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November 19, 2014

Stacy Lewis


KRAIG KANN:  Thank you for sticking around and being here at the CME Group Tour Championship.  Great pleasure to welcome in Stacy Lewis, who leads Player of the Year by a whopping three points.  How do you feel about that and the week?  You just got your picture taken, by the way, downstairs, in front of some money.
STACY LEWIS:  Yeah, I've never seen $1 million that close before, so that was pretty cool.
I'm excited.  There is a lot on the line this week, and I think it almost helps that there are so many things on the line that you can't really pay attention to it.  Almost too many numbers to try to watch and figure out.
Just go out there and try to win the golf tournament and see what happens.
KRAIG KANN:  That's really interesting that you brought that up.  You've got some awards you can sweep for the first time since Beth Daniel did it back in '94.  Money, title, Player of the Year, Vare Trophy, all those things up for grabs, plus, you got the bonus here and the tournament you're trying to win, oh, by the way.  So you're not putting a priority on any of those things?  No goals specifically to one of those?
STACY LEWIS:  No, I don't know how you pick one of those.  I think all of those things are really important.  I would like to win all four or five of them, I guess.
One is not more important over the other.  You can't watch scoring average or Player of the Year stuff and then try to win the golf tournament.  There are too many numbers, too many scenarios there.  And try to win $1 million.
There are too many scenarios to figure out, so I just need to try to go play god golf, and the rest of it will take care of itself.
KRAIG KANN:  So safe to say, knowing you, you probably thought of it this way:  You win the golf tournament, you probably win all those other things.  That's the most important thing anyway.
STACY LEWIS:  Well, mathematically that would work out.
KRAIG KANN:  Yes, it would.  This year, could you assess it for us?
STACY LEWIS:  I mean, this year has been good.  I wouldn't say it's been a great year.  I think it was a great year until probably halfway through.
I mean, if we were halfway through the year I would've said it's been a great year.  I think the last half of the year I haven't played as well as I would've liked but still been in contentions and had opportunities to win.
That's always good.  It's been a good year.  There are 70 other players in the field that would love to be in the position I'm in.  That's the way I'm going to look at it and try to forget about what's happened the last couple months and try to go play some good golf.

Q.  What happened the latter half of the year?  Anything specific in your golf game?  Didn't feel well?  Tired?
STACY LEWIS:  No, I felt fine actually.  Just the golf game just a little bit off.  One day it was putting, one day it was ball striking.  Haven't had the weeks where everything has come together.
We've been working on my swing trying to get that back a little bit more consistent.¬† But I still‑‑ I mean, Taiwan I played great a couple weeks ago, so it's there.
It's scoring.  It's getting ball in the hole.  You can hit all the good golf shots you want, but if you don't get the ball in the hole the scorecard isn't going to show it.  That's really all it is.

Q.  I wanted to ask about the CME bonus.  You remember when the FedExCup came out and they had to go in two or three times and adjust it?  Haven't seen that this year.  Everybody has been very excited about it and it's been a very steady thing.  What are your thoughts on that, and how often did you think about it throughout the course of the year?
STACY LEWIS:  Well, I don't think we really thought about it a ton until the end of the year because I wanted to make sure I was leading coming into here.  I wanted to give myself the best opportunity for that.
Definitely disappointed that the points reset.  I would've loved to have that little cushion.
KRAIG KANN:  You're welcome.
STACY LEWIS:  Thank you very much, by the way.  It makes it exciting for the fans.  With these nine players nobody really knows how it's going to play out this week.  There are some unknowns there.
So, I mean, it'll be interesting.  I'm sure that you guys will have fun running numbers trying to figure everything out.  Those numbers, Vare Trophy, Player of the Year.  You have so many numbers to run you need extra staff.
KRAIG KANN:  You going to come in here after your round each day and sit with them and try to help sort through those numbers?
STACY LEWIS:  I could help.
KRAIG KANN:  Would you care to, though?
STACY LEWIS:  I could make you a little spreadsheet.
KRAIG KANN:  No, is that something you would do after round one?  Would you come, or would you blow the whole thing off?
STACY LEWIS:  No, I think I'll let you guys figure it out.  Maybe I'll read some of it if I get close.  If I'm close to stuff I'll probably try to know.  I love knowing the numbers of things.  I'll know what's going on.  That's just me.
It's like watching the leaderboard.  I always know what's going on.

Q.  Do you know why the Americans have done so well, particularly at the start of the season?
STACY LEWIS:¬† I think the American resurgence is ‑‑ I think a lot of it is Solheim Cup.¬† I really do.
I think we've gotten spanked the last two Solheim Cups, and it was just more poor play than anything.  I think we've taken some ownership of it.  Girls are working hard.  You got the young ones, Jessica Korda, Lexi, that age, they're getting in contention more and learning how to win.
It takes time.  They're not going to come out at 20 years old and be a world beater and learn how to win every single week and be in contention.  It's taking some time.
Look at Michelle.  Same thing.  It's just taking some time.  It's great to see.  Austin Ernst winning this year, Christina Kim winning last week.  You've got some variety of Americans, which is great for the tour.

Q.  You mentioned the Solheim Cup.  That seems to be resonating with a lot of players.  Did you have any conversation with players after that?
STACY LEWIS:  I think we've talked about it a little bit.  Not really specifically, but just we've talked about it.  I think leading up to the next one we've talked to Juli about some things and how to maybe do a few things different.
We just got to get out there and play some better golf.  We know we can.  We know we can do it.
I think we're going to be really motivated the next eight months or so.

Q.  As a KPMG brand ambassador, how cool is it that KPMG is going to be the title sponsor for the LPGA Championship going forward, No. 1?  And secondly, this week, how does the Tiburon, Greg Norman Tiburon course suit your game, and what do you think is going to be key to holding that trophy on Sunday?
STACY LEWIS:¬† Start with KPMG.¬† You know, that event, it was really cool for me to see the behind‑the‑scenes of how everything came together.
KPMG has asked me a lot of questions about how to make that a great event and make it different.
The big thing is they signed up for five years, so we've got a five‑year partner for a big major championship.¬† I'm so excited about it.¬† Just the little things they're going to do it's going to make it feel really like a major should feel.¬† I'm really excited to get there.¬† I think it's going to be really cool.
Then this week, this golf course, you know, it's so different than last year it's crazy.  Last year it was firm and fast and hard to hold the greens; now we've got a long, wet golf course out there.
So I think length is going to be huge this week, and it always comes down to putting at the end of the day.
If they don't move the tees up very much we're going to have a lot of the long irons into the greens.¬† It's going to come down to good ball‑striking and good putting.

Q.  Are you disappointed after the last Solheim Cup that you guys didn't come up with a task force?
STACY LEWIS:  No.  I would not want to be a part of a task force.

Q.  When you consider everything that's at stake this week from awards, Money List, the whole thing, how would compare that with a major in terms of atmosphere, feeling going into it?
STACY LEWIS:  Honestly, it's way harder than just winning a golf tournament.  I've been through this scenario kind of the last couple years.  I learned a lot from 2012 with the whole Player of the Year race, kind of understanding how to play.
But it's so hard to not think about the scenarios.  We can sit up here and tell you we're not going to think about it, but it's really hard not to.
You know, as I said, I think, honestly, there are so many things up for grabs and so many scenarios and numbers you can run through your head, you would drive yourself crazy out there trying to think of them all.
I think it's easier that there are five things up for grabs than maybe one or two.

Q.  What's the difference in the nerves?
STACY LEWIS:¬† I don't know.¬† I mean, I feel like ‑‑ I wouldn't call it nervousness because I feel like‑‑ I'm glad that I'm in the lead in most of these thing where if I play good golf I can control my own destiny.
I think you get nervous when you get in a position when I can't control it.  If I'm ten or twelve points behind in Player of the Year, then I know I have to win the golf tournament to win this thing.
I don't know.  It's not really nervousness, it's just hard to focus on the task at hand.

