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WEGMANS LPGA CHAMPIONSHIP


June 4, 2013


Shanshan Feng


PITTSFORD, NEW YORK

KRAIG KANN:¬† Good afternoon, once again, welcome to the media center here at the Wegmans LPGA major championship for the LPGA this week.¬† It is a true pleasure to welcome in the defending champion, Shanshan Feng, No. 7 in the Rolex Rankings, and a winner here last year.¬† You remember that trophy, I bet, a two‑shot victory.¬† What do you think when you see that trophy?
SHANSHAN FENG:  Well, I'm actually I see my name on it right now because last year when I saw it, it didn't have my name on it.  I did ask for a copy, but then they said maybe not.  So I said okay.  But I'm still happy to see my name on there.
KRAIG KANN:¬† Yeah, it's got to look nice to have your name on there with some of the stars of the history of this event.¬† Mickey Wright, Kathy Whitworth‑‑ I rattled off some of the names‑‑ Nancy Lopez.¬† What does it mean for you to be part of those type of names?
SHANSHAN FENG:  That was my first LPGA victory, and it was a major, so I didn't expect it.  And I feel really honored to have my name on the trophy.  I'm really excited about this week because last week I had a good finish, and I think I'm ready for this week.

Q.  What in the big picture, Shanshan, did last year's win here do for you?  You were the first for mainland China to win on the LPGA, let alone win a major championship.  How did life change for you?
SHANSHAN FENG:¬† Well, I can't believe it's been a year already.¬† It felt like it was just maybe last month.¬† I would say that my life hasn't been really changed, because golf is getting more and more popular, but not as popular as the other sports.¬† But I would say that I was named the best non‑Olympic athlete last year of China because golf wasn't in the Olympics last year.¬† Now golf for sure is going to change a couple things.
KRAIG KANN:  A lot of people don't know what it was like when you went home for the first time and when you got off the airplane.  Can you tell us what that scene was like and what that experience was for the next few days?
SHANSHAN FENG:  Well, yeah, it did feel like I was a star.  Because when I arrived at the airport there were many fans and media that were waiting for me there, and we had interviews then I had press conferences in Beijing, and my hometown of Guangzhou.  We were trying to make it a big deal.

Q.  Was it hard to deal with all of that media or was it something that you really enjoyed?
SHANSHAN FENG:  I think I really enjoyed it because I was happy to see the media as we saw.  There weren't only media for golf; there were some media maybe just for life or for sports.  I was really happy because people didn't know much about golf in China, so we had a great chance to promote it, actually.

Q.  Last week you had a great finish.  It was your best finish of the year thus far.  You've had some top 10, but you were right in the hunt there last week.  Good time to be playing well.  What's been the difference for you?
SHANSHAN FENG:  Well, I changed my clubs.  The last week was the first week I was usually a whole other club, and I think it was working.  My iron shots were really accurate, and my short game was pretty good.  So I would say the clubs helped a lot.  It gave me a lot of confidence, because, like I said I've had three other top 10s this year, but the best was seven.  I never got a chance to get to really close to winning.  Then although I didn't win last week, I would say that my conditions were good, and I think I'm ready.

Q.  What difference did the change of club make for you?  It's a very hot topic on the PGA TOUR this year with Rory McIlroy and his change of clubs.  Sometimes it can affect a player in a negative way.  How did it help you?
SHANSHAN FENG:  Well, before, actually, before I was using the Elord club, I was using Honma clubs so it's not like it's a new brand for me.  I used them before for my first and second year on the TOUR.  So I've always liked their clubs.  I think, actually with the new irons I have a little different shape of club head.  I think it helps me to get to the ball easier maybe in the rough.  I think that's what helped the most.

Q.  I was wondering if you could say what is the most fun thing in the last year that you got to do maybe because you won the major?  Also, if you could talk about what it's going to be like to have an LPGA event in China this year?
SHANSHAN FENG:¬† Yeah, I was named the best non‑Olympic athlete last year, and actually the presentation was in January this year, and then I was there.¬† Actually, I think everybody knows, I think‑‑ a swimmer.

Q.  His name?  I don't know.
SHANSHAN FENG:  (No microphone).
Because we were able to play well nationwide.  I would say the LPGA in Beijing, I'm really looking forward to going.  I mean, it's Beijing.  Come on.
I think I haven't been in Beijing for, I don't know, maybe three or four years, maybe, and I really miss the Beijing duck.  Trust me, the Beijing duck in Beijing is the real one.  The ones here are maybe a little American style, so wait until you try the real ones.
And the course, I've only played once there when I was maybe 11 or 12, so I don't really remember it.  I believe it will be in really good shape.  And the CCTV is the main sports channel for China, and I think every day it's going to be on live, so I think that's the big thing.

Q.  I know a couple years ago when we went to Taiwan for the first time with Yani, it was an unbelievable scene.  Do you expect it will be the same for you?  Are we going to need police escorts for you wherever we go?  What will it be like do you think?
SHANSHAN FENG:  Well, no, I don't think so.  Yani's like a rock star in Taiwan.  It's like Ai Miyazato in Japan.  Me, in China, well, I think I still can have a hamburger in my hand and a Coke in my hand and eat on the street and nobody would recognize me.
But, of course, after we play better and better, of course more and more people will recognize us.

Q.  Stacy Lewis said you're funny on the course.  You like to tell jokes.  You are honest about your game.  Did it take you a while out here to be comfortable being with the other players like that or have you always been like that?
SHANSHAN FENG:  I think I'm always a very lucky girl.  My first year on Tour I was 18, so I was younger than everybody else, but everybody treats me really nicely.  They made me feel like I'm at home.  It's like a big family.  Then they taught me a lot.  Although, my first year I missed like nine cuts in the first ten tournaments, I think, so it wasn't a great start.  But then because of all the help, I got through the toughness, and I started to play well, and then I started to feel more and more comfortable.  And I think my English got a little better too.

Q.¬† I was just going to ask you.¬† I was sitting here listening to you thinking exactly that.¬† There are so many people that don't realize the Asian‑born players on the LPGA how hard they work, you all work, at learning the English language.¬† How important has that been for you?¬† Was that a priority that I have to get better?
SHANSHAN FENG:¬† Well, I mean, we have to study English at school.¬† I would say it was mostly just like grammar or writing, but speaking is always the weak part.¬† I think the first year, I think‑‑ it took me half a year for me to get used to it.¬† I've always loved learning languages.¬† So now I'm learning English, and I've learned a little Korean and a little Japanese.¬† Not Spanish yet, because I can't really roll my tongue so I can't do it.

Q.  Can you just talk about the golf course?  Did it look different than it looked last year?  What are your impressions on how you see it so far this year?
SHANSHAN FENG:¬† I just played nine holes before I came in.¬† I think the narrows are‑‑ the fairways are just as narrow.¬† The greens are actually maybe a little faster, I would say, and the rough is really, really thick, because this is only Tuesday, but I think as long as last year for the weekend already.¬† So I'm expecting to stay on the fairways, if anything.¬† And the scores won't be too low, I don't think.

Q.  Do you want them to cut that rough?  Would you like them to cut the rough down or do you think that helps you?
SHANSHAN FENG:  I think it helps me because that would give us more challenge.  Last year the reason I won was the final day I hit 17 fairways, and the only one that I missed the fairway, I made a birdie.  So I think that was why I won, so the longer, the better.

Q.  When you came back, did you have any flashbacks from last year?  Any memories when you came back yesterday or today?  Did you think back to last year?  What did you recall?
SHANSHAN FENG:¬† Yeah, I did.¬† I played the back nine today.¬† When I was on the 18th hole, I remember my little putt for winning.¬† I still remember it last year.¬† That was my first time to look at the scoreboard, the leaderboard, and I was leading by two and I had two downhill, left‑to‑right putts for par and maybe for the win.¬† I was really, really nervous.¬† Then I thought about I.K.'s putt at Kraft last year.¬† I was like I don't want to be the second I.K.¬† I've worked so hard here; I don't want to waste it all.¬† I have to make it, so I made it.¬† I still remember it.

Q.  You are 7th, as I said, in the Rolex Rankings.  If you look at the top 10 right now, there are seven different countries that are represented in the top 10.  Obviously Inbee No. 1, and Stacy No. 2.  But we've got Suzann Pettersen in the mix, and Ai Miyazato, you mentioned her name already, and we could go down the list with Yani.  But what does that say about the TOUR in your mind?  Do you enjoy that part of the TOUR that there are so many different countries, and what are your goals is number 1 something you always think of?  Have you told Inbee you want to knock her right off?
SHANSHAN FENG:¬† Well, are we filming that (laughing)?¬† Well, I would say I'm really enjoying it, because like I said earlier, I enjoy learning languages.¬† So I do hear many different languages.¬† I know a little Korean and Japanese.¬† So when they talk, actually, I can pick something up and I will feel happy.¬† Maybe I heard some secrets. ¬†Maybe some secrets.¬† Then‑‑ what was the second part?

Q.  You want to go get Inbee?
SHANSHAN FENG:¬† Oh, I totally forgot it.¬† I don't usually‑‑ when I set goals, I don't really set numbers.¬† Like I want to be No. 10, I want to be No. 5 or No. 1.¬† When I set goals I actually just try my best.¬† I actually look for somebody instead of like a number.
So Yani has been my target the whole career, because we are the same age and we've known each other since we were 13.  So she was always ahead.  Now I'm getting closer and closer, but still I haven't caught her yet.  Well, I'm still trying.

Q.  We're still filming by the way.
SHANSHAN FENG:  Oh, I told everybody.  Even she knows.  It's okay.  Yani knows.  But we're really good friends, but a target, it means like my goal.  Like somebody that I want to catch up, but not like I want to beat her down.

Q.  I imagine you watched at least some of the men's Masters this year and your own countrymen.  Just want to get your thoughts on him and how he did.  And really, what is the feeling about the Olympics in your country and what impact is that making on the people playing golf?
SHANSHAN FENG:¬† Well, yeah, I did watch the Masters because I think that week‑‑ that was our off week, actually.¬† I did watch the final day in Hawaii.¬† I took that day off.¬† Just to give myself an excuse to take that day off.¬† I was watching, and I watched Tianlang who did really, really well.¬† I think he's just amazing.
We are from the same hometown.  I watched him when he started playing golf, so it's just amazing that now he's playing that well.  I'm happy to see that happen, too, because now we have so many young, good players that are coming up, not only ladies, but also boys.
So I think maybe not 2016, but maybe 2020 or in the future, I think golf in China will become one of the most competitive countries in golf.

Q.  Do you feel like next year at the International Crown event at Caves Valley that China's going to be tough to beat?  Do you think you'll get into the mix?
SHANSHAN FENG:  The first question is are we in?  Like by the ranking last year, we weren't.

Q.  You've got a little work to do.
SHANSHAN FENG:  Well, it's not only about myself.

Q.  Right.
SHANSHAN FENG:  But I'm happy to know that our Chinese Tour starting this year is involved with the world ranking system.  So the Chinese, if they play in China, then they can actually gain world points, and then they'll improve their ranking.  So I really want to play the international crown.  Yes, I really want to play.

Q.  My final question, and I have to ask you this:  You didn't always want to be a golfer.  You wanted to be a singer, correct?  Is that the story?
SHANSHAN FENG:  That's really, really little though.

Q.  How little?  Did you sing a lot?
SHANSHAN FENG:  Maybe 9, 10.  I mean, I still like singing, but I really like karaoke.

Q.  Karaoke?
SHANSHAN FENG:  Yeah, but I'm not really good at it.  I just enjoy it.  So usually I don't invite too many people because, well, I don't sing that well.

Q.  Well, maybe you'll be singing a victory tune again this week.
SHANSHAN FENG:  Okay.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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