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October 6, 2015
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
THE MODERATOR: Before me I see many familiar faces that have covered this tournament over the previous years; some new. Think what we can certainly look forward to in 2015 are a lot of new and exciting elements. Not just on the golf course - we all know the golf is going to be world class once it tees up Thursday morning - but the host and the range of activity that are going to take place off the golf course throughout the course of the week.
There is a great deal to enjoy. We've just a photo opportunity a few moments ago where with we had a couple of LPGA stars trying their hand at the local cuisine.
Michelle Wie and Cheyenne Woods also spinning the decks with our official tournament DJ. I think you'll agree, it's the first time we've ever had an official tournament DJ.
This is a very exciting week. It gives me great pleasure to introduce our top table, and a top table that certainly needs no introduction.
I'm delighted that on my immediate left we have the world No. 2, Lydia Ko. We had a chance to watch her just last month at the Evian Championship where she became the youngest player in women's golf to win a major at just the tender age of 18. Lydia, great to have you back for the second time.
Joining her is our defending champion, Shanshan Feng. Big rounds of applause for Shanshan. (Applause.) Cast your minds back a year ago to that quite magical eagle on the 16th holed to seal the victory in very dramatic circumstances. It was a world-class display of golf, and we're thrilled that you're back here once again at the KLGCC.
I would also like to give a special recognition to our host and sponsor, Tun Musa Hitam, the chairman of Sime Darby Foundation. (Applause.)
To his immediate left, the Pink Panther in the pink baseball cap. She as part of a victorious Solheim Cup just a few weeks ago. Always a favorite with the crowd, former U.S. Open champion, and thrilled you're back here, Paula Creamer, ladies and gentlemen.
Last but certainly not least, leading the Malaysian Angels and Malaysia's No. 1 player who has been plying her trade on the LPGA this year, a favorite certainly in this part of the world this week and we wish her all the very best, Kelly Tan, ladies and gentlemen. (Applause).
It gives me great pleasure to please ask our host, Tun Musa, to say a few words. He's keeping very illustrious company this week. I know he's played in the Pro-Ams in previous years. I wonder who gets to be the lucky player who gets to play with him tomorrow morning.
TUN MUSA HITAM: I wouldn't tell you. (Laughter.) Secret, top secret.
Thank you very much. First of all, let me tell you that even though this is I think the fifth, sixth year -- sixth year, right? For six years has been held in Kuala Lumpur at the club. In spite of that, this is the first time I am having a pre-competition press conference under my name.
Actually means that I have been going down the level of status. It's a joke, please. (Laughter.)
Let me say how pleased I am this afternoon to be given the opportunity to hold this press conference, an event we always look forward to every year from the point of view of the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club, and also from the point of view of the Sime Darby Foundation.
This is especially so because I feel that the cause by which we are holding this special annual competition is a noble one. I'm of course referring to supporting the breast cancer research very well represented by our very energetic professor.
Also the fact that this competition annually seems to be increasing in its attractiveness, if I can call it that way, as well as popularity spreading among not only the golf fraternity but the general public, is in itself a sign of success to a great extent because we in Malaysia are trying our best to promote the game not only by the way, whatever way we have been doing, but also hopefully young men and women from Malaysia will get more and more into the international stage.
Today we have with us very well-known personalities. I claim to know them reasonably well by way of my office, shaking hands with them when they were competing in the previous competitions. We are looking forward to a very, very exciting year this time.
It's always a sense of pride to us that whenever we have the first list coming here, and at the end of doing the last, final list, we are told quite correctly that really the top of the top lady golfers in the world are here participating.
So I would like to welcome them and thank them for their support. We really looked forward to a very, very entertaining event this time.
I can only say that in order to make sports, or this particular ladies golf as a sport in the country to be known, we have really made this event here a wholesome affair, meaning that this is a golf event, ladies golf event, but we try to attract the general public to come here.
The attractions are rather non- golf, but in a very indirect way. By attracting them here -- you know how to attract Malaysians to any event? Tell them there is good food. So we have got food galore. The young especially would be attracted to this, and parent will bring the young.
In that way, indirectly of course, we make the public aware of what golf is all about. Very indirect way of really promoting the sport. But better still for us to inform you members of the press that even though golf has always been regarded as an elite game, we're trying to make this reach down to the lowest level possible.
That's why since this year, early this year, we started a special program for children of the underprivileged. I'm very proud of this, because actually Steven, I must credit you for whispering this to me last year one time this is what you wanted to do.
I said, Yes. I think we visited about 30 or 50 homes I think and literally picked young boys and girls from there and bring them on and just assess on the spot their inclination or interest, their adaptability to golf. We selected something like 200 of them. The end result of course is not as big as 100 even. We have got now young boys and girls in the number 18 as a start who from zero knowledge about anything whatsoever about golf, I think after this competition for the first time they are going to be competing in the course, right? Steven?
Boys and girls who were completely ignorant will be starting to play golf. This is a start. We hope that this program will be successful and continue. Let me give some word of caution to the champion: the future champions are coming. At least from 18, maybe 100, as we go on, as we develop.
I take the trouble to mention this specifically because it is something worthwhile mentioning, that we are involved manage this particular exercise.
Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to leave it there. I would like to open this to the press to ask what questions they would like to pose to us in this press conference. Thank you very much.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you. There will be a chance to ask the players questions, and we are also going to be hearing from Steven Thielke the general manager of the.
KLGCC about the entertainment and activities that are taking place after the last putt drops outside of the ropes.
So you really can look forward to a great deal of fun not just on the golf course, but also off. I'll introduce our distinguished guest at the front in just a second. I would like to ask a question to the players. We'll open up the floor to you all.
Lydia, it was really an emphatic win at Evian Championship. There was a whole heap of pressure on you to go in and try and be the youngest winner of a major. You managed to do that and walk into the history books once again.
How did you make it look so easy?
LYDIA KO: It wasn't. No, I mean, it was an unbelievable experience. Either way, if I hadn't won, it would have still been my last chance. Nobody would ask me if I would be the youngest major winner. But I'm very fortunate that I am now.
Yeah, it was so amazing, and I still can't believe that week happened.
THE MODERATOR: You've only played here last year; you finished in the top 10. You've had a chance to see the golf course. Does this really suit your game?
LYDIA KO: It suits her game.
THE MODERATOR: Oh, okay.
LYDIA KO: I was playing alongside Shanshan last year in the final round and she played amazing. That's why she shot that low number on the last day.
Yeah, I mean, course seems like it's in pretty good condition. Really good to be back. I had so much fun here in Malaysia, so when you have a lot of great experiences, it attracts players to come back year in year out.
THE MODERATOR: What will you do outside of the golf? Will you be going to the food truck festival? Having a dance? Spinning the decks?
LYDIA KO: I don't know how good my dancing skills are. It's out there on Instagram. Maybe. I'm a big foodie, so I'm really interested in a lot food. I'll be having some good food, and I'm sure the food truck will have a lot of good stuff there.
Might not be one visit.
THE MODERATOR: Okay. Wish you all the very best of luck this week.
Shanshan, when you came back did you draw on the wonderful memories of last year? Have you been to the 16th hole and had a chance to remember that moment when you made that eagle? For those of you who were here, it was a final round of 63, 8-under par. Astonishing.
SHANSHAN FENG: I just played nine holes before I came in, and I played the back nine. I think I shot maybe 6-under on the back nine last year. So while I was playing I was like, Oh, I made this putt last year.
The next putt I'm like, I hit it there last year. I am trying to do the same thing, trying to find the good memories from last year.
I found out that I just love Malaysia. I love to come every year. This year is a little bit different because I'm the defending champion, but I'm not going to give myself any pressure because I just want to enjoy this week just like I used to.
