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August 21, 2013

Stacy Lewis


KELLY THESIER:  Good afternoon, everyone.  We'd like to welcome Rolex Rankings No. 2, Stacy Lewis into the interview room.  First off, thank you so much for joining us this afternoon.  This event is always looked at by so many people as one of the premier events on Tour during the year, National Championship here in Canada, Golf Canada and CN do such a great job.  What is the favorite thing about coming back to Canada for this event each year?
STACY LEWIS:  I think everybody loves this event, one, it's one of the better purses.  I think that definitely helps.  But it's always at a nice golf course.  They always take care of us.  You know coming here it's going to be good.  So I think that's why we get such a good feel every week at these events.  This week is no different.
The golf course is in unbelievable shape, and it's going to be hard, it's going to be tough, and I think most players, we want those hard, tough golf courses because that's when you get your true champion.
KELLY THESIER:  I was going to say you played very well in this event the last two years.  Tied for second in 2011, and tied for sixth last year.  What is it about these golf courses?  I know you see tough golf courses too, but does it bring out the best in your game?
STACY LEWIS:  I don't know what it is.  I've played well just in Canada in general in the last few years.  So I don't know what it is.  I love hard golf courses.  I love that there is a challenge there to it.  So I don't know.  I think I've had a couple of seconds, so hopefully I'll just keep knocking on that door.
KELLY THESIER:  Last year you were in that final group and got to watch Lydia Ko make history as the youngest winner in LPGA history.  Now having had a year to look back on what an amazing accomplishment it was, what do you think when you see video of that and what she was able to do in beating a great field?
STACY LEWIS:  Well, it seems like longer than a year it's been.  But the back nine that she played that day was unbelievable.  Whether you're 15 or whether you're 30, it was unbelievable.  So it just shows the talent that's there.  She still needs time to mature and to play week‑in and week‑out, but it shows she can have those great weeks and she can win out here.
KELLY THESIER:  The last event you played in was the Women's Ricoh British Open, and you won that.  Congratulations.  Second major championship.  Then to go to the Solheim and go to a completely different format, team event, Match Play, how do you get back into the mentality of being back in stroke play again and kind of building off what you were able to do at the women's British?
STACY LEWIS:  It's an easy transition, I think.  You know, Match Play is so stressful over every single shot, but it's almost easier once you get into stroke play because you know you can make some mistakes and it's going to be okay.  It's almost a little bit of a relief.  You're not playing for quite so many people now, and you can relax and get some more sleep this week.  It's nice to be back just kind of taking care of yourself.

Q.  Can I ask you about Shauna Estes‑Taylor, she was with you in summer of 2003; she was there when you came off the course at the British Open.  What's she meant to your career and would you be here today without her?
STACY LEWIS:  Yeah, she was the assistant coach at Arkansas my very first year I was there.  She is a great player in her own right, so I learned‑‑ she had just stopped playing when she became the assistant coach, so she was still in that playing mentality where she could hit those shots around the greens and she had a great short game.  So that is something that I learned a lot from her.
I mean, I didn't win an up and down competition for the first couple years I was there.  So she helped me really develop my game.  These last few years she's helped me a lot with the mental side, and always challenging myself and finding ways to get better.  She's somebody that I may win a golf tournament, but she's always helping me find ways how I can even get better for the next one.  It's very easy to say I wouldn't be where I am without her.

Q.  (No microphone)?
STACY LEWIS:  It was really special.  She was there for the Curtis Cup when we finished there, and she loves the history of golf, obviously.  I mean, most golfers do, but she loved the history there, so she wanted to be there at St. Andrews.  Just to have her there and to be able to celebrate that with her, I told her when I hugged her, I said this one's for you because I wouldn't have enjoyed that style of golf before I met Shauna.  She was the one that put me on the side of the hill and made me get up ask down.  She kind of created that creative side to me.

Q.  With all the success you're having, there is a value‑added component obviously in the one and two tussle going on.  How do you manage that and stay focused on your game, but still I'm sure you're fiercely competitive and you want to be No. 1.  How do you deal with all of that and stay in your own zone?
STACY LEWIS:  Yeah, it's tough.  I mean, it was hard when winning the major was huge for me, because Inbee winning three it felt like, gosh, I must be playing horrible or something.  But I don't know.  I think you just have to go out there day by day and just kind of take care of yourself and know that golf you get peaks and valleys, and you can only be on those peaks for so long.
I don't know you have to keep taking care of yourself, do the best you can, and know that the best player usually wins every week.  You're going to have bad weeks.  Inbee's going to have bad weeks.  I'm going to have bad weeks, and just to try to take advantage of that when she's not playing well.

Q.  On your website, the label is The Next Great American Golfer, and that is kind of scratched out, and it says Best Golfer in the World, I think.  Is that a self‑motivating tool or just having fun?
STACY LEWIS:  When I first turned pro my agent did my website and they put that title on there and I saw it, and I didn't really think that of myself, so I said they must think that of me.  Should I be thinking this of myself?  I don't know.  When I turned pro I wasn't on those lines at all, but it made me kind of think like, oh, I have people here that believe in me.
I have people that believe I can be the top American player.  So it was really cool for them to support me like that and kind of put that thought in my head.  But then when I got to No. 1 in the world, they decided to scratch out the next part of it.

Q.  Inbee has the wins, but if you look at the numbers, you could make the argument that you are the most consistent player on the Tour this year in terms of Top 10 finishes, putts per green, scoring average birdies, right?

Q.  Is that just a growth of your game or how does that sort of reflect your approach to the game?
STACY LEWIS:  Well, the consistency part is something that I've been kind of focusing on over the last couple years because, you know, my rookie year I would play great one week and then miss the cut the next.  That was the most frustrating thing in the world to me.  So I wanted to get to where I was consistently making cuts, and now it's consistently top 20s, Top 10s and giving myself a chance to win.
I'd rather finish fifth two weeks in a row than win one week and miss the cut the next.  I think the consistency part, fans get to know you more.  People think you're doing better.  You feel like you're doing better than you are when you're playing more consistent.
So I think the top 10 has kind of been a goal, leading top 10 has been a goal of mine in the last few years.

Q.  Solheim Cup is obviously a bitter disappointment for the team.  How do you quickly flip the switch from being down to being up and ready to maybe win here?
STACY LEWIS:  I didn't play well on Friday and then Saturday and Sunday I actually played some good golf.  So I think that's what I take from it.  With Match Play, you can play well and lose the match.  That is just kind of the way it is.  So you can't look at, well, this was my record last week versus somebody else, you know.  I know how I played.  I know what I was doing good and what I was doing bad.  You just kind of‑‑ I don't know.  You're always kind of critical of yourself and just trying to find ways to get better.

Q.  Tough one to swallow Sunday night?
STACY LEWIS:  Yeah, it was tough.  We had a lot of things that week that didn't go our way and things that were out of our control that we couldn't do anything about.  That was probably the most disappointing part.  But, overall, we had chances and we just didn't get it done.

Q.  You win the British; you lose the Solheim.  Where is your head at today?
STACY LEWIS:  It's frustrating because there are a lot of people here that I haven't seen since the British and they're congratulating me on the British, but I'm still kind of down about Solheim.  So I guess I'm kind of in the middle right now.  I don't know.  I mean, it takes you a little time, I think, to get over Solheim and to get over it because you spend so much energy doing it and putting so much time into it.  So it will take a little bit to get over it.
But once you're out on the course, especially a course like this, you can't be thinking about anything else.

Q.  Every time you reach for your driver, you're pulling off a Razorback club head, club cover.  You just donated $100,000 to the university last year, I think it was.  Why is that?  Why does your alma mater mean so much to you?  Is it because they stuck with you in '03?
STACY LEWIS:  Yeah, I signed my letter of intent to go to Arkansas and before I found out I even had to have surgery.  And they supported me 100%.  They honored my scholarship.  They gave me all of the doctors and everything I needed to rehab and get better.  I mean, they've been such a great support system.  The AD, every time I win or do well he's calling me, texting me, sending me letters.  It's like a little family to me.  I'm the only female player on Tour ever.  So I feel like a little bit I'm carrying that banner a little bit.  I want to get that hog.
I asked Mizuno if I could carry that hog around every week, and in Japan they didn't quite understand the mascot thing, so it took a little while to get that done.  But eventually, they understood it.  I'm just so appreciative of the opportunity that they gave me.  And part of the giving back of the $100,000 is to say thank you, because I wouldn't be doing what I'm doing if I had gone to any other school.
KELLY THESIER:  One last question I have for you, Stacy.  Everybody's talking about the disappointment of Solheim.  Normally you have to wait two years for a team event to get back and play for your country.  Next year we're introducing the International Crown where four players from eight countries will be competing to determine the best country in the world.  What does that opportunity mean now kind of having a team event where you're going to have it every year, and having another opportunity to wear the red, white and blue, and represent and possibly win and show that the Americans are the best golfing country in the world?
STACY LEWIS:  Yeah, I'm really excited about this International Crown.  Just in team events you get the personalities of the players.  You get the best and the worst of it, but you get the personalities of the players, and I think that's what I'm most excited about.  For the fans to really get to know those top Asian players the way we do every week.  I think that's going to be really cool for them.
To represent your country, any time you're wearing the red, white and blue, and it's got USA on it, that's an honor to represent your country.  So for us to get to do it more consistently every year and leading up to the Olympics is going to be really cool.  I'm excited to see how the format all works out.  Hopefully, the U.S. comes out on top.
KELLY THESIER:  It will be interesting the competition for that one.  Four spots will be pretty tight.  If you look at that Solheim team, you have 12 players and only four will make it for International Crown for all the countries.  It's going to be pretty exciting to see.

Q.  A couple young Canadian players were speaking earlier, and two of them mentioned you as a role model that they look up to.  Particularly what you went through, your medical history?

Q.  How interwoven into your career is that knowing you are an inspiration to younger athletes, both for your excellence in play and for overcoming very tough circumstances?
STACY LEWIS:  You know, at first, when I first came on Tour, I didn't want to talk about it a lot.  I didn't understand why everybody wanted to know about my back.  I wanted to be known as a good golfer.  The better I played, the more I realized that people are drawing inspiration just by me playing golf.  It didn't matter how good I played or just the fact that I was teeing it up every week, people are drawing inspiration from that.  It's always going to be a part of me.  It goes with me wherever I go.
I had, I think my agent said, 15 to 20 requests last week at Solheim for a one‑on‑one sit down meeting with kids.  Which, obviously, I didn't have time to do, but that's how big it's gotten.  I get it, because at that age you want somebody who has been through what you've been through.
You want somebody to say it's going to be okay.  That's what I try to do.  Whether it's writing them a letter or I get emails from parents asking questions.  It's really become a big deal.  At the time, I didn't think it was.

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