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JOHN DEERE CLASSIC


July 5, 2005


Michelle Wie


SILVIS, ILLINOIS

JOAN v.T. ALEXANDER: Thank you, Michelle, for joining us for a few minutes here in the media center at the John Deere Classic. It's an exciting week for you, and it's an exciting week for the John Deere Classic in the Quad Cities. I know you've been here for a couple of days, felt very comfortable with the area. Why don't you just talk about your round today. You had a good time out there it looked like playing with Zach and Craig and Aaron. Why don't you talk about that.

MICHELLE WIE: Zach was kind enough to invite me to play in a great group today and it was so much fun to go out there and meet Zach and Aaron and Craig and it was so much fun and I learned a lot from them, and it makes me look forward to the week more.

Q. Why did you select this tournament as the place to make an attempt to play on the Tour?

MICHELLE WIE: Well, I mean, I thought it was a great event, and I got a chance to play on the men's Tour to play with the guys. I got a chance and I'm very privileged to be able to play here.

Q. What do you learn from playing with the guys?

MICHELLE WIE: Well, a lot of things. You know, they have great touch around the greens. I like looking at them, just being able to play with them. You know, they're very strong. It motivates me to work out, so that's always good. You know, people pay a lot of money to play in Pro Ams, and I feel so lucky to be able to play with them for free.

Q. How do you feel this course kind of do you feel comfortable on it? How do you size that up for your game?

MICHELLE WIE: I feel like it's not long at all in any aspects, and I feel very comfortable here. The fairways are pretty generous, and I feel like it's a fair golf course. I feel pretty good.

Q. Can you talk more about what happened to you on the last day at Cherry Hills and what have you done since then?

MICHELLE WIE: Two words explain the last day, "bad luck." I mean, it wasn't like I played horrible. I mean, I did hit a few mis shots, but it happens in every round. But the few mis shots that I had turned out to be disastrous.

You know, I learned a lot from that day. Although I didn't play as well as I wanted to, it was quite far from it, but I still there was not one moment of that day which I thought that I didn't want to play golf. I mean, it was really fun, even though I was struggling. It was an extra challenge, but I'm a lot over par, so let's see how many birdies I can make. It was very challenging. I learned a lot from it.

Q. What were some of the things you learned from that round?

MICHELLE WIE: Well, it's been quite a long time since I wasn't playing very well, and if that happened to me again, I think I'd know how to handle it better.

Q. With so many young girls here today, how does that make you feel to see so many young girls out watching you and do you have a message for those young kids watching you play golf?

MICHELLE WIE: It's great. It was really cool to see all those young girls and boys see me play. I feel very honored. It was a very awesome day. If I had to say one thing to them, it would just be, you know, just go out there and have fun and don't be afraid of anything.

Q. Do you feel connected to them? Do you feel like you're a 15 year old still and sometimes do you feel like you're 27?

MICHELLE WIE: Yeah, I mean, of course I feel a lot older than my age. I mean, I don't even know I don't think anyone knows how they should feel at their age. People that are young always try to act older and people that are old always try to act younger. So I think we never really act our age.

Q. What would you consider a successful result this week for you?

MICHELLE WIE: Well, you know, hopefully I won't have a practice round going into next week.

Q. You looked like you were having fun out there with the guys, a lot of bantering going on. What was some of the conversation you guys were talking about when you were laughing it up a lot?

MICHELLE WIE: Well, Craig and them, right when they're hitting shots, they're like talking when they're hitting, and it was pretty funny. We had fun.

Q. Is there something you learned from the two Sony Open appearances that you can apply this week?

MICHELLE WIE: Well, definitely. Obviously this is my first PGA experience, so I learned a lot from the two Sony Opens, like the atmosphere, I got used to it; and the way they tuck the pins out here, it's pretty ridiculous. I've gotten really used to how I should play and the pins, like that.

Q. Not every player out here thinks you should be here. What do you have to say about that?

MICHELLE WIE: Well, you know, coming to this event, I wasn't really expecting everyone to accept me playing here.

Q. What kind of reception have you gotten from most of the players?

MICHELLE WIE: Well, they're very positive. You know, I've gotten a lot of positive remarks when I got here, and they're all so nice and really friendly. So it's been really fun.

Q. Did you talk to Annika about coming on the PGA TOUR?

MICHELLE WIE: No, not really. I mean, we talked a couple of times, but nothing too serious.

Q. How much more does it motivate you when you hear some of that negative talk out there?

MICHELLE WIE: Well, I don't really pay attention to them. I mean, I know they're always going to be there, and there are some people that are always against me. But, you know, I just have to realize that I'm having a lot of fun, and this is what I want to do and I'm not going to stop just for them.

Q. How would you respond to the people who say, pros in particular, who say you'd be better off playing on the LPGA TOUR or even against juniors and learning how to win rather than playing out here? What's your thinking about the approach that you've taken?

MICHELLE WIE: Well, I think learning how to win is important. It's not like you only learn how to win when you're playing in junior events. I mean, I think I can learn how to win out here, too. But it takes a long time, but I'm still going to learn how to win.

Q. What is the more difficult setup, this or Cherry Hills, and what are the differences?

MICHELLE WIE: I don't know, it's tough. Cherry Hills was really tough. The setup was kind of ridiculous. The rough was really thick and stuff like that. It's hard to say because at Cherry Hills I was hitting like 3 iron, 5 wood off the tee on every hole, and here I'm hitting driver, so basically I have the same irons going into the green. I just think they're pretty close.

Q. In your conversations with Zach Johnson did you try and pick his brain about the course and how to play different holes?

MICHELLE WIE: No, not really. I didn't really pick his brain much today (laughter). We were just having very lighthearted conversation.

Q. When you had lunch with Zach, did you meet the Elm Crest junior golf team?

MICHELLE WIE: Well, I didn't have lunch with him.

Q. At age 15 how is your car driving? Have you started?

MICHELLE WIE: Well, pretty good. I'm not bad. I park pretty straight, so I'm pretty proud of that. But you've got to keep your fingers crossed.

Q. When is the last time you've been home, and what do you miss about it?

MICHELLE WIE: Well, the last time I've been home was I left home the end of May, and I'm not going home until the end of August. But I just love travel. It's so much fun. When you're just home, you're just home and you have to go to school.

I think this is a lot of fun, but of course I miss my friends and I miss home, but still, this is a lot of fun.

Q. What have you experienced here and what's different about the Quad Cities from other places that you've been?

MICHELLE WIE: Well, I haven't been in the Midwest much, so this is definitely kind of a new experience for me being in the Midwest. It's really nice here. All the people are so friendly. I went to a couple of really good restaurants and I'm having a really good time here.

Q. Are there more nerves this week or are you loose because you feel like you've got nothing to lose?

MICHELLE WIE: I feel like I have nothing to lose. Basically I'm the underdog here, so I'm just going to have a lot of fun.

Q. Have you ever thought of perhaps trying to qualify into a PGA tournament in future years? It seems like that's what some of the Tour players have a problem with, is oh, you get a sponsor's exemption. Did you ever think about qualifying at some point?

MICHELLE WIE: Well, I did try to qualify at the Sony Open, but it makes a lot of sense to me, like if someone says, "Here you go, here's $100," I mean, would you rather work for it or would you just get it (laughter)? I mean, that makes sense to me. I mean, I don't know about anyone else, but I like the easy way in.

I think that qualifying gives you a lot of satisfaction. That's why I qualified for the Public Links.

Q. Did you enjoy the competition of being in the last group at the U.S. Open rather than out here it's kind of winning is not given that much of a thought?

MICHELLE WIE: Well, I'm doing a lot of things. Every time I come into it I feel like I might have a chance to win. If I don't feel like I have a chance to win, then I have no chance to win. You know, right now I'm really in the learning stage from the guys, and I feel really honored to be here.

Q. The new LPGA president says there are no plans to change the age limitations for turning pro. Do you have any thoughts on that?

MICHELLE WIE: Well, I don't care because I'm not going to petition.

Q. Are you getting comfortable with all the attention, media, fan wise, or is it getting to you at all?

MICHELLE WIE: No, I like it. The fans are very enthusiastic, very supportive, so it feels great.

Q. Do you like press conferences?

MICHELLE WIE: Yeah, they're okay (laughter).

Q. Most 15 year olds have a tough time standing up in front of a class giving a talk. How do you handle it so easily?

MICHELLE WIE: I can't get up in a class and talk (laughter).

Q. Michelle, having played a couple of practice rounds out here already, tell me which holes do you think suit your game the best and which ones do you think are going to be pivotal in this tournament?

MICHELLE WIE: I think if I say some holes that are easy, that's the holes I'm going to bogey on, so I can't answer that question.

Q. As far as the rest of the field any hole out here remind you of the Waialae Country Club?

MICHELLE WIE: Not really. There's not a lot of palm trees around here (laughter).

Q. Could you comment on your golf game right now, please?

MICHELLE WIE: It's getting better. I feel pretty good about my game, and hopefully it'll be good for the rest of the week.

Q. How does this course compare to Waialae in terms of how it suits you?

MICHELLE WIE: I think they're very different. Waialae is very sneaky, very tricky, where this golf course is pretty straightforward, it's how you see it. I think they're both very hard in their own ways.

Q. How many rounds have you played here now?

MICHELLE WIE: Well, I played an 18 hole round on Friday, nine hole friends on Saturday and Sunday, so about four rounds.

Q. How well do you think you're going to have to play to make the cut here?

MICHELLE WIE: Well, of course I have to play very well to make the cut. But I think if I focus on just making the cut, then it'll be harder to do and I just have a score in mind I want to shoot.

Q. How much is this week a preparation for Shaker Run and have been to Shaker Run and can you talk about next week?

MICHELLE WIE: Shaker Run is the course next week?

Q. Yes.

MICHELLE WIE: Well, I think it'll be great to have to be playing in a men's event and then playing another one because hopefully I'll learn from this weekend, be able to use it next week. I think it's just going to be very exciting.

Q. You've said before something about you're here, this is what you want to be doing. I assume you meant playing on the men's Tour. What are you are thoughts about that in the long run as far as being on the men's Tour and when did it become something you did want to do?

MICHELLE WIE: Well, obviously in the long run, I mean, this is not a short term kind of thing that I want to do. You know, in the long run, I do want to play out here. It's very exciting, and ever since I was very young I wanted to play with the guys.

I had a choice of playing softball or baseball, I played baseball, and I think that's just my characteristic.

Q. How has the last few weeks your mental game progressing? Are you doing a better job of focusing or dealing with pressure or for giving yourself for bad shots? How is that coming along as far as your concentration during competition?

MICHELLE WIE: I don't think that my game was off last week. I don't think I put a lot of pressure on myself. I felt very relaxed. I didn't feel like I was very pressured. You know, I was having a great time last week, it just didn't really work out.

Q. I mean, over the last few weeks do you notice yourself getting even tougher?

MICHELLE WIE: Definitely. I feel like I've improved a lot since the McDonald's, since my first tournament of the summer, and since playing a lot of tournaments, a lot more in a row, I think that I have a lot more feel for the game.

Q. You mentioned working out earlier. Are you on a workout regimen in the weight room and stuff?

MICHELLE WIE: Yeah.

Q. Can you talk about what that is?

MICHELLE WIE: Well, Paul is my trainer, so he's been sending me some tapes, and basically I'm just doing free weights and a lot of balance, a lot of very a lot of jumping, a lot of kind of stuff for golf, and kind of been doing a lot more aerobic because I felt like I was getting tired out there on the golf course.

Q. Were you the long hitter in the group today?

MICHELLE WIE: No, but I'd have to say I outdrove some sometimes. I'm still not the longest.

Q. What did you think of Badds' hole in one?

MICHELLE WIE: I think it was very impressive. I never really witnessed a hole in one before, so that was a neat experience for me. It was fun.

Q. Michelle, how much has your game improved since your first Sony appearance and what areas do you think you're much better at now since then?

MICHELLE WIE: I think I'm a lot more consistent with my game than the Sony. As far as the Sony Open I played, I didn't really know what to expect. It was kind of really new for me. Now it's my third one, and hopefully I feel a lot more comfortable here, and I feel my game has improved a lot.

Q. Did you go through a similar process with getting comfortable when you played the LPGA TOUR events, as well?

MICHELLE WIE: Definitely. This year is my fifth year out there, so I feel a lot more comfortable out there than a long time ago wait, fourth year out there.

Q. What is fun about all this for you?

MICHELLE WIE: Well, I just think that I don't know, I can't really explain it. It's just the satisfaction of being able to play with the guys and being able to compete with them. It's so much fun to just play with them and learn a lot from them, and it's always something I've done, and I can't really explain it in words.

Q. You say you're not going to petition the LPGA Tour. If you stay an amateur, do you see yourself playing a number of PGA TOUR events every summer?

MICHELLE WIE: I don't know, I'll just have to see how it goes.

Q. You said you're not going to focus on making the cut this week. What is your focus then, and then you also said something about a target score. Do you have one in mind at this point?

MICHELLE WIE: Well, I do, but if I say it out loud I'm very superstitious and I won't be able to play it.

Q. What is your focus then?

MICHELLE WIE: Just shooting a certain score.

Q. Do you think that you could get the same kind of satisfaction out of excelling on the LPGA Tour?

MICHELLE WIE: Yeah, definitely. I mean, it's very fun. I mean, it's a different kind of excitement when I play on the LPGA, and it's great, I love both of them, and it's so much fun. I feel it's an honor to play in both of them and having the chance.

