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THE EVIAN CHAMPIONSHIP MEDIA CONFERENCE
September 5, 2018
THE MODERATOR: Depending on where you are in the world, good afternoon or good evening. Thank you for joining us. With the year's final major, the Evian Championship, set to start in just eight days' time, we are delighted to have with us today World No. 3 So Yeon Ryu, who is the reigning Rolex ANNIKA Major Award winner.
So Yeon, many thanks for taking time out to speak with us.
SO YEON RYU: Thank you. Thank you for having me.
THE MODERATOR: Four majors have already been played this season, and there is just one remaining to decide the winner of the 2018 Rolex ANNIKA Major Award. You are one of six players who have a mathematical chance of clinching this prestigious honor.
What would it mean to you to become the first player ever to win back-to-back RAMA titles?
SO YEON RYU: First of all, I'm very delighted to still be in contention to win this award.
And then when I got this award last year it was really overwhelming. I was really happy yo get that award. That was proof of how much I perform really well at the majors.
And then I always thought major is a true challenging for all the players to improve their ability of golf, so if I can get this for two years in a row it's going to be really special, it's going to be really honorary thing to put it in my resume.
I'm going to do my best to make that happen.
THE MODERATOR: You produced excellent form this season So Yeon, winning the sixth LPGA Tour title of your career at the Meijer LPGA Classic in June.
You recorded three other Top 4 finishes, two of them coming in major championships. How would you assess your season so far?
SO YEON RYU: Like to be honest, I'm not really 100% satisfied with my result this year. I think compared to any other year I think this was one of the most inconsistent, this season so far.
But good thing is I've learned other things, and then especially after British women's Open I played Indy, in Portland, and for those two tournament I really felt like I was burnout.
And then I feel like even though I did my best on the golf course, I didn't really prepare well to play the tournament really well. I felt like I didn't really put my 100% effort to prepare the tournament.
And then when I played in Portland I realize how much I love the game and how much I love to working hard to improve myself, how much I love playing golf.
And then I realize I was always a person care about the process more instead of the result. And then I realize I been think about the result too much, so that one sort of keep me kind of like (indiscernible) attitude, I think.
So right now I'm just totally reset for everything, prepare the Evian, and hopefully my new mindset going to make me more enjoy the golf. Then hopefully that's going to bring me more trophy and all great results.
THE MODERATOR: We'll open it up to questions.
Q. So you have now won three fairly prestigious awards: Rookie of the Year, Player of the Year, and the Rolex Annika Major Award. How would you rank those?
SO YEON RYU: It's definitely something I'm very proud of myself to achieve it. Those three award is very special award. And especially the Rookie of the Year is like you only have one year chance to get that. Having that was really, really huge, how can I say? Like huge -- gave me like huge proud of myself.
And then player the year, same.
RAMA Award, same.
But I don't know. I feel like, like I said, I always enjoy the process more. And then because I really enjoy the process more, that's how I achieve those three goals. Hopefully I can achieve little bit more for the future.
So far, like the question, if I have to rank that, I would say, well, still probably my top -- I'm still -- I still have two more things to achieve it I think over the top.
Q. Can you tell us what those are?
SO YEON RYU: First of all, grand slam, and then second of all Hall of Famer.
SO YEON RYU: Yeah.
Q. Thank you.
SO YEON RYU: Thank you.
Q. I just wanted to follow up to what you said to Mark's question about not being too excited about your season. What do you feel like you need to do the rest of this year to feel like it was a great season?
SO YEON RYU: Right now I'm in Dallas to working with my coach. And then after play two of the event in America I kind of like knew what kind of -- what part of the game I need to working on to improve myself.
And then I really, really enjoy the work with him for these two days. Then I really feel like I'm really fall in love with golf and I really enjoy all the process trying to be improve myself.
So, so far I don't really feel like I did -- I put my 100% effort to prepare tournament well, so after CME, if I can to say myself, Okay, I out 100% effort to make my season really great, I think that'll be perfect.
Q. What are you doing in Dallas to kind of prepare? What has been your process getting ready for Evian?
SO YEON RYU: I think my swing was a little off, so I need to working on that for next few days to playing well for Evian.
I think one of the key points to playing really well in Evian is you have to have really a straight shot. I know to winning a major you have to have all sort of game ready, but especially that golf course the tee shot was really important. So right now the swing progress is my No. 1 goal.
I feel like putting was big improved, but I still have room to improve a little bit more. Right now I'm really working on my swing, and then speed control on the putting green right now.
Q. I want to follow on your major championship record. You're really good in majors and won one before Cameron, and it's like now you've even gone to another level. It seems like you were almost always in contention in majors. What do you think it is about your game that is most suited to majors?
SO YEON RYU: I think it's more mental thing. I enjoy the tough golf course more than easy golf course. I enjoy more to like try to make a par instead of try to make a birdie all the time.
Like I'd rather playing the golf course, you know, like if you shot like 3-under instead of minus 25-under win the tournament. So I always have a really excited mind to playing major tournaments because I know it's going to be really challenge and I know it's going to be all grinding week, and then that's the sort of feeling I really enjoy.
So I would say mindset.
Q. And follow up to that is doesn't seem to matter what kind of course you're playing on, whether it's a tight U.S. Open narrow course or a links course or big hitters course like Rancho Mirage, Mission Hills.
SO YEON RYU: Uh-huh.
Q. You contend everywhere. I know you just said your mind is an important part, but what is it about your game that allows you to adapt so well to whatever course you're playing?
SO YEON RYU: I would say shot making. Since I -- well, when I play tournaments -- when I just play golf in Korea I don't really need to hit like any shape of shot. I only hit it straight pretty much.
Since I joined the LPGA Tour I started to play a lot of the different type of golf courses like you mention, like links-style, tree lined golf course, and then I realize I really need to work on like shot making.
Since I started to working with Cameron I feel more comfortable to make lot of different shape of shot. I think that one gave me more benefit to fit into any type of golf course, I would say.
Q. Speaking of golf courses, the golf course at Evian gets mixed review almost every year. How do you prepare yourself for a golf course that you might not particularly like?
SO YEON RYU: Well, first of all, I'm glad we going to move to July for next year for the Evian Championship. Since they move the date to October we sort of have all sort of weather, so like every year the golf course has different condition.
You know, like one of the year greens really hard and firm; one of the year greens really soft and slow greens. Every year sort of like different setup and different feeling. And especially when golf course is really wet the golf course plays really long.
So I feel like every year I play just different number of yardage every year. So for that really makes me tough to get how the golf course going to be.
But once again, like I said, I think as long as you have a really great tee shot you have a lot of chance to make a birdie at that golf course.
Right now I'm really focused on my driver and make sure I am capable to any type of shot, like draw, fade, every shot. Especially I think that golf course -- like for example, I feel like Mission Hills and Rancho Mirage if you're hitting draw I think player can definitely going to benefit to play that golf courses.
But in Evian I think you have to have both shot to chance -- both shot to playing well the golf course. Right now I'm really focus on my driver and tee shot.
Q. And you were speaking to Randall earlier about being able to shape shots. Everyone has a natural shot shape, and when you first came out your natural shot shape was a fade? Does that remain the case? Is that the easiest shot for you to continue to hit, or has that changed?
SO YEON RYU: So Cameron and I call my stock shot as a draw shot, so with my natural golf swing I hit a draw. To hitting fade I have to working on little different types of swing.
Then because I knew it's really necessary to have the best shape of shot because of pin position or like hole shape, control the distance as well. So I'm always making sure I have great control of the approach shot, and that one definitely give me extra option to play every sort of golf course and every sort of pin position.
That's the way I really enjoy to play golf right now. I just -- well, if I can hit it straight all the time that'll be perfect, but right now -- it's like Bubba Watson. I just feel like it's more enjoyable to play like draw shot, like fade shot, low shot, high shot. I think that's the part of the game I really enjoy right now.
I think because of that I try to hit more shape shot out there these days.
Q. What is the unique test about Evian? What's the thing you have to do there better than most places to win there?
SO YEON RYU: So what's the most necessary shot you say?
