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March 30, 2016
Rancho Mirage, California
KRAIG KANN: Good morning, everybody, welcome to the media center here at the ANA Inspiration. The first major championship of the year in all of golf, and it takes place here on the LPGA. We want to welcome in the current Rolex ranked No. 4 player in the world, and a past champion here, say hello to Stacy Lewis.
Stacy, how are you? The weather is perfect out there, the golf course. I'm curious, you tell us.
STACY LEWIS: Well, it's great. I love this week. I love the golf course. I love just coming here. I think I get a little bit of a calmness just coming around this property. I love the golf course. I think it's changed quite a bit over the last five or six years, but it's still the same course I've gotten my first win on, and you still have those memories of jumping in the pond when you're walking across 18.
So it's just a really cool setting and a cool place for us to have our first major of the year.
KRAIG KANN: How has the course changed? Rough up, rough down, fairways, greens, what?
STACY LEWIS: Well, it's kind of started last year. I think the golf course got a lot softer. It wasn't quite rolling out as much in the fairways, so it's easier to keep it in the fairways on the doglegs. They added kind of a step cut around the greens, so before it went green, fringe, straight to the long rough, and now you've got an extra couple feet of a step cut, which visually makes the greens look bigger. Makes it so you're able to be a little more aggressive with it and able to get away with more shots.
The biggest thing to me is the trees, whether the limbs have broken off because of storms or whatever it is, a lot of the fairways to me seem wider. So like 15 fairway, if you're in the right half of the fairway, you had to either punch it under the tree or hit a cut around there to just hit the green. Now you can be in the first cut over there and have a shot.
KRAIG KANN: We might not have lost limbs last night, we might have lost stumps. It was blowing 60-65 last night. Let's talk about you coming in this week. 11 career LPGA victories, we know about the major championships and we see the ranking of No. 4. Can you put in perspective for all of us where is Stacy Lewis right now?
STACY LEWIS: I mean right now honestly a little bit frustrated with my game. It's been -- I mean, looking back from my first win here until now, it's amazing what I've accomplished over the last five, six years. It's unbelievable. When you start kind of writing it down and looking at it all, it's something that you dream of. So looking back, it's been amazing what I've done.
But, honestly, right now I'm just a little frustrated. I feel like things are getting a lot better on the golf course. Probably had two of my best ball-striking weeks I've had in six months the last two weeks and the scores just haven't quite shown that, so it's been frustrating. But I feel like I'm moving in the right direction and getting on the golf course like this that I know and that I've played well in in the past I think should help me a lot.
KRAIG KANN: You focus on numbers a lot. You look at different statistical data. Is that fair?
STACY LEWIS: Yes.
KRAIG KANN: So ranked third in driving accuracy, fourth in greens and regulation, eighth in scoring average and birdies. All those things point to playing well going into a major, yet you say you're a little bit frustrated. Is that because of you're a perfectionist?
STACY LEWIS: Well, I think it's just because of the expectations I've already set. It's because of the things I've accomplished that you set these high expectations for yourself and sometimes you need to put them in perspective and that's what I'm trying to do. I'm trying to work on them. I'm trying to enjoy it out there a little bit more. I'm trying to find the things that make me happy out there. That's really what I'm trying to do right now because honestly the golf is there. It's just getting out there to where I enjoy myself a little bit more and can be 100% involved. That's really what I'm working on right now more than anything.
KRAIG KANN: You talked about all the accomplishments, and I remember a few years ago you were getting the GWAA Award at The Masters and were hanging out, No.1 player in the world and things battled back and forth. You've obviously had great seasons by everybody else's account but perhaps your own. So when you talk about looking at the positive things and things that are frustrating you, the pros and the cons, do you admittedly struggle with looking at the cons more than the pros in some regard?
STACY LEWIS: I think anybody does. Especially in golf, we tend to forget about the good shots we just hit, but we remember the bad shots we hit for five or six holes. It's kind of the nature of who we are and what we do. It's hard to -- you have to almost force yourself to look at nose accomplishments. Look at what I've accomplished. It's amazing, but sometimes you just forget about it. That's why I said, I'm trying to do a better job of reminding myself of that. Reminding myself that I am one of the best players in the world. I'm not going to play perfect golf all the time, but that it's there. That I've done it and I can do it.
