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April 3, 2014

Shanshan Feng


KELLY THESIER:テつ We'd like to welcome our current leader Shanshan Feng into the interview room.テつ A great 6‑under par round, great playing out there.テつ What really worked well in your round, and what were the keys to being so successful out there on the golf course today?
SHANSHAN FENG:テつ Well, I did play with Amy Alcott today.テつ She's won three times here in the past, and after my first drive off the first tee I was asking her, I said, can you tell me the secrets about winning here?テつ Because before this year I never did well here.テつ So she was telling me all the secrets.
Well, don't ask me what the secrets are because that's a secret.テつ I'll tell you maybe after we finish Sunday.テつ But I did learn a lot from her.テつ Last year the first day I shot 6‑over here, and I think that is a very big improvement.テつ I do think that I played really well today and had a great time with Amy.テつ I just hope that I can have three more good days.
KELLY THESIER:テつ 12‑shot improvement, that is a pretty big improvement, I'd say.テつ When you play with someone like Amy who has been around and done so much in her career, what do you take from when you play in a pairing like that?テつ What do you watch for?テつ What did you learn from her over the course of the 18 holes?
SHANSHAN FENG:テつ Well, mainly I was really focusing on my game, but at the same time I was really watching how she was dealing with all the tough shots because the greens here are really firm.テつ Of course, she's not hitting as long as girls like us right now, so she would have maybe woods into the greens all the time.テつ I was just watching, she didn't hit many greens today, but she saved a lot of up‑and‑downs.
The short game is really important, and I would say that she was actually encouraging me.テつ Like I made a bogey on 15, and she was like, okay, let's make two birdies back in the last three holes.テつ I was like, yes, ma'am.テつ Then I only made one, I didn't make two, but I thought that was good enough.
KELLY THESIER:テつ Yes, that was pretty good motivation right there.

Q.テつ You played this the fourth time you've played the tournament, I think?
SHANSHAN FENG:テつ More.テつ I think I only missed the first year, so maybe six, five or six.

Q.テつ What is it that you still have to learn that you haven't learned in the past?テつ Is it just that the conditions change every year or is it the golf course is that tough to read?
SHANSHAN FENG:テつ Well, this morning it was playing easier because there was no wind.テつ This course usually in the afternoon the wind will pick up, so afternoon is actually the big challenge.テつ Without the wind today the golf course is in good shape.テつ The pin positions weren't that hard.テつ We actually had a lot of birdie chances.テつ I think a lot of the girls will.テつ So we have three more days, but once the wind picks up, it's different.

Q.テつ Couple of players have mentioned the pin positions they thought were tough today.テつ You didn't find them as difficult?
SHANSHAN FENG:テつ Maybe I was just being lucky.テつ Sometimes I think luck is part of your game.テつ So I think good luck was on my side today.

Q.テつ When we spoke to you in the past you talked about how you weren't really that recognized back in China and women's golf wasn't that popular.テつ After defeating Stacy in that match in China, did you find that your popularity had risen or has risen quite a bit?
SHANSHAN FENG:テつ Well, I was really surprised when we were playing in Beijing there were so many Chinese people actually that came to watch us.テつ They were all rooting for me, so I was really excited and surprised.テつ But I would say there were more people recognizing me and know about golf a little better now, but still it's not that popular as the other sports like maybe tennis or football.テつ But I do think that it's getting bigger and bigger.テつ Like any Chinese player can do well at Rio Olympics, I'm pretty sure everything's going to change.

Q.テつ Before you came to the U.S. for the LPGA, did you speak English or have you learned it totally since you've been here?
SHANSHAN FENG:テつ I still don't speak English (laughing).テつ I'm speaking Chinese.

Q.テつ But on the golf course, you talk to your golf ball in English.テつ Wouldn't it be a whole lot more fun to chat with it in Chinese?
SHANSHAN FENG:テつ Actually, you know what?テつ It's really weird.テつ If I'm talking to my caddie in Chinese because I'm so used to me speaking English on the course.テつ If you want me to calculate the yardage or wind in Chinese, I actually mess it up, so I don't know.
KELLY THESIER:テつ Is it easier sometimes you think?テつ Because you've done it so much in English it just makes it way easier to do it that way?
SHANSHAN FENG:テつ I think so.

Q.テつ You have the one major championship already.テつ Do you focus differently when a major comes around now that you want to get that second one or is it the same focus you had before?
SHANSHAN FENG:テつ Well, actually before I won the last major I always thought majors I would have to even try more because they are majors.テつ I want to play better.テつ But because of that mindset, actually I never did well in majors until I won.テつ Because that week I was like it's just one tournament.テつ It doesn't matter if you fail.テつ It's okay you missed the cut.テつ It's just one tournament out of like 30 every year.テつ So this is what my mindset is right now.
I know it is a major.テつ It's an important tournament to us, but I'm just going to keep doing my same thing, same routine.

Q.テつ Can you tell us what you shot?テつ Because all day long it says you were 6‑under, the board said you're 5‑under.
SHANSHAN FENG:テつ I made a birdie on 2nd, made a birdie on 7th and 8th, made a birdie on 11th, 12th, 13th, bogey on 15th.テつ Hold on, no, birdie on 14th.テつ And then bogey on 15th, birdie on 16th.

Q.テつ You didn't bogey 1?

Q.テつ Yeah, did you bogey your first hole?

Q.テつ Okay.テつ That's what's wrong.
SHANSHAN FENG:テつ No, I knocked it really close.テつ I'll take the par.テつ It's okay.テつ I'm pretty sure my scorecard is right, so that's all that matters. テつNo problem.

Q.テつ When did you first hear of Amy Alcott and learn about the pond and all that?
SHANSHAN FENG:テつ Well, I think it was maybe a few years ago here.テつ I think Amy was going to play that year.テつ So I think actually I sat on the same table as her for lunch in the clubhouse.テつ So that was the first time I actually got to see her and really know about her.テつ Of course now I still don't know a lot about her, but all I know is she's a legend, and she's a great golfer and she taught me a lot.テつ She's really nice too.

Q.テつ So growing up in China, this tournament, did you know about it at all?
SHANSHAN FENG:テつ Well, of course, we knew it was one of the majors.テつ But to be honest, the U.S. Open and the British Open are the two most famous majors.テつ But I would say a lot more people they recognize the men's golf better in China.テつ But now since me and actually Janet Lin, this year we have two Chinese girls on the LPGA, and we have no male players on the PGA.テつ So actually more people are watching the women's golf right now.

Q.テつ I was going to ask you, I know last year we talked about you had one win in 2012, two victories on the LPGA in 2013.テつ What you had said was your goal.テつ Do you have a number in mind this year of what you want?テつ Is it three?
SHANSHAN FENG:テつ It is three (laughing).テつ I think by the time when you asked me, maybe that was after CME, I never thought about it.テつ But then I thought about it, and I'm like I won one in 2012.テつ I won two last year, so everybody has to go forward.テつ So I'm like okay, I'll set three, because I want to keep improving.

Q.テつ Are major championships in there or do you have a number for that as well?
SHANSHAN FENG:テつ It doesn't matter if it's a major or not.テつ A win is a win.テつ I don't care if the purse is only 1.2 or 3.25.テつ A win on the LPGA is a win.

Q.テつ Do you think winning last year twice and it came towards the end of the year, how did that change your confidence level in your game?テつ I know you went in and won in Dubai at the end.テつ What has that been doing for your game just now getting these wins on your resume?
SHANSHAN FENG:テつ Well, I think actually before I turned pro I was always winning like as a junior and amateur.テつ After I turned pro I was lost for three‑and‑a‑half years.テつ Then actually after that I think I've won ten tournaments now in three years so far.テつ So I do think that I know how to win a tournament.テつ Of course, every win will give me more confidence.
But actually the beginning of this year I was kind of a little lost because I lost a little weight, and then my swing kind of changed a little.テつ I wasn't swinging very comfortably when we were playing over in Asia.テつ But I do think that my condition is better and better, and Gary is here this week.テつ He just fixed my putting again.テつ So it's good.

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