Q.¬† Stacy, really the last three years ‑ I asked Inbee about this ‑ you kind of separated yourselves in terms of consistency.¬† Do you consider that a rivalry in a good way, in a sports way?¬† Also, if you could maybe talk about from the outside we would say you two have very different personalities.¬† Do you feel like you're very different?
STACY LEWIS:¬† Yeah, I would say we're very different.¬† Just, I mean, we're very different in our personalities, in the way we do things.¬† Golf games are somewhat similar in that we're both consistent, but I wouldn't say‑‑ you could probably take different parts of our games where maybe Inbee is better or I'm better.
I wouldn't say our games match up or anything.  I think that's why we don't always play well on the same golf courses.  Our games are just different.  We get it done different ways.
Whether it's rivalry, I mean, I don't know.  You look now three years that the two of us have gone back and forth for Vare Trophy, Player of the Year, all that kind of stuff.  So maybe it's becoming one now as our games evolved to play better on the same golf courses.
Like in Taiwan.¬† We get more rivalries, we get more head‑to‑head action.¬† I think you need the head‑to‑head action for it to become a true rivalry on the golf course.
KRAIG KANN:  She was just in here talking about the No. 1 and about when she got it the first time and didn't really know what she was in for how to handle it as well.
Now she's way more comfortable with the whole thing and everything that goes with it.
STACY LEWIS:¬† Uh‑huh.
KRAIG KANN:  Talk about what you went through and what you feel?  Now you're trying to get back there as well.  You probably feel more comfortable now in the chase knowing what you're going to deal with if you got back to the top; is that fair?
STACY LEWIS:  Yeah, I think that run that Inbee went on last year winning the majors, I knew it was just going to take time to get back to No. 1.
Again, it's going to be the same kind of thing.  Maybe I can win a tournament one week and get back to No. 1, and she can win the next week and get back to No. 1.
It's just knowing that if you play good golf over time, eventually the rankings will change, they will move.
But honestly, I don't pay attention much to those.  I don't understand the whole points system and how it all works.
I pay attention more to wins and Player of the Year and that kind of stuff.

Q.  Stacy, Joe Hallett, your swing coach, has been with you for about five years now.  What's he meant to you?
STACY LEWIS:  Joe has been unbelievable.  You know, I was lost after my rookie year.  I didn't know how to get better.  I didn't know what I needed to do to get to the next level.
When I started working with him, he had a plan.  He had a plan of what I needed to work on.  I needed to get my body stronger.  I needed to get my golf swing in a better position at the top.
Kind of a list of things he went through.  He was in for the long haul.  I didn't want a quick fix.  I wanted something that was going to last over time.
So, I mean, he's so patient with me.  He's really positive, especially these last few months.  I think I put him through a lot.
He's been unbelievable.  I mean, he's like family.  He hangs out with my family all the time and stays at our house.  He's definitely part of the family now.

Q.¬† Last week, I'm just wondering if you maybe pressed a little bit or thinking about year‑end things or maybe you didn't like the golf course.¬† What was going on last week?¬† What have you been working on since you arrived in Naples.
STACY LEWIS:  Contrary to all the media reports I was fine last week.  I wasn't sick.  But the golf course really didn't really suit my eye.  The greens were a little bit inconsistent as far as how shots were releasing and it kind of frustrated and got to me a little bit.
But I played well two of the days, and two of the days obviously didn't play very good.  We've just been working on ball striking a little bit, just hitting the ball a little bit more solid, get my numbers under control, and then just little things with putting.
As I said, it's scoring.¬† It's not major changes with my swing or anything like that.¬† It's just getting ball in the hole.¬† You know, making birdies on the par‑5s when you get it up by the green in two.¬† Or hitting it inside five, six feet when you got a wedge in your hand.
It's just doing the little things right is what we're trying to do right now, because I don't feel like I'm doing a whole lot wrong.

Q.¬† Stacy, Inbee was saying when she gets a little nervous or when she's pressing she tends to play too fast.¬† Is there something over the years you tend to do ‑ I don't know if it's nerves or whatever‑¬† when you're not playing well that you tend to do a lot and that you've learned to maybe address that?
STACY LEWIS:  Yeah, I think I get too fast.  I think I try to just control my thinking more than anything.  Just try to slow things down in my head.
I think that's really where I get too quick is in my head, and that translates to your golf swing, your mannerisms, the way you walk into the ball.  Everything kind of changes.  So it's just trying to slow things down mentally seems to help.

Q.  You probably won't be thinking about getting a car since you just won one.  Have you given a thought to what you would do with the potential $1.5 million?
STACY LEWIS:  Not really, no.

Q.  Media dinner?
STACY LEWIS:  Media dinner.  Wouldn't you love that?  (Laughter.)

Q.  Yeah.
STACY LEWIS:  Yeah?  I'll invite you guys, just not him.
Honestly, no, I don't even want to think about it truthfully.¬† Like when we're out there, I don't want t to touch the $1 million.¬† I don't want anything ‑‑ I don't want to touch it.¬† I don't want to even think about it.
It's just going and trying to win the golf tournament and take it one shot at a time.  If I get a million and a half dollars out of it it'll be a bonus.
KRAIG KANN:  They asked you to put your hand on the glass case, correct?  You said no way.
STACY LEWIS:  Yeah, no way.

Q.  Why?
STACY LEWIS:¬† You don't touch the ‑‑ ask Yani.¬† (Laughter.)
KRAIG KANN:  Can we get that transcript, please?
STACY LEWIS:  Ask Yani.  She'll tell you the same thing.  They don't get my encore surnames.  They still have to work hard.

Q.  You ever put your hands on something you shouldn't have and...(indiscernible)
STACY LEWIS:¬† No.¬† I mean, from that I never really thought about it before.¬† After that Kraft Nabisco when Yani held up that trophy on the first tee, I think everybody on tour‑‑ I don't think anybody will touch a trophy before they win it now.¬† (Laughter.)

Q.  One more thing to ask you about the Solheim.  If you can explain to me how a team event affects individuals so they play better the following season.
STACY LEWIS:¬† Well, I think in a team event you get closer with your teammates.¬† You help each other, whether in you are practice rounds‑‑ we'll play practice rounds together, and maybe it's helping each other.¬† How did you hit that chip shot?¬† What did you do there?
You just become closer friends and you root for each other.  You want the other person to do well.  When you're maybe in a final group with another American and you're not playing well but they have a chance, you're kind of cheering them on.
You want to keep them going.  You learn to just support each other more than just that one week.
KRAIG KANN:  I have one last thing before you walk out.  By the way, you can touch the car because you've already won the car.
STACY LEWIS:  Yeah, I won the car.
KRAIG KANN:  So there is no problem with the keys.  You've probably done more press conferences this year than any player.  This is the final event of the year.  You were No. 1 in the year for much of this season and you've been kind of the target of a lot of questions.  In a good way.
STACY LEWIS:¬† Uh‑huh.
KRAIG KANN:  The LPGA has had a terrific season.  A lot of people have written about that.  What's your take on this year in the time you've been out there on the LPGA?  What would your message be about this season?
STACY LEWIS:  I think it's been one of the coolest years to follow the LPGA.  I think from a player's side, we're playing for a ton of money, playing at great venues.  And then you throw in all the winners we've had this year.
I mean, I think we made your job pretty easy this year.
KRAIG KANN:  You did.
STACY LEWIS:  We wrote a lot of stories for you guys.  We had some great winners.  Christina winning last week, you can't write a better story than that.
It's really cool.  I think you want to see a variety of winners.  You want to see people breaking through, like Michelle did at the U.S. Open.  From a player's side it's just been great to see friends winning and see people doing well, people winning a ton of money and playing all over the world.
It's been an awesome year.

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