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February 27, 2019

So Yeon Ryu

Republic of Singapore

KRISTEN YOON: Welcome to the HSBC Women's World Championship here at Sentosa Golf Club. I'm here with So Yeon Ryu, world No. 4. You've had multiple wins on the LPGA, and you made your season debut last week in Thailand.

Can you tell us a little bit about how your game is shaping up for 2019?

SO YEON RYU: You know, like to be honest, I prepared for the tournament really hard. I always bring as hard as I can, but before I started the tournament in Thailand, I could feel my game is really not quite there, so I felt it, but you know, I did my best.

Good news is I think just throughout the tournament, my game was -- got better and better, and I feel much better than last week in Thailand, and then like, you know, when you -- when you feel like you're not 100 per cent ready, you know, it's quite anxious. But at the same time, that means not -- you have no chance to win the tournament.

I'm still going to do my best and hopefully my game going to be better and better all the time and by Sunday I'm good enough to hold the trophy.

KRISTEN YOON: This is your seventh appearance in Singapore and you've had top five finishes, three of them here. How would you describe the golf course and how does it suit your game?

SO YEON RYU: So I think first year, I played a different golf course, and then the other year, also I played a different golf course, the Serapong Golf Course, but right now we play this New Tanjong Golf course and it's quite a bit different.

Every time I come to Singapore, I really enjoy it. Like I enjoy every single thing in Singapore, and special thank you to HSBC. I always feel as they are treating us as the world's best player for sure. The hospitality and everything is great.

This one is definitely one of my favourite, and then I hope one day I can be the champion of this tournament.

THE MODERATOR: Last season, you talked a little about working on your mental strategy, working with mental coaches and even going on roller coasters to overcome fear.

How much of that did you work on in the off-season, and are you continuing to work on that?

SO YEON RYU: Well, actually, I worked a little different things in the off-season, because like, you know, to be honest, I felt like I was sort of burnt outlast season, so I really, look back and then what can I do better to enjoy this game. Because when you feel you're burned out, it's really hard to enjoy this game. So I was thinking, maybe I'm going to cut down a little bit of tournaments, so I'm going to play a little less.

But I had a quite long break and then I could feel like, you know what, I could not wait to just get back to on the road and I could not wait to compete, and then I realise myself, you know, I love it. I really love this game.

So I think I sort it out really well. But like I said, I feel like my game isn't quite there yet, but at the same time, I keep talking myself, this is a marathon. The first three tournaments is not everything, so I just try to see the big picture instead of just like seeing every single thing in front of you.

Q. Can you tell us if the course is playing any different from last year?
SO YEON RYU: You mean last year, different?

Q. Is the course different this year?
SO YEON RYU: Golf course? I played on Monday, and I thought green a bit slow, but right now the green is really firm and fast.

So, I think, they just rolling the green quite a lot, so right now, especially this morning was quite breezy. So it was really tough condition to make your ball close to the pin.

So I don't know how they going to handle the golf course until tomorrow but if the conditions like that for the next four days, I don't think we can see a lot of birdies.

Q. They call this "Asia's Major." Does it feel like a major championship for the players when you come here?
SO YEON RYU: Yeah, like especially how they -- how this tournament treating us just definitely make us feel like it's a major.

And then so 2017 was our first year to play the New Tanjong Golf Course, and to be honest the first year was not really in great shape because the golf course was so new.

But I can feel the Sentosa Golf Club has put so much effort to make their golf course get better and better all the time. I think if they grow the rough really, really long, it could be like championship golf course, as well.

So I agree with your question.

Q. You said coming into the beginning of the year, your game was not ready fully. Can you explain a little bit what that means? Does that mean that you are not precise enough? Can you just explain that a little bit?
SO YEON RYU: Actually, I'm really happy with my short game right now. I feel like my short game has been upgraded, so I cannot wait to just show more skills I have, and talking about the off game, I was in Dallas in the off-season and Dallas was quite cold.

Then when you practise with the really cold weather, you have a really good chance to kind of lost the feeling because you cannot -- well, at least like my case, I always try to feel like every single muscle, like when I'm swinging, I really loved to focus on how my muscle's moving, what's the order to use the muscle, but I couldn't really feel it because it was so cold.

So I think because of that, my timing is a little off. So I'm really working on to make my timing's getting better and better, and then like I said, compared to Thursday in Thailand, like Sunday was much better than Thursday. So I'm expecting to have a better timing all the time.

