RICOH Women’s British Open interviews
Royal Lytham & St. Annes Golf Club
Lytham St. Annes, Lancashire, England
July 28, 2009
COLIN CALLENDAR: Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to the 2009 Ricoh British Women’s Open Championship. We have here Ai Miyazato, who has been happy enough to come visit with us today.
First of all I would like to congratulate her. As you all probably know she won the Evian Masters at the weekend. You must be feeling very confident coming into this tournament.
AI MIYAZATO: Yes, I’m really happy at the moment and I played really well last week. My confidence is back and I’m looking forward to this week.
COLIN CALLENDAR: What does it actually mean to you to have won on the LPGA Tour after a couple of years, after not having quite managed a win?
AI MIYAZATO: Well, I went through a lot and obviously I learned a lot. But the win came as a result of overcoming it. So I really value those years that I had not won.
COLIN CALLENDAR: How would you place the victory alongside all of your victories in Japan?
AI MIYAZATO: Well, when I won in Japan, I was basically not scared of anything. But coming over here to the States, like I said, I went through a lot so it certainly is very valuable to me. It means a lot.
COLIN CALLENDAR: One final question before I open it out to the floor, you came here in 2006 and finished in the top 10. Is this a course you particularly enjoy, or what do you feel about the golf course?
AI MIYAZATO: I like it a lot. The weather is very typical of Britain I think. But I played my last round real solid, and so I really have a good image playing this course.
Q. You say you got your confidence back last week. Had you lost confidence somewhere?
AI MIYAZATO: It’s a very long story, but to say a long story short, I had to go through the language barriers and culture difference and everything. So all those things combined led to losing some of my confidence.
But I feel like everything is starting to gel together so, that’s why I’m getting my confidence back.
Q. Can you just talk about the reaction that you had after you won in Japan, and from your family?
AI MIYAZATO: Well, my family will probably be very happy for me. They cried in excitement. On my website, I had over 2000 comment, so I can tell from that everyone was happy.
Apart from that, I don’t know how crazy it is.
COLIN CALLENDAR: What do you think your victory will do for Japanese golf?
AI MIYAZATO: Well, it’s been four years since I’ve played here in the States, but since then, there’s been many good, young Japanese players that have come up. But by winning, I think I can show them that we can all do it and I can do it. I think the level of golf in Japan will increase as a result.
Q. Did your victory represent for Japan any kind of a victory over South Korea, and is there a rivalry between the Japanese golfers and the South Korean golfers?
AI MIYAZATO: This is a personal opinion, but obviously there are many Koreans on this tour, but it’s not just the Koreans here. It’s a worldwide tour in my opinion here on the LPGA, and I feel that I am one of the international players.
But everybody including the Korean players were happy that I had won. So I don’t really sense a huge rivalry in my opinion.
Q. Can you just give us a glimpse about the amount of pressure you felt to win from your country?
AI MIYAZATO: Well, until the last putt fell on 18, I really didn’t expect too much out of myself. I just tried to stay present and focus on the shot in front of me. But my hands and legs were shaking, so I could tell then that I really was feeling the pressure.
Q. Away from the golfing side of things, and ignoring the weather, what are your opinions of the Lytham St. Annes area as a place to come and a place to visit?
AI MIYAZATO: Well, I’ve only seen the golf course because I got here yesterday. And I also haven’t had a chance to go around town too much, but everyone here around Lytham is very nice, and I just feel lucky to have come back.
COLIN CALLENDAR: We welcome back the 2007 RICOH Women’s British Open Champion, Lorena Ochoa. Welcome back, Lorena. It wasn’t very great weather wise out there today, was it?
LORENA OCHOA: It’s okay. I think it’s the way it’s supposed to be, being here, we checked the weather last week and they said rain, rain, rain, so we are prepared for something like today.
COLIN CALLENDAR: You actually finished tied fourth the last time you were here a couple of years back. How do you think the course compared between then and now? Is it playing any different?
LORENA OCHOA: I think, for sure, the course, it’s a little bit softer. I remember playing here a few years back and just getting a lot of roll on my driver and some different shots. Even when you go to the green, you could land the ball ten, 15 yards short of the green and just, you know, bounce the ball up there. But not today.
I think they have been getting a lot of rain and the grass is very green, it’s not long like it sometimes is, and it’s not very hard ground. So we need to try to adjust to that. I don’t think the rough is playing as easy as before. It’s not hard and you don’t have that feather, it’s more like longer rough. We need to adjust to those things, and just make sure that we have a good plan for the tournament and go from there.
COLIN CALLENDAR: How would you describe your form coming into this event this year?
LORENA OCHOA: I’m feeling okay. The last few tournaments, I didn’t have a great result, but I think it was more like one bad day during the week. I’m hitting my driver better today than a few weeks ago, and I think that’s important for this week.
And I’m ready. I think the summer is very important. I didn’t play the way I wanted to play last week, so maybe it’s going to happen for me this week.
Q. It’s been a while since México, are you feeling impatient about not winning in a few months?
LORENA OCHOA: No, I don’t think impatience is the word. I don’t play as much tournaments, and the last few tournaments I play, I had one bad day. I think I just need to give myself some time to regroup and feel more comfortable, to get a rhythm. I’m okay, because I know that I have been working on a few things and I feel that I’m getting better.
I think I’m doing okay. I’m happier. I’m doing okay on the course, even with not the best result, I’m enjoying playing. I think that it’s going to be time and I’m going to wait for that time.
Q. Was there a stretch there where you weren’t happy? You look more frustrated this year on the golf course than in the past. I don’t know if you are feeling that.
LORENA OCHOA: Well, it happened early in the year, especially when I played in Singapore and then playing Phoenix and Nabisco, those tournaments.
But today is different. I don’t see the best results, but I’m good. I feel that I’m moving forward and the change I think with my caddie is going to help me. I feel that I’m doing the right thing and I’m going to continue working the same way. But I’m a lot at peace on the course, I’m thinking about the results and I’m going to get better results.
COLIN CALLENDAR: Could you tell us who your new caddie is?
LORENA OCHOA: Greg Johnston.
Q. You seem to have a lot of commitments off the course, as well, obviously with your charitable organization in México. Do you think your commitments off the course are affecting your performance in terms of making you tired?
LORENA OCHOA: No. I’ve been trying to be professional all the time in this part of my life, and I have things inside and outside the golf course. It’s not all about playing and practice. And no, I think I manage myself pretty well. I learn with the years to know how far can I go and how much time should I spend outside the course and how much time practicing.
So that’s not an excuse. I think it’s just something that it’s impossible to play good and stay at the top of your game forever, your career. I think I’m positive and I’m just going to be patient for a little bit and I’m going to get better results coming up.
COLIN CALLENDAR: Do you think because you’ve won so often the last few years, we in the press actually expect too much from you? When you’ve won twice this year, it’s hardly a major slump, is it?
LORENA OCHOA: (Laughing) It’s okay, I can handle that.
Q. When you talk about working on things, has there been any technical problems that you’ve developed, technical problems with your swing?
LORENA OCHOA: I think you always have technical problems. I don’t want to call them problems, but I think there are always things that you can practice and improve. Nothing is different with me. I’m trying to be good with my backswing, to have a shorter backswing to have more control like I always try to do every time I go to the range.
And with my putting, I made a few adjustments. I changed my putter, I change my hands, I changed my alignment. So I think they are big changes that are going to work in the next stage. So I think that I made a big improvement as far as now I’m in a much better position, the way it should be, and now I just need to get back on and seeing the ball go in and making more birdies.
Q. What is it about the caddie switch in particular that you think will help your game?
LORENA OCHOA: With Greg, for him, it’s a little bit easier to get into me, the thoughts, and to help me a little bit more. That’s one of the reasons why I change. I think it’s somebody that is going to help me in a positive way, and that’s what I’m looking for out there.
We’ve only played together three tournaments; this will be the fourth. It’s been good so far. I’m happy and I think Greg, we are both still learning from each other, but I think it’s going to be something good.
Q. The ladies don’t get to play much seaside golf, is that a big challenge, the ball bouncing and rolling into the rough?
LORENA OCHOA: It’s the same for all of the players. I think we all know what we are getting. We have an idea because we played here before, and I think you just need to prepare yourself, mentally prepare for bad conditions and just try to not get too frustrated about the weather. I like to play in the wind.
It’s the same for everybody. You just need to be able to adjust and to take in a good way the bad bounces, and hopefully to get lucky a few times and play good.
Q. Did you in one of the recent tournaments have a score of 79, and if so, what went wrong that day?
LORENA OCHOA: I don’t want to talk about nothing about my 79. I can tell you about the few good rounds last week. I don’t really think in the negative days.
Q. A word from the local media; is Lytham treating you well, the Fylde coast?
LORENA OCHOA: Yes, we played here yesterday morning and it’s been great so far. We are staying in a nice place, and I like the food. I love to travel. I like to try something different than, you know being Mexican, having an opportunity to play tournaments in different parts of the world, this is a special tournament for us. I like this place a lot and I have good memories from years before.
So far, it’s been a good experience, and thank you, everybody, that is helping, and hopefully we have a great week.
COLIN CALLENDAR: Have you got many of your friends and family here this week?
LORENA OCHOA: Only one friend. My family didn’t make it this year. They will be watching it on TV at home.
Q. Ai, a good friend of yours, can you give your reaction to her finally winning a tournament?
LORENA OCHOA: I was very super happy for her. I almost cried, we were watching her on TV on Sunday afternoon, and I got very emotional. She’s been a good friend and I know how hard she works, how much pressure she has from the media back in her country.
And I just saw the news that I am going to play with her for the first two rounds, I’m happy about that. It’s always nice to feel comfortable out there and to have somebody that you like. So I wish her the best and congratulations again.