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June 9, 2015
HARRISON, NEW YORK
THE MODERATOR: Good morning, everybody. Thanks so much for being here. This is the first official press conference for the KPMG Women's PGA Championship. There are 23 major champions in the field this week. One of them sitting right here, it's great to have Michelle Wie on board. Four LPGA victories for you, and the major championship last year at the U.S. Women's Open. So here we are, not a new event, has got great history but a big week. What are your first thoughts walking around on campus?
MICHELLE WIE: It's a great setup. I played nine holes yesterday. Being so close to New York, it's also a lot of fun, as well. It's just the golf course seems like it's in really great shape. The setup looks amazing and it's definitely -- it's not a new tournament but definitely has a new vibe to it, so it's a lot of fun.
THE MODERATOR: This championship obviously contested this week at Westchester and you spoke about that. The whole goal is to elevate this major and take it around the country to great venues like Westchester. As a player who has won majors and one of the faces of the LPGA and women's golf, how important is that?
MICHELLE WIE: I think it's huge to go to big venues. Obviously played PGA TOUR events, SENIOR PGA TOUR events at this golf course. The venue is great, has a lot of history. It's great that we can play on a golf course like this. I'm excited to see the future venues where we'll play but I think KPMG has done such a great job elevating the women's game. You can see how much effort they put into this event, so it's going to be really great to see what happens.
THE MODERATOR: We'll take questions in a second. Mike Whan, Pete Bevacqua, John Veihmeyer collaborated to create this. I know there was buzz among the players because there was great history of this championship in the past. But what were your first impressions when you heard about this whole thing coming together?
MICHELLE WIE: I thought it was great. I thought it was great that the The PGA of America wanted to support the LPGA, and make our tournament even bigger and better. It is still an LPGA tournament, it's our major. I think it's just kind of bigger and better.
THE MODERATOR: Let's talk hip. I know you are hip but that's been the injury that you've been dealing with of late. How are you feeling?
MICHELLE WIE: I'm feeling good. I played shop right. May have been a week too early, kind of withdraw last week. Took a nice week at home. I did everything I could to get ready for this week. I went to physical therapy every single day, just did everything I could. Got an injection or two, or one -- just one. Just one injection. And I just rested as much as I can. Did a lot of hip stability stuff with David Donatucci, my trainer, and just tried to open up and just have better mechanics, open up the gates and it's feeling a lot better.
Q. I wanted to ask you a little about the Olympics. Right now, you're ranking is No. 13 in the world I believe, but if the Olympic Team was decided today, you wouldn't make it because you're the fifth American; the U.S. is so deep obviously. What do you think about that that some of the greatest players in the world won't be able to make it to the Olympics and just talk about trying to keep that ranking up over the next two years? Your U.S. Open title is great but won't go into the rankings for the Olympics.
MICHELLE WIE: I think that's the whole point about the Olympics. It's such a prestigious event, happens over four years. The top four Americans will make it into the team. You've got to make the top four. That's the most important thing. That's my priority for the next two years is to make the team. I'm going to do everything I can to do that. And you know, fortunately, I have some time to make the team, so I'm going to try to do my best this week and every single week. Rankings of one of those things that you can't worry too much about. You have to focus on playing well; and if you play well and do the correct steps, then the rankings will take care of themselves.
THE MODERATOR: Because it's a Solheim Cup year and because next year you have the International Crown, you're forced to collect points to play great golf. Does that actually help you in trying to make the Olympics?
MICHELLE WIE: Yeah, I think that it's definitely -- I feel like if you make the International Crown team, you have a very good chance of making the Olympic Team.
THE MODERATOR: Good analysis.
MICHELLE WIE: I think they come hand in hand. Like I've said before, you can't try too hard to make these teams. You have to do the right things and do the correct steps. If you play well and you win tournaments and you make Top 10s, then you are doing the right things, and the rankings and making the team will all come together. So right now, I'm really just focusing on trying to get healthy, play good golf and try to be in the best state I can be for when that time comes.
Q. Were you able to do anything golf-related in the week that you sat out?
MICHELLE WIE: I did. I was able to play a little bit, practice a little bit, yeah.
Q. Can you just discuss the momentum you had coming out of the U.S. Women's Open last year and maybe how your health has dissipated some of that?
MICHELLE WIE: Yeah, the year is still long. Unfortunately health has been a slight issue with injuries and whatnot late last year and early this year. But like I said, the season is still very long and I think I'm doing the right things to get back to being fully healthy. So I'm just trying to be patient and listen to my body.
THE MODERATOR: Having won the Rolex Annika Major Award, being the first to win that, how special was that to win you? Majors of the only way to get points to win that award so that points a little added something to weeks like this.
MICHELLE WIE: For sure. Winning the RAMA award last year was truly, truly amazing. It was so cool. Being able to win the inaugural one, I felt very honored. It's also a motivation to do it this year, as well. But you have to win a major to be able to even qualify for it, so it's definitely something I think about and something that's motivating me.
Q. Obviously this venue putts this tournament on a much bigger stage. But is there any regrets or feelings about leaving Rochester? A lot of fans up there and they had hosted an event for over 40 years.
MICHELLE WIE: We loved Rochester. We miss it a lot. Hopefully in the future, hopefully next year even, we'll go back to Rochester. I truly believe that we'll go back there. We love the area. Wegman's is such a big supporter of ours. Rochester, the city itself, with the volunteers and fans coming out like you said for the past 40 years or so; we'll be back, for sure. Kraig will make it happen.
Q. Back on the Olympics a little bit, given it's so new, can you kind of put into perspective how important an Olympic Gold medal would be for you and where it ranks compared to a major championship -- put that in perspective?
MICHELLE WIE: Yeah, growing up, you dream of becoming an Olympic athlete, and we never really had a chance to do it. Now we finally do. It was really cool be being part of that experience to get Olympic golf into the Olympics a couple years ago. It was just really cool, just explaining to the Olympic Committee how important it is for us golfers, how important that Gold Medal it is, how important it is to represent our countries, and it's definitely a big dream of mine.
Q. Is that on the same level as a major, would you say?
MICHELLE WIE: Yeah, it's definitely the same calibre, maybe even more important.
THE MODERATOR: We talk about elevating majors. This year you'll hear a lot on the tag line, inspire greatness. A women's leadership summit will take place on Wednesday that brings together some of the greatest female leaders in the country and the world, which I think is fantastic for this event. You're also inspiring some greatness as an ambassador, this just announced, an ambassador making news for the PGA Junior League Golf, team golf, fun golf for kids, all under The PGA of America umbrella. It's you and Rory that are the ambassadors. What does that mean to you.
MICHELLE WIE: It means a lot to me. I feel very honored that they came and asked me to do it, especially in doing with in the presence of Rory. I think he's such a great role model for kids. I love the concept. I love the concept of it, making it like a team sport a little bit. You'll have the LPGA and PGA professionals teaching the kids. I think it's such a fun concept. Golf can be a lonely sport and solo sport, and with kids it builds camaraderie and makes it more fun. I hope a lot of kids join and it will be a new thing.
THE MODERATOR: 13 and under for this team golf concept. There were 17,000 girls and boys that took part in this program in 2014, 1,500 teams Nationwide but this year alone that number is jumping up to 30,000. You spoke about the team golf concept and golf being an individual and sometimes lonely sport. In a way, in today's society, do you feel like the team thing is what can really help grow the game? How do you feel about young kids like we even have sitting here in the front row?
MICHELLE WIE: Yeah, I think it's great because I think a lot of time golf does help mold kids into strong individuals because you have to depend on yourself, because all the pressure is on yourself to perform well. At the same time I think a team concept will also help these kids because they can learn how to engage with other kids, learn team building skills. So I think it's a really good -- definitely both sides to it, and kids can definitely learn for both.
Q. Is it more important for kids, girls?
MICHELLE WIE: I think it's the same. I think it's important for all kids to learn how to engage in the team. I've learned a lot from playing in Solheim. I know that came a little bit later on in my life. But I've played a lot of team sports growing up and I think it's really cool that golf is kind of becoming that.
THE MODERATOR: City and regional championships, and then it goes to L.A. in October as part of the PGA Grand Slam of Golf. Maybe you and Rory can tag-team for a little competition yourself.
MICHELLE WIE: That would be fun.
THE MODERATOR: In the bigger picture, if you sit through golf right now, you know everybody is trying to quote, unquote, grow the game. 5,000 girls took part in the LPGA's program in 2010. That number is up to 50,000 in 2015. Where is the game in your opinion.
MICHELLE WIE: I think it's definitely growing and I think that's the most important thing about our game is to grow it, the next generation, just to create strong girls and create strong women. I think it's so great that the numbers are growing because that's the future of our game. That's the most important thing.
Q. Will the hills affect your hip at all?
MICHELLE WIE: Last week I was laying a couple holes in the cart. It feels great. Obviously the walking has a lot to do with it. We're coming up with ways to walking up these hills. You might see me walk backwards, walk sideways, maybe crawl a couple of times but I'll make it up the hills. That will be fun.
Q. You said growing up that you remember watching the Olympics. Do you remember what sports or athletes in particular you remember watching that inspired you?
MICHELLE WIE: You know, all the sports. I think that's such a great thing about the Olympics. You end up watching sports that are not really covered on TV a lot of times. Swimming was also one of my favorites. I love watching ping-pong. Ping-pong is definitely one of my favorites to watch.
THE MODERATOR: Are you good?
MICHELLE WIE: I'm okay. I'm okay. The long arms help a lot. I love watching the Winter Olympics, as well, too. I just end up watching everything.
THE MODERATOR: So you can cover the court well on a ping-pong table.
MICHELLE WIE: It's small enough where I don't need to move. Tennis is a different story.
THE MODERATOR: Nicole, our junior reporter.
Q. (By Nicole) If you had to choose one charity to golf for, what would it be?
MICHELLE WIE: Oohh, that's a good question. There's so many things I want to do. I've actually been recently thinking about a lot of stuff, and you've really got to, I really have to tighten up my vision of what I want to do. I've worked with a couple of charities in the past. My favorite one to work with is growing the game in Hawai'i. So working with the Hawai'i State Junior Golf Association is what I've been doing for the last couple of years, trying to help the girls, travel to the main land and grow the game there and make it more feasible for the junior golfers to get to the different outer islands and play different golf courses.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you for that question. Michelle, all the best. I know you were not able to participate in this event due to injury, but you still won the Annika Rolex Major Award. Thank you for your time today.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports