RICOH Women’s British Open
Royal Lytham & St. Annes Golf Club
Lytham St. Annes, Lancashire, England
July 29, 2009
COLIN CALLENDER: Good afternoon, we have Karen Stupples in the interview area, the 2004 champion. It must still give you a great buzz to come back to this championship.
KAREN STUPPLES: It really does. It’s always been very special. You know, just to come here back to my home country, have my family around me, and this year particularly on a links golf course, too, and one that’s in such tremendous shape, is awesome.
COLIN CALLENDER: You finished Top 10 in 2006 here. I suspect the course played rather differently.
KAREN STUPPLES: It did. They very kindly put in some new bunkers which I think are going to cause a few issues this week. The rough is a lot thicker and it’s very green, as well so you’re not getting the run out that you were before.
It’s six of one half a dozen of another: You’re not going to get the run out into the rough and you might be able to hold the greens a bit better, but the holes will be playing longer.
COLIN CALLENDER: Are there any bunkers in particular out there that are going to cause you problems?
KAREN STUPPLES: I think the ones on three, the two new ones in the left, and the new hilling they put in there; I think on 14, as well, there’s a new bunker they put in up the left side, so you can’t really bail out down there anymore. You have to think about either being short, or being very straight.
Q.So do you think it will be a tougher test?
KAREN STUPPLES: I really do. I think right now if you shoot even par, it’s open to anybody this week.
Q.Do the conditions suit your game, the softer greens rather than obviously the hard, fast you’re used to in links?
KAREN STUPPLES: I would probably say yes, because I tend to hit the ball quite far and so it’s quite nice to be able to land it on the green, which would be very helpful, but you’ll be going in with a lot bigger club.
I think in the past, there are holes that I remember going in with little wedge and this year seems like a 5 iron. It’s going to be more of a test for sure. I think the biggest test is going to be staying out of the fairway bunkers to be honest. You have a better chance of making par from around the green than you do from a fairway bunker.
Q.Five years ago we all hoped your victory would be the start of a great push for British women’s golf, and at least from the outside, it doesn’t look like that’s happened. What’s your own thoughts on whether it’s been disappointing to you how it’s gone?
KAREN STUPPLES: From my perspective, obviously I’ve been on Tour a few years now, and I keep expecting to see a whole load of British golfers come up and come through. It seems like a lot of the players want to stay in Europe and play, and I personally don’t understand that.
I know that Melissa Reid has aspirations to come out to the States, and I think that would be a very good move for her, and anybody else, really, who wants to improve and be in the top of the game, because really, you need to play against the best week in, week out, and obviously that is the LPGA right now.
Q.Having said what you just said, and in the current economic climate, how can the tours in women’s golf support right now?
KAREN STUPPLES: I think that as the end of the year rolls on, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised how the LPGA Tour will come through it. I think right now it seems like it’s a bit doom and gloom, but I think when everything shakes out, I think it will be okay.
Q.And the European?
KAREN STUPPLES: This tour here, the European? I’m really a bit of an outsider to the European Tour, so that’s something that I can’t really make a very good comment. Because I may come here and play a few times but not that much, and I’m certainly not privy to any of the meetings. I haven’t been able to attend any of the meetings there. So I haven’t had a chance, so I’m sorry.
Q.When do you think about the Japanese player, Ai Miyazato?
KAREN STUPPLES: I was very happy for her to win last week at Evian. I think it was very long overdue for her to win on the LPGA, very strong player, very good, and she’s very nice, too. I like her very much.
So I was very excited for her. She deserves it. And I’m looking forward to playing with her.
COLIN CALLENDER: You have a very good pairing tomorrow, don’t you.
KAREN STUPPLES: I don’t know how that happened. Very happy with that, Lorena and I, good group.
Q.How do you see the chances in the Solheim Cup, because it’s a bit gloom and doom from a lot of Europeans looking at it going over there with the strength of the American Team on paper.
KAREN STUPPLES: Yeah, it looks that way, doesn’t it, on paper. Everything looks very much for them on paper, and I would say that the European Team will be very much the underdogs going over there and playing.
Match play is a funny game at any level. And I think that anything can happen. You have to just look at the current form of players playing and I think The European Team as such is playing pretty well right now and I think they will be a match for anybody.
Q.Have you been encouraged to try and play more in Europe with the qualifying system?
KAREN STUPPLES: Yes, it has and it’s a disappointment to myself that I have not been able to come over and play too much more. Obviously with a two year old, it’s a little bit more complicated for me getting back to play. Even packing his luggage and getting him into the car is a hassle sometimes. So coming all the way back from America to here to play a couple of events is very difficult.
I’m playing in Wales next week. That doesn’t help, obviously, with the numbers, but it’s not through lack of not wanting to. It’s just due to the logistics of having a family and trying to do that with them. So I would be relying on a pick.
Q.And how do you view that?
KAREN STUPPLES: I don’t know. I mean, I’m in the running for a pick, because I’ve been invited, but I don’t know if that is a good sign or not. I think it very much depends on what happens this week and how things shake out with the European rankings and the World Rankings. But I’m definitely on the short list, but as I said, you never know. I mean, for me, I just want Alison to pick the team that can win. Whether I’m on that or not, it doesn’t worry me. It would be much better that the team wins. So she has a tough job ahead of her, but she’s certainly up to the task.
Q.How confident are you shooting a low score this week?
KAREN STUPPLES: I’ve tried to not think about score, because I think this golf course is you know, you’re going to have some holes that will play easy and some holes that will play hard. So you have to almost take par out of the equation when you go out and play.
I’m trying to not think of numbers and just play the best that I can play, and hopefully that will mean that I will be sitting here with the trophy at the end of the week. But you know, if I take numbers out, and just try and do the best that I can, I would have a good chance.
Q.What would you say to those people who are looking with regards to the Solheim Cup that are looking at the way women’s golf has gone the last couple of years, and does it need changing, the makeup of the two teams?
KAREN STUPPLES: I actually like the way the two teams are. I think the Solheim Cup is a great tournament, and it would be a shame for it to change. It’s just too good of an event. There’s too much tradition, too many chants on the first tee for it to change (laughing).
Q.(Regarding changing format).
KAREN STUPPLES: I believe there was some talk about that with Carolyn, the old Commissioner, but I don’t think anything came of it.
Q.The qualification system looks increasingly out moded year after year when we get to A Solheim Cup; are you still comfortable with it?
KAREN STUPPLES: It is what it is, and I think that they have made great improvements in the qualifying for the European Team for sure.
I think taking World Ranking in consideration is fantastic. And Alison having three picks on top of that, I really think that she should be able to get the best team that she could possibly get out of the new criteria.
Q.Can you just shed some light on the matters of bringing grass roots in America, how it doesn’t happen from watching in this country, we don’t seem to have enough juniors playing the game.
KAREN STUPPLES: I know that in America, they have high school golf teams and then obviously the university golf teams, so they are starting playing competitions against different high schools at a younger age, and I think that that’s a good thing, because they are doing it in school.
I think in the U.K., very much you are left to your own devices. You have to be self motivated and self driven enough to do it for yourself, and that really applies to any sport here. When I was in school, you could play netball or field hockey, and really, there wasn’t any other option to do much else.
So in America, you have so much more opportunity to do all different kind of sports. And I think that probably helps to be honest. But in the absence of doing in schools, I think you need to have more clubs and groups that start kids off young. I know that at my sister’s school, they have the little golf with the plastic clubs and the big balls, tri golf, and that looked fun. And I think if you can start seeing golf as fun, I think more kids will start playing.
I know my son, looking at my son now, I can’t imagine him playing golf, he’s too high energy. It’s pretty expensive to be a member of a club in the States. And I think I don’t honestly know if I had grown up in the States, I don’t know if I would have even played golf, because I was very fortunate that my dad actually started as an associate member at Prince’s Golf Club, and eventually he got to be a full member. And through him I got free golf, because I was a junior, so I had free golf there. And then I continued to have free golf; I think if I would have had to pay for it growing up, certainly my father never could have afforded it for us.
So, I don’t know, at least in that way, the clubs are doing the right thing. I think it’s just a question of almost image I think, changing the image a little bit here, and trying to make it the in sport.
I think the other thing as well, they talk about trying to get golf into the Olympics, I think that would be huge for golf in general because I think then it would be much more visible to a lot of people.
COLIN CALLENDER: Ladies and gentlemen we have Michelle Wie in the interview area, welcome to the RICOH Women’s British Open. I understand you had a chance to play the course now. How is it playing?
MICHELLE WIE: It’s nice. I got to play on Monday and I got to play on Tuesday. Tuesday was a little bit more wet than Monday but the course is playing really well. I think it’s a lot more green than it was last time around.
But you know, it’s in fantastic shape. I’m really excited to come back and play links golf. So I’m really looking forward to the next couple of days.
COLIN CALLENDER: You finished tied 26th last time around in 2006. What are your memories from that tournament?
MICHELLE WIE: Those bunkers (are) all I remember, you know. (Laughing) But I think this time around, I’m going to try my best to stay out of them.
Q.We spoke to Karen before and she was saying level par would be a good score for her, and she thinks that could possibly win the tournament; do you agree with that?
MICHELLE WIE: I definitely would agree par is a really good score out here. I just have to put it in the fairway, put it on the greens and try to give yourself birdie opportunities, and if you do get in trouble, you just have to play it smart and not get too greedy out here. That is the main key. It is a Major Championship. It’s not an easy golf course. I think par is a really good score out here.
Q.You were talking about your memories of the
bunkers; have you noticed that there are an awful lot more?
MICHELLE WIE: They seem like they are multiplying. But there’s still grass on the course, so just trying to find that grass.
Q.Just in 2006, there was a lot of pressure on you in those days obviously, and the world was watching and there was that incident with the bunkers like you said. How do you think you’ve changed from now to then?Are you much more sort of calm and do you feel less pressure now?
MICHELLE WIE: You know, I think I just feel better because I’m a lot healthier. I think a better mind set. I think like after all that’s happened to me, you know, I think nothing really can faze me more than that.
So I think just starting afresh, joining the Tour this year, making it through school, just finding joy in little things and just finding success in little things. Just moving and just keep working at it and have a positive mind set on things. I think it’s helping me a lot and I was having a lot of fun out here, so that helps, as well.
Q.Do you feel you’re much more part of the Tour now that you’re an LPGA member?
MICHELLE WIE: Yeah, I think it just comes with joining the Tour. There’s a lot of nice girls out here. I’ve gotten to play with a lot of them and gotten to know them a lot better, so it’s been fun getting to know people, getting to know the courses. You know, just getting to know everyone out here, it’s been fun.
Q.What sort of finish do you think you might need to get in the Solheim Cup team and is that part of your thoughts this week?
MICHELLE WIE: Well, I think a win would make my life a lot better. So I’m hoping for that. That’s the goal.
Q.There was an article in the paper last week about the specifics of the injuries to your left wrist a couple of years ago; does it still affect you, do you still have treatment on it, and is it still having any effects on your game?
MICHELLE WIE: Well, it did, whether I like to admit it or not, it did have a huge impact on my game, my psyche. I think going through that I think is not fun when you’re not playing 100 per cent.
I think after all of that, it made me a stronger person and it made me want it even more; you know, going through that and not having a healthy body makes me appreciate the good things a lot better, a lot more.
So right now, I feel really healthy. I don’t really go through a lot more treatment. Just strengthening everything so things like that don’t happen again, and a lot more careful in other activities that I do, because I didn’t hurt it while I played golf. I just hurt it running and stuff. So I’m just a lot more careful what I do and what I don’t do.
And I think I definitely became a lot stronger after that. Obviously I wish it didn’t happen to me. Obviously I wish I didn’t go through that. But at least it happened when I was really young and at least it didn’t happen when I was a lot later in my life. I’m healthy and that’s the most important thing, and I have a stronger mind set about it now.
Q.Where did the Solheim Cup feature in your plans earlier this year?
MICHELLE WIE: I would love to play. I think it would be the greatest honor. It’s one of the biggest goals for me this year is to play in the Solheim Cup. Obviously it’s been weighing on my mind the last couple the whole year. Right after I got through Q School, I was talking to Meg (Mallon) and she reminded me that the Solheim Cup was this year, and was talking to Beth (Daniel) and all that.
Obviously it’s on my mind and it’s definitely a big goal of mine, but I think this week, I think like I said, a win will solve everything. Good playing will solve everything. So I’m just out here and (trying) to show them that I could play good golf and hopefully I can play well enough to make the team.
Q.You mentioned the bunkers in 2006, do you have a different strategy this time?
MICHELLE WIE: I think so, in some ways. But I think the main thing is try and keep it on the fairway. I think it’s a little different strategy. I think even if I have to play a little further back, just try to keep the ball in play here.
Q.With respect to being a different player in 2006, do you think the bunkers
MICHELLE WIE: Yeah, I think there’s a definite respect for these bunkers. These bunkers are not just any sort of bunkers. They are definite hazards. I’m out here to try to get the ball in play from the fairways because the greens are receptive and stuff like that. You’ve basically just got to get it in the fairway.
Q.And how many more events will you play
MICHELLE WIE: I’m not really sure. I start school like end of September, so up until then.
Q.Do you think you need more patience around a links course; does that suit your game?
MICHELLE WIE: Yeah, I think you do need patience around here, especially when the wind starts to blow and the weather starts to go crazy. You just have to keep your head on straight.
And you are going to have some bad holes out here. You’ve just got to stay patient and I think that’s a big goal for me this week is just never lose sight of what I’m doing and just be patient and just kind of trot along.
Q.Are you receiving any treatment for the wrist?
MICHELLE WIE: Not right now, no.
Q.Is it 100 per cent?
MICHELLE WIE: Yeah, I think so. It’s been healing pretty good.
Q.Are you worried about the state of women’s golf at the moment, you hear all of these stories about events being scrapped or next year, chief executives being kicked off the Tour. Are you personally worried about it?
