Sunningdale Golf Club,
Wednesday 30th July 2008
COLIN CALLANDER: Good morning, we have Lorena Ochoa with us. Is the win at St. Andrews still something you think about a lot?
LORENA OCHOA: Yes, a lot. Hello, everybody. For sure, St. Andrews was a special memory. I think I will have that at the top of my head for many years. It’s great to be here as defending champion, and I’m really excited to start tomorrow really early and hopefully we get a good start and go from there.
COLIN CALLANDER: It’s a course you know well and I believe you finished fourth here last time. Can you talk about your liking for the golf course?
LORENA OCHOA: I have good memories of the past and what happened four years ago, and I feel more mature today and I think I have more experience and that will help a lot and hopefully I can manage to make a few birdies. I think the weather is not too bad and the scores could be low, so it’s important to take advantage of the par 5s and try to really make birdies on those holes.
Q. (Regarding importance of winning first major last year).
LORENA OCHOA: I think of course winning my first major was very important, not only because everybody was asking, when are you going to win your first major. That was very important. I knew I could do it. It was just a matter of time and I just need to stay patient.
And after that, I loved winning the Canadian Open and that was a great summer, really put me in a different position as a player and also for other players to see my level of golf. And so that’s what I’m trying to repeat this year and just continue that and I hope to start this week.
Q. Do you feel the pressure going to win a major; was it a relief?
LORENA OCHOA: No, I really think it was a lot of pressure and relief, not for me about, it was more something that I knew was going to happen and I have a lot of faith in my game. I was just trying to be patient and wait for the right moment.
I’m still the same person and know that I can do it at any time and I think that helps a lot.
LORENA OCHOA: Not yet but I will do something. Let me finish tomorrow to see how it goes. That sounds good, I think I could go to Augusta and have dinner there and walk around there, I may do that if you recommend that. (Laughter).
Q. It looked for a while as though you would win every week, and recently not so much; is there any part of your game that has not been as strong as it was earlier in the year?
LORENA OCHOA: No. I felt so good and I won so many tournaments, and so it was going to happen, some time to rest and I’m okay with that, part of the season and part of golf. It was really tough mentally, just pressure and busy and too many things to do and the travel and back and forth in México was very exciting and I had a lot of things to do with my sponsors.
After the Open, it was a little bit too much for me. It was a good time to take a few weeks off and relax and rest and get back. I’m really excited right now. I’m very motivated and I would love to just have a great second part of the season. We have many tournaments and I would like to win many more. That’s my goal.
Q. You said last month when you have time you like to talk about the St. Andrews experience with your family. Is there some memory from the final round that you saw or heard or a shot
LORENA OCHOA: No. 17 when I was in the bunker, everyone panicked and even though I was winning by a lot.
I was excited, and I can’t even remember the hole 14, or 15, the par 4 coming in and the par 5 on the front nine. It was raining a lot. It was very cold and I hit a 5 wood to the green, I had like 175 yards and I had a huge putt, maybe the longest in my career, and it broke a lot and it was raining and I’m trying to keep my distance, I hit the best putt of my life probably, really close, and 2 putted for par. So that was a great memory.
Q. You said last year after you won that you would like to go back to St. Andrews and see the town at the time when you weren’t under pressure and playing golf; you were going to look at all the other things. Have you done that in the last year? Did you go back?
LORENA OCHOA: No. I think it’s something I will do maybe when I retire later on, maybe with my friends, maybe with my family.
You know, as busy as we are in the summer and as much golf as we play, when I take time off, I will not go and play more golf. (Chuckling) So maybe I will go later on. The time off I take is always in December, January, and so it’s a bit too cold. That’s one of the things I want to do later on in my life.
Q. Did it surprise you when you heard that Annika was going to retire at the end of this year, and has that got you thinking about how much longer you want to go on playing before doing other things?
LORENA OCHOA: I think we knew it was happening, this year or next year. It was surprising, the timing that she announced it; it was a bit early in the year. But we respect her a lot, and for sure it’s something that makes us think how different it is going to be on the Tour without her, and how much she has given us and golf.
You know, like any other player, I wish her the best in the next stage in her life. She helped me a lot and motivated me a lot and was a great inspiration to me and I thank her for all of the great memories.
My career, it’s to the going to go on forever but I don’t have a set number of years, maybe five, six more years, and I will see, but for sure, I want to be a little more normal person and spend more time in México.
Q. Just wondering from after the U.S. Open if you worked with Rafael Alarcón at all or if you just totally got away from golf, and if not, have you talked to him on the phone about any swing thoughts heading into this week?
