Wegmans LPGA Championship
Monroe Golf Club
Pittsford, New York
Wednesday Pre-Tournament Notes
August 13, 2014
Stacy Lewis, Rolex Rankings No. 1
Inbee Park, Rolex Rankings No. 3
Former Major Winners, Juli Inkster, Laura Davies, Paula Creamer, and Karrie Webb
THANK YOU, ROCHESTER!
Any time the LPGA Tour plays its last event in an area that’s become like a second home to players and staff, there is certainly going to be some emotion that comes along with it. That’s definitely the case this week as the LPGA marks the end of a 38-year run in the Rochester area.
But with hopes of returning to this area in the future, this week is not about saying goodbye to Rochester. Instead, it’s being embraced as an opportunity to say thank you to a place that has shown so much support to the LPGA since the first event was held here in 1977. Juli Inkster, Laura Davies, Karrie Webb and Paula
Creamer assembled on Wednesday and shared some of their favorite memories from the Rochester
“For us and the community, you know, it’s a love affair,” said LPGA and World Golf Halls of Fame member Juli Inkster. “I just think the area, you know, we’ve grown up together. We’ve started this thing together, and they take a real interest in who you are and what you do and how you play. They’re very golf knowledgeable, and hopefully it’s not good bye, it’s just a short time and we’ll get back.”
The longtime friendships that have been built with volunteers and fans in the area is just one reason many of the players are eager to find a way to get another LPGA event in Rochester. When talking about the LPGA’s tenure here, the same memories continued to be mentioned – the droves of fans lining the fairways, the $10 parking signs in the yards of homes nearby the golf course and of course the smiles on the faces of fans just happy to see the players each and every year.
“You think of Rochester, you think of women’s golf and the fans,” said Paula Creamer, who first played in Rochester as a sponsor invite when she was 16. “They’ve always been supportive no matter what and they continue to do that.
“Playing out here [this week] you constantly hear “we’re sorry to see you leave.” It’s not about that. 38 years is a long time, and everybody should be proud of what they’ve done for women’s golf here in this area.”
Knowing just how closely the LPGA has been tied to Rochester throughout the years, Laura Davies said that it’s difficult to imagine that this will be the final time the Tour is here.
“I find it hard to believe we won’t come back here and play a tournament in this area again hopefully in the near future, because I think everyone loves coming back here,” said Davies.
SAME COMMUNITY, DIFFERENT VENUE
The LPGA schedule is full of terrific layouts around the world. When it comes to Stacy Lewis, though, only one on the schedule would she rank above Monroe Golf Club, and that course was Pinehurst No. 2 – the host of the 2014 U.S. Open and U.S. Women’s Open.
“I mean I love Pinehurst, but this one, it’s right up there. It’s just a good, fair test,” Lewis said. “It’s not goofy golf. You know, if you hit a good shot, you get rewarded. It’s in great shape. It rained like crazy last night and you would never know it. So it’s up there.”
There’s likely a reason for that - both were designed by the esteemed Donald Ross. His turtleback greens, plethora of doglegs and placement of fairway bunkers forces players to strategically plot their way around. There’s no overpowering a Donald Ross golf course. And this one is no different.
“It’s shaped off the tee for you to hit certain shots off tees and then into the greens you have to hit it to the right spot,” Lewis said. “You can’t just hit it to the middle of the green. You have to either hit it short or just past the green. You really have to think your way around. I mean everything about it just kind of screams major championship.”
It’s lengthy, too, at 6,717 yards, forcing players to hit a lot of long irons into greens. A lot of the holes are dogleg rights, which is why Laura Davies thinks this course sets up best for a fader of the golf ball. There’s room off the tee so the work from there is pivotal.
“It’s very true Donald Ross grain complexes, and it is a second-shot course,” Karrie Webb said. “With the rough around the greens this week, you know, trying to hit as many greens as possible will be key.”
As much as that, the par-3s will be critical. Players can score on the par-5s here, but Paula Creamer says the par-3s might be the toughest set they face all season.