MICHELLE WIE: Personally I’m not really that worried. I think that we have a strong enough product. I think everyone out here is strong enough, and I think the LPGA itself is really solid. I think it’s really strong out here.
You know, we’ve made some decisions to change stuff and I think that was good. Everyone just came together and we got stronger because of it. You know, there’s always talk about how things are going haywire and this is going to turn bad and that, but in the end everything seems to work out. So I think we are a stronger product and I believe in that and I think we’ll get through this and become stronger as a whole.
Q.When Annika was playing, she was the superstar and with her not playing, you are probably the one person in the game to be the superstar; do you feel any responsibility?
MICHELLE WIE: I think right now, my responsibility is to play well, and to get that win. And I think everything else will take care of itself, and I think right now, I’m just trying to work on my game and try to become that player that I want that I want myself to be and that everyone wants me to be.
I think in the end, it’s all about good playing and right now I’m just trying to focus on that and really just work hard on it and really just try to show everyone what I have.
Q.Since you changed management groups, has that there been noticeably different advice that you’ve received?You had bodyguards with you last time you were at Lytham; do you still have people looking after you like that? What are the differences since the switch of management groups?
MICHELLE WIE: You know, I really enjoyed my time at William Morris. I still talk to people there and stuff. We still have a really good relationship.
I think it was a really good decision that I made moving on where I just wanted to make a different choice. I think regarding the bodyguards, it really wasn’t my decision. I wasn’t like, I want ten guards with me because I’m just that cool. It wasn’t really that kind of stuff. It was just the tournament believed that I might need that extra.
But it just depends on the week and depends how many death threats I get that week. (Laughter) I guess this week it’s only a couple, so I’m not in that much danger that week.
I’m really happy with IMG. They have done a lot of good stuff. They work really hard, and I think the same with William Morris, same with IMG. It’s great to know that they have my best interests in mind and they really keep an open mind of what I want to do. You know, they always just listen to me, so it’s great.
Q.Have there been death threats in the past?
MICHELLE WIE: Not directly to my face, but I’m sure there are; that I haven’t heard yet. But I haven’t heard anyone to my face.
I think it’s a different kind of management company. William Morris is more entertainment management but it’s like comparing apples and oranges really. They are both really great management companies. I just felt having a slight different change in management would be better. But like I said, IMG and William Morris are both really great companies, and IMG have done a lot of good things for me so far and I’m just really happy with them.
Q.Do you have more say in your career now than you used to?
MICHELLE WIE: I always did have say in my career I think. There is an idea where I really had any say, but I always say what I wanted to do. I think as I’m getting older, I think I’m just starting to know how to putt my voice into things. You know, when I’m younger, I just didn’t really know. I just would say stuff and now I know who to go to, who to talk to when I have certain issues that I want to talk about.
And I think I’m just starting to know the system a little bit better, and I think it comes naturally; I definitely want to have a strong input on my career, because it is my career. So I’m just trying to work on that.
Q.If you need a wildcard, do you think you deserve one?
MICHELLE WIE: Well, I would like to say I deserve one. It’s just hard to say. Everyone is working really hard to get on the team. But I would love to play on the team, and you know, I feel like I played well this year. But like I said, that’s all in the past.
All I can do, I have one tournament left. I have one tournament left this week, and it will all take care of itself if I play well, so I’m trying to think about that.
Q.What kind of scores have you been shooting in your practice rounds?
MICHELLE WIE: I don’t really like to scope score in practice rounds. I just hit different shots, hit different tee shots and hit different shots on the green and chip and putt. Just try and get the feel for the golf course.
Q.And you’re out tomorrow afternoon?
MICHELLE WIE: Well, I can’t really prefer that, I would rather play in the morning but I’m playing in the afternoon but it is what it is.
Q.I just wanted to clear it up the thing about death threats. I’m assuming that’s entirely tongue in cheek and no tournament has ever received them and your management company haven’t received them and no one has ever received them secondhand and this was an entirely tongue in cheek comment, because Tiger has seriously received death threats.
MICHELLE WIE: Well, you always sign these forms in tournaments like if you self a death threat, do you want to be informed or not, and I’m like, no, I don’t want to know. I’m still alive, I’m still breathing and it’s all good.
In all seriousness, I don’t think I have; think is the key word here. But in all seriousness, I think that the tournament has done such a wonderful job of keeping me safe, because there have been some instances where it did get a little dodgey, and I’m just so grateful for the tournaments trying to protect their players and stuff.
You know, I think that’s an interesting matter I know once I say that, people are going to start writing them, but extra protection won’t hurt anyone.
Q.In the future, will you watch how you phrase your responses?
MICHELLE WIE: Well, I don’t think I said anything bad here, you know, it’s just I think security detail is important in tournaments especially when you’re playing.
Q.Getting back to it, I think you’ll be safe coming from local media, the Lytham crowd are mainly over 70, so I think you’ll be all right. You’re in Lytham yourself; are you enjoying your stay over there and are you enjoying the week?
MICHELLE WIE: For sure, the crowd is great. I always notice when I come over here and play that they are just so respectful to players. You never hear a cell phone go off. They really know about the game, and even the people that don’t really know about the game, they are just so respectful towards the players. And even people that come up to you and ask for autographs and pictures they so kind.
I just feel so welcome this week. The death threats was a joke and all of that. But I think the people here, I just notice that every time I come, they are so respectful towards the players and the game.
Q.How does all of that compare with playing tournaments in America?
MICHELLE WIE: Oh, America is good, too. I think they are learning to be to turn off their cell phones and everything. It just depends on week to week. But the crowds in America are great, too. It’s just a different crowd. I can’t compare them both.
The crowds in general are good. They do make mistakes and they do forget their cell phones. Not a big deal, just laugh it off and step away from the ball. Crowds are great in general. There’s so many people out there that if one cell phone goes off, big deal.
COLIN CALLENDER: I’d like to welcome the defending champion Jiyai Shin to the interview area. I understand this is the first time you have been at Lytham. Can you talk about the course a little bit.
JIYAI SHIN: Hello everyone, thanks for coming. I played yesterday’s Pro Am. I played 18 holes. This course is so tough. It’s totally different than Sunningdale because Sunningdale has wide fairways and the weather was good. But this week, fairways are so narrow and there are a lot of bunkers out there and the weather is more cold.
COLIN CALLENDER: Do you think that keeping out of the bunkers will be the key to getting around this golf course?
JIYAI SHIN: I think so. Bunkers are so deep and small, so that will make it play hard. So very important to stay in the fairway.
COLIN CALLENDER: Is St. Andrews the only other links golf course that you’ve ever played?
JIYAI SHIN: I played St. Andrews Old Course. Very similar to this course I think, like the bunkers. I played a few years ago at St. Andrews.
COLIN CALLENDER: Was that your first?
JIYAI SHIN: Yes, first in the Open. It played very hard two years ago, so a little bit I have bad memory but last year changed my mind. So I have confidence, this course right now, because I have I can’t hit driver straight.
COLIN CALLENDER: You come in here having won four events since winning this tournament last time. You must be very, very confident.
JIYAI SHIN: Yeah, that’s right, confidence and control, too.
COLIN CALLENDER: Did that make a big difference to you, winning a Major Championship, improving your confidence?
JIYAI SHIN: Yes, of course, last year before this event, I’m always thinking that the LPGA Tour is too high for me, too difficult for me, but after I won this, I got confident, like, oh, I can do this Tour with success.
And then the last few months, too.
COLIN CALLENDER: You spent a lot of this year in America. How have you enjoyed being in America?
JIYAI SHIN: I really enjoyed the LPGA Tour right now, and then I’m very surprised that I already two times won, and then now I’m close and I’m really happy with this.
COLIN CALLENDER: I heard the other day that you had made a music record in Korea; is that correct?
JIYAI SHIN: That’s right.
COLIN CALLENDER: Would you tell us about that, please.
JIYAI SHIN: I did mine for charity, I did special for charity. So I’m like putting the music, music to make money to give to charity.
COLIN CALLENDER: Did you sing on the record?
JIYAI SHIN: I sing.
COLIN CALLENDER: So if you win this weekend, might you sing at the prizegiving?
JIYAI SHIN: Yes, hopefully I do. (Laughing).
Q.Have you had as much experience in links golf as you’d like, playing in the wind and hitting the ball low, and did you watch Tom Watson at all at Turnberry?
JIYAI SHIN: Yeah, I saw Tom Watson play. And then links course always play tough, very hard. Fairways are really firm and greens make it hard, too. Before the last year when I won, I really worry about the links course, but now, no, nothing.
COLIN CALLENDER: Your English is much, much better than last year.
JIYAI SHIN: Thank you very much.
COLIN CALLENDER: Have you been taking classes or just practising with the other girls?
JIYAI SHIN: Actually my caddie has been a big help for me. We always try to speak English, so that’s a big help for me.
COLIN CALLENDER: What’s his name.
JIYAI SHIN: Dean Herden.
Q.I’m sure speaking to your caddie all the time must be a huge help, but has there been any formal lessons, or if you want them, do the LPGA offer them?
JIYAI SHIN: Yes, in Korea, they have it for the Korean players. We have English lessons for the interviews.
Q.And how many have you taken these lessons?
JIYAI SHIN: A few times, not much, because we need to play the tournaments. So I did about ten hours, under ten hours I think, seven, eight I did.
Q.And didn’t you say you played piano before you played golf, or was it the violin?
JIYAI SHIN: Yes, I played the piano a few years.
Q.Do you accompany yourself on the piano when you sing?
JIYAI SHIN: Well, I played piano but it’s a long time ago and I almost forget. So I want to learn it again this winter time. Hopefully in the next few years maybe play the piano with song.
Q.Do you sing in English or Korean?
JIYAI SHIN: Actually my songs only have Korean, but I can sing English songs a little bit.
COLIN CALLENDER: I think I’m right in saying 29 Korean girls, women, are playing this week. Why do you think there are so many good Korean golfers?
JIYAI SHIN: Well, I think you know, Se Ri Pak, 1998, she won the U.S. Open. After Se Ri Pak won, we are watching, so many started in golf. So we all are thinking Se Ri Pak is on the LPGA Tour, so we think we try for the LPGA Tour. I think after Se Ri Pak won, really made a lot for the LPGA Tour.
COLIN CALLENDER: And is there a big rivalry between the Koreans?Do you all want to do better than each other?
JIYAI SHIN: Maybe. (Laughing).
Q.Do you base yourself in America and do you like living in America?
JIYAI SHIN: I live in Atlanta, Georgia. I just moved a couple months ago.
Q.Is your father there, too?
JIYAI SHIN: Not yet. Maybe this wintertime with my family he will come to stay.
Q.Have you ever met K.J. Choi or any of the men?Do they speak to the ladies on Tour?
JIYAI SHIN: No, but I met him at the men’s U.S. Open. I went to men’s U.S. Open and I met K.J. Choi and we were talking a lot.
He said he watches the Korean ladies play, he spends time watching. He said together we are doing great.
COLIN CALLENDER: Ladies and gentlemen, we have Paula Creamer in the interview area. Paula, you’ve played here before, in 2006, how do you reckon the conditions compare between then?
PAULA CREAMER: There’s a lot more bunkers, that’s for sure, especially off the tee. This golf course is truly based by the wind. I’ve played it three days now, and every day has kind of been a different direction of wind. I know tomorrow it’s going to be completely opposite from what it was today.
Really, I love this golf course. It sets up really well for my game. I have to hit pretty straight tee shots here. You have to be able to control your ball flight and you have to hit a lot of parts of the greens. The greens are so large here, it puts a premium on giving yourself opportunities.
COLIN CALLENDER: We had Karen Stupples in here about an hour or so ago and she reckoned that level par, if the conditions stay like this, level par would be a good score. Do you reckon that to be the case?
PAULA CREAMER: It’s so hard to determine a winning score, especially at the British Open, especially here. The weather can change every hour. But even par every day is a good score. However, you just have to take what the golf course gives you that morning.
Q.Are you coming in with good form at the moment, you must be pleased with your game?
PAULA CREAMER: I am. I’m starting to play really well now. I’m hitting the ball great. I’ve been having a lot of confidence with my putter and I’m just trying to I did some swing changes in my couple of weeks off and I’ve now been able to take them to the golf course with confidence. I feel like I’m headed in the right direction.
Q.Do you find the course easier this time around than the last time you were here?
PAULA CREAMER: It’s very different. It’s much more dry when we played here in 2006. It’s very soft. Well, not soft, but for a British Open course. The greens are not as fast as I thought they were going to be. They are a little bit sort with all of the rain we have been having, but at the same time they can’t be lightning; otherwise we would be out here for seven hours. I think the way it’s set up, is different and most importantly the bunker changes will have an influence on a couple of holes.
COLIN CALLENDER: You mentioned a couple of swing changes; can I ask what they are, please.
PAULA CREAMER: Sure. Namely I tend to get very flat in my golf swing, so I’ve been trying to get much more steeper on the ball and setting my wrists much quicker and for me. That’s always been one of my tendencies for me to not do that.
So I’ve been working hard on getting the club in front of my body, and hopefully I can do that for four days out here and we’ll see what happens on Sunday. But those swing things are something I worked really hard on in the off season, and when I got sick, things like that went the other direction.
Q.Are you able to practise full force now?
PAULA CREAMER: Yeah, everything is fine. I’ve been practising a lot, hitting a lot of balls. Here, you want to play more than you want to beat balls on the range which is a good thing for me.
I haven’t had any pain. It hasn’t been swollen. I haven’t had any discomfort out on the golf course since the Open. So I’ve feel like brand new.
COLIN CALLENDER: For the benefit of the British journalists who might not know, can you describe what the injury was?
PAULA CREAMER: I had to withdraw from Wegman’s and Owens Owens Corning on the LPGA schedule. I had tenosynovitis in my left thumb, and I had to get two cortisone shots and I was able to play at the Women’s Open and that was the first tournament back. But I had to withdraw. I couldn’t play.
Q.Lorena seems to be having a little bit of trouble
PAULA CREAMER: It is. That’s always been a goal of mine. However I’m fifth right now. There’s four people in front of me, not one. I have to be able to come out and play some good golf and move my way up the rankings. I feel like I’ve been in contention a lot. I just need to get a win under my belt this year.
Q.Have you had to have more patience
PAULA CREAMER: Yes, it’s been a very frustrating year, it has. I think it’s been a year that I can look back on and really know that I have to be tough. It’s been unfortunate. I’ve gone through a lot, but it’s getting better after the illness with my stomach and then my thumb happened.
So hopefully we have got everything out of my system for several, several more years. But it has been very hard emotionally and physically. I want to go out and I want to play every week and I want to be in contention and when I have to sit out, especially when I have to sit out of those tournaments, one of my favourite events; especially when you’re defending, it’s very hard to withdraw from.
But I had to do it and you have to look at your career in the long run, and like I said, it has been a very hard year, but we are definitely going on the way up.
Q.How do you feel about the women’s tour, and what would be the best possible thing that could happen this week?
PAULA CREAMER: The first question was how do I feel about well, I feel that we have the best product that we have had in a long time, especially what I have seen, there’s a lot of wonderful players out there. Every week, there’s a different winner. I just think that the tour is getting much more deeper. You know, there’s been a lot of changes that have happened and hopefully we can see some changes in the next couple of years.
Q.What would be the best thing to happen for the Tour?
PAULA CREAMER: For just this week in general? I really think that we just need to I think our tour, like I said, we have a wonderful product. But basically it’s all about relationships with our sponsors and knowing that we care a lot about them and we want them out here and we are very excited to be playing, especially this week. The RICOH Women’s British Open is one of our top events and they are a wonderful sponsor and it’s all about relationships.
Q.Do you see in the future, fewer events?
PAULA CREAMER: I hope not.
Q.Well, do you think it will get back to the number it has been?
PAULA CREAMER: Yes, for sure, I do. Without a doubt, I really feel strongly about that. It’s been an interesting couple of years, but I feel it’s happened and we have to kind of move on and get our tour back to the way it was.
Q.When do you think that will happen?
PAULA CREAMER: I’m not sure. I hope soon. I think it will be soon. It is a difficult economy right now, but at the same time, I think we can do that as soon as we can.
Q.You were mentioning before the different wind direction playing a part this week. Some players will not have seen links conditions before. Are you troubled by the wind, or are you quite happy to play in it?
PAULA CREAMER: I am. I’m happy playing in hard condition. I’ve always felt that’s one of the strengths of my game. I kind of feel like if it’s raining here we are not here, so mentally I am prepared to come out in my rain gear and kind of bop around out there.
I think it’s fun. We don’t get that opportunity as much in the States. When we come over here, it’s all about mental toughness and just kind of grinding your way through. That’s what I feel my game can do.
Q.Part of the problem
PAULA CREAMER: No, I don’t think so. I took my couple weeks off and I felt that that’s what my body needed, and I did that for the long run. I didn’t do it for the short these couple of events.
I’m 22 years old and I’m not going to do anything that’s going to harm or jeopardise my career.
Q.(About local food).
PAULA CREAMER: Yes, I had my fish and chips, yes, but I didn’t eat all the fries.
PAULA CREAMER: I had halibut, yes. No, I sat down, but I didn’t take out. But I will, I think that’s the coolest thing taking them away in the newspapers.
RICOH Sponsorship Announcement
Kirk Yoshida, Deputy President, Ricoh Company Ltd.
Shona Malcolm, CEO, Ladies’ Golf Union
Alastair McKay Forbes, Tournament Chairman and VP, IMG
COLIN CALLENDER: Ladies and gentlemen, you may have wondered why there were five seats up there, but we would like to make an announcement. Before I do so, next to Paula is Shona Malcolm, the CEO of the Ladies’ Golf Union; at the end Alastair McKay Forbes, tournament chairman and vice president IMG and now, Kirk Yoshida, Deputy President, Ricoh Company Ltd.
KIRK YOSHIDA: It is with great pleasure that we are here today to announce the continuation of our partnership with the Women’s British Open until 2013. When we began our relationship in 2007 and when the event was held for the first time at the home of golf, St. Andrews, the first time a professional women’s event has been played over the Old Course. The fantastic feedback from the players, fans and our customers that followed the 2008 RICOH Women’s British Open at Sunningdale, further underscored the success of our relationship. And here we are at Royal Lytham and St. Annes in the third year of our sponsorship, and I am delighted to be able to share with you today we are continuing for three years, having already committed until 2010.
