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September 13, 2017

Karine Icher

Evian-les-Bains, France

THE MODERATOR: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome back. We are here in the media center with Karine Icher, wonderful French native, played on four Solheim Cup teams, very glad to be back here in Karine's home country. This is your 15th time playing here at Evian. How have you seen this championship and maybe this golf course grow over the years that you've been playing?

KARINE ICHER: Well, obviously it's been five years now, I think, with the new course. It's a completely different tournament and a different course and different approach. It's more difficult. It's longer. The greens are tougher. It's nice to see a tournament growing up like that. When you think about -- maybe I'm going to be wrong, but maybe 20 or 25 years ago when they first started on the LET and it was just like a tournament with just maybe 10 or 15 players, it was like more like a pro-am, and then it became a major. It's nice for the country.

THE MODERATOR: You are playing incredibly well, only three missed cuts this year, went 2-1-1 at the Solheim Cup. How is your game shaping up as you come in here to Evian this week?

KARINE ICHER: Right now my game is solid and it's in good shape. A few putts to touch the hole and can't drop, but with this, it's a difficult course. These are the best players in the world, a big field, so it's going to be interesting to see the tournament.

Q. Talk about the challenges of being a mom on Tour, and how has it been raising your daughter Lola and playing at the same time?
KARINE ICHER: It's a challenge. When you're a player, you're just thinking about golf and yourself, and you have to be selfish. But then when you become parent instead of player, it's not just about you, it's about the family, as well. We have to be very organized, think about everything, never forget something. When you're traveling with a baby, if you forget the bunny, it's like the end of the world.

But we get used to, and now she's six years old, so she goes to school when she's home, and she does home school on Tour because we have a day care on the LPGA and we have two nannies that are traveling with us every week in the States, so it makes it easier. We can combine being a mom and being a player for a few more years, and that's definitely a big help. But it's for sure a nice adventure, but it's a big challenge.

Q. And your husband Fred, does he still caddie for you?
KARINE ICHER: Oh, yeah. It's a family affair. He caddies for me, yeah, and we have Lola with us all the time on Tour, yeah.

Q. But she started school this week?
KARINE ICHER: Well, this week, yeah, she started in France because then we're going to Asia. So Fred is coming with me, so she'll stay here in France until mid-November, when we're going back to the States. She's coming back with us, but for two months she is in a French school, where I've been actually in the small town where I'm from. So it's good for her for the language because she speaks mainly English and is thinking in English, and even if we speak French at home, she's very American. It's hard to say. So for French, it's a big help for her to be in a French school right now.

Q. What is your hometown?
KARINE ICHER: It's Châteauroux. It's right in the middle of France, five-hour drive from here.

Q. Could you tell us how often you've been asked by other players what it's like bringing a child on Tour?
KARINE ICHER: A lot, a lot, because now like many players want to become parents, as well. There's a lot of players that want babies, so they ask me questions, how do you do this, how do you do that, because I mean, at one point in your career if you married someone, the question arises, will you continue playing golf or start a family. That's a big point. For men it's much easier, but for women, all of the players are going to arrive at one point, what am I going to do. You have to weigh it. You can think about your career, but you're going to miss a lot of things like kids and married life and everything, or you can choose like to have a family at the same time.

But if you decide to have kids on Tour, it's tough to combine, but we don't have many choices.

Q. So what's the worst thing you've ever forgotten? Have you ever sort of left the nappies behind or anything when she was a baby?
KARINE ICHER: Yeah, maybe a stuffed animal or something like that. But I remember when Lola was a baby, we went to Asia for five or -- four or five weeks, and I remembered I had to pack 300 diapers in the suitcase because over there I didn't know which brand I'm going to find or her milk or whatever, so I had to pack everything in a suitcase to stay like six weeks. Yeah, you have to think about everything. And now she's going to school, so it's more like the books in France and in English, homework, because now she goes to school so she has homework. When we're done playing golf, we do the homework in the hotel.

Q. Can you just say how many questions you'd get a year from sister players on Tour about having babies and the merits thereof?
KARINE ICHER: At least -- a year I don't know, but at least per tournament, five, six times per tournament, especially the girls who are married now and just start -- just want to start a family. Like the American players who were in the Solheim Cup, they all want babies, so soon they're going to be all moms, which is good for Europe. (Laughter.)

THE MODERATOR: Clearly being a mom has been good for your game. You've been playing so well. How do you balance out still being a player while being Lola's mom?

KARINE ICHER: Well, when we -- maybe before I was too much focused on my golf and I was thinking golf 24 hours, seven days a week, and now I have to shrink like six hours of training into two because I don't have enough time because I want to spend time with her. So probably I do more quality than quantity, and it helps me a lot, and then when we go back to the hotel or at home, we leave the golf bag in the garage, in the car, until the next morning. We don't bring golf again on the table at night, and when you're just a player, that can be dangerous because you just think and you talk golf, you watch golf on TV. I mean, we watch Mickey Mouse. The other players watch Golf Channel. So we really cut the time between golf and family, and maybe that's why I'm playing better now than before, which is weird, but I'll take it.

Q. You'll encourage more of them to have babies the way you're talking.
KARINE ICHER: Sure, yes. Yes, and now like the big thing on Tour is babies because 20 years ago the nanny we have on Tour had at the most 27 kids. Now there are only two. It's Lola, so my daughter, and Mason, Cristie Kerr's son. There's only two kids because they're all 18, 20 years old, so we need more babies. But I think more are going to come.

Q. Why has there been this gap then?
KARINE ICHER: Because now the players are younger and younger. You see all the Korean waves and the Asian waves like arrive on Tour, all like 18, 19, 20, so they're far away from thinking to have a baby. And then the player like me start to retire and start a family. So many players, I think, are going to start a family but they're going to stop golf because they don't want to combine, they don't want to be player and parent because maybe also their husband not caddie for them, so it's even harder because what are you doing. The mom takes the baby but the dad never sees the baby. It's a hard decision to take. I know some of the players stop playing golf and then they start a family. So that's why there's not many more kids in day care.

Q. What result would you be satisfied with here this week?
KARINE ICHER: The best I can do. I mean, I hope to play good and to have a little bit of luck that everybody needs to perform well. Obviously it's the last major of the year, so everybody wants to perform here. It's my home country, so obviously I want to do the best that I can do. I'll take anything like from a win to a top 10 or a top 5 or a top 20. The key is to play well and make putts and hope nobody shoots 62 on Sunday.

Q. In other sports some players find it inspiring to play in front of their home crowd, others find it difficult with the pressure that comes with it. Do you find you enjoy it? Or is it something that's difficult?
KARINE ICHER: No, it's enjoyable because there's not many times the crowd is for me, so it's only one time a year in France. So no, it's enjoyable. It's fun to play in your country, and the more people we have, the better it is. I hope the forecast is going to be good because if it's raining it's not very fun to follow some golf. But I'm sure some people are going to come.

Q. Have you ever felt a sense of pressure, a weight of expectation from the French golfing public?
KARINE ICHER: No, it's not like a pressure, it's you know everybody wants you to play well, so it's a good energy rather than just too much pressure.

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