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June 23, 2021

Shanshan Feng

Atlanta, Georgia, USA

Atlanta Athletic Club

Press Conference

THE MODERATOR: Here with Rolex Rankings No. 17 Shanshan Feng, here as our 2012 KPMG Women's PGA winner and the Olympic bronze medalist. It's been a hot couple days here in Atlanta, but you said you're just going to practice today. How are you feeling as you get ready for this major championship?

SHANSHAN FENG: Well, I came in Sunday night, and I played nine holes on Monday and 18 holes in the pro-am yesterday. I think this is a really, really beautiful golf course, and I knew that they actually held quite a few PGA Championships here before, but it's the first time for the ladies here, so I'm very honored to be here.

It's a very challenging course, especially with all the moisture on the ground. All the rain that they got in the past, I don't know, few weeks, and the course was playing really long yesterday. I would say it would be a very challenging week and also a very exciting week.

THE MODERATOR: You mentioned the fact that there's been so many PGA Championships here. How important is that to you to see the level of course being elevated as we go to events like this and Congressional next year and Baltusrol and Aronimink last year and the Olympic Club and Pebble Beach, to see those elite courses coming into play.

SHANSHAN FENG: Well, I think it's a good thing. That means people are seeing how good the ladies are, and I do think that we actually deserve to play on the same courses as the men do. Yeah, so I think it's a great chance to play on these fantastic golf courses like the top courses in the world, and yeah, I'm pretty sure we're going to play more and more, so it's a great thing for ladies golf.

Q. You mentioned how long it is certainly because it's wet and we hope it dries out, but how do you think Atlanta Athletic Club fits your game?

SHANSHAN FENG: Well, I think it's playing longer, but the good thing about it is the greens are very soft, so it allows us to really go for the pins. Even though maybe I'm using like a 3-wood on to the green but still my balls can stop. I mean, it's good or not.

Yeah, but I would say that I've had a few good weeks this season so far. Had a little chance at the U.S. Open, also, so I'm kind of confident about my game right now.

I'm just really enjoying all the time that I can spend on the course with my boss and all the other playing partners in my team because I had like 14 months off. Really missed everything on the Tour. So now I'm just trying to enjoy, and I'm note focusing on the results.

Q. What is it like to see the fans back out there? It was such a strange year and all the fans at Olympic Club and last week at Meijer and now coming back here, that's going to be a good feeling to see everyone outside the ropes again.

SHANSHAN FENG: Well, I wasn't at Meijer, so I didn't know that. We actually had fans at Meijer?

Q. We did, and so many fans around that final green at Olympic Club.

SHANSHAN FENG: Oh, yeah. I was really surprised because actually that was my first tournament to see the fans after like a year and a half, and I wasn't sure what I would do. Maybe I would feel really nervous.

But actually seeing the fans back actually made me more excited and made me -- like gave me a little more drive to make me want to play better because they came all the way here and they waited for so long, and finally they can watch us play live. You know, I thought it was a positive thing for our Tour and for all the players and sponsors.

Yeah, I believe everything is going to get better and better, and everything is going to be on the right track.

Q. This is the final week for Olympic qualifying. I just wondered what your medal, your Olympic medal, what kind of impact that had on golf in China.

SHANSHAN FENG: Well, I would say that -- well, there are more and more junior players playing. I would say that's the biggest difference, because I think before the Olympics like 2015, I think like the registered junior players in China -- like all those players if they want to play in a tournament in China, they would have to register with the CGA first, so like I think there were only like three -- a little more than 3,000 junior players in 2015.

And then I think the number now is maybe 100,000. So it's -- I don't know, after these five or six years, it really changed.

I believe that when we only had like 100 -- probably 100 or 200 ladies pros and we can have a bronze medal medalist at the Olympics and also maybe 10 players on the LPGA, well, I think Chinese are really good at playing golf, so if we can have more people starting to play golf now, I believe that we're going to have more and more like world No. 1s and Olympic medalists coming up.

Q. How does that make you feel personally knowing that your direct result had such an amazing impact on growing the game?

SHANSHAN FENG: I wouldn't say that it was only about my result. I think it was because that golf was back in the Olympics. To allow people to actually get to know what golf was and Chinese can be good at golf, because before then I would say most of the Chinese, they would be like, oh, golf, it's -- like it's a sport for maybe foreigners, like not Asians, because they didn't really show our tournaments on TV. So people didn't really know that we actually had pretty good golfers from the country.

Because golf was in the Olympics at 2016, people were like, ooh, actually -- oh, maybe it's different to what I was thinking, and maybe we should start playing golf.

Q. Are you saying that what made the difference is people back home tuning in to watch diving, see golf, see one of their own do well and get hooked, because you're a major winner, so they should have already known that there are Chinese golfers who are quite talented.

SHANSHAN FENG: Well, the first thing is they didn't even know what a major was because if you don't know anything about a sport, you wouldn't even know what LPGA or PGA meant and what a major win means. They didn't have a clue.

Even though, yes, I did win a major, but they would be like, oh, yeah, maybe she won a big tournament, that was it. They didn't really understand what a major meant in golf.

I think the Olympics was still the most important thing because that would let everybody to get to know about golf first, and maybe more and more people would start playing it, and then they'll know more about the game and they will understand what winning a major means.

Q. Do you understand why men would opt out of the Olympics? It seems like it was one of your best experiences ever. There are many -- well, there are a handful of top men who have opted out. No top women have opted out. Why do you think that is?

SHANSHAN FENG: Well, first off, I have to say that I don't actually know many of the male players, and I would say the last Olympics was the same thing, that I know that a lot of the male players actually pulled out from the Olympics, but ladies, almost everybody went because I think it was a great chance for us to actually play on the same golf course as the men's and just to show the world how good the ladies golfers are and how much we really want to support the ladies golf to grow.

I think including what the LPGA has been -- has done a great job providing like this great Tour for us to showcase ourselves, I think we should do everything that we can to support the game and ladies golf.

I wouldn't be surprised to see maybe most or even all of the ladies that get in would go to Tokyo.

Q. I'm curious about television. How many events are televised in China now? Has it changed since the Olympics?

SHANSHAN FENG: Well, to be honest, I think this year they are showing the LPGA tournaments on one television channel, but I think in the past three to four years, I didn't think so. They only showed the men's European or the men's PGA.

Even though we were maybe playing well over here, but the people back home didn't get to see it.

Q. Why do you think they're doing it now?

SHANSHAN FENG: I think it's a good thing that they are doing it to let people to see us perform in China.

Why? I don't know. But I would say that including myself coming back this year, I'm playing kind of well.

You see like Yu Liu and Janet, Lin Xiyu, they are playing really well recently, so I think maybe finally people are like ooh, we have top golfers -- top female golfers in the world from China, so a lot of people maybe want to see us play and maybe that's why. I don't know, but I think it's a great thing.

Q. We've had some questions about yardage books and greens reading books, players for them, players against them. What are your thoughts? I know the PGA TOUR has talked about banning them.

SHANSHAN FENG: Well, I don't know much about what the others are standing for, but on my side, I think to have the green book, I think they're trying to help the players to read the greens and speed up the pace. That's what I thought.

I would say when I'm not sure about the lines on the greens and I can have a green book that everybody can get, I mean, I think it's fair. If I can have a green book to help me to read it, I mean, to make it from 80 percent to 95 percent, I think it's a good thing.

But I do understand that maybe some people would be against it because they would think you should use your eyes. Like reading greens is one of your skills that you should have as a top golfer in the world, and you shouldn't rely on maybe green books like that, like man-made.

So I do understand on both sides. I'm fine either side.

Q. I'm curious when you play a course whether it fits your eye or not, does it make a difference if it's got some history behind it, like being at Olympic two weeks ago or even the history at Mission Hills. Does it do anything to the way you play?

SHANSHAN FENG: Well, I don't think there's like a type of golf course that I wouldn't like to play on because I just feel so appreciative that we get to play on so many beautiful golf courses, whether if they are famous or not.

I always get a question like people ask me, what's your favorite golf course. It's like almost every amateur in my pro-am group will ask me that, and I say, I actually don't have one favorite. I just like a lot of them. They're all different.

Maybe different -- like you said, maybe different stories behind, different history, different design, different type of grasses, different weather. I just enjoy all of them because this is part of golf. We are playing in different situations, and I think that's what makes golf really interesting and challenging.

It's a fun part, so I like most of the golf courses.

Q. Maybe we should ask you which course you don't like.

SHANSHAN FENG: I don't know. I don't really have one because I think whether the golf courses are challenging or kind of easier, it's fair to everybody. That's what I'm really focusing on, yeah.

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