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KRAFT NABISCO CHAMPIONSHIP


March 28, 2006


Michelle Wie


RANCHO MIRAGE, CALIFORNIA

PAUL ROVNAK: Michelle, thanks no coming in and joining us.

MICHELLE WIE: Thank you.

PAUL ROVNAK: This is your fourth appearance at the Kraft Nabisco Championship.

MICHELLE WIE: Yes.

PAUL ROVNAK: Two top tens and another top 20 in there. You've played extremely well here. Give us your thoughts coming in this week.

MICHELLE WIE: I feel so awesome to come back to this event. It's a very well run event and the golf course is in absolutely perfect shape right now. I have many great memories here and I'm really happy to be back.

PAUL ROVNAK: We'll go ahead and take questions.

Q. Having been coming here for so many years, I remember when they were take driver, 3 wood, to get on the 18th green. What does it take with today's clubs and a swing like yours?

MICHELLE WIE: Well, to get on 18. Hopefully if I'm within like 200 yards, a 5 iron or a nice 5 wood. It depends on the wind condition and how I feel. I tried to go for it twice last year. You guys now how that ended up.

Q. Speaking of that, you've been on a workout program to add some length to your drives and I spoke to

Mr. Leadbetter back in February, and he felt positively it was coming along. Have you noticed any changeable results at this point?

MICHELLE WIE: I've been working with Paul since like well, we haven't for like the past couple of years, I haven't been doing weight training, just injury prevention. Now I'm doing weight training and I feel stronger, especially coming out of the rough. In the practice rounds I was hitting out of the rough and I actually felt stronger hitting out of the rough. And my irons are getting a little bit more yardage. But overall, I just feel great. I feel I'm in great shape and I feel stronger. I can actually do a couple of push ups now, which I'm really proud of myself.

Q. You played in Hawaii and now you've not played for about a month. That's always the question, I guess, with just eight events on the women's Tour, at least. Are you getting more comfortable with the idea that there are months or six weeks where you might not play? Can you get into a rhythm easier now?

MICHELLE WIE: I try to play more rounds. I act like I'm in a tournament. Okay, this is the first round. This is the second round. I try to get into my rhythm. But I feel I've been doing a lot of good quality practice in my off season. But I've been going to school, I've been studying really hard, unfortunately, and just having a regular life, and I think I've been having a lot of fun doing that.

Q. This is your first major as a professional.

MICHELLE WIE: Yes.

Q. Is it different for you? Are you approaching it any differently?

MICHELLE WIE: I didn't really realize it was my first major as a professional. I was on the first tee in the Pro Am and they read that little card that says what your achievements are and stuff like that, and it said she is playing in her first major as a professional. And I was thinking, Oh, really, that's really cool.

When I registered I got my tax form. And I was like, "What's that?" It came back to me slowly. But I'm excited for this event.

Q. When you're playing these imaginary rounds during practice, what does the leaderboard look at?

MICHELLE WIE: I just go out with like a score in mind and then I just try to beat that score or play that score.

Q. You're not standing on 18 saying I need this putt to

MICHELLE WIE: Like for instance, I usually play with two balls, like I just played 36 holes in 18 holes, because I don't have that much time. So I'm like, I'll shoot like 12 under in two rounds. And I'm like on the 18th green and I'm at 11 under and I'll like putt for birdie. It's really like that. It's not like so and so is 14 under. I better catch up to her. I think that's how I'm training myself.

Q. And lastly, is there a part of you that looks forward to summer when you can play and play and play instead of play and take six weeks off?

MICHELLE WIE: Yes, I'm definitely excited for the summer. It means no school and just golf. It's going to be really exciting. I had two tournaments in Hawaii and then I didn't travel a long time. And I was kind of like, "I want to get on a plane again. I want to travel again."

The summer is going to be awesome. It's going to be a great summer. And I'm going to be a senior when I get back, so that's going to be really awesome. I'm really excited for it.