LORENA OCHOA: I spoke with him the next day and we talked about things outside the golf course and inside, things that we think we need to work on. He gave me a few exercises that I’ve been doing for the last few weeks. But I didn’t practise much. It was more like a time off to relax and refocus again and get start with my new golf for the second part of the season. I was thinking before we started last week, we both agreed that the time off was good and now I feel fresh and recharged.
I haven’t talked with him this week. I think I should do it today. I think he’s waiting for the call. I will see him next week, on Tuesday.
Q. Annika has said she’s leaving, at 37 years old, and you talk about leaving in five or six years and you’ll only be 31 or 32; isn’t that too young to be leaving the game?
LORENA OCHOA: No, I have a very different way of seeing life, a different path, and that’s why I don’t want to necessarily win the same number of tournaments she won or play the same amount of years.
I’m a little bit younger, I’m aware of that, and life is too short. There are many things I would love to do, also, outside of golf. This is already my sixth year, so should be good, 10, 12 years, and then move on.
Q. Can you talk about when you have to get this trophy and put it back and you have to give it back to the R&A, just the feeling of having that trophy, giving it back, something that you have to give back but you don’t want to give back again?
LORENA OCHOA: I never thought about that. I have a great picture with the trophy and it’s just tradition. I always agree with that, and I think it’s a very important history and tradition as a golfer, having so many champions before. I’m just really happy to be part of that and my name is right there on the trophy.
We have a little smaller version of the trophy at home, and actually people come to the house and knock on the door and say, “Can I take a picture with the trophy”? It’s crazy, I have no complaints, and it’s beautiful to have that, even if it’s just for a moment.
Q. Could you expand a little bit on what you would like to do when you finish the game, please?
LORENA OCHOA: I don’t know for sure. For sure my foundation is very important. That’s my priority and I want to be there 100% and really work there and to make sure that those kids that are in need receive help and support. I think the opportunity to receive an education is very important and it’s an opportunity to change people’s lives. That’s what I want to do and just grow that in that matter with the foundation.
I don’t know, maybe golf course design; I would love to start a family; many things, but it’s so far down the road. I’m just trying to focus now on the next few weeks and that later when the time comes.
Q. Do you have a target to what you want to achieve before you retire?
LORENA OCHOA: I want to stay at the top. I want to be No. 1 as long as I play. I’m trying to focus like I said every week and just make sure I still achieve with hard work year by year and end of the year, November, I want to be top of the Money List, top of the Rolex World Ranking, which is the most important thing to be No. 1 year by year, so we go one year at a time.
Q. And you hope to retire as No. 1?
LORENA OCHOA: Mm hmm.
Q. How hard was it for you to get to No. 1, and what do you think that you have to do to maintain that position?
LORENA OCHOA: It was very hard. It took me four or five years. I think for sure you need to decide to be one step ahead of everybody and just work twice as hard. There is no real formula. It’s something that easy, and you really work hard, if you have a balanced life and you have your goals and you’re very focused on what you want to achieve and don’t get too distracted with things that happen around golf, and then most important thing is to rest and to practise and always have the time to do those two things.
And then I don’t know, I’m still learning. I am still trying to find what is best for me. I do believe I have a lot of room to improve just year by year, and that’s also one of the things that you have to keep in mind. There is always room to improve. There is always motivation. I think that’s what is most important.
Q. In México, are women golfers I know how highly you are rated out there, but are women golfers in general seen as being as important as men, because here we have clubs where women are not quite allowed in the front door and things like that.
LORENA OCHOA: In México, golf is very hard. We don’t have the public golf courses. The opportunities are very few.
I mean, I want to say they treat us really good. I think now, also, with what I’m doing and other professionals, there are about seven, eight professionals behind me that are trying to qualify for the LPGA, they open new spaces and new areas for women, for girls.
I have no complaints. I mean, it’s not the same for women and for men. There’s only a few golf courses that you can practise in the morning or you can play in the morning on one or two days a week. But it’s okay. That’s the way it is and it’s tradition, and I feel that I have support from the people at my club and in Guadalajara, and we are changing that, little by little.
Q. Do you think México can ever get to the situation that Korea are in now where women’s golf is bigger than men’s golf?
LORENA OCHOA: I think it’s already bigger for sure. I mean, we don’t have a women’s professional circuit, but we have better results than the men internationally. Of course, we are not going to be like Korea and have 30 Mexican players in the next few years. We don’t have any Mexicans this year on the LPGA, and we have about seven or eight professionals that are playing on the FUTURES Tour, and we have another ten that are playing in college, so they are coming.
Q. When people knock on the front door hoping to take a picture with the trophy, do you or your family invite them in for coffee or anything? Have you made any new friends?
LORENA OCHOA: (Chuckling) It’s more close friends and relatives, not strangers. For sure I try to keep my private life just private, and then friends, first thing they open the door, it’s like, “Where is the British Open trophy.” It changed a little bit, their priorities coming to the house.
Q. Do you get inspiration from the fact that Padraig Harrington retained the men’s open title, and do you believe that you can do it this year as well?
LORENA OCHOA: When he won, I was thinking the same, you know, I want to do it, and it would be the two of us the same. For sure I think it would be a great story. You know, it would be great, yeah.
Q. I think you said recently that one of your weaknesses is eating too many desserts; do you allow yourself that weakness because you train so hard, or is somebody telling you not to eat as much as you do?
LORENA OCHOA: That is my weakness and it’s been forever. I like to treat myself; when I play good, I have a good dessert.
It depends, tomorrow, if I have 6 under, I say, okay, I can have a dessert, but even par with four holes to go, I tell him two birdies to finish and I get dessert, so every day it changes, but that’s my motivation.
Q. Sunningdale has a great history in golf. How do you view the course and the event this year, the Women’s British Open?
LORENA OCHOA: Like I said, played here before. I was here four years ago and I know the course very well. I already played 36 holes, and this is a course that you need to be mentally prepared for, and like I said, just play really good, the par 5s to get birdies, that will be important, and just stay one day at a time. It important to get a good start tomorrow, and then just try to really focus one day at a time and I hope to have a position to win on Sunday.
COLIN CALLANDER: Lorena, thank you very much and good luck on your defence. LORENA OCHOA: Thank you.
COLIN CALLANDER: Thank you very much for coming in. Have you had a chance to see the course out there yet?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Yes, I’ve seen it. The course is in very good shape. I’m excited to be here again, a few years back. What can I say? I’m looking forward to starting off and getting going.
COLIN CALLANDER: Is it one of these courses that fits your eye?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: I mean, all courses suit my game, but of course the par 5s, that’s where you make the scores this week, and a lot of short par 4.s, but it’s about staying in trouble off the tee and get the putter going.
Q. How is your form coming into the week?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: I feel pretty good. I played decent last week. Never got anything going. Kind of loading the energy for this week I guess.
Q. How long have you been working with David Leadbetter?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: We worked since end of June, so it’s been a very short time. But at the same time, it’s been a lot of good things happening. I’ve adjusted a little bit to the things that we’re working on and I feel very good about it. It’s just keep doing it, I think that’s the key.
Q. What are you working on?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: It’s mainly the posture. Posture and getting the face more square, very simple.
Q. What do you think of the course
SUZANN PETTERSEN: All of the holes have their own little character, and only a few blind tee shots which is rare when you play a course like this. It’s pretty much when you see is what you get. The greens here are in great shape. What can I say, I mean, it’s a great golf course. I’m glad we’re back.
Q. How much will you use your driver this week?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: It really depends on the wind. Like today when it’s in on 1, you might actually grip down on a 3 wood. Second, if you hit a good drive, you might even have a 7 iron, depending on the conditions.
10, you don’t even need to hit driver. You can even hit a hybrid or a 3 wood and still have a long iron left to the green.
14 is probably the longest one, and you’ve got to try to be a little bit aggressive off the tee there. The bunker will be in play, but it’s kind of worth the risk, because then you get there. So the amount of fairways, but just one of those par 5s where you have to be aggressive and that’s a drive, 3 wood pretty much. And there’s a lot of short par 4s.
If it plays like it is today, the course will be harder and harder. They say it will be raining a little bit, but it’s fairly hard already. I probably hit driver on four or five holes.
Q. Can you predict the winning score?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: I have no idea. I don’t know, what the score was the last time we were playing here, but it’s playing very similar. The course is in, from what I remember, very similar shape.
But like I was saying, all of the par 5s are reachable, so if you play the par 5s good this week, I think you will do well.
Q. Do you have any favourite desserts
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Pudding, chocolate pudding.
Coming from France, all we’ve done is eating desserts for a week. So trying to get on a little healthier roll here and go to the gym every day and put your sneakers on. No, I’m fairly good.
Q. What was happening in France? What were you eating in France?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: In France, there’s so much good food, you can not not have any sweets or deserts, because it’s just way too tempting.
Q. Well, now you’re in Britain. (Laughter)
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Yeah, don’t worry, we’re safe now. (Laughter)
Q. What made you go to David Leadbetter? Did you go thinking there was something wrong with your game and that you needed him?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: No, there was nothing wrong with my game. It was good enough to win out there but for me, it’s all about improving and moving in the right direction. As a player, you always look for improvements, and improvements probably more in accuracy and keeping things consistent.
And all my earlier teachers have been kind of they are all from the Leadbetter school, so I figure I might as well go to the main source.
