Canadian Pacific Women's Open Tuesday Notes and Interviews

Lydia Ko
Photo Credit: Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Lydia Ko of New Zealand holds up her ball after finishing her round on the 18th hole during the third round of the CN Canadian Women's Open at Royal Mayfair Golf Club on August 24, 2013 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

Canadian Pacific Women's Open
London Hunt & Country Club

London, Ontario, Canada
Tuesday Pre-Tournament Notes
August 19, 2014

Rolex Rankings No. 2 Inbee Park
Rolex Rankings No. 222 Rebecca Lee-Bentham
Rolex Rankings No. 350 Sue Kim
Jayson Griffiths

A three-peat at the age of 17? It sounds crazy, but it’s been the Lydia Ko Show here in Canada the last two years with Ko’s first win coming in 2012 as just as 15-year-old amateur. She again won last year in Canada as an amateur before turning pro late last fall. In her rookie season on Tour in 2014, the 17-year-old phenom has already won twice - the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic and Marathon Classic Presented by Owens Corning and O-I - and comes to London looking to continue her dominance of this event. Ko arrives fresh off a solo third at the Wegmans LPGA Championship - her second best career finish in a major.

Ko isn’t the only past champion of this event arriving on a tear. Brittany Lincicome - the last champion not named Ko here - lost in a playoff last weekend in Rochester after bogeying the last hole. Suzann Pettersen (2009 champion) finished in a tie for 6th and Meena Lee (2005 champion) finished in a tie for 11th but contended until fading Sunday. Katherine Kirk (2008), Cristie Kerr (2006), and Laura Davies are other past champions in the field this week.

Canada’s national championship has been played since 1973 but returns to the prestigious London Hunt and Country Club for the first time since Kerr’s win here in 2006. 15 Canadians reside in the field this week; However, a Canadian has not won this event since the initial championship was hosted in 1973 when Jocelyne Bourassa won.

A LEGEND IN THE MAKING?
11 tour wins. 5 majors - four of which came in the last 17 months. All before the age of 27. No wonder people are talking about the levels of the game Inbee Park can climb to - a Mount Everest of women’s golf that includes names like Annika Sorenstam and Lorena Ochoa. In other words, legend status.

But Park’s not taking the bait regardless of the fact that she’s more accomplished at her age than Sorenstam or Ochoa were at 26.

“I don’t know, just I think a couple of people were just kind of asking me questions, but I really don’t think I’m as good as Annika or Lorena,” Park said. “It’s really hard to compare with them.  Probably just the major numbers I think they were trying to compare with.  But I still need to win about 15 more tournaments to actually be really close to them.  So yeah.”

Park, who is getting married in October, actually thinks it will be tougher to win going forward. She’s seen the challenges players face as they get older as their interests diverge and family responsibilities grow and sees players like Lydia Ko waiting in the wings.

“I think once you get older, I guess it gets tougher to win golf tournaments because obviously there are so many young generations of golfers that are playing some great golf.,” Park said. “I guess you kind of a little bit lose your motivation once you get older and once you get married and have kids, you have a lot of other interests, I think.

“I think, yeah, you try to win as many as you can as early as you can.”

INBEE’S ROLLING
Inbee Park - the No. 1 putter on Tour - has complained about her putter and even cited it as the difference between 2013 and 2014. But there, on Sunday at the Wegmans LPGA Championship, was the women’s games greatest putter draining two of the biggest putts of the season on No. 17 and No. 18.

The frightening thing for fellow Tour players is Park actually thinks she’s hit the ball better in 2014 than in her monster year in 2013. But she hasn’t made as many putts. If Sunday’s dramatic come-from-behind win is any indication, watch out!

“I’m just really happy.  My game is really coming around.  Since the British Open, I know it wasn’t the result I was looking for, but I played really good golf there, and since then I’ve been playing really good golf,” Park said. “I feel like I’m getting my confidence back,” Park said. “I feel like I’m rolling the putts a little bit better, and yeah, obviously last week’s win definitely helps me play this week.”

BATTLE AT THE TOP
The battle for the winner’s circle this season has been stiff with seven players having won at least twice in the first 20 tournaments this season. World No. 1 Stacy Lewis has three wins this year but six other players - Michelle Wie, Jessica Korda, Anna Nordqvist, Karrie Webb, Lydia Ko and Inbee Park - each have two wins this season.

Players are taking note, too.

“Yeah, I think every event this year on the LPGA Tour schedule has been getting really good fields, and every tournament has been very competitive, and obviously this week in Canada we have a very good field,” Park said. “There are so many players who can win out here, so you’ve got to try your best and try to play as good as you can.”

DEAD TO PRISTINE IN 14 WEEKS
For a golf superintendent, the Canadian winter was a nightmare. More ice, snow and a longer winter than any in recent memory meant 16 of the 18 greens were dead when course superintendent Jayson Griffiths finally got to his greens this spring. They weren’t even able to open the greens to their membership until June 27th.

But the greens staff here at London Hunt and Country Club has done a terrific job recovering and rehabilitating the greens here and they look pristine heading into Thursday’s first round.

“It’s grass.  It’s just a humbling experience, it really is, and it’s just a lot of hard work.  That’s the secret.  It’s just hard work.  Countless hours,” Griffiths said. “I don’t think there was a weekend where both Brent McDougall and Deb, my assistant, left this golf course.  We were watering from morning ‘til night if need be.  It was 24/7, 14 weeks to get here.  It was just a lot of extraordinary efforts.”

FEELING AT HOME
As soon as Sue Kim and Rebecca Lee-Bentham step off the plane, the soil doesn’t feel different but the vibe does. They’re home and that comes with both excitement and the desire to perform.

“I do feel a little different playing at home in front of my family and friends. I think I do put extra expectations,” Lee-Bentham said. “I do want to play well with the people around me supporting me, but then again, I’m just grateful for just the opportunity to just be home and have that support behind me.”
One would think that would amplify the pressure. After all, it’s their national championship and few, if any, tournaments on the schedule would mean more, but Kim disagreed that the pressure is up.

“I love being home,” she said. “As soon as I step right on to the land of Canada, I just feel like I’m relaxed. I think it actually puts less pressure on me. I just feel more at home and relaxed.”

BIRDIES FOR HEART
Each time a player makes a birdie on the 17th hole during tournament play, CP will donate $5,000 to the Children’s Health Foundation in support of pediatric cardiac care. Join us as we cheer on players in the 17th Green CP Fan Zone!

QUOTE OF THE DAY
“It’s good that I get an opportunity, and being able to become the first award winner, that’ll be something very special.  Yeah, I’ll try to play really hard at Evian so I can become the first one.
               - Inbee Park on trying to win the inaugural Rolex Annika Major Award

 

Rolex Rankings No. 2 Inbee Park

THE MODERATOR:  We're here with the newly‑crowned Wegmans LPGA champion, Inbee Park.  First of all, congratulations.  You've been playing so well the last three tournaments in particular.  How happy are you with the overall state of your game right now?
INBEE PARK:  I'm just really happy.  My game is really coming around.  Since the British Open, I know it wasn't the result I was looking for, but I played really good golf there, and since then I've been playing really good golf.
           
Yeah, I feel like I'm getting my confidence back.  I feel like I'm rolling the putts a little bit better, and yeah, obviously last week's win definitely helps me play this week.

Q.  Earlier this year you were saying it was your ball‑striking you were happy with and unhappy with your putting, but how are you doing with the flat stick?
INBEE PARK:  Yeah, my ball‑striking has been really consistent all year, and I still feel like it's still right there.  Yeah, my putting has just been a little bit probably off earlier in the season because I hit really great shots into the greens and had a lot of opportunities but missed a few putts.  I just holed so many putts last year, so in comparison to last year it feels probably worse.  But yeah, I feel like I'm holing a little bit more putts, and especially more important putts, especially last week.  I had those putts I really needed to hole, and they were going in.  Yeah, I think it's a really good sign.

Q.  There's seven players out here this year with at least two wins.  You're one of them.  Can you talk about the quality of play out here on Tour this year especially?
INBEE PARK:  Yeah, I think every event this year on the LPGA Tour schedule has been getting really good fields, and every tournament has been very competitive, and obviously this week in Canada we have a very good field.  There are so many players who can win out here, so you've got to try your best and try to play as good as you can.

Q.  Now, there's so many players who can win out here, but you're one of them that's sitting here with four majors in the last 17 months, five in your career.  You're still just 26 years old.  Are you at a point now where you can sit back and appreciate what you've accomplished, or is there more to come?
INBEE PARK:  I mean, I think I'm too young to say, too young to kind of sit back and relax.  I still feel like I have a long ways to go, and especially comparing myself to like legend players like ‑‑ somebody was saying like comparing myself to Lorena or Annika, I still feel like I have a long, long ways to go, taking baby steps right now.  Hopefully I can get there at some point, but it's a long ways off.

Q.  You mentioned Annika's name.  With your win last week you're now second in the Rolex Annika Major Award standings.  What would it mean to you to take home that award, especially in the first year?
INBEE PARK:  We just got that new Annika award this year, and I really haven't thought about that until the win last week because I thought I probably don't have a chance.  Yeah, it's good that I get an opportunity, and being able to become the first award winner, that'll be something very special.  Yeah, I'll try to play really hard at Evian so I can become the first one.

Q.  What will it take you to consider yourself among the Lorena and Annika, majors, a number ‑‑
INBEE PARK:  I don't know, just I think a couple of people were just kind of asking me questions, but I really don't think I'm as good as Annika or Lorena.  It's really hard to compare with them.  Probably just the major numbers I think they were trying to compare with.  But I still need to win about 15 more tournaments to actually be really close to them.  So yeah.

Q.  What do you make of the kids coming up from ‑‑ you see them, they're 16, 17, and winning tournaments and all that.  Do you feel like you've got to win them now or do you think you can play until you're 40 at a high level?
INBEE PARK:  I think once you get older, I guess it gets tougher to win golf tournaments because obviously there are so many young generations of golfers that are playing some great golf.  I guess you kind of a little bit lose your motivation once you get older and once you get married and have kids, you have a lot of other interests, I think.
           
I think, yeah, you try to win as many as you can as early as you can.  I think it's good.

Q.  After winning ‑‑ like you say, you get in late.  How do you get yourself mentally up for this after a tough grind at a major?
INBEE PARK:  I think since the last win, I've been really busy and I had to do a lot of media, I think it's ‑‑ I'm just probably a little bit used to it after last year's experience.  This year coming here this week, you've just got to try to relax a little bit and just be fresh again.

Q.  Michael Whan said he never thought anybody would win a Grand Slam when they went to five, and then Inbee comes out and wins the first three.  How hard is that?  Do you think anybody will do that?  Do you think you can do that at some point in your career?
INBEE PARK:  In one year?

Q.  Yeah, or four in a row.
INBEE PARK:  I don't know.  I know three in a row ‑‑ like a long time ago it might have been possible, but right now I don't think it's really possible.  I don't know, I think it's been really tough for me, too.

Q.  Inbee, I finished talking to a couple young Canadians about how the mental game is so important in the game of golf, and when you think of a strong mental game, you think of your play.  You seem to have this inner peace when you're out on the golf course no matter what's going on, take the playoff that we just saw.  Where does that come from?
INBEE PARK:  You know, I think it's just in my personality naturally.  Just obviously I was really nervous when I was in a playoff for the first time, but I've been into many playoffs before, I've been into many winning positions before.  I think experiences like that really help you go through those kind of situations.  The second time is always easier than the first time.

Q.  What advice do you give to the younger players that maybe just ‑‑ 16, 17 year olds, maybe they've always won throughout their career, all of a sudden they're not winning.  How do you get not too high, not too low?
INBEE PARK:  I think the most important thing is you have to love what you're doing.  A trophy is obviously very important and achievements are very important, but a trophy is not everything.  You've got to love what you're doing, you've got to enjoy what you're doing, and yeah, I think that's really the important thing.  Once you try to enjoy yourself out on the golf course, you get the trophy and you get the fun.  I think that's really important.

Q.  Lydia is looking for her third in a row here.  How crazy is that she's 17 years old?  Does that just blow you away sometimes?
INBEE PARK:  Yeah, it seems like she plays really good every week, but especially this week she plays really well.  I mean, she's only 17 and going for three in a row is quite impressive.

Q.  Those two putts on 17 and 18 were huge, obviously.  How much confidence does that give you with the flat stick?  I know that's been your bugaboo this year.
INBEE PARK:  Yeah, I feel like I still have a little bit of struggles with the putter, but obviously they went in when they really needed to go in, so obviously that gives me some kind of confidence.  Hopefully I can putt a little bit better.

Q.  You talked about how you couldn't forget the British.  Did you forget it now after winning Wegmans?
INBEE PARK:  Yeah, I'm the type of person who actually forgets it really well, but the British was a tough one to really forget in a short time, but obviously after last week's win, I feel like, yeah, I'm good now.

Q.  When you started out eight years ago or whatever, how did you handle that?  Was it nerve racking?  You played a couple tournaments, right, a couple ‑‑
INBEE PARK:  I played in 2007.

Q.  How did you handle that, and was that a nice ‑‑ some of the kids here are playing a lot right away.  You were a little bit older, late teens.  How did you handle that?
INBEE PARK:  I think 18 was the earliest you could come out here at that time.

Q.  How did you handle that?
INBEE PARK:  I think it was ‑‑ I was just so young, and just every tournament was just another experience, so I just probably learned from it every week and probably went like that for a couple years.  My rookie year I didn't play every tournament for a win, obviously.  Some tournaments I just went really to make the cut, and some tournaments I wanted to finish in the top 10.

Yeah, but I didn't win that many tournaments at an early age, but I think it was all a good experience.

Q.  Did you get help?  Did you have fellow players help you out or anything like that, or did you get ‑‑
INBEE PARK:  Well, fellow Korean players, yeah.

Q.  Do you feel like being a little older now that you've got to help them, kind of the younger ‑‑
INBEE PARK:  Yeah, I have really good friends with all the Korean players, so when I get an opportunity, we try to hang out together and just help each other.

Rolex Rankings No. 222 Rebecca Lee-Bentham
Rolex Rankings No. 350 Sue Kim

Q.  Sue, Rebecca, I wanted to talk about the health of Canadian golf, obviously two finalists at the U.S. Am, men's and women's.  What does that say about the health of Canadian golf right now?
SUE KIM:  I think it just says a lot about our program building up.  We've had a good program ever since I was a junior golfer, and it has developed a great many elite players throughout these years, and some of us are on the LPGA now, and I think it's just growing more people into having better and more efficient backup plans with their programs that we have.  They just go so far up the World Ranking levels, and I think it shows that Canadians are growing.
           
REBECCA LEE‑BENTHAM:  I thank Golf Canada so much for development of golf in Canada.  When I was growing up, I wanted to play on Tour so bad just because of who I saw on Tour, and I think the more and more girls on Tour from Canada, I think it inspires the younger generation, so it's just kind of an upward trend.

Q.  I spoke with Brooke Henderson, and she mentioned the mental aspect of being within the Golf Canada program, how it really makes her mentally tough from tee to green.  What's the biggest thing that you would take from being with the Canadian program when you're competing?  Is it the mental part of the game?
SUE KIM:  I think there's definitely a different part of the game that the Golf Canada team has provided us, like from a nutritionist to a psychologist, also a fitness trainer.  I think they look after all those things outside of golf so that we can just focus on golf itself on the course.

REBECCA LEE‑BENTHAM:  Yeah, I think when you have the support of a team, you feel stronger just in general.

Q.  Coming home to kind of your national championship, is there more pressure on you two being Canadians in the field?
SUE KIM:  I wouldn't say the pressure, but I love being home.  Like as soon as I step right on to the land of Canada, I just feel like I'm relaxed, I don't really take up ‑‑ I think it actually puts less pressure on me.  I just feel more at home and relaxed.
           
REBECCA LEE‑BENTHAM:  Yeah, I don't know if it's pressure, if that's the right term.  But I do feel a little different playing at home in front of my friends and family.  I, I think, do put extra expectations.  I do want to play well with the people around me supporting me, but then again, I'm just grateful for just the opportunity to just be home and have that support behind me.

Q.  We have obviously Lorie Kane in the field this week.  She'll turn 50 this year, a veteran on the Tour.  She's been a real mentor.  Have either of you had a chance to have a nice chat with Lorie, get a little bit of advice?
REBECCA LEE‑BENTHAM:  Of course.  She's so outgoing.  She approaches us.  Ever since I've been on Tour, she's always been there telling me I'm there for you whenever you need me.  I mean, you can't ask for more than that from a veteran.
           
SUE KIM:  It's just great to have someone who's just there for you.  She won't come after you or like go out of her way, but she just lets us know that she's always there for us.  It's a great thing to have.  Pretty much she was the woman of Canada for golf, and having that inspiration, being there at the same place, you just feel like you're home, and looking up to her, you just want to be up to her level.

Q.  You two are some of the younger players on Tour.  You've only been on a couple years.  Does it help that this championship changes tracks each year to where maybe when you go to Marathon or something where there's girls that have played that event for 15 years, some of them, does that help just kind of no one has seen this golf course except people that played here in '06?
SUE KIM:  I think it differs.  Depends if you're a veteran or not.  But I'm pretty rookie on this Tour, and I love seeing different courses everywhere.  I do see a lot of girls moving to places to play when it's a new venue.  They want to get more rounds in, they want to see the course a little bit more.  But I think when it comes to getting used to the tournament, I think all the girls do a pretty good job by Wednesday, and they get on it on Thursday no problem.
           
REBECCA LEE‑BENTHAM:  Yeah, I personally like new golf courses just because it does make all the players more even, no advantage, and it's kind of whoever takes the time and effort into planning out their schedule for the week.

Q.  What are your impressions of London Hunt Club?
SUE KIM:  It's a great course.  It's a great track.  I heard that they did a tremendous amount of work on the greens when they had a really bad winter this winter, and the greens look amazing right now.  I probably would have never tell.

Q.  They had 16 greens almost completely gone.
REBECCA LEE‑BENTHAM:  I came and played a practice round in the spring, and I just got to hit like two greens then, and knowing the condition that it was in then and now, I can see how much work they had to put into it.  I'm very thankful for the staff here.  They did an amazing job.

Q.  Quick question about hole No. 18.  You both had a chance to practice there.  Have you both been off of 18 tee?
REBECCA LEE‑BENTHAM:  Yes.

Q.  So back in '93 when we had this event, they were hitting driver off the tee.  In 2006 mostly they were hitting 3‑wood, but now with the equipment changes and everything, are we seeing a lot of hybrids?  I'm just curious what you're hitting there.
REBECCA LEE‑BENTHAM:  I actually hit driver.
           
SUE KIM:  I don't remember hitting anything other than driver.

Q.  I know you guys were both named earlier this year to the young pro program.  Talk about that.  You mentioned you came up through the national team program.  To be back part of a team program, what does that mean to you?
SUE KIM:  Actually I kind of felt like I was left out after I left the team and turned pro.  I'm not going to lie, I'm very honest about it.  Like all the support we had, I kind of took it for granted to be honest.  It was all there all the time, and when I completely lost it, I have no help on nutrition, fitness, psychologist, or any financial help at all.  It was a little bit difficult to focus on golf.  All I had was parents, which was great, but it's definitely more ‑‑ I would say I can focus on golf a lot more than I used to be able to, not worrying about the financial part or actually getting my head back into the game, and I knew talking to Adrian, who's the psychologist, and Tristan being at the venue of the tournament, it's great help with all the tips that he's been giving us on practice rounds.
           
REBECCA LEE‑BENTHAM:  Yeah, I feel the same way.  You kind of take it for granted when it's there and then you realize how much was given to you when it's not there.  Yeah, I was on it for five years of my amateur career, and so grateful for what I had, and to have it back is just a great opportunity, and I feel so much support from Golf Canada.

Q.  You mentioned Tristan.  Talk about Tristan a little bit and what he's brought to this program from ‑‑ he came over from the Irish Ladies Golf Union.  What has he meant to the program and to you guys personally, and what's he like?
SUE KIM:  I would say I went through three different coaches on Team Canada, Dean Spriddle, Derek Ingram, and now Tristan.  There's definitely different parts to all those three people, and I think Tristan does a great job like in and out of the golf course, trying to keep in touch, make sure everything is on the right track in order for you to perform as well as you could at every tournament.
           
I think it's kind of lack of contact in the past few years, but I think he's doing a great job keeping on track with all of us.
           
REBECCA LEE‑BENTHAM:  Yeah, I agree.  He's always there for me 24/7.  I can text him whenever I want.  He always lets me know he's a call away, and since I've been working with him, I can see he has a lot of experience.  He knows what he's talking about, and he's just someone I can trust out there.

Q.  Rebecca, three cuts in the last four events.  Where is your game?  Do you like where you're heading?
REBECCA LEE‑BENTHAM:  I do like where I'm heading.  I went through a rough patch, but I think that was just a learning experience that's only going to help me get better.  I feel more confident in my game knowing I could finish on top of the leaderboard and handle that kind of situation.  I'm still learning how to get four good rounds in week to week, but I can definitely feel that the more work I'm putting in is paying off gradually.

Q.  What do you think the weekend at Marathon, what did you take away from that, being on the leaderboard going into Saturday?
REBECCA LEE‑BENTHAM:  I guess I wasn't used to having cameras on me like on every shot.  That was a good experience for me.  I guess just realizing it's just the same round, it's just golf.  You just try to hit the best shot you can on each shot.

           
Jayson Griffiths

THE MODERATOR:  Ladies and gentlemen, thanks for joining us here in the media center at the 2014 Canadian Pacific Women's Open.  Pleased to be joined by Tim Webb, superintendent with the Sunningdale Golf and Country Club here in London representing the Golf Course Superintendents Association, here to say a few words and make a presentation to our host club superintendent, Mr. Jayson Griffiths.
TIM WEBB:  Thank you to Golf Canada and to the tournament sponsor, Canadian Pacific, for this opportunity to honor one of our members.  The Canadian Golf Course Superintendents Association represents almost 1,400 individuals involved in professional golf course maintenance, the profession that has ensured the playing field for this tournament that is top‑notch.  The CGSA provides education, certification and representation to its members, superintendents, providing them with the latest tools and techniques in areas such as course conditioning, environmental protection, and over 50 core competencies identified in the CGSA national occupational standards for superintendents.
           
As part of the ongoing effort to recognize the importance of the superintendent to the golf industry, CGSA represents a national tournament plaque to members that host these prestigious events.
           
Today we would like to acknowledge Jayson Griffiths, who is the superintendent here at London Hunt Club.  He has been a CGSA member since 2002 and has 25 years' experience in the industry.  It is my pleasure to call upon Jayson to accept this CGSA National Tournament award for his efforts in hosting the Canadian Pacific Women's Open.  Congratulations, Jayson.

THE MODERATOR:  Obviously we'd like to get a few words from you just on receiving the award, representing the CGSA, representing the golf course, the whole team, and what does it mean to be coming in, hosting a championship, knowing that we had a bit of a difficult spring for you?
JAYSON GRIFFITHS:  Most certainly.  What I can say is this award is not just for myself.  I have to extend it to my entire grounds crew.  They were determined and dedicated to having this product that we have outside today.  We made extraordinary efforts from the spring right through now.  This award goes to my staff, and also to the other superintendents that struggled this spring.  It's a testament that Mother Nature ultimately has the final say, and we do what we do to get it back for our members.

THE MODERATOR:  I know you did a bit of a blog to keep all the members up to date on what was happening.  How important is communication with the club, with the members at a time when there's conditions at the golf course that they should be aware of and might be frustrated with and just to keep them in the loop on what's happening at the course and how progress is coming?
JAYSON GRIFFITHS:  I would say the communication is the number one strategy this year.  Myself and my assistant, Deb Dale, we knew back in November that the winter of 2013‑2014 could be a real bad year, and a lot of our peers knew that, too, and we started communicating that point as of Christmas, the ice storm in Toronto, the Polar Vortex, the ice that we saw at the golf course, and we started slowly educating our membership about what could happen, and that was a key.
           
And then when the worst case scenario developed, I have to say the vision of our standards committee, they called for a town hall meeting, and that was probably the best thing we could have done here at the club.  We had an open forum with questions and answers and really put everything on the table, and that's how we got the ball rolling, and that's why we're here today.

Q.  I was able to walk down the 18th fairway from tee to green with Tim the other day, and he mentioned that that green was actually 80 to 90 percent totally gone.  Maybe take us through the process of where it was at and where it's at today.
JAYSON GRIFFITHS:  Yeah, the greens at London Hunt Club, they're wonderfully massive, they're large, which affords traffic space.  They're fairly flat, and with the ice cover we had and the surface drainage coming out of the winter, that's one of the biggest problems.
           
We lost almost three acres of the four acres of greens here in London.  Four or five of the greens were over 90 percent injured.  18, for example.  The struggle for us this spring as everybody might be aware of, the ground was frozen well beyond four feet, so there was no irrigation system in April, and we had to pick our window.  We had a three‑day window in April, April 19th through 21st where myself and our whole crew, in the spring we have a crew of about 18 people.  We went at it hard.  It took us three days.  We seeded.  We had to devise our own technique to get the seed in the ground because you have to get it in the ground and you have to go pretty hard.  12 days later they germinated.  We had to use covers to amplify temperature, Mother Nature provided the rain, irrigation system wasn't functional.  May 2nd they germinated, which is eight days beyond what it normally would take in August.  We watered through the covers for the first week, pulled the covers finally, each cover is about 10,000 square feet, so you need a dedicated staff, and then you have to grow them.  So that's what happened here.
           
Again, we keep calling it the fifth season:  Patience.  I say that a lot, but it really was.  Our members extended Deb and I the opportunity to have that time.  The grass could not tolerate traffic, and the USGA and the CGSA, we know that foot traffic on new seedlings, it just would not work.  We would not be where we had if we had traffic.  Again, our membership were supportive.  They were informed, and we opened the greens June 27th, all 18.  But we started off with two greens and 16 temporaries.

Q.  Was there ever a time where you thought, you know what, there is a chance we may not have this event ready the way it is today?  Any doubt at all?
JAYSON GRIFFITHS:  You know, I just couldn't have that in my mind.  We knew we had time.  If we had the support of the membership, we had time.  We've had experience in our past where we know when you have a completely dead surface how to grow it back.  It's just time.  And once we had the time, it was a cold spring, but we got it.  They're still tender, but we're very happy where we are today.

Q.  How is it going to hold up throughout the tournament?  Obviously it's getting a lot of play right now.  You want it in the best condition possible.  Are we looking at it still being 100 percent come Sunday?
JAYSON GRIFFITHS:  Well, of course weather is a big factor.  We're anticipating some rainfall tonight, and the greens drain fairly well.  They're not USGA greens so they don't drain tremendously well.  The golf course does drain excellently here in London.  The fairways drain well, the bunkering drains well.  As far as the greens' health are concerned, we're in a good position we feel that they will hold up through the weekend.  It's just a matter of how much rain we get.

Q.  What sort of ‑‑ when you knew that there was obviously going to be a lot of work that had to go in, what sort of feedback did you ask of the LPGA Tour, of Golf Canada?  How did that sort of communication channel open up and dialogue continue through the process?
JAYSON GRIFFITHS:  Well, I mean, Deb and I probably had this conversation back in the spring, and we did not have any interaction right off the bat with Golf Canada or the LPGA in terms of the situation.  I think the Northeast, there were probably over 400 or 500 golf courses with winter injury this year, so it was a phenomenon that affected not just us but a lot of big clubs, so I think the message was out there that, though, this could be bad.  We did have some early interaction.
           
Brent came in from Golf Canada, and they were very positive, very upbeat, and they didn't have any concern.  I think they knew that we had a plan and we had time, and they were great.
           
Four or five weeks in, we had a media day early, and we didn't have all the greens open for media day, but the product was there.  I think everybody could see the potential, and we just held our ground, and when we opened them to our members June 27th, Deb and I have been babying the greens since then, and we just feel that they're right where they need to be right now.

Q.  Obviously that's a big recovery process through it all.  What are you sort of most proud of when you look at where it started back in April and where you are today?  What would you say is the point of pride for you and the team?
JAYSON GRIFFITHS:  It's grass.  It's just a humbling experience, it really is, and it's just a lot of hard work.  That's the secret.  It's just hard work.  Countless hours.  I don't think there was a weekend where both Brent McDougall and Deb, my assistant, left this golf course.  We were watering from morning 'til night if need be.  It was 24/7, 14 weeks to get here.  It was just a lot of extraordinary efforts.

THE MODERATOR:  Thank you very much for joining us.  Tim, thank you for joining us.

 

Topics: Notes and Interviews, Canadian Pacific Women's Open, Park, Inbee, Lee-Bentham, Rebecca, Kim, Sue [+]