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March 17, 2015

Michelle Wie West


KELLY THESIER:  Good afternoon.  We'd like to welcome Michelle Wie into the interview room.  Welcome back to the States.  How good does it feel to be back home?
MICHELLE WIE:  Feels great.  The West Coast Swing is definitely one of my favorites.  It's always so much fun being back here.  It's a great golf course, and really excited for this week.
KELLY THESIER:  This event always seems to hold a special place on the LPGA Tour just based on the fact that we honor the founders and we're always looking ahead to the future with the LPGA USGA Girls Golf Program.  How different is it for players when they arrive here and for you to see the founders here and to see all the little girls and feel the impact that the LPGA is making in the past and in the future, as well?
MICHELLE WIE:  This is definitely a very special event.  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.  They've done so much in pioneering strong women, and that's‑‑ we've been talking about that a lot, and I think it's great that the‑‑ we're also thinking about the future, as well, growing the women's game, just creating strong women out there, and I think it's so amazing that the young girls can come out and watch all of us and also get to meet some of the founders, as well.  I just ran into Pat and Betsy in the other room out there, and it was really good to see them.
KELLY THESIER:  It is kind of a gathering of LPGA history and legends when you come here, getting to see everyone.  Do you enjoy that catch‑up time and who do you look forward to seeing when you come out here?
MICHELLE WIE:  It's great.  Just all of them.  I really look forward to seeing all of them.  I think I got lucky, I got to play with some of the legends out there, but I think it's just even more special for the rookies, I think, coming out here.  They get to see legends like Pat Bradley and so many other founders out there, and especially on the 18th hole you walk onto the green and they're all sitting down there and you all get to meet them and talk to them.  It's not as long as you want it to be, but I think it's really great for the rookies and just everyone.  It's so cool, they each have such a great story.
KELLY THESIER:  We talk about legends and growing its stars in the game.  Last year was such an amazing year for you in terms of putting yourself up there in LPGA history, now having a major championship under your belt.  What kind of expectations did you have on yourself coming into this year, and how are you feeling about it so far in terms of how it's gone?
MICHELLE WIE:  Yeah, I definitely think I put a lot of internal pressure on myself, maybe a little bit too much.  I got a little bit sick.  But it's been great.  I go out there with the mindset it's a long year.  I've just been trying to work hard, see how good I can get.  I just want to get a little bit of improvement each and every day.  I don't think scores are everything.  I just want to have as much fun as I can out there on the golf course, really be grateful of all the opportunities that I have.  I think that this week really brings that back, just an appreciation for the game and appreciation for where the game is in general, where our Tour is, the fact that we get to come to Phoenix and play on such a great golf course.  I'm just having fun.

Q.  Before we talk about golf, I wonder if your acting career is taking off after that Hawai'i Five‑O appearance, and would you have comfortable enough to do that two or three years ago?
MICHELLE WIE:  I mean, I probably would have.  I wasn't really comfortable this time around, too.  I wasn't really sure what I was doing with my arms.  But the cast was so awesome.  Obviously knowing Daniel Day really made it a lot easier.  He came out and supported me.  But it was a lot of fun.  I would love to do it again.  I just think it's something that's really fun, different, interesting.  But yeah, definitely I was very nervous.  I was very nervous doing it.

Q.  You didn't really get to build on all of your hot momentum because of the finger injury.  I think you were off two or three months there and in the off‑season you took some time off and then you got sick in the Bahamas.  Do you feel like you haven't been able to get that momentum going again?
MICHELLE WIE:  Yeah, this past month has been really tough.  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.
But body is feeling good.  I think that the off‑season did a really good job for me, especially taking the time off because of my hand and definitely working out a lot more, trying to prevent injury, and it's just‑‑ it's a little bit unlucky that I got sick in the Bahamas, but it's a long season.  It's a long season, and I'm just building on everything.  I've just got to kind of get there.

Q.  In the Bahamas, did that carry over?  Was it the same thing in Asia or did you get sick with something else?
MICHELLE WIE:  No, I got strep throat, and it just kind of cultivated, had never really gone away.  My tonsils were still really swollen.  I had a hard time swallowing because of that and that just turned into a sinus infection, I guess.

Q.  So I'm halfway through today's piece, and where I left off was describing the drill you were doing on the range today trying to get your elbow tucked in nicely and how you were really exaggerating that in order to feel it, I presume.  Could you talk a little bit about why you felt a need to work on something that was so basic, and could you talk a little bit about the process of overdoing it and exaggerating it to get it?
MICHELLE WIE:  You know, it's just something that I've always kind of been working on because I am so lanky, I have long limbs and I have fast hips, so everything is just about timing and matching everything up.  That's just something that David and I have been working on, so trying to get more connected from my upper body to my lower body.

Q.  So you work on that drill pretty regularly then?

Q.  A lot of golfers after they win their first major say it frees them up.  You said you put more internal pressure on yourself and you say it's a battle you fight a lot.  How do you get yourself to the point where you say I've done this and I know I can do it again and not put the pressure on yourself?
MICHELLE WIE:  I think it's both ways.  I think after winning the U.S. Open it gave me a lot of confidence.  Last year in general, too, definitely gave me a lot of confidence, but you always want to do better.  I think as a professional athlete, if you don't have that hunger that something's not right, and I think you have to put the right balance between wanting to do better, but then sometimes wanting to be too good and wanting to‑‑ just trying too hard.  I think that's something that I struggle with internally is just trying too hard and trying to make everything so perfect, and I think that's what I did so well last year is just letting go, letting go and just letting things happen.
I think maybe this year I've just been trying a little bit too hard.
I'm kind of back in the mentality of whatever happens, happens.  I'm definitely putting the work in.  That's the kind of mentality I have is I know I'm working hard.  I know I'm putting in all the hours.  I know that I'm doing everything I can, and when I just go out there, I've just got to let things happen and try to free things up for sure.

Q.  Does that internal struggle emanate because so much was expected of you at such a young age, you had to try to live up to all these expectations?
MICHELLE WIE:  No, I don't think so.  I think that just comes from me being a perfectionist from a very young age, whether it's with academics.  If I got an A‑, God forbid, or a B on a test, I would be really hard on myself, and it's just being‑‑ just having that, being a perfectionist, always wanting to do better.
So I think that's why painting and some of my other hobbies have helped me to free up, relax, and just have fun out there.

Q.  Is that frozen song your theme song, "Let It Go?"
MICHELLE WIE:  (Laughs.)

Q.  Is there something from the Open technically or a feeling that you try to go back to that felt really good that week that you try to emulate?
MICHELLE WIE:  Yeah, that's the swing that David and I go back to all the time.  What I did last week, obviously that was probably the most solid golf I've played, ever, just ball‑striking‑wise and everything.  We just go back to the feelings‑‑ it was very simple feel back then, at that week, and just try to emulate it.  I think the problems that I encounter a lot of times is when I try to‑‑ David will attest to this, too, I like get a simple feeling and I just try to work too hard at it and then I make it complicated.  So I think just going back to that, this whole theme is just I know what I did at the U.S. Open, that swing.  I kept it through the entire year last year.  Maybe I tried to work on it a little bit too hard this year, so I'm just going back to keeping things simple.  I know exactly what that feeling is, so I'm just trying to get back to that.

Q.  Have you found it at all this week?  Do you feel like it's getting there?
MICHELLE WIE:  Yeah.  I mean, obviously it's been a little bit difficult this past month just being under the weather.  I think when that happens you kind of lose feeling of where things are.  But yeah, I think that golf is an interesting game.  I think you've just got to keep it simple, and it's a game about feeling, so I think that's what David and I have been working on, just trying to create a comfortable feeling, something that I can replicate, so that's what we've been working on.

Q.  With the ANA, the old Kraft, coming up in a few weeks, which is where you got hot last year, is there any good feeling, good vibes that you're starting to feel now that will help you going into that again?
MICHELLE WIE:  Yeah, for sure.  I think that I definitely struggled in the first part of the year, but at the same time I think because I kind of went through that, I think you learn to hit a lot of the trouble shots, a lot of the chip shots.  I felt like I scrambled really well in Asia, just hitting from different places obviously because ball‑striking really wasn't the best.
I think overall, I think everything that happened, I think that score isn't everything, I don't think the results are everything.  I definitely learned a lot from each and every week, and that's kind of what I want to happen is just every week learn a little bit, just get better and better every week.  And obviously with Kraft coming up, I don't want to put too much pressure on myself.  I just want to get a little bit better and better every week.

Q.  I'm sure you received hundreds of text messages and congratulations after the Open victory.  Was there one that really meant a lot to you?
MICHELLE WIE:  They all meant a lot to me.  I think that all my friends and family have been so close in the process.  They've been so integrated in it, just especially with David Leadbetter and Donatucci, both of them, and I know how hard we work, our IMG family.  But it was also fun to hear from people that I haven't heard from for a while.  I told the press this, but I got flowers from Adam Sandler, and that was pretty cool getting flowers from Happy Gilmore.  That was pretty awesome.
It's really cool to see who actually watched it and stuff.
The coolest part was getting text messages from my friends who don't play golf at all or don't pay attention.  They just don't pay attention to the golf world, and just hearing from them was pretty cool, too.

Q.  In that process of learning to let go, you have to give up control.  Can you describe at your level what it means to give up that control, what that process is like, and how iterative does it have to be before you finally can play freely?
MICHELLE WIE:  Yeah, I mean, giving up control is probably one of the scariest things to me.  I just want to always be in control.
But I think it's just a mentality.  I think you've just got to trust in yourself that you put in the hours, that you worked hard, and you know that if you do A, then B will come, you just can't focus on the results so much, and that's kind of what I've been focusing on is a process and just focusing on if I do this, then this will happen, and just focusing on the this part.

Q.  You mentioned you've had some illness and injury.  High level athletes are going to have the unpredictable happen.  Do you have a strategy or plan on how you manage your body and mind through those processes, or do you literally just deal with it as you find the time?
MICHELLE WIE:  Well, I try to eat as healthy as I can, obviously stick to a very strict workout regimen.  You know, I feel like I'm just clumsy a lot of times and just unfortunate in injuries.  I feel like I get injured a lot more than other people do.  But at the same time I feel like that's kind of just my body type.  I guess I'm a fragile body type.  I've always been the type that gets sick a lot, that gets injured a lot.  I've just been a little bit more careful in what I do and what I eat, and I try to sleep as much as I can, get hydrated, just rest as much as I can.

Q.  My question is do you have a plan what you can do to maintain momentum when you're not at your peak physically or emotionally?
MICHELLE WIE:  Yeah, I mean, a lot of times when you're sick, there's really nothing much you can do.  But at the same time you've just got to just stay hydrated and just keep going and just notice that you're not going to feel the same, so you've got to be more aware of how your body is reacting and not push it too far and whatnot.
You know, unfortunately when you are sick‑‑ sometimes I feel just like play better when I'm sick because you're focusing more on staying alive than shooting low.  But yeah, unfortunately sometimes there's just nothing much you can do when that happens.
KELLY THESIER:  You said you've become really good friends with the physios and you Tweet lots of pictures of your time in the physio trailer, right?
MICHELLE WIE:  Yeah, I'm in there‑‑ I think that's the best part‑‑ I love our physios out on Tour because even when I'm not injured, I just go in for maintenance and they're so good about it.  It's always a fun time in there.
KELLY THESIER:  You make it look fun, even if it isn't fun.  Thank you very much, and best of luck this week.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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