Wildfire Golf Club
JW Marriott Desert Ridge, Phoenix, Arizona
Tuesday Pre-Tournament Notes and Interviews
March 18, 2014
The LPGA Tour kicks off its U.S. domestic schedule this week in Phoenix, Ariz. at the newly-named JTBC Founders Cup. In its fourth year, the tournament continues to honor the past, present and future of women’s golf. The 144-player field that features 18 of the top-20 in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings will be playing for a $1.5 million purse.
Stacy Lewis returns to Wildfire Golf Club to defend her title and to the site where her win pushed her into the No. 1 spot in the Rolex Rankings. Lewis overcame a four-shot deficit at the start of Sunday’s final round in 2013 and battled Japan’s Ai Miyazato down the stretch for a three-shot victory. The Texas native topped the week off by donating $50,000 to the LPGA-USGA Girls Golf program on the 18th green.
The winners of the first four events of the 2014 – No. 27 Jessica Korda, No. 6 Karrie Webb, No. 15 Anna Nordqvist and No. 15 Paula Creamer – are all slated to play this week. Rolex Rankings No. 1 Inbee Park will also be in action and is coming off a victory at the LET’s World Ladies Championship in China. Park is off to a torrid start to the 2014 season and recorded a runner-up finish at the Honda LPGA Thailand and a tie for fourth at the HSBC Women’s Champions.
Twelve LPGA Tour rookies are also in the field including Rolex Rankings No. 4 Lydia Ko who has a demanding lead in the Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year race. The 16-year old from New Zealand already has two top-10 finishes this season and leads Mirim Lee by 164 points on the points list.
THE SOCIAL SCENE: Danielle Kang took over the LPGA Instagram account (LPGA_Tour) today. Be sure to check out all the action on the course today. Joining Danielle on the LPGA social media accounts today was Jessica Korda as she participated in the first ever LPGA Google Hangout.
DIARY OF A YOUNG KID
Suzann Pettersen stumbled upon a book at her parents’ home in Norway a couple years ago that took her back in time. It was a diary that she had put together as young girl. On the cover were cut out images of Tiger Woods and Annika Sorenstam and inside were the detailed descriptions of her practice schedules, lists of her great aspirations as a golfer and how she dreamed of becoming the No. 1 player in the world.
That diary now sits on a shelf in her Orlando, Fla. home and Pettersen, who is currently No. 2 in the world, brought it out during a visit by the Norwegian Team this past January. Leafing through the diary once again, Pettersen was reminded that one of those goals might be very much in reach. “I guess there’s a dream inside of me that kind of still is very much alive,” said Pettersen of becoming the top-
ranked player in the world. “But it’s not something that I kind of run around and think about every day.”
Pettersen has been very much in a battle with current No. 1 Inbee Park for that top spot. While Park has held the No. 1 ranking for 49 consecutive weeks, Pettersen has the opportunity to perhaps grab that spot away from her this week in Phoenix. And while she’s not thinking about it specifically, Pettersen acknowledges that it would mean a lot to take over that top position in the world.
“It’s kind of scary to look at as well because I’ve achieved quite a lot of stuff that I did put on my bucket list,” Pettersen said of her diary. “So the only one remaining that’s on that list that I haven’t achieved is to be the best player in the world.”
PLAYING FOR A CAUSE
Stacy Lewis spoke about her thought process that went into donating $50,000 of her winnings to the LPGA-USGA Girls Golf program after her win last year.
“The first year we did this tournament, you know, we didn’t play for a purse, that’s kind of what I thought about when I did that,” said Lewis. “It was something I put in the back of my mind, I said if I win this tournament, I want to do this, and you know, usually when you do that it doesn’t actually happen. And so just coming down 18 and all those kids out there, I just felt like, you know, I told myself I was going to do it, so I have to do it.”
Lewis has always been one to point out the importance of the players that came before her and seizing the opportunity of leaving the game better than she found it.
“It’s what this tournament is about,” said Lewis. “It’s about honoring our founders and growing the game going forward. And so while we’re out there trying to win, that’s really what we’re doing here this week. So it’s just trying to stay with the spirit of the tournament and having some fun with it.”
Stacy Lewis had a streak of 13-consecutive top-10 finishes dating back to the U.S. Women’s Open last June and although her streak of consistency was impressive, the top-ranked American said it was more frustrating than anything.
“If anything, I was probably more frustrated with myself during those 13 than anything that I didn’t win more, that I had so many chances and only won once out of all of those,” said Lewis. “So it was actually kind of frustrating to me. But I guess that just shows where my game’s at and that I’m hitting the ball well enough that even if I have a bad round, I’m still right there.
Lewis finished T40 at her last event in Singapore at the HSBC Women’s Champions and said she needed to refocus when she returned home.
“Obviously knew it was going to happen at some point,” said Lewis. “And just going into the week I wasn’t hitting the ball well, and my golf swing just wasn’t where it needed to be, and on that golf course you had to hit so many long irons in that if you weren’t spot on, you were going to be in trouble.
“So you know if anything, it made me go home and kind of focus on a few things and get my golf swing back under control a little bit, because it was so good at the Bahamas, and it just kind of slid a little bit from there. “
Stacy Lewis found herself in a bit of controversy last year in the third round of the JTBC Founders Cup after she was assessed a two-stroke penalty after her caddie, Travis Wilson, violated Rule 13-4 by testing the surface of a hazard. Wilson shifted his foot in a bunker on the 16th hole and Lewis said she had some fun with her long-time caddie on Tuesday during their practice round.
“Actually we were out on 16 and I asked him if he wanted to have some fun in that bunker over there,” said Lewis. “I said you can make a snow angel or drag your foot through it or do something, but he walked away pretty quickly from that bunker.”
SCENARIOS FOR NO. 1
Suzann Pettersen has an opportunity to become No. 1 in the world this week at JTBC Founders Cup but she must win the event to do so.
If Pettersen wins the JTBC Founders Cup and Inbee Park finishes third or worse (without any ties), Pettersen would take over the No. 1 spot in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings. Pettersen could also take over the top spot if she wins and Park finishes tied for second with at least three other players.
Inbee Park, Rolex Rankings No. 1
Q. First off, congratulations; 49 straight weeks now at No. 1. That’s a pretty impressive streak that you’ve got going, and coming off a great victory in China on the LET. You’ve gotta be feeling pretty good about where your game is right now as you come into the start of the domestic schedule here for the LPGA.
INBEE PARK: Yeah. It feels like I haven’t been in the States forever because last time I was here I was at CME, and I actually feel quite fresh coming here and it’s the first tournament in America in a while for me, so it actually feels like a season opening tournament. And obviously I didn’t forget the last three tournaments I had this year was quite good. I played quite good, and I hit the ball great.
I probably didn’t putt it as good as last year these three weeks, but my ball striking, my physical is stronger. I think I’m mentally a bit stronger, especially from the victory two weeks ago, I feel a lot more confident, and yeah, I feel good about the season.
Q. We had Suzann in here earlier talking about the race for No. 1, and everybody’s been talking about you and Suzann and Stacy for a while and really that No. 1 and 2. You guys went to a head really in China. You were right down to the wire the two of you competing. What has that kind of battle meant for you in terms of staying at No. 1? Has it been good to have players like Suzann and Stacy there kind of pushing you to even elevate your game to another level?
INBEE PARK: Yeah. I think it probably has helped all three of us that we have competitors and trying to push each other up and trying to improve our games is always a big help.
Last week with Suzann, I had almost the same situation two years ago at China, the same event where I was leading by two and I lost to Suzann on the final round, and it was almost what happened the same last day, and I didn’t want a repeat, didn’t want to do what I did two years ago, and I tried my best and played quite good there, so that definitely gave me a lot of confidence.
Q. Do you think a lot about the No. 1 ranking? When you’ve got a streak going where you’ve been up there for so long, do you think about what it would be like if you did lose that spot or do you try not to let that come into your thought process when you’re preparing for a tournament?
INBEE PARK I get to think about it more where people, all the media are saying No. 1 spot could change this week, like if I finish outside this and if Suzann or Stacy wins. And yeah, I don’t think about that every day, obviously. I’m just trying to play my best, and if that’s good enough, that’s good. If not, if I become No. 2 or 3, there’s room to improve
Q. Inbee, you mentioned that you got stronger mentally over the season. Can you say a little bit about that? In what ways, and what you were doing to get there?
INBEE PARK I think it’s just mostly, you know, what happened last year, and what things I’ve gone through last year helped me really going through the pressure, pressure moments. And you know, being in contention a lot of times last year, and being in contention a lot of times last year and being able to win in that kind of conditions gave me a lot of good confidence and good experience, and I think that’s been really helping me go through this year. And I won the first tournament last year, which was a really good start, but still, this year I finished Top 5 on two and won one event, so I think it’s probably the best start of the season I had so far.
I trained a lot last year in Australia, like physically, and I feel like I’m striking the ball a little bit better than last year and probably hitting it a little bit further than last year.
Q. So when you came off those three wins in a row, you had to be thinking that you were invincible. preparing for a tournament?
INBEE PARK Those times, I think it’s very good performance.
Q. Were you starting to feel physically tired and emotionally tired at that point in the season?
INBEE PARK: Yeah, I think so, because that was middle to the end of the season already, and I had a lot of things going on in the middle of the season, and I went back to Korea and I was probably a little bit physically tired also, and obviously mentally, trying to do a lot interviews, talking to a lot of people and having the pressure. I think that really took a lot of energy out of me that week because I’m used to just playing and just playing golf and hanging out. And yeah, I think that definitely took a lot more physical energy, yeah.
Q. Is there a part of you that just can’t wait to get back to a major? Are you really looking forward to an area that you dominated last year?
INBEE PARK: Yeah. I always love to play the major tournaments, and I love their golf course settings or the atmospheres.
Yeah, I love playing big events, and I think many of the players probably looking forward to the big ones, obviously. And especially being the first major tournaments pretty soon. I went to the Palm Springs last weekend and played a couple of times there, and you know, it really reminded me of very good memory of last year and I couldn’t wait to go there already. And yeah, I’m just trying to get my game ready for coming first major, and yeah, I think I’m getting close to getting there.
Q. And which major suits your game the best do you think?
INBEE PARK I gotta say U. S. Open. I had two wins in U. S. Opens, so and since I was so young, I played many of the USGA golf courses and their setting golf courses, so I think I’m really used to seeing their golf course styles, and I love the challenge, and obviously I had good results in the past.
Q. Inbee, as you look back on last year, have you been able to really reflect on what you were able to accomplish now that you’ve gotten away from the season, you’ve had time to relax and look back? Have you been able to appreciate just how amazing of a year it was becoming the first South Korean to ever win Rolex Player of the Year honors, three major wins, six victories? Have you been able to kind of come to grips with all of that and understand what you did?
INBEE PARK Yeah, because I don’t think I really realized what I’m doing when I’m like actually inside the box. But actually I was outside the box and trying to look inside, and the things I’ve done was very amazing, and starting this year I started with zero wins, and you know, trying to think this year I gotta do better than last year, that means I gotta win three or more majors and three or more wins, and that feels forever.
And obviously winning Player of the Year as the first Korean is a very big accomplishment. And yeah, I think I still have a long ways to go. That just means how hard it was to do and what I just did last year.
Q. Inbee, being No. 1 for almost a year now, what have you enjoyed most about having the No. 1 ranking and what have you enjoyed the least about it?
INBEE PARK : I gotta say being on the center of the stage and being in the spotlight, I think I’ve enjoyed that and at the same time I think that was the toughest part of it.
Sometimes, you’re a golfer, you’re an athlete and you want to be the top of everyone and you want to be the best, and that’s what I like to do. And sometimes there is tough parts where you have to be really responsible of what you’re doing and what you’re saying, and you know, you have to be a very mature person to handle a lot of things.
I think I’m getting more and more mature, but I think just getting the spotlight is the best part of it and the worst part of it.
Q. How is the pressure different for you here than it is when you go home and talk to media or fans?
INBEE PARK: I gotta say it’s a lot more relaxing here in the U. S. because it’s a lot bigger country than what my country is, and you know, my country is a small country, and if something happens, then everybody knows what’s happening. And if somebody’s getting famous, everybody wants to know a little bit of them. And yeah, it’s just a little bit I guess a little bit more relaxing atmosphere here, and obviously a lot less people recognizing me, like going into supermarkets or wherever I go.
In Korea it’s quite a lot of people recognize me, so I can’t live like an ordinary person. So coming here and really enjoying being an ordinary person, so I like being here.
Q. (No microphone)?
INBEE PARK: I do go. I don’t mind like people recognizing me, but like trying to take photos and sign autographs when I’m trying to do other things is just you know, sometimes it’s a little bit, yeah, sometimes it’s a little bit too much. But yeah, I really enjoy part of it, yeah.
Q. What was the biggest difference going home to Korea over the off season this time compared to a year ago? Like how much more do you think you get recognized now? Or was there one situation that you kind of can remember that sticks out that you were like, this wouldn’t have been a problem a year ago and now it’s much more difficult?
INBEE PARK Pretty much like everything. Usually in the off season I like to just, you know, stay home and just play with my dog and just spend time with the family and I didn’t really have to do anything else. But this time when I got back and everybody wanted a little bit of me.
And I was quite busy. I was probably busier than actually actual season. So it’s just it’s hard because it’s time to rest and it’s time to actually this is my only time to rest, but you have to share your time with a lot of people and you don’t get to relax as much. So I think that’s the toughest part.
Q. It seemed like your trip to New York with your U. S. Open trophy was like another step up in terms of your public visibility. Was that enjoyable or was it something you felt like you had to do? Where do you come down on that one?
INBEE PARK Yeah, it was I think a very good experience and it was good fun. I mean I do a lot of things like that in Korea, you know, but in America obviously I’ve never done that before, so I think that was something new and different. So I think it was very good.
Q. Having been there with you in New York, I think one of the most surprising things was how quickly her level I guess your public persona level in the U. S. had risen just from that victory where we were having lunch and you weren’t even dressed in golf clothes. You were coming from “The Today Show,” and a lady walked up to you on the street and recognized and asked for your autograph. Do you remember that moment and what it was like in terms of changing, I guess, the level of acknowledgment from around the United States?
INBEE PARK: I think so. I definitely get a lot of acknowledgment from a lot of people, especially in U. S., too. I mean I didn’t realize until I was just sitting I was in LA, I was trying to fly to Phoenix here, and because I was just, you know, wearing just ordinary clothes, just you know. And people, you know, a couple of people come up and are you Inbee Park, and somebody recognizing me. It was a bit different this year.
Suzann Pettersen, Rolex Rankings No. 2
Q. First of all, just thoughts about being in the U. S. I know you’ve had some crazy travel schedules over the past few weeks. How excited are you to kick off this part of the LPGA schedule?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: I’m always very excited to come back to the West Coast, Phoenix. Great to have the Founders Cup here. Really a great tournament, great concept, and always great to see and be around legends of the game who built what we have today.
Q. Take me through, as I talked about, your busy travel schedule. You went through the entire Asian swing, Australia, Thailand, Singapore, China, then home to Florida for a week and then came back out to the West Coast. Does your body know what time it is right now?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: You know, you have gotta play a lot while you’re young, so I’m just really trying to knock out a few tournaments. Asia was quite good to me. I played really good to start off in Australia. I had one lousy round, kind of shocked my body a little bit. And Thailand, Singapore was decent events, got a lot of good answers to my game. This year all I wanted was to just get a lot of rounds in my body to be prepared for this swing starting here and obviously ending with Kraft.
So China was just a bonus event. I ended up going head to head with Inbee, so we had a nice little battle there. I lost. So she’s one up for the year on me, but I guess we’ll have a couple of battles to come.
Q. We won’t know the exact projections until the field is finalized later today when pairings come out. That’s when we can start really looking at the Rolex Rankings and the projections. But that race for No. 1, when you talk about a head to head battle between you and Inbee in China kind of showcases what we’re all watching right now, which is the head to head battle for the No. 1 spot in the overall rankings. What’s that battle been like for you and what was it like to see that come down in China?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: I don’t really think about it much anymore, to be honest. I really just try to get the best out of my game, and I guess I’ve had this position after a while, if I win or if I do well or if Inbee doesn’t finish well here or there. If you sit and think about that, you’ll go crazy, so I mean my goal is I really want to see how good my game is and how good it can be, if it’s good enough to be the best player in the world, great. Otherwise I wouldn’t be here.
So what I’m trying to do is just put down the right work every day, try and make every day better than it was yesterday and try and focus on stuff that I can feel like I achieve on like a daily basis. I don’t feel like I always go out and don’t kind of accomplish my big, big dream.
Q. Have you let yourself at all think about what it would mean if you did get to that No. 1 spot, what that accomplishment would rank in what you’ve been able to do throughout your career?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: I feel like I’ve been in this position before, but this is the most comfortable I’ve been with the sport. I can’t say that I don’t think about being the best player in the world, but it really doesn’t trigger me as much. I want to go out and I want to perform and I want to win tournaments. If you win tournaments, you play well, the rest kind of will take care of itself.
I grew back in Norway and I have papers and diaries saying I want to be the best girl player in the world. I guess there’s a dream inside of me that kind of still is very much alive, but it’s not something that I kind of run around and think about every day.
Q. Suzann, you said papers and diaries. How old were you when you remember writing that for the first time?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Well, I have quite a big one. I think I was about 12, 13. I was with the Federation. We were asked to do all these kind of different write terms and goals and like pretty much to do list, how to get there and there. And it’s all covered by Tiger and Annika on the front.
I cut out pictures of Annika holding a trophy, and I cut out pictures of Tiger. I even have Greg Norman. I mean it’s back in those days. It’s quite hilarious to look at now. I mean I still have it in Orlando. It’s just in one of my shelves. But it’s kind of scary to look at as well because I’ve achieved quite a lot of stuff that I did put on my bucket list. So the only one remaining that’s on that list that I haven’t achieved is to be the best player in the world. So I guess it’s a little bit it’s always been a dream of mine.
Q. Is there a danger focusing so much on the rankings that you kind of forget to play each round each shot, each tournament and not you’ll let that come and your play will get you there if it’s worthy?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: You know what, to be honest, personally I really don’t think about the rankings at all. As a golfer you’re pretty much judged by stats week in, week out. You take the stats that’s most important to your game and your development and the work that you do every day, and the rest takes care of itself. I mean it’s kind of harsh to say, but I really don’t care about the rankings, especially not during the season. It’s the last thing you look at.
Q. Suzann, you said that the first couple of tournaments were to get some answers for your body. Can you say a little bit more about that, what you were looking for, what came out of it, what the process was like?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Yeah. I’ve always been a player that I don’t practice my way into form; I actually play my way into good form. That being said, you come off a five week stretch of practice and preparation, you feel like you have an idea where your game is at. You go out, sometimes you’re surprised how well you play, other times you’re like, well, yeah, it might take a couple of rounds before I get there.
In Australia I was actually playing fantastic golf just straight off the bat. And on Sunday in Australia I probably I tried to be too brave and hit too many shots that I otherwise wouldn’t play, but stuff that I’ve been working on over the winter. And it’s almost like sometimes you just gotta get over the hurdles to be able to put those in play during tournaments.
But that probably wasn’t the best day to try that and especially not in those conditions where the wind picked up. It was kind of a tough slap in the face, but you bounce back, you learn, and like I said, I mean your sharpness comes by playing and competing, hitting numbers, hitting clubs, hitting shots. And that’s how my game gets sharper.
Q. Can you give us a sense of what you were working on over the winter, you know, to get from where you were at the end of the year to where you wanted to begin?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: I’ve been trying to get a little more speed through impact. That’s pretty much it. So with the driver I have second gear now if I really need to. Not too technical. I feel like I’m at a place where I can kind of consistently compete week in, week out, obviously tons of short game, tons of putting.
But overall probably the majority of my practice was dedicated to, I don’t know, it’s like 70/30, long game/short game, and then in periods of time there was just short game. So yeah, a lot of practice, a lot of repetitions and less course stuff.
Q. So more speed, obviously, but still stay in control.
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Yeah.