It is very important that any sponsorship project is analysed to make sure that it is answering all of our business needs. Almost every major area of the Women’s British Open has overdelivered. We feel very happy to have found an event that matches up so well with our heritage and brand value, and we place a huge value in our relationship with the Ladies’ Golf Union and IMG.
This championship is very special to RICOH and our customers and employees and we have all enjoyed the association with this prestigious tournament. We support the women’s game and are very, very proud to be the long term title sponsor of this great championship.
Thank you all for being here today to share in this exciting news and we are very grateful for your continued support of the championship and wish you a very successful and enjoyable week.
And finally, there is one more exciting announcement that we would like to make today. And so I will hand over to Shona to give you further details, thank you.
SHONA MALCOLM: Thank you, we at the Ladies’ Golf Union and our partners, the LET and LPGA and IMG we are delight that RICOH has decided to extend its sponsorship of the British Open. It’s fantastic news to the just for our Championship, but for women’s golf.
In the current climate nothing can be taken for granted and for a prestigious brand like RICOH to make this commitment is excellent news for golf and a testament to the strength of the championship. It’s been a pleasure working with RICOH over the last three years, and indeed to have our showcase championship associated with such a high quality global organisation.
The strength of the entries reflects the importance of this Championship, and the Ladies’ Golf Union is committed to playing the RICOH Women’s British Open only on world class, championship courses.
To this end, I’m delighted to confirm two championship venues which I’m sure you will agree fit. Last year we announced a partnership with Event Scotland and committed the RICOH Women’s British Open to being held in Scotland on five occasions between 2011 and 2020.
In 2011 the RICOH Women’s British Open will be hosted for the first time over the famous Carnoustie Links in Angus, Scotland. Carnoustie is one of the U.K.’s most famous and impressive golf courses, and we are delighted to add it to the rotation for the Championship.
Secondly, the much anticipated return to the Old Course at St. Andrews will take place in 2013 after a phenomenal success of the first visit there in 2007.
Really these are two first class courses that are both wonderful tests of golf and will provide an exciting challenge for the best women golfers in the world. I’m sure you’ll agree that the future of the RICOH Women’s British Open looks even more so after today’s great news on the RICOH’s sponsorship and future venues looks very exciting, thank you.
PAULA CREAMER: Speaking for the players, I think it shows how dedicated they are to not only my golf, but LPGA golf and the LET and everybody involved with it. I think it’s wonderful that we will be going to those events and to those courses. I’m excited; I’m a little intimidated by Carnoustie but I’m ready to take it on. We’ll see what happens with that. I’ve had great memories at St. Andrews, and I’m really looking forward to and I know all of the girls do, as well.
ALASTAIR MCKAY FORBES: We entered into a partnership with Event Scotland, and it’s common knowledge that we agreed to go to Scotland, and it made sense to announce the first two of those five venues today. Especially with the return of St. Andrews which I know will be exciting news for everyone.
Discussions on the 2012 venue are almost complete. It will clearly be a championship venue of the status that everyone has come to expect of this great event, and we will probably be announcing that very shortly. It could be anywhere but probably not in Scotland.
SHONA MALCOLM: This is the fourth time we have been here and it is a very favourite venue of ours.
ALASTAIR MCKAY FORBES: Obviously the date is an issue and one we are working through right now, and that’s really why we are not quite ready to announce 2012. We want to get the dates, the venue, everything in place.
We have made commitments to the tours and we will obviously be looking to move our prize money in line with all other major tournaments. Discussions to take place, but we will be in line with other tournaments.
Q.The Women’s British Open seems to be the perfect event to represent our brand; can you explain a bit more, why?
KIRK YOSHIDA: When we signed first sponsorship the first year at St. Andrews Old Course, we saw incremental value for the brand awareness of RICOH. This tournament reached out to almost 100 countries received broadcasting of this championship. So we had such a great, great return on our customers, our employees, and also we are very fortunate to have such a great support from LPGA, LGU, LET, such a great, great support for these organisation.
So one of the reason why we extended our relationship with these organisation is that very, very strong and also long term partnership. This is a perfect situation and match for RICOH, the women’s golf tournament.
Q.Does that mean you sell more product in the countries where you have held the event?
KIRK YOSHIDA: We cannot sponsorship related to (Inaudible.)
But definitely much, much stronger exposure of RICOH brand and also at the same time, we have now almost 110,000 employees and more than 40 different countries are all RICOH family companies. The message to the customer is we are committed to women’s golf long term. We cannot yet measure specifically the return for this sponsorship, it’s very tough.
But no question, it definitely first year and second year, and even this year, we have such a great message from our customer. We played in the Pro Am yesterday, every single customer coming from many different countries, they enjoy participating in the event. So definitely we think it is a great, great return for RICOH, women’s golf.