September 9, 2020
Rancho Mirage, California, USA
Mission Hills Country Club
THE MODERATOR: Welcome to the virtual media center here at the ANA Inspiration in Rancho Mirage, California. I'm pleased to introduce the 2018 ANA Inspiration major champion, Pernilla Lindberg. Thank you so much for joining us today.
PERNILLA LINDBERG: Thanks for having me in here.
THE MODERATOR: I'd like to start by looking back at your memorable win in 2018, a sudden death playoff between you, Inbee Park and Jennifer Song. She bowed out with par on the third hole, and then you and Inbee carried over into Monday. You made birdie on the eighth extra hole to win. So much history just in those couple days, let alone the entire weekend. How often do you relive that week and what has it meant to you both on and off the course?
PERNILLA LINDBERG: I probably think back to that week at some point each and every day. I mean, if it's just some little small moment, but it's probably that often.
And then obviously coming back here, I feel like I can relive especially the last full round, like Sunday plus Monday. Every shot out there, like when I'm playing the practice rounds now, I can kind of, yeah, I hit that shot from here to there, that's the putt that I made. So that's really cool with coming back.
But what it's meant to be able to call myself a major winner, to feel that I belong at the top, that I've left a mark in the history books, all that is just -- it makes my golf career, no matter what I do for the rest of my career, that's something I'm going to be able to look back at, and then outside of that, outside of golf, not a whole lot has changed. Probably a few more people that recognize my name, but besides that, I'm still the same person.
THE MODERATOR: Well, there's so much history at Mission Hills Country Club, and I remember just like you said a moment ago, I remember reading a New York Times article where you quoted something very similar and you said, "I remember writing some goals when I got to high school. The dream scenario would be to obviously win a major championship and leave a mark in history." You did just that, to say the very least, adding your name to the allure of this major. When you come back here and you drive down the Boulevard, what are some emotions that are stirred up and what is the feeling of returning to such a special place for yourself?
PERNILLA LINDBERG: I just feel very warmly welcomed back every time I come here. Even the members kind of around, they all remember those days I feel like. I really had them supporting me and carrying me that last day and into Monday. That's really special.
And then yeah, you know, when I wrote those words when I was 15 years old, that was kind of, okay, what's the biggest thing that I can think of, what would the dream scenario be, and that's exactly what happened that week. I kind of have to remind myself of how big that actually is because in this game it's not that often you're at the top, and the highs are high but the lows can be really low, too, so it's really good to remind myself of those highs when I've had some not so good times after.
THE MODERATOR: When you go into a tournament these days and you look back on what you accomplished in 2018 here, going into that Monday, what were the nerves like the night before compared to maybe going into the first round tomorrow?
PERNILLA LINDBERG: Yeah, it's funny, I had some kind of calm to myself that week that it's hard to just reproduce. I mean, I wish I could feel that way each and every week, but it was just something that I had that week, and I can't put my finger on why I had it or how it came about.
You know, I felt probably kind of the same nerves going into that first round as I do most other first rounds, and then I was leading wire to wire, so I actually got used to sleeping on the lead. So by the time it was time to sleep on the lead going into Sunday, I actually felt way more comfortable than I would have ever expected, and same thing going into Monday, because at that point I just -- I had really good kind of self-talk with myself the whole week, and I said, okay, I've done all the hard work to get myself into this playoff, just go out and enjoy it and keep doing what I've been doing, and that's exactly what I did.
I would say after that week that's almost something I've struggled a little bit with because it's easy to raise the expectations on yourself, and I haven't probably been able to handle that and felt the calm in the same way again. But that's something that this break that we got this year, which obviously was not what anyone wanted, but for me I choose to look at it as a really good break because I finally had time to reflect on things and I think come back in a better -- in every state, but mentally, and be ready to take on all these challenges again.
THE MODERATOR: 2020 has been a challenging year but good in some regards.
PERNILLA LINDBERG: Yeah, absolutely, and I've told some other people, too, this is my 11th year on Tour; my first 10 years it's kind of been nonstop in a good way, but this was the first time that I had time to really slow down and think about things, reflect on things and also look forward. It made me really miss going out playing golf and just enjoying doing it, and that's something I tried to take with me after the restart.
THE MODERATOR: You were the sixth Swedish female major champion when you won in 2018, joining the likes of Neumann, Alfredsson, Lidback, Nordqvist, Sorenstam. What does it mean to be part of such a group like that when you hear those names, and have you connected with some of those individuals over the years? If so, anything in particular that you've learned from any of them?
PERNILLA LINDBERG: Yeah, obviously growing up in Sweden, I had a lot of good role models to look up to: Helen Alfredsson, Liselotte Neumann, Annika Sorenstam, that whole generation, and to be able to see that they were able to come out of Sweden and play at the level they did, that obviously made a young Swedish girl be able to believe that she could do it, too. That was just -- I felt like they were the Swedish superstars when it came to golf, and to be able to put myself on that list is just really cool.
I hope that I can kind of pass that on to the young girls at home now and give them that same kind of dream to be able to come out and do it.
Especially after winning I would say kind of all of those girls obviously reached out, and then some of them I see more often than others, but we've all of all come through on that same journey coming out of Sweden and that just, I would say, keeps us close and able to relate to each other for sure.
THE MODERATOR: There are some changes around the Dinah Shore tournament course this week; roughly 100 trees have been taken out, numerous bunkers added, no grandstands, of course. In your preparation, in your practice rounds, what has it been like adjusting to this setting and what do you hope to build off what you have previously accomplished here?
PERNILLA LINDBERG: Yeah, I would say one of the biggest changes that you didn't mention there but I think all of us players probably noticed is obviously different time of the year is the Bermudagrass, and it's Bermudagrass on the greens, in the rough, on the fairways, and that's the biggest change. It just makes the course play different. It plays longer and the rough is just really tough. But it still puts a premium on -- it even more so than ever puts a premium on being straight off the tee, which I feel is just this course has always suited me. I tend to just hit it straighter here than anywhere else just because of the narrow fairways. I kind of really get zoomed in, and that's still going to be a key this year, so that's hopefully something I can carry over.
But no, it's for sure going to be a little different course for us, the way, like you said, they've added some bunkers but especially just with the Bermuda fairways, the ball doesn't roll out the same, so it's going to play a little bit longer.
THE MODERATOR: Obviously a different atmosphere this week with caddies being allowed to take electric carts or push carts if they so choose. What was your initial reaction to that news and how have you approached this option with your caddie?
PERNILLA LINDBERG: Yeah, I mean, I think it's good as an option. With the forecast it's never easy to get them exact, but when we saw close to 120 degrees I knew that was going to be tough, so it was always going to be a good option. So far we have gone in with the mindset that we're going to keep walking because that's what I'm used to, that's the routine that I'm used to.
I did give Daniel, my husband, who's also my caddie, a carry bag for the week. That's really the only change, so it'll be a little bit lighter for him.
But to say that we just actually to kind of practice is, we're going to take a cart for nine holes today. I've walked both Monday and Tuesday when I played my practice rounds, but just to -- if we decide to take a cart during one of the tournament rounds, if anything changes at least we'll kind of figure out the routine of how we want to do that.
THE MODERATOR: I would imagine temperatures don't soar quite this high in Sweden.
PERNILLA LINDBERG: Far away from.
THE MODERATOR: What's the warmest weather that you've ever played golf in that you can remember and how do you plan to stay cool out there this week?
PERNILLA LINDBERG: I would say it's either at one of the LPGA Thailand or Singapore events. I'm probably not the first one to say that, if any of the other girls have gotten that same question. It gets really hot and humid over there. And that humidity I think is just hard because my hands are sweating, and out here at least with the drier heat I tend to handle it a little bit better, but otherwise just lots of water, lots of electrolytes. I have my sun umbrella. I'll probably have some wet towels if it's really hot out there, and then what I've tried to do so far is just keep my practice days, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, shorter than normal to save on the energy that I can for the four tournament days.
THE MODERATOR: We've been asking everyone to find out the array of answers to this question: If you get the chance to leap into Poppies Pond for the second time, knowing what you know about the jump, what style of jump would you do on Sunday and why?
PERNILLA LINDBERG: So it was actually kind of funny because if you remember, my husband dove in to Poppies Pond two years ago, and he's claimed the whole time that he knew exactly what he was doing, he could shallow it out quickly, which he did, but yesterday when we walked past there, he said, is that really how shallow it is. So that kind of scared him. So I guess he might not dive again if he gets the chance. But for me, knowing that, you're not going to see a dive, that's for sure. Just probably try to get as much height as possible and just the biggest splash because it's just going to feel really good in those hot temperatures this year, that's for sure. Maybe just a big cannonball or something.
THE MODERATOR: The excitement I'm sure overwhelmed him in that initial jump.
PERNILLA LINDBERG: Exactly.
THE MODERATOR: We're joined by Pernilla Lindberg here in the virtual media center. We'll open it up for questions.
Q. Going back to 2018, the one thing that struck me about that Monday and winning the playoff and everything is the amount of time you spent in the media center afterward. I mean, competitors as a rule don't like to hang out with us that much, but you were there for an extended period and it seemed like you were so excited about it. If you can kind of take us back to your emotions and how they kind of ran the gamut that Sunday and Monday.
PERNILLA LINDBERG: Yeah, thanks for your question, first. Nice to see you again. Yeah, that Monday we finished around 9:00 a.m., which is an unusual time to finish a golf tournament. I didn't even think about how much time I spent in the media center. I was just so excited about everything, and obviously did everything asked of me that morning. But it was probably when it got to about 1:00, 1:00 or 2:00 that afternoon that I realized that I haven't checked my phone yet, I haven't had lunch yet, but everything was just kind of a whirlwind. I've never been more excited, so of course I just wanted to stay here on property and enjoy it for as long as possible.
Q. I think I left before you did.
PERNILLA LINDBERG: Yeah, I think it was pretty empty in the media center by the time I left.
Q. The other question, obviously September in the desert is a whole lot different from March and April and it's going to be really extreme, as he mentioned, this week in terms of heat and weather. Have you hydrated more, what have you, to kind of prepare for that, and how far out did you start thinking about that?
PERNILLA LINDBERG: Yeah, we had an off week last week, and I was actually up in Utah enjoying some cooler temperatures, so in that aspect I wasn't getting used to the hotter weather but instead just really focused on getting a lot of rest last week, coming in as fresh as I could to this week, and then I arrived down here Saturday afternoon, and I think it was about 120 when I arrived in the afternoon.
I just really focused on staying hydrated from first thing when I wake up in the morning, I have a big bottle of water next to my bed and make sure that I start my day with that and keep going in that aspect every day and probably more electrolytes than I normally do, and just shorter practice days out here, too, to be able to stay fresh for the tournament.
Q. Since the caddies have carts now, will everybody have little coolers in the back of the cart with water bottles and what have you, or how is that going to work?
PERNILLA LINDBERG: Some players for sure. I've heard really that being a big reason for some players wanting their caddies to take a cart.
But at the same time we have coolers on every tee box with water bottles, so that's what I'm going to rely on. Unless something changes, me and Daniel, my caddie, my husband, we're going to walk, to be able to just kind of stick to that normal routine. But no, I for sure heard some players coming out here with their coolers and going to do it that way. But no, we're pretty well looked after with those coolers on each tee box being stocked, as well.
Q. What's the smoke like there? How is that impacting you?
PERNILLA LINDBERG: So today, Wednesday, we can actually see the mountains and some blue skies, so it feels a lot better than yesterday. Yesterday it was a weird feeling. You've been here so many times, you know how beautiful the mountains are, and we couldn't even see them, so that was really sad.
But today feels better, and the forecast looks like it's going to get clearer and clearer for each day, which is really going to be good.
Today it feels more like a Palm Springs day again, that's for sure.
Q. I wanted to ask you about the crowd because Monday, the playoff, you had such a tremendous turnout for you and Inbee, and I'm just curious how much you think the crowd helped you both days for the playoff and how different it's been playing without one for you personally.
PERNILLA LINDBERG: Yeah, I was overwhelmed with how much support that I got, both that Sunday playoff and Monday playoff. I know I've referred to it before, but I could not believe how many people showed up on Monday. I really felt a lot of that support, and it made me feel very comfortable out there, so it for sure helped me.
But now this is going to be our sixth event after our restart. I think we've all kind of gotten a little bit used to it being more quiet out there. It is kind of sad, but at the same time, we're happy to be out playing, and we just have to kind of get pumped up in a different way instead.
Q. How many bottles of water do you think you'll drink during a round?
PERNILLA LINDBERG: Oh, so I've only played nine holes both Monday and Tuesday and going to play another nine here in a little bit, so it's going to be a lot different when I'm out there playing 18. But kind of just over the whole day, Monday, Tuesday now, I've been aiming at getting at least kind of eight to ten bottles. That's throughout the whole day, but that's only playing nine holes, so it's for sure going to be a little bit more when it gets to 18 holes.
Q. You were talking before about a previous generation of great Swedish players, but you're pretty darned good, too. Sagström started a year late and you've been 9th and 11th these past four competitions. Anna Nordqvist almost won, and Sagström has been struggling a bit, but it seems like the rest of you have really picked up. Daniela Holmqvist did great in British Open and everything, so I'm so proud to be Swedish. It certainly seems like you're coming into this in very good form.
PERNILLA LINDBERG: Yeah, it was really nice to see. I think we were four Swedes maybe in the top 15 or top 20 in Arkansas, our last tournament. Yeah, it seems like we're all kind of heading in a good direction, and obviously Madelene started off the year for us really well winning down in Boca. It's nice to see that we all carry on this Swedish tradition, and I know that we have a younger squad of amateurs at home that are really good. I think we have another four Swedish girls in the top 20 or something like that on the World Amateur Rankings. Hopefully we can lead the way for them and they will be out here in a few years' time now.
Q. When you won there two years ago you had so many people following you, and I remember those little cute girls, and of course your parents like always. How different do you think it'll be this year with not so many people there?
PERNILLA LINDBERG: It will be a lot more quiet, that's for sure. But it would have been different if let's say this was the first event where we didn't have fans or first event back after the restart, but I think all of us players have gotten a little used to it now after five events with no fans.
It is sad. It's really weird when you make a great putt or something like that, kind of your reflex is like, oh, thank you, but there's no one to say thank you to. It is different, that's for sure. But no, we're just so happy to be back playing, though.
THE MODERATOR: Three weeks ago you finished T45 at the AIG Women's Open. Our first taste this year on the LPGA Tour of a major championship feel without the fans, I know so much is made about that. A little extra of that buildup that comes with a major, just a little different. What did you learn that week to help prepare you for the ANA Inspiration where maybe you have to build a little more momentum for yourself and feed off some adrenaline that isn't fed in different avenues?
PERNILLA LINDBERG: Yeah, I know that's a major championship and this is also a major, but it couldn't be two more polar opposite events, everything from the temperature and the wind to everything. It was a hard enough fight out there during AIG to just stand up and try to focus on each and every shot that I don't think you had to really get pumped up. The task was so clear at hand in front of us, so I'm not really sure I can learn too much from that. But maybe even more so just from our other events, our regular events that we have had.
I kind of just -- each and every event, no matter if we have fans or not, I have little kind of process goals that I set up for myself and I try to focus on those, and maybe I just have to be extra mindful of that and giving myself little extra kind of motivation or pump up for the next few holes or whatever I have in front of me compared to when we have fans out there.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you so much for your time, Pernilla. Best of luck this week.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports