July 30, 2020
Toledo, Ohio, USA
THE MODERATOR: All right, everyone. Welcome back inside the virtual media center here at the LPGA Drive On Championship.
I know we have some requests for questions and we will get to that as we finish up here, but if you do have a question, just a reminder to make sure that you put it in the group chat function so we can up it up when the time comes.
But I am happy now to be joined by Rolex Rankings No.4 and major champion, Danielle Kang.
Danielle, how exciting is it to now be at an LPGA Tour event?
DANIELLE KANG: I actually feel like I never left. Coming back into my routine just as usual, playing the practice rounds. I did make a joke at our rules and Stacy Collins that first week back playing at Inverness Club is a -- you know, it's challenging.
Doing a lot of practicing right now.
THE MODERATOR: I know we just had Angela in here and she said the same exact thing, that this is going to be a challenge of a golf course. For the past couple months I know we've had some time off. What have you been doing with this quarantine?
DANIELLE KANG: I've told everybody else before, but I actually have been playing a lot of golf. I've had a lot of time off, and this is the only time I could have capitalized on working on things, making little glitches in my golf game better, and I believe I took some advantage of that.
Luckily enough my coach Butch Harmon, had his time off as well for months, so spent a lot time with him at his school and just been playing a lot. Working out with more time to work with, which has been easy.
THE MODERATOR: I know you have been up to some other things outside of golf, some social media campaigns to kind of help your community. What was that like to take the initiative and support your local community?
DANIELLE KANG: So I did that for Three Square Food Bank. I personally volunteer with them and I packaged meals for kids and stuff. Not for golf or anything. You sign up and you can go in a volunteer.
But I realized that people would have a lot kids. They get two meals a day out of elementary schools or middle schools and high schools, and the schools being shut down I didn't know where they would get their meals and I felt it would be a bit more difficult.
So Maverick and I were quarantining and we were just thinking we could make a little bit of a difference. It was a lot have fun. We asked to donate $1 per person, and we raised over $3000. So $1 equals three meals; that's 9000 meals we made, so we were really happy.
Three Square Food Bank is the only food bank in southern Nevada, so they were really happy to partner up.
THE MODERATOR: That's awesome. Congratulations on that. As we kind of turn it back to golf here, when did it start to feel some real that an LPGA event was around the corner? There is definitely some differences this week than maybe in the past couple years since you've been on tour. What has it been like kind of adjusting your style at a tournament to for the new protocols?
DANIELLE KANG: It's actually been quite easy of a switch. LPGA has done an amazing job to make everything very, very smooth and efficient. I just drive in just like I normally do. We do temperature checks. I wasn't allowed in the clubhouse until today and I didn't have my lanyard and you have to you cleared to be able to be in public areas, and I finally got cleared. Which is, yay. I took the test a little late.
And positively enough that we have our practice rounds tee sheets. We sign up for them and then you keep your tee times and you play, and everything has been really, really smooth. Nothing to complain about. Hotel is not too far away. Yeah.
THE MODERATOR: How long do you think you've been back in the competitive mindset getting ready for the past couple weeks?
DANIELLE KANG: I think I've been in that mindset since we stopped, to be honest. I never stopped competing. I always play with my brothers and my friends. I love to play, so some things I've missed about not be out here is the competition.
I'm really excited to be able to play against the best women's golfers around the world. That's something that I've really looked forward to. Glad to be back.
THE MODERATOR: And I know this is very unique opportunity here at Inverness because it is the host of the 2021 Solheim Cup. I'm assuming it is in your goals to make it next year to the Solheim Cup U.S. team like you did in 2019.
DANIELLE KANG: Uh-huh.
THE MODERATOR: Is it a little different knowing there is an assistant captain here who might be able to see you play on the potential course?
DANIELLE KANG: Well, we were actually thinking about that yesterday. Lizette and I played a couple holes together.
I don't know how the golf course is going to play nest year, but it's definitely one of my goals to play in 2021 Solheim Cup. International Crown got moved to 2021 as well, along with the Olympics, so it's going to be a really busy year next year.
Like I always say, good golf takes care of everything. One round at a time. I'm more worried about the first round at Inverness.
THE MODERATOR: Definitely. Understandable. With that, we will open it up to some questions.
Q. Talking to people about the emotions of this week, been excited, anxious, nervous, a little surprised by some of the changes. If you were to describe your list of emotions that you've gone through so far, what would they be and why?
DANIELLE KANG: At the tournament site?
DANIELLE KANG: I've been a bit more intense than normal. I think I haven't been feeling that intensity in a while being able to play the way I normally do. The practice rounds, need to get my wedge numbers down. Need to acclimate to the weather. It's different than Las Vegas. The balls, golf balls are flying different numbers.
So getting that dialed in I'm a bit more intense, uptight about it just because I haven't done it in a while.
Other than that, I'm pretty okay. I think I'm settling back into my routine quite nicely playing in the afternoon tee times, what I normally do, and sleeping and ask working out and getting feels of greens and grass and all that.
Q. And we learned this week that you aren't required to have caddies, and some players didn't bring theirs. Is that something you considered or would consider in the future?
DANIELLE KANG: I actually didn't consider that, and I know why we made that kind of rules. It's completely understandable. I know there are positive and negative factors on both ends. But I didn't think twice about it because I was -- I was actually quite blessed not to have to worry about those things. My caddie was able to fly into Las Vegas and quarantine for two weeks there. Got him an early test kit and he tested negative, so we were able to practice.
So things like that I feel having him is a bit of advantage for me. I really truly take his advice and his course knowledges to another level of making my overall game results better. For those that can't or not being able to bring a caddie out, I think it's just -- that's what we have to work wit, and I hope that sooner or later everyone will be able to do what they really want to do, so...
Q. In this new world, what's the toughest thing for you? What are the new habits that are toughest on you? What's it like?
DANIELLE KANG: In this new world I think not knowing if you can hug them or not or saying hi just in general with people, your friends. That's something that is socially awkward a little bit. You go, hi. I see couple of my best friends and you just want to give them a huge hug, but you kind of step back and you just kind of wave. That's been the most adjusting, just kind of social a little.
Not eating at restaurants, you know, Uber Eats, Door Dash, they've been great.
Q. And then just the other thing, I'm sure all of you are extra cautious amid this pandemic, but with the news the first day that Gabby tested positive, does that heighten the caution amongst you?
DANIELLE KANG: I would think so a little bit. More so the fact that I don't want to spread it to anybody. At the time that I heard the news I wasn't confirmed yet, so I stayed away from people. It's more so getting from someone is less cautious than me spreading it. My caddie and I are really, really cautious being in public spaces and staying far enough on range and on the driving range and putting greens and things like that.
Q. I wanted to ask you first of all what you think of this course as a match play course, and what you think is the most difficult characteristic about it. Did you catch that?
THE MODERATOR: You broke out a little bit.
Q. What do you think of Inverness as a match play venue, and a what do you think is the most difficult characteristic about it?
DANIELLE KANG: Inverness Club so far I've noticed as a match play or stroke play is a very difficult track. I think it's match play venue it'll be very interesting to see if there are a lot of holes going back and forth, and that will make the tournament very exciting.
The firmness of the greens will and the firmness of the fairways are going to decide whether the ball gets to be two yards far into the rough and up and down is going to be difficult to make. So things like that I think there will be a lot of pars and bogeys and birdies going back and forth, which will be exciting. A lot of up and downs.
As a stroke play venue I feel that the more that we play there will be more mistakes, the higher the scores will be. So minding that this is a three-day event, I hope we take that into consideration. This golf course is really difficult. So if there are some low scores, that means they played very, very well.
One of the biggest defenses that this golf course has is you have to be a great ball-striker off the tee and into the second shots. Even if somehow you have a great shot, it'll roll just over the green or just off. That chip is not an easy chip. If you're a foot off the green, solid eight-foot par putt might be strongly in play.
I think it'll be a lot saving shots and being very meticulous about what you want to do on the golf course. It's going to decipher the field.
Q. And then given that you've been practicing and working on your game this whole time, was it hard for you to get up for a tournament and then have the dates moved, keep moving, kind of mentally and emotionally? And obviously Maverick, the PGA TOUR has been back for a while now. Have you been jealous?
DANIELLE KANG: Not necessarily. I did see that the PGA TOUR was playing earlier but I really liked our commissioner, Mike Whan's decision on this is not a sprint, it's a marathon. So I really respect that.
I wasn't that bummed out about it. More than anything I really liked my time at home. It was a very cruising routine that I was in: wake up, eat breakfast, play golf. Play 9 or 18 in the afternoon; work out. It was just like a nice routine that I had without any stress of cramming preparation in.
So any time it was going to start I was going to be prepared for it. So any time that date was going to be brought up I considered the decision. When the boys went out to play, I just that's it. I mean, there was golf watch so that was exciting. Golf Channel was on when I was working out.
No, I don't think I try to compare here and there. I'm really glad that we got to come out this week. Everything happens at good times for good reasons. It's been a very smooth week, so fingers crossed.
Q. Question, it won't be long until, boom, you're in your first major. Does that also sort of ratchet up the intensity for you, knowing that you only have a few events to try to win another major?
DANIELLE KANG: We fortunately still have three majors in play, right? One, two, three -- four majors in play. See. I always go, we never know what's going to happen.
That's been my mindset.
Q. That's right.
DANIELLE KANG: But we have four solid majors in play. Not really. I think we're just cramming a lot events in at the moment. We're making the best of it. I'm glad that we have a full August, September, November, December to play.
Very excited to see what tournaments are going to keep working, and I'm really happy that we're in Ohio. We got to keep Marathon Classic this next coming up week, and brand new event at Inverness. When the first major comes, that will be ANA.
THE MODERATOR: Women's Open.
DANIELLE KANG: First major?
THE MODERATOR: Yes, in Scotland.
DANIELLE KANG: See. What am I saying? We're taking a charter. Yes, the British Open, the women's AIG Women's British Open. We'll be heading out. That will be a complete different golf because we're over there. Links golf and all that, and I'm always excited to play that. I need to improve in links golf.
Like I said, I take it week by week though. That's why I don't know things and timelines by memorization. I don't think I just look at it as a major tournament or open tournament. Yeah, just really excited to play this week and next week, and hopefully everything goes smoothly and we'll be over in Scotland.
Q. Just another one. All that time off amid the pandemic, were you able to do something that you hadn't ever been able to do, or did you develop a new hobby or just come to a new understanding about something? Was there anything particularly beneficial about having all this time off?
DANIELLE KANG: I think it was good for me as just mentally to be honest. Mentally and just me as a nongolfer. I really love -- I'm kind of a homebody. Love being at home. I like walking my dog, so I walked my dog a lot. I walked my dog to Einstein's. It's about a two, three mile walk. Did that quite a bit.
No, I had time to paint, which was really nice. I don't do that very often because I can't travel with all that stuff. I went to a lot hikings and went to Zion National Park, Red Rock, Mount Charleston. It's been a good off time, but I'm glad to be back. Like I said, I love the competition and I can't wait to play.
Q. And I have to follow that up. What do you like to paint and how good are you?
DANIELLE KANG: I don't know. I can paint everything that's not a portrait. I don't know. I think I'm okay. People seem to like it.
THE MODERATOR: As we wrap up here, I just have a question. ProMedica has partnered this week, but also in 2021. They have a huge focus on making sure everyone has equal access to healthy opportunities. You work a lot with UNICEF; you mentioned the Las Vegas Food Bank. Why are these kind of issues or causes so important to someone like you?
DANIELLE KANG: All these causes are who I am. Golf is just one gateway that's helping me, giving me a platform to be able to make a difference.
I loved the motto that we used to have saying leave the tour better than we found it. My parents used to tell me you're a person before anything else, and you have to be a kind person.
And if you can make a difference in one person's life you've done a great job and that's a great life you lived. So in any ways I can help of make a difference of giving equality of healthcare and nutrition and things like that, if there is anything I can do, I always try and help.
I love that they were able to partner up and giving us equal Medicare and all that. It's people -- some people don't realize how hard that is for them to do, so really appreciate the lengthy measurers that they went through to make this opportunity for all of us.
Yeah, just try and use the platform of golf, and I'm thankful for that in order to help me make a difference. And I'll keep doing it.
THE MODERATOR: Wonderful. Well, we thank you all for joining us today, and thank you Danielle, for joining us as well.
DANIELLE KANG: Cool. Thank you.
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