Q. Yeah, that, and what do you have to do best to win there that makes it maybe different than other places?
SO YEON RYU: Once again, tee shot and I would say chip shot as well. I think that golf course requires every sort of chip shot, bump-and-run, like even chipping with the 3-wood, 5-wood or like flop shot, normal chip shot.
So I think to not making a bogey is most important as always. I would say tee shot and chip shot.
Q. I wanted to ask you, obviously Se Ri is the legend in South Korea. I'm wondering about Annika, when she got on your radar and what she meant to you growing up and maybe as you've met her as a pro?
SO YEON RYU: Well, I'm not going to lie, Se Ri Pak was my first idol. I didn't really know about Annika Sorenstam because right after I started to play golf Se Ri won the U.S. Women's Open, so that one makes me really interested in watch golf more.
And then Se Ri just make me the one got into the LPGA, because Annika, Se Ri, Karrie Webb, those three was awesome players at that era. So that's the time that I started to get into the Annika.
Back then I didn't really know about the golf swing, but I knew her golf swing was something unique. I knew her golf swing was very comfortable to hitting the ball.
Since I decided to become a professional, you know I started to know about Annika Sorenstam more and more. Looking at her achievement is just amazing. She's amazing golfer. And she's not just amazing golfer. She's fantastic person.
I still remember first final I met her in Taiwan. I had one of the outing in Taiwan with her and Natalie Gulbis. I was like super nervous to meet Annika Sorenstam and having a conversation with her, but she asked me a question first. She really started to like cheer me up. That was really fantastic first meeting with Annika Sorenstam.
These days sometimes she coming out for the commentating, and then seeing her at the Evian for the RAMA award was always special. Seeing her name on the trophy made me desire to win the tournament more.
Then what she did for Solheim and what she's doing for women's golf is just fantastic.
Q. If I can just ask one more. You gave us such great insight at the KPMG about your conversations with Cameron that led to you ride a rollercoaster. Anything interesting with Cameron since then in terms of your conversations maybe after the British Open, for example?
SO YEON RYU: Well, actually he's looking for another challenge from me. I think next we going to maybe go to karaoke then he's going to make me talk to someone I never met, someone really stranger, which is very fear to do it.
But I think since he saw the result after I ride a rollercoaster he's really enjoying it. I know he's looking for a chance to make me to do it, but I don't know. I wish I just going to play well and that I don't really need to do that for another challenge. (Laughter.)
THE MODERATOR: If there are no more questions, going once, going twice...
Q. I had one. Could I just ask you, obviously we had an English winner at the British Open in Georgia. I don't know how well you know her. She's obviously just kind of new on the scene. Do you have an impression of her, and what would you say her strengths are and what has made her so successful this year?
SO YEON RYU: Well, since she got on the tour I haven't really played with her so I really cannot tell how is her performance. She played really well in Portland, and obviously she is British U.S. Women's Open champion. I don't think we really need anymore explanation.
But I actually play with her in 2013 RICOH British Women's Open in St. Andrews. She was amateur back then. I remember she was 17 or 18; she was really young. I could see she has a huge passion about golf. I was like, Wow, this young girl going to come out on the tour and I might going to play golf with her someday.
And then here is she comes, she's on the LPGA. Right now she has one major tournament under her belt, and look forward to playing with her someday.
Q. I mean, I wasn't sure if you had played with her or not. Maybe you'll come up against each other at the International Crown.
SO YEON RYU: Yeah. It's going to be -- I think could be dark horse. Well, even though Korea and America is No. 2 top seed, but I think for country versus country it's not really matter whose ranking is higher, whose ranking is better. It's all about the teamwork. It's all about like atmosphere for that week.
I would say, you know, all the countries is really strong to against you, and look forward to -- especially England. We have the same bucket list, so look forward to play against them.
THE MODERATOR: Last call for questions before we end this conference call. Thank you everybody for joining us today, and thank you So Yeon for your time. Play well next week at the Evian.
SO YEON RYU: Thank you very much. Thank you. Have a great day.
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