Golf’s a mental game - perhaps more than any other sport – and although Inbee Park’s putting numbers don’t back up a substantial decrease in her putting acumen in 2014, she’s just not feeling her work with the flatstick. Though the defending champ said she’s looking forward to the undulating challenge of the greens at Monroe Golf Club this week.
After winning six times a year ago, Park has one victory this season, and that’s because of the flatstick. Her putting’s only up to 29.09 putts per round this season after 29.05 a year prior, but in Park’s mind the putts just aren’t falling like they were during one of the best – if not the best – season in women’s golf history. The putting numbers may be the same, but she’s hitting slightly more greens in regulation – two percent more – and said her approaches are closer.
“I feel like my game is actually improving, except for the putter. I mean that’s it, because last year I just putted so well. I just holed so many putts, and this year I’m just – my game, my ball striking, my greenside chipping, and everything has really improved,” she said. “But you know, just not many putts, but it’s so hard to beat whatever I did last year. I knew that before I started this season I was going to have a challenge to beat that record.”
That’s what gives her hope that the last portion of the year could resemble 2013. The potential to score the way she did a year ago is there, but it just comes down to making birdies. She’s had more opportunities this year she thinks, but if she had 20 birdie putts this year, she might make eight. That number was eight of 10 a year ago she said.
“I’m hitting so many great shots out there but just really wasting a lot of opportunities,” she said. “That’s why I feel like I’m missing a lot of putts.”
It’s no shocking fact that the world’s No. 1 player in the world considers herself a constant improver and says her ‘mind is always going’ but it may be a surprise that Stacy Lewis is not one of the three Americans to win a major title this year.
Despite a rough showing at the inaugural International Crown in July, Lewis has been sensational this season. And the 29-year old was honest in saying she would much rather have another major to her name than a team title.
“I don’t know, I would take a major championship win over an International Crown win,” said Lewis. “So you know, I don’t know if I’m the only one that’s like that, but that’s just me.”
Lewis has welcomed the stellar play of her fellow compatriots not only in majors but in all Tour events (11 of the 18 events in 2014 have been won by Americans) and wants nothing more this week than to win her third career major.
“It’s something that hasn’t been done in quite a few years, and it’s been great to see,” said Lewis. “You know, it’s been great to see Lexi get that major win, even better to see Michelle get the win at Pinehurst. And you know, I would definitely like to add my name to that list and get a major win. You know, that’s what we’re all out here for.”
The Texan, who has three Tour victories this season, has her name toward the top of nearly ever statistical ranking but admits to never having a complacent bone in her body. Lewis said her ‘mind is always going’ and is naturally has the drive to improve her game each week.
“I have high expectations for myself. You know, I had a pretty good streak there of Top 10s going for a while and I know I haven’t had one in a while,” said Lewis. “You know, that’s just who I am. You know, I’m pretty tough on myself in that aspect, but I think that’s what drives me to get better.”
Lewis thanked her caddie, Travis Wilson, and coach, Joe Hallett, for their patience through long hours on the range and putting green. She knows it’s something that has helped her reach the great heights so far in her career.
“And you know, I don’t feel like the game is far off, and like I said before, you can always get better,” said Lewis. “So that’s what I’m out there doing every day. I probably drive my caddie and my coach Joe crazy sometimes, but it’s what’s gotten me to where I am, so I’m not changing that.”
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“I was kind of just driving in here where you see the $10 parking signs. I think when I first started it was like maybe two bucks to park on yeah. Maybe 50 cents. I’m not even sure. And now it’s all the way up to $10 on a practice round. So yeah, that was kind of funny, because I vividly remember two dollars. So that’s how long I’ve been out here.”
-Juli Inkster on her memories from playing in the Rochester community over the course of her Hall of Fame career
Stacy Lewis, Rolex Rankings No. 1
KRAIG KANN: All right. Welcome, everybody, to the press room here at the Wegmans LPGA Championship, a great honor and pleasure to have the world's No. 1 ranked player in the Rolex Rankings Women's World Rankings with us. Stacy Lewis is here and having yet another fine year. Let's start with this golf course, this venue, and the next major championship on the schedule for the LPGA. What are your thoughts on this place.
STACY LEWIS: This is a great venue. It's a golf course we should be playing on. It's the type of course we should be playing, and it's going to be hard. It's going to be a great test. I wish we were coming back really. I wish we weren't here for just one year, but it's a great course, and I'm excited to play it.
KRAIG KANN: You said wish we were coming back, so I'm going to actually follow up with that topic and get that out of the way. The LPGA is leaving. You've been a big part of the promotion because of KPMG's involvement with where this major championship will go in the future. Can you give us some thoughts and an assessment of elevating the major championship and leaving a place as comfortable as Rochester has been for the LPGA for so many years?
STACY LEWIS: Yeah, I mean it's ‑‑ the opportunity with KPMG was one I think we couldn't turn down. But I don't think ‑‑ I hope everyone Leafs this week and goes into the week not saying how sad it is that we're leaving, but thanking Wegmans and thanking Rochester because that's what we should be doing, we should be saying thank you because without Wegmans for the last 30 something years we don't have the opportunity we do with the PGA of America and with KPMG. So instead of everybody talking about how sad it is, we should be celebrating. How many tournaments on the men's or the women's side can say that they've been in a town for 38 years. There's not many.
So I just ‑‑ I'm more here this week to say thank you to all the people, and I don't think it's the last time we play in Rochester. I think down the road I think we'll be back here.
KRAIG KANN: We'll take some questions. Eleventh week at No. 1 since you've reclaimed that from Inbee Park. How are you different now as a world No. 1 than you might have been the last go around, and is it easier?
STACY LEWIS: I don't think I'm any different. I think I'm more comfortable here. I think I'm more ‑‑ more prepared for everything that goes along with it, more ready for all the questions and all that stuff. Definitely I think the second go around is definitely easier just because you know ‑‑ I know how to play now. I know how I just need to go out there and take care of my game and not worry about the scenarios and what Lydia can do, what Inbee can do. I just need to go out there and take care of myself.
And I haven't been doing that. I haven't played as well as I would have liked the last three or four weeks or so, but I'm working on my game and that's what I need to keep doing.
KRAIG KANN: We'll take some questions.
Q. What do you think about the hitting into the greens here and how a lot of them are raised up from the fairway and how does that affect your strategy?
STACY LEWIS: Well, prior to today it was actually kind of nice that the greens were elevated because it was taking some heat off the ball coming in, but with the rain last night, the greens are a lot softer, so now you have to be a little bit more aggressive into the greens, carrying the ball a little bit further.
But it's a fair test. It's not ‑‑ it's not a goofy golf course by any means. If you hit a good shot you're going to be rewarded. So I like the golf course. I think it's going to lead to real ‑‑ especially the last four holes are going to lead to some good golf coming in.
Q. Does this year seem like some sort of a break‑out year for the LPGA and a real pointed departure from say five years ago when things were at a low point?
STACY LEWIS: Yeah. I think on and off the golf course it's a break‑out year. You look at all the Americans we have playing well. That's certainly kind of helped the momentum, but then you look at the sponsors and the partners we've signed with our tour, and increasing events, increasing purses, giving more girls an opportunity to play, you know, that's what we're trying to do. So on and off the golf course, they're kind of correlating and it's going together, and you know, we're saying that more people are paying attention to us, more media, more fans, and you know, we're heading on the right track.
Q. You mentioned the American success. The International Crown didn't go the way you wanted, but Americans are doing well individually. The Spanish side won, but individually they're not getting the results. Why do you think that is, and do you see everything coming together for one or the other?
STACY LEWIS: I mean the events like International Crown, Solheim Cup, they're ‑‑ it's a goofy week. You know, it's team golf and it's Match Play, and you're playing your own ball in Match Play is hard enough, and then when you put yourself out there with another person, it's just a little bit tougher. And I don't think you can point it to one thing or the other. It's just Match Play. It is what it is. I mean I actually thought I played some pretty good golf that week, and you know, the match results didn't show it. So it's just Match Play.
I don't know, I would take a major championship win over an International Crown win. So you know, I don't know if I'm the only one that's like that, but that's just me.
Q. You've touched on it now a couple of times the American dominance this year in the majors, won all three. You're at the top of the Rolex Rankings. How important is that to you and how important do you think that is to the tour for the growth of the tour?
STACY LEWIS: Well, it's a great thing for the tour. I think Americans playing well, your stars playing well, it's a great thing for our tour. And you know, it's something that hasn't been done in quite a few years, and it's been great to see. You know, it's been great to see Lexi get that major win, even better to see Michelle get the win at Pinehurst. And you know, I would definitely like to add my name to that list and get a major win. You know, that's what we're all out here for.
It's just great ‑‑ I love seeing the young kids ‑‑ if they're going to come out when they're young, let's see them be successful, and that's what I like seeing, Lexi and Jessica Korda getting some wins.
KRAIG KANN: Stacy, I was asked earlier about the topic of why it's different out here from my perspective in an interview that I was a part of earlier. Rather than me sharing everything that I said, because I'm probably closer to it than most people.
STACY LEWIS: They don't want to hear from you.
KRAIG KANN: They don't. I want to hear from you, why is it different, and I think you have a different perspective than a lot of the players on our tour. No. 1, you're No. 1. B, you're beyond engaged in this tour. For those that don't know, you study all the time. I mean you're always asking for more information. You want to know where we're going, what we're doing, why we're doing what we're doing, et cetera. You're a No. 1 player who books their own travel. You don't have all these people doing stuff for you. So tell me what is different about the LPGA and you all.
STACY LEWIS: I mean I do things different, I guess, than a lot of people. But I think our tour is different because we realize how important our partners and our sponsors are, and our job is, yeah, it's to play good golf, but we have to be able to support the tour and bring our partners in. I mean I've got ‑‑ I think I have six tournaments now that I'm tied to whether it's through one of my sponsors or where I'm from.
KRAIG KANN: You got a lot of logos.
STACY LEWIS: I got a lot of logos, but I'm pretty proud of the fact that I've brought partners to our tour that are now title sponsors of events. That's something I'm pretty proud of and been able to show them why it's different out here and to show them just in the way I do things and the way I act and the way I play that it is different out here.
And I don't think you can point it to one thing, but it's just the way we do things.
KRAIG KANN: Do you look at it as an obligation to be engaged as you are? I'm going to share a quick story. So Friday morning International Crown standing on the first tee, I don't know how many minutes before the first tee time and you text me with an I've got a great idea for how we can ramp up the atmosphere on the first tee for tomorrow, and my response was basically like why don't you just go play great golf and we'll talk about it later, but your idea fantastic. It was about having two tunnels and the American team coming from one side and the other team coming from the other side. I mean that sort of stuff, you've got a responsibility to play golf, but yet you're so in tune with everything else. How do you do that and play great golf?
STACY LEWIS: I don't know. I guess my mind is ‑‑ my mind's always going, and I think you can always do things better. I think, yeah, it may be a great event, but how are we going to improve it for the next year. I think we can always do things better. That's how I am with my golf game, too. It's just me, who I am, and I like that you guys and Mike are so just willing to listen to me at least and to hear what I have to say. You know, that's important, too. A lot of times you feel like you're blowing smoke and you're not getting anything done, but I feel like the tour does a good job of listening to us and letting us be engaged.
KRAIG KANN: Question here in the front. Then we'll go back, then we'll go middle.
Q. Several players have said this has a championship feel, the course has a championship feel. What does that mean? What aspects or characteristics of this course to you make it feel like a major?
STACY LEWIS: You can walk on the first tee and see it's a major. Just you know, the way the golf course is designed, you know, it's shaped off the tee for you to hit certain shots off tees and then into the greens ‑‑ into the greens especially you have to hit it to the right spot. You can't just hit it to the middle of the green. You have to either hit it short or just past the green. You really have to think your way around. I think that's what makes it a major championship. And the length they have it setup. With the rain last night you're hitting lot of four and 5‑irons, five and 6‑irons into the greens. So it's setup like a major. The rough is long. I mean everything about it just kind of screams major championship.
