Lydia Ko finished second at the 2013 Evian Championship, her last tournament as an amateur, ending two strokes behind Suzann Pettersen in the weather shortened 54-hole event. She already has four victories on the LPGA and one on the LET but this is her last chance to become the world´s youngest major championship winner. On Sunday, Lydia will be aged 17 years, 4 months and 21 days and Young Tom Morris was 17 years, 5 months and 8 days when he won the 1868 Open Championship.
THE MODERATOR: Lydia, thoughts on the course. I know there’s some changes. I know they’ve been working on it a lot. You saw it a couple of times already this week. What are your thoughts initially?
LYDIA KO: I think it’s a little drier compared to last year. It was a little drier yesterday because we didn’t have the rain, and then the rain overnight kind of made it a little wet, but you know, they moved some of the tees up, which is I think really good on hole 14 or something.
I was pretty surprised. I didn’t know this and I hit my shot, and I was wondering why my drive was so farther up, but it was because the tee was up. It wasn’t me.
But you know, I think the course is great. There are definitely tough holes out there, but at the same time there are some opportunities for us to make some birdies.
THE MODERATOR: Now, your runner‑up finish here last year pretty much solidified you maybe going pro. How much of an influence did that finish here make you think, you know what, I really belong out here; I need to make a very conscious decision to finally go pro?
LYDIA KO: Yeah. This was the last tournament I played as an amateur, and I got a lot of confidence coming off the Canadian Women’s Open and then playing well here, so I think that just gave confidence in my game, and I kind of felt that maybe I am ready to turn pro; and a month later I did that. And it was kind of good to not get asked the “win are you turning pro question.”
THE MODERATOR: I’m done with that.
LYDIA KO: Yeah. Same here.
THE MODERATOR: I know you’ve had a little bit of an ailing wrist, but you said it feels a lot better this week. Talk about your condition right now and how you feel.
LYDIA KO: Yeah. My wrist definitely feels a lot better. It felt pretty good to play, and I haven’t been worrying about it, which is really good, because the game itself is pretty tough, and there are other things I need to worry about. So my wrist is feeling good and I think I’m feeling good. So hopefully I’m prepared for what’s coming the next couple of days.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for Lydia.
LYDIA KO: Yeah. I played with Minjee (Lee) a lot of times, because Australia is pretty much neighbor countries. We went over, they went over. We played and I think quality, very competitive rounds; and you know, we’ll be friends for a long time. So it’s kind of cool to see her as a pro now; and you know, we’re both pros, so yeah, we’ll definitely be competing, but at the same time we’ll be supporting each other.
Q. And do you have a few others almost your age bracket?
LYDIA KO: Sue Oh from Australia. I think that really would be the closest in age. And also Xi Yu Lin, who plays on the LPGA. She’s I think 17, 18 also. So we’re probably the closest in age with Ariya (Jutanugarn) and Charley (Hull).
Q. Do you tend to mix, the young ones, socially?
LYDIA KO: Yeah. I mean I don’t get to see Charley often because she comes over sometimes, but she has played quite a few LPGA events this year. But Ariya, she practices at the Leadbetter Academy, and that’s where I practice, so I get to see her more often than I get to see the other girls.
THE MODERATOR: I know you’ll grimace when I ask this question, but once again, this week you have the chance of becoming No. 1. I keep asking you, but a great opportunity again this week to win a major and to also over take No. 1. How special would that combination be rather than just winning a normal event?
LYDIA KO: Yeah. Just I think everybody prepares to, I guess, perform their best at a major, and I think everybody works hard to kind of get there, be at the top during the majors.
And I played well at Wegmans. I wasn’t that far off from being at the top. So yeah, I mean it would be great to, I guess, become world No. 1 and win, but you know, I’m just going to go out there and just play my best because that’s what everyone else is going to do.
THE MODERATOR: You’ve had a couple weeks off since your last start. Have you done anything special, anything fun? What have you been up to?
LYDIA KO: Actually, the first few weeks or the first week because I had two weeks off, the first week I was in Orlando ‑‑ well, both weeks I was in Orlando, but the first week I didn’t play any golf.
I pretty much chilled out at home, you know, went out, had some food, had cheeseburgers, tacos, all that. So yeah, you know, I just tried to be a normal teenager, had some fatty food. That’s not what the normal athlete would be. But I just enjoyed not touching my clubs and not having to worry about what else that’s going on.
THE MODERATOR: Is that the longest time you’ve gone with a break without your clubs since the beginning of the season, during the season?
LYDIA KO: I think so, yeah. During that whole time I really did nothing. So I was just chilled out, and I probably gained some weight within that time, too, but to, I guess, have a week off during the season, that’s not what I would have planned, but I think it was a good time for me.
THE MODERATOR: It was a well‑deserved week I think. I know at the beginning of the year you were a little concerned about your schedule. You guys always said you don’t want to play too many weeks, and pace yourself. We’re going into the final stretch of the year. How do you feel like you’ve balanced the life of a professional tour player?
LYDIA KO: I think I’ve done that pretty good. I’ve actually ‑‑ I haven’t played four weeks in a row yet, so three weeks was my max. But I’m planning on playing four weeks in a row for the Asian swing, so it’ll be my first, and I’ll have to, you know, I guess, manage my energy along those weeks, because some of the places can be quite windy or hot.
So yeah, you know, other than that I think we’ve been scheduling it pretty good. I don’t feel like I’m tired and I’m ready to have a break.
THE MODERATOR: No cheeseburgers in Asia, though.
LYDIA KO: No. No cheeseburgers, but it might taste a little different. Might have kimchi in Korea. You never know.
THE MODERATOR: All right. Any other questions for Lydia?
Q. Lydia, when you were here last year you were an amateur. You finished runnerup. A lot of people say that the transition from an amateur to a professional is a really tough one to deal with. You look from your results and the way you’ve handled yourself as if it’s been very straightforward. Do you feel that’s been the case?
LYDIA KO: You know, I don’t know. I mean I announced turning pro during my exams, so during that time I said, okay, I’m not doing any media. I just want to focus on these exam papers because I needed to pass them.
So you know, I think that was a really good time for me where I just didn’t need to focus on golf and just concentrate on like being that normal 16, 17‑year‑old. And I think that kind of helped with the easy transition.
And also, it just, me having played 11 LPGA events last year, that definitely helped with experience for this year.
Q. Did you set out specific goals for the year and have you achieved them?
LYDIA KO: I didn’t make a whole goal overall. But I try and make goals for every tournament coming in, and you know, obviously I can’t play great every time, but I’ve been making I think reasonable goals for myself.
Q. Are you still an avid reader?
LYDIA KO: When I’m into a book, like I’m like in it. Like I would read it, you know, when I’m eating, you know. I would just read it the whole time. But I haven’t found ‑‑ I read like four books in like one week, and they were pretty thick books, so since then I haven’t found a book that was just as good.
But I think I gotta get back into reading a lot because it’s definitely going to help me even with talking because obviously English isn’t my first language.
THE MODERATOR: She’s looking for book recommendations.
Q. I was going to say, what was your book of the year?
LYDIA KO: It was the series of “Mortal Instruments.” I kind of saw the movie, and then I read the books two, three, four, and then I’ve been reading the “Divergent” books also. So they’ve been good. I like something ‑‑ obviously they’re not real, but something with some action.
THE MODERATOR: Perfect. Any other questions? All right. Well, thank you for coming in. Good luck this week.