Q. How did you improve as a player compared to last year?

MICHELLE WIE: I just feel like I've gotten a little bit more mature and a little bit more realistic with myself. I'm out on the golf course trying to hopefully I've gotten a little bit better at judging the situation when I'm on the golf course when I go for it. I feel think I'm trying to play smarter and hopefully I'm doing it.

Q. I know you are asked this almost every time you appear. I'm curious what your long range plan is at this point is, if there is such a time. I know you talked about playing on the men's Tour, wanting to play in the Masters, wanting to go to college. Where do you see this going?

MICHELLE WIE: I want to get into a really good college and play on the PGA, play in the Masters, which is my lifelong golf dream to play there, and to win a couple of tournaments on the LPGA, just be a better person, better player overall. Every year I just want to see myself improve.

Q. You've taken criticism (No microphone) LPGA tour. Does that concern you or something you see saying on a regular basis?

MICHELLE WIE: I don't think it's right to criticize someone in what they believe in. Obviously I do want to win everything when I come out here, but I just don't want to put that much pressure on myself. I just want to because I'm just here to have fun, to play well, to win. That's what I'm all about. Obviously I want to win, but it's kind of hard to win every single week, especially when I take a month off in between. I'm just out here to have a good time, to play well and to feel like this is what I enjoy doing.

Q. Can you approximate tournament conditions when you go out to practice?

MICHELLE WIE: Here?

Q. Yes.

MICHELLE WIE: I think the greens are really fast this year. The rough the course is in absolutely top condition right now, and I think the greens are going to be awesome. They're rolling really fast right now. I came out here on Sunday and they were rolling like 11 and a half, and I thought, Wow, it's Sunday. What are they going to be like next week. The greens are in perfect condition. The fairways are nice. I think it's going to be a good test of golf.

Q. When you're home in Hawaii, can you approximate tournament conditions?

MICHELLE WIE: Obviously it's very different because it's not tournament conditions, it's just regular play conditions, but the greens I've been practicing a local at Ko Olina. I am a member at Waialae, which is pretty cool. The greens are fabulous. I've been practicing a lot more than I have been a long time ago. So I feel really good about that. The golf course conditions are really nice, but it's a little bit different because it's not tournament conditions.

Q. Was it hard to get into Waialae?

MICHELLE WIE: I was very fortunate. The chairman gave me an honorary membership, so I'm thankful to them because I can practice there a lot now. And they have the best greens. Obviously, it's the course for the Sony Open, so I'm very grateful for that.

Q. (No microphone.)

MICHELLE WIE: Yes, it's pretty cool.

Q. Which men's events are you going to play in coming up? And what are your plans for the British Open? Are you going to try to qualify?

MICHELLE WIE: I would love to qualify for the British Open, but I have so many tournaments planned in for the summer. I don't think I will be able to qualify for the British Open. But it's awesome they opened the invitation up to the top 3 in the majors for qualifying. I think that's awesome. But unfortunately this year I don't think I will be able to qualify for that.

I want to play in a couple PGA tournaments over the summer and the last part of the year. So I'll play in the John Deere, I think. I'm not really sure what else.

Q. Other than the membership at Waialae and the house at Bighorn, has professional life been any different than the six months before that?

MICHELLE WIE: Not at all. I'm not really doing anything differently. I'm really grateful that I'm lucky that I'm not home schooled right now, that I've turned pro. I'm really grateful that I get to be normal when I get back home, go to school. Nothing has really changed. I'm still the same person.

Q. Is there anything about being a professional, the way people react to you that's surprised you?

MICHELLE WIE: Not really. No one at school really knew the difference between a professional and an amateur. They're like, "What? You just turned pro? I thought you were already a pro." And I'm like, "No, I was an amateur."

"You weren't pro?"

I'm like, "No." So it was like that. They don't really know the difference.

Q. As a pro, though, you have corporate sponsors. Do you have any corporate outing responsibilities or corporate entertainment responsibilities? Have you encountered any of that yet?

MICHELLE WIE: I just did an Omega announcement down in Beverly Hills. I'm grateful for my sponsors, Nike, Sony, Omega. They realize I'm a student and a golfer so they try to work around my schedule. They know I don't have that much spare time. They've been really considerate of that. I haven't done any golf outings, but I'm excited for that. The Omega announcement thing was pretty cool because I met Cindy Crawford, and that was pretty awesome.

Q. Morgan is going to be in here a little bit and she's been fairly vocal about your career. And you just said earlier you shouldn't talk about other people's careers, you should think about your own. What are your thoughts about what she has said in the past and do you think she feels differently now that she's on the pro tour? What do you think?

MICHELLE WIE: I think everybody has a right to say whatever they want to say. I say what I want to say. I think it's great she has an opinion. Everyone should have an opinion on things. My opinion is that she has a right to say whatever she wants to say. I guess that's what she believes. That's that.

Q. As a follow up, I know that we in the media are anticipating this big rivalry between the two of you. Are you happy she's out here, to have someone of a similar age who is getting similar attention? How do you look at Morgan being out here?

MICHELLE WIE: Well, I don't really think of anything. I don't really think of much when I'm out on the golf course. I'm pretty much thinking about, okay, how am I going to play the next shot, how am I going to get ready for the tournament. I don't think about, I'm glad there are a lot of people my age coming up. I think it's great there are a lot of younger people coming up on the LPGA. I don't think of it as a rivalry. I'm out there trying to be the best, and she's out there trying to be the best. If that's what rivalry is, then I guess that's what it is, but when I'm out there, I'm just trying to think about how I'm going to hit the next shot. That's all I'm focused about.

Q. Do you feel you have to kind of bite your tongue or hold back on responding to maybe criticism sometimes?

MICHELLE WIE: No, not really. I don't really try to bite my tongue. That would hurt, if I tried to bite my tongue. (Laughter). I'm just out here telling my story. I think I'm doing a good job of that.

Q. Two questions: You've seen some of the things she's said and you've been aware of them. When you played together at the last day at Ko Olina, was there anything different, maybe not motivation, but was it different than if you had been paired with someone else?

MICHELLE WIE: Not really. She's a sweet girl and it was a fun time. She's a very talented girl. I think she's going to do very well for herself out there. There's no really extra tension or extra motivation.

Q. And secondly, if you could kind of use hand signals where would you put Annika Sorenstam, where would you put yourself, and what do you think you have to do specifically to get to where she is?

MICHELLE WIE: I don't think it's black and white. She is the No. 1 player in the world, obviously, and she's very talented. I look up to her. And it's really hard to measure, because I think I try to think of myself very highly, although I may not be all that I want to be, but it's kind of hard to put it in hand signals. It's not as simple as it seems.

Q. Since you started playing in pro events when you were 12, which of those events do you feel you played closest to your potential and for what reason?

MICHELLE WIE: I don't know. I can't really think that far back. I feel like I played really well at the Fields Open. I feel my putts were going in. I felt very comfortable with the golf course and how I was playing. But I think there's always, when I play in tournaments, there's always something I can do better and hopefully this tournament will be the case.

Q. Please share with us the evolution of course management in your game. It seemed like at Samsung there were a few shots that were placed in situations that made the next shot more difficult. Is that an area that you've worked on?

MICHELLE WIE: Yes. I just can't come out here and, bam, know how to manage the golf course. It's a really slow learning process. You have to put yourself in tough situations so you can learn from them. I think I've been in a couple of tough situations out on the golf course. I just keep on learning. The more tournaments I play in and the older I get, I think I will just get better and better. It's a slow learning process and I feel like I'm getting there.

Q. And you don't feel a sense of urgency at your age?

MICHELLE WIE: No. I mean, I'm only 16, although I want to be better like when I wake up in the morning, but I know that's not going to happen. Some days I'll feel I'm on top of my game, some days I won't. As I get older, I'm trying to learn that some days won't be as good as others. I'll get better every day, and I'm just realizing like.

PAUL ROVNAK: Thank you, Michelle.

End of FastScripts.

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