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SIME DARBY LPGA MALAYSIA


October 7, 2014


Lydia Ko

Jessica Korda

Stacy Lewis

Jon Podany

Dato Seri

Kelly Tan

Steven Thielke

Lexi Thompson


KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA

JON PODANY:  Thank you, Dato Seri.  I love to hear that you want to continue for a long time, because we certainly do as well at the LPGA.
We want to congratulate Sime Darby and IMG and all the organizers and partners involved in this event on our fifth year together.
We really do appreciate and value long‑term relationships.¬† To now have our fifth year here and hopefully many more years to come, we're really looking forward to that.
This is truly one of our more anticipated events of year, not only among or Asian swing, but for the whole schedule throughout the year.
We really get treated well here on and off the course.  Steven, I want to congratulate you on such a tremendous facility and the condition of the golf course and the whole setup here at KLGCC.
Players love coming here.  I don't think you need to look any further than the field to see that that is true.  I think we have 37 of the top 40 players in the world here this week, and 8 of the top 10.  Only ones that aren't here are injured or getting married next week.
So a lot of good things going on, and we really do appreciate everything Sime Darby and KLGCC do for the LPGA.
We're a global tour.  You may not know this, but we have eight different countries represented in the top thirteen players in the world.  So we truly are a global tour.
We recognize the importance of the development of golf in this region, particular women's golf.  So that's another area that this event has had a tremendous impact.  Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia Development Program has had a tremendous impact, and we certainly wish well the six Malaysian angels this year.
We don't need to look any further than Kelly down the row here to know what kind of impact that program has had as well.
On behalf of the LPGA and our players, again, just want to thank all of you for coming.  Thank you Sime Darby Foundation and KLGCC for putting on such a tremendous event and really treating our players first class.  Thank you.
(Applause.)
MODERATOR:  Before we talk about this year, what was the lasting memories of winning last year's tournament.
LEXI THOMPSON:  I think my favorite memory was just walking up to the 18th green and embracing all the fans.  The fans were amazing last year.  In between every hole they were always rooting me on.  That just makes an athlete in general feel amazing.
Yeah, walking up to the 18th green and making the four or five‑footer for par on the last hole and waving to the fans and walking off the green and hugging my dad.¬† It was just a moment I'll never forget.
MODERATOR:  What's your approach for this week?  What's going to be different for you?
LEXI THOMPSON:  No different approach.  I go into any event wanting to win, so same determination.  Just take one shot at a time.  I have a lot of great memories here from last year, but, yeah, focus on one shot at a time and do my routine and not get ahead of myself.
MODERATOR:  Thank you very much.
Lydia Ko, this is the time last year when you turned pro.  What are your first impressions like, and what is your plan for the week?
LYDIA KO:  Yeah, a lot of things have been from then to now.  There has been a lot of exciting things being able to play on the LPGA.  Been having lots of fun, learning a lot of things along the way.
Yeah, it's great.  It's my first time to Malaysia.
MODERATOR:  Ooooh, welcome to Malaysia.
LYDIA KO:  Yeah, I've been having fun.  I've been enjoying it.  I've only been here the last two days, and hopefully I can look outside the golf course in the next couple days.
MODERATOR:  I'm sure someone will want to take you around.
LYDIA KO:  Maybe some shopping and looking around.  I'm really looking forward to the rest of the week.
MODERATOR:  All the best.
Steven, this is the tournament's fifth anniversary.  Doesn't look like any normal golf tournament, so tell us what's actually going on here.
STEVEN THIELKE:¬† This year our intentions are we are trying to ‑‑ not trying, we will be opening the tournament to a wider audience.¬† The Sime Darby LPGA has worked so well between the ropes.¬† We have got a fantastic field.
This year we are trying to attract a different crowd.  Trying to get those young families, young potential golfers in the future to come out and watch the LPGA.  So we introduced a whole bunch new initiatives, including integrating all five of our restaurants into the tournament in year.
Around the pool we'll have five gazebos with different Malaysian foods there to try out.  Maybe that's where Lydia can try out some of Malaysian foods.
There will be some DJing and music.  Don't worry, it will only be after 3:00 after the last putt drops.
So perhaps one or two of the players want to go and try their DJing skills.  We have some celebrities and famous Malaysian DJs.  There is a lot of fun and action.
There is a Chip4Charity where some players will join us afterwards at the Chip4Charity.  Just a fun initiative to raise some funds.  All kinds of new initiatives to try to attract a different crowd and introduce some new people in Malaysia to the game of golf.
MODERATOR:  Great stuff.  Tournament Festival as they call it, right?
STEVEN THIELKE:  Yes.
MODERATOR:  Stacy, No. 1 in the world; you've won in Asia before.  Great week in Beijing last week.  What's the plan for this week?
STACY LEWIS:  To do it again.  You know, I've been playing some good golf all year.  You know, it just comes down to making a few key putts in the final round.  I didn't quite do that last week, but the game is where it needs to be.
I love playing this golf course.  It's probably one of my favorites all year.  Looking forward to a good week.
MODERATOR:  Fantastic.  Thank you very much, Stacy.
Jessica Korda, you also had a fantastic win in the Bahamas.  How does it feel like to be back in Malaysia?
JESSICA KORDA:  This is my second year back, and I think every year it gets better and better.  The golf course is in amazing shape, and I'm excited to get the week started here.
MODERATOR:  Fantastic.  Well, good luck.
And last but not least, our Malaysian Angel, Kelly Tan.  Welcome back.  How are you feeling?
KELLY TAN:  It's always good to be home.  I was away from home for six months, and that was pretty tough for me.  I did pretty good this year, and just very happy to be back.
MODERATOR:  Okay.  Well, good luck.  I would like to open it up for some questions to the floor.  If you have any questions, please feel free to ask.