Q. When you had that time off in the cold weather, a few things have changed in the game of golf, all the rules. Have you sat down and studied all the different rules now or do you not worry too much about that?
SO YEON RYU: First of all, thankfully LPGA sent us new rule, like I think every two days or three days. So I think we are quite well educated. And then PGA and European Tour actually started a little earlier than us, so I was able to watch them.

And you know, it's still weird to just dropping the ball at knee-high and it's still hard to figure out myself where exactly my knee-high is.

But I hope all changes protect the players instead of against the players, and I guess, you know, new thing is always having some sort of like problem. Then hopefully maybe after four years, when it's time to change another rule, they can figure it out something better and better.

One of the thing I realise was they change the rule because -- a lot of the rules they change because they want us to play a little faster, and hopefully that will help.

And then I guess fast play hopefully going to help our tour out, I believe, because I feel like a lot of the time, there's trouble with all the like TV time. And then without TV, we cannot really have these kind of great tournaments.

So hopefully it will help to -- everyone.

Q. You've had some good finishes here, Top-10 finishes. Do you approach every tournament much the same way or do you really identify a few key tournaments that you know you can really do well at, and is this tournament one of those?
SO YEON RYU: Well, actually, I was -- I think I'm quite well known as playing very consistent. That one actually gave me a lot of pressure. I didn't realise it until last year, and then I realized, I think because people expect me to play really consistent all the time, which means like finish Top-10 all the time.

So that one just gave me extra pressure and then when I couldn't finish Top-10, even though I finish like tied for 11th or 12th, I just give myself a really, really hard time. So that's the one I learned last year.

So since I learned that, I really try to focus on my performance instead of the result, and that one make me enjoy the game a little more. So I think that's one of the biggest learning I've learned last year, so hopefully I can have this like positive mind all the way through my career.

KRISTEN YOON: You won the William and Mousie Powell Award last season, which is a testament to how much you've adapted on the Tour, playing on the Tour and being a representative of the values of the Tour.

What advice do you give to rookies after making their debuts out on Tour? We have two new rookies from Korea, Jeongeun Lee6 and Youngin Chun. What is the type of advice that you would share with them?

SO YEON RYU: First of all, it was extremely honoured to have that award for sure, and the other thing is I actually said that in the speech last time, as well.

Like it's quite embarrassing to say that but when I first joined the LPGA Tour, I felt like because everyone treating me as like a queen I thought because I was a great golfer, and that was a not true. I think it was way more the respect of the players.

I learned a lot through all of my career on the LPGA, and then I met a lot of the players, a lot of the sponsors, a lot of like the people on LPGA and I learn a lot about how -- how are we able to having like these kind of great tournaments and then I really realise, okay, you know, without fans, we cannot be here. Without sponsor, we cannot be here. Without LPGA, we cannot be here. Without like TV supporting, we cannot be here.

So I was like, I've got to do something for give it back to them. I think I always try -- well, maybe I cannot say everything to everyone, everything, but I always try to help them out a little bit, like as much as I can, and then probably that's one of the reason why I was able to get that award.

So I just want them to know, like without other people's help, we cannot be here and then just be thankful for them and then just like LPGA, act like the Founders and then that will give like next generation a better opportunity, and that's how we make women's golf stronger and stronger.

And I believe those two Korean girls really sweet. It's not only those two; I would say most of the LPGA girls, I would say every LPGA girl is having a really big heart and sweet heart. I hope everybody going to put a really good effort to make our game even stronger.

KRISTEN YOON: Can you share with us your goals for this week, and more long-term, your goals for the season.

SO YEON RYU: Well, 2020 is a year we are going to play Olympic, and then unfortunately I couldn't play them in 2016 Rio Olympic.

So to playing, to become 2020 Olympic Korean Team going to be really tough, but if I'm playing really well in 2019, I can put myself at the really good position, so that could be -- even though it's not really this year; it could be really long term, and then for this week, like I said, hopefully I can have a better timing all the time, and if I am great enough, for sure I want to win this tournament.

Q. Can you tell me about the 16th, the par 5? How do you play? What do you think in your mind?
SO YEON RYU: 16, well, actually, they have a new bunker this year, but I don't think that's going to change our game plan much because anyway, I think it's a little further up than our lay-up position.

And then, I think because right now, I'm not really hitting like long as I used to like last year, so I don't think I can get home for two. So it's three shots, par-5 hole.

So nothing really special. Like just hitting driver, lay-up position. I can just put myself a good opportunity to make a birdie and third shot and then try one putt to make a birdie.

KRISTEN YOON: I think that concludes it. Thank you so much, So Yeon, and good luck this week.

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