Q. Do you have any strange superstitions that you go through every round, routine or something?

MICHELLE WIE: Well, I have a theory that when you hit a good shot and it looks like it's going in, and you're like, "Oh, that's so in." If you say that, it'll never go in. That's my theory. So I keep my mouth shut (laughter).

Q. You mentioned baseball. I'm surprised the basketball coaches weren't out after you being as tall as you are as a 15 year old.

MICHELLE WIE: After they see me run (laughter), they don't say anything.

Q. In regard to the sort of hoopla around you, do you think people are critical of you or more supportive of you?

MICHELLE WIE: Well, I mean, everyone is different, so there's not just like one kind of people.

Q. Which side weighs heavier?

MICHELLE WIE: I don't know.

Q. Have you ever felt like you've gotten the cold shoulder from a lot of the pros or anything like that?

MICHELLE WIE: You know, not really, no.

Q. Whose help have you gotten comfortable dealing with the media? Have you had a media coach to get you used to all this?

MICHELLE WIE: No, not really. It doesn't take a genius (laughter).

Q. What are your other hobbies? I notice you always have different earrings on.

MICHELLE WIE: Well, I'm not a really big collector or anything, but I do like to shop, just do regular 15 year old things, watch TV, watch movies, big movie fan, love music, and just chilling out because you don't hardly have any time to do that.

Q. How often do you get to do things like that with the busy schedule that you're playing all summer?

MICHELLE WIE: Well, I've learned to like manage my time a lot more, and that means that I have a lot more free time. So I've actually managed my time so much better. I have a lot more free time than I used to, and it's great.

Q. Do you wish you could get to do some more 15 year old things?

MICHELLE WIE: Well, I'm very happy with what I'm doing right now. When I'm on the golf course, there's no place I'd rather be, but when I'm off the golf course, I'm glad I'm off the golf course.

Q. Is going to Stanford and maybe playing golf there still one of your dreams?

MICHELLE WIE: Definitely, I want to go to Stanford. Hopefully I'll get in. I just love the school there.

Q. You've been labeled with the position of a role model. How do you handle that responsibility day by day?

MICHELLE WIE: I don't really see myself as a role model. If I am, that's awesome. But, you know, I'm just doing my own thing.

Q. Is this week more important than next week or have you compartmentalized the two? Do you just focus this week and then next week is next week?

MICHELLE WIE: Basically I'm very excited for both of these tournaments. I don't really see one more important than the other. I just think they're two tournaments and I want to do well in them.

Q. Overall what do you think of the extra media exposure that tournaments like this get when they invite you or other female players? A lot of these tournaments get a lot of extra media coverage when you're in the field. What do you think of all the extra exposure, all the extra cameras in the room and people in the seats?

MICHELLE WIE: Well, I don't really notice any differences because it's always the same when I'm in it, so I don't know. You know, I think it's very cool that all of you guys come and I'm very honored and very thankful.

Q. You mentioned money earlier in kind of a joking way, and you've maintained your amateur status. At what point do you kind of think about the money, how much you could have made on the women's Tour right now?

MICHELLE WIE: Right now it's pretty a laughing matter, you know. It's a really huge number for me right now, and right now I'm very happy with my monthly allowance (laughter).

Q. When you're at home, do you always just play like one course by where you live or do you skip around the islands because so many of the courses host professional events and you can use them as testing grounds? Do you do that?

MICHELLE WIE: Well, the conditions are very different from when they hold the tournaments, so we just go around the public courses.

Q. I'm still unclear about what you said you learned from Cherry Hills. If there's one thing you learned that makes you feel like you'd handle it better next time, what is it?

MICHELLE WIE: I can't really pinpoint it. It's just a lot of small things that you feel like in the back of your mind I'll never do it again.

Q. Shot selection or

MICHELLE WIE: I just can't pinpoint it. It's just very little things that all add up to a big thing.

Q. Do you have a boyfriend?

MICHELLE WIE: No, I don't.

Q. This tournament has kind of come into its own in the last four or five years or whatever, and they're pretty glad you're here. How much do you embrace that, like hey, ride this wave?

MICHELLE WIE: Well, I'm very glad to be here and I'm very thankful to them for giving me a chance. It's wonderful. Everything is good.

Q. Do you talk to Paula Creamer and Morgan Prestle and the other girls about what they do and why they stay on the women's Tour as opposed to maybe coming out here?

MICHELLE WIE: Well, we don't really have these deep discussions when we talk to each other, so I wouldn't know.

JOAN v.T. ALEXANDER: Thank you, Michelle, for joining us.

End of FastScripts.

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