By the way, I have to say thanks to Lydia, because I think she decided she's making too much money so last year she let me to have the chance to win. So thank you very much. (Laughter.) (Applause).
THE MODERATOR: Shanshan you do have a great record. For those of you who went to the prize giving last year, Shanshan made a very special presentation of a gold putter to the prime minister. I think he's probably played much better golf because of it.
SHANSHAN FENG: I hope so. (Laughter.)
THE MODERATOR: Now to Paula Creamer. You've been coming here for years and had a very solid performances here, a number of top 10 finishes. After that quite brilliant performance as a team in the Solheim Cup just a few weeks ago in Germany, are you brimming with confidence.
PAULA CREAMER: Yeah, of course. The Solheim Cup was an incredible week. It's a lot of fun when you get to play on a team, especially when you can win. Everything kind of came together for us that week.
Being here is a highlight. I think we all love to come to this event. It shows in the field. It shows in how this tournament has been growing, what we've been doing for women and just families and touching people's lives in a different way, through the game of golf, is pretty special. I think we all want to be a part of that and we all want to help.
Even now all the structures around here, this event is getting bigger and bigger. There is no way any of us are real going to miss it. So I'm really glad to be back, and hopefully to be for many more years.
THE MODERATOR: And you've always been a very good supporter of charities as well. The tournament charity this year is Cancer Research Malaysia. We're very pleased to have (indiscernible) join us. The girls are always very grateful for the work that you do, and indeed that Sime Darby does to raise hundreds of thousands of ringgit for cancer research in Malaysia as well.
Thank you Paula. Good luck.
Kelly, your the Malaysian Angel. Everybody is going to be following you and wishing you all very best. How is your game heading into this week?
KELLY TAN: Well, this year hasn't really been going well for me, but it's another learning year for me. It's hard to be away from home for so many months, but I'm really trying to get used to it. I'll try to do my best this week.
THE MODERATOR: Do you have family and friends here with you this week?
KELLY TAN: Oh, yeah.
THE MODERATOR: So must be very different to playing on the LPGA where you're away from home. You have the support of the home crowd and family.
KELLY TAN: I'm originally down south, Johor. It's about three hours drive, and I've already heard so many of them are coming, friends and fans, so it's going to be a great week.
THE MODERATOR: So busses coming in from Johor all supporting Kelly Tan, as they will all of the players that we have here, so thank you very much.
It will be a chance for you now to ask some questions, but not before I ask Steven Thielke, who is the general manager of the KLGCC. Steven, would you please stand up? We've arrived this week and all of us have been so impressed how the tournament has evolved so much over the years. We know what we can look forward to on the golf course, but there is a great deal to enjoy off the golf course.
Please share with us some of those experiences.
STEVEN THIELKE: On the golf course, you're right it's fantastic. Inside the ropes we always say with the LPGA it just works. We don't have to change much.
We tried to convince the LPGA to lengthen the course a little bit this year, but they said it works. The girls really love it the way it is. We're not doing anything.
We did touch on the 18th green, you might have noticed. Got a couple of extra pins there, and with a big buildup around the 18th, it's to be quite exciting with the pin in the back right on Sunday. Perhaps. That's the thinking.
So some exciting times inside the ropes as well on the 18th.
But in terms the tournament itself, just so much going on. Only got a limited time, so I'll be as quick as possible. From the moment you arrive, parking is so important for a tournament. So when you arrive, I don't know if you noticed the new road. That new road, when you leave tonight, will be open. So that will be the new entrance into the tournament, and the other road we can use for parking.
We have so much parking for this year. We're expecting huge crowds, so tell your friends in the media that it's going to be very accessible this year.
Of course, if you have a driver, which everybody has in Malaysia, or you want to catch a taxi, you get dropped off right in front of this piano lounge and you walk on this VIP carpet right into the tournament. You've all done that, right? That's the entrance.
