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September 13, 2017

Lydia Ko

Evian-les-Bains, France

THE MODERATOR: Welcome back, ladies and gentlemen. We're here with world No. 8 Lydia Ko. Most importantly, our 2015 Evian champion, for her first major victory, and the runner-up last week at the Indy Women in Tech Championship in Indianapolis, Indiana. Welcome back to France. Welcome back to Evian. You have such wonderful memories here, I'm sure. Tell us your memories back of that great day in 2015.

LYDIA KO: Yeah, just a whole lot of mixed emotions, I think. You know, when you're playing, you don't really feel that overwhelmed or you don't really get to sense what's going to go on if you do, and being able to win, and I think that really happened to me when my putt went in the hole on the 72nd hole. Before then I was just trying to concentrate on one shot at a time, and that's what you try and do most of the time, but especially that day knowing that I could have my first major win, I was really solely focusing on my game and not trying to think about what was going on with the other players or with anything outside of me.

THE MODERATOR: This is a special event for you. You're an Evian ambassador, a Rolex ambassador. Last year you took the Rolex Annika Major Award title. This week I'm sure is very busy for you, but what is a week at Evian like for you on so many levels?

LYDIA KO: I have so many great memories here, so to me, obviously I might be here doing things and at other places for my sponsors as their ambassador, but I feel like it's a great event. There's a lot of great vibes, and you can see by all the sponsors of this event and just all the support of how excited they are to see us here, and they're a great support, and we love coming back to a place where we feel welcomed. The golf course is in the best conditions that I've seen it in the last five years, so yeah, it's exciting. Can be busy at times, but I'm really happy to play here, and I feel like I've gotten so much support, so I love coming back to this place.

THE MODERATOR: As I mentioned, you won the Rolex Annika Major Award last year. Not necessarily in the running for it this year, though a win this week could change that perhaps. You never know. Tell us the honor of winning that award and especially your name is now associated with Annika Sorenstam, one of the greatest names in the game.

LYDIA KO: Yeah, it was a huge honor to win the RAMA, especially as it is named after Annika and what she's done for not only the women's game but golf in general is huge. And because of players like her, the Tour is as big as it is today and as popular as it is today. We've got a lot to thank her for, and to kind of have an award to really celebrate how consistent you've played in the major championships, you can only receive it after winning a major that season, so it's I think an amazing award, and I don't think any other tour does it, so I think it's an award that you feel really special and honored in so many different aspects.

THE MODERATOR: You're playing in your fifth Evian Championship this week, and you've never missed the cut here. What is it about this golf course and this event that particularly seems to suit you? You've played very well.

LYDIA KO: Even as an amateur, I felt incredible support. The first time I came here when I was playing alongside Suzann and Mika in the final round of that major, and I've never actually been in that position before. Being an amateur, you really never know what's going on, especially at that situation. But I felt like the support was great, and now being an Evian ambassador and also Rolex ambassador, it's just great. I feel like I'm home, even though I'm not really home. It's always nice when you come back to places where they love seeing you, and it's a great golf course. You need to be creative. There are some shorter holes and there are some longer holes, so you just kind of need to play the golf course well, and I think the weather plays a huge factor here, too.

Q. The tournament last week when you look back on last week, what was clicking well, and did it feel like you sort of hit the refresh button coming into Evian?
LYDIA KO: I felt like the first couple rounds I hit it good and I gave myself a lot of good looks for birdies, and I was able to kind of commit to those lines and make those putts. You feel like there's some things, but in the end they become bigger things, and a couple shots per round at the end of the week could be eight shots. To me just seeing those putts go in I think gave me a lot of confidence, and I think it gave me more belief in myself because I felt like there were a lot of positives and a lot of good things going on, but I just wasn't able to put it all together. So it was nice to be kind of in that position again, and even though I wasn't the one holding the trophy at the end of last week, I still felt like I played good golf and tried my best out there, and the most important thing was just being in that atmosphere, being in that kind of position again, and it just builds your confidence.

Q. And you mentioned that the course is in as good a shape as you've seen it. They've made a few changes to some of the greens. Can you comment on what you think of the changes and then lengthening the course, as well?
LYDIA KO: Yeah, I feel like they've done great changes, and all the changes they've done have really given them more opportunities for different pin positions. You know, Evian and everybody involved, they have really put in the time to make these changes, have done a great job, and with distance-wise, it all really dictates how the weather plays. If it rains and gets a little soft, obviously everything will be pushed a little bit more forward. I think we'll just have to see kind of as we play the rounds. But the greens and the contouring around them, I think they've done a great job to kind of give us more opportunities and more pin positions.

Q. The major titles have been spread around a lot of different golfers this season and last. Why is that, and is it more fun when it seems to be as open as this, whereas when you have a dominant player? Does that help change the dynamic?
LYDIA KO: Well, I think you can see by the amount of winners we have on the LPGA this year, and not only just for the majors but the season in general, there are how many winners, 17, 18, 20? That's pretty incredible, and it just shows that it's not someone that's playing well. All the players are playing great, and that's why week in and week out you don't know who's going to win, and I think that's great for the game. The LPGA is a very global tour, and I think it puts a lot of people from different countries together and gains their interest. I think it's great for the game, and that way every shot you're focusing and you're not getting carried away about, hey, I'm playing against this one person. You know, it's not like match play. Everybody is playing great, and I think that's a great step forward for the LPGA and for the women's game.

Q. You always look so calm, cool and collected, but have you been impatient this year at all?
LYDIA KO: I think I have gotten frustrated, but I think I've been frustrated at myself more so than anybody else or media or anything that kind of goes around because I felt like, man, I feel like things are there, but why can't they show -- well, why can't I commit to it while I'm playing. I think that was really huge. That's why playing well, especially the first two days of last week, really helped to kind of give belief in myself, and sometimes those are the big things where there's nothing really a huge difference physically or within the game. You just kind of need to have that confidence and that belief to go out there and not worry about it. It would be a lie to say, hey, no, I've been cool, calm and collected the whole way. I was frustrated, but you just have to be patient, and I'm not trying to play golf for one year or just one month. We're trying to play it for as long as we can and as long as we want to, and we're fortunate enough to do that. You just have to be patient, and everybody has their little ups and downs, and you just have to -- I've been lucky to have a very supportive family and team that have really kind of helped me along the way. It's still a work in progress, and I know that I need to work hard to keep getting better and be more consistent, but I think it's been great that I've had those people around me to kind of sometimes take my mind off it and just let me enjoy whatever I do off the golf course, and then when I'm playing and practicing and trying to focus and trying to improve the areas of my game that I feel like needs to be improved a bit more.

Q. You had mentioned you felt like the putting was what came together for you last week. Has that been the area of your game that's been the most frustrating for you this season?
LYDIA KO: Early in the season I hit the ball great and then I really was struggling with the putter, and then mid-season I had some good days and then some -- it was very patchy here and there. But last week just to see those putts go in, it's nice. Those are the really momentum builders, where you might not be putting well for the first six holes, but when you make a putt, it gives you the confidence to say, hey, I can make the next one, and I think it's little things.

But with the putter, it's so small, and sometimes you go, oh, you're this close to the hole, it would seem like it would be the easiest part, but we have a smaller target. I've been trying to simplify things and not try and overcomplicate it in my head. All you can do is really read it and then commit to your lines and go from there, and after that you can't control much.

Q. You said that you aren't always cool and calm and sometimes you can get frustrated. What do you say to yourself in those situations or stay motivated to keep working on it?
LYDIA KO: I think with golf, there is no perfect, so I think it's pretty hard to lose motivation. There's always something to work on, and no matter if you're the No. 1 ranked player in the world or if you're 100th in the world, there's always something that you can improve. I think that's the great thing about this game, and sometimes that's the most frustrating thing, that challenge aspect, but I love it because it is so challenging, and day-to-day, it's different. Sometimes you feel like you're doing the same thing, but you're not. Yeah, it's an interesting sport. That's why sometimes I say, oh, like my putter is like my boyfriend, it's like a love-hate. But I 100 percent -- well, 99 percent love it. You just have to be positive and have fun, and I think fun is the most important thing for everyone because we're doing this because we love it, so might as well enjoy it.

Q. The weather forecast for tomorrow, a lot of wind, a lot of rain. Can you just talk about the challenge that could present on this course?
LYDIA KO: I think it will be pretty challenging. We don't have the widest fairways here, and the rough is pretty lush right now, so with more rain, I think there will be some growth, and being in the rough will be a tough aspect. But then at the same time, because it is a little softer, it makes it a little bit more approachable to the greens. There's just a different balance of things, and with the weather, it's something that we cannot control, and everybody is playing in pretty much similar weather. Unless you're the weather gods, you have no control, so you just have to go with it, and it's not like I'm the only one that's playing in rain and wind and everybody is playing in the sun, so you just have to play the course like what it is playing that day, and I'm pretty sure it will be difficult with the wind and rain, but it is what it is.

Q. This is a special week for Ai Miyazato. What's she meant to the Tour and you personally?
LYDIA KO: Yeah, I didn't know until yesterday that this week was her last tournament, and you know, it's pretty sad. But then at the same time, I think we're all happy for her. She's done amazing things for the LPGA and also for golf in Japan. I played TOTO last year, and you can see the vibe and how everybody is so excited to see her, and she's, I think, one of the first few Japanese players to come out here and win on the LPGA. She's done an amazing job for golf in general, and she's one of the nicest players on Tour. I'm going to miss her fun energy, her positive energy, but I said, hey, I'll just have to see you on social media now. But no, I think it's very hard to not love her. She's great, and I'm definitely going to miss her. But I'm only like a couple tee times behind or in front of her, so hopefully I'll be able to see her a little bit these next few days. But I think we've got a lot to thank Ai for, that's for sure.

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