Q. I was wondering if you would rate your season from one to five, what would it be?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Three, four.
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Well, I’ve been very close. I know my game is good, and good enough to win on the LPGA. It hasn’t happened yet this year. I’ve been very close. There are a couple of times I may be should have pulled off a little bit better on the back nine than I actually did but at least I put myself in contention, and that’s pretty much what you’ve got to do out there.
I won twice in Europe, which is probably harder because you come there and they expect you to win. So I mean, if you don’t win, you have a disappointing week. Those wins actually feel better because we go in there with probably higher expectations, not only from yourself, but from everybody else. So that was good. And I played good in Ireland, which is a little bit similar to this, not very, but you still have some of the same shots.
No, it’s very, very close. And we are still only halfway through the season.
Q. Coming from have you sort of picked up
SUZANN PETTERSEN: I’m pretty happy with what’s happening in my game and in my little world. I mean, I’m trying to improve to get better, and one day I will settle down a little bit and I think that will be a very smart move, and I feel very good about the changes I’ve done. I kind of changed from last year, I have a new caddie, new physical trainer, I have a new teacher, and so it was a good thing last time I did it, so maybe it’s the same now.
Q. Are you happy with the changes
SUZANN PETTERSEN: No, it’s changes for the better, and that I’m 100% sure of.
Q. (About state of women’s golf).
SUZANN PETTERSEN: I just think the women’s golf now is as strong as it’s ever been. I mean, you have from last time we were here, kind of the picture of the golfer has kind of changed. I think ladies golf is being played at a higher level. There are more good players out here. Kind of sad that Annika is on her way down but there are so many young, hungry Americans, Koreans, Mexicans; there’s such a variety of players from all around the world, which kind of helps women’s golf and kind of helps it kind of launch it.
Q. What about Norwegians
SUZANN PETTERSEN: I am, at least. Yes, we have another Norwegian girl playing here this week. She’s playing on the European Tour. It just seems that it’s very hard to get girls to start playing and kind of taking it seriously back home. They all do what the next door neighbor is doing, so I don’t know.
Q. What is the next door neighbor doing?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Probably not golf. I think they team up. Girls, I think they just like to be with each other, and I wasn’t like that. I had two older brothers and I did what they did, and that kind of got my career kind of going in the right direction.
But I think for us it’s very hard to get girls to kind of put in the effort that needs to be put in.
Q. What else would you do?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: In Norway, it’s a ski country and all winter they ski and that’s taking up so much time. A lot of that takes up the summertime. And then there’s all kind of I don’t know, golf is easier to get boys started playing golf than it is to get girls started for some reason.
Q. Do you see the players in the west and Europe as unable to compete with the girls from Asia and Korea, that as good as they are at the age of 14 and 15 that there will be no way into professional golf
SUZANN PETTERSEN: It’s just crazy how many Asian players comes out as such an early age and comes out and plays great golf. It’s unbelievable. They are 18 year olds, fearless, just play their game; they go out and they win. It’s just unreal. I mean, I’m 27 and I kind of feel old. I don’t know what the other players out there feel, but it’s just amazing.
That’s their culture, especially in Korea. I mean, they start from when they are seven, eight, nine. I think if you start at age 14 now, too late, sorry. Everyone at that age is far ahead of you if you come from Asian countries.
At the same time, we have something we can learn from that. I think it’s a good way, it’s a good structure. Especially in golf, such a technical sport like golf, the earlier you start, the better so, they actually got the point there. They have a head start there.
Just imagine when China starts playing golf. There’s only one Chinese girl here now. If one per cent of China start playing, that’s 60 million.
Q. Can you see a day when the LPGA is secondary to an Asian Tour?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: I hope not. I hope that’s not going to happen. It seems like the PGA has kind of got that strong brand and they will never have an opponent as strong as themselves, but there are a lot of good supplements. The European Tour for the guys is a strong tour, which is a good kind of support to the PGA. I think the same is always going to be in ladies golf. I think the LPGA will always be the main tour and that’s where all of the best players will play.
At the same time, it’s important to go around and show ladies golf to the entire world.
COLIN CALLANDER: Suzann, thank you very much. Good luck this week.
COLIN CALLANDER: Ladies and gentlemen, we have Karen Stupples, the winner the last time the Women’s Open Championship was held here in 2004. Perhaps we can start with a few of the memories.
KAREN STUPPLES: It looks love to me, my name in first place here, it would be lovely to do that again. It’s brilliant to be back here at Sunningdale, and first time I’ve been back here since winning. Brings back a lot of good memories and a different feel to it with Ricoh being a new sponsor, but it would be good because I’ll be able to make new memories and hopefully still as good.
COLIN CALLANDER: Do you still wake up sometimes and think about the start to the final round.
KAREN STUPPLES: No, but I think Cristie and Rachel do, but not me. The strange thing about it is, you would have thought playing the first two holes this week would have brought the magical thing back for me. It was playing the last few holes was really more magical, because I finished with three birdies in those last few holes and I could really enjoy the walking, enjoy the moment. And I just have the vivid memory I have is looking at the crowds and seeing the English flags everywhere and everybody shouting for me and that is my biggest memory and my best memory of the whole event I think.
Q. When you look back to that famous victory last time in 2004, what was the key to winning around this golf course?
KAREN STUPPLES: I’ve thought about that, and really it was for me keeping it out of the fairway bunkers and keeping it in play, and I made some very crucial six to eight foot putts. Any time I got into trouble or hit a putt that was too far past, I would make the next one coming back. I seem to remember leaving myself some very testy 5 footers at times and I just seemed to make more, which is what you need to do in a major championship. You have to make the putts that count.
Q. You’re having a great season. Can you just talk about this year and how you feel coming back, and you must be pleased with how it’s going.
KAREN STUPPLES: I am. I’ve been really pleased. I really spent time last year getting to know the travel and what I needed to do to prepare each week and getting used to the day care system and what we needed to do.
So I really look last year as a bit of a learning year so I could come out this year and try and play the best I could and I’m lucky I have great support with Bobby and who takes care of Logan a lot of the time, which frees me up to practise when I need to. The day care on the LPGA is fantastic and I feel very free when I’m out on the golf course and I can play my game without any worries.
Yes, I’m very happy that my golf is returned. You never know when you have a baby if you’re going to play well again or not, and that was the risk that you take in terms of your career. But in terms of me personally, it’s best thing I ever could have done. He really has been the most fantastic addition to my life.
Q. Can you talk about the day care this week?
KAREN STUPPLES: My mom and dad. There is no day care this week. But my mom and dad fortunately are only two hours away and they don’t see Logan that much, so they are more than happy to come up and take him. They went to the zoo with him yesterday but I think he wears them out now.
Q. As a previous winner of the Women’s British Open, what changes have you seen in terms of your own career and levels of expectancy since you won that major?
KAREN STUPPLES: I think my own personal experience, my expectations of my game increased significantly. I think it hurt me for a while, there’s no doubt about that. I think everybody else’s expectations I think some what increased.
I don’t think they are expecting me to be, you know, world No. 1, which I was happy with. I didn’t really want that. I’m a pretty low key kind of person. I kind of like to fly under the radar and take what comes my way, and especially now. I have more important things in my life than just golf now, and in a way I’m happy for that, because it frees me up to just enjoy golf for the game that it is.
Q. With the Asian players coming through, you’ve done a lot for junior golf; what do you think of the state of Women’s British golf at the moment?
KAREN STUPPLES: It actually looks very positive. You see girls like Melissa Reid coming through, and a number of other players. Rebecca Hudson has now won a couple of tournaments and is starting to fulfill the promise that she showed as an amateur and I think it all bodes well.
I would like to see Curtis Cups being won again by Great Britain and Ireland, that would be good, but I think that will happen in the future if they keep on with the same momentum that they are getting now.
Q. Do you feel that good European players or young British players should try to get on to the LPGA to improve?
KAREN STUPPLES: I think there’s no doubt in my mind playing on the LPGA improves your game because you’re playing against the best players in the world.
I always remember my first golf coach said: You’ll only get better by playing with people that are betting than you. So I always tried to play with the men and people that are better for me for improvement, and I think the same is true with the LPGA. You have the world’s best players playing there; why wouldn’t you want to go there to improve?
Q. Who do you see as the main contenders this week?
KAREN STUPPLES: Lorena Ochoa is going to be tough. Annika will be tough because this will be her last major. I think you can have Suzann Pettersen. She’s yet to win on the LPGA this year; she’s won in Europe, so I think she’ll be pretty tough. I don’t think you can rule out any one of the Korean players, because they all putt particularly well and they all drive it straight. Seon Hwa Lee has been playing particularly good this year.
I think it’s pretty open. This golf course is a great golf course because you can play it either way. You can play it very aggressive, and you can either be burned or get rewarded for it. It’s very risk/reward, or you can play it very strategically. So you don’t necessarily have to hit it a mile off the tee in order to get good results around here. You just have to make the putts.
Q. Just back to the state of the game, two British players in the Top 50, do you think that says more about golf elsewhere rather than us being in a slump, as it were?
KAREN STUPPLES: Definitely. You think about it’s a tough comparison really because Korea is so strong with their golf programme coming up now, and so they do get them at a very young age and put an emphasis on the golf.
In this country, we like to be more broad with our achievements. We like to go to university and do other things, as well, and we are not just boxed into playing golf from the age of eight or nine or 10; whereas a lot of other countries, from the ages of 8 they just play golf, golf, golf, and I think that’s probably what you’re seeing. We are more well rounded I think because we have got other things and we are not as competitive maybe with lots of production of players.
Q. Do you think they burn themselves out
KAREN STUPPLES: No. They just have an appetite for success and they are driven and work extremely hard. And how long a playing career does somebody want? You look at somebody like Juli Inkster, she keeps going and going and going, but she also started fairly young I think. She didn’t come up at 25 I think, she was very young, so it very much depends on the individual. They might. They might have had enough by the time they get to 35 and be done but by then they will have been playing 20 years and in the Hall of Fame.
Q. The ones in the lead seem to sort of fade; do you know what happens to them at all?
KAREN STUPPLES: I wouldn’t know. I would assume they would probably go back to a normal life in Korea and maybe have a family. I don’t know.
Q. What’s your connection with Faldo?
KAREN STUPPLES: I have lessons at the Faldo Institute in Orlando with a man called Chip Koehlke, so I’m supporting them.
Q. After you won, you had some problems with sponsors, didn’t you?
KAREN STUPPLES: I did.
Q. Can you just sort of go over that and tell us what you got instead of the sponsors that reneged?
KAREN STUPPLES: Really, well nothing new has come up. I don’t have a bag sponsor. The hat I’m getting a little bit from Marriott, from the Faldo institute here. But the shoes, Titleist have stepped up, Titleist and FootJoy, so I’m getting a bit from them, as opposed to Hi Tec, which pulled out of their contract; and Dalhousie, which was the golf course that sponsored my bag and hat, they decided not to renew. So nothing has come up. I’ve only just started playing well again. I’m always on the lookout.
Q. What Koreans are playing well at the moment
KAREN STUPPLES: I think Seon Hwa Lee is definitely playing particularly well. I don’t think you can underestimate anyone. I think at any particular time they can pop up and play particularly well. They are just good at what they do and they work so hard and they are very driven.
Q. This week is a great opportunity for so many people to see the women’s game around the world. How do you assess the current position of the ladies game?
KAREN STUPPLES: I think it’s on the up and up to be honest. We have a lot of very talented players and I think as a profession, we’ve got something for everyone. You’ve got mothers playing, you’ve got young players playing, you’ve got a player from probably every country in the world playing, and so there’s something for a fan everywhere to watch. We’ve got long hitters and you’ve got short hitters and you’ve got something that people can learn on every aspect of the game, and I think it’s looking very good right now.
. What sort of fitness regime would you have?
KAREN STUPPLES: Chasing after Logan and carrying him and picking him up.
No, actually I did a little bit earlier on in the season. I did a lot of stuff trying to get my hips back in order because after having him, they were a little bit out of whack. But time wise I really struggled for time between trying to practise and get as much as I can golf wise in and then running around and chasing him, I kind of pushed it at times and I just don’t have the time or energy sometimes to do that. I want to try to hit the bed and try to get as much sleep as I can in the middle of the night.
Q. Are you as fit
KAREN STUPPLES: No, no, I’m definitely not as fit as I would like to be. I really feel like I’m still 15 to 20 pounds overweight after having him. I could do with losing that. I’m sure that every person that’s had a baby knows exactly where I’m coming from with that. It’s been very difficult.
But I’ve put an emphasis of trying to get my golf game back more than trying to get my fitness back. I hope this season I’ll be able to rectify that and put more time in on my fitness without losing sight of the main goal, which is trying to play good golf, as well.
Q. Sorry, interested about these hips being out of whack. Can you explain, is this a common thing, or was it just your hips that were thrown, and how much did the baby weight?
KAREN STUPPLES: Logan was eight pounds, five (ounces) when he was born, and I’m sure I’m not the only person that has had hip issues after giving birth.
Just the fact, archaeologists, when they get bones of females, that they can tell whether they have children or not tells you your bone structure is different once you’ve had children. So you have to assume that everything has to kind of work its way back, and my hips were a bit stuck to be perfectly honest. They didn’t want to move, and even just doing walking exercises, just walking with weights to try to get them to free up to move again, which is kind of interesting. You don’t realise that you put so much stress on your body but it really does.
KAREN STUPPLES: Yeah, that’s a long way off. Not even a little twinkle in my eye.
COLIN CALLANDER: Thank you very much. And I don’t think we’ve ever discussed archaeology in press conference before, thank you very much.
COLIN CALLANDER: Ladies and gentlemen, we have Mel Reid here, as you all well know, finished as leading amateur last year at St. Andrews and subsequently turn professional and had a fantastic first year on Tour. How do you feel 12 months in.
MELISSA REID: Yeah, I feel like I’ve progressed a lot in the past year. I’ve worked really hard, and I can see the improvements already. Turning pro is quite a big thing. I just thought it was my time to go and I feel like I’ve really fitted in on Tour and just changing myself every week and it’s nice. I’m really enjoying it.
COLIN CALLANDER: What sort of memories do you have finishing leading amateur at the Ricoh last year?
MELISSA REID: It was an unbelievable week. I had to pre qualify and the whole thing. It was great to have my dad on the bag and pretty special week for all the family. I just love St. Andrews, and it’s the home of golf and a fantastic atmosphere to be around, and honestly one of best weeks of my life. And I learned so much about my game and I got to play with some great players in practise, Annika and Jeong Jang and Cristie Kerr, and I loved the whole week.
COLIN CALLANDER: Look forward to this week.
MELISSA REID: Yeah, I played it a few times and this is one of my favourite courses, and it really does suit my eye. It in the best condition I’ve ever seen it in and it’s just looking absolutely superb. I just can’t wait to play and tee it up tomorrow.
. How do you think you measure improvement? Does it come down to pure results or do you kind of listen to yourself at the same time?
MELISSA REID: Obviously you’ve got to go on some results. I just feel that this year I’m shooting lower scores more consistently on lower courses with tougher competitors and finishing higher than I did as an amateur really.
So that’s really how I see my improvements, and Clive, that’s how he sees myimprovements, and my caddie, Brian, he sees the improvements throughout each tournament and I feel like I’m progressing each tournament I play in, which is a fantastic feeling to have.
Q. There’s been a lot of stuff written about your link with Sir Clive Woodward and the expertise he’s provided to you. What has he brought to your game?
MELISSA REID: I’m very lucky to have met him and for him to have introduced me to such great people that are on my team and we’re a very strong team. I think what I’ve learned from everybody is what hard work is and there’s no shortcut to success. As an amateur, even last year I was doing very amateur things and whereas now I’m a professional and I feel each week and each day I’m becoming more professional in the way that I am and the way that I train is getting better.
So I think that’s the main thing that I’ve learned is what hard work and dedication and obsession actually.
Q. Obsession, meaning attention to various details?
MELISSA REID: Yeah, the thing is that everyone is a great player. They would not be here if they were not talented. But to become a fantastic player and a major winner is a little different and to make a big difference in the future, and they are the small details that I feel do make may huge difference, and they are the small details that I am trying to find all the time.
Q. Given so many Koreans seem to have been playing since they were so young and playing for such a long time, how do you rate their threat in this tournament?
MELISSA REID: The Koreans are very good players, very strong. Yeah, they are tough, but it’s great to be competing against them. I want to be competing against the best players and it’s great and I want to see where I am compared to them and where I can improve. The better the field, the better it is for me.
Q. What’s the biggest difference turning from amateur to professional?
MELISSA REID: I think that I’ve just matured a lot. As an amateur, you’re in team environments quite a lot, and the problem with that is that you can only be as good as the worst player that way. You can’t really push yourself to your limits.
As a pro, I’m pushing myself as high as I can go. It’s a glass ceiling; it’s as high as want to go and I think that’s what it is. I think since I’ve turned pro, I’ve just had myself to compare and how good I want to be in X amount of years and that’s what’s really driven me since turning professional.
Q. In your quest to play against the best, when will you go to the LPGA Tour?
MELISSA REID: I’m going at the end of the year. The European Tour has been fantastic to me this year. It is a very, very good tour and it’s getting stronger and stronger and I’ve really enjoyed my year here. I will always be part of the European Tour no matter what, but I want to be the best player in the world and to do that I have to compete against the best players, which is on the LPGA Tour.
Q. Are we in England doing as much as they are doing in Korea to get their youngsters good?
MELISSA REID: I don’t know, I don’t really know what the Koreans are doing. All I know is the Koreans work very hard. I just feel that, you know, not necessarily English, but British players and British sports people in general, especially youngsters don’t understand what hard work is. I mean, I wouldn’t have done if I hadn’t had met Clive and the team that I’ve been around. I’ve been very, very lucky to meet some great people, but I didn’t know what hard work was two years ago.
Q. What was hard work to you two years ago?
MELISSA REID: Hard work was going to the gym three times a week for an hour and a half session, and practise wise, I was doing probably two, three hours a day. Whereas now, I can do up to ten hours of practise or 12 hours of practise, and two hour gym sessions. It’s a full on day for me now.
It’s everything. I look very much into my nutrition. I look very much into the way I stretch and my whole day is completely dedicated to this game.
Q. How many years do you think you will do that?
MELISSA REID: As many as I can keep it going. I don’t want to say it’s going to be to years, three years. I want to still be winning British Opens when I’m 45 years old.
Q. Of all the experts you’ve been exposed to via Clive Woodward, who has made the biggest impact or difference?
MELISSA REID: Yeah, each of them have played their own part. See, they all work together. For example Dave Reddin, my fitness guy, I would not be able to do what he does to me if my body wasn’t right, which is from Marco, my physio, and we couldn’t do that which I didn’t eat the right foods which is Adam Carey, and I couldn’t do any of this right, which Charlotte Cowie helps, my doctor.
I think if I’m completely honest, would I say I have four priorities, and I would say them four have made the biggest difference.
Q. Is there a boyfriend
MELISSA REID: There was. We unfortunately split up about a month ago. So that will be that. (Laughing).
Q. Having almost scientifically worked out what you should be doing to be a better player, is the game still fun?
MELISSA REID: Yeah, you see, this is what I’ve got to be careful in what I say, because it’s really not mechanical what I’m doing. It’s very much feel. The nutrition stuff, for example, I just bring into my life, it’s part of my life, and stretching.
Golf is a game of feel. That’s what’s fun about it is that it’s completely a feel game and you use your imagination. I wouldn’t practise if I didn’t have fun. I get bored very, very easily. You know, the day I beat him is the day I think I’m a pretty good player, which I haven’t beat him yet, so I’ve still got a lot to learn, but you’ve got to keep it fun. I’m out there for a lot of hours and, you know, 90 per cent of my time is practise and training and stuff. So you’ve got to keep it fun.
Q. Does the fact that you split up with the fellow a month or so ago because you work so hard and he couldn’t quite cope with that?
MELISSA REID: No, he was a fantastic guy, I won’t go into too much detail. He’s a normal 24 year old lad, very, very nice, but I’m not normal, and we basically just grew apart and that’s what it was. He wants to have career and I want to have mine, and it just wasn’t going to work.
Q. What do you make of the decision by Michelle Wie to not come here and try to make the cut in the men’s event in America?
MELISSA REID: That’s her decision and it’s completely fine. It’s not something I personally would do. I personally would be on this tour until I win tournaments and until I win majors and see what Annika did to push herself even harder because she’s achieved everything in the women’s game.
Yeah, you know, if I manage to become anything like Annika was, then yeah, maybe I would, but right now I’m just focusing on improving myself on the women’s tour.
Q. Do you think someone like Michelle Wie could benefit from the sort of information you’ve been given by Clive Woodward and his team?
MELISSA REID: I’m not too sure. I think that anyone would benefit from the expertise that I’m receiving. I just feel very, very lucky that I’ve been given access to these people and it’s just a great opportunity which I’m sure any player would be thankful of having.
Q. You mentioned about going on the LPGA Tour. Have you made any plans at the moment in terms of going out to the States and what your program would be out there?
MELISSA REID: Yeah, we’re working on my scheduling with my schedule guy, who is actually my fitness guy, Dave Reddin, and we are going to work out when we are going to get there and what tournaments we are going to play beforehand. And yeah, he’ll look into more detail throughout the week, and it will be different conditions. It’s 95 degrees out there and I have to prepare myself so I’m fresh, and that includes jet lag and everything like that. So, yeah, that’s what we are working towards as soon as we can.
COLIN CALLANDER: You finished tight 16th last year, and you said in the last few minutes that you have improved in the last 12 months; does that mean that you can genuinely challenge the best players in the world?
MELISSA REID: Yeah, I’m not here to make up the numbers I’m here to win. And I do understand this is my first year on Tour and this is my first proper British Open as a professional. I’m not going to expect too much of myself or be too hard on myself, but really do think I have a chance to win, and I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t and I wouldn’t put in the hours I do if I didn’t believe that I can do this.
I’m just looking forward to this week and it’s going to be a great challenge for me and I really, really want to play well here.
Q. Karen Stupples won here in 2004. Have you spoken to her about her victory around here?
MELISSA REID: I think I’m playing with her tomorrow which will be good. I’m looking forward to playing with her. She seems really, really nice, so should be a really enjoyable game. I haven’t seen Karen that much, but I will talk to her and she what it entailed and felt like and stuff. She’s Major Champion. He’s a great player.
Q. Is Clive coming down to watch you?
MELISSA REID: He’s not. He’s in Beijing at the moment so I don’t think he’s going to fly over and pop along, I’m afraid.
COLIN CALLANDER: Melissa, thank you very much.