Q. So how do you keep it in control when you’re going to that next level?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: That’s repetition. Reps.
SUZANN PETTERSEN: I mean the funniest thing is all the, I mean cutting out of magazines front pages of I mean top players at the time. I mean I was surprised to even like Greg Norman has been a great player, but back then he must have meant something to me. He must have had like an impact that I don’t quite remember. It’s just funny when I look at it because one was like, obviously he used to be the best player in the world, and I’ve cut out letters from like magazines and kind of put them all together. It looks really homemade. And then next is like the Solheim trophy. I wanted to play, I think Solheim at -- was my that’s when I wanted to be on the Solheim. I beat that by one. I played in Minneapolis by one. So I got that one. Right?
I want to win majors, and I had like all the major trophies cut out and like all lined up next to each other, and like “I want to win majors.” I mean I probably spent a lot of time doing all this, because it was like for me, it was a way to kind of express my thoughts and my dreams, and funny enough, my parents looked after it, and then I found it like when I went back to Norway a couple of years ago. And there’s like all these like diaries and kind of reports from each and every practice, like what I did, how I did. I was like judging myself up and down and sideways.
It’s kind of fun to see. It’s like this thick, and it’s on nutrition. It’s on mental side. It’s on technical aspect, like all these drills. I mean we were fed with so much information from the Federation, and I’m one of those types that if someone happened to run around the block 10 times, I run 12. If they asked me to write down this, I probably did it and even more. So it was like I’m not like that anymore, though. So it’s just fun to see and kind of look back, and it kind of also brings out the excitement you had growing up with the sport.
Q. If you were going to add to that list now, is there anything that when you look at that, you’re like, oh, well, now I’m older and wiser, I’d still like to accomplish X?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: No. I’m still childish enough to say I want to win tournaments, I want to win majors. I want to be on the Solheim Cup. I feel like there’s not too much that I would like to add to that when it comes to my professional career, no.
Q. Did you recently just stumble upon the diary again or do you pull it out once in a while or inspiration and when did you last look at it?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: I actually had to show it to some of the girls at a training camp in Orlando in January. We were looking for something, and it was right in my way, and I was like, oh, my God, you gotta see this. And like every time it feels like you’re pulling up old love letters, but it’s like after I’m showing it to people, I kind of laugh at myself. I don’t know if I’m embarrassed and it was like I’m so into it. I have several ones, but the one that kind of stands out is so detailed, it’s kind of funny.
Q. (No microphone)?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: They were actually the Team Norway was over in January for 12 days. That’s our professional team, like it’s all the professionals on different tours.
Q. I hate to ask this, but did any other players that saw you had cut out letters from magazines say that’s what serial killers do? That’s what you see, serial killers and kidnappers do that on detective shows. Did anybody mention that at all?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: You look at it a lot of different ways (laughs). I mean I spent a lot of time. There was like drawings, and it was very I’m not that dedicated anymore, for sure.
Q. I think everybody’s going to want to see that book now. You might have to bring it out on tour one week
SUZANN PETTERSEN: It’s heavy. It’s big, too. I can take a picture. I’ll tweet it next time I’m home. I’m going to give Annika a heads up. It might not be the best picture of her. (Laughs).
Stacy Lewis, Rolex Rankings No. 3
Q. First off, welcome back to the JTBC Founders Cup. This was such a special moment for you in your career last year when you captured a win and also took over as No. 1 in the world, first American to do so since Cristie Kerr in 2010. When you get back here, do the memories start flooding back of everything that happened last year?
STACY LEWIS: Yeah, they do. When I came back for media day I think it’s when it really kind of hit me. You know, it seems like such a long time ago that we were here. A lot has happened obviously since then. But it’s just nice to be back, and I just played and just remembering shots and certain things that happened that last couple of days, really. It’s just fun to be back, and just to have those good memories.
Q. You’ve been playing so well really over the last year. I know you were in the No. 1 spot, held onto for a month. That didn’t stay as long, but the consistency that you were playing with that we saw here and with your win in Singapore a year ago when you had back to back wins seemed to keep going. In fact, that Top 10 streak that you had going I think it was 13 straight was pretty impressive before that came to an end in Singapore. What’s been the biggest key do you think in that consistent play to be able to put together so many Top 10s in a row?
STACY LEWIS: I mean I don’t know. I mean I don’t if anything, I was probably more frustrated with myself during those 13 than anything that I didn’t win more, that I had so many chances and only won once out of all of those.
So it was actually kind of frustrating to me. But I guess that just shows where my game’s at and that I’m hitting the ball well enough that even if I have a bad round, I’m still right there.
So I don’t know, I mean while it’s nice to have the 13 in a row, I would have liked I would have traded a couple of wins for a few less Top 10s.
Q. One of the big things last year in addition to becoming No. 1 when you won here was your donation to girls golf, and that’s such a big part of this week for the LPGA is to really promote girls golf and talk about getting young women involved in the game and helping with the future of women’s golf. What was kind of your decision making behind that donation, and what has that meant to you in the past year to see kind of the growth of that program and what it’s been able to do?
STACY LEWIS: Yeah, I think I mean I think just thinking about why we the first year we did this tournament, you know, we didn’t play for a purse, and you know, that’s kind of what I thought about when I did that. It was something I put in the back of my mind, I said if I win this tournament, I want to do this, and you know, usually when you do that it doesn’t actually happen. And so just coming down 18 and all those kids out there, I just felt like, you know, I told myself I was going to do it, so I have to do it.
It’s what this tournament is about. It’s about honoring our founders and growing the game going forward. And so while we’re out there trying to win, that’s really what we’re doing here this week. So it’s just trying to stay with the spirit of the tournament and having some fun with it.
Q. I know at media day you got a chance to interact with some of the girls golf members here in Phoenix and get to see some of them. What impressed you the most about some of those girls? They had some pretty tough questions, tougher than I usually ask of Stacy.
STACY LEWIS: They did. They came up with some really good questions. They were really cute, and just we went out on the range and the golf swings were just so impressive for a young age. And we did the “Big Break” glass breaking shot, and I think three or four of the girls hit it. I mean it’s a pretty hard shot though hit to keep it that low and hit it hard enough. So I was impressed with the golf swings and just where their games at.
Q. And you did break that glass on your first try.
STACY LEWIS: First try.
Q. Just as soon as Chris Garrett was saying Yani broke it on her first.
STACY LEWIS: He couldn’t even get the statement out before it went through the glass.
Q. Might be a downer, but Singapore was so unusual for you given your streak. I’m sure you’ve had some time to analyze it, think about it. What did you take away from that?
STACY LEWIS: I mean I knew, obviously knew it was going to happen at some point. And just going into the week I wasn’t hitting the ball well, and my golf swing just wasn’t where it needed to be, and on that golf course you had to hit so many long irons in that if you weren’t spot on, you were going to be in trouble.
So you know if anything, it made me go home and kind of focus on a few things and get my golf swing back under control a little bit, because it was so good at the Bahamas, and it just kind of slid a little bit from there.
I don’t know if I got a little complacent with it or what, but it just kind of made me kind of go back home and really kind of work again and focus on a few things.
And I did switch back to my old putter. For three weeks, four weeks I was trying a new putter and I just didn’t putt the way I wanted to, so I went back to my old putter and I think that should help for this week.
Q. Is there a swing thought that you have for the week that you and Joe talked about?
STACY LEWIS: No. It was something that we’ve worked on impact throughout the off season, and it was Bahamas was probably the best I mean best ball striking couple of days I’ve ever had. And so I mean I knew we were working on the right things, and I don’t know if going on the other side of the world we just kind of went backwards a little bit, but we’re just trying to get impact a little bit stronger. I can do it. I know I can do it. It’s just kind of getting those reps in and learning how to maintain it a little bit.
Q. Suzann was in here before you talking about a list she had made as a kid, all of her dreams and goals that she wanted to accomplish, I think she said when she was 12. I know maybe you weren’t thinking along those same lines quite at that age. Did you at any point make a list in terms of golf?
