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July 30, 2013

Stacy Lewis


COLIN CALLANDER:¬† I'd like to welcome Stacy Lewis today, world No.2, Rolex Player of the Year last year on the LPGA Tour, and I believe you were 5‑0 at Curtis Cup here back in 2008.¬† You must have some warm memories of the place.
STACY LEWIS:  Yeah, I do.  It's cool to be back.  I have a lot of good memories.  I played a practice round yesterday with Alison Walshe, and we played three matches together during that week and won them all.  It was cool.  We kind of went back and talked about shots we hit, holes we won matches on and things like that.
So it's really cool to be back, and I remember a lot of the course, which is nice.  Because normally coming into the British Open, I don't know new of the golf courses, so coming here knowing the course is really nice.
COLIN CALLANDER:  How does the course compare between now and then?  Is it greener?  Browner?
STACY LEWIS:  You know, that part of it is pretty similar.  That week at the Curtis Cup that we had every weather, every wind direction.
So I definitely got to see a lot of the course.  A couple tees are different.  Obviously the course made some changes, so it's a little different there, but overall, it's what I remember.
COLIN CALLANDER:  You've played quite a few Open courses now.  Is this one of your favourites?
STACY LEWIS:¬† I think so‑‑ part of it is when you play well some, where you definitely like it.¬† I definitely do.¬† Compared to a lot of the other links courses I've played, it's a lot more fair.¬† You hit a good shot, you're rewarded for it.¬† There's bunkers in the right places for missed shots but for good shots, you're going to get rewarded, and I like that.¬†

Q.  The Majors have been a little rough for you, and you have not played as well as you wanted to; can you reflect on why that is, and how do you feel like you could maybe change that this week?
STACY LEWIS:  You know, I don't really know why.  It seems that everything was a little bit different.  Wegman's, I wasn't hitting the ball well, and Kraft was a bad putting week and U.S. Open, I wasn't putting well, either.  They were all a little different.
You can't really put it on one thing specific, but I feel like the last few weeks, I've worked on a lot of really good things.  I've had a couple Top 10s.  I feel like my game is moving in the right direction.  It's just kind of getting everything together for four days, but I feel like I'm moving and I'm doing the right things now.

Q.¬† A 17‑year‑old Chinese girl burned up Kingsbarns yesterday to qualify.¬† I just wonder if you think that may be the future of women's golf, and also what you make of Shanshan Feng as a player?
STACY LEWIS:  Well, it's not surprising, whether he's 15 or 17, the age doesn't really seem to matter anymore on our tour.  I think China is a country that as a tour, we were looking to go play there.  Shanshan's success is why we are going there this year, why we have a tournament there.
You know, I think like South Korea boomed when Se Ri came out and won, and you know, I think Shanshan winning a major last year is kind of doing the same thing.  So I think in the next few years in China, we'll see a lot more players coming out.

Q.¬† And Shanshan, can she compete this week‑‑
STACY LEWIS:  I think this year she probably has not played as well as she did last year but she's a good enough player that at a major, she's going to show up and you can expect her to be there.

Q.  You talked about your form in the Majors this year, but in your British Open form, you've improved steadily every year, and presumably comfortable playing on the U.K. courses.
STACY LEWIS:  Yeah, this style of golf is just so different.  You really have to learn how to play here.  You have to learn how to manage your game and how to play certain shots and stay patient.  That's the big key out here is that you're going to get some funky bounces and you just kind of have to roll with it and go into it with an open mind, knowing that if the wind blows, it's going to play really hard; if the wind doesn't blow, you're going to have to make some birdies.
Your game plan changes every day, and it takes playing a lot of it to figure it out.

Q.  We were following Inbee Park around this morning.  Obviously there's a lot of media attention because of the potential fourth major; do you think that will faze her or will she be able to play her own game?
STACY LEWIS:  I don't know, you would think after winning two of them it would faze her a little bit, but obviously at the U.S. Open, it didn't.
I don't know, Inbee is playing so good this year, and she is so steady, you would not know whether she's winning a tournament or whether she's losing it, and that's what you need in a major.  As a player, I expect her to play well.  I expect her to be there on Sunday to be up on the leaderboard having a chance.
But, you know, as a player, you would like to know if she's human a little bit, to see if she actually feels the nerves like the rest of us do.

Q.  Can you talk about that in a little more broad sense, and how as you've matured as a golfer, how you do handle that pressure when you become one of the very elite players on the LPGA Tour and how you keep that from becoming too big?
STACY LEWIS:¬† Well, for me, it's been a learning process.¬† You know, I think you have a little bit of success and more people‑‑ there's more pressure there, and you have some more and every level I've gone up, there's been more and more pressure there.¬† I've had to learn.¬† It's taken me a couple of years to figure it out and I feel like I'm still learning it a little bit.
It's something that you can tell players that have been in contention.  They have been in those final groups, seeing their names on leader boards; you can just tell in their demeanor coming up the last few holes that they have been there.  You know, I don't know what it is or pinpoint it or what to tell somebody, but you just have to get there and you have to experience it and learn how your body reacts to it.

Q.  Stacy, you gave us a little insight into Inbee Park.  Can you tell us a little bit more?  What's she like to play with?  Tell us something to bring her to life for those of us that don't know her that well.
STACY LEWIS:  Well, she's very quiet on the golf course.  You don't get a lot out of her.  It's funny, you always see her and her fiancé when they are traveling, they are always holding hands walking in the airport and they are very cute together.  You can tell she's very happy in her life, very happy in her personal life and obviously very happy with where her golf game is.  When things are going well off the course, it makes playing a lot easier, so you can just tell she's happy, and I think more than anything, that's what's showing in her game.

Q.  Do they hold hands on the course?
STACY LEWIS:¬† Oh, no‑‑ no, she's outside the ropes (laughing)

Q.¬† Another American with KPMG on his cap won 1.4 million at Muirfield‑‑ like Wimbledon, do you think it will be the same level of prize money in the women's majors as there is in the men's?
STACY LEWIS:  I think that's the ultimate goal for all of us is to be playing for the same amount of money as the guys and playing on the same golf course, the best golf courses like the guys and playing for the same amount of money, that's where we all want to get to.  I hope I'm still on Tour when it happens, if it happens.  It's something that we struggle to get the recognition and the credibility that we deserve.
I think for what Inbee is doing right now, she's not getting the credit that she deserves for it.  If somebody was doing this on the men's tour, it would be being talked over and over and over again for a month before the major, not just a couple days before this that it starts getting talked about.
So I don't think as a tour we've gotten the credibility that we have deserved and it's something that we are struggling to get to.

Q.¬† Would you say in tennis‑‑ (Inaudible.)
STACY LEWIS:¬† I don't know.¬† And I think it's a lot of‑‑ it's the sponsors, the guys, they get so much exposure and the crowds they get out and the ratings they get on TV, that certainly has a lot to do with the prize money and the amount these sponsors are willing to put up.
Somehow we have to get more coverage on TV, more people watching us and more people out to tournaments.  Tennis, they have a little bit of an advantage with the equal prize money because they are at the same place at the same time playing those events.  They have a little bit of help there, where we hardly ever even see the guys.  Other than that, I don't know.

Q.¬† With the equality and recognition, does it frustrate you when you see a governing body like the R&A continue to take its major championships to all‑male clubs?
STACY LEWIS:¬† You know, I don't have a problem with the all‑male clubs.¬† I think in Canada, there's an all‑female club, so there you go.
But I don't have a problem with it.  I think if the club wants to be that way on tradition, that's fine with me.  But I think the clubs are missing out on some really great players getting to play their golf course, and you know, more than anything, I think it's their loss.

Q.  Do you not think it's our traditions which are responsible for the way things are; that because it's always been men first since the beginnings of golf?
STACY LEWIS:  Not just in golf; however many years ago, it was men first.  But society has changed.  It's 2013 and women and men are much more equal footing now than we used to be, so golf, it's certainly been slower on some levels.  Augusta National allowing two women to join this year was huge for us.
So I think‑‑ I don't see it being that way for a long time.¬† I think eventually there's going to be some change there just from the pressure outside.¬† But, you know, as a player, I'll just go play someplace else, that's fine with me.

Q.¬† Talk about the responsibility of top players.¬† Sometimes, stepping out of your personality a little bit‑‑ Inbee is very shy and you started maybe a little shy and you've had to open up and had to have a more expansive personality that for extroverts would be easy.¬† Do you feel that top players have a responsibility to do that to push themselves personality‑wise a little?
STACY LEWIS:  Yeah, I think we do.  I think that's what drives our tour and all sports in general is the personalities.
I knew when I started playing better, I knew I needed to get comfortable up here and I knew I needed to get comfortable answering questions and do things outside of my comfort zone.  I did a photo shoot in dresses and heels and all that and that's not my thing at all, but I needed to do it to get that exposure for our tour.
If you realise the big picture, what's better for the Tour is also going to be good for me and good for everybody else; that it's something you need to do and you need to learn how to do it, and Inbee is doing it.  She's learning and she's definitely not as shy as she used to be.  She's getting out there a little bit.  Hopefully we'll see her kind of start to open up a little bit here soon.

Q.  Also, there's so much of the season left still, and Solheim Cup coming up, another major now after this one, the whole swing going to Asia; can you talk about pacing yourself through a year, because it's late July and there's still so much left to go.
STACY LEWIS:  Yeah, this year is a little different than past years, because past years, we've had all our Majors kind of crammed into a couple months, and then you can just kind of coast from there.
But now you really have to kind of manage your energy level more and there's times where you want to make sure your game is peaking.  It's definitely been a little different this year, but at the same time, it's kind of fun, because you have more things to look forward to.  Instead of kind of September, you're kind of winding down your season, instead, we've got another major to play for.
And it's good for the Tour because we've got that exposure spread out over a year instead of just being in two months.

Q.  I know everybody including yourself wants to win this week, but curious what the chatter is like in the locker room about Inbee.  Are you pulling for history, if you can't win, go for history, or is everyone trying to gun for her?  What's the overall feeling?
STACY LEWIS:  I don't know, I think everybody personally wants to win.  I don't know, I think you want to be that person that kind of spoils history a little bit.
But if Inbee did it, you want her to do it by playing great golf.  That's what you want at the end of the day.  You want a good golf tournament.  You want players competing at the end.
But I wouldn't say players are pulling one way or the other, I don't think.

Q.¬† Just coming back to this question of the huge diversity in prize money between the men and the women, do you think that sponsors, broadcasters, maybe even us guys in the media tent here, are guilty of selling women's golf a little bit short and trying to get world‑class sport on the cheap?
STACY LEWIS:  I don't know.  That's a pretty broad question.  Women's sports in general have struggled.  Tennis has probably done the best out of anybody, but women's sports, it's not talked about on SportsCenter and the news, it's not talked about all the time.  I don't know how you increase that, other than, all I know how to do is go play better golf.
You see the guys, they get out there, they hit it 300, these 350‑yard drives.¬† We are girls, we are not supposed to hit it that far.¬† But if you put us on the same golf course with comparable clubs on every hole, we would probably compete just with them, and that's what I don't think people realise, we can compete with the guys.
When I'm at home playing with some of the Tour players, I compete with them and we play money games and I take their money sometimes.¬† I don't think people realise how good of a talent we have out here and they don't realise‑‑ there's some really great golfers out here and I don't think people realise it at all.

Q.  (Inaudible.).
STACY LEWIS:¬† Yeah, maybe, I don't know.¬† I don't know how you‑‑ Michelle has played in some PGA TOUR events, but I don't think that's the answer, because the guys play such a different game than us.¬† The clubs they hit and the distances they hit them, they can't compete with that, so I don't know how you cross genders there.

Q.  Let's get back to these money games at home, get some names of the conquests.
STACY LEWIS:  Some names, I can't give away names (laughing).

Q.  What you said, playing at the same venue, all the Grand Slam events, wonder if you can look ahead to next year at Pinehurst, how you think that will go down?
STACY LEWIS:  I'll be interested to see how that goes down.  I have some worries there, what if there's a Monday playoff.  Logistically getting in and out is going to be a mess; what the golf course is going to look like after the guys play it for a week.  Those kind of things worry about, but in general, I'm excited to go there, and it's a great golf course; and to play an Open, that's where you want to go.  We are getting to play the better golf courses, which I like that a lot.  I'm just worried about the whole logistics of it.

Q.  (Will you go and watch the men play?)
STACY LEWIS:  Probably not.  You've been to a U.S. Open, I don't want to go mess with the crowds and try to watch that.
COLIN CALLANDER:  Thank you very much and good luck this week.

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