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March 13, 2018

Michelle Wie

Phoenix, Arizona

MODERATOR: Okay, everyone, we've got Michelle Wie. Michelle, welcome. You are fresh off your first victory since 2014. What's been the reaction from your family and friends, and have you gotten any time celebrate?

MICHELLE WIE: Yeah, just been a really fun time. I definitely did a lot of the celebrating last week when I was home.

Q. You won in just your third start of the season. What kind of momentum does that bring for the rest of the season?
MICHELLE WIE: Hopefully a lot of good momentum. I just want keep playing like I did last year, just keep building on momentum and confidence. Mostly just really want to have fun out there.

Q. You improved your rankings; up to 14 in the world now. That puts you on the U.S. UL International Crown team. Is that on your radar?
MICHELLE WIE: You know, it's a long way away. Kind of treating it like Solheim Cup: If I keep playing well, keep get points, keep going up, then I'll make the team.

There are a lot of things that need to happen before that, so I just want to keep playing well and just keep shooting those low rounds and see where that takes me.


Q. I wanted to ask you about your putting. You were for a while No. 1, but you're still like No. 3, how important that is to, and what does that say about the work you've done on your putting?
MICHELLE WIE: I didn't know that until you just said that. That's pretty cool.

Yeah, I've working really hard on my putting. During the off season I putt and chip for at least five hours a day. I just put in the time.

It feels good that it's paying off. Just going to keep working on it. Putting is one of those things that I like working on it. I like practicing it. Especially short game as well. Just keep grinding.

Q. How much does the confidence in the putter go through the rest of your game? When you've turned your putting around how does it affect your entire game?
MICHELLE WIE: Oh, yeah, it definitely affects the rest of the game. If you feel comfortable with your putting I feel like it helps you be more aggressive with your irons; I think it puts a little pressure off your irons, knowing that even if you don't stick it in three feet you have a good chance of making it.

And then if it puts the pressure off your irons, it definitely puts the pressure of your driver. It just puts pressure off everything your game and also just makes it fun.

I think being confident with your putter, just going up in, it brings a different mindset into the game. Definitely more exciting, more of a game.

It's definitely just puts a lot of stress off you.

Q. You had kind of a unique treatment last week that you were sharing on social media. Describe what that was like and how that helps you.
MICHELLE WIE: Yeah, it's just I've been going up every three or four months. I have arthritis in both of my hands, so it's just something -- I've been getting cortisone over the last couple years, and I am now at the pint where I can't get my more cortisone in those areas.

So I found my doctors in New York and we've been doing this more natural injection, more of a collagen injection, trying to recreate some cartilage, more space in my joints. It's been really helping.

Q. You have sort of reinvented yourself so many times over the years because of injuries mostly.

Q. Where do you draw this inner strength from?
MICHELLE WIE: I don't know actually. You know, I think it's just the way life is. I think when I was younger and I was playing really well at a really young age I just saw my life at this trajectory. I think the first down really shocked me. I took it really hard and it wasn't easy.

Then you start to realize that life doesn't really happen that way. You start to hear about other people going through injuries and stuff like that. Then you see some people and their life seems so easy. Everyone has their own struggles. I think my struggles have just been very publicized and very public.

After the first time it gets easier, and then it gets harder and then it gets easier. I just draw strength from knowing that I've done it before and I have reached very lows and I've pulled myself out of it. I definitely have a lot of confidence from that, just knowing from experience that I can.

I definitely don't want to go back down again. You never know what life will bring you. I just know that I can pull myself out of it.

Q. Just a follow-up. When you win so early in the season like this, how does it change your mindset for the rest of the year and your daydreaming maybe?
MICHELLE WIE: I don't know. This is the first time I've won so early in the year. I usually don't play well in the beginning of the year. This is a first.

It feels great. Feels great not waiting until like September/October to win. Yeah, but that week is over and done with. I'm really proud of myself for winning for the first time in four years.

This is a new week. Just because I won last week doesn't guarantee I'll play well this week. I am just going to go with the mindset of it's just a fresh start. Beginning of the west coast swing, a swing that I really do love. Just going to have fun out there, try to post some low scores, and just stay healthy.

Q. At the beginning of '16 there was talk with David, your coach, about how much you like tinker and play around with you are can swing and your game in general. There was an effort on both your parts to try and narrow it down and just stay consistent. '16 wasn't the season you would've hoped for. Was that down to injuries or down the process of sticking to one thing to get better? In '17 everything has really taken off for you, up to now.
MICHELLE WIE: I would say it's a combination of stuff. 2015 was really rough with injuries and it was just trying to work around it. It definitely changed my swing a lot with the restrictions that I have with my hip and my ankle.

Definitely changed the way I swang -- swung -- swang, swung. I went to Stanford. Definitely changed way I had to move around the golf ball, just move around my hip and everything.

When you swing one way your whole life and then you change it, I think that's why I tinkered so much, because I just wasn't feeling comfortable and I had to find something that I could play with.

Also, 2016 I changed ball flight from a draw to a fade. As many of you know, it's difficult to do. I thought it was going to be really easy, but it wasn't.

I'm really glad that I did. Through 2017 I played with a fade; I still do. I really comfortable with that ball flight. It's definitely learning pains just changing from draw for my whole life to a fade.

Yeah, just trying to tinker a lot less. It's just in my nature to do so, I guess.

Q. Are you still tinkering with the putting grip or settling down?
MICHELLE WIE: I'm trying to settle down on one particular feel. I think with my tinkering it's gotten a lot smaller in the way I change. I have a theme and I kind of like circle around it. I have like three things I know if I do it it feels good. Sometimes feels change, especially for me. I wake up one day and I'm like, Oh, I'm a completely different person.

So I have three things that I kind of move around with. Oh, this works today. But it's all the same thing.

Q. One more question about feel. I noticed today with the cortisone shot you're wearing a brace on your right hand. Does that feel weird to you in any way or are you used to that?
MICHELLE WIE: Actually when I tried it out first I was really wondering if it was going to mess with my feel. Honestly, I don't feel as much of a difference. In practice rounds I wear it on both hands, and tournaments I wear it on one hand, my left hand right now.

Q. It appeared at HSBC that you were left-hand low and conventional. Still using that here?
MICHELLE WIE: I really can't say what I'm going to do. I can't promise anything. I say something in press conferences and I do something else. I'm just is gonna say I don't know. We'll see.

Q. For people who watch that and say, How can she do that, go by feel? How and why does it work for you?
MICHELLE WIE: People say that I am like super technical, but I think I am actually way more of a feel player. For me, different things feel different ways in different situations. Just depending on how I feel it just changes. I don't know.

For me, there is no point having a grip where I don't feel comfortable then just like keeping with it for the sake of keeping with it. I am going to do something that feels comfortable.

Q. Fingers still down on the shaft, both or one finger?
MICHELLE WIE: Yeah, they're down there. I don't know.

Q. David was telling me that you two have a bet as far as tinkering goes. Care to share the monetary value of that?
MICHELLE WIE: It's substantial. It's enough for me to get motivated.

Q. Like four digits?
MICHELLE WIE: No. It's less than that. Just receiving any sort of cash from David... (laughter.)

Q. Off topic, but there is a lot of momentum right now in golf, starting with your win, Phil and Tiger getting back, how much do you draw from that, from all the buzz? Did you watch last week?
MICHELLE WIE: I feel like I opened up the flood gates of people that haven't won in a couple years. I remember that stat. They said that me, Phil and Steve Stricker or something, it was 4,000 something days since our last win.

Then Phil winning and Paul Casey winning after nine years, I just hope I opened the flood gates for people that haven't won in a while. (Laughter.)

Q. What's is so special about this tournament, especially with some of the LPGA founders here?
MICHELLE WIE: You know, I think the fact that we have a tournament honoring our founders is so amazing. Those founders, they sacrificed so much that I could be here up on stage. Just growing the game. Definitely without them I would not have been a professional women's golfer, so we owe everything to them.

It's really cool to see Marilynn Smith here and just a couple other founders. It was really cool on 18 just to see them all sitting down there. It's really emotional for sure.

Q. Did you have a conversation with Justin stealing the spotlight from you?
MICHELLE WIE: Yeah, I was really excited about that putt going in. It was pretty dramatic. Then I see on Instagram that he holed out from the fairway to get the clubhouse lead.

I'm like, Oh, my God. Just have to upstage me. Like let me have my moment, you know. I texted him, Great shot, but way to upstage me.

Q. On a more serious note, the expectations for you have been so high for so many years, I think like 15 years now. Is there a sense inside of you when you accomplish something like you did recently that the best could still be ahead of you?
MICHELLE WIE: Oh, yeah, for sure. I've always thought that. The first thing I said to my agents and everyone was just like, Let's just simmer down on the expectations and the hype and everything.

I've just been keeping quiet and I just want to let my game show. I've been working really hard.

Yeah, I always think the best is in front of me. That's why I practice and work so hard. It makes me really excited. It make me really excited for this year and the future.

THE MODERATOR: Any other questions?

Q. What kind of goals do you set for yourself now for the rest of the year?
MICHELLE WIE: My goal is to play all five majors because I don't think I've really done that so far -- or made the cut at all five majors. I think last year I played four majors; year I played like three.

So, y goal is to play the whole year and not to take an extended break during the season. That would be my whole goal. Keep my organs in my body. That would be great.

Yeah, just really to be healthy and be able to give it 110%. I always feel like I'm a race horse. I'm trying so hard, I work so hard, and then I can't. Then I have to play off 70%, you know, and really just worry about how many balls I'm hitting and count the number of balls, tournaments I can play.

I just want to be able to work as hard as I can and grind as hard as I want to and play as many tournaments as I want to. I just want to be able to play unrestricted, per se.

Q. The shots you're getting in your wrist really help?
MICHELLE WIE: Yes, for sure. I get maintenance every three or four months. Hopefully be longer than that. After that I play pretty without any pain. I have to take a week off completely from hitting balls, so this past week, Sunday, was the first time I hit balls.

After that it feels pretty good, so knock on wood that it keeps working.

Q. Is there a time limit that the doctors have told you about how long you can play with the arthritis and the treatment they're giving you?
MICHELLE WIE: Well, fingers crossed, with these injections, there are no limits on these. It's a naturally occurring substance in your body. It's not like cortisone where you're only allowed a couple in your lifetime.

Hopefully these will keep working, and as long as I just keep maintaining it, hopefully for a really long time.

Q. Can you explain to us a little bit more how you decided to do that and how it does work and is it working?
MICHELLE WIE: You know, I think collagen injections are mostly known for knees, people that are bone on bone in their knees. They inject it there so it creates space so you're not grinding on the bone. If you know what arthritis is, I think it's when -- I might be wrong. My bones don't have any joint space and it's bone on bone grinding, and that's why it causes pain.

They inject a collagen substance, which is like a thicker artificial cartilage in the joint space and it spreads in between the joints so my bones don't grind on each other. They have some cushion. That's basically what it is.

It's not like anti-inflam or anything. Doctors in New York have been really great.

Q. Into the wrist?
MICHELLE WIE: Yes. You can kind of see it.

THE MODERATOR: Any final questions?

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