June 22, 2022
Bethesda, Maryland, USA
Congressional Country Club (Blue Course)
THE MODERATOR: We're here with Leona Maguire, golfing in her fourth KPMG Women's PGA Championship. You come in off a great finish last week. Not ultimately the way you wanted to finish, but still a good finish. How good do you feel with your game as you head into this season's third major?
LEONA MAGUIRE: I've been playing nice the last few weeks. I think, obviously, not the finish I would have liked on Sunday, but if you had offered me a 65 at the start of the day, I would have gladly taken it.
Yeah, putted really nice on Sunday and had my irons dialed in. More of the same really this week. A bit of a different test, though.
THE MODERATOR: Very different test. I'm calling it the beautiful beast of a major course. It's big. It's wide out there. It's new from what we saw when Rory won in 2011. What did Congressional look like to you over these first three days of getting to see this course?
LEONA MAGUIRE: I think it is beasty out there. I think there's lots of options with tees, so it will be interesting to see how course setup differs from day to day. I think depending where the tees are and depending on where the pin positions, some of the holes are going to play very different.
The greens are still relatively soft, so you can attack the pins a little bit more. There's a lot of hybrids and woods into holes. I think you're going to have to take your chances where you get them, and pars are going to be pretty good on any hole this week.
THE MODERATOR: How does the rain we're getting, had earlier today, going to get overnight into tomorrow affect the play?
LEONA MAGUIRE: I think it will affect the shots. The fairways aren't running that fast. It will make it a little longer, but it will make the greens a bit more receptive.
On those plateaus there are quite a few big slopes, so those holes that are maybe sitting up on top of those levels you can actually stop it on those, which will be nicer.
THE MODERATOR: You're a proud KPMG Ambassador, and we had a great moment yesterday. The partnership with KPMG and PGA much America to not just increase the purse, but double it. Absolutely jack the purse. It's gone up 300% since KPMG joined this championship. How much does it say to what companies are seeing now in the value of partnering with the LPGA, you and your fellow athletes, and to see a number like that in front of you for this week? What does that mean to you?
LEONA MAGUIRE: It's incredible. I had a sneaky feeling it was going to go up. I had no idea it was going to go up that much.
Yeah, I mean, KPMG have sort of been leading the way over the last few years with these bigger, better venues and obviously, with the purse and just how well we're treated this week in terms of the courtesy cars, the dining. You see all the logistics that goes into it week.
I mean, they've been a big supporter of me since I turned pro in 2018. Very lucky to have them backing me personally, but also the LPGA in general. Then, obviously, with the Women's Leadership Summit going on today, they're kind of walking the walk in all aspects really.
THE MODERATOR: Absolutely.
Q. Leona, with the redesign of this golf course, a lot of people are likening it to Inverness, who went through a similar redesign. You played pretty well there. Do you see that?
LEONA MAGUIRE: Not off the top of my head, no. I guess there's a little bit of elevation change. There is a decent few shots out there where you don't know where the ball has finished until you get up on the green.
I wouldn't say it's as severe as a Ross Design. There's not as much of the runoffs as like an Inverness had or even a Pine Needles had.
It's a little bit, but it's definitely more penal around the greens. That rough is really chipping around the greens, so there's definitely a premium of being on the greens this week, I would say.
Q. Earlier when you had your win, you kind of checked that off the list. Now we're looking at majors. What do you need to do to now reach the next level and check that off the list?
LEONA MAGUIRE: Yeah, I mean, I think just putting myself in contention as much as I can. I mean, the field is pretty much the same as it was last week, apart from Jin Young is here. There was nine of the Top Ten players in the world last week. I know I could do it any week of the year, so it's just a case of taking that into the major.
It is a bit meatier of a golf course this week, so I think it's going to be a tough test for everybody. I don't think it necessarily benefits the long hitters. I think you have to execute off the tee into the green and putting. I think it's going to be the ultimate test this week, which I quite like. I quite like that you have to sort of think your way around and plot your way around.
Q. Golf is game of streaks, and you are obviously on a good one right now. What's your confidence level coming in?
LEONA MAGUIRE: Last year was a big confidence booster. Meijer last year was the turning point for me, and it was it nice to go back there with those good memories and almost outdo them, I suppose, this year.
U.S. Open as well, getting my first Top Ten in it was a big one. More of the same this week, hopefully.
Q. You was going to ask you about the shot you hit in that playoff the other day where you had under that tree, and as best shots of the year go, where does that one rank?
LEONA MAGUIRE: I would have ranked it a little better if I'd holed the putt. It was a cut 5-wood. Just trying to bend it around that tree.
I mean, I pretty much walked up to it and kind of had the shot in my head that I was going to hit. At no point did I think I was going to chip it out.
I felt like I had nothing to lose in the playoff. It was kind of a bonus being in it. So, I mean, I quite like hitting my woods. I'm pretty confident with hitting my 9-woods and opening them up and stuff like that out of the rough.
Yeah, I mean, I wouldn't say it's one of the best shots I've hit all year, but it was definitely maybe the timing of it. It's nice to be able to execute those shots when you really need to.
Q. I don't know if Christina asked you about this, but I wanted to ask you about your reaction when you got the email about the purse here doubling. What does that do for women's golf? What does that do as a competitor to kind of amp you up for the week?
LEONA MAGUIRE: Yeah, I mean, this was one I had already circled on the calendar, but there's definitely a little bit extra incentive this week.
And it's unbelievable the support that KPMG have given since coming on board in 2014 and me personally in 2018. Yeah, I mean, I think we're only going to go from strength to strength. The quality of the golf out here right now that's going to be played this week is fantastic, and it's great to see KPMG sort of supporting that and elevating us in terms of both the venues and the purse.
Q. I'll ask you, finally, do you have some memories of Rory winning his U.S. Open here?
LEONA MAGUIRE: Yeah, I mean, I was watching on TV. I still remember him. He kind of blew the field away that week, so I don't know if anybody is going to do that this week, but, yeah, it would be nice to be coming down 18 with a few shot lead like he had, but yeah, I mean, he obviously was on a very hot streak at that point.
Really the only part of the golf course I remember was 18. I know it's obviously been redesigned, but yeah, I mean, that was a pretty cool week for him. Hopefully I can do something similar.
Q. My first question is you had a fantastic final round on Sunday, but knowing how competitive you are, I'm just curious how long it took the steam to stop coming out of your ears afterwards after that missed putt? How did you kind of decompress of that?
LEONA MAGUIRE: I mean, we actually ended up making our flight. Our flight was delayed, so that kind of was the only silver lining of it.
Yeah, for me it was a bonus to make the playoff. I did not expect at any point during the day would I make a playoff, so I felt like I had nothing to lose in the playoff. Yes, I would have liked to have obviously won, but at the same time to keep putting myself in those positions is pretty good. You have to kind of get over it pretty quickly with a major coming up.
Q. Is there anything about this golf course that particularly suited your eye the first time you saw it in person?
LEONA MAGUIRE: I think into the greens there's going to be a lot of woods and a lot of hybrids, which is a strength of my game. Yeah, I don't mind having a few 9-woods into the greens this week.
Q. How long have you had a 9-wood in your bag?
LEONA MAGUIRE: I'm going to say since the British Open in Kingsbarns, so 2017 maybe. Maybe end of 2017.
Michelle Wie had one there, and we saw her hit it, and Dad kind of went -- I already have a 7-wood in the bag, and Dad said, well, if Michelle Wie is hitting that that good, you need to get one too instead of a 4-iron. I think I've had a 9-wood pretty shortly after that British Open.
Q. Is it a favorite club?
LEONA MAGUIRE: Yeah, yeah.
Q. Just really checking like, obviously, what was the difference in your game from the Meijer to the ShopRite? You, obviously, worked on a few things. You gone from a missed cut to really being in contention. What did you work on in between those two events?
LEONA MAGUIRE: Not a whole lot. I think the course was in -- not to discredit ShopRite, but the greens at ShopRite were not very good. The greens at Meijer were pure. All of my missed cuts this year have been on Poa Annua grass.
It's not something I'm dwelling on too much. I felt like my game was in really good shape at ShopRite. I played actually some really nice golf and didn't hole any putts.
So really ShopRite I didn't really lose any energy on. It was nice actually to have Sunday off and sort of regroup and go back to Meijer, and Meijer is obviously somewhere I played really well last year. It suits my eye, and it's just a really good quality golf course. And everything that goes into that event, the crowds, just the whole energy around that week, is probably one of my favorites.
Q. Was the perfect warmup for this week for you really at the Meijer?
LEONA MAGUIRE: Yeah, it's a nice event. It's, obviously, always a strong field leading township a major. I like to play the week before the major to kind of get ready. It was definitely a little bit shorter of a golf course than what we are playing this week, but similar grasses, similar weather, all of that. Yeah, nice chin-up for this week.
Q. We've seen the prize rise as well this week. It's great for the women's game, but how great as well to see big historical venues like Congressional added to the schedule?
LEONA MAGUIRE: Absolutely. I think five, six years ago us playing on courses like this would have been unheard of. We watched them on TV. We didn't actually -- they weren't on our ROTA. That's a testament to KPMG and obviously USGA are following suit, as are the RNA.
We're getting to play on these venues that the guys play and we grew up watching on TV. It's nice to sort of get a chance to add our piece into history I guess this week.
Q. Dermot's knowledge of the course should come in handy this week?
LEONA MAGUIRE: Yeah, he was here with Shane in 2012. It's changed a bit. He has been a bit surprised by some of the holes. He said it was a lot more tree-lined back then.
Yeah, I mean, it's one of those things where any little bit of extra knowledge is definitely helpful, but I would imagine I'll be hitting quite different clubs than the guys were hitting back ten years ago.
Q. I was just curious if you have played Muirfield before?
LEONA MAGUIRE: Not yet. No, not yet. I've heard good things. Again, another iconic venue. I mean, we've been very lucky this year with the line-up, and it's only going to get bigger and better in these next years.
Q. How far do you hit that 9-wood? My last one. I promise.
LEONA MAGUIRE: Usually carry it about 187, 188.
THE MODERATOR: Go get cooled off. It's steamy on the here. Thanks so much. Good luck this week.
LEONA MAGUIRE: Thank you.
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