October 9, 2020
Newtown Square, Pennsylvania, USA
Aronimink Golf Club
THE MODERATOR: You're done out there on the golf course, now we kind of play the waiting game, but you're currently sitting at +6, kind of hovering around the cut line. How are you feeling after two rounds on Aronimink?
MARIAH STACKHOUSE: To be honest, I think I'm a little disappointed in the 6-over right now overall because I'm striking the ball so amazing that you want to connect a few more of those birdie putts. But overall I think keeping that in mind, if I make the cut, I feel like I can get something rolling, and on a course like this it can't just be ball-striking, it's got to be your short game, it's got to be your putting. It's a major golf course; that's what makes it a major and that's what makes it so fun to play.
THE MODERATOR: Talk to us about what KPMG and the PGA of America and this partnership have brought to this championship.
MARIAH STACKHOUSE: I mean, what they've done, KPMG and the PGA of America have done with this event over the last few years is absolutely incredible. The courses that we played -- us being here at Aronimink this year, its storied history and a number of high-caliber men's tournaments that have come through here. I think it's a great opportunity for us to be able to play a course like this and showcase our abilities on the golf course, as well. And that kind of dedication to elevating women's sports and seeking equal opportunity and play opportunities for us as the men, I couldn't be more grateful, and on and off the course this event has just been first-class year in and year out.
THE MODERATOR: You had the opportunity to participate earlier in the week in the virtual Women's Summit this year, yourself and Ibtihaj Muhammad, two impressive and inspirational athletes. Who inspires you? I know you've talked about Dr. Rice and the various people in your life. Who inspires you inside the ropes and outside the ropes?
MARIAH STACKHOUSE: Inside the ropes I find my inspiration, I think, primarily from my parents. They put so much into getting me into the game of golf and getting me to where I am now, and so when I step up on that tee, I just think about all the hours that I spent practicing growing up and where that's led to, and they are my inspiration to get out here and perform.
Outside the ropes I draw inspiration from everywhere; my mentor, Dr. Rice; great athletes that I can look up to and aspire to, whether that be Serena Williams, LeBron James and people of the sort. I just like to draw inspiration from anywhere, anybody in any field or sport that I feel like strives to wake up every day and be the best that they can be and to go get it. That's the attitude that I want to be when I wake up and approach my golf game each and every day.
Q. You played alongside Jennifer today, played a great round. The two of you aren't that far removed from college. Just curious what you thought of her round and what you think is the biggest factor that you come out here ready to win and compete right away?
MARIAH STACKHOUSE: Absolutely. I think when you look at -- I think she shot 5-under today, so you look at the 5-under out here and the other players that are under par, I think what you see is a kind of tenacity and a grit that's happening out there on the golf course, so this is a major championship, some of the good shots are going to be punished, so it's keeping that up-and-down attitude, that fight and connecting everybody opportunity possible, and Jennifer did a great job of draining those birdie putts and saving a lot of pars, and that's what it takes on a championship golf course.
Q. When you met with the KPMG people the first time before you signed, you were still at Stanford I'm assuming, did you know how involved they were in inclusion and diversity, and did that make the difference for you, or did you talk with them about that before you signed?
MARIAH STACKHOUSE: Yes, actually, so I signed shortly after graduating from college, and I definitely learned a lot about the initiatives that were important to them as a company, as well as what they were doing in the game of women's golf, and so I think on both an internal level and an external level, I appreciated KPMG's focuses and what they wished to elevate, and that was definitely on par with the passions and things that I believe in.
Q. You were in a sport where basically it's dominated by white players or Asian players in the case of the LPGA. How different is that for you or how difficult is that for you versus if you were in the WNBA or some other women's sport?
MARIAH STACKHOUSE: You know, that's an interesting question. There's a number of ways to look at it. But I think when I step inside the ropes, whether I'm a singular Black player out here or myself and a couple others, that kind of disappears. Think about this championship we're playing right now, Aronimink, every single bit of your focus is required on just navigating the golf course and getting around, and so I think the knowledge of that is never on my shoulders inside of the ropes.
But I think also it is noticeable, and I think that just brings the few of us that are out here playing golf closer together, and we do our best to interact with the younger juniors that come out and watch us and encourage them to really pick up and love the game of golf and do our best to just reach our hand back out to those behind us and hope that they come along.
Q. You spoke on how coming to Aronimink will help elevate the women's game. I was just wondering if you had any other ideas on how various stakeholders within the game could help elevate some of the more marginalized communities in the game?
MARIAH STACKHOUSE: That is a great question, and I think I would want to formulate a bit more concrete answers before I could answer that.
Q. A big buzz word here during this week is "inspiration." How does it feel for you to know you're inspiring others, young players?
MARIAH STACKHOUSE: I have found so many sources of inspiration from people ahead of me, those that have paved the way for me in the game of golf, broken down the barriers decades ago, and those in other fields, just aspiring to not let the fact that they might not be the predominant set of people in whatever field that they're in, but just not letting that stop them.
And so I find inspiration from that, and I find inspiration from every successful human that I look up to and respect.
Q. You said that you look up to Dr. Rice; did you know her when you were at Stanford?
MARIAH STACKHOUSE: I did. I met Dr. Rice -- I actually met Dr. Rice before I started at Stanford and began to formulate that relationship with her during my time there.
Q. If you could talk about what -- she obviously experienced things that you're experiencing now a lot longer ago. Can you talk about what she may have given you, advice in regards to dealing with being a Black woman when she came out of Stanford?
MARIAH STACKHOUSE: I think one of the greatest pieces of advice that I've gotten from Dr. Rice is essentially the only thing that you can control in life is how you carry yourself and how you respond. The things that people are going to do to you and say about you are completely out of your control, and so it's about carrying yourself the way that you want to be received and in a way that you always know who you are and where you stand, and you can stand confidently in that you've been good to yourself and others.
Q. Since everything that's gone on over the last three or four months in this country, do you feel more pressure now because obviously you're looked at and said, okay, you're the only Black player on this Tour right now? Do you have other players come up to you and say, maybe I didn't understand the situations, maybe I didn't understand how things were going, can you help me understand?
MARIAH STACKHOUSE: No, I haven't had any direct interactions like this where people have come up and said, help me understand. I think one of the benefits to the national conversation about racism taking place is that people have those resources kind of at their expense, and so if they're interested in learning, then it's very easy to find those sources to learn from. Inasmuch as does it add pressure to me? I think absolutely not. I recognize that there are a lot of Black players, young and old, and people interested in the game of golf that are happy to see me out here and see my presence and can relate to that, and that's great for me. Anything that I can achieve on the golf course, I know that success out here will have a positive impact beyond me, and I embrace that.
But as far as how I approach the game of golf, I just look to get better and better each week, learn something new and hone my game as a player so that I can believe that I can.
Q. You talked about Dr. Rice and what you've learned from her. Really rings back to the affirmation that your parents instilled in you. If you could remind us a few words of that affirmation and how you use that to lead you in your daily walk.
MARIAH STACKHOUSE: Mm-hmm, yes. So a couple words from that affirmation, "I know that I can do anything I set my mind to. I'm a very proud person with my own ideas and my own direction in life." And it's that and the rest of that affirmation that are my guiding principles in life and help aid my confidence and resilience on and off the golf course.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports