Wildfire Golf Club at JW Marriott Desert Ridge
Pre-Tournament Notes and Interviews - Tuesday
March 17, 2015
Rolex Rankings No. 7 Michelle Wie
Rolex Rankings No. 9 Karrie Webb
Rolex Rankings No. 230 Cheyenne Woods
The JTBC Founders Cup was created to honor the Founders and Pioneers of the LPGA Tour and several players took time during their press conferences on Tuesday to acknowledge what this event means to them.
“I feel like this tournament has more history than years that we’ve played it,” two-time Founders Cup Champion Karrie Webb said of the event which is in its fifth year. “I’ve always said, and I’ll repeat myself, but it’s such a great concept. Shirley Spork was just sitting outside the media center here and I got to say hello to her. I think it’s very special that we take a week we should take more than a week, but we take this week and name a tournament after our 13 special women that founded our Tour.”
Michelle Wie echoed Webb’s sentiments on how important this tournament is to the players on Tour.
“This is definitely a very special event,”Wie said. “Personally for me, I think there’s so many times where we forget. We forget how hard the founders have worked in the past and how many sacrifices they had to make and how really easy we have it today and with our purse and everything, and everything happened because of our founders, so I think it’s really great, really special that we have a tournament that we dedicate to the founders and we can look back and really appreciate what they have done, not only for our Tour, for women in general.”
Webb may have said it best.
“I think this is a tournament I hope is a part of our history for many years to come.”
WIE ON THE MEND
Michelle Wie is coming off a career year in 2014 but her 2015 season has not gotten off to the best start as she has been dealing with a variety of illnesses which included a sinus infection and a bout with strep throat.
“This past month has been really tough,” Wie admitted. “I got back from Asia, feeling really sick in Asia, and then I saw the doctors again and had to get back on antibiotics because I had a sinus infection, and still, the doctor said that I probably won’t be feeling 100 percent for the next couple of weeks. I’m feeling a lot better thankfully, but it’s been tough. I mean, just being sick in general, it’s never fun, so really right now my No. 1 priority is just getting my health back in order.”
The illness has been an unfortunate setback for Wie as she was one of the top players in the world in 2014 winning twice, including her first Major at the U.S. Women’s Open.
“It’s a little bit unlucky that I got sick in the Bahamas, but it’s a long season,”Wie explained. “It’s a long season, and I’m just building on everything. I’ve just got to kind of get there.”
The rookie experience is different for every player on the LPGA Tour and Cheyenne Woods is certainly having a unique experience compared to many others in their first year on Tour.
The last name “Woods” brings a lot of extra media attention but the 24-year-old Wake Forest University graduate isn’t thrown off by the fact that she hasn’t been able to ease into her rookie season.
“I kind of came into it with a brighter spotlight on me than most might have, but that’s something I feel like I don’t know golf without that, so for me that’s normal,”Woods said. “For me that’s just what comes with golf. It’s just a normal life for me. It’s an everyday thing. So I kind of embrace it, and I think it would be weird without it.”
Woods spent two days last week on a media tour in New York City. She appeared on “Fox and Friends,” visited with magazines such as “Self,”“Shape,” and “Teen Vogue.” She even took part in a photo shoot for Refinery29 that was held at Chelsea Piers.
“I feel like I was in that movie “The Devil Wears Prada” where they’re all like in the fashion business in all the offi ces and stuff,”Woods said with a laugh. “It was fun to get away from golf and like dress up a little bit, talk about beauty and hair and stuff. I really enjoyed it.”
Woods has played in three LPGA events so far this season. While she hasn’t missed a cut, her best finish so far is a tie for 44th at the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open.
So how does Woods assess her rookie season up to this point?
“I feel like I’ve played decent, not great so far this year,” said Woods, who is a Scottsdale, Ariz. native. “It’s great that I have been able to make the cuts that I’ve played so far this year. Other than that, I feel like it’s just okay. I can do better, so I’ll look to do better this week.”
WEBB NEVER OUT OF IT
As a 20 year LPGA veteran Karrie Webb knows that a tournament is never over until the final putt drops and at no tournament does that statement ring truer for Webb than the JTBC Founders Cup. In 2011, Webb rallied from six strokes back to claim the inaugural title and then last year Webb repeated the feat again coming from six shots behind to become the first two-time champion at the event.
“It’s just one of those courses where you can get on a roll,”Webb said. “The conditions are I mean, barring a couple of rounds we’ve played here in the last four years, the conditions are perfect. The temperature is nice and warm, and not a lot of wind. It’s sort of set up for that sort of scoring.”
While Webb was happy to walk away with the title last year she didn’t think that it would happen after she dropped her final putt on 18.
“I was just telling the story when we were walking down 18, last year in the last round when I was walking down 18, the leaders were on 10, so that’s how far ahead I was, but only starting six shots behind. I knew that I probably needed to make a birdie, but even when I made the birdie, as exciting as it was, I still didn’t think at the time that that was enough, and definitely not to have won it without even being in a playoff .”
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“Yeah, [I’ll] probably slow down. I think you’ll still see me, but maybe not as often. -Karrie Webb on how much she will play on the LPGA