Q. Trying to find happiness again on the course, is that just for your own peace of mind or do you think that will help you play better? Has the frustration affected your game even though you've consistently played well, has it affected your game?
STACY LEWIS: It's 100% affected my game. It's gotten to the point where I've just had a lot going on and instead of just thinking about playing golf, I'm thinking about all these other things I have going on and you're not 100% focused on what you're doing. Whether that's doing an interview or signing autographs or playing golf, I'm always thinking about the next thing instead of being 100% where I need to be. That's what I've been trying to work on the last couple weeks and that's what's going to be the goal this week is to be 100% there on the golf course and not worry about all this other stuff that's going on.
There's probably going to be some changes down the line. I'm trying to figure out my schedule. I've got a new addition to my life that has kind of changed my perspective on golf and everything, really. So there's going to be some adjustment time, and I'm still trying to figure it out. It's going to take a little time.
KRAIG KANN: I trust that's the ring on the finger?
STACY LEWIS: That is the ring on the finger.
KRAIG KANN: How's that going? When is that by the way?
STACY LEWIS: The wedding is going to be in August, and we moved to Houston and got all settled there. But the biggest thing is I've got somebody in my life that's more important than any golf tournament I'll ever play in or any tournament I'll ever win, and I honestly never thought I would be up here saying that. I never thought I'd be in that position. So it's a little bit strange to me, and that's one thing I'm trying to figure out right now.
Q. With the rough up a little bit, does that affect anything you do off the tee or do you just stick to your game plan?
STACY LEWIS: The rough is up a little bit, but it's nowhere close to where I've ever seen it. So it's still sticking to the plan. There's still going to be quite a few drivers. The golf course is still set up for bombers. Just, like I said, with the trees being back and fairways being a little softer, it's set up there to go out and give it a rip. So you've got to play aggressive. I think a low score, like in the past, a low score is going to win here.
Q. Are you still using the putter you switched to at the Founders Cup?
STACY LEWIS: Yeah, I'm using the Happy putter. Made some adjustments to it this week. That's the cool part about that putter is you can adjust the face. Got a little softer face. I adjusted some of the offset. So just kind of tweaking it, because it's always different going from a putting green to taking it on to the golf course. So I feel like we got it pretty dialled in early this week.
Q. The fact you're going with the Happy putter that's got to be good for the mental state of the game. You didn't go with a sad putter or discouraged putter?
STACY LEWIS: I've gotten a lot of grief because people think it's very strange that I'm using a putter that says Happy on it. I've gotten a lot of grief for that.
Q. You've played really well the last couple of years with a lot of 63-hole tournaments. Do you think it's more, if you had to put a percentage on it, is it more technique or is it more confidence in getting over that hump to eliminate the nine holes that have stopped you from winning?
STACY LEWIS: I don't think it's technique. I don't think it's anything related to that. I think a lot of it is mental. I think like I was talking about earlier, being 100% there and being engaged and being competitive and wanting to go out there and win and meet people, that drive just hasn't quite been there the last maybe six months, if I'm being honest. It probably hasn't been there. I think that's affected the scores. It hasn't affected the swing or the way I played, but it's definitely affected the confidence.
Q. If you make the Olympic team, what does the Olympic team mean to you?
STACY LEWIS: The Olympics would be a huge honor. It's going to be interesting. Lexi and I got an early kind of look at the media and all the involvement of what goes into the Olympics out in L.A. a couple weeks ago. It's just going to be unlike anything else that we've ever played in. To be around the other athletes and see what goes on there, that's going to be the coolest part to me.
On the golf course, I think we're competing against 60 other players and that's going to feel the same, but if you have the opportunity to go up there and get a metal at the end of the week, I think that's going to be pretty cool.
Q. How will you look at the Olympic tournament compared to the majors?
STACY LEWIS: I've gotten this question a ton. I just think they're two completely separate things. You can look at them as maybe they're equals or maybe they're not. But I almost think an Olympic medal is so special because you can only win an Olympic medal once every four years. You can win a major, we've got 20 opportunities in four years to win a major? Where you have one opportunity in four years to win an Olympic medal.
