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August 20, 2013

Lorie Kane


THE MODERATOR:  I'd like to welcome Lorie Kane into the interview room.  Thanks for coming in.  A big week for you.  You're always a superstar up in Canada.  I was in Waterloo with you a couple weeks ago and everyone wants a piece of you and now you're here and you're an ambassador.  Talk about how good it is to be back in Canada and how good it is to come back and be at home in your country.
LORIE KANE:  Yes.  It's the other side of the country, but it is Canada and it is great to be back at Edmonton.  I was here in June to do the media blitz and to start the Miracle Match drive, and happy to say that that has gone very well and continues to grow.
Royal Mayfair hosted us in '07 and is in really fine shape.  I got to play nine holes yesterday in the ladies' pro‑am.  We'll go out this afternoon to play the back nine and then play in the pro‑am tomorrow morning with Club Mojo and his guest from CN.  It's been a real pleasure to be involved and to be the ambassador for the Miracle Match and CN and help promote golf in Canada and more importantly the dollars that will be raised will be unbelievable.
THE MODERATOR:  Now, talk about CN being such a strong supporter of women's golf, and this event that they put on, which I just looked at the past champions list, which is Meg Mallon, Beth Daniels, Suzann Pettersen, just like a major list of champions.  Talk about the event they put on every year and the courses you go to.
LORIE KANE:  Yeah, it goes without saying that in 2006 we didn't have the CN‑‑ well, we had our first CN Canadian Women's Open, and prior to that we were struggling to gain hold of a title sponsor who understood what we could help them do and grow their business and ours, as well.  And as a result of that and a connection with Golf Canada, they have moved us around this country quite gracefully to some of the best properties that we have.  As a result of that, it's our national open, and it doesn't surprise me the champions that we've had.
In 2007 Lorena Ochoa played here and played some brilliant golf.  The golf course stood up to us, and I think this week will be a great test.  The rough is long, and it's a little soft.  I think with the rain that we've had.
But we have to thank CN because the LPGA has grown leaps and bounds since 2006, and the dollars that have been raised for charity and children's hospitals will surpass I'm pretty sure the goal to get over $10 million.
That's what I'm here to celebrate this week.  My relationship with CN has been an important one to me.  I know how important it's been to our Tour from a business standpoint and giving us an opportunity to help grow the game in this country, to have two women's golf tournaments supported the way they are with the fan base, it's really exciting.
THE MODERATOR:  Now, not only being an ambassador for CN and the Tour but for young Canadian golfers.  We say it every year that they're exciting and they're coming.  We have a handful in the field this week, and some shining stars that I think are going to be a force to be reckoned with in the years to come.
LORIE KANE:  I had the pleasure to playing Sunday's round at Manual Life with Brooke Henderson, and 15 years old, and I kept thinking to myself, okay, anything I can do she can do better.  I'd hit it in six feet, she'd hit it in five feet.  Danny reminded me that she may have beaten me by a couple of shots, and Danny Sharp is my caddie, he said, "You got dusted by a 15 year old," and I said, "Thank you for that."
But you're right.  Again, I have to give hats off to Golf Canada and what they're trying to do.  I had the opportunity to be involved with the pro‑am the Monday of the RBC Canadian Men's Open with the Canadian Golf Foundation.  We're trying to really come up with a plan to help young kids get involved in the game, keep them into the game, keep them part of Team Canada as an amateur and then encourage them and support them through the first stages of being a young professional.  It's not an easy transition.  Some might say, well, why is it our job to keep‑‑ help support a young professional in their endeavor, because once you turn pro you turn pro.  But my feeling is it just continues to circle, and the younger player will want to stay involved in the game.
As a female, I think we tend to lose girls.  We'll step away at this level for reasons, if women want to have families, but to keep them involved in the game.  I come from a family of all girls, and we only have one golfer other than myself in the family, and that's my dad.  You know, it is tough.  But with the help of Golf Canada and the Future Links program, I think you're right.  It's a rising future for women's golf here in this country.
THE MODERATOR:  I remember Brooke said she had a practice round with you in Waterloo and she came in for a press conference and said, I picked Lorie's brain, so I think you've played the role already just to give them a little feedback.  They've seen you succeed on Tour.
LORIE KANE:  Well, I picked the same brains of Dawn Coe‑Jones, Gail Graham, Lisa Walters, and of course my champion for me was Jocelyn Bourassa, who is the only Canadian to win the Canadian Open, and at the time in 1975 it was La Canadienne, and we would love to have another Canadian win.  We've got a few girls walked in the room here, and yeah, we're strong.  We've got some really great talent.
I just think it's going to be a fun week.  I think if I read correctly there are 19 Canadians in the field, and that's great, because any time you have an opportunity to play in an LPGA event, to showcase what it might be look for the amateurs who might decide they want to play professional golf, it gives them an opportunity to be showcased in our own country.

Q.  How important is it for this tournament to stick around beyond this year?
LORIE KANE:  Oh, I hope it does.  But again, my goal for this week was to come and celebrate what we have accomplished to this date and not to worry about what's going to happen on Monday.
I really feel strongly about that.  You know, I think everything will come together.  Maybe it's wishful thinking, but I'm pretty sure that our brand as an LPGA Tour brand, like I said, what's happening here in this country with women's golf on the rise, you know, I think it'll be fine.

Q.  So how do you see the next generation for the female golfer, and how do you think‑‑ do you think it's going the right way, or where do you think female golf will go in the next years?
LORIE KANE:  Well, I think you're answering your own question.  Yes, we have all kinds of great things happening because they're getting younger and younger.  If Brooke is 15, I think the average age of probably our national team is maybe 19, those kids are going to go to college, I hope, get some college experience, and then if they choose to turn pro, I think we're in a real healthy position.  I think we've got some very talented young Canadians who are on the rise.
One sitting over here right in front of me, or two of them, one behind me.  Rebecca had a great season last year, finished off winning the Tour school; Nicole Vandermade is a regular on the Symetra Tour; Jennifer Kirby, who's playing this week, has just graduated.  The future is bright.  I'm excited about it.
At one time we probably only had six‑‑ my rookie year we might have had six or seven players on the LPGA Tour Canadian.  Now I know this week we've got 19 girls playing in this field.  I think that's a strong number and suggests that women's golf is healthy.

Q.  What about your future?  Do you have to stay in the game to sort of be the icon for these young up and coming golfers?  I know you're tired of the question.
LORIE KANE:  I'm never tired of answering questions.  I don't see an end to anything that I do.  I can only see day‑to‑day and trying to get better.  If it takes another 10 years‑‑ I'm not planning to leave any time soon, and if I can lend a hand to these younger players, then I'm willing to do that.  Like I said, I was helped‑‑ I come from our smallest province and they supported me 100 percent, so I'm just trying to pay it forward and give back.  To let these kids know that they have all kinds of game, they just need to believe in themselves.

Q.  You talked about the next generation coming up, so Golf Canada has some good programs in place right now to get these kids prepared.  There seems to be something missing, though, when they graduate and become pro.  In your opinion what is it that's missing that sort of these kids have some great college careers and then they seem to either take a while to find themselves as pro?  What's missing in your opinion?
LORIE KANE:  I don't know that anything is missing.  I think there is a transition time, and it is time.  Funny enough, when we did a little panel chat at the RBC Canadian Open, that was what was guys were saying.  You know, there is a transition period.  I'm an example of a late bloomer I would say.  Mike Weir is the same.  I think the opportunity that the younger player has now, they need to take advantage of all the opportunities that they have and not be afraid to ask for help when they need it.
I think some players need to understand what balance means in jumping into the pro ranks, and you can't‑‑ this is a tough game and you need to have time away from it to learn to grow, to make a step forward.  I don't think there's any missing link other than time.  It just takes‑‑ I think as Canadians we might take just a little extra time to get where we're going.  But in the end we'll be there in the long haul.  I hope that answered your question.
THE MODERATOR:  Thanks for coming in.
LORIE KANE:  Thank you very much.  Like I say every time I'm in here, I plan to be back throughout the week, I hope.  But we can't tell our stories without your help, and one of the big components to help generate the interest in this country is to tell all the stories, and all the stories mean there's 19 young kids from Canada this week, and each of them have a different path in getting here, and if we help tell and sell their story, then maybe their journey will be a little bit more successful.
And let's not forget the Miracle Match and the over $10 million that I hope we'll be raising in the eight years that we've done this.  Congratulations, CN.

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