STACY LEWIS: No. I still don’t have a list. No. I mean I think I’ve said a thousand times, I never grew up wanting to be a professional golfer. I never really dreamed of it, never watched golf. It just kind of happened. But even now I don’t want to make a list because I don’t want to have you know, because then once you’re done with that list, then what do you do. I don’t want there to be an ending point ever. I just want to keep getting better and winning tournaments. That’s the ultimate for me. I don’t know. I don’t have that kind of thing.
Q. Stacy, last year you talked about how much it meant to be No. 1, to get that ranking. Kind of a two part question. Once you got it, did trying to hold onto it affect you the rest of the year and how important is it for you to get back to that spot?
STACY LEWIS: You know, the couple weeks after this tournament last year were crazy. It was just I was pulled in so many directions, and the golf game kind of it kind of showed that a little bit, just because I was so busy.
But I would like to get back to No. 1 just because I know now what to expect and I think I’d know how to handle it a little bit better. So I definitely want to get back there.
But I don’t feel like I played poorly. I don’t feel like I played poor enough to lose it. I feel like Inbee and Suzann have just, you know, they’ve risen their games to another level, and them doing that has kind of forced me to go back and reevaluate and work on a few things.
So I mean I definitely want to get back there. But at the same time I’m doing a lot of good things, so it’s hard to you can’t really beat yourself up over it.
Q. (No microphone).
STACY LEWIS: It’s just kind of going back and where can I save one or two shots every round. You know, it’s not major changes, but it’s getting your short game a little bit sharper, working on bunker game. That was one of the stats that wasn’t very good last year, so we kind of worked on that. You know, tweaking the putter just to see if it’s better.
You know, I mean I like trying stuff. I mean I’m not amused to not try things. So I like trying things and if it works, great, if it doesn’t, you go back and try something else.
Q. When Mike Whan first proposed this event, it seemed like it was a great idea, but maybe bad timing because the tour had lost a bunch of tournaments. You only had 23 events, and he was asking players with fewer opportunities to play for free. I was wondering if you could go back to how the players reacted to all of that and just how this event has evolved.
STACY LEWIS: Yeah, I think when we all we all first heard of it, it was kind of like a shot, kind of like, are you serious, like we didn’t know if he was actually really serious about it. But I mean I think once people got the concept of what the whole tournament was, I think we understood. But I think there were so many question marks with it, you know, are you going to find a sponsor going forward, are we going to keep this thing going, but now with the success, with the winners we’ve had here, the success with the girls and the founders, I think we’re going to keep this tournament going even if we have a sponsor or not.
I mean I think it’s that important to our tour to honor those past players. I mean that’s what I loved about this whole tournament was honoring the former players because we don’t get to see them enough, and I’ve become friends with some of them, but a lot of these girls don’t even know who some of those founders are. Not even founders, they don’t even know some of the older players, so I think it’s great that it brings everybody together because I think there’s a lot to learn from a lot of those ladies.
Q. Stacy, you talked earlier about working on your impact drills and how you got it really fine tuned. Can you talk a little bit about, generally, especially at the professional level, how these swing thoughts just sort of drift away, where did they go, how do you get them back?
STACY LEWIS: Well, the swing thoughts change every day, for me at least. I usually try to pick out one little thing before a round and kind of take that going forward. But we’re always tweaking, we’re always kind of just you can always do a little bit better, whether and a swing thought is different sometimes a driver versus an iron or a wedge.
We’re playing with different things so much; I mean we’re always tweaking it. But it’s about doing drills to maintain it so whether it’s on Monday, you just sit on the range and do drills all day. You know, you’re just trying to maintain your swing so it’s the same all week.
Q. I’m just curious, everything turned out really well last year, but when you came back here, did any memories of Saturday on 16 and the two stroke penalty come back to you?
STACY LEWIS: Actually we were out on 16 I asked my caddy if he wanted to have some fun in that bunker over there. I said you can make a snow angel or drag your foot through it or do something, but he walked away pretty quickly from that bunker.
Yeah, we were laughing about it. I mean I was laughing about it the next day. I gave him a hard time on Sunday when we were walking down there. So yeah, I mean it’s something we can laugh about, thankfully.
Q. Helps when a win comes afterwards, doesn’t it?
STACY LEWIS: Yes. For sure.