So I look at it that way that it would be really special to win one of those and it should be treated that way.
Q. Your playing record here over the last five years is among the best that this tournament has ever seen. Four top fours, one win, one playoff loss. Do you just walk in here and think you're going to contend? Is it just that much of a glove fit for you?
STACY LEWIS: It's just I'm so comfortable here, and comfortable on this golf course. I had a great success my first time here as an amateur, and I just love the golf course and the trickiness of the greens. I feel like I've learned a lot about this course over the years that I can use to my advantage.
Q. It didn't take you that long to learn it and you played very well in the amateur here?
STACY LEWIS: Yeah, I learned it pretty quick. But I love the place. I love this golf course. It's probably if I had to rank my golf courses we play all year, it's probably number one. I just love the way it sets up for me and the comfort level I have on it. I've seen it play its absolute hardest.
I think the year I played as an amateur when Morgan won, was probably the hardest I've ever seen this golf course play. Then it's kind of varied. I think it's gotten easier as the years have gone on. But when you've seen it at its hardest, you can go out there and be a little bit more aggressive and know where you can miss shots and where you can't.
Q. Want to get back to a couple questions on the mental side and the things that are going on in your head. When you hear Rolex Rankings No. 4, knowing that you've been at No. 1 and we all know the Tour has gotten tougher, bothers you, motivates you?
STACY LEWIS: It doesn't really bother me because I know I'm not playing well enough to be No. 1. But it's not necessarily the goal being No. 1 like it used to be because I know what it takes and what goes into that. You have to play a lot of tournaments. You have to travel a lot. You have to play around the world. It's a lot of sacrifice to be No. 1 in the world. And that's what I learned being in that position. Right now that's not necessarily a goal of mine because I have goals off the golf course that are more important sometimes than what I'm doing on.
Right now I want to win majors and contend in majors, and that's my focus. Can you be number one in the world and not play 30 events a year? Probably. I want to see if I can do that or not. I just have other things in life, which is a good thing for me. It's a great thing because golf has been my life for five or six years and I love it that I have something else to go home to and to be excited about. It's just it's an exciting time in my life and it's caused some adjustments on the golf course.
KRAIG KANN: Would it be fair to say that you're kind of a control freak, self-control? You want to have everything kind of the way you want to have it, right?
STACY LEWIS: Uh-huh.
Q. As you've grown over the last three, four years, getting to No. 1 and having logos on your shirt and your hat and business obligations, opportunities for other business opportunities and kids that you impact and some of the things that pull at your time, have you relied more on your team and has that been a help or a tougher distraction? I don't mean that in a negative way, but has that been one of your biggest challenges is all of that stuff?
STACY LEWIS: Yeah, I think the biggest challenge is managing your time and managing things around you. There's different -- some people on your team have different opinions on what they think is important versus what I think is important. But it's also important for me to make clear to them what my goals are and what I want to do right now.
I love working with the college kids and helping them get better. It's something I haven't been able to do the last few years because I've been so busy, and that's something I want to get back to doing. I got to spend, before Phoenix, I spent a day or so with some of the Curtis Cup girls in Houston, and I loved it. It was awesome. They're asking a ton of questions. Gave them a putting lesson afterwards. I mean, that's what I love to do, and I haven't been able to do that just because of my schedule and being so busy. Life is short, and I want to be able to do things that I enjoy.
Q. I remember being at that press conference in New York a couple years back when you announced the KPMG Women's Championship, and now we have female members of the R&A, female members at Augusta National, a woman president of the USGA, a woman in line to be President of the PGA of America. There is a lot about empowering women here this week at this tournament. Do you feel like you were in on the ground floor of something really special? How important is that to you when you assess your career?
STACY LEWIS: I do feel a part of it. I feel like we kick started something a few years ago in New York with KPMG and starting the whole event. You know, it's been amazing to see the trend of how, I think especially in golf, the numbers for golf to grow is on the women's side. It's amazing to see those organizations realize that. To see the USGA, to see the R&A, to see the PGA realize that women are important, and they're an important part of keeping golf going and keeping these organizations alive.
It's amazing for them to kind of take the bait a little bit and realize what we're doing is important. What we're doing here this week with all the athletes leading to the Olympics, it's such a great thing to pull the different athletes together, pull you out of golf and into these other sports. We've started a great trend that we just need to keep going.
Q. This starts a remarkable six-month stretch of golf for women, in that there are five majors, you throw in the Olympics, the International Crown and for you now a marriage in the middle of all of that. So let me ask this two different ways. One, in general for women golf, how important is this stretch as far as an impact a player can make? And then two, separately for you, how does getting married in the middle of all of this affect the challenge?
STACY LEWIS: Well, one I think it's great for the Tour. It shows that there are some times there where people wouldn't want to play the week before or after a major and people wouldn't want to have a tournament those weeks, and now we have too many events really for the amount of time we have to host events.
So the Tour itself I think it's great. It's really good if you get hot and you're playing some good golf because you can keep it going throughout the summer. But from a playing side, it's hard. It's going to be difficult. Be a little pick and choose a little bit more over what tournaments you play and what ones you don't. Like I said, I'm going to kind of base my schedule around the majors and leading up to that what I need to do those tournament weeks to prepare for the majors. I have a couple weeks that I'm kind of gunning for and then move on after that.
But the wedding's going to be a nice break. It will almost be at the end of the stretch, but it will be a nice break to throw that in there. We did it then truthfully so I could enjoy the off-season a little more.
Q. Do you feel like the strength of the Tour right now, tournament numbers aside, tournament players is tougher than it was four years ago to win out here?
STACY LEWIS: Oh, by far it's tougher. I was talking -- played a practice round with Yani. We played nine holes together. And she's like, "Can I ask you a serious question?" And I said, "Sure." She said, "Why is LYDIA so good?" And we talked about it a little while, and I told her, I said you get in these modes playing where you can do no wrong, and if you miss a shot you're like, oh, okay, I can go get that up-and-down. And I told her, "Yani, you were at that point too. I was there at No. 1. We've all been there."
You just have a lot of players that are so young that are in that mindset that they're not scared. They're not afraid of hitting a bad shot. They're fine trying to drive it 280 down the fairway and they're okay if it's in the rough. You've got these fearless young kids that have changed the game and they've changed the way women play golf.
When Yani was No. 1 and doing her thing, she was the only one that really hit it that far. Now you've got -- I played with Charley a couple weeks ago and she bombs it. Brooke Henderson bombs it. Lexi just kills the golf ball. Lydia hits it far. I mean, she doesn't hit it short. So it's just this mindset of these kids that it doesn't faze them.
Q. Four years ago people would say that's you. Is that still you? Fearless?
STACY LEWIS: I think it's still in there, yes. I think you go in phases. That's what Yani and I talked about. When we were both No. 1, you could do no wrong. You didn't worry about missing a four-footer or running it four feet by because you're going to make that four-footer. Some doubt creeps in there and you go through these cycles. But I feel like I'm trending on the up. I feel like it's still in there. I feel like I can get back to that mindset, and that's really where I need to get to to contend to win tournaments.
Q. Depends upon how you look at things. You could look at it as a critique or compliment. When you're a player of Stacy Lewis' stature, people tend to analyze and overanalyze on television, fans, whatever. One of the questions you see here, "What's really wrong with Stacy Lewis right now with her golf game?" You could take that as a compliment, perhaps, or go oh, my gosh. What is your message to those people who would ask that question from your own mind?
STACY LEWIS: Just to not always judge a book by its cover. I wear my emotions on my sleeve. You can tell what I'm feeling probably 99% of the time, and that's something that's hard for me. Maybe I don't look that happy out there, but maybe I'm actually enjoying it. And maybe there's something else going on in that person's life that is affecting what they're doing on the golf course.
It's just there's a whole lot more that goes into hitting a good drive on a hole than just the actual golf swing. There is the mentality of it, there are things that go on off the golf course that affect on. There's so much more to it than that, and I would just tell people to think of that sometimes.
Q. I think it would be fair to say if you were to win this week there might be something in your mind that might say this is the greatest victory of your career. Is that fair given what you're going through?
STACY LEWIS: Absolutely, for sure.
KRAIG KANN: Stacy Lewis, past champion, one of the great players in the game. Thank you so much for being here.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports