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June 4, 2013

Stacy Lewis


KRAIG KANN:  Thanks, everybody for being here.  Good afternoon, and welcome to the Wegmans LPGA Championship.  My name's Kraig Kann, the chief communications officer for the LPGA.  It is a true honor to have the woman sitting to my right, to your left, No. 2 in the Rolex ranking, No. 1 in Solheim Cup points for the United States, and No. 2 on the money list.  We welcome Stacy Lewis to the media center.  Thanks for being here.
Early part of the week, Monday‑Tuesday, we'll get to last week in a second, but what you been doing over the last couple of days.
STACY LEWIS:  Just been practicing.  My game hasn't quite been where I've wanted it, and so I have my coach in town, and we've been working on a few things and just really trying to get back under control my golf swing.

Q.  Was that always the plan to have your coach here or was that on a potential 911 call?
STACY LEWIS:¬† No, he was planning on coming.¬† I wanted him out last week, but he couldn't come.¬† So he came in early, and I needed to‑‑ I haven't played well really the last couple months.¬† So I needed to get control of my misses, get just the distance back and we're getting closer.

Q.  You haven't played well the last couple of months, but characteristically you've been in contention in many of those tournaments.  Last week uncharacteristically you fell out of contention.  Can you put a finger on that?  You really feel like you're playing that poorly?
STACY LEWIS:  No, I honestly came off the golf course on Saturday and didn't realize that I had shot 80.  I honestly didn't even feel like I played that poorly.  It's just the conditions were so hard and with one swing you could make a double.  I mean, I had two balls bury in the bunker.  The greens were bumpy, so it was just kind of a lot of things added up to that.  I was just ready to get out of there more than anything.

Q.  Are you feeling pressure to perform?  Is that something that you're dealing with right now in any way?
STACY LEWIS:¬† No, it's‑‑ I think I put more pressure on myself.¬† I don't feel pressure by anybody outside or anything like that.¬† It's just it's golf.¬† You go through cycles where you play well; you go through cycles where you don't play well, and you just kind of have to ride it out a little bit.

Q.  Is there any worry that there's a correlation between your average play and all the things that you're doing off the golf course?  Going to baseball games, doing how much more media than you've ever done before?  Going to GWA dinners blasting me?
STACY LEWIS:  That was fun though.

Q.  But I mean is there any worry there?
STACY LEWIS:  No, there's really not.  I feel like now I have a good control of the balance that I need there.  Going to the baseball game last week, that was fun.  I needed to go do that.  I needed to get away from the golf.  I mean, truthfully, Phoenix was probably the busiest week I've had all year and that was the best I've played all year.  So I don't think there is any correlation there.  I'm learning how to say no and how to schedule things better.

Q.  A lot of things have gone well for you for a long time now.  But you're 0 for 8 in your last eight majors.  Does that weigh on you up here?
STACY LEWIS:  A little bit.  I feel like I've had chances.  I've been in contention, so it doesn't really weigh on me that much.  But the U.S. Open weighs on me probably more than anything just because of how poorly I played there.  But I feel like my game is made for majors.  I think it's just kind of a matter of time.  So I'm not really that worried about it.

Q.  Let me follow that up with what you talked about, the Philly Fanatic experience last week at the baseball game and some of the other things.  Since you got to No. 1 in the world and because you are getting media attention from bigger publications and radio and TV, et cetera, what's been the biggest challenge that you've dealt with during that time and maybe the biggest surprise that you didn't even expect?
STACY LEWIS:  I think the challenge is probably just scheduling it all.  That's been the hardest part.  A lot of it has been a little bit outside of my comfort zone.  I don't think going and making a fool of myself on the field with the Fanatic is not really my thing to do, so it's a little bit outside of my comfort zone.  I'm learning to be more comfortable there.
I don't know.  I guess it's more the surprise about all the stuff that I have been able to do.  We just had the Golf Digest come out with a pretty big spread in there, and doing the stuff at the baseball game, going to CNN, going to the Masters.  I mean, I've gotten to do a lot of really cool things.  Kind of looking back on it, it's been a pretty cool year so far.

Q.  So you are learning the balance.  Okay.  You brought it up, so let's show everybody.  They can get their copy out there.  I don't know if everybody's seen this.
STACY LEWIS:  A little different side of me.

Q.  Here's the new side of Stacy Lewis.  If you haven't gotten the magazine, get your copy out there.  So here you go.  You haven't read the article yet, have you?
STACY LEWIS:  I have.  I was part of the article.  I helped do the article.

Q.¬† I know, you were the subject of the interview.¬† So you got the pre‑copy of it, huh?

Q.  What do you think about the way you're portrayed?  Is that exciting to you?
STACY LEWIS:  Yeah, I mean, my dad wasn't all too thrilled with it, I can tell you that.

Q.  With what?
STACY LEWIS:¬† These pictures.¬† But it's really not something that I would normally do.¬† Golf Digest came to me and said we're going to bring stylists, we're going to bring make‑up, and there are going to be heels and dresses.¬† I didn't really know if I wanted to say yes to it, but I think it's cool.¬† It shows off another side of me.¬† I don't know, I think people will like it.

Q.  Do you feel like the Tour is getting more of that type of attention?  Are you all for that type of, I guess I don't want to say pictorial, but that type of feature?
STACY LEWIS:  Yeah, I think some girls want these kind of things and some girls don't.  I wouldn't say necessarily I would go out searching for this, but some of the girls want to do "Sports Illustrated" swimsuit issues and when they want to do those kind of things and the body issue.  But you won't find me doing that anytime soon.  But I think everybody has their own little niche that they like to do.

Q.  In other sports, teams will say it's a good loss.  Is it possible to have a good 80?  You said there were circumstances around it, but is it possible to do that?  You said you weren't feeling good about the way you were playing.
STACY LEWIS:¬† Yeah, I mean, I probably felt like I shot 75.¬† I didn't feel like I shot 80.¬† Obviously, it didn't feel good.¬† More than anything I just wasn't in control of my golf ball.¬† I didn't know where I was going to miss it, and that was kind of the big thing that we've been working on the last couple of days.¬† That's‑‑ when I play my best, I know where the ball's going to go.¬† Sometimes I'm going to miss it a little right, and it's going to be okay, but there are always rounds where you shoot a pretty good even par or you can shoot a pretty bad even par.¬† So I mean it's just kind of the way things go.

Q.¬† I did read the story, and the thing I found most interesting was your reflection on going to Rwanda.¬† And I wanted to get some of your thoughts on reflecting on it what that was like, and what that means to you on a day‑to‑day basis when you think back?
STACY LEWIS:¬† Yeah, I went, the end of 2010.¬† I think the big thing that I took away was that playing professional golf, and with the money‑‑ the better you play, the more you can help other people, and that's what I really took away from it, because I didn't have a purpose for what I was doing out here.¬† I don't need the money.¬† I don't play for the money.¬† I play to win tournaments.¬† I play to take the trophy home.¬† That's what I play for.
So all this money and stuff was kind of strange to me.¬† So it gave me this purpose that I can help kids with Scoliosis.¬† I can help‑‑ I helped the LPGA Girl's Golf.¬† I can help the Sandy victims.¬† We're put on this pedestal where we can go out and help other people, and that's what I took away from it.

Q.¬† Let me ask you about the people, because you and I spent some time at the Masters before the dinner that night that Steve was alluding to, and we walked around at the par‑3 tournament.¬† I know that's a few months back.¬† But I know you were pretty amazed by the number of people that came up to you.¬† You were No. 1 in the world at that point and a very recognizable figure, and people saying, Hi, Stacy.¬† Can I get my picture?¬† And not to tell the whole story, but you were like, wow, this is interesting.¬† Sometimes not really sure of how you react or act in those situations.¬† How has that been for you to deal with the people that come and stop you wherever?
STACY LEWIS:¬† That's honestly probably been the hardest part of the last few months has been the recognition, the attention.¬† I mean, just today I was on the range for two minutes and there was a camera behind me.¬† It's just kind of you always have to be on guard.¬† You always have to be‑‑ you have to realize there are people around and people watching what you're doing.
It's been really hard for me.  Sometimes I want to crawl into a hole and hopefully nobody knows who I am, but you can't do that.  So I'm still trying to adjust to that.

Q.  Do you think that's going to be something over the next couple of years as you continue to evolve?  And I would say that is a decent word for what you're doing right now; you really are evolving in many ways.  Is that something you're really going to have to spend time focusing on?
STACY LEWIS:  Yeah, it is.  I was just thinking about my schedule for the next few weeks and we go where I'm thinking, well, I might have a tournament where I might get a break.  We go to Arkansas where it's never a break, and then we're going to the U.S. Open another major.  Then we go to Manulife where people went crazy for me last year.  Then we go to Toledo where I grew up.  Then we go to another major, and then we go to Solheim Cup.
So I don't think it's going to slow down soon.  I just have to keep learning.  It's not something that you learn just like that.

Q.  You said you didn't know where your golf ball was going.  It's probably not a good thing to have coming into this week, is it, based on what you've seen out here.
STACY LEWIS:  Yeah, this course, you've got to hit it straight.  That is the biggest thing.  Especially the tee ball is the most important thing on this golf course.  You have to stay out of the rough as many times as you can.  The hardest part is last week I played good the first day because it wasn't as windy.  Then as soon as the wind picked up, I had no control of the ball, so that's why the score went up from there.  So I don't think it was that far off.  I think the wind just exaggerated how far off I was.

Q.  You've played here well in the past.  So do you feel good coming in despite what happened last week?  Do you feel good about where your swing is and how you can get around this golf course and stay out of trouble?
STACY LEWIS:¬† I do.¬† I really do like this golf course.¬† A lot of the tee shots set‑up really good for me.¬† The greens are always fast.¬† You know you have to be able to hit shots and you have to be able to hit a cut, hit a draw.¬† It requires more than just let's hit it straight, straight, straight.¬† So I think‑‑ I love this golf course.¬† I play well on it.¬† For me it's just going to be kind of staying patient, knowing you're going to hit a few in the rough.

Q.  We're going to have Shanshan Feng in a little later today.  I wondered if you could talk a little bit, I don't know if you've gotten to know her at all, a little about your impressions of her personality?  She's the defending champ here, obviously.  Secondly, how do you think it's going to affect women's golf having an LPGA event in China, and just your thoughts about the Tour going into China this year?
STACY LEWIS:¬† Yeah, Shanshan, she's funny.¬† Her English is kind of broken a little bit, but when she's‑‑ she's pretty funny.¬† She'll tell jokes and she laughs a lot.¬† And she's fun to play with, actually, because you never know what she's going to say.¬† When she's not playing well, she's pretty honest with you.¬† Oh, I'm not playing well today.¬† And she's okay with that and goes about her merry way.
But she's been playing great.  She played great last week, and she's getting it going around the majors.  And going to China, we've been working on it for a few years and it was just a matter of time.  Just like Korea, I think the golfers are going to start coming out of China too.  At least we're getting ahead of the game there.  I want to go this year.  I want to go see what it's like.  And I'm sure for Shanshan, it will be a crazy week.

Q.¬† She is in the midst of a little trend on the LPGA right now.¬† The last eight major champions are all Asian‑born winners.¬† You are the last non‑Asian born winner of a major championship in 2011, Kerr and Creamer are also Americans who won majors prior to that.¬† What's that say about the Tour right now?
STACY LEWIS:¬† We're global.¬† I mean, we're global.¬† That is the nature of our Tour now.¬† I don't think it's a horrible thing.¬† I think‑‑ I just think they're great players.¬† You look at the list of the winners and they're all great players, so it's not really a surprise.¬† I don't know.¬† I'm looking to end that trend.
I was surprised when you told me that that I was the last one.  So I don't know.  I'm not surprised by it.

Q.  Am I remembering right that your first event as a pro was a major, right?  U.S. Women's Open; is that correct?

Q.  And then you were a factor in it immediately, And your first victory is a major championship.  Can you give us a little perspective on how majors fit into your priorities and goals?
STACY LEWIS:¬† I wouldn't say I wanted to win‑‑ I mean, I want to win tournaments.¬† Yeah, you want to make the majors, but I just want to win tournaments.¬† I think more than anything my game sets up for majors.¬† Hit it pretty straight, hit a lot of greens.¬† I'm a grinder.¬† I don't give up.¬† I think that's what always kind of keeps me in contention is I don't give up out there.
I don't know.  I love hard golf courses.  I love the challenge of just maybe a couple under par winning a tournament.  I think that's great.  I hope it's that way this week too.

Q.  Karrie Webb won last week, and she's the only player on the Tour currently playing that's won all five majors available to her during that time.  What do you think about slams and majors and what are your goals in that regard?  I know it's probably win as many as you can, but do you have target goals on those?

Q.  Really?
STACY LEWIS:¬† No.¬† I don't know.¬† I don't like to do long‑term stuff.¬† I don't want to say I want to be in the Hall of Fame or I want to win X‑number of tournaments or majors.¬† I just want to take every day for what it is.¬† I don't know with my back and everything how long I'm actually going to be able to play, so I don't want to put a timeframe on what I'm doing out here.¬† I just want to go out there every week and give myself a chance to win.

Q.  I know it's an old story for you, but not for people who see you once in a while, once a year.  You mentioned before that your key is you just don't give up.  Can you talk about the fact that your back condition kind of led you into golf and kind of defined your golf?  How do you look at that and put that into perspective?
STACY LEWIS:  I always say that if I had not gone through what I did as a kid, I would not be doing this right now.  My back and everything I went through made me the person that I am.  It made me want to fight.  It made me have the chip on my shoulder.  It made me want to work hard.
I mean, I think no kid in the world should go through what I did.  So, I don't know.  I'm grateful that it happened to me.  But at the time it was pretty bad.  But looking back, it was just a few years of my life, and I've got a lot more ahead of me.

Q.  Obviously, when you're No. 1, that carries a cache.  What about just being the top American?  Does something come with that?  Do you sense it when you're around like Cristie Kerr that you have something she wants?  Is there a sense of that?
STACY LEWIS:¬† Yeah, I know that‑‑ I know Kerr and Paula, they want the spot that I'm in.¬† They want to be the top American too.¬† I think it's good that we're competitive.¬† We need to be competitive with each other.¬† What's come along with that has been all the extra stuff.¬† I think being the top American, whether you're No. 1 in the world or not, you're going to have a lot of responsibilities.¬† I'm okay with that.¬† I don't mind it.¬† I'm growing into that role, and I want kids to go to college and go and get their degrees, and then come out and do this.
It's just to show people you don't have to turn pro at 18.  You can turn pro at 23 and still become No. 1 in the world.

Q.¬† I know you've reached out to Hall of Fame players, players that are really experienced about how to deal with the fame.¬† But some people just naturally love the camera.¬† They want that camera to be there a minute after they get there, and other people it took that I am long time and somebody that had to grow into that.¬† I wonder if you talk to people about that?¬† Sort of that natural‑‑ you might have a little bit of an aversion of people coming right up to you.¬† Maybe advice for other players who are more introverted have helped you maybe with that?
STACY LEWIS:¬† I mean, I've definitely asked a lot of people about it.¬† I was actually‑‑ I did Feherty's show, and we were sitting in the airport and somebody came up to him and said, "I love your show."¬† And his response was, "Well, why wouldn't you?"¬† And it was like I need to come up with a line like that.¬† I was like, I don't know if I can pull that off though.
I talked to him about it, I've talked to other players about it, and there is really no one secret to it.  Everybody's different.  Like you said, some people love that attention, and some people don't.  I mean, I don't play good golf so I have to do an interview or have a camera in my face afterwards.  That's not why I do it.  That just kind of comes along with the territory.  So it's more learning how to be flexible and adapt to it.

Q.  I think it was at the Player of the Year ceremony last year when you said a real pivotal point for you was when you talked to your dad about just being your dad, not your coach or anything.  Can you expand on that and what that did for you?
STACY LEWIS:¬† Yeah, it was.¬† It was in Hawaii last year.¬† So just over a year ago.¬† My dad had to step in and caddie for me because my caddie had a death in the family.¬† So it was a conversation that needed to happen.¬† He was still traveling quite a bit with me and being pretty involved.¬† It showed me that‑‑ we sat down and talked and I said, Dad, you need to take a step back.¬† I don't want to be my manager.¬† I don't want you to be my swing coach.¬† I don't want you to be my caddie.¬† I just want you to be my dad.¬† I want you to be there to give me a hug when I'm done whether I won or I lost, and that was all I wanted from him.¬† And since we had that talk, it's been great.¬† He's just been dad.
He doesn't need to be anything else, and he's coming out this week.  He loves the majors.  It's important to have everything off the golf course kind of in its place, so when you're out there you can free yourself up.

Q.  Last thing before we let you go.  Mickey Wright, Whitworth, Lopez, Sheehan, Sorenstam have all won this event, the LPGA Championship.  What would it mean to you to have this at the end of the week?
STACY LEWIS:¬† It would mean a lot.¬† Anytime you win a major you're going to be included on a pretty special list.¬† And just to win‑‑ this is the LPGA's major.¬† This is not anybody else's.¬† This is ours.¬† So to win this and keep it in the U.S. would be pretty nice.

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