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March 21, 2000

Naree Wongluekiet

Aree Wongluekiet

Jonathan Yarwood


TERRY WILCOX: Good afternoon, thanks for being with us this afternoon. We have the great pleasure of introducing two young ladies that are certainly the youngest players ever in The Nabisco Championship. There has been -- we do know of one other LPGA player that, I believe, was, we think, nine or ten years old, Beverly Klass, a number of years back. But other than that, we think that these young ladies are the youngest, very possibly, that have played in an LPGA tournament, at least the best we can do with our records. And it really gives me a great pleasure to introduce them today. I'm very happy that they are here. We had a lot of discussion early on back in, I guess, September, October, and we looked at their record, all-around, not only the United States, but in some international competitions and thought that it was -- they were very worthy of the invitation and we're very pleased that they are here. I would like to introduce their father, Mr. Song -- and their mother -- I think she's outside guarding the clubs. I saw her with the clubs there. We have Aree on my right with the nice shoes and on my left we are Naree with the tennis shoes. You're going to get golf shows for later, right? So I would like to open it up. Is there any specific question LPGA would like to start out with or would you just like to open it up to the media?

LPGA: Some general comments about playing and their reaction to being here.

TERRY WILCOX: Naree, are you happy to be here?

NAREE WONGLUEKIET: I'm happy to be here. I'm excited about seeing the great players up close and it's a great honor to get an invitation to this tournament.

TERRY WILCOX: Let me also say these great players are excited about seeing them up close, too, at the age of 13. I think we can open it up just to some general questions from the media, if you would like to ask any questions of the girls.

Q. You used the term that you're excited about seeing the best players in the world, but you're actually competing against them. What's that feel like? I mean, you're right in there with them and you're a peer, so to speak.

AREE WONGLUEKIET: To compete against them?

Q. Yes.

AREE WONGLUEKIET: I think it's a great honor to be able to be here and just to see them and see how they play and how they compete out there. Yeah, I think it's going to be a good experience.

NAREE WONGLUEKIET: Also, I would like to compare myself, to know what I'm missing and what I have to do to get to the next level.

Q. Are there any specific players you're interested in meeting, talking to, playing with, learning from?

NAREE WONGLUEKIET: Well, my favorite player on the LPGA TOUR is Karrie Webb. She is very consistent and I'm looking forward to meeting her and seeing how she plays.

AREE WONGLUEKIET: My greatest player also is Karrie Webb. She's my favorite player. I think she's a very good putter and I'm looking forward to meeting her.

TERRY WILCOX: Very good. They picked a good one.

Q. How old were you when you started playing?

AREE WONGLUEKIET: I was seven and a half years old when I started playing, and I started back in Thailand.

TERRY WILCOX: What was the other half of that question? How did you get started playing?

AREE WONGLUEKIET: My dad and my brother, they were playing before me, so I just tagged along to the golf course and started picking up golf clubs and hitting shots on the green.

TERRY WILCOX: Naree, same thing for you, you were tagging right next to her? That's good.

Q. Could you both please tell me, go through your -- all the clubs in your bag, tell me what they are and tell me what brands they are and tell me what you know about the specs of these clubs, the specifications of your driver, like do you know the shaft and the length of the club?

AREE WONGLUEKIET: My driver is a Honma. It's a Japanese driver, 43 inches. I have also, Honma irons and a Ping putter.


NAREE WONGLUEKIET: I have Callaway driver, 80 degree, regular shaft, and my putter is a Ping (inaudible) 2 and my irons are Honma ladies shafts and I have a 3-wood and a 7-wood, they are both steel head, Callaways.

Q. (Inaudible)?


Q. Do you two compete against one another? Do you play rounds together and compete against one another or do you just practice together?

NAREE WONGLUEKIET: When we are not playing at a tournament we practice together and we try and push each other forward and when we compete against each other we try to pull for one another. We're competing against each other, but we're also trying to pull for each other, want each other to do well in tournaments.

TERRY WILCOX: Friendly competitors. How much time do you spend practicing, say, hours a day?

AREE WONGLUEKIET: Around 3 1/2 hours after school.

Q. What are the strengths and weaknesses of your game?

TERRY WILCOX: Do you know Aree's weaknesses, strengths?

NAREE WONGLUEKIET: I don't know if she has any weaknesses, but her driver is her -- definitely her strength. She hits it very long, very straight. Her putting can be hot sometimes, most of the time. Her irons are very consistent. She has a great short game, has good feel. So she's very consistent.

AREE WONGLUEKIET: I think my sister has a very good short game. I think she is quite -- also consistent. She hits her irons on the green, hits fairway in green and I think she's very good at chipping.

TERRY WILCOX: Very good.

Q. When do you think you'll be ready to turn professional?

AREE WONGLUEKIET: I don't think there's a time or an age. If I feel my game's ready, I'll go pro when I feel that I'm ready.

Q. How close do you think your game is now to turning professional?

AREE WONGLUEKIET: I think there is still quite a bit of time or a while to go, but I'm still learning and learning new experiences and certainly this will be one of the very good learning experiences.

Q. Is there one thing you can pinpoint as to why you think your game's not ready?

TERRY WILCOX: Is there one thing that you think is keeping you from being a professional at this point, that keeps your game from being -- making you capable of being a professional at this time? Maybe your weakness, if you feel as though you have a weakness that you need to work on?

AREE WONGLUEKIET: Probably all-around, really a bit of everything. Maybe a bit of short game, maybe a bit of irons, and really just not ready yet.

TERRY WILCOX: Naree? Same? How do you feel about your game, any particular part of your game needs more work than the other part?

NAREE WONGLUEKIET: I think the ladies out here are very good putters. They are very consistent in their putting and I think I have some problems sometimes getting putts in the hole consistently, like day-in, day-out.

TERRY WILCOX: I would also like to introduce their coach, Jonathan Yarwood with the David Leadbetter schools. Jonathan's on the front row and I think he's open for questions, also.

MR. YARWOOD: Brief history on the girls. They came over from Thailand about two and a half years ago to the David Leadbetter Academy in Florida. They work with myself, Jonathan Yarwood and another coach called Andrew Rice. They have worked, obviously, extremely hard on their game when they first came over. They were very talented girls, obviously, but with not very good techniques, not very good all-around game. So we've -- they enrolled in our golf school down that that encompasses the whole game, as it were. They go to private school in the morning and then they attend the golf program in the afternoon, which is a program with currently 91 full-time students in and they work on obviously every aspect of the game -- this is a great PR ad, by the way -- every aspect of the game, from the swing to the short game. There is a very stringent mental proficiency program, there's a physical fitness program, there's a nutrition program. And, you know, at the end of the day I think it produces almost a mini-tour player, like a little junior in a tour player, sort of the way they go about things. If you watch the girls play this week, you're not going to see, apart from their stature much difference between how they play the game and how any of the girls on the LPGA play the game. They have got a strong routine. All of the department of the game are really strong. And to answer the guy's question about what do they really need to improve, I think they are going to keep improving and evolving as they get older and stronger. But I think the biggest thing that's going to improve them is experience, and the more experience they get at tournaments like this, the more experience of playing against these great players and seeing what they have got to do, then the better. But they work day-in, day-out very, very hard. They have got the Asian work ethic of, you know, putting in as much time as possible. But we also try and teach the girls and all the students at our academy the importance of a balanced life as well as golf. We try to get away of just golf, golf, golf. It's important to channel yourself into all different areas. So that's part of the program, as well. And another facet that you might be interested in is the sacrifice the parents have made to get over here for the girls. They have made a huge emotional and financial sacrifice. They first of all brought their Chan who is caddying this week for Naree. We call him the black sheep of the family. He is the No. 2 ranked player in America, and he's the black sheep. So he gets a bit of a hard time. But he initially came over and he enrolled in the academy and the girls obviously followed suit and they are now ranked 2 and 3 in America. And the sacrifice the parents have made are quite incredible, really. They have sold everything they owned in Thailand. They were very successful business people in Thailand. They sold everything to come over here to America where they are not eligible to work. They are only eligible to look after the kids and sort of provide a parental support for the kids. So there's a lot of sacrifices, a lot of gambles involved in this, but it's gamble I would be willing to take, I can tell you that.

Q. Jonathan, what age do you think they should turn pro, or how long?

JONATHAN YARWOOD: Well, it's a sticky question, really. There's nothing really that I can answer at the moment. I think it's going to be one of those things that sort of evolves and we sort of get to the point where we say, okay, now you're good enough and whether that's 17, 18, 19, 20 or whatever it is, I can't say, but obviously they are heading in the direction of being professional golfers. But I think on another issue, I think there's a lot of things we can avoid as well. It's not all set in stone. Obviously, they are good players at this age, but there's a lot of things to avoid like burnout, overexposure, which something like this is probably the ultimate overexposure, and injury as well. There's four or five things we have got to really keep our eye on and protect them, as it were, as much as possible; and hopefully, if they keep going on the course that they are going, they are going to be pretty good.

Q. Are you interested in playing college golf in the United States?

AREE WONGLUEKIET: Yes, we are interested in attending college. We feel that our game is not ready to go professional, then we will go onto college.

Q. Are there plans from -- to get into other tournaments this year, whether qualifying or invitational?

AREE WONGLUEKIET: Yeah, trying to do some Monday qualifiers, trying to get into some tournaments.

Q. Which tournaments in particular?

NAREE WONGLUEKIET: What are we doing, Chick-Fil-A, maybe the Phillips.

AREE WONGLUEKIET: Just those two right now.

Q. Also, do you imagine that you will turn professional together or is there ever a chance that one of you would be ready first that you would turn pro without your sister?

AREE WONGLUEKIET: Never thought about that one. Probably together, yeah.

Q. Have you always progressed pretty much on the level?

AREE WONGLUEKIET: Yes. When we go to tournaments, junior tournaments, most of the time, if Naree doesn't win, I would win and if I wouldn't win then Naree would win or if one would play better than the other person. But we progress about the same time.

Q. How do you feel when the other one beats the other one?

AREE WONGLUEKIET: I feel happy for Naree if she beats me.

Q. Is it the came for you and her?


TERRY WILCOX: She hopes it is.

Q. Do you feel when you beat your sister, is that even better than beating other people or are you starting to beat your sister?

AREE WONGLUEKIET: I'm not starting. When Naree is on the golf course, I would treat her as a competitor, especially if we're playing together in the last day of the tournament, I would certainly want to beat her. But at the end of the day, she is my sister and we live together, so yeah.

Q. What expectations do you both have for this tournament?

AREE WONGLUEKIET: I'm just going to try my best and see what happens, but I'm going to have a good experience and maybe try to make the cut and go from there.

Q. What type of business did your parents have in Thailand?

NAREE WONGLUEKIET: My dad used to have a hotel business back in Thailand.

Q. Did he own the motel?


Q. You seem pretty relaxed here. You guys are 13, this is probably a dream for you for a while. Is there an excitement for nervousness about being here this week or when you found out that you were going to be here?

AREE WONGLUEKIET: Yeah, really excited and nervous, but maybe I'll be more nervous when I get on the first tee. But I'm just having fun right now, enjoying it.

NAREE WONGLUEKIET: Yeah, basically having fun.

Q. When you were brought to America, were you concerned about coming? Did you not want to leave Thailand? What was it like uprooting and coming over to America for this?

NAREE WONGLUEKIET: My brother came over here first for a year and he told us he really liked it over here, and the golf program and the school was great; so we were just looking forward to coming over here.

Q. Do you miss Thailand a lot?

NAREE WONGLUEKIET: A little bit, yeah, I miss Thailand, but my family is over here; so it's not as bad.

Q. What are the things you might miss about Thailand and what are the things that you really like about America?

NAREE WONGLUEKIET: I think I miss the food in Thailand, but this is great weather in America here and there's a lot of support for golf. It's very good in opportunities here, a lot of opportunities, especially for golf here.

Q. Do you feel like you get to lead a regular girl's teenage life at all or are you all very focused on golf?

AREE WONGLUEKIET: No. We go to movies and hang out with our friends and go to the mall and stuff like that on the weekends.

Q. Do the twins have one or more humorous stories being identical twins? Could each of you maybe share a story that you've gone through?

TERRY WILCOX: Maybe where someone got you mixed up with Naree at some time and someone approached you and thought you were Naree and congratulated you for a tournament when it was really she that won?

AREE WONGLUEKIET: There's a lot of instances like that. Like they would congratulate Naree or me for winning a tournament, but it would be the wrong person and they would just say congratulations anyway.

Q. Do you always ware different colored clothes at a tournament?

AREE WONGLUEKIET: No. We pretty much dress alike most of the time.

Q. What's the most individual characteristic that separates you from your sister?

AREE WONGLUEKIET: Everything. We're two different people. But we just dress alike. If you look at Naree, she really doesn't look like me (Laughter.)

Q. I heard one of you is really quiet and the other one likes to talk a lot; is that correct?

NAREE WONGLUEKIET: Maybe Aree likes to talk a lot.

Q. Is there an interesting that you like that Naree doesn't like and so forth?

AREE WONGLUEKIET: Well, I don't really like fishing but she seems to like catching fish can. I like to fish, but Naree doesn't like to fish -- I don't know why she didn't like it right now.

TERRY WILCOX: She just goes with you.

Q. How much do you argue?

AREE WONGLUEKIET: Not very often. We get along pretty well.

Q. Do you guys have the same shoe size?

AREE WONGLUEKIET: I think I'm half a size bigger, 10 and a half.

Q. Is there anything that really -- how you can tell each other apart, do you tell your friends look for this and this, is how you can tell us apart or is there not a distinguishing characteristic?

NAREE WONGLUEKIET: I don't think they can really tell. Only a good friend can tell.

TERRY WILCOX: That's how Jonathan tells.

Q. One thing, Jonathan, she had mentioned that she feels physically they are really different looking. I mean, I can't tell much of a difference at all.

JONATHAN YARWOOD: One of those things where you get used to looking at two different people. I'm of the same opinion as Aree where they are absolutely totally different people visually. Distinguishing features are very difficult when you first look at them, and obviously, it's because I've been around them a lot that I can tell them apart. But you guys think they are probably pretty much identical, which they are to the naked eye, but I can't think of one distinguishing feature that stands out. Really the best way is one of them has a bracelet on and one of them doesn't. But personality-wise, I think you see in the traits that seem to -- Aree is a little more dominant than Naree. And Naree likes to take a little bit more of a back seat, and it reflects a little bit in the golf as well. They are both great strategists on the golf course. They know exactly when to attack and when to defend, like all good golfers do. But I think that their personality comes out a little bit on the golf course as well. If you watch Aree play, she's occasionally can be a little bit more aggressive and sort of goes about it with gay abandon, where Naree on occasion can be a little bit more conservative. That's not saying that's how they always play. They know how to play and when to attack and when to defend, but sometimes their personalities do come across when they play golf as well. When Naree first came over, Aree had technically a lot better golf swing than Naree, and as a result Aree was in my opinion quite a lot better player. She had won a lot more tournaments, and really, Naree was the sort of underdog, let's say, although, they were both pretty good. And now, Naree has really improved her technique and improved her game and really worked hard on it, and really, she's caught up to Aree as well, and I think that's healthy for them both because it obviously provides good competition and they pull each other along. And if you look at their records now, Naree is ranked higher than Aree at the moment, 2 and 3. And it's great because they are going to go sort of -- one will win, one will lose. Whereas before it was sort of always piled on Aree. So I think that's quite a healthy thing to have happened. So Naree has really improved, but they have both improved a lot.

Q. (Inaudible.)

JONATHAN YARWOOD: Yeah, think I think that it's quite a big tournament level. (Inaudible) was also a very big tournament win for her. I think obviously we don't really try and treat each tournament that much differently, really. They are all on a golf course with some flags and holes and you are playing against other people and if you try and treat them too differently, the pressure changes and a change in the person and it makes it harder to play. If you look at the records, I think you'll find that obviously those two wins are very good and good for a career and good for their confidence.

Q. Which one is older and by how much?

TERRY WILCOX: Which one is the first-born?

AREE WONGLUEKIET: Naree by 9 minutes.

Q. What's your handicap?


JONATHAN YARWOOD: On the U.K. system they would be plus two or plus three, but other here it's the USGA system and it's little bit different. But they are plus two or plus three over in the U.K. .

Q. Do you have some comparison what it would be here?

JONATHAN YARWOOD: Well, if they followed the USGA system which we don't, then they'd have a similar handicap here, but I don't want to give an exact figure because they are not officially doing it.

TERRY WILCOX: Scratch or better, probably.

Q. Have you played the golf course yet? What did you think?

AREE WONGLUEKIET: I played here on Saturday 18 holes and I played here this morning, six o'clock. It's very long. I've never played a golf course this long before, and the rough is very thick. It's quite tight, greens are hard, greens are fast, windy.

Q. (Inaudible)?

AREE WONGLUEKIET: Well it's lot different. This course is much harder than the ones in Thailand.

Q. How was it decided that your brother came over here?

TERRY WILCOX: How did Chan decide who to caddie for?

NAREE WONGLUEKIET: Well, my brother caddied for Aree in Korea at the pro tournament there and I don't think they got along very well.

TERRY WILCOX: So he's going to try something different. That's good. I think again I would like to say it's a great pleasure for us to have the girls here this week and I think you can tell not only is their game very mature for 13-year-olds, but I think they are also mature in themselves for 13-year-olds and we look forward to seeing how they do during the week and certainly wish them all the luck in the world. Jonathan, thank you for being with us and Mr. Sung, thank you.

End of FastScripts….

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