bunkers or anything that you recognise as landmarks?
Miyazato: I especially remember about two years ago when the men’s Open was held here and when Jack Nicklaus retired at this tournament at this golf course; and I also know about Tommy Nakajima, what he did in that Tommy Bunker, I guess is what they call it. So those are some of the particulars. I don’t know the other particulars of each of the other holes.

Q. Did you drop a ball in the bunker today?
Miyazato: Yes, I did.

Q. Did you get out?
Miyazato: Yes.

Q. In one shot?
Miyazato: Actually twice. (Laughing).

Q. Were there any surprises for you on the course? When you first saw the first hole, were you surprised at the shape of the hole?
Miyazato: I noticed that there’s no real difference between the fairway and where the green starts, as well as on each of the tee boxes, I can’t really see the fairway. I thought that was different but fun.

Q. The wind here is not like you’ve seen in Japan; how do you play it?
Miyazato: I’ve always felt that I’m a pretty good low ball hitter, so I don’t think I need to make any particular changes. And I also feel that shots from 50 yards from the green, I really feel like the wind will have a big effect on those kind of shots. So maybe I’ll have to do a little bit of 80 yard shots that roll on the ground on the fairway. So I feel like I do need to be able to to be more careful around the greens instead of just trying to hit the fairways all the time.