RICOH Women's British Open Tuesday Notes and Interviews

Stacy Lewis
Photo Credit: Warren Little/Getty Images

Stacy Lewis of the United States celebrates with caddie Travis Wilson on the 17th hole during the final round of the Ricoh Women's British Open at the Old Course, St Andrews on August 4, 2013 in St Andrews, Scotland.

RICOH Women’s British Open
Royal Birkdale Golf Club
Southport, England
Tuesday Pre-Tournament Notes
July 8, 2014

Stacy Lewis, Rolex Rankings No. 1
Michelle Wie, Rolex Rankings No. 6
Catriona Matthew, Rolex Rankings No. 15

The RICOH Women’s British Open returns to Royal Birkdale for the third time this week, as the best in women’s golf compete to see who will crowned the game’s latest major champion.

Stacy Lewis will try to achieve a feat that only two players have
accomplished in the last 20 years and that is to win back-to-back Women’s British Open titles. Lewis delivered a memorable performance last year in her victory at St. Andrews, finishing birdie-birdie to claim her second major championship and to end a 10-event winless streak in the majors for Americans.

So far in 2014, the majors have been all about the Americans. Nineteen-year-old Lexi Thompson opened up this year’s major schedule by capturing her first major championship at the Kraft Nabisco Championship Michelle Wie, who finished runner-up to Thompson at Mission Hills, didn’t wait long to follow up with her first major as she won the U.S. Women’s Open and etched herself in the history books at Pinehurst one week after Martin Kaymer won the men’s event on the same course.

There will be plenty of big names vying for this year’s RICOH Women’s British Open title, including 24 past major
winners who have combined to win a total of 47 major titles.

The last time that the event was held at Royal Birkdale, Yani Tseng captured the first of her two straight RICOH
Women’s British Open titles. Tseng held off Katherine Kirk (formerly Hull) to claim a one-shot victory. She then went on to win the following year at Carnoustie, the first time that the famous venue was host to this event.

SPECIAL MOMENTO
Stacy Lewis delivered one of the most memorable shots in RICOH Women’s British Open history last year at St.
Andrews. The 5-iron that Lewis hit to 3 feet on the famous Road Hole, the par-4 17th at the Old Course, set up the first of back-to-back finishing birdies for Lewis which resulted in her second major victory.

The shot is so special to Lewis that she has the 5-iron on display in her house, resting in one of her Solheim Cup bags.

“I’ve kept all my putters that I’ve used from all my wins, and now the 5‑iron is in that collection,” Lewis said. “So the rest of the set of irons are in my garage somewhere and I’ll end up getting rid of them soon. But the 5‑iron is definitely going to stay.”

Lewis has picked up a few more victories since that win at St. Andrews a year ago and in the process has taken over the No. 1 spot in the world. Now she returns to the RICOH Women’s British Open as the defending champion, although it’s certainly a new challenge that she will face this year at Royal Birkdale.

“It’s a little strange feeling though coming to this event and being at a different golf course and this one is completely different than St. Andrews,” said Lewis. “So it’s a little strange coming back but it’s fun to be back playing links golf. And playing in the rain this morning, we got a good taste of it again. It’s nice being back.”

Taking the 5-iron from St. Andrews out of her bag to keep as a memento seemed understandable for Lewis but the media had to ask the question – why would you put away putters that had led to victories?

“The one I had most my wins ‑‑ or all my wins in 2012 I decided to bend,” Lewis said. “I was able to bend it back but it was not quite right.”

So how did Lewis bend her putter? A smile crept over Lewis’ face and the mostly seriously golfer chuckled as she answered the question.

“I wasn’t happy; this was an accident bend,” Lewis said. “So I got a new one, and that’s the new one I’ve used for the last three wins in the bag.”

TABLETOP OR STINGER
The tabletop putting has gotten most of the attention for Michelle Wie this year, but it’s the stinger that could be key to her winning her second career major championship here at the Royal Birkdale Golf Club.

Wie, among other players, noticed that the rough is up this week compared to other years.

“There was a lot of lines that I remember just bombing driver down the rough because there wasn’t any rough. “ Wie said. “And a lot of times, I think this year, you kind of have to play a little bit shorter. Birkdale is one of those courses where you have to, it’s really demanding off the tee.”

“I think it’s one of the most demanding golf courses off the tee and you have to put it in play, and once you’re in play, then I think it gets a little bit easier.” Wie said. “Not that it gets easy; it just gets a little bit easier. I definitely think the stinger will help keep it low, keep it on the ground. It’s playing firm, so hopefully it will roll a lot.”

Wie’s stinger is one that even World No. 1 Stacy Lewis is envious of.

“I would just love to be able to hit the stinger 3 woods that she hits.” Lewis said of Wie’s stinger. “I don’t know how far she hits it but it’s very impressive.”

HEADING HOME
With three top-ten finishes this year, including one at the U.S. Women’s Open, Catriona Matthew feels good about the overall state of her game.

“Yeah, (I’m) pleased with how I’m playing.” Matthew said. “Played well all year. The weeks I’ve been up there have been the weeks I’ve putted a bit better. Comes down to how I putt. And you’re going to have though drive well this week and keep it on the fairways, and at the end of the day, it always comes down to who holes the most putts.”

The 2009 RICOH Women’s British Open winner heads home to Scotland for three weeks immediately following the tournament. There, she has to work more to balance busy family obligations with practice time on the course.

“Even when I’m at home I probably don’t practice as much as most people.” Matthew described of her time at home. “Certainly come August, our youngest starts school, so I’ll have from 9.00 top 3.00 to squeeze everything in. The last few years it’s been from 9.00 to 1.00. You just try to make your practice a little bit more quality than the length of it. You get around it.”

Whatever time she is able to squeeze in at the course has worked for the No. 15 ranked player in the world. The results of the balancing act are not lost on the No. 1 payer in the world, Stacy Lewis.

“She continues to impress everybody, just, one, how long she’s played and how she’s playing better now than probably she has at any time in her career.” Lewis said of Matthew. “It’s just really impressive. She doesn’t play as many weeks as she probably wants to because of the kids and stuff like that. I think it’s something that a lot of the girls look to; you look to her, you look to Juli in that they have done it. They have raised a family and still had a successful career, and it’s just really impressive.“

NO. 1 SCENARIOS
For Stacy Lewis to remain the Rolex Rankings No. 1 is a 3-way tie for 2nd or better guarantees she will remain in the same position. If Lydia Ko wns this week, she will take over the No. 1 ranking as long as Stacy finishes in a 4-way tie for 2nd or worse.

ROOKIES IN THE FIELD
There are seven LPGA rookies in the field this week in Amy Anderson, Stacy Keating, Joanna Klatten, Lydia Ko, Mirim Lee, Xi Yu Lin, Line Videl. The last rookie to win a major was Anna Nordqvist at the 2009 LPGA Championship at Bulle Rock Golf Course in Havre de Grace, Maryland.

QUOTE OF THE DAY
“It doesn’t change my views on anything. I still am attacking the game the same way I’ve attacked it before Pinehurst. I’m not looking at the game any differently. I’m not looking at myself any differently. It’s not made me hungrier. It made me more motivated to go out and play better.”

-Michelle Wie explaining her mentality now after winning her first major at the U.S. Women’s Open last month

TV SCHEDULE
ESPN2 will be televising the tournament this week in the United States. Below are the air times during the RICOH Women’s British Open.

July 10
9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
July 11
9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
July 12
8:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
July 13
8:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

*All times listed are Eastern time

 

Stacy Lewis, Rolex Rankings No. 1

COLIN CALLANDER:  Good afternoon we have defending champion, Stacy Lewis.  How much fun is it to be coming here defending the title?
STACY LEWIS:
  It is, it's a little strange feeling though coming to this event and being at a different golf course and this one is completely different than St. Andrews.  So it's a little strange coming back but it's fun to be back playing links golf.  And playing in the rain this morning, we got a good taste of it again.  It's nice being back.
           
COLIN CALLANDER:   What make this is course completely different?  What are the keys to getting around here?
STACY LEWIS:
  I think the key to this golf course is going to be keeping it out of the rough, in the fairways and up near the greens.  The greens here are so much smaller than St. Andrews.
           
But the biggest thing is that you have to really place yourself around this golf course, you can't just get up there and rip driver.  You really have to think your way around, and St. Andrews had that and you could get away with a little bit more there.

Q.  You finished tied 31st in 2010.  Could you remember, was the course setup similar?
STACY LEWIS:
  Honestly, I remembered holes once we got on the course but I didn't remember much of actually playing it, because I think it rained almost every single day and it was miserable.  Maybe I chose to block it out, but I honestly don't really remember much of how it played.
           
But I do remember, this is probably the first one that I actually played halfway decent in, and kind of where I learned ‑‑ you have to learn how to get the ball in the hole and learn that it's not about how perfect you hit every shot.  It's managing your game.  So this is where I kind of started to learn how to play links golf.
           
COLIN CALLANDER:   You come in here, I think you've won three times this season, No. 1 in the world.  You must be pleased with your form coming into the championship.
STACY LEWIS: 
Yeah, winning a couple weeks ago and then winning three times in the last two months I guess it is, I mean, just coming into this ‑‑ this is a time of year when you want to play the best.  This is when all of our majors are and this is the busiest time of the year.
           
Coming in here I definitely like where my game is at.  You have to adjust things and play different shots than you're used to but other than that, the game is in good shape.

Q.  What have you adjusted for this week, not so much in terms of shots, but in the bag?
STACY LEWIS:
  Yeah, I'm still kind of working on it, but actually I putt for the U.S. Open, I got a new 3‑wood and hybrid that I hit a little bit higher.
           
So I've got about five clubs that I need to take, or actually six clubs, and I need to take three of them out, so I'm still trying to figure out the right combination.  Because I would like to have this 3‑iron in the bag over here that I use off some tees, but it's just figuring out the right combination, because a lot of the tee shots you can't use drivers.
           
So it's which ones for which holes.  Right now, we are kind of planning on a 3‑wood that I hit a little bit higher, and going back to the older hybrid that I hit a little lower and then putting a 3‑iron in instead of a 4‑iron.  So that's kind of the plan right now but that could change before I start on Thursday.

Q.  Is it as bouncy out there as it was at St. Andrews last year, and how often do you relive that 5‑iron shot on the Road Hole?
STACY LEWIS: 
I would say obviously today played a little different with the rain we had, so it wasn't nearly as bouncy as St. Andrews.  I was just trying to hit some bump‑and‑runs and some chip shots and they are just not releasing out the way they did last year, and even yesterday; so just that little bit of rain we got.
           
But there's just so much grass on this golf course.  There's a lot of grass in the fairways.  The rough just right off the fairways is really thick, and then the long stuff is even worse.  There's just a lot of grass in general so it seems to be the more you can carry it is going to be better this week.
           
That 5‑iron, I mean, it's a shot that I don't think I'll ever forget about.  It's a shot that you hope to pull off maybe once in your career and to do it there, under those circumstances, and to win a tournament, I don't think it ever goes away, and it's certainly nice to know ‑‑ it's just nice to know really that I can pull off that shot; I can hit that shot, when there's a ton of wind and a ton of pressure, and I can do it.  So I think that gives you a lot of confidence.

Q.  Where is the club?
STACY LEWIS:
  The club is at my house upstairs.  I've kept all my putters that I've used from all my wins, and now the 5‑iron is in that collection.  So the rest of the set of irons are in my garage somewhere and I'll end up getting rid of them soon.  But the 5‑iron is definitely going to stay.

Q.  Upstairs, in a closet?  On a wall?
STACY LEWIS:
  It's in one of my Solheim Cup bags, so I guess I should do something more with it. 

Q.  If you've won with these putters, what are they doing upstairs?  Why aren't they in your bag?
STACY LEWIS:
  Well, the first one, the one I won Kraft with, I switched to this other putter, and then the one I had most my wins ‑‑ or all my wins in 2012 I decided to bend.  So I was able to bend it back but it was not quite right.

Q.  How did you bend it?
STACY LEWIS:
  I wasn't happy.  This was an accident bend.  So I got a new one, and that's the new one I've used for the last three years in the bag.  That's why there's two putters up there.

Q.  The par 5s down the stretch, how do you plan to attack and how do you think that will come into play?
STACY LEWIS:
  Well, I think they are both, I mean, they are both really good holes and you've got to hit ‑‑ it's not like they are gimmie birdies.  The shot into ‑‑ the approach shot into 17 is hard.  You've got a little cross‑bunker that's 20 yards short of the green and usually you've got a left‑to‑right wind there.
           
So it's a hard shot, so I think you really ‑‑ I don't know if you can be super aggressive there.  Sometimes some of these greens, if you can get it just short and have it chip up, you're better off than trying to get it all the way to the green.
           
This whole golf course, it's really what the wind is doing and whether you feel comfortable with the shot is how aggressive you want to be.  It a lot of the par 4s, you can hit driver at some of the bunkers or you can lay back with a hybrid and still reach the green.
           
It's just really how the shot sets up for you, whether you want to be aggressive or not, and it's just really what the shot is.  If I have a good number, I'm going to be aggressive.  If I don't, then I may be play it safe and ride on my short game a little bit.

Q.  Your caddie was talking about the switch that you turn on when you make up your mind that you really want to go into another gear.  Can you talk about that, which clearly was there on Sunday in Arkansas, what that feels like and where that comes from?
STACY LEWIS: 
I mean, honestly I don't know what it is.  I don't know ‑‑ I figured out Sundays.  Obviously that's where it's all kind of turned around.  I don't know if I just get it in my head that I'm going to win this tournament and nobody else is going to beat me, or I don't know what it is.
           
I just get into this mode where it's one shot at a time and doing the best you can with every single shot.  Instead of thinking about, this is for birdie or this is to tie for the lead or this is for win.  It's about, I'm going to do the best I can with this shot.
             
I've seen once I get into that mode, everything becomes pretty easy and everything else, you can kind of block everything out.  It's a little strange.  I wish I could get there more on Thursdays and Fridays and make Sundays easier.
           
I don't know, it's a cool place to be.  I don't know, it's really calming, actually, and I've gotten in those situations before where you can feel your heart rate and you're shaking and all those things.  These last few weeks I've gotten into that pressure mode, there's just been a calm and a relaxed feel to it.  I don't know what it is.  But it's a good thing.
           
COLIN CALLANDER:  Is that something you've just learned to do?
STACY LEWIS: 
It's something I've kind of figured out over ‑‑ I think really, the big thing was at ShopRite when I won, I felt I was pretty any control all day and really kind of hit a point in the middle of the back nine where I was just like, you need to relax, and I relaxed and everything just kind of took care of itself.
           
I don't know if it's just kind of taking a deep breath and just relaxing.  That's really all it is.

Q.  The Koreans obviously have been such a strong force on the Tour for so long, but the last few majors have been won by Americans and a European.  Do you think there's a stitch?
STACY LEWIS: 
Yeah, you look at the first half of this year and how many Americans have won, and there's definitely been a switch.  I don't know, I think we are all kind of motivating each other.  I think we have all been kind of motivated from Solheim and from answering those questions all the time of where are the Americans.
           
But it's great to see, because we all have great camaraderie amongst us and so it's fun to get together and play practice rounds, play matches, because we are making each other better.  And obviously it's a great thing for the Tour, as well.

Q.  When you were talking about 2010, you said it rained every day and it was pretty miserable.  If it were to rain every day now, have you learned not to be miserable in foul weather?
STACY LEWIS:
  I said the weather was miserable.  I didn't say anything else was (laughing).
           
I truly learned how to play links golf ‑‑ I mean, the one day it rained hard for 17 of the 18 holes, and it wasn't about your golf swing or how you hit the shot.  It was about getting the ball in the hole.  Sometimes you hit some ugly shots and they end up okay.  That's where I kind of learned that links golf, that's what it is.  It's not about how solid you hit every shot.  It's just where you get it to the right place.
           
So I mean, I welcome the challenge.  If it rains every day, I'd love it.  I'd be all for it.  You take half the field out of it because they wouldn't want to be there.  So I'm ready for the weather if it comes.

Q.  And the rough, you say, is tough enough on the edge of the greens and even tougher elsewhere; is it too tough?  Are some of them complaining?
STACY LEWIS:
  I don't know.  I mean, I wouldn't complain about it.  I do think if you miss a fairway, you're going to have a hard time advancing the ball.  I think if you get in the tall stuff, it's probably a chip out most of the time depending on the lie.
           
You just can't go in there.  Because I remember some holes ‑‑ I do remember some tee shots in 2010 where we just kind of bombed driver over the bunkers and if you ended up in the rough it was no big deal, where this year, it matters.  You could barely clear a bunker and it's not going to kick all the way down to the fairway.  It's going to get stuck in that longer grass.
           
So you just have to think more, play a little bit smarter.  It's similar to Pinehurst where we played the Open a couple weeks ago, that you maybe hit hybrid off the tee but still have 5‑ or 6‑iron into the green and you have to be okay with that, because I think if you start getting too aggressive, you can go sideways pretty quick.  You.

Q.  We had Catriona Matthew who is a bit of an enigma, married with two kids and a lot of things she has to balance; how much admiration do you have for what she's doing, competing at her age with her responsibilities?
STACY LEWIS:
  Yeah, I mean, Catriona, I think she continues to impress everybody, just, one, how long she's played and how she's playing better now than probably she has at any time in her career.  It's just really impressive.  She doesn't play as many weeks as she probably wants to because of the kids and stuff like that.
           
I think it's something that a lot of the girls look to; you look to her, you look to Juli in that they have done it.  They have raised a family and still had a successful career, and it's just really impressive.

Q.  Curious if you go back to 2008, the U.S. Open, your first as a pro, and Michelle at that time in her career was somewhere bottom‑ish or whatever, did you have any perceptions of her then before you got to know her any different now, and when did that change if it changed?
STACY LEWIS: 
I don't know Michelle.  The first time we played together was Q‑School of 2008.  I mean, I knew as much about her as everybody did, just seeing her on TV and stuff like that.  I think the perception definitely changes once you get out here, and a lot of the players, your perceptions change once you meet them.
           
I think I've gotten to know Michelle kind of through Solheim Cup, that's where we started to get to know each other and obviously we are living pretty close to each other now.  I think once she went to school and went to Stanford, she really kind of became a different person.  Now she hangs out with players more and she gets out and goes to dinner with people instead of just kind of sticking to her team all the time.  You know, that's kind of when it all changed I think.

Q.  You guys strike me as friends who couldn't be any more different.
STACY LEWIS: 
That's true.  That's very true.  Obviously we have the golf as the common bond, but yeah, Michelle is the artsy kind of goofy person and I'm definitely not that.

Q.  What's the opposite of artsy‑goofy?
STACY LEWIS:
  I don't know what that is.  Not artsy at all.  I mean, you go to her house, she's painted everything that's on her walls.  It's all her paintings.

Q.  And you've got a bent putter.
STACY LEWIS:
  Yeah, I've got a bent putter and need my sister to help me decorate.
           
I don't really know what it is but I enjoy hanging around her.  It's cool how I've learned a lot from her, and how she is handled the media and how she's handled the pressures and the expectations.  She doesn't read anything that anybody writes and she doesn't really care what anybody thinks about her and it's kind of like, oh, that kind of makes sense.  Wish I could be like that, too.  There's some things about her that I've tried to be more like, and probably vice versa I would think.

Q.  I'll ask her the same question, but if you could be Michelle for one day, what would be the first thing you would want to do?
STACY LEWIS:
  Well, one, I'd like to hit it as far as she did.  I'd love to hit it as far as she did.  But other than that I don't know.  I don't know other than that.  I would just love to be able to hit the stinger 3‑woods that she hits.  I don't know how far she hits it but it's very impressive.

Q.  What are your expectations of her as a player now that she's made that breakthrough and has the first major under her belt?  Do you think that's a huge confidence boost and we'll see a lot more of her?
STACY LEWIS:
  Yeah, I said it coming into the year; coming into the year, I said she was going to have a great year.  Now she's going to be a force every week because she's learning how to take her game to different golf courses and she's contending, playing well at the U.S. Open and then going to Arkansas the next week, which is a completely different golf course and still playing well there.
           
So now, I think everybody, you expect her to be on the leaderboard and you expect her to be there on Sunday, and I think she's expecting that of herself, too it.
           
I don't know if anybody could be a female Tiger Woods but Michelle definitely moves the needle.  I think her playing good golf is good for everyone.  It's good for the Tour and it's good for the other players.  You know, it really is a great, great thing.  I said the U.S. Open couldn't have been scripted any better there.  We are on our biggest stage there and our biggest star winning there, and she won't even tell you that, but she is our biggest star and she moves the needle and her winning there was huge for us.
           
She knows that but I don't think it factors into how she plays.

Q.  Are you surprised, given what she's been through in the past that she's always loved the game as much as she has?
STACY LEWIS:
  No.  She's always enjoyed playing.  I don't think that's ‑‑ she was hurt.  A lot of those times, she had injuries that people I don't think necessarily knew about and she maybe came back too soon from.
           
She's always loved the game, and I think now she's healthy and obviously playing better golf helps you enjoy it more.  I mean, she's loving life right now.  She's 24 years old and having fun and that's what she should be doing.

Q.  You both went to university at a time when a lot of girls coming on Tour haven't.  Do you think that's a huge advantage?
STACY LEWIS:
  I do.  I think I always ‑‑ honestly, I hate all these girls turning pro so young.  I love seeing girls go to college.
           
You know, you learn how to be an individual and you learn how to take care of yourself and take care of your game and not rely on so many people.  I think that's the biggest advantage of going to college.  You saw that in Michelle.  She's taking ownership of her game.  Look at the whole putting stance.  Everybody went crazy when she switched to it but she took ownership of it and she said, I'm going to do this and it's going to work and she believed in it.  So she's got that belief in herself.
           
That's why I think so many girls coming out, I don't think they have that belief that they can really do it, and college just kind of helps ‑‑ I think it helps build that confidence.

Q.  Have you tried it?
STACY LEWIS:
  I don't think my hamstrings are flexible to do that.  But it makes sense.  She's so tall that ‑‑ if I was that tall, I would think I would want to get closer to the ground, too.  But she's making it work and that's the biggest thing.

Q.  From an interest standpoint, do you think it's important for two players such as you and Michelle to separate yourselves and what that would be like to have a friendly rivalry?  We haven't seen one of those on the LPGA in long time.
STACY LEWIS: 
Yeah, I think rivals are great for any sport, and I don't think you have to hate each other, because we are never going to hate each other.  But I can tell you we both want to beat each other once we get on the golf course, and that's all you need for a rivalry to work.  I think it would be a great thing.
           
I love battling down the stretch with anybody, and if it was Michelle, that would be a great thing.  We're never going to hate each other, though, so we are never going to be saying bad things about each other and we are going to fight till the end and then you congratulate the winner and you go work hard and try and win the next week.
           
It's going to take both of us playing good golf.  Obviously we can't just coast now because other people are going to be coming up trying to beat us, too.  We both have to just keep working hard and see what happens.  But just the way things are going, the way golf courses are being set up with the length advantage, our courses just keep getting longer.  So anybody that hits it far has an advantage.  Saw that at Kraft with Lexi and Michelle in the final group and the Open was the same way.
           
So having length is an advantage and that's going to continue.  So it's going to take a lot of the people out of the tournament.  I think there's an opportunity for a rivalry for sure.

Q.  (Inaudible.)
STACY LEWIS: 
We don't really play money games.  We just go out and practice and hit shots and stuff like that.  Michelle is usually very focused on the next meal.  Because we usually play in the morning and then go have lunch and she usually gets very focused on the lunch and kind of doesn't pay attention to the whole golf side of it (laughing).  She'll tell you the same thing.

 

Michelle Wie, Rolex Rankings No. 6

COLIN CALLANDER:  Good afternoon again, we have Michelle we, reining Women's U.S. Open Champion with us. Thank you for taking the time.  You've obviously had a very busy time since winning the title the last couple weeks.  Are you feeling relaxed coming in here this week.
MICHELLE WIE:
  Yeah, I mean, was really excited to be back in Arkansas playing last week.  A little bit disappointed how I finished on Sunday obviously but I felt a little bit tired and took some time off last week and got some good work and good practice in and just was really excited for this week.
           
Really excited to be at Birkdale again.  It's my third time here, and I've loved it every single time.  When I played my practise round yesterday, I was like, oh, this is why I love Birkdale.  It's an awesome place.
           
COLIN CALLANDER:   This is where you started playing the Ricoh Women's British Open all those years ago.  You must have warm memories.
MICHELLE WIE:
  It's crazy, yeah.  I definitely remember back then, I didn't know what hand warmers were and I didn't know what those like mitts were.  And I remember playing with Catriona and I saw her with the hand warmers and I was like, what is that, that is so genius.  I have never been so cold in my entire life.  That's what I remember from the first Birkdale.
           
COLIN CALLANDER:   Was that your first experience of links golf?
MICHELLE WIE:
  Yeah, mm‑hmm.

Q.  Wasn't the Curtis Cup just before it at Formby?
MICHELLE WIE:
  Yeah, I mean, Formby was awesome, too.  But I think the weather wasn't too bad at the Curtis Cup.  I remember it being like semi‑okay and then I came here to Birkdale and I was like, oh, it was really warm the week before in Evian and I brought all my rain gear and I sent it all back to Hawai'i.
           
So I got here with clothes I wore at Evian which were sleeveless and shorts and everything.  I got here and I was like, oh, my God, that was such a mistake.
           
Yeah, it was as cold as I've ever been but it was awesome.

Q.  People say when they have won their first major, they sometimes don't realise they have won until a day or two later.  Did you ever have a moment the Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, when it finally hit you what you had done?
MICHELLE WIE:
  It's strange.  I think the fact that I kind of did the whole New York thing, I realized that I actually did win it.  There was no going around it.  There was no acting like I didn't.  It was really cool.  I told Beth Ann, I felt like a donut fresh out of the fryer, rolling around in the sugar.
           
I let myself really bask in it for a few days and after that, I think that just because I won a major, it doesn't mean that I'm going to play well in the future.  It doesn't guarantee that I'm to win the British or win anything.
           
It's just kind of back to working hard and try to play well.  I'm just really proud of myself but I think I've kind of moved past it and trying to think about this week and the upcoming events.

Q.  How does it feel when you hear him introduce you as the raining women's U.S. Women's Open champ?
MICHELLE WIE:
  It's awesome.  It's great.  Like it's never going to get old.  I think it's amazing that it will be there for ever.  My name will be on the Cup.  Once it's engraved it can't really be taken back.  It feels amazing.  I'm extremely proud of myself.

Q.  Saw you hitting a lot of low shots on range today.
MICHELLE WIE:
  Shocker.

Q.  Can you talk about the stinger and how important that's going to be through this week and just kind of your game plan around here?
MICHELLE WIE:
  Yeah, the rough is up this week.  The rough is definitely the longest it's ever been the last few times I was here.  I was telling David out on the golf course, there was a lot of lines that I remember just bombing driver down the rough because there wasn't any rough.  And a lot of times, I think this year, you kind of have to play a little bit shorter.
           
Birkdale is one of those courses where you have to, it's really demanding off the tee.  I think it's one of the most demanding golf courses off the tee and you have to put it in play, and once you're in play, then I think it gets a little bit easier.  Not that it gets easy; it just gets a little bit easier.
           
I definitely think the stinger will help keep it low, keep it on the ground.  It's playing firm, so hopefully it will roll a lot.

Q.  There's an old saying that the first one is the hardest.  Now that you have the first one out of the way, is that an adage you agree with?  Or could you put into your own words what you feel about that?
MICHELLE WIE:
  Like I said before, just because I won one doesn't guarantee the fact that I'm going to win the second one.  I think it's going to be just as hard as the first one.  Hopefully won't take me quite as long.  I'm not going to complain either way.
           
It doesn't change my views on anything.  I still am attacking the game the same way I've attacked it before Pinehurst.  I'm not looking at the game any differently.  I'm not looking at myself any differently.  It's not more made me hungrier.  It made me more motivated to go out and play better. 
           
I'm definitely enjoying hearing it and stuff.  Hopefully the second win, I don't know when it will come, if it will come.  I'm just not putting any pressure on myself.  I'm just going to keep working at it and be grateful for the one that I have.

Q.  Stacy Lewis was saying earlier that she thought you had been, quote, changed, for the better and much more mature after going to college.  What is your own reflection on how that's transformed you?
MICHELLE WIE:
  Yeah, I've always felt going to college was an important part of my life.  I've said this over and over again; for me personally, it helped me grow up a lot.  I think that was actually the one beauty of college.  You kind of go there and you don't have your parents telling you what to do.  You don't have anyone telling you that you have to do something.  It's all a choice and you kind of ‑‑ especially how busy I was, I really learned how to manage my time and how to balance my life.
           
I definitely had fun but I didn't couldn't have as much fun because I practiced and I went to tournaments and I had to study and everything.  I think I just learned to manage my time a lot better.  It was difficult getting out of college.  The transition period was very tough.  But I think I learned a lot over the past four and a half years I was at college, and it was definitely a lot of fond memories, too.

Q.  If you could be Stacy Lewis for a day, what would you look forward to doing?
MICHELLE WIE:
  If I was Stacy Lewis?  Like for fun or ‑‑ I don't know.  I think we both really like to paddleboard, so we do that a lot.  Yeah, I don't know.  I think she really likes working out.  I think she really likes playing golf and I think she likes to paddleboard.  I don't know, we hung out on July 4 which was a lot of fun.  I've gotten to know her a lot better over the last year or so, living in Jupiter and stuff.
           
You know, at first, she doesn't really open up and you kind of don't know how funny she is or how quirky she is and how sarcastic she is sometimes.  The last year, I've really gotten to know her.
           
We've played a lot of golf together, and she's awesome.  I mean, I think she doesn't open up or she doesn't ‑‑ a lot of people don't think one way of her or another, I don't know.  I definitely have gotten pretty close to her and she's definitely a lot of fun.

Q.  The idea was for two friends, probably couldn't be any more different.  She described you as artsy and goofy.  What would that make her?
MICHELLE WIE: 
I think she's really motivated.  When I see Stacy, even if she finished fourth or third, she's still really motivated.  She's pissed off that she was fourth place, and I really admire that.  I think that looking at her and kind of seeing her do that, you know, her work ethic is just unbelievable.  It definitely inspires me to work harder every time I see her in the gym, every time I see her on the golf course.
           
I think she's really kind, too.  That's one part I think a lot of people don't see is how kind she is.  She took Jane Marie Green (ph) and gave her a three‑hour chipping lesson.  We got her on to the golf course and she was teaching her everything.  She's definitely very kind and motivated.  I would say motivated.

Q.  That stinger 3‑wood is incredibly reliable and your lag putting is a zillion percent better than it was a year ago.  Would you say consistency is the biggest improvement in your game in the last year?
MICHELLE WIE: 
Yeah, I hope so.  That's definitely my biggest goal; coming into this year, I said this a million times:  I want to be more consistent.   That's my No. 1 goal.  I think so far I'm kind of achieving it.  I just want to get more and more consistent.
           
And yeah, I don't know if I'll be hitting a lot of 3‑woods this week.  It will be mostly two hybrids.  But yeah, I think I've just got to keep getting more consistent.  That's what Stacy is, she's consistent.  She's deadly consistent.  Annoyingly consistent (laughing).

Q.  You've been under the spotlight since you were little, but to finally win your first major, what do you think is the reason behind that?
MICHELLE WIE:
  I think it's definitely the people behind me; my coach, my sponsors, my trainer, my parents.  It's hard to do it on your own, especially kind of went through a couple hard times.  If it wasn't for my friends and my family and everyone in my group, it definitely wouldn't have happened.

Q.  You'll be playing with Rikako Morita tomorrow; what do you know about her?
MICHELLE WIE:
  I actually don't know much about her, but I'm really excited to spend Thursday and Friday with her.  We're playing early which will be nice.

Q.  There's been so many Koreans over the last few years, but the last four majors have been won by the Americans and Europeans.  Do you think there's been a sea change?
MICHELLE WIE:
  Yeah, I think all of the Americans are very motivated.  We kind of got our butt kicked last Solheim and I think after that, I think a lot of us just really looked into ourselves and kind of just re‑evaluated what was happening.  It was a good reality check.
           
I think we are definitely motivated.  I think we push each other and I definitely feel a lot more camaraderie out there on Tour with a lot of the Americans, which is exciting when another American plays well.  So it feels great.  I think we are definitely getting our names back up there.

Q.  Curious about the July 4th festivities, what you guys did.
MICHELLE WIE:
  There was no twerking involved.  We just chilled.  I was going to have a little pool party but it rained all day so we just sat down and talked and blew up some fireworks 

Q.  Can you describe how you came up with your putting style and what's good about it?
MICHELLE WIE:
  Yeah, I definitely struggled with my putting quite a bit two years ago.  During CME, during the round, I tried a couple things and went lower and it felt comfortable, so I just started doing it.  I just feel comfortable.  I feel lower to the ground.  I feel like I can see the line better.  I just always felt like I was a little bit too far away from it.  I'm a little bit too tall I think.

Q.  Did you change your bag at all for this week?
MICHELLE WIE:
  My golf bag?

Q.  The clubs that are in the golf bag?
MICHELLE WIE:
  I'm like, no, I didn't change my golf bag.  No, I didn't.  Not at all (laughing).

Q.  I don't know if it was Stacy, but normally on links golf you're trying to stay away from the bunkers, but here it's bunkers and rough.  How much tighter does that make it off the tee?
MICHELLE WIE:
  Yeah, I was telling David out there, it's as tough as I've seen Birkdale play, because usually there is no rough.  So you just hit it over the bunkers or you hit it right of the bunkers or left of the bunkers.
           
A lot of the holes now, you just have to keep it in the fairway.  And it's playing tough.  It's definitely playing tough.  I feel like I was in every single bunker out there today; so hopefully I won't in the tournament.  Said hi to them all.  The rough was up.  Especially with the rain today, it was playing a lot harder.

Q.  Inaudible.
MICHELLE WIE:
  I'm kind of working on that still but I think I might ‑‑ usually there's no rough, and so you can bounce it off a hill, or even if you go right, you're fine.  But now, it's not even bouncing off the hill because the rough is so thick.  So I may just hit two hybrid, 4‑hybrid in front of the green and chip up.  Haven't quite decided that yet.

Q.  I know you don't get a lot of time when you are off the course, but are you planning on going to Liverpool or anything like that ‑‑
MICHELLE WIE:
  I'm not a roller coaster person at all, but I went to go see Hale lead beater play yesterday in the qualifier.  That looked like a pretty cool golf course.
           
But no, I walked around Southport a little bit.  We found some good restaurants.  Just tip call ‑‑ I'm in bed by like eight every day.

Q.  Was it last year that you likened yourself to a flagpole in the wind, bending this way and that, because it was so stormy.
MICHELLE WIE:
  Yeah.

Q.  It was very windy and you couldn't stand upright.
MICHELLE WIE:  Yeah, I think I'm too tall for the wind.  Just like blow over.  I'm getting a little bit nervous because I feel like the weather is a little too good right now.  But it's not the British Open if you don't have one day where it's completely crazy.  So I'm looking forward to it.

Q.  Your record in the British Open, you've had a third and one Top‑10, something like that.  Do you like links?  Do you think your game is good for links or not?
MICHELLE WIE:
  I like links golf.  I think it's really cool that once a year we get to play a golf course that's completely different than any other golf course that we play.  It's kind of exciting.  It's a shock to the system I think when you first get here because it's completely different.
           
But it's cool.  I love all the history that happens at these golf courses.  It makes it interesting.  The pot bunkers are a definite challenge, which you don't really see much on the U.S. golf courses.  But I think it's a very cool experience for all of us at the British Open.  I really enjoy coming here.

Q.  Curious about your thoughts of a Michelle Wie/Stacy Lewis rivalry developing, friendly rivalry?
MICHELLE WIE:
  I feel very honoured that people are putting me up against Stacy; world No. 1 rank in the world, obviously she's a really good player.  So I feel very honoured that people are comparing me to her or putting me against her.
           
You know, I don't think you'll find a rivalry where we hate each other or anything.  But I want her to do well.  I think she wants me to do well.  But I think it's fun because we definitely want to beat each other.  I definitely don't want to lose to her but at the same time, I was really happy that she won in Arkansas and I think she was really happy I won at the U.S. Open, so I think it's very cool.

Q.  Are there any similarity, not to the course, but to the turf, from Pinehurst to here?
MICHELLE WIE: 
Yeah, I was actually looking to see if there was at all similar, but it really isn't.  It's different here.  It surprises me, like every time I come here, how the ball really doesn't spin here.  It just bounds down, even when you chip; into the hills at Pinehurst, it grabbed and just rolled out.
           
Here, it's like the grain, basically, the whole golf course is kind of one type of grass, which I think is really cool.  But yeah, it's not really ‑‑ it's not really the same.

Q.  Local press, we thought we saw you strolling down the street; what are your impressions of Southport?
MICHELLE WIE:
  It's great.  My first time here, staying in a great hotel and we had some really good food the last couple of nights.  We're going to look for some good food tonight, as well, too.  It's beautiful.  The weather's been great.  It's really lovely.

Q.  It's interesting to say you found some good restaurants because Stacy Lewis earlier said you tend to be more focused on lunch ‑‑
MICHELLE WIE:
  (Laughing).

 

Catriona Matthew, Rolex Rankings No. 15

COLIN CALLANDER:   Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to The Ricoh Women's British Open.  We have the 2009 champion, Catriona Matthew, here with us.  She is just off the course.  Can you give your thoughts on the golf course this week?
CATRIONA MATTHEW:
  Yeah, the course is in fantastic shape.  The greens, fairways, are really good.  I would say it's playing probably a little softer than the last two times we played here.  It's definitely greener and the rough definitely thicker than it's been the last couple times we were here.
           
I mean, this morning we played in perfect conditions, no wind, and I would say  it's still a challenge.  So you're going to have to play really well around here, keep it out of the rough.
           
COLIN CALLANDER:   You came in here straight off a Top‑10 at the U.S. Women's Open.  Are you pleased with the way you're playing at the moment?
CATRIONA MATTHEW:
  Yeah, pleased with how I'm playing.  Played well all year.  The weeks I've been up there have been the weeks I've putted a bit better.  Comes down to how I putt.  And you're going to have though drive well this week and keep it on the fairways, and at the end of the day, it always comes down to who holes the most putts.
           
COLIN CALLANDER:  Playing here three times in the past, do you think that's going to be a factor this week?  It is quite a difficult course to get around.
CATRIONA MATTHEW: 
I don't think that will be a huge factor.  I think people get to know the courses pretty well; after two or three practise rounds you know where not to go.

Q.  Just wonder how you balance your life being a mother and wife and playing a full schedule.  How do you make it all work?
CATRIONA MATTHEW:
  I think obviously it's very busy.  Even when I'm at home I probably don't practise as much as most people.  Certainly come August, our youngest starts school, so I'll have from 9.00 top 3.00 to squeeze everything in.  The last few years it's been from 9.00 to 1.00.  You just try to make your practise a little bit more quality than the length of it.  You get around it.

Q.  What's your schedule now?
CATRIONA MATTHEW:
  Well, I'm playing this week and then I'm having three weeks off.  So going home for three weeks after this, which will be nice.

Q.  Don't infer anything by the start of this question when I mention something Juli Inkster said ‑‑ I don't want to put you in the same group ‑‑
CATRIONA MATTHEW:
  It's quite nice to be linked with Juli.

Q.  In most regards, yes.  She made an interesting point at Pinehurst a few weeks ago, that she wouldn't want to have to start all over again right now.  I wonder if you can draw on any of your experiences, would you like to be 18, 19, 20 years old, and starting your career now, how would it compare to when you did start your career?
CATRIONA MATTHEW:  Yeah, I probably wouldn't want to start again either to be honest.  I think probably if you were at that stage now, it's a lot more difficult to probably try and combine having a family because there's a lot more travel involved.
           
When I first started, we would go over to the States for six months and just travel around by car, which is a lot easier now.  There's a lot more travel which obviously makes it more difficult if you're having a family.
           
Yeah, I think the Tour has progressed a ton.  It's my 20th year now, and the standard has improved I would say greatly in the last 20 years, just the depth of it, and obviously the players are coming from all over the world.
           
When I first started, it was probably most of Americans and a few Europeans so you really do have the best in the world now.  So you've really got to be very committed to do well.

Q.  Is it more of a job than it was when you started?
CATRIONA MATTHEW:
  Probably, yeah.  I mean, you obviously learn from experience and do things slightly differently, but yeah, I would say it probably is.  It's much more, people are coming out far better groomed.  They have all their coaches and fitness people, physios.  Now it's very much more of a production line of people coming out.

Q.  You mention your reservations about the R&A's all‑male status in the past.  Are you happy there's a chance to change that?
CATRIONA MATTHEW:
  Yeah, I think it's great.  I think the R&A should remember it governs the world of golf everywhere apart from the U.S. and Canada.  I think they should have lady members, and hopefully they will vote that way in September.

Q.  Would you like to get the first invitation?
CATRIONA MATTHEW:
  I'd be delighted.  I'd be very honoured, yeah.

Q.  Did you seek out a thoroughly‑modern husband or were you just lucky?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: 
Yeah, just been lucky.

Q.  How different was his style of life from his father's?
CATRIONA MATTHEW:
  Yeah, I guess it's very different.  Obviously I couldn't have done it without Graeme's help over the years.  He's been obviously very supportive and now he's become at home looking after the children more, which he's finding is harder work than caddying.  He often said he would quit caddying for me, but I think he'd rather come back caddying now.
           
But yeah, obviously you need great support from your family if you're going to do well, so I've been very lucky.
           
COLIN CALLANDER:   Would Graeme like to be called a thoroughly‑modern husband?
CATRIONA MATTHEW:
  You'd need to ask him.

Q.  What do you know now that you wish you'd known 20 years ago?  What would you have done different if you could?
CATRIONA MATTHEW:
  Yeah, I think I know a lot more about my golf swing now.  I think with the advances in coaching and the video now, my swing is so much better now than it was when I first came out.  I think if I had that opportunity perhaps at 15, 16, to have come out with a great swing, that have been a big help.

Q.  We talk so much about equipment.  How much of the game is advanced because of what you said a minute ago, the production line, especially the coaching.  We looked at the little 11‑year‑old who started working with Jim McClean when she was eight.  Who were you working with at age eight?
CATRIONA MATTHEW:
  I don't know if I was getting coaching at age eight.  Yeah, obviously things have improved a ton, especially in coaching.  The video now, you can see what you're trying to do.
           
When I first started playing, I remember my first coach, he said ‑‑ his favourite thing was get your left shoulder underneath your chin and that was about all.  It was very much more by feel.  That's why I think everyone has kind of different‑looking swings then.  Now with the video analysis, everyone has very similar swings.

Q.  To the course, how much, when it's like this, a little healthier, the grass; does distance matter how much more, or does it?
CATRIONA MATTHEW: 
Yeah, I think the course is definitely playing longer than it has in the past.  Definitely you're not getting as much roll on the fairways.  And I mean, yeah, there's some tough holes out there.  The fairways are I would say fairly tight.  Obviously on a lot of these courses, you miss the bunkers but here you've got to miss the bunkers and the rough.
           
So I think you're really going to have to play well to have a good score around here, and especially if the wind blows.

Q.  Looking at the sort of 20‑year span, are you enjoying it still as much or more?
CATRIONA MATTHEW:
  Fortunately I'm enjoying it just as much as I did then.  I've been always very competitive, and I've been fortunate that I'm still playing fairly decent.  I think as long as you're playing well, it's a very tough life if you're not playing well.  So I've been lucky that I've played well over the years.

           

Topics: Notes and Interviews, Lewis, Stacy, Ricoh Women's British Open, Wie, Michelle, Matthew, Catriona [+]