There is absolutely no reason for anybody not come to the tournament this year. The food court or the courtyard rather on the right-hand serving Malaysia's delightful foods, the food trucks. Of course we'll have a list, a variety of beverages as well that the public can enjoy.
So this year the idea is if you don't have a marquee ticket, you can come with your family, enjoy yourself in the food court, watch the big screen TV and the 12 TVs within the courtyard, listen to live television commentary, and enjoy the big grandstand right next to the 18th hole that's got the best view in town.
In fact, we have a feeling that the marquee guests are going to go down and do all that, you know, and go enjoy the rest of the tournament. So you got that place to go and sit and watch the event. (Indiscernible) right here next to the putting green. The signing of score cards is going to be open and accessible to the public to see.
Of course they'll do the autographs right there next to the courtyard as well. All the action is going to be happening here.
Don't forget, the pool or is open for kids to swim, and there is a play area there as well. It's a really fun area for kids. Bring down the family and tell your friends, write it in the newspapers, we would like it to see you all down here at the Sime Darby LPGA this year. It's going to be a great year.
THE MODERATOR: Brilliant. Thank you Steven. Thank you very much, indeed. (Applause.)
I think it's also worth noting that the KLGCC is the only venue in 2015 in the world that has played host to three professional golf tournaments: The men's European Tour, the PGA TOUR, and the LPGA Tour.
They certainly now how to stage a world-class tournament. We feel very much at home, and I know all the players do.
Sean Pyun is here representing the LPGA. Sean, would you like to stand up and give everybody a wave? It's always nice to know who all the main players are in this tournament.
I would also like it introduce Rob James the head of events for IMG. Working very hard.
See it's going to be a terrific week. It's now a chance for you to hear from the players. I would be delighted if you have any questions if you could raise your hand.
Q. Shanshan, you've sort of been the high achiever in this tournament with your results, winner and runner-up and stuff like that. Is there any particular attitude that you need to have on the final day? Probably you would be the best person to relate what it would to take to win here.
SHANSHAN FENG: I would say, yes, I've had a good record here, one win and one second. I think the past five years I had four top 10s. I would say this golf course you need to hit it down on the fairway, and then second shots you will have maybe better chance to knock it close to the pin.
I think that's what I did, especially last year, final day. The back nine I was 6-under. Except for the 16th hole, on all the other holes on the back nine I was having birdie chances. I made most of them. That's why I did really well last year.
Q. Question for Malaysian Angel Kelly. Is it tougher playing at home here than playing in the U.S. because of expectations?
KELLY TAN: I wouldn't say it's tougher, but, yes, there is going to be a lot of expectation from the home crowd. That's kind of the fact. Just got to deal with it and stay in the moment and play my own game.
Q. I would like it congratulate your organizing committee at imaginative and creative presentation of this tournament. It really is sensational, and obviously is hugely important on the LPGA Tour. But also your intention, and I hope it works, to get everybody involved. I think you've done a tremendous job. I would like to ask a couple of questions if I may relating to the future, perhaps. This is a limited field in the sense it's a 75-player field with no cut. Do you anticipate in the future that it may be increased to a full 156 tournament? Do you anticipate having two-tee starts this year for any reason, weather of course being the main one? With a two-tee start, it does finish quite early, and that perhaps is a detraction to Malaysia, to the entertainment that goes on and is such an important part of this event.
STEVEN THIELKE: Thank you, Chris, for being such a good supporter of the Sime Darby LPGA.
In terms of the field, yes, of course it would be great for us, for the fans, for the LPGA, if we had a full field. But with the challenges in the afternoon with weather here in the Malaysia, it's something we did think about and talk about, but it's unlikely unfortunately that we'll increase that field.
It's not totally out of question. We'll have to talk to Tun who is the big boss of the budget and all that, but it's unlikely. As we say, the tournament works for us the way it is inside the ropes. Overall it's just a fantastic event, so it's unlikely we'll do that.
The second question was?
Q. Two-tee start.
STEVEN THIELKE: I guess that answers that question as well.
I think in terms of lack of sunlight, I don't think it's going to impact on that this year. We will -- do you have a two-tee start. Okay. So we do have a two-tee start anyway. Yeah.
Does that answer your question, Chris?
Q. Lydia, I read somewhere this morning should you win this week it would be your tenth career title on the LPGA. Are these sort of records something that come into your mind as you go into tournaments?
LYDIA KO: Not really. Not at all actually. No, when I play tournaments I really just play one shot at time, one round at time, and just kind of go from there.
This tournament it's a top field. It doesn't get much better than that. Coming and saying, Hey, I'm going to win every week is kind of unrealistic. I just got to play some good golf out there and just have fun.
There's a lot of great things to look forward to, and personally I think I play better when I have fun and I've got a smile on my face.
Yeah, just kind of work from there. If the win comes, great, but that's kind of the last thing I'm thinking about.
THE MODERATOR: We have nine out of top 10 in the Rolex Rankings competing this week. All sorts of stats you can find out. The field is world class, as we've come to expect here in Malaysia.
Q. We are going through a weather that is not very nice now. I would like to ask the ladies, how do you think you will play? Is it going to affect you or what?
PAULA CREAMER: You know, it is what it is. We're all out here. We all played our practice rounds and everybody has our best interest at heart. Nothing you can really do about it.
Quite truthfully, we were just talking about it and it's not too bad. You're not dying out there by any means.
It's unfortunate. Hopefully the rain comes and does swoosh it away. But not while we're playing golf. Afterwards so we don't have any delays. Can't really do anything about that. Just keep on going.
THE MODERATOR: Just one more question. Yes, last question.
Q. Ladies, some of you had a break before coming to this tournament, this being the first event in the Asian swing. How important was it to have that break before this six or seven tournaments which could be very crucial to how everything ends up for the year?
SHANSHAN FENG: Well, I had two weeks off and actually played in Japan last week. I would say I feel like I'm getting older, because when I was 18, like my first year on the LPGA I was 18, and you know, jet lag was never a problem. If I'm tired after one round I sleep and wake up another day and I'm like, I'm fresh. I'm not tired at all.
Now it's like -- maybe that's what Lydia is feeling right now.
PAULA CREAMER: How do you think I feel? I'm older than you.
SHANSHAN FENG: I do think I have maybe a little bit older body.
THE MODERATOR: Shanshan. How old are you, 26?
SHANSHAN FENG: 26. I'll feeling like I'm 60, you know. I wake up -- like now I'm tired. I walk on a hilly course, like last week. We were in twosomes, and in Japan you just need to run all the time. So we finish like three and a half hours and we were running all the time. For me, I never run. (Laughter.) So I was really, really tired.
I felt like my calves were like rocks. When I was 18 I would say after the night, good night of sleep, I would be okay. No problem. Now it's like I still feel like my calfs are rocks after few days. So I think I really need massages. Yeah.
THE MODERATOR: Well, we do hope that Shanshan, who is that very, very old age of 26 with calves made of rocks can make it round the golf course this week. I'm sure she will.
Thank you very much to you all. Thank you to our host. And for those of you following the standings on the LPGA Tour, this week is a highly significant one.
After Lydia's brilliant performance at the Evian Championship, her first major, that has propelled and significantly tightened up the race for the Rolex player of the year, the Money List honors, and the Vare Trophy.
We have five out to the top five in the Rolex Rankings, nine out of the top 1o. Lydia's immediate challenge is in the form of Inbee Park, who also won four LPGA titles this year; Lydia has won four; Stacy Lewis. Look at the table before you. The golf will be scintillating.
It's going to be a feast for you as a media to cover this. So much to write about and so many photos to take and so much posting on social media. Thank you to our players and tournament staff. Enjoy the rest of the tournament.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports