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November 17, 2015

Stacy Lewis

Naples, Florida

THE MODERATOR: Good afternoon, everyone, and welcome to the CME Group TOUR Championship, the final event of the 2015 LPGA season, and Stacy, it's been a long season, but an exciting week that we have here. I know you've been here last year, had the same thing on the line, a million dollars, one of three players who controls their own destiny. How do you feel coming into this week?
STACY LEWIS: Well, I feel really good. I feel really good with where my game is at. The goal the last month or so was to make sure I was in the top three coming into this week, so I could control my own destiny and wouldn't have to worry about anybody else.
You know, I'm glad to be in that position, and I like the way I'm playing. I like the way I've played over these last few weeks.
THE MODERATOR: Took a week off last week, first time probably that you've ever come into this event having a little bit of rest. How much of a difference do you think that makes for you coming into what is always a very busy week?
STACY LEWIS: I mean, I hope it's a good thing. Definitely I've felt better these last couple of days, been able to kind of spread out the obligations over three days instead of two, and just having a week off to adjust to the time change and get back in the U.S. is always nice. Too, to be able to just drive from my house on Sunday was always nice, too.
THE MODERATOR: Overall this season, you're used to coming into this event with a lot on the line, just as you have this week, but probably not as much on the line this week as there has been in years past. When you look back at the season so far, how would you sum up your year?
STACY LEWIS: I mean, it's really been pretty good. You look at‑‑ I've had to go through a lot of changes with some equipment this year, and that's kind of added to a lot of frustration, but with all that, I've still had a lot of really good finishes. You know, I don't even know. I definitely would have liked to have won for sure, but all in all if you can not win a tournament and be third on the Money List and third in the CME points and still have a chance to win a million dollars at the end of the year, it's really not that bad. I've got one more week to win. I've got another chance at it.

Q. Having said that, how frustrating is it not to have a W, and if you don't win this week, is it a disappointment?
STACY LEWIS: If I don't win, no, I don't think it's disappointing. If I don't play well, that would be more disappointing to me.
But I mean, I'd be lying if I said I wasn't frustrated. I definitely am. But I played good golf. It's not like I've played really poorly. I just haven't played‑‑ had everything come together in a tournament.
You know, it's frustrating, but if anything I've learned how to move on a little quicker, getting over the second place finishes a little quicker than I have in years past, and you know, really I don't even‑‑ I was dreading coming in here today because I didn't even want to talk about it, because I've moved on, I've moved on from the seconds and thirds, and I didn't really want to talk about it today to be honest with you. I know you guys are going to keep asking me some questions about it.

Q. Is there anything you can point to why you don't have the W's you had last year? Is there anything, or is it just the way the world works?
STACY LEWIS: I mean, I think early in the year, I really struggled with the ball change and finding the right golf ball because I didn't find the right golf ball until the Canadian Open, which was in August, and I lost a lot of confidence in the summer. And I think that's a lot of it. I lost the trust that I was going to hit the shot when I needed to, and honestly at Solheim I started to get some of that back. When somebody hits it in there close and I could hit it in there on top of them, I started to get that trust back in my golf game, and I think that's the difference, because when you win tournaments, when you've got to hit the shots, the pressure shots, you've got to have belief that you can do it, and I didn't have that in the middle of the year.

Q. You sort of just stole my thunder by what you just said, but other than building on momentum and Solheim and finding the right ball and all those things, was there a round or a shot you pointed to where you said I like this feeling again and all the negative energy in your mind went away?
STACY LEWIS: I don't know of a specific shot or anything, but I think it was definitely at Solheim. It was definitely on Saturday playing with Gerina. I got some trust back in my golf swing there and just started seeing shots do what I wanted them to do. Like I said, there's so many times at Solheim where somebody hit it in close and you had to respond and hit it on top of them, and I did that, and that's what was missing in the beginning of the year.

Q. Back to the learning how to move on thing, you haven't had to do that much in your career. When you think about it, is there a positive that you can take away from it going through all this that can make you a better player moving forward?
STACY LEWIS: I mean, I'm definitely not‑‑ I haven't been the best loser in the past. I hate losing. It would tend to stay with me for a long time, and over this last year, I've honestly just‑‑ I don't know what it is. I've just been able to move on quicker, and I think‑‑ and that's what I've learned from it. You win a tournament and you move on from it really quick because you're like, all right, I want to win the next week, and then if you finish second, you sit there and you think about it for three weeks, and then you don't play well the next two weeks.
So if anything I've learned how to move on a little quicker. That would be the biggest thing.
But I wouldn't‑‑ I mean, maybe it helps me down the road, maybe not. I mean, I don't know. I don't know what's going to come from it.

Q. It's the mellowing, the old age, now that you're 30. What was behind the ball change? Was it distance? What was it?
STACY LEWIS: So I had to change the Titleist I was playing last year because it was coming off the conforming list, so I went to Bridgestone because I liked their golf ball and all that, and I started the year with the RX version, which is what Paula and Karrie, like all the girls seem to play, and I just wasn't seeing the ball react the way it should into greens, kind of releasing out more than I was used to. So then went to the RXS, which is a softer version, so trying to get some more spin there, and saw the opposite. It was actually really seeing more, so didn't have the control with the wedges or anything.
So kind of in a panic‑‑ where were we before the Canadian Open?
STACY LEWIS: Portland, yes. Portland was kind of the final straw, just hitting good shots and seeing them release out way more than they should. I kind of called Bridgestone in a panic, and then they suggested the B 330S, which is what I've been playing from then on, and just got the trust back in my short game, was able to hit my normal chip shots. I was hitting some horrible chip shots and thought it was my technique or I was doing something wrong, and it just kind of turned out it was always the golf ball.

Q. Were there distance issues at all?
STACY LEWIS: No, not distance issues, just more the way it was reacting into greens. They were flying the right numbers, just releasing out way more than they should.

Q. Despite trying to take the losses and the runner‑up finishes in perspective, has the fact that Inbee Park and Lydia Ko have had such good seasons make it a little more difficult?
STACY LEWIS: Yeah, a little bit because I want to be in the conversation with those three. I want to be up there fighting back and forth with them at this time of the year. So it's definitely frustrating.
But I mean, they've had some unbelievable years, and it'll be fun‑‑ I think I get a front row seat for the first day at least to kind of see them go back and forth a little bit, so it should be pretty entertaining.

Q. If you could elaborate on their seasons, five wins apiece, that's strong stuff, isn't it?
STACY LEWIS: Yeah, and you've got three majors between them, and the events that they did win, they're kind of some of our bigger tournaments. The consistency has been there for them all year. You know, I mean, Lydia has played really impressive kind of since September on. Since Evian she's played really well. Inbee played better kind of the middle part of the year in the summer when she normally does. You know, it would be cool this week if you get them both playing well at the same time.

Q. How is it remotely possible to play this week and not think about that giant box of cash awaiting somebody on Sunday? Can you block that out?
STACY LEWIS: Yeah, when you've had six runner‑ups you can block it out.

Q. I know in the past you've talked to Meg and Beth a little bit when you've had several heartbreaking runner‑ups in a row. Did you have any heart‑to‑hearts this year, talk to anybody?
STACY LEWIS: No, I really haven't, other than people close to me, my parents and family and that kind of thing. You know, you just kind of learn, it's golf. Sometimes things go your way and sometimes they don't. Sometimes you play the way Jessica Korda played in Malaysia. She wasn't going to be beat that day, and sometimes you play with people like that. I don't know if I'm getting older or the perspective has changed a little bit. I don't know, like I said, it's just I've moved on quicker and I don't really know why. I haven't really talked to anybody about it or anything.

Q. And then following up on what he just said about playing for money. I know that's not what you do and you're not a big spender, but have you thought about what you might do with a million dollar bonus?
STACY LEWIS: I have no idea. I know I'd take care of Travis pretty good because he's been through a lot with me. But other than that, I have no idea. I would rather honestly have the win than the million dollars this week.

Q. You'd take no money probably?
STACY LEWIS: Yeah, I'd take no money for a win.

Q. The experience with the two golf balls, really an example of the fine line that you elite players at and how little things can turn into big things. Were you surprised that it turned out to be a big thing?
STACY LEWIS: Yeah, I mean, starting the year I felt like I had tested enough. I felt like it was going to be good. It just shows we can have all the technology in the world that can shoot out numbers and stats and all that, and that just goes out the window because it comes down to what do you feel the best playing, what do you trust the best, and you know, it doesn't matter what a spin rate or whatever, what a computer number spits out at you. It's what you believe that you're going to play well with.
You know, it definitely turned out to be more than what I thought it was going to be, but I had also played the same golf ball for six years, so I didn't really know what it was like to change.

Q. What does Solheim mean to you now as you get further away from it and what you guys accomplished?
STACY LEWIS: Well, Solheim for me has definitely been the highlight of the year. Looking back on it, it was amazing how we all came together on Sunday and played for something that was bigger than us, was bigger than just our teammates. We found something else to play for, and I think that was the coolest thing. We're used to playing for each other every single week, and we found a bigger cause to play for, and that's kind of what we've been needing the last few.

Q. Can you go ahead and give me your assessment of what the young players on Tour have done this year? Last year I think there were like 25 and under had won like 13 tournaments. This year I think it might be that or better.

Q. Does it seem like the talent keeps getting younger and younger?
STACY LEWIS: Yeah, I mean, it doesn't seem like they're getting any older, that's for sure. You know, it's just amazing that the next one just kind of keeps coming. It's not‑‑ you've got Alison Lee and MinJi and Lydia is still young. She's still in that category. Even Sei Young Kim, she's pretty young, too, right? So you've got some players that have played well for‑‑ seems like they've been playing well for a while, and they're still pretty young. But it's just the state of our game. It's the way it's been the last few years. It's probably the way it's going to continue to be, just the way that development is in different countries and the different tours and ways that they have to develop their talent. You know, it's being developed younger and younger, so that's the way it's just going to continue to be.

Q. Along those lines, the LPGA I believe has gone from 5,000 to 50,000 in youth golf programs, so that's probably another area we'll see in two, three, four years?
STACY LEWIS: Yeah, I hope our Tour continues to grow, continues with the kids, especially in the United States. You know, I think in a way, the United States is going to be kind of fighting to keep up with these other parts of the world, just the way that the different federations from the European countries to Korea to Japan, the way they have these tours and programs to develop their players, the U.S. is getting passed right now.
I hope as a Tour we can help aid in continuing that growth here in the U.S.

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