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August 10, 2022

Leona Maguire

Georgia Hall

Linn Grant

Northern Ireland

Galgorm Castle & Massereene Golf Club

Press Conference

THE MODERATOR: Welcome everyone to our little roundtable here at the ISPS Handa World Invitational presented by AVIV Clinics.

I am joined by Georgia Hall, Leona Maguire, and Linn Grant. Start off with a couple questions and whatever you guys need, feel free to ask away.

Georgia, obviously coming off the major championship last week, a place that holds near and dear to you, what's it like coming off a major championship and coming over here to Northern Ireland?

GEORGIA HALL: Yeah, fourth week in a row for me and obviously loved playing last week at Muirfield. Definitely needed a day off on Monday.

Yeah, just really happy to be here. The weather is a lot better than last week, a lot warmer, which I think everyone is surprised about actually.

Yeah, I played in this event last year and really enjoyed it. Over two courses is different, and playing kind of with the men is very different. Yeah, so great golf course here. I'm excited to get going for tomorrow.

Q. What's it like preparing for two different courses. We don't get that on the LPGA Tour time and time again. What's the preparation like for you?

GEORGIA HALL: Slightly more hard work, which is not ideal. Like I say, we play the same course, one course every week, so it is nice for it to be different.

I'm only going to play -- I've only played nine on Massareene just because I don't want to play six rounds of 18 holes.

So, yeah, played a round here today. They're very different courses as well, so makes things interesting after two days of golf where everyone stands.

Q. Leona, welcome to your first LPGA, LET, DP World Tour, ISPS Handa World Invitational. Last year you had to miss this event because of the Olympics, but what's it been like coming to Northern Ireland knowing you will be able to tee it up this week?

LEONA MAGUIRE: Yeah, I think it will be a fun week. Nice to play in front of home crowds I guess, and I suppose the nice weather as well is an added bonus, so hopefully be plenty of people out to support this week.

Played in this event three years ago before it was sanctioned, so nice to go out where it's a little bit familiar I guess. Both courses are in really good shape, so, yeah, excited for a very different test this week than Muirfield last week.

Q. You finished with your best major finish last week at the AIG Women's Open. How do you hope to translate that?

LEONA MAGUIRE: Yeah, always nice to finish on Sunday with your best round of the week. Like I said, it will be very different test this week, get the ball in the air a little bit. The fairways are pretty bounce here in Massareene, a bit more than I expected, so, yeah, keeping the ball out of the rough this week I think will be the most important thing.

Last week it was the bunkers; this week the rough I think. Yeah, a different challenge, but looking forward to it.

Q. Linn, welcome here as well to you. DP World Tour has a lot of fun with you after what you were able to perform at the Scandinavian Mixed. What's it like to be back at a co-sanctioned event with the DP World Tour?

LINN GRANT: I mean, like this event, but just being here with the guys in kind of a different environment, co-sanctioned, and I just, yeah, I enjoy it. It's a bit different. It's a different week, but it's a fun week as well.

Q. You're also coming off a nice performance at the AIG Women's Open. What have you been feeling about your season so far about what you've been able to do on the Ladies European Tour this year?

LINN GRANT: Very happy with my results being my first full year. I wasn't -- like I didn't really know what the year would have for me, but I'm just very happy with my performance so far.

Looking forward to the rest of the season.

Q. Leona, I was chatting to Olivia yesterday and she said whenever she was coming up through the Irish amateur ranks there wasn't a professional tournament for you guys to look forward to. Now you have two. Just how big is it for you to see that sort of profile for Irish women's golf again?

LEONA MAGUIRE: Yeah, I suppose I was fortunate to be a few years ahead of Olivia, so I got to play in three Irish opens.

It's big. I mean, when we were kids, dad brought us to the men's Irish open because there was no women's one, and then got to have that experience as an amateur. I think any time as an amateur you get to test your game against the best players in the world it's always a good thing.

No different if you're -- I'm sure there be lots of kids walking around this week getting pictures, autographs, maybe getting a ball or two. Those are memories that stay with you.

Nice, like you said, that we have two events back on the schedule. Hopefully those events will build in strengths the next few years.

Q. Finding your best round of the week in the fourth round the Muirfield, was there anything you sort of found between Saturday and Sunday that really clicked?

LEONA MAGUIRE: Yeah, it's links golf. You have to be patient. I knew there was a score out there. I just hadn't holed enough putts over the first few days.

Yeah, just holed a few more on Sunday. All it needs is a bounce here or a bounce there; doesn't really take much for it to go either way.

Yeah, nice to have a bogey-free round on Sunday for sure.

Q. Muirfield last week took a lot of energy, mental and physical energy. How do you recover from that? I mean, this is kind of a week to take it easier. Still a tournament, but what do you do this week?

GEORGIA HALL: Yeah, I had a day off Monday and only played nine yesterday, so I feel like I got some energy back. Mostly mentally as well, because with the wind last week it was so tough to try and even relax because even walking down the fairway because you just were thinking about every shot.

This week I think obviously the course is maybe more simple. You kind of know where you're going; weather won't be as bad hopefully.

Yeah, in a way mentally you think it will be easier. It's still a very big tournament and one that I think we all want to win.

LEONA MAGUIRE: Yeah, I think Muirfield you couldn't switch off for a second. Like most links courses, you really have to pick your targets and execute as well. I think Massareene is sneaky tricky this week. There is a couple blind tee shots there and stuff.

So you want to prepare as well as you possibly can, but at the same time conserve energy, too. There a little bit more demands on my time this week as well than normally would at any other LPGA event.

It's nice to be home and in front of home, nice to be in front of home fans this week. I'm sure the spa at Galgorm will get a bit of extra use this week maybe.

LINN GRANT: No, I just totally agree. It's a different course this week, but back to target golf and hopefully making more birdies and not having to think about how not to make bogeys this week.

Just like Leona said, stay out of the rough and try to hit the green and hole some putts.

Q. One of the courses is going to be par 73. You don't normally play par 73s. Is there anything you have to do, or just assume there is one more stroke?

GEORGIA HALL: Yeah, not really. I think quite a few of the par-5s are reachable, so I think definitely low scores are out there, especially with weather like this.

Like Leona said, I think the other course can be quite tricky as well because it's got funny slopes in the greens. I think that course just need to play and get a decent correspond and get away from it. It's a little bit like that.

Yeah, playing together tomorrow on this one first, so be nice to play this and go back to the other one.

Q. And the demands on your time, I mean, there are probably things that you really enjoy, so what are the things with friends or with family or with the fans, the things that you take from this week that you really have a good time with and give you extra energy?

LEONA MAGUIRE: Yeah, I have plenty of friends and family coming to watch this week that don't normally get to see me play normally, so be nice to have them all around.

Yeah, just nice to feed off the energy of the crowd I suppose. Hopefully be plenty of people to support. Lots of the Irish guys playing this week. Steph and Livy are playing, too, so, yeah, hopefully the crowds rally behind us and hopefully we can put on a good of display as golf for them.

Q. Last thing: We talked about the Scandanavian Mixed, now this week here. I guess you can make the case for more mixed events where the purse is (indiscernible) to men and women?

LINN GRANT: I mean, I enjoy those events. I know everyone doesn't. I just think it's fun to have something new, kind of push golf in a different direction than what it's been.

Just, I mean, see both sides of golf and kind of get a comparison.

Q. Leona, after Solheim when you went home, open top car with your grandmother I believe.


Q. Was there a bit of an exodus from Cavan this week?

LEONA MAGUIRE: Coming up this week? Yeah, I mean, I hope they'll be up this week. Yeah, I don't really know. Hard to tell with these sort of things. Maybe be quieter Thursday, Friday; hopefully a few more at the weekend.

Q. In terms of the course, you say it's going to be very bouncy and you think keeping the ball out of the rough you were saying is going to be key. In terms of difficulty, how would you say Galgorm and Massareene stack up?

LEONA MAGUIRE: I think the scoring will be better at Galgorm. I think Massareene is quite short. They've grown up the rough, and same probably here. I think we're on a lot of the same tees as the guys in Massareene, so I think it's very much you'll make your score at Galgorm, keep it tight around Massareene, and, yeah, try to go low on Galgorm on the weekend then.

Q. You think the scoring will be low at Galgorm?

LEONA MAGUIRE: I mean, it's hard to tell. I don't know what the scores were like last year. It's one of those things, if you play well you'll be rewarded and if you miss shots you'll be punished. I think it's a pretty fair test.

Q. Georgia, you were saying four weeks in a row. What's the schedule from here in in over the next couple months?

GEORGIA HALL: I will go home for two weeks and then I've got four weeks in a row again in the U.S.

Then maybe like five, six weeks off. I'm not playing in Asia, which is nice. So then I'll just, yeah, just take that off. Then back in November in Florida for a couple weeks.

And then we have CME, which is like one of our biggest events of the year in Naples, which is pretty nice. Only 60 players, limited field. Yeah, nice one to finish the season on.

Q. On those weeks when you're off, do you touch a club or just completely unwind?

GEORGIA HALL: On my next two weeks off I will probably not for a couple days touch the club. After four weeks in a row I like to have like a whole week just getting away from it. More mentally because you're doing the same routine every day, and as we know, it can get tiring sometimes. I think it's important to take time away from golf.

Q. Linn, after you won, you've got to be the favorite this week after winning the previous men's and women's tournament. I know it's separate fields this time. I presume it would be great to do the double, as it were, in these type of formats?

LINN GRANT: Yeah, obviously a win is a win. You never know. Like Leona was saying, you never how slow this course is going to be, how everyone else is playing, so I just have to go out and do what I can do and see how far it takes me.

Q. Just one about a mindset change. You said you were grinding for the last week trying not to make mistakes. How do you switch to trying to be more aggressive? How do you do that? Is that something you have to mentally prepare for? Is there a lot of planning?

LINN GRANT: For me, it's probably the other way that's more difficult. You come from playing target golf pretty much the whole season and then you go into the British events and all of a sudden there is wind, you have to change your mindset.

So coming back to this week I think it's more of just like going back to what we used to do rather than the other way around.

Q. Leona, how about you?

LEONA MAGUIRE: Yeah, the trickiest thing this week is maybe only seeing the courses once and then splitting the preparation between both courses being a little different. Probably adjusting as well to the speed of the greens. I saw Massareene yesterday and won't see it again until Friday, so it may change a little bit between now and then.

Just be trying to adjust as quickly as possible. I mean ultimately any time you played a golf course you're trying to shoot as low a score as possible. I mean, even at Muirfield last week there was chances out there. You had to take them where you got them, and it's no different really this week.

Q. Georgia, same approach?

GEORGIA HALL: Yeah, I think you can maybe be a little bit more aggressive on these courses. The par-5s are more reachable. Last week if you missed a fairway or green you pretty much had to just chip out and try and get your par.

But I think this week is a little bit more -- you know you don't have to chip out if you miss the fairway really. You can still kind of go for the green.

I think a little bit more aggressive, but, yeah, there are holes you got to be careful of on both courses.

Q. Just a couple to wrap up for me. Leona, coming back here this Norther Ireland and Ireland in general, who did you look up to as you were playing as a kid and what does it mean to you now knowing kids are looking up to you?

LEONA MAGUIRE: Yeah, for me there was no Irish players on the LPGA, so it was the guys. It was Padraig Harrington and Tiger and those guys, getting to watch them and getting to follow Padraig around in Irish Opens and Paul McGinley, and Rory and Shane in later years.

On the ladies side I guess it was like Suzann and the girls like that that played the Solheim Cup in 2011 when it came to Ireland. We were on the junior team so got to follow them around for the tournament rounds.

Yeah, any of those girls that were on the Solheim Cup girl that year in Killeen Castle were sort of big heros of mine.

Q. What does it mean to come back to kind of your home event and be able to have kids come and know they're looking up to someone like you?

LEONA MAGUIRE: I think it's big. It's big to have a home event. I think you see with the Lionesses winning last week at Wembley, 89,000 people were there watching that, and that's going to inspire a generation of young girls.

I think when you see it on TV it's one thing. When you see it in person it brings it to another level, whether it's getting a picture or an autograph or a golf ball or whatever it is.

I know I had posters and I had pictures on my wall as a kid for years when I met different athletes. Yeah, I think it's extra special when you get to see it there in person.

Q. We talked a little bit after J.P. McManus. There has been some interesting stories of people that have looked up to you. I know one in particular, if you want to talk about the confirmation.

LEONA MAGUIRE: Oh, yeah. Yeah, I suppose, yeah, an Irish tradition, people take a saints name for their confirmation, and I met a little girl recently that took Leona instead. Definitely not a saint name, but, yeah, cool sort of thing I guess.

Yeah, a little bit surreal. I don't really know how I feel about it. It's a bit of pressure.

Q. Is there a saint for Leona?

LEONA MAGUIRE: I don't think so. I don't know.

Q. Saint Leona of Cavan has got ring to it, hasn't it? Any miracles yet?

LEONA MAGUIRE: No. Maybe a few this week maybe.

Q. One more from me. You're one of the highest ranked players in the field this week. What would a win mean to you?

LEONA MAGUIRE: Yeah, it would be very special. Any time you get to win on the LPGA is a cool thing. It's very hard to win on the LPGA. The standard every week is -- you have to do a lot, a lot of things right.

It's not just you that affects that, so ultimately you're just trying to play as well as you can. And if that's enough at the end of week it is; if not, still going to be a fantastic week here. Yeah, looking forward to it.

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