Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic Pre-tournament Notes & Interviews

Photo Credit: Gabriel Roux

Photos taken prior to the start of the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic.

Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic
Lake Merced Golf Club
Daly City, California
Pre-tournament Notes & Interviews

April 21, 2014


Rolex Rankings No. 1 Inbee Park
Rolex Rankings No. 2 Suzann Pettersen
Rolex Rankings No. 12 Michelle Wie

The LPGA returns to the Bay Area for the first time since 2010 at the inaugural Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic. The event is co-sanctioned with the Taiwan LPGA, and will feature 120 LPGA players, as well as 17 players from Taiwan and the TLPGA, marking the first ever LPGA co-sanctioned tournament on American soil.

The initial year of the event has drawn an impressive field featuring 18 of the top-20 players in the latest Rolex Rankings, including each of the top-5 golfers in the world.

“I think it’s been very fantastic,” said Rolex Rankings No. 1 Inbee Park. “I played Swinging Skirts tournaments the last two years in Taiwan and I got to meet Mr. Wang and his fellow Swinging Skirts members. Their love of the golf was something very surprising.  So having them here and a partner of LPGA I think is a very good thing. I think their passion almost passes down onto us, so I think it’s good to have a partner like that.”

Rolex No. 2 Suzann Pettersen echoed Park’s statements.

“Yeah, first of all, it’s great to come here and play the Swinging Skirts on American soil,” Pettersen said. “Great to see the Swinging Skirt people.  A lot of them I’ve gotten to know over the years playing in Taiwan. I love the Bay Area.  Defi ¬≠nitely one of my favorite spots in America after New York.  So very happy to be here.”

PARK HOPES FIRST TIME IN SAN FRANCISCO IS A MEMORABLE ONE
Inbee Park is experiencing her first real taste of The City by The Bay this week at the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic.

“I never really play this course before and never really been like in downtown of San Francisco before,” Park admitted.  “Everything was new for me this week:  the golf course, the city, and everything. I got to come to look at the Fisherman’s Wharf on Sunday and had some good food there and watched around and walked around a little bit there. Yeah, really cool city.  Really enjoying myself here at the moment.”

Park, who has held the No. 1 position in the Rolex Rankings for 54 consecutive weeks, looks to make her first visit to San Francisco a memorable one with her first victory of 2014.

“It just feels like it’s coming pretty soon,” Park said of trying to get her first win this year.  “I feel like my game is in good shape.  Even if I didn’t win this year, I feel like I’m a little bit more consistent than last year and playing good golf. My putting was a little bit shaky early this year, but starting in Hawaii everything really felt like it’s clicking.  Yeah, feel like I’m going to have a good week soon.”


PETTERSEN BACK
Suzann Pettersen will be making her return to LPGA action this week at Swinging Skirts after missing the past three tournaments with a back injury.

“So very happy to be here.  Just really happy in general to be out playing,” Pettersen said. “I was trying to make it for Hawaii, but at the same time, I can’t rush something that I can’t control.”

Pettersen will  be looking to regain the form which saw her become one of the premier players in the game.

“I mean, I’ve been in this position before.  It’s amazing how quick you kind of forget once you get going and things just are going your way,” Pettersen explained. “Really makes you appreciate what you can do.  It’s nice to get dressed yourself.”


MICHELLE WIE LOOKS FOR SECOND-STRAIGHT WIN IN
SECOND HOMETOWN
Michelle Wie picked up her first win since 2010 last week at the LPGA LOTTE Championship Presented by J Golf in her home state of Hawaii and will look for her second win in as many weeks in what she calls her “second hometown.”

“I really feel like the Bay Area is my second hometown,”Wie said.  “I feel like some of best memories I have from my life, I’ve always kind of told people I think the best five years of my life were spent here in the Bay Area.”

Wie, a proud Stanford alum, got to take a trip back to “The Farm” and the Palo Alto Campus on Monday afternoon.

“It was awesome,”Wie gushed. “I went to go visit the golf team at their practice facility and just hung out with them. I walked around campus and wanted to hug every single freshman I saw because I wanted to be them.  I walked past the GSB, the Graduate School of Business, and I was like, I want to go there one day.  So hopefully I’ll be back on The Farm.”


QUOTE OF THE DAY
“It’s amazing.  I just really fell in love with the places, the people, and obviously Stanford.  So it’s just really fun to come back and see all my friends, just to be back in the Bay Area.  I haven’t been back since I graduated, so this is pretty amazing. ” –Michelle Wie on being back in The Bay Area.

THE SOCIAL SCENE
One of the many unique aspects of the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic is the artwork brought over from Taiwan that is featured prominently throughout the course. Several players took to social media to share their experiences with the artwork during their Tuesday practice rounds, including Alison Walshe who was hanging out with the artwork on 16.

“Hanging out on the swan entrance to the 16th tee ... Literally” - (@Walsheyyy)

 

Rolex Rankings No. 1 Inbee Park

MODERATOR:  All right, we're here Inbee Park, the No. 1 ranked player, at The Swinging Skirts at the Lake Merced Golf Club.

Inbee, let's tart it off by asking, you've been around Swinging Skirts before playing in the event in Taiwan.  What does it mean to have them as a sponsor here at an LPGA event.

INBEE PARK:  I think it's been very fantastic.  I play Swinging Skirts tournaments last two years in Taiwan and I got to meet Mr. Wang and his fellow Swinging Skirts members.

Yeah, it was always fun to hanging around with them.  Obviously they're passionate.  Their love of the golf was something very surprising.  So having them here and a partner of LPGA I think is a very good thing.
Just really looking forward to playing this week and seeing them again.  I mean, I think their passion almost passes down onto us, so I think it's good to have a partner like that.

MODERATOR:
  Great.  We're playing this week at the iconic Lake Merced Golf Club.  Have you played this course before, and what most are you looking forward to playing here?
INBEE PARK:  Yeah, I never really play this course before and never really been like in downtown of San Francisco before.  So it was almost my first time visiting here.  Everything was new for me this week:  the golf course, the city, and everything.

So I got to come to look at the Fisherman's Wharf on Sunday and had some good food there and watched around and walked around a little bit there.

Yeah, really cool city.  Really enjoying myself here at the moment.

MODERATOR:  You talked about the food.  San Francisco is known for great food.  What did you have to eat?
INBEE PARK:  I love seafood, so everywhere I go here I get to experience seafood.  I had some Dungeness Crab, clam chowder in Bodean and some crab.  Yeah, it was very good.

MODERATOR:  And it's been 54 weeks now that you've been in the No. 1 position.  Talk about how you feel, how it's changed your life, your approach to the game.  It's been over a year now that you're in this position.
INBEE PARK:  Yeah, it's gone really quick.  Feels like I just took over the No. 1 spot last year.  It already has been a year.

Last year was kind of this very chaotic season for me.  Like last half of the season was just going -- like first half went so fast and last half went so slow.

I started new this year, and obviously I feel like I'm a lot more comfortable up here and a lot more experienced and a lot more mature in my game or just in my life in general.

So it's just a lot of different things going on this year for my life as well.  Just not golf.  I'm getting married this year.  That's really different.  That's something different to golf, but it's a very important thing in my life.
Yeah, really trying to enjoy myself this year.  Yeah.

MODERATOR:  That's been the big thing, that you can actually sit back and enjoy your accomplishments a little bit more?
INBEE PARK:  Yeah, I mean, golf is never ending.  You finish your season, it's a new season starting again.  You finish your tournament, it's a new tournament starting again the next day.

So I would say I couldn't be relaxing for the moment until I retire.

But you know what?  I really enjoy being competitive and playing week in, week out and trying to be my best every week.  That is what I enjoy to do, and until I get tired of doing that, I'll be playing golf.

MODERATOR:
  Questions.

Q.  You played practice rounds, I assume.
INBEE PARK:  Yeah.  I played two nine-hole rounds.

Q.  What do you think about how this course will play?
INBEE PARK:  Yeah, such different weather to last week.  Just trying to adjust to the time change between Hawaii and here.  It's like three hours, so morning is tough to wake up for me.

Obviously the course is in great shape.  We play low rough last week, but this week this is big rough and obviously a lot of up and down holes and blind tee shots and dog leg holes.

I think it's just going to be a very good test for the golf.  The course setup-wise, it feels like a major setup.  It's just going to be a really fun four days of golf and really very good test for the golf.

It's going to be tough with the wind.  Obviously just being cold also you're going to lose a little bit of your distance.  Yeah, obviously with the wind and the up and downs, just very tough to control your distances.  I think that'll be a very big key.

Q.  (No microphone.)
INBEE PARK:  I think it's windy here.  I wouldn't say it's going to be lower scores out here.  I think I would say couple under every day if it's a windy day.  Obviously if it's just calm and nice, warm day, maybe 4-under par.

Q.  What about this area as an event for the LPGA -- it's been away for a while -- what are your thoughts about them bringing it back here to the San Francisco Bay Area?
INBEE PARK:  Yeah, it's in the northern part of California.  It's a very good spot to come, and obviously a lot of people supporting women's golf here.  We always love to come back here and play again.

Just glad we have a tournament back here again.  Obviously having a good sponsor here is very good.  All the people that going to come out and watch us is going to enjoy all this art work also.

So I think Swinging Skirts and the art works, San Francisco city, really goes well with -- everything goes really matching.  So I think it's going to be very fun week.

Yeah.

Q.  What is it that you bring with you in your travels when you go from course to course that makes you feel confident and comfortable?  Some will bring a charm or a family member.  What do you bring with you?
INBEE PARK:  I always travel with my fiance.  He's my lucky charm.  He's my always -- he's a big help for me.  He's my coach, my friend, husband - in future - everything.
He's my lucky charm.

Q.  Seems like you and Michelle and Morgan were so young when you first came out.  I don't know if you played junior golf together.  Did you guys ever envision, Hey, we're going to be the big stars running this show in a few years?
INBEE PARK:  Yeah, I mean, I did play my junior years with Paula, Morgan, Michelle, Brittany.  A lot of players out here I played with them in the junior years.

Obviously when I played in Korea there was a lot of Korean golfers that came out here and now playing together.  So pretty much everybody I played with in the junior golf is playing so well out here.  It's almost like a continuation.

I mean, back then we probably didn't think that we will be -- because we were probably pretty much like fighting for the trophy in the junior years, and we're doing the same thing here.  I think we kind of a little bit thought we just going to happen in the later years because we were playing good in junior golf.

We played in professional tournaments while we were junior golfers also, so I think it was a continuation from there.

Q.  2013 was such a great year for you in this game and this sport.  How do you feel as you're heading into 2014, right at the beginning?  Are you excited?
INBEE PARK:  Yeah.  I mean, I didn't have a win yet, but I pretty much did everything but win.  I finished second, third, fourth, fifth, everything else this year.

Just feels like it's coming pretty soon.  I feel like my game is in good shape.  Even if I didn't win this year, I feel like I'm a little bit more consistent than last year and playing good golf.

My putting was a little bit shaky early this year, but starting Hawaii everything really felt like it's clicking.  Yeah, feel like I'm going to have a good week soon.

Q.  One more question about the golf course.  I know that over the year you see so many different types of golf courses and climates on the LPGA Tour.  What is it that you do to adapt your game to the different golf courses from week to week?
INBEE PARK:  I think we just adapt to the golf courses so quickly because that's what we're so used to doing.  We move every week to play different golf courses.  Whoever get used to the golf course fast is gonna win the tournament.
That's why we're going to try to do that.  Whoever adapt to the golf course, weather, time, everything.  That's what you're born to do.  Yeah, just trying to do it a little bit faster than everyone else.

Q.  54 weeks at No. 1.  Given how many dynamic young players that have come out, how proud are you to be No. 1 for that long, and how hard will it be to stay there going forward?
INBEE PARK:  Yeah, I'm not too young out here anymore exactly.  Feels like a lot of new and young generations and golfers are coming up so quickly.

I think it's always good to have young stars.  People like to see younger people, you know.  So I think it's good for the LPGA.  It's also getting a lot more competitive and the girls out here are playing well.  A lot of people in contention every week.  Just don't know who's going to win.

I think it's just good fun for everyone watching golf.

MODERATOR:  Any more questions?  Okay, great.  Thank, Inbee.
INBEE PARK:  Thank you.

 

Rolex Rankings No. 2 Suzann Pettersen

MODERATOR:  I would like to welcome Suzann Pettersen, the Rolex rankings World No. 2 player to the interview room today.

Suzann, before we get started, we need to address the fact that you're back and you're scheduled to make your first start since you had to pull out of Kia Classic a few events ago.
How is the back?

SUZANN PETTERSEN:  Well, I'm here, which is a good sign.  I would never have been here if I wasn't feeling good.  Unfortunately I injured my back Monday after Phoenix to the point where playing golf was just out of the question.

So unfortunately I missed Carlsbad; very unfortunate I missed Kraft, definitely one of my favorite tournaments out of the year; and a shame not to be able to defend in Hawaii last week.

Sometimes you just got to address the challenges you're facing.  For me, it was just to kind of get my back as close to normal as soon as possible so I don't miss too much of the season.

MODERATOR:  Before we move on, did you happen to see Michelle's hula?  Out of you and Michelle, who do you think did it better?
SUZANN PETTERSEN:  I actually missed it.  I've seen some clips of it, and I thought she would be much better.  After she said she felt probably as awkward as I felt - even though I felt really awkward.  I know there has been people posting several stuff on Twitter comparing the two of us.

But just really happy to see Michelle play well.  She played fantastic at Kraft; great to see her win in Hawaii.

She's a great friend and very good competitor.

MODERATOR:  Back to the back, what was the official diagnosis?
SUZANN PETTERSEN:  I have a history of a ruptured back 10 years ago.  Since then I've been as strong and as healthy as I've ever been.  I've never looked at myself as a person with a back issue.

Really came out of the blue.  I happened to bend over, and I felt bending over it was -- it snapped.  It's more of a movement pattern more so than disc related.  I think a lot of people thought it was just disc.
That's not the case.  Probably a little aggravated disc, but mostly muscular and having the right joints moving at the right time pretty much.

MODERATOR:  As far as treatment goes going forward, does it effect the way you work out or the way that you prep for an event?
SUZANN PETTERSEN:  Well, obviously up until now I've just been resting.  Resting has done me really well.  I've been playing and practicing.  I haven't quite gone after it in the gym yet.  I don't really want to push that limit.

I want to play.  If I can play with no pain and play well, I would rather do that than push every cylinder at the same time.

Moving forward, think just being aware of small changes at the time.  It's so simple.  Like even when I sit down, just got to sit down the right way and not try to protect something that could go wrong - which I've done for so many years I don't think about it.

It's more subconsciously what I got to change.

MODERATOR:  And then as far as hitting balls, when did you get back to golf-related activities?
SUZANN PETTERSEN:  I was in a lot of pain for probably almost three weeks to the point where flat out horizontal was the only thing I did.  I tried to move around 20 minutes at a time and just really rest.

Once the pain disappeared, which actually did quite quickly, I started moving.  I was told to start moving like normal so you don't try to overload and compensate for the normal movements that you have in your body.
So, I don't know, first time I went out to try and hit a few balls, started with putting, chipping.  Once I started with my wedges I felt like I wasn't hesitating and afraid of the pain coming back.  I knew this was a good sign.
If I had been hesitating to go after the ball, it would have been a long way back.

MODERATOR:  Finally, you traveled to Palm Springs.  Did you get stuck there for a while because of the back issue?
SUZANN PETTERSEN:  No, I was floating in the area for a while because I got injured in Phoenix, and then all my -- the physios that we travel with, they had already gone down to Carlsbad for Kia.

I knew there are several good doctors in Carlsbad area I could go see, so I got down there -- unfortunately had to withdraw from the tournament -- but had MRIs, all the scans taken down there.

Went to see the therapist up in Palm Springs Saturday the Carlsbad.  Then I actually had to stay there for four days before I could get on a plane.  It was such a long flight, and sitting was the worst thing I could do.

MODERATOR:  Did you have to fly commercial?
SUZANN PETTERSEN:  Fortunately I didn't have to fly that.  I had a very dear friend who came and picked me up in a jet and made the trip very smooth.

MODERATOR:  So you're returning to this event.  How excited are you to come here?
SUZANN PETTERSEN:  Yeah, first of all, it's great to come here and play the Swinging Skirts on American soil.  Great to see the Swinging Skirt people.  A lot of them I've gotten to know over the years playing in Taiwan.

I love the Bay Area.  Definitely one of my favorite spots in America after New York.  So very happy to be here.  Just really happy in general to be out playing.  I was trying to make it for Hawaii, but at the same time, I can't rush something that I can't control.

I mean, I've been in this position before.  It's amazing how quick you kind of forget once you get going and things just are going your way.

Really makes you appreciate what you can do.  It's nice to get dressed yourself.

MODERATOR:  Let's open it up for questions.

Q.  You've been around a decade or more.  Talk about some of the changes you've seen.  Three different commissioners.  But particularly in the turnover of players.  Almost two-thirds of the players are different in the media guide now.
SUZANN PETTERSEN:  I think in general the LPGA is in a very good state, in a very good position right now.  We're healthy.  The product, I mean, the players, the depth of the players is probably better than it's ever been.  They're younger; they're better; they push the older ones to work even harder.

I think it's a great combination.  It's been a tough road up until here.  Mike has done a fantastic job managing to turn the ship from going south.

I mean, it was a lot of work that had to be done when he first got in his position.  He did what he had to do, and managed to re-establish a lot of the great relationships we've had with great partners and sponsors of the LPGA through the years.

I think now we're in a very good spot.  We have 32 events during a calendar year; purses are up; new events in America, which is great.  I think we're in a very good position.

Q.  Talk a little bit about the course setup here.  You also have the element of the fog and wind.  Could be tough on your back.
SUZANN PETTERSEN:  Well, it's a great course.  It's an old traditional tree-lined course.  Wasn't actually expecting it to be this windy.  Almost glad I missed Hawaii from what I heard.  I think we're going to face all the same conditions wind-wise during the week.

It's narrow; the rough is up; really firm greens.  If you really miss the fairways, you're going to have a hard time holding the balls on the greens.

It's in great shape, so I'm prepared.  I have layers for every condition that could possibly face us.

Q.  Did you have Cortisone injections for the pain?
SUZANN PETTERSEN:
  No.  I was fortunate enough not to have any injections, but it was on the list of if things don't progress, if the pain doesn't ease up, it was definitely on the list of what we could possibly do.
When it comes to the back, I mean, you got to be really careful.  Even though you go to these clinics and they do these injections day and day out, there are so many nerves.  It's a very narrow spot you're trying to hit.

I'm very happy I didn't have to this time.  I know other people who has done it probably with the same pain symptoms.  But for me it was more to rest, let whatever was aggravated just be, and try and do the right things when I started back up.

Q.  Talk a little bit about more about Michelle and her story.  Are you friends with her?  She's having a great year.  Coming off a big win coming into the Bay Area where she played at Stanford.  Put it all together for her.  Can you talk about that.
SUZANN PETTERSEN:  I mean, Michelle is a smart girl.  Not that many girls out here that have completed four solid years at Stanford while playing golf on the LPGA.
That takes a huge effort.  I think for her to finally be able to concentrate on golf full time has helped her golf for sure.  If you ask me, Michelle is underachieved.  She's way better than what she's performed up to this date, since she joined the tour.

She has every shot in the bag.  She's very talented.  She seems to be comfortable with her putting these days, which has kind of been her hurdle for years.  Great to see her succeed.  She is a hard worker and she's dedicated and an awesome girl off the golf course.

Q.  As a follow-up, it seems like what people say about you and what you do as performer -- you know, in golf's a such a mental game where you have to kind of block out.  She gets criticized and things.  Sometimes unfairly.
SUZANN PETTERSEN:  Yeah, first of all, I think the most important path is the one you choose yourself, and then you can surround yourself with your team.  Whatever your team is up to, that is what you stick with.  You can't sit and listen to this and that from every angle.  It's going to make you crazy.

Even though people mean it well, sometimes it's just politely say, Thanks, but no thanks.  This game is complicated enough.  You're not going to mess it up even more.

Q.  I understand last time you were in town you hit Tiffany's with your mother and they thought you were a tennis player.
SUZANN PETTERSEN:  That must be years ago because I can't remember that.  I'm getting old.  Yeah, maybe.  That could be.
Well, I'm a huge tennis fan, so I wish I was tennis player.  I've always said that a lot of times if I could swap my level of golf to tennis I might be a tennis player.  Who knows if I would have been that good.

Q.  You have a good background in athleticism.  You ride bikes and play other sports as well.  What part of golf, other than trying to keep up with the youngsters, made you get into that position where you were having trouble with your back?
SUZANN PETTERSEN:  I mean, originally I think it was a combination of everything.  If someone asked me to run around the house 10 times, I would run 15.  If someone said you can't overdo this -- I mean, there was no limit where I would take whatever I did.

Obviously a little bit of too much of everything and the combination of golf, working out, hanging with the guys, pushing your limits, it was probably the combination of all of it from a fairly young age.

I thought about it the other day.  I wouldn't have missed those moments for a second because they also made me who I am.  I'm sure I wouldn't have been where I am if I hadn't gone through all the different hurdles, if I can call it that, over the last 20 years.

So I think it's a combination of everything.  The competitiveness really drives me.  When you get injured, really sucks not to be able to play.  Then you really get in like a revenge mode.  Like, okay, I'm going to beat this and come back even stronger.

That's kind of my mentality in everything you face.  Sometimes it's easy to when everything rolls your way and life is easy all the putts, they go in.

At the same time, you don't learn as much as when you're kind of facing the wall and you have other challenges ahead of you.

Rolex Rankings No. 12 Michelle Wie

MODERATOR:  We'd like to welcome Michelle Wie into the interview room today.  You're coming a huge win last week in your hometown of Hawaii.  Talk a little bit about what that win meant for you.
MICHELLE WIE:  It was unbelievable.  You know, I had so much fun.  Just overwhelmed with emotion and the support that I got.  All the love their received afterwards, it was just unbelievable.  Really a dream come true for me and a lot of my family and friends back home as well.

MODERATOR:  You talk about the love you received.  Any specific people that reached out to you?
MICHELLE WIE:  Just everyone.  Just all the players came up to me and gave me a big hug.  Just ran to Karrie and Suzann and they gave me a big hug as well.  Got a couple really cool e-mails from my sponsors and all my friends and everyone.

So it was really cool.

MODERATOR:  You kept yourself busy right after.  You hosted a tournament.  It was a ping-pong event.  Talk about that and the importance of ping-pong in your life specifically and tell us a little bit about that tournament.

MICHELLE WIE:  We were just brainstorming ideas how to make a fun event for everyone, players as well.  It turned out awesome.  I got there, the room was packed.  There was a lot of energy.
Almost won the ping-pong event.  Lost to Daniel Dae Kim in the final match.  He was awesome as well.  We haven't got to the final number yet, but feels like we raised so some money.  So really excited about that.

MODERATOR:  What a fun and unique idea.
MICHELLE WIE:  Yeah.

MODERATOR:  Suzann was in here earlier and talked a little bit about your hula compared to hers.  She mentioned the awkwardness of it.  Take us through that.
MICHELLE WIE:  Well, I'm a really awkward person in general.  I mean, I learned hula when I was a kid and haven't really done it since.  I was like, I can't believe I actually have to do this.  I was just like really uncomfortable, and it was a lot longer than I expected, too.

I thought it was going to be like, Oh, one, two, three.  We're done.  She was like, Okay, we're doing it again, faster.

I'm like, When is this over?  But it was a lot of fun.  I had a lot of fun.

MODERATOR:  Seemed like you knew what you were doing.
MICHELLE WIE:  No, I didn't know.

MODERATOR:  Talk about your play a little bit.  This year, it's been a great year for you.  You have been consistent throughout.  You haven't finished outside of the top 16 in any event this year.  What do you attribute that success to?
MICHELLE WIE:  I felt like I had a really good off-season.  Took some time off, worked on some things, and had a really good training off-season as well.

This year, obviously I've talked about it a lot all year, I just want to be consistent and keep improving.  It's really just the beginning of the season, and I want to keep getting a little bit better and better every tournament and finish strong as well.

I've been having a lot fun.

MODERATOR:  Talk about your putting.  You switched to the tabletop position.  I think I heard it was to be a little bit closer to the ball.  Talk about that approach and how it's helped you.
MICHELLE WIE:  Yeah, I did it like about two years ago, year and a half ago now.  I don't know, just something that I felt feel comfortable with.  I haven't had a plan to keep with it or not keep it.  Just feels comfortable and I see the line better.

So, yeah.

MODERATOR:  A Stanford graduate.  Did you get a chance between Hawaii and today to get over there and see people and visit campus?
MICHELLE WIE:  Oh, yeah.  I arrived on the red eye yesterday and took a quick nap, and Jamie and I drove down to Stanford.  It was amazing.  I was overwhelmed with emotion.  I was like, I really want to be back here.  I was a little bit sad.  I was like, I miss it.  I was trying to figure out how I can be a freshman.  I asked Jamie, I was like, Can I go to school again?  Can I get an undergraduate degree?

It was awesome.  I went to go visit the golf team at their practice facility and just hung out with them.  I saw my friends at the football facilities.  They built like a huge new building, so I got a nice tour of that as well.
Walked around campus.  Wanted to hug every single freshman I saw because I wanted to be them.  I walked past the GSB, the Graduate School of Business, and I was like, I want to go there one day.  So hopefully I'll be back on The Farm.

MODERATOR:  All right.  Questions.

Q.  Can we talk fashion right off the bat?  We love the visor.  Heard that's a tribute to Grace Park; is that true?
MICHELLE WIE: 
Yeah, I was always a fan of the visor when Grace Park wore it.  I felt like about -- I mean, just last year coming into this year I looked a myself in the mirror and I'm like, Oh, I'm getting wrinkles.  (Laughter.)  I was like, I think I need a bigger visor; I think I need more sun protection.

MODERATOR:  You're not.

Q.  Did you ever have a chance to play here when you were at Stanford?
MICHELLE WIE:  I have not.  I didn't really come up north a lot when I went to school.  I practiced a lot in San Jose.  But it's an awesome golf course.
I played 18 holes today, and it's absolutely amazing.  It's kind of cool you can see Olympic as well from a couple holes.  It's just in great condition.  It's a good, tough golf course.

Q.  Given you were on at yesterday, what do you make of this whole nerd nation hashtag, and have you followed that with the different teams and how they have really played off of that theme?
MICHELLE WIE:  Oh, yeah.  I feel like I'm a true believer in that.  I was talking a lot with the football coaches yesterday, and we're talking about recruits and everyone.  It's just such a culture at Stanford.

It's just I remember when I went there, all the student athletes were so smart.  You had people on the football team that were pre-med, that were MNSE, that were biomechanical engineers.  It's amazing.

Jamie asked me yesterday if I was on campus would people be in awe of me or come to me like, Oh, you're Michelle Wie.  I'm like, they really didn't care because they've accomplished so much themselves.  They're like, Oh, you just play golf.  I did this and this and this.

So it's awesome.  I'm so proud that I'm a Stanford grad.  I really believe that we are a bunch of nerds, but at the same time I think we're kind of cool.

No, I don't think so.  Yeah.  They are cool.  I don't know if I am.

Q.  What do you think of the colorful installation of art pieces that Swinging Skirts imported from Taiwan to set up on the golf course?
MICHELLE WIE:  Yeah, unfortunately I never got to play the Swinging Skirts event in Taiwan.  I would see the pictures of the art work and thought it was really cool.

When I heard that all the art pieces were here, I was really excited to play today and see all of them.

Seems to be one on every hole at least, and it's amazing.  It's really cool.  The Golden Gate Bridge one on the first hole was really neat, and the cable car on the last.  A lot of really cool pieces out there.

Q.  Talk about last week.  You do it in your hometown, state.  Talk about coming in on the back nine there.  Did that run through your head?  I have a chance to get my first win on American soil, but also in my home state?
MICHELLE WIE:  I really try not to think too far ahead.  Obviously I did have glimpses of that.  Really didn't hit me until I was walking down the final hole.

It was just like, Wow, like this is actually happening.  Actually still seems pretty surreal to me.  It was a hard day out there.  Angela played great.  There of a lot people on that leaderboard at one point.

I am just so grateful for everything that happened.  The back nine, it was just one of those nine holes that everything clicked together at the right time.

It was awesome.

Q.  And now you're in your area where you went to Stanford.  It's kind of segueing nicely for you.  Nice little roll of a couple weeks positive stuff for you.  Talk a little bit about that, where you are.
MICHELLE WIE:  Yeah, I mean, last week was like my hometown where I grew up.  I really feel like the Bay Area is my second hometown.  I feel like some of best memories I have from my life, I've always kind of told people I think the best five years of my life were spent here in the Bay Area.

I met so many great people here.  I just absolutely fell in love with the area, just the culture of San Francisco, Palo Alto, San Jose, the whole area here.

It's amazing.  I just really fell in love with the places, the people, and obviously Stanford.  So it's just really fun to come back and see all my friends, just to be back in the Bay Area.  I haven't been back since I graduated, so this is pretty amazing.

Q.  You're a young women.  You've been through a lot, and here you are.  It's just interesting to me that you've kind of been able to put whatever you've been through sort of -- I don't know, do you put it in the past and say, Here I am today; I'm an evolving person?  My life is coming together.  Everything sort of happened for a reason?  Is that the way you see?
MICHELLE WIE:  Yeah, I'm a true believer of that.  I think that everything that happens to someone makes them who you are.

Obviously I'm not perfect.  I don't try to be perfect.  I make mistakes.  But I think that I learn from my mistakes.  I'm really grateful for all the ups and downs I've had.  I really feel like that's what makes me who I am today.

I'm really excited for the journey I have ahead.  I know there will be downs, but I really do think those downs, having the experience in the downs, really makes you appreciate the ups.

I think I that if I did not have those downs, then I wouldn't appreciate this win as much as I did.  Obviously it just -- life comes in cycles.  There are going to be downs in the future; there will be ups.  Hopefully I'm strong enough as a person to go through both.

Q.  You've got to be aware of the all the press you've had over the years, negative and with your ups and downs.  You never lashed out or lost your composure on the course.  You've gotten weird rulings.  Is this a conscious effort?  Are you just that nice?  Talk about that.
MICHELLE WIE:  Yeah, Saint Michelle.  No, I mean, I believe that if -- everyone has their own opinion.  I really think that.  You know, I have opinions of people, stuff like that.

But I really do believe that words are very powerful.  I think that how you choose your words is very powerful.  How you think about someone is very powerful.  I feel like there is no need for that.

I think everyone has their own opinion.  Obviously I'm not perfect.  I do get angry.  But at the same time, I think saying stuff while you're angry in the public, I think it stays forever.  I don't believe in negative public lashes like that.  I think everyone has their own opinion and is entitled to that.  This is how I go about things.

If I have a problem with someone, I would rather go straight to them and talk it out with them.  I just try to live my own life.

Q.  You look very comfortable and confident in your skin right now.  You spoke a lot about school.  Do you encourage young ones -- because we have a lot of young ones that are coming through that have foregone school.  What do you say to them?
MICHELLE WIE:  You know, I think everyone has their own path.  It's really a personal choice to go to college or not.  It's a really personal choice between whether wanting to go.  For me, I really wanted to go.  Going to Stanford was really important to me.  Getting my education was really important to me.

I don't think --  I'm not to say that that's important for everyone.  Everyone can live their life however they want to live it.  But for me, I'm really happy that I went to Stanford.  It was a dream come true for me when I got in, and like I said, some of best memories I have in my life.  I'm so grateful I have those memories.

Just really happy that I went to Stanford.

Q.  One of the things I've been waiting to ask you is I was in my hotel room a couple weeks ago and they showed your new putting stroke and put a picture of Jack Nicklaus back in the day, like in the '70s next to you.  I would've never thought it, but I said, There is a similarity there.  It was fun for me.  Did you ever see a picture of Jack back then and think, Wait a minute, that's something that might work for me?
MICHELLE WIE:  I actually didn't see it before I changed, but after I changed, you know, I practice at the Bear's Club and there are pictures of Jack everywhere.
I saw a picture of him like putting and I was like, Oh, he is actually pretty low as well.  I don't feel that bad anymore.


Topics: Notes and Interviews, Park, Inbee, Pettersen, Suzann, Wie, Michelle, Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic [+]