July 2, 2002
MODERATOR: Ladies and gentlemen, we're delighted to have with us one of the two youngest contestants in the Open this year, Aree Wongluekiet, 16 years old, first Women's Open championship. You may recall her sister, Naree, played in Chicago at the Merit Club and was low amateur this year, but, however, Aree has told us that her sister will be not only caddying, she's going to be carrying the bag, which I think is a rough thing to do to your sister.
How did you reach that agreement.
AREE WONGLUEKIET: My sister and I have caddied for one another for a couple times now. And we've had a lot of success, you know, with each other, on the bag, so I think it will help.
Q. What does she do for you that helps your game?
AREE WONGLUEKIET: I think she knows my game the best, so she helps me a lot with club selection and just reading the greens.
Q. And this is your first Women's Open championship. What does it feel like being here this week? I know you've played with the professionals before, but this is our national championship.
AREE WONGLUEKIET: Very exciting. It's always been a goal of mine to compete in the U.S. Open, so just being here is an honor. One of my goals was to qualify for this championship this year, and I accomplished that. Just atmosphere here is very different towards the tournaments.
There is a lot of amateurs in the field, and not many places you get, you know, people cheering for you in the practice rounds, so it's nice.
Q. I'm going to ask you a cliche question, but what are your expectations this week?
AREE WONGLUEKIET: I think I'm going to have my hands full because the golf course is set up so difficult. It's everything I expect for a U.S. Women's Open: Thick rough, fast greens, and small fairways, so try and stick to my plan to stick to fairways and greens, and make some putts.
Q. I know two years ago you didn't sulk when you didn't get in and your sister did; you went and won the World by 12 shots, the World Junior, the same week, but were you jealous that Naree got in the Open before you did?
AREE WONGLUEKIET: Little bit. She played really well on the weekend, and she was a low amateur, so I was little bit jealous, but she told me all about it when we got home, and she said it's the most fun she's ever had at a tournament, so I was really looking forward to this week.
Q. And then Aree turned right around that year and reached the semifinals of the Women's Amateur, so you got a little revenge there.
What's going to stop you guys, let's say you're not playing well on Thursday. Do you go to the bathroom, change shoes, and let Naree come and play for you for a little bit.
AREE WONGLUEKIET: We've thought about that, but Naree doesn't have her braces anymore, so I think that would be difficult to pull off.
Q. How much do you guys, I guess, help each other? Like, do you read golf courses, or do you approach your game similarly, or are there things you do better or that she does better that you can help each other with?
AREE WONGLUEKIET: I think our games are very similar, but there are few differences here and there, but she knows, and -- she knows the way I feel over certain shots, and I think it will be very helpful to get a second opinion on some of the shots I'm going to play during the week.
Q. In what areas of golf are you stronger than Naree and in what areas is she stronger?
AREE WONGLUEKIET: I think it depends on the week, really. It depends on the week, but I think we are both pretty consistent all around.
Q. Perhaps you can help me remember back to a couple years ago, or last summer, perhaps, when you and your sister played at an amateur tournament in Lawrence, Kansas, did very well in the tournament. Will the experience with the hot, Midwestern heat, and the wind, and all that help at all when you come back to this state?
AREE WONGLUEKIET: It does a little bit. It does -- we grew up in Thailand, which the weather is very similar to here, and I think it will help. I think it will help.
Q. I know your dad is infamous now for driving everywhere in his station wagon. Did you guys drive here?
AREE WONGLUEKIET: No, we flew here.
Q. Has he let you start driving yet in the car? I know you guys drove to Rochester; you have permits. Do you get to drive in the car with him?
AREE WONGLUEKIET: Yeah, we got our permits in, I think, February, so I think we'll be driving more.
Q. How many more sponsor exceptions do you have with the LPGA? And do you know what they are going to be this year?
AREE WONGLUEKIET: I'm going to try and Monday qualify for the Giant Eagle. My sister is in the tournament on an exception, so I'm going to go on Monday and qualify; I think that's next week.
Then at the end of August there is the State Farm, I'm in for the sponsor exception for that one, and my sister is going to Monday qualify.
MODERATOR: Any other questions? Aree, thanks so much for being with us. Have a wonderful week. Play good golf.
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