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July 26, 2017

Lydia Ko

North Ayrshire, Scotland

MATT HAAS: We're happy to be joined in the media centre by Lydia Ko.

Lydia, how does it feel to be here in Scotland?

LYDIA KO: This is really the Home of Golf, so it's always nice to come back to Scotland, and even nicer that it's going to be a two-week stretch in Scotland, too.

Yeah, there is the weather right now, but we had two lovely days of weather on Monday, Tuesday. I think it's forecast to be a little rainy and windy the next few days, but hey, you know, these are some of the aspects that you've got to expect when you're coming over here. But no, it's nice, and I played this golf course a couple years ago. So I think it's a really cool course, and it's not your typical links. I think it should be a fun week.

MATT HAAS: You mentioned back-to-back weeks here in Scotland. What does it mean to have this event before RICOH? They have been doing it for awhile on the men's side now.

LYDIA KO: I think it's a great lead-up for the British Open, and obviously it's a nice experience factor for the people that are playing this week and next week. Some girls are skipping this week and getting prepared for the British Open.

But no, I think it's great for the fans, too. It's not that far of a drive from Kingsbarns, too, so it's all really nearby. It's a cool stretch of events, and this doesn't happen very often, so it's just really cool, this stretch.

MATT HAAS: What do you like about playing links golf?

LYDIA KO: You have to be creative. Technique-wise, you're not going to be able to hit some shots that you normally do in other tournaments. The ground tends to be a lot firmer, so you can't really use a bounce when you're chipping. You just have to be creative and you hit shots that you normally won't do. I think that's the cool thing about it. Especially in links-style golf, and with the weather part of it, too, you just never know until the very end.

Q. Hopefully the weather won't pick up, but Matt Kuchar played here not two weeks ago, and he spoke about how useful it was to experience some bad weather. Would you feel the same? Would you like to get a little bit here so you can go to Kingsbarns prepared for something like that?
LYDIA KO: I think so, and I mean, every British Open we get to play, I think that adds to the experience factor, too. Even better for us, we get to play two weeks in a row. I think what we feel here and especially if the winds get strong and the rain, and that happens to be the case next week, it will definitely be helpful in not only club selection, but how the ball is affected in the air.

I think it is really nice and I did that a couple years ago when I played this tournament at Dundonald and got to play Turnberry, too, and I thought that was very helpful. I had my best finish in the Women's British Open. I think it is a great learning curve, but at the same time, this is a great championship, too, so I know we are all trying to play the best we can.

Q. Have you all been someone who has embraced bad weather and tried to do your best?
LYDIA KO: A lot more now when I don't have glasses. When I had glasses, I cleaned it, hit my shot and it was back to square.

I think it's part of and I think that's the great thing about golf. We're in an environment where you really can't control what's going on outside the wind, the rain, the grass, and everything. Week-in, week-out and from day-to-day it can play a lot differently. I think it is part of it, and there's obviously a lot of history in this area. So I know it would be great to be part of that history, too.

Q. I think it's been 18 different winners on the LPGA in maybe 20 events or something this year. Even in your relative short time, have you noticed the standard going up and up in the last couple of years?
LYDIA KO: I think this building is going to go up (laughter) I feel like the talent level on the LPGA right now is incredible. Obviously like you said, it shows by the 18 different winners -- I think I jinxed it when I said the weather is nice.

Yeah, it just shows the amount of talent level and I think some people underestimate the amount of talent on our tour. I think it's great and you can see by the end of the year how many first-time winners we have. This year I think it's incredible to have those 18 different winners and only two of them to have won twice this year.

You know, it just makes it exciting and week-in, week-out, it's not, hey, is the top three going to win. It's more, hey, you actually have no idea who is going to win because so many people are playing well and putting themselves consistently in contention. I think it's great for golf and great for this tour, and you know, especially because there are so many nationalities in those 18, it just brings the whole world together, and I think a lot of juniors to people can be inspired by what's going on right now.

Q. How is your own game coming into this tournament? We're used to seeing you winning most of the time.
LYDIA KO: I think last week was a year since my last win. I don't feel like it's a lot off. I've just been struggling where I couldn't -- the puzzles are there, but it's been hard to put all those pieces together, and sometimes that is the hardest thing. But in the end all I can do is stay patient and be confident. Just because the puzzles are there doesn't mean that everything is perfect.

In golf, there's always, no matter what ranked player you are, there's always something you can improve on within your game. I'm working hard towards being more consistent and put myself in better positions.

You know, this is our exciting stretch of events. We had the KPMG, the U.S. Open and obviously the British next week. Everyone's trying to peak during these times, and I'm just trying to be more consistent and put myself in better positions going into the weekends.

Q. You set the bar so high with your performances over a period of time. Were you prepared for this lull in your performances? Were you not expecting this to come -- has that made it easier to handle it?
LYDIA KO: I think with anyone's career, there are always those little roller coaster rides. It's more about how can you control it from being so high to so down. You kind of just want those little subtle curves. Some people say, hey, maybe it's the club changes and the coaches and everything else. But who knows, even if I had the same, I could be experiencing the same right now.

I feel like all the changes I've made have been great. The reps have been working hard to just give me the confidence that I'm playing with the best -- is it snowing or raining? It's white (weather looming outside).

But it gives me the confidence that I'm playing with the best clubs out there. I think confidence is huge, and when you're not playing as well, it's very easy to get a little down on yourself. I know that I've just got to stay more patient and just be confident in everything going on and just move forward.

Q. Do you feel it's just a matter of time before you start winning again?
LYDIA KO: I hope so, at least. I know that I need to work hard and put in the time and effort, and things will come. Just because I haven't won in a year or so doesn't mean I'm playing bad golf. I think the big key is to stay patient and just to be able to trust myself.

Q. Jordan Spieth last week obviously won The Open Championship, and people are talking about him obviously being this great player, like yourself, winning all these great tournaments, and then having a little lull. Do you look at all what he's achieved? He's talked about those pressures and expectations, even having his caddie remind him on the course in the final round on Sunday that he's up there with some of the best sportsmen in the world.
LYDIA KO: He's been consistently playing great, because of that season where he won two majors and then the other two he got so close. I think for himself he set the bar so high up; when you're still playing good but not as good, you feel like you're not playing as good, and I think that's how people kind of perceive it.

But when I watch the PGA TOUR and when I watch him play, I still feel like he's that same awesome player that he was in that season and the season after. I think it just shows, especially on that back nine last week, where he was just grinding, and, you know, he made some of the impossible possible. I think that just shows what kind of a class player he is. I'm pretty sure he stayed patient and he kind of blocked out what everybody was saying, because I think he knew that it was still the same him.

Q. But from a personal standpoint, you look at him and say, he's the same great player. Are you able to say the same to yourself, as well?
LYDIA KO: I think it's actually a hard thing to do. 2015 I think was when I was Player of the Year --

Q. Same as him.
LYDIA KO: Yeah, yeah, and then the year after, I got to get the award with him at the Masters. But no, at the same time, it's easy to say but it's hard to do. I know that you just have to keep your head up high and just focus on what's going on right now and what I need to work on, rather than think about what has happened in the past.

I think that's really important going forward is I've just got to look at what's going on at this moment and what I need to prove and what I need to improve. Now I've obviously been fortunate to be able to play some really good golf, and I think that will be a huge experience factor and I think being patient is going to be the key for me until hopefully that next win.

Q. I've got daughters your age, and patience doesn't come very easily. We forget how young you are. How hard is that to be patient?
LYDIA KO: It is hard, because you start seeing that moment so much, and you, too, start to compare about the high points. Sometimes you forget what it took to get to there. Even going to my first win, I was just an amateur and wanting to have the experience to play alongside the best female golfers. You have to just think, hey, you know, it took so much time to even get that started, and that was a surprise.

I know there are all of us girls, we are all working hard to be the one holding the trophy at the end of the week. It's not like I'm a special case where, hey, I'm the special one. We're all working hard and I think that what we are working hard towards is to be the one holding the trophy at the end of the week. I feel like it's not only me in this case. We're all trying to be patient and confident in our game.

Q. The changes that you made, all in quite a short relatively period of time, and did you receive any kind of negativity or hear any murmurs, like people thinking, what you're doing, changing the winning formula, effectively?
LYDIA KO: Yeah, they say what's not broke, why change it. But at the same time, like I said, mentioned earlier why, no matter what ranked player you are, there's always something you can improve on. Even though at that time I was the No. 1 ranked player, I felt there were aspects I could be more consistent at and more better at.

I think that's the thing about golf is that you can shoot 62 one day and shoot 72 the next day and feel like it wasn't a lot different, but what can you do to be more consistent and put yourself more towards that 60s range than the 70s.

I'm sure there was some negativity about it but within my team and my family, I felt it was the right decisions. All the decisions I made, I feel like we've seen progress. So it's more about being confident and being out there and trusting what's going on.

Q. What do you know about Kingsbarns, the venue for RICOH next week?
LYDIA KO: I actually don't know a lot about Kingsbarns but I heard it's a beautiful golf course. Obviously it's very close to St. Andrews, too. Hopefully a lot of people will be able to come out and watch us play.

I haven't heard a lot about it but I've heard it not your typical links style either. I think it's going to be a great challenge. Like this week, don't get to run up to many of the greens. There are a few shots, majority of the shots going towards the green, you have to land on the green. So it's about being creative and being smart, and I think that's kind of the case next week.

So for us, it's playing this week and next week, and I think it's going to be a great couple weeks and not your original, typical links, but in that links-style environment.

MATT HAAS: Thanks, Lydia.

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