Q.  This is the fifth year; one more year contract.  It's very good to know you're keen about keeping LPGA here.  Is this going to be a resigned contract?
DATO SERI:  I didn't say that.  Number one is LPGA Malaysia, that is principal, what do you call, point that I raise.  Because over the last four years, now fifth year, we have, Sime Darby, has played our part to ensure that LPGA and Malaysia entity (indiscernible) believe in sport and have been developing the positioning of LPGA in Malaysia to that level.
That level means it's (indiscernible) competition, and as has been highlighted earlier, many of the players like to come back.  There are a lot of unique memories here.  As mentioned by Steve, we have got something that is different.
Now, because it is Malaysian, what do you call, LPGA Malaysia positioning has been strongly supported by the LPGA and the players, and therefore the event should be in Malaysia and in KLGCC for a very long time.
That is our wish, but this is not a platform nor me to say yes or no.  We only review things one year at a time.  We have that kind of gentlemen understanding.
I think seriously, more importantly, it doesn't matter who sponsor the event.  (Indiscernible.)
Here is where, as I mentioned earlier, because it is a position to that level, therefore I believe a lot more big names of Malaysia is prepared to chip in.
And probably the purse (indiscernible).  I don't know.  We can guess only.  But that's my point.  Okay?

Q.  Congratulations for all those involved.  This is a fantastic tournament.  Question for the players, all of you.  Obviously you come for the prize money and so forth.  What is it about Malaysia that puts it on top of the list of tournaments you would like to play at?  Is there an opportunity in the future of expanding the field?  If you expanded it to 156, what effect does that have on any sponsorship money?
JON PODANY:¬† Well, right now we're not necessarily looking to expand beyond what we are.¬† We try to keep all the Asian events in about the same range in terms of number of players.¬† We have chosen to go down the path of having those be no‑cut events so players aren't traveling from all over the world and only potentially playing two days at a tournament.
So we trying to maintain some consistency between the Reignwood LPGA Classic in China last week and Hana Bank next week in Korea.  We play now six tournaments in Asia in the fall.  I think for the foreseeable future you'll see continued consistency in the size of the field.
STACY LEWIS:  I'll just say from the players' side, the smaller field, it kind of rewards you for having a good year.  It's something that at the beginning of the year all the players are focusing on.  They want to make sure they play well enough to get into these fields.
So playing over here is basically a reward for a great year.¬† I think it's a great thing that we have it.¬† I like coming here just because I love the golf course more than anything.¬† That's why I come.¬† It works out well in the schedule just as far as ‑‑ you know, I don't like being away from home for too many weeks at a time.
For me, it's in the beginning of this kind of swing of tournaments so it works out well in the schedule.  Most importantly, I like the golf course.
STEVEN THIELKE:  (Indiscernible)  besides that, the LPGA Sime Darby inside the ropes we all know works well.  No problems here.  To fiddle with it and change it would be probably not on top of our list right now.
MODERATOR:  Thank you.

Q.¬† Lexi, you won by a significant margin last year.¬† Is there a game plan, under‑par total, you're looking for going into the tournament?
LEXI THOMPSON:  I don't even remember what I shot last year.  I don't have a specific score in mind.  Like I said earlier, golf is such a challenging sport.  You have to stay in the moment and focus on doing your routine on every shot.
I am going to go out and do my best and see what happens.

Q.  So anyone who wants to answer, obviously you'll be very happy for Inbee this week.  Is there a competitive side of you guys that is like, Ah, this is a little bit better for us this week?
STACY LEWIS:  She doesn't even know she's not here.
LEXI THOMPSON:  I didn't even know that.
STACY LEWIS:  I don't think we look at that.  I want to play against the best players in the world every single week.  I'm kind of disappointed she's not here.
I am happy she's getting married and just glad the timing worked out that everyone was over here so they could go.

Q.  Stacy, after Beijing last week where you were leading for much of the tournament, how are you coming into the tournament?  With confidence or a little bit upset about the way it went?
STACY LEWIS:  I feel good.  I feel good with where my game is.  I really just didn't putt well.  Mirim, she made everything she looked at on Sunday.  I just got the feeling it was meant to be pretty early on for her.
I like where my game is at.  I'll just keep working on a few things for the next few days, but things are good.

Q.  One final question for Lydia.  Obviously you've had an amazing year.  Would you be happy ending the season with your current world ranking, or still looking to go one further?
LYDIA KO:  I'm just going to play a day and a tournament at a time.  Golf is not something just all about me.  There are always other players playing well.
STACY LEWIS:  Just say it.  You want to be No. 1 in the world.  Say it.  Come on.  Come on.
LYDIA KO:  No, all the players, they're playing at their best.  We're all going out there and trying to win.  I mean, everybody has got the same goal.  I'm just going to go out there and just try my best, and if it goes my way, great.
But it's been fun and it's been a really interesting rookie year.  I've been learning lots on the tour.  Having other great players like Stacy for me to look up to and learning not only about golf but how she does things outside the golf course, there is a lot of things for me to learn right now.
MODERATOR:  Thank you.  One last question.

Q.  Kelly, this is your rookie year.  How has it been playing on tour?  You've been doing pretty well, too.
KELLY TAN:  Yeah, I didn't start the season as good as I wanted.  It was a little struggle for me early in the year to get used to the tour and traveling and managing my travel and schedule.
You know, I'm starting to play better towards the end of the year and trying to get used to it.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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