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March 22, 2016

Alison Lee

Carlsbad, California

KELLY SCHULTZ: Good afternoon, we would like to welcome in Alison Lee, to what's considered a hometown event. Are you considering this hometown.

ALISON LEE: I would say so. Southern California, this is as close as could I get to home, so yeah.

KELLY SCHULTZ: I know it's been a good start to the year for you, two Top-20 finishes, and now like you said, to be at home, how nice is it coming into this week and how excited are you to be back home?

ALISON LEE: It's always nice. I'm going to have that home feeling of being here. I played here last year, I did well, my grandparents came out to watch, I had a lot of family members and even friends back from school that came out to support me, as well.

Yeah, even this week, a lot of my friends have asked if they can come out to watch, so hopefully I can get a nice little following of people to come out and watch me this week. Yeah, I got to go home. I got to stop by Westwood yesterday before my drive down here, so nice to be in L.A. a little bit before coming down, so yeah.

KELLY SCHULTZ: Balancing life as a professional golfer is not easy in general, but when you have school, it adds an extra element. Where are you now in classes? I know you've been busy working on a bunch of different things while playing.

ALISON LEE: Yeah, I get that a lot. Everyone asks me how do you do it, how are you doing it, some people don't even believe me when I say I'm going to class. They are like, no, you're not, you're taking online. I'm like, I'm going to class.

But yeah, UCLA is a quarter system, so it was finals week last week, so right now it's spring break, so right now I get a little break off, and the quarter starts up again next week. So what I did last year was I took the spring quarter off, because it's a ten-week system and we have a lot of tournaments right now. So I'm going to be -- I would be gone seven out of the ten weeks, so I mean, that wouldn't be -- I couldn't go to class, and no professor would be okay with that.

So I'll take the spring quarter off. I might take a couple summer classes online through UCLA, because they do offer a couple classes online over the summer, and then I'll be back in class in September, so it was really sad when I took my last final. I was like, oh, I'm not going to be sitting here until September. But yeah, I still have like about a year, year and a half left of school.

KELLY SCHULTZ: How different is it than this week now, a typical college spring break is a little different than probably what you're doing right now in terms of playing a golf tournament, but how different is it for you to not have that thinking of the next paper or thinking of what you have to get done?

ALISON LEE: It's definitely nice not to be thinking about school right now because it definitely was a little stressful. I definitely had a few mental breakdowns over the past couple weeks coming into finals. But it's nice to kind of like take a breather and have time, have time for myself, have time to do other fun things. I'm just really sad right now, like in San Diego, I get to be home but the funny thing is all my friends from school are like in Cabo and then they are in like Palm Springs and they are in like Lake Tahoe and I'm watching their Snap stories and pictures on Instagram just crying. Yeah, it's nice to be home.

KELLY SCHULTZ: All you have to do is win this week and they will be really jealous of what you're doing.


Q. So you realize all your friends are envious that they are going to have college bills to pay off and you're kind of already set.
ALISON LEE: Yeah, I mean, I do get that a lot. My friends and I joke about it all the time. And that's what comes with it, being an athlete, having a job, but going to school. It's kind of weird, when I go to school, it feels weird being there. I feel like more mature, more older. I'm like paying taxes, looking at properties and real estate and stuff while they are focusing on school. But when I come out here on Tour, it's weird, because I'm taking classes at school while everyone else is like a little bit older and drinking wine.

It's weird. I'm in this weird twilight zone compared to everyone else around me. It's cool, I feel like I get the best of both worlds.

Q. Do you took to what Michelle Wie did; who has helped you with this of doing both, because both are full-time?
ALISON LEE: You know, it was my own decision to stay in school and play golf and play on Tour. I've definitely asked Michelle a few times what she did, and more for, you know, how she managed to do both, and what made her want to do it.

So she pretty much did the same thing. Stanford was also quarter system, like UCLA and she took two quarters and then one quarter off each year so she can play in more events. So yeah, I've gotten pretty close to Michelle, like she's been a great mentor and a great friend and she's been really cool. But yeah, I mean, for me, what drives me more to stay in school is not only getting my degree but just everyone at school. All the other students, all the other student athletes and all the other friends that I've made, it's really nice. It's really nice to go back home and have them there, so yeah.

Q. Do you get hit up for $5 --
ALISON LEE: A couple of them when we go out to eat, they joke around and say, you're buying dinner or something. But generally a lot of the friends that I have back at school, I mean, they don't even know much about golf to be honest. Like I can talk to them about anything. They will text me on random days and they wouldn't even know where I am, but we would just have normal funny conversations and catch up about what's going on, so it's nice, yeah.

Q. What were the classes this quarter?
ALISON LEE: I took four classes. So a total of 16 units. One was, they are all Com classes. One was Com 111, 156, Com 16 and Com 188.

188, it was about social media and like divides compared to other countries, compared to India and China and the U.S., and how social media works and how people interact and stuff. I thought that was really cool and it really opened my eyes to other media and how it is other countries, and I was able to apply it to myself and use it. Because obviously social media is so important nowadays for anyone who wants to market themselves, I found that very interesting.

111 was I think one of the classes that I could definitely apply to my own life. It's about like conflicts and how to deal with conflicts and how people communicate. So that's probably one of the classes I could take and use with me for the rest of my life, because it taught me how to deal with conflicts, and if you ever got into a conflict with someone, what you can do to approach it. It really made me look back at all the conversations I've had in the past and how I can deal with them better.

Those are two. 156 was -- no, actually yeah, I took 167 and 100. Com 100 was communication theory, so it talks about how communication has developed. For me, that was a little dry, because it was just talking about like the history of communication, and I just had to know a lot of facts.

Then Com 167 was really cool because it was about sexual assault and cases. It was like more of a political communication class. So it was about sexual assault cases on college campus.

Q. How much do you have left to go?
ALISON LEE: If I keep at the same pace that I am right now, about a year, year and a half, depending on how I pace it out the next couple quarters. This past quarter, I took an extra class. Normally people take three per quarter but I took four. Because I'm taking spring quarter off, so I can maybe make up for it.

As of right now, I'm looking at December of 2017 will be my last quarter.

Q. Why was it so important? You're in a sport where so many young women are not going to college now. It seems like they either go and stay, unlike the men, or don't go at all. Why was it important to even keep up with this, given the success you've had? You would think that you would be tempted to just bag it at some point.
ALISON LEE: For me, before going to college, I was like Lydia, Paula, Morgan. I was definitely thinking about turning pro and not going to college. There was a point in time where I said to myself, I'm not going to college. But I went to go visit UCLA, I think it was right before my sophomore year in high school. I visited UCLA and I fell in love with the campus. I know the girls on the team. They are really good friends. I had heard a lot of great things about the coach.

Me being from Southern California and kind of I grew up -- I went to Los Angeles a lot and visited the campus, being in that area, it just kind of like, it said something to me. Something about the place kind of made me want to go there. So I didn't visit any other school and I committed to UCLA and I stayed for a year. It was so great. It was so fun. I met so many cool people. I learned so many cool things. It was definitely hard, like just being a student athlete in general, waking up early, going to practice, going to weights and going to class right after and obviously making time to meet friends and then go out on weekends.

But just the whole experience, it was so cool. It was so refreshing. It was so nice. Growing up in high school, I didn't go out a lot and I focused on golf. So that kind of opened up my social life in everything.

I was going to stay. I wasn't going to play Q-School the following year, but something that happened over the summer after my freshman year, I played really well my freshman year. I got freshman of the year, Pac-12 Player of the Year, all that stuff. And I played a couple more amateur events over the summer and I played well, and a lot of people were asking me, like, oh, are you going to turn professional, and I denied all those allegations and stuff.

But I don't know, one day I was like, I should try Q-School and see, because you know, I knew a couple of the girls out here. I've played in a couple professional events, so I tried it and I made it. It made me really sad. I was obviously happy but I was sad at the same time that I wasn't a part of that anymore.

So then I told myself, I wanted to go back to school, and I did and I would see how it went. I feel like I did a pretty good job at being able to play well on Tour and get good grades and like I said, it's just something about Los Angeles, it's magical to me. Just being at UCLA, I just love being there. Like it makes me so happy.

Q. I think maybe the most impressive thing, and you just touched on it is, that not all of you have been able to be in both places but excel out here. Are you pretty proud of that, and what do you -- what's gone into that, do you think?
ALISON LEE: A friend said -- a good friend said a quote to me the other day. And sometimes the less golf matters, you play better. That really stuck with me. And obviously, you know, you need to feel the pressure. You need to be driven and you have to have that drive to play well on Tour. But at the same time, sometimes you can't let it get -- you can't let it consume you. You can't get ahead of yourself. You can't be almost drowned in everything that's going on out here.

So I feel like for me, I tend to overthink a lot and get worried about unnecessary things. That's why I just had a whole bunch of breakdowns when I was at school with finals. Like it's just tests. It will be over soon.

So for me, I think I was able to do well because I had that escape. I had that escape from golf.

And you know, mentally, I knew, even though I had a bad round, it would be okay, because you know, I have all this other stuff going on, and it just made me really thankful for everything that I've accomplished and everything I have, and I feel like that just kind of calmed me because obviously I have a lot of goals and I want to do a lot of things, but school has really helped me look back and reflect on everything and has made me really thankful for what I have and what I have accomplished. I feel like I've been able to kind of calm down and reflect on everything and just play golf, instead of worrying about the next shot or the next tournament.

Q. You said you like playing here because it's local and a lot of pros, like Tiffany has kind of alluded to it, like sometimes there's too much family here and too much pressure. Is it because it's L.A., it's not right down the street and you didn't grow up playing here, is that what makes it easier? Because sometimes even PGA pros at Torrey Pines say it's too much of a distraction when it's local.
ALISON LEE: I would say for some people, it's added pressure. You almost feel obligated to play well because your family is out here watching and you want to do well and sometimes you try too hard. But you know, being on Tour for a year, I haven't seen a lot of my friends in a really long time. I haven't seen my family and I'm not used to that yet.

So it was really nice, like last year, I had a couple friends that live in San Diego that came out to watch on Sunday and they are student athletes, so one was another golfer. One was on the cross-country, she was a cross-country runner and the other was gymnast. They know like nothing about golf. So it was really cool and fun to see them come out here and support me, and I just thought it was really cool, because I get to see them, like perform at meets or things like that, but they never really get to see me play.

So I thought it was really cool and a really fun gesture, and it was really nice of them to come out. So, yeah.

Q. What do you need to do to win now? You've come close and you were close here last year. What's going to get you over the hump?
ALISON LEE: I just have to be patient. A lot of the tournaments that I came close to, it was literally a couple holes. Like one distinct moment I still remember from last year is Kingsmill when I like 4-putted and I think that pretty much cost me the tournament. But it's little things like that, and I feel like, you know, if I just stick to my game and stay in it, I'm learning more and more every tournament no matter what. I just need to believe in myself and try not to get ahead of myself in certain moments like that and just try and play my game.

So it's going to take time I think. There's no rush. Obviously I want to win now, but like I said, I can't worry too much. I just have to go with the flow and see.

Q. The last round here, because you didn't have such a great Friday and Saturday --
ALISON LEE: If I remember correctly last year, I played with Miriam in the final group and I started off to a great round the first few holes. I think I made a birdie and at one point I was tied for the lead or I was leading and that was a really cool experience.

But Cristie was firing birdies here and there and so was Miriam and it was tough for me to catch up. But sometimes that happens. You can't control the players around you. You could only control yourself. They had a few hot rounds or hot holes and I wasn't able to catch up with that. So yeah, I just need to keep my pace and be patient.

Q. Is it a good golf course for you?
ALISON LEE: Yes, I would say so. I feel like my short game has helped me out a lot recently in the past year and this course is definitely a little trickier than all the -- like last week in Arizona, you have to hit it in the right spot. The greens are bigger, they are more undulated and the rough is thicker. But we'll see. To be honest, it's different every week and that's what I learned from last year, like you can't expect things each week. You just have to go with the flow and hope for the best.

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