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April 16, 2019

Michelle Wie West

Kapolei, Oahu, Hawaii

THE MODERATOR: Good afternoon everyone, welcome to the media center here at the 2019 Lotte Championship at Ko Olina Golf Club. I am so excited to be here with the 2014 champion and Hawaiian native, Michelle Wie. Aloha, Michelle.

This must be so exciting for you to have a stop here at home, playing in front of home crowds. How excited are you to be playing this week?

MICHELLE WIE: Yeah, by far my favorite stop of the year. It allows me to come back home and have a nice break. So I was here last week, so it's really nice to be home.

THE MODERATOR: This is your eighth start at the Lotte Championship. How do you feel that your game is shaping up and how are you feeling?

MICHELLE WIE: You know, it's the event that I always look forward to. I think this is my third tournament of the year, so obviously it's still coming back slowly, and every day getting stronger, more confident.

So hopefully my game will be in good shape this week. Excited to be back at a golf course where I know it so well, so that feels good to me.

THE MODERATOR: Surrounded by the Aloha spirit, being here in Hawaii, how do you think that has shaped you as an athlete in your career as a golfer?

MICHELLE WIE: I think growing up on the island definitely shaped who I am as a person. It's amazing. Being here, growing up in this environment, everything about that. It's just a deep-rooted value that's kind of instilled in me since the day you were born.

I feel very lucky to be from Oahu, Hawaii, so hopefully I can make the state proud. I'm very proud to be from Hawaii, so every day I try to live out those values. Even when I'm on the mainland I try to bring the Aloha Spirit everywhere I go.

THE MODERATOR: Open up for questions.

Q. How is the hand and how are you physically?
MICHELLE WIE: Yeah, I feel good. I feel -- I'm not going to say I'm healthy because I don't want to jinx anything, but I feel good; very fresh. I haven't been playing so I'm just very, very excited to be back.

Q. Just kind of going off that, when your hand starts to act, is there a part of your game that suffers first?
MICHELLE WIE: I wouldn't say part of my game that suffers first. I think it always depends on the type of injury and whatnot.

But I think a lot of it is the feel, the feel for the game. I think you only get that through time and playing rounds over and over again. But the fundamentals come back. It's the little touchy and feely shots, like the shots behind the tree and shots you don't really practice on the range and can only get through competitive rounds.

Q. (Regarding the greens.)
MICHELLE WIE: Definitely in very good shape. They're grainy. Got the ocean breeze. A lot of factors, wind factors. They're rolling pretty pure right now.

Q. Is that a mock turtle neck? (Indiscernible.)
MICHELLE WIE: I know. I did wear it today. I was like, maybe this will bring me some good ju-ju. Definitely felt inspired after the win. I don't know, luck might be here all week. We'll see, I'm feeling it. (Laughter.)

Q. (Regarding Tiger. )
MICHELLE WIE: Oh, yeah. I mean, I felt so inspired, so motivated yesterday just knowing how much he went through and is kind of going through what I'm going through. It's very inspiring. A lot of times when you're going through injuries you just don't know if you'll ever hit a golf ball again and play without pain.

There is a lot of doubt sometimes. Watching him play, overcome injuries that just seemed so bad, with everything personal, whatever, it was so amazing to see. I just felt the emotion. After he had won he lifted his hands up in the air and I felt it.

I just knew from a very personal basis based on everything I'm going through, and I just felt it. I felt everything that he ever overcame. Gave me hope and a lot of motivation and inspiration. It just shows what happen when you just never give up. He was just so -- just never gave up when people gave him doubt and whatnot. It was amazing to see.

Q. Just what has this last 12 months been like for you? Obviously rocking a very beautiful engagement ring; got engaged. Now just to be back playing in the Lotte this week, what does that mean to you and what has this last 12 months been like for you?
MICHELLE WIE: It's been pretty hectic. Obviously battling injuries and whatnot it's been very tough professionally, but also I think it gave me time to be away from the game for a little bit. It's hard being on the road for ten and a half months.

It just allowed me to be home for a little bit and lead a slightly more normal life, which was good. Yeah, just kind of where I am last year and where I am now, it's fun to be back home and see all the changes that's happened. I think coming back home every year twice a year is always so, so nice.

Q. (Regarding Oahu to Japan. ) Some memories about coming to Japan in general? Talk about the green play or your experience. What do you remember?
MICHELLE WIE: Yeah, I remember a lot of things. Just going Japan is always so good. I love Japanese food, so eating just authentic Japanese food in Japan is a truly amazing experience.

I think golf-wise as well I think the courses are very tricky there. A lot of undulation and very narrow. It's definitely a different type of golf course, but I always look forward to it. I played couple years -- I mean last year in Soto as well.

Always great to be back in Japan.

Q. I'm a big fan of Georgia Hall. (Indiscernible.) Would you have some advice for her about going to Japan, off the green but also on the green?
MICHELLE WIE: You know, she's a very, very established player, so she's not -- you always forget how young she is. She carries herself so well. I would say just enjoy it.

How old is she? 21? As a 21 year old being able to go to places like Japan, just experience all the culture; try everything. Who else gets a chance like that?

So just be very grateful to be there. She's a great player so on the golf course. I think she has it all figured out.

Q. (Indiscernible.)
MICHELLE WIE: She's a great player. She'll figure it out.

THE MODERATOR: I know a lot people also look forward to the Wie Love Ping-Pong tournament. Tell us how it started and what it means to you.

MICHELLE WIE: Yeah, it means a lot to me. We've had this event the last couple years. It's been very successful. The reason why I started getting involved in Hawaii State Junior Golf Association, because if it wasn't for that then I wouldn't be here where I am right now.

Just because of the support of HSJGA that I am where I am. Especially growing up on an island, we are very far removed from the mainland. It takes a lot of resources to get to the mainland for school and whatnot, so this event kind of creates a scholarship fund for college.

I definitely plan to keep the Tournament of Champions going as well. Anything I can do to help with junior golfers in Hawaii. I think we have to kind of stick together. We don't have as many resources as people do on the mainland, so anything I can do to help.

I'm so forever grateful for anyone involved with the event. I just hope players have fun. When we originally thought of the event we thought of a normal Pro-Am. We play in so many golf Pro-Ams that I wanted to do something different, something fun.

Okay, we played ping-pong. I was like, Oh, this would be so much fun is as a partner game. It's faster, it's funner. All the players I've played -- I've seen some really good ping-pong players and some awful ping-pong players, and players that are like, Oh, I don't think I can play. I'm not very good.

I'm like, It's fun, it's fine, it's for the kids. A lot of good food over there, too. So it's a fun night.

Q. (Indiscernible.)
MICHELLE WIE: I honestly was just so happy to be upright. I just was a little bit sick the week before. Since I pulled out from Singapore, I only touched a golf club maybe twice, maybe once or twice.

So I was just really happy that I gave myself a chance. I felt healthy after the two days. I went out there and I felt like I could play 36 more, and that was the most exciting thing for me, something I can build upon.

So all in all, it was disappointing, but there was a lot of positives as well, too, with my game and with my health. So I'm just trying to build upon the positives and trying to build upon what I kind of started with.

Q. What do you think about the state of Hawaii professional golf, especially the females?
MICHELLE WIE: Yeah, I think that I would love to see more of us on tour. Right now I think it's just me and Stephanie. It's actually fun because we grew up here together and live like five minutes from each other in Florida now, so it's been fun.

I think it's good. I think every time I go to an HSJGA tournament there is a lot of talent and most of the kids are going to Division I schools. Just got to wait a little bit and nurture these kids and try to give them the tools to succeed.

Hopefully the next couple years there will be a lot more professionals out on tour.

Q. (Indiscernible.)
MICHELLE WIE: It's hard. It's hard to be patient. I thought I would be 100% by now, like running in circles and being able to play 180 holes in one day kind of thing. Life doesn't happen that way. There is always little bumps here and there.

Just being patient, I guess. Just being forgiving with my body. It's just hard. My mind is there. I feel antsy, like a horse ready to go, but you just got to be patient and listen to your body. Just take it slowly day by day.

Q. (Indiscernible.)
MICHELLE WIE: Yeah, for sure. I'm just grateful to be here. There is definitely a point where I didn't think I was going to be able to play this week, and this is one tournament I never want to miss. I love playing in front of the home crowd, in front of my friends, in front of familiar faces that have seen me play all throughout the years.

So this is a very special tournament to me, especially coming back as a past champion. That has a very special ring to it as well. Yeah, it's a tournament that I look forward to all year. The fact that I'm here and I can play, I'm very excited.

Q. What are you looking forward to the most this week?
MICHELLE WIE: The food. I have like a list of things I hope want to eat. Yeah, just trying to eat all the food I can before I leave.

Q. Any one particular item you care to share?
MICHELLE WIE: (Indiscernible) every day. All the good stuff.

Q. (Indiscernible.)
MICHELLE WIE: Yeah, felt amazing. I just feel like there is not enough female representation in the sport, especially being a minority female. I think that adds a whole 'nother element to it. When Golf Magazine came to me and asked me to be on the cover I felt very, very honored. More so I think it's so great to have more females on covers of sports magazines, especially in such a male-dominated sport.

I was honored and grateful that they gave me the opportunity to be on the cover. It was a lot of the fun to shoot. Yeah, they've been great supporters, so it's been really fun to see. My friends have been like shifting around the magazine, so it's like all my magazine. It's really fun to get those pictures.

Just really amazing to hear from my younger female fans being like, It's so nice to see other females, and hopefully not just me, but more magazines will put more of us females on the covers.

So I'm excited for that to happen.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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