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April 10, 2018
Kapolei, Oahu, Hawaii
THE MODERATOR: All right, thank you, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you very much for coming today. We're excited to be here at the lovely Ko Olina Golf Club for the 2018 Lotte Championship presented by Hershey.
Let me take a moment to introduce the four players here setting next to me.
We have Anna Nordqvist, who is playing in her fourth Lotte Championship.
Next to her is So Yeon Ryu, fifth in the Rolex Women's World Golf Rankings and playing in her 7th Lotte Championship.
Our defending champion, 2017 Lotte champion Cristie Kerr, a 20-time LPGA winner who is playing in her 7th Lotte Championship.
And Brooke Henderson, who is playing in her third Lotte Championship.
This group combines for seven Major victories. Quite a panel we have sitting up here.
Cristie, we'll start with you as our defending champion. Take us back to those four days last year here. You were just in a different gear. Tell us what you were going through last year
CRISTIE KERR: Yeah, it was a great week. I started off kind of rough actually, and going into the second day I was actually outside the cut line.
So I found something in my swing and got some confidence and started making a lot of birdies. Had a magical round on Saturday and followed that up with a solid round on Sunday. It was a great week for me.
THE MODERATOR: Then it opened up a great year for you. You won again later in the year in Malaysia. How do you feel coming into your title defense this week?
CRISTIE KERR: I feel pretty good. I'm working on some stuff in my game, mental game, and just looking forward to the week. It's always great to be in Hawaii.
THE MODERATOR: We'll come back over to this side to Anna. This is your first trip to Lotte since 2014. It's good to have you back. How does it feel to be back in Hawaii?
ANNA NORDQVIST: It feels good to be back in Hawaii. I haven't been here the last couple years. Not much has changed, but it's good to be back in Hawaii.
Looking forward to -- I love poke bowls, so that's what I eat every night. Yeah, it's a great golf course. Looking forward to the week.
THE MODERATOR: So Yeon, I'll move over to you. As you were saying, it's an absolute week in paradise. I've seen on your Instagram you have been spending some time off the golf course. How do you like to spend your time outside of golf here in Hawaii?
SO YEON RYU: I like to run outside so I always really enjoy my morning run. I see a lot of people doing yoga this morning; I saw a group of people like singing and playing music instruments. That's really fun to see.
Also I felt like a lot of kids coming out to see this tournament. Always fun to meet all the kids. The other thing is I guess it's called meat jun. I guess that's like Korean-Hawaiian food. Inbee is big fan of it, so she bought like a lot of meat jun on Sunday.
We always come to this tournament and look forward to having meat jun. Inbee and I am so happy right now.
THE MODERATOR: I'm enjoying it myself.
And Brooke, down to you. You finished 10th and 11th your two showings here, so you've played here very well. How does Ko Olina set up for your game and how does it look out there this week?
BROOKE HENDERSON: Yeah, well, you know, it's so beautiful here and it's such a fun atmosphere that I always really enjoy coming back here. I'm really excited to start this week.
As you mentioned, I've played really well here in the past, sp that gives me a lot of confidence going forward, teeing it up tomorrow.
It's a golf course where there are so many birdie opportunities, and it can be a lot of fun to play. I'm just going to try and hit the ball in good spots and make as many birdies as possible.
THE MODERATOR: Any questions?
Q. This is for Cristie. Last year you mentioned your second two days here. Was there anything you changed or learned in the second two days that you hope to carry into this tournament here?
CRISTIE KERR: Yeah, just to keep it simple. I found a swing key that just gave me a little different feel and just started hitting the ball really solidly.
So, you know, just try to stay present on every shot and just try to stay simple with the mechanics.
Q. Following up on her question, I think four top 10s here in six appearances. Is there something about the course that really fits your game?
CRISTIE KERR: I think growing up in Miami, in Florida, we play with a lot wind and a lot of grain on the greens. I'm very comfortable on these kind of condition.
So I draw on my experience and being able to read the greens and hit different shots in the wind, to be creative.
It's kind of the golf that I grew up playing.
Q. Cristie, last time around on the final day you were talk to the golf analysts and announcers about the poke bowls. Here in Hawaii we call that kama'aina, when you're local. When you come back here do you feel kind of kama'aina, like you are local?
CRISTIE KERR: I think more with the climate and the golf than being a local, but I always enjoy coming here. Having won in Hawaii now, maybe I definitely feel a little bit more like a local than I used to.
It's just a really relaxing week. Everybody has so many things they do off the golf course as well which we don't get to usually do. It's a very good environment for the tour to be in.
Q. What do you do?
CRISTIE KERR: Well, I cook a lot, which I usually do. Working out a lot, going to swim with the turtles or whatever it may be.
CRISTIE KERR: Drink wine. (Laughter.) No shock to anybody. Go pick up shells on the beach for my son to take home. We could go boating. I've been boating here and swam with the dolphins before, so that's pretty cool.
THE MODERATOR: I can ask that same question of the whole panel here. So you have your time on the golf course. We all know about your time on the golf course. Anna, we'll start with you and work our way down. If you could do any one thing while you're here, what would you like to do?
ANNA NORDQVIST: Well, my caddie loves Hawaii and we haven't played here the last few years. Actually both uncles live here, and his one uncle has a restaurant here on the North Shore. I am really looking forward to going there tomorrow afternoon and having a great dinner.
That's what I'm really looking forward to.
THE MODERATOR: Do you know the name of the restaurant we could send us all to? I'll catch up with you later.
ANNA NORDQVIST: Yeah.
THE MODERATOR: All right. We'll ask the same question of So Yeon and Brooke and then come back out here.
SO YEON RYU: Um, I would say maybe just reading a book at the beach, lay down at the beach and have a lot of chat with my friends. I think that's kind of ideal day for me in Hawaii.
THE MODERATOR: A little relaxation?
SO YEON RYU: Yep.
THE MODERATOR: Brooke?
BROOKE HENDERSON: Yeah, you know, the beach is so amazing. Just so beautiful views, and for few years after the tournament is over we go over and swim. It's always a lot of fun. Kind of relaxing. Kind of takes some of the stress out from the week. Just kind of feel rejuvenated and ready to go again, which I think is pretty cool.
You know, the last -- I guess yesterday and the day before that we tried to go and see some sea turtles. Unfortunately they weren't there. They didn't want to see us. Hopefully at some point during the week we'll be able to see them. I think that will be a really amazing experience.
Q. I understand there have been a couple changes to the course, new bunkers and stuff like that. Has it changed the way you approach the course at all?
BROOKE HENDERSON: Yeah, some of the bunkers are pretty fun, like the Mickey on No. 10. I really like that one. But I think the course almost maybe is a little bit easier with some of the bunkers removed.
Some of the bunkers on the back nine seem to have a lot more sand in them than maybe the front nine. I think they're all good changes. I think it takes maybe a little bit easier like I said on some of holes, like 12, just the par-3. There is no bunker at the back anymore. Kind of opens it up a little bit.
Other than that, I think you just have to adjust to it and see what happens.
CRISTIE KERR: I didn't really notice. I thought the course looked pretty much the same. Some greens are a little bit smaller in some places. There are not drastic changes.
I guess that's more for my caddie to kind of figure out than me. I'm focused on the shot I'm hitting where I'm trying to hit it. Course looks good, like it always does. It was very wet on Monday -- not Monday, Sunday. We're all messed up with the tournament starting on Wednesday.
It's dried out considerably.
SO YEON RYU: Yeah, I don't really have anything else to say. Like she said, it's nothing really big different. It's a little different, but I don't think it's really going to big affect to our game.
As Cristie said, it's all on your caddie's job. All we need to do is focus on what kind of shot we're going to make, how we're going to make a putt.
THE MODERATOR: I believe we have some questions in the back from our junior reporter.
Q. When you play big tournaments like the Lotte Championship, do you schedule any fun activities outside of golf, or is it all business? What do you recommend for junior golfers like myself that travel to tournaments?
ANNA NORDQVIST: Yeah, a lot of the times we are practicing and playing during the day so there is not much time off. I think during weeks like this when there is a lot of things to do off the course I think you make time to go to the beach or go to some special restaurant.
But I think if I were a junior, I would love to come out and watch a big tournament. When I grew up I went to watch tournaments in Sweden where I grew up. I saw a lot of players, Laura Davies, players that I ended up playing with on tour eventually. That was very inspiring for me, just to go watch professionals compete.
CRISTIE KERR: I'm busy selling wine off the course. (Laughing.) Meeting with the Four Seasons. We're going into Honolulu. Doing all that.
THE MODERATOR: Multitasking for you this week.
CRISTIE KERR: Yeah.
THE MODERATOR: Any other questions for our panelists?
Q. One more for Cristie. As I understand, tomorrow you're playing with Michelle and So Hyun Kim. Naturally Michelle is going to have a pretty good following being in Hawaii. Does that become distracting at all or is it fun to have that energy?
CRISTIE KERR: No, I think it's definitely fun energy. Michelle and I are good friends and Solheim Cup partners, and it only becomes distracting when they decide to snap their cameras on our back swings.
Besides that, having fans and a crowd is really good for us and for women's golf. It's great to be able to have players, not only like Michelle, but all of us out here to be able to draw the crowds to the tournaments.
Fastscripts by ASAP Sports...
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports