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July 6, 2010

Michelle Wie West


MODERATOR: Welcome to the 2010 US Open Women's Open Championship, by the way. Our first guess this morning is Michelle Wie. I was thinking about it, and when Michelle won the LPGA tournament that she won earlier in the year, I was thinking I believe you were the only college student to ever win a tournament in the LPGA Tour.
That's another little feather in your cap. Just tell us a little bit. You won a tournament now. You're still in college. Are you a Phi Beta Kappa yet?
MICHELLE WIE: No sorority for me yet, but it's been fun. It's been a lot of fun. You know, it's great, but I want to do better this year, and I just want to keep doing better and better. College is fun; it's a lot of hard work. It all pays off in the end.

Q. How's your life working out, though? You say a lot of hard work. You're a student and you're trying to play professional golf.
MICHELLE WIE: Yeah, well it works out quite well. I play half the year, or more than half of the year, and then I go to school for the rest half.
It works out perfectly, and it's just fun. It's a great balance in my life.
MODERATOR: You were here a couple of weeks ago playing practice rounds to become familiar with the golf course. What do you think of Oakmont?
MICHELLE WIE: Oh, it's a beautiful golf course. There are so many holes where you stand up on the tee box and you can see the entire golf course.
I can only imagine what's it's going to look like Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday where you can see all the spectators and everyone else who is playing.
It's just a beautiful golf course. It's a hard golf course for sure. Greens are tricky and fast. They're starting to get really firm. Really different from the last time I played here.
It's just a beautiful -- it's a beautiful tournament, and the history, there's so much history to this golf course. It's just really good to see.
MODERATOR: All right. Let's take some questions from the reporters.

Q. Please tell me about how you feel about this Women's Open. Tell me about how you feel.
MICHELLE WIE: I think it's a great honor we can play at Oakmont. I've always seen and heard about it. Coming here, you know, actually playing the golf course that everyone talks about and putting on the greens everyone has been talking -- it's a lot of fun, and I just can't wait until Thursday.

Q. I was wondering what your strategy will be on Nos. 2 and 17, the drivable par-4s. Will you try and go at 'em, and will the pin position determine whether you're going to go at 'em?
MICHELLE WIE: Yeah, I think the pin positions have a lot to do with them. I haven't fully decided what to do, but I have hit driver on 2 and 17. I'll just have to see how I feel on the day.
MODERATOR: Did you hit the green when you hit driver on those?
MICHELLE WIE: Um, well, 17 I got to the green but I didn't get on the green. I got a little bit left of it.
2, I think if the pin's -- if the tee is in the front I can definitely reach it, I think.

Q. Obviously anybody who knows about Oakmont knows about the church pews, the bunkers out there. In the few times you've been here, your thoughts of what they're like. Have you practiced out of them? Have you hit into them? Your thoughts on the church pews.
MICHELLE WIE: It's pretty interesting. Whoever thought of -- the designer who thought of putting them in, it's a pretty smart idea. It's pretty intimidating when you're looking at it and you see the lines of bunkers and you know it's not just a couple bunkers, it's all just one big bunker.
It brings a unique characteristic to the golf course, and hopefully I could just look at them and not be in them all week.
MODERATOR: Did you drop some balls in there and try to hit out in any of your previous practice rounds?
MICHELLE WIE: Yeah, I mean, a lot of the bunkers, you know, if you're in them you're going sideways; you're not going forward. It definitely had a British Open feel to it where you don't want to be in the bunkers.

Q. Because of those bunkers, are there any holes for your landing areas where you have to scale back with the driver? Are there many of those out here, or is that not an issue for you?
MICHELLE WIE: Yeah, for sure. You know, there's a lot of holes I'm going to hit 3-wood and 5-wood and hybrids out there. So, you know, just trying to create my strategy out there.

Q. You're a very long hitter, so we assume you're good at this course. Are you?
MICHELLE WIE: I don't know. I hope I am. I'm trying to be. (Laughter.)
MODERATOR: What do you think the key to this course is? Is it the greens or...
MICHELLE WIE: You know, I think it's everything. It really challenges every part of your game. Um, you know, usually you have to be creative on, you know, your short game and kind of like your approach shots.
But here you have to be creative with everything, you know, your tee shots. You know, there are so many options, even with the greens. I think just have to be in the right places.

Q. Given your length, do you think you have a better chance on a U.S. Open course than maybe some other courses where you can actually use the skills that you have?
MICHELLE WIE: Um, you know, I think that it all depends, you know, how I play that week. You know, I just try and play the best I can, and hopefully my A Game will come out.
If it does, then, you know, hopefully I can get up there.

Q. Being a high ball hitter, does that help you here coming into these greens? Is that important?
MICHELLE WIE: Um, it doesn't hurt. (Laughter.)
These greens are only getting firmer and firmer. You know, Cristie, Suzann and I were talking yesterday where we played a month ago here, and, you know, the slope didn't seem that severe when we played because it was pretty wet. It just rained the weekend before.
We come here now, we're like -- yesterday we were like, Wow, these greens are firm, and they're only going to get firmer. So, you know, I think that helps, I guess. That's good.

Q. How does the setup here compare to what you're normally used to seeing not just on tour but other USGA events?
MICHELLE WIE: You know, I think USGA and the U.S. Opens are unique in their own way the way they set up golf courses, and it's just pretty challenging. I don't think they want the score to be very low, so they make the course very hard.
I think every week it's different. You know, each golf course there's a certain way to set them up and a certain way they want to set them up. So I think each tournament is a little bit different.

Q. What's the most difficult hole, do you think, in this course and why?
MICHELLE WIE: Um, I don't know. I think -- I don't think there is easy holes and hard holes out here. I think every hole creates a new challenge. I think every hole creates new opportunities for birdies, pars; sometimes you walk off with a 5 and you feel really good about yourself.
I think that each hole has its hardness, and, you know, maybe some easy points to it. It all just depends where you are on the golf course.
MODERATOR: You missed the U.S. Open last year because of the change in the entry qualifications. How glad are you to be back?
MICHELLE WIE: I'm so happy to be back. Um, it's an honor playing the U.S. Open. It's just really cool when you walk down 18 and you see the leaderboard and you see, you know, the USGA symbol everywhere. It brings back really good memories.

Q. Few minutes ago you talked about balancing college and also your golf game. Just tell us where do you go to school at and what are you studying and what are some of your favorite subjects?
MICHELLE WIE: I go to Stanford, and I'm majoring in communication. And some of my favorite classes -- I mean, I really like my communication classes. It's a lot about how the new digital media is changing the world. I'm really interested in that.
I took a lot of really cool, neat classes that I didn't take in high school or whatnot, and I really enjoy it.

Q. How much longer do you have to go?
MICHELLE WIE: I'm going to be a senior, but then I'm going to be a super-senior after that. I graduate in five years, so I have two years left.

Q. Don't worry, Michelle. A lot of us were super-seniors. Where is your game at right now? Are you ready to win a major? You've been in the mix from a relatively young age. Right now, at this stage of your career, are you ready to win a major?
MICHELLE WIE: I want to win a major, so I better be ready. You know, I'm just working on my game, and I'm having fun at it. And, you know, every day I go out there I'm working, I'm trying my hardest, and I'm playing my hardest.
You know, you never know. Hopefully everything will mesh together nicely and everything will work out. I guess that's how it happens. I'm just going to play the same way I've always done and just play my own game.

Q. Have you talked to Leadbetter about this course? Have you had any discussion with him about it or anything?
MICHELLE WIE: Yeah, we had a lot of discussions. Mostly he says, Keep it in the fairway. I'm like, Really? Thanks.
But, no, you know, we talk about strategy and where on the greens we should be. You know, just like any other major tournament.
MODERATOR: Thanks so much for being with us. Good luck. I imagine we'll see you again in here.
MICHELLE WIE: Thank you.

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