Q. No disrespect to Locust Hill, does it feel like a major course, major championship course than Locust Hill?
STACY LEWIS: I mean I think you have to say yes there. I mean I think Locust Hill is a great golf course, but it's just on such a small property it's very limited to what they could do with it. So you have more room here. You got more room for spectators, more room for stands. It's just got a bigger feel to it in general.
Q. You said that you brought sponsors to the tour. Did you get the sponsor, and then in discussions with the sponsor somehow introduce them to them or encourage them or how did that work?
STACY LEWIS: Well, Marathon, you know, they became a partner of mine, and then the first event I did with them the CEO walked up to me and asked me why they should sponsor an event. So that's kind of how ‑‑ I mean that's kind of how it starts. Maybe you put a bug in their ear and kind of show them, you know, throw ideas at them and say, you know, you could do this event. You know, the whole KPMG event, I mean I was pretty involved in seeing that coming together, and I was throwing ideas to KPMG the whole time throughout the process of it all coming together. I don't know. It's cool for me to be able to do that.
Q. Could you share some of those ideas?
KRAIG KANN: Yeah. What's your sales pitch.
STACY LEWIS: Sales pitch. I don't know if I want to share my secrets. Well, I think for bringing a sponsor in, you have to ‑‑ first you have to find out what they want, what do they want to get out of it, whether it's a grocery store chain like a Wegmans or a ShopRite. You know, they're here to bring their vendors in. Or is it with KPMG where they're doing a women's initiative, so they're going to have a summit around it. They're going to have these kind of up and coming female leaders out there. Maybe they're playing in the pro am, you know, so what is their goal with the tournament. You know, like what can they get out of it first and then how do you make that work for the LPGA. You know, it's getting those two parties to come together. So I think the first part is just figuring out what the sponsor wants out of it.
Q. Stacy, what do you see as the biggest positives of the new women's PGA championship next year?
STACY LEWIS: I think the biggest thing that's going to come out of that event is what it's going to lead to. I think you can say, you know, the purse obviously, but I think the purse is going to lead to more other events down the road.
I think it's going to grow the game of golf. You're going to get the PGA of America involved and they're having a women's initiative to get more women playing golf. And that's what KPMG's initiative is as well, so we're growing the game of golf in at that aspect. And then you have a partner with KPMG that has so many ties to a lot of other big companies that, you know, we get them out to that event next year and what does that lead to down the road. I just think there are so many more good things that are going to happen because of that event down the road versus just saying the golf course or the purse or anything like that.
Q. The biggest thing you talked about in the press conference when that announcement was made or that got eyebrows raised was the leadership initiative and identifying women leaders, to grow that. Leadership's been a big thing for you. Why is that so special? Why is that so important, and what can you do as the No. 1 player in women's golf right now to further that cause?
STACY LEWIS: Well, I realize with working with KPMG over the last few years is how many few women are in leadership roles. How many ‑‑ I think the PGA of America less than one percent of their members are female. And just the numbers are just astonishing, and it's something that I always ‑‑ I get to do these events with KPMG, and I'm playing golf with CEOs and CFOs, pretty high‑profile women, and you know, something that we kind of I talk to them about is to realize that we're all leaders, no matter what we're doing. We're all leaders. There's always somebody looking up to you and even whether you're Lexi Thompson and you're 18 years old, there's always somebody looking up to you. So it's something that I think it's important for all women. I don't think it's just me or the No. 1 player in the world or number 100. I think it's important for all women.
Q. I'm just curious with more tournaments on the schedule, it's probably more important than ever to pace yourself when you're trying to get those year‑end goals. Can you kind of talk about your up coming schedule and maybe how you feel and how you're going to accomplish that?
STACY LEWIS: Yeah. The last ‑‑ that last three‑week stretch was tough for me. I was pretty worn down. I could have used some time off there after Arkansas. But unfortunately with the majors, the way the majors are spaced out there's not a whole lot of options there.
But now we've got some time where I'm going to play next week in Canada, but not play Portland, play Evian, and then the Asian schedule is still a little bit up in the air. I need some time off. I need to kind of recharge the batteries a little bit. I've had that the last few weeks where I've actually been able to work on my game again, but you just get in a mode where you're trying to do so much and you're tired that your golf game suffers just because you kind of get a little lazy with it and you just don't quite have the energy to do what you need to do.
Q. I know you've only seen this course a few times, but would you say that it's one of the top 3 tracks you would play all year? I mean just kind of give us an idea of how strong it is.
STACY LEWIS: Yeah. It's ‑‑ yeah. For this year, I would put it right behind Pinehurst as far as ‑‑ I mean I love Pinehurst, but this one, it's right up there. It's just a good, fair test. It's not goofy golf. You know, if you hit a good shot, you get rewarded. It's in great shape. You know, it rained like crazy last night and you would never know it. So it's up there.
KRAIG KANN: When it comes to stats right now, you're first in scoring average, putts per green in regulations, rounds under par and birdies; you're third in greens in regulation so that would suggest that things are going great, yet you just said a few minutes ago that the last few weeks haven't been going so great. Is that maybe Stacy putting a high expectation on Stacy, Stacy needing time off, or what would it be?
STACY LEWIS: A little bit of both. I have high expectations for myself. You know, I had a pretty good streak there of Top 10s going for a while and I know I haven't had one in a while. You know, that's just who I am. You know, I'm pretty tough on myself in that aspect, but I think that's what drives me to get better.
And you know, I don't feel like the game is far off, and like I said before, you can always get better. So that's what I'm out there doing every day. I probably drive my caddie and my coach Joe crazy sometimes, but it's what's gotten me to where I am, so I'm not changing that.
KRAIG KANN: Question from Randall. We've got time for two more. If anybody else has them, please raise your hand.
Q. Speaking of Joe, he keeps a pretty low profile for having the No. 1 player in the world. Can you tell us how you guys got together and what you most like about having Joe as your coach?
STACY LEWIS: Yeah. We met by it was kind of a chance thing. My rookie year I was doing ‑‑ I did just kind of an outing deal for the PGA of America. It was in like May or so down in Florida. And at the time he was working for the PGA, and so he was out there at the event, and we just had down time and we started talking, and he gave me his card and said if I can ever do anything, let me know. And then at the end of the year I was kind of searching. I was looking for a coach. I didn't really know what I was going to do. I needed somebody to kind of push me in a different direction, so he was really kind of the only person I had on the list to call, and so I called him and went down to Florida and worked with him for a couple of days, and the rest is history, I guess. So it was just kind of a chance deal, and I think what I like about him is from the beginning it was, you know, it wasn't just fixing my golf swing for the next week. It was how are we going to fix it down the road. It was, we need to get your hips stronger, we need to get your legs stronger so that we can make this move. And I didn't want the quick fix. I wanted something that was going to help me play good golf a couple of years from now maybe. And that's what I liked about it.
And he's still that way. I mean he's still ‑‑ he's not going to go out there and just tell me how to go fix it for one shot. He's going to tell me how to fix it so I can play good all week. And he's very patient with me, which is good. And he's super positive. You know, that's the biggest thing is he's always talking, always chatting. No matter how frustrated I am out there, he's always talking and chatting. And I know when I get him quiet, I've done something right.
KRAIG KANN: Followup? Anything? Any other questions? Last one from me. This is the last event here in Rochester for now; right? Major championship, somebody gets to put their name on that trophy. The other thing that would lead to would also be the Rolex‑Annika Major Award at the end of the year. You have to win one to be qualified. You've had a great run in the majors this year, third at Kraft, second at the Women's Open, 12th at the British. How important to put your name on the trophy and how much does that other trophy I just mentioned mean to you with a couple majors left?
STACY LEWIS: Well, the Annika one is definitely I think at the back of everybody's mind, but more than anything, you just ‑‑ you know, you look at all the past champions we've had here in Rochester and it's just such a cool list that it's just a lot of great winners, and I would love to be a part of that list more than anything.
Inbee Park, Rolex Rankings No. 3
KRAIG KANN: Well, good morning everybody. Welcome to the media center here at the Wegmans LPGA Championship. My name is Kraig Kann, chief communications officer at the LPGA. Great to be joined by Inbee Park. I think you know her quite well. She's had some success in this event. And you are back, although a different venue, so let's get your impressions, first of all, of Monroe and what you've seen thus far. I know you're headed out to the pro am.
INBEE PARK: Yeah. I've been to the course once, I played the course once this week. I was really surprised with how they set up the golf course.
Other people say before we seen the course it's just wide open and no rough. Everybody is saying that sounds like it's not going to be like a major golf course setup, and then I actually played this golf course and seen the course. It's an actual really good major golf course. There's a lot to this golf course, and greens are very slopey, and even if it's a little bit of wider off the tee, it's still a very tough golf course; and the roughs are up, and yeah, it's going to be a very exciting golf course, and yeah, I think it's maybe even better than last one.
KRAIG KANN: Last week you played very well. Obviously you didn't get the victory that you were seeking. How did the setup last week at Blythefield perhaps help you this week? Was there anything similar that you feel like can really help you?
INBEE PARK: Yeah. It had like a little bit of a Locust Hill type of golf course, seeing last week's golf course, so I thought it's going to be really good practice.
And I think the grass style and golf course that it was tree lined, I think it's really similar to this golf course, so I think playing last week helped me a lot, and obviously I really wanted to try that new putter last week, and you know, get the feel of it, and I got that from last week. So yeah, I think that's good.
KRAIG KANN: One win for you this year, ten Top 10s. Is last week a disappointment for you that you didn't get the victory or something that only adds more to this week?
INBEE PARK: I mean I ‑‑ you know, to think positively, I just think that I probably saved more for this week. And obviously last week I was 2‑under through three holes, and if I shot even par on the last 15 holes, I would have won, but obviously I just didn't putt as well than in the first three days in the final round.
That was pretty much it. I was very calm out there. I was hitting the ball great. Yeah, I feel my game is in good condition.
KRAIG KANN: Let's put hands up for questions. Let me go back to last year one more time and talk about the incredible run that you had. I know you've been asked about this many times, but what did this event mean for you in the midst of what was not only a great season in women's golf but in golf period? How big was this one for you?
INBEE PARK: This was my second major for the season, and I think it was, yes, winning two events in a row, and obviously, you know, it meant a lot because, you know, I just didn't expect what I was going for obviously at that moment. And obviously I didn't know I was going to win three majors in a row, and this was kind of in the middle of it, so it was a very important tournament.
You know, having a major win before the U.S. Open helped me a lot to kind of building up the season. And yeah, I always love to play in Rochester area, and I actually having to win that week was great because there was so many fans out there watching and so many people wanting us to play well. So it was cool to kind of play good in front of them.
KRAIG KANN: Inbee, has this year been a success for you based on everything you accomplished last year or has it been a mental challenge or disappointment? How would you assess this season?
INBEE PARK: You know, I think for me I think it is ‑‑ I think it's not a bad season at all for me because I had a win, and I've played very consistently this year and I feel like my game is actually improving, just except for the putter. I mean that's it, because last year I just putt so well. I just holed so many putts, and this year I'm just ‑‑ my game, my ball striking, my greenside chipping, and everything has really improved, but you know, just not many putts, but it's so hard to beat whatever I did last year. So I knew that before I started this season I was going to have a challenge to beat last year's record.
But you know, I feel I could have won a couple more tournaments, that's for sure, especially lately; but yeah, except for the British and last week, I just feel like I played quite good season.
KRAIG KANN: You talked last year about the enormous amount of media attention that you were receiving during that great run of major championship victories and the season that you had. And at the end of the year and then even this year when you were at Augusta National making your speech for the Golf Writers, you talked about how you dealt with that. Do you feel much more comfortable in situations like this, with the media and going week to week and doing press conferences and having that type of attention than you might have a year ago?
INBEE PARK: Yeah. I'm definitely feeling a lot more comfortable in front of the media or dealing with the media or in a pressure condition. I feel like I'm a lot more mature, a lot more experienced, especially like in the situations like where I'm leading or where I am having pressure in the final round. That kind of things they start to definitely help you, and especially like after a third round, even if I was leading last week, I wasn't that nervous; I was able to do what I'm supposed to do and I was able to do my routines, and you know, I was just myself. And yeah, I think that's been most different thing.
KRAIG KANN: You certainly walk in with a lot of different body language than you might have a year ago. Very calm. Let's take a question here, Randall Mell.
Q. Hi, Inbee. Last year when I asked you about your putting you said you really don't have a putting coach, that's something you'd take care of yourself. Is that still true? You pretty much work on your own putting?
INBEE PARK: Yes, that's true. I kind of just talk with my fiancé, and that's it. On the putting he tries to help me a little, but mostly I just rely on my feeling. I just rely on what I've done in the past.
Q. What adjustments have you made this year?
INBEE PARK: You know, just a little bit on the posture. And I tend to pull the ball a little bit, so I'm just trying to start the ball a little bit online. My follow stroke is going a little bit inside, so I'm just trying to straighten that out a little bit.
Q. And just one last thing. You seemed so unhappy with your putting at times this year, and yet you're No. 3 in putting. Do you just have a really high standard or did you feel like you're off?
INBEE PARK: I don't know whether, you know, I'm hitting the ball closer, so I get more opportunities, but I'm missing them, or ‑‑ I think this year I think I'm just getting a lot more opportunities at a birdie than last year, and last year, like I said, if I had 10 opportunities, I made 8 of them. This year I've had 20 opportunities, I'm making 8 of them.
I think that's been actually a little bit of a difference right there. Like I'm hitting so many great shots out there but just really wasting a lot of opportunities. That's why I feel like I'm missing a lot of putts.
But averaging wise I think I probably gained maybe one or two strokes on the putting per round. I think I've averaged about 27, 28 last year. This year I'm hitting a lot of rounds over 30, late 20s.
KRAIG KANN: Inbee, every player seems to go to certain golf courses and they might say this one fits my eye. I really like this course. I can just tell before I even play it, I like how it looks. Specific to putting and the greens, can you walk to a golf course, maybe Monroe this week or Blythefield or any of the other courses that you've won on and say I know I'm going to have a good putting week; I like the way these greens are undulated; I like the way these greens are flat? Is there a preference you have and do you know when you're going to have a good week?
INBEE PARK: Yes. I like the greens where they have bentgrass and very undulated greens. I don't like greens where they are very grainy or poa annua. Those two greens I kind of, you know, it's tough to putt on. But wherever it rolls really true, I like to putt good with them.
KRAIG KANN: Okay. So now everybody on tour knows where not to play that week. 59 weeks at No. 1 in the rankings. Let's talk about that briefly. Stacy Lewis reclaimed No. 1 on June the 1st, and then you ended up winning a tournament right after that. How much is the ranking in your mind right now and trying to get back?
INBEE PARK: When I was No. 1, I really thought about being No. 1 or who is trying to catch me or whatever. I was looking at the rankings and that, but since I've got to No. 2, 3, I just seem to care less a little bit. And now until I get really close to No. 1, I probably wouldn't even look at it.
I'm just trying to play good every tournament, and obviously I need to win a couple of tournaments before I get to that spot. So I need to do whatever I need to do before looking at the rankings.
KRAIG KANN: Last thing for me and we'll let you get out to your pro am. This is the last stop in Rochester for now for the LPGA. Almost 40 years, 38 years here. You're the defending champion, albeit on a different golf course. What would it mean for you to put your name on that trophy the final time here in Rochester?
INBEE PARK: I think it'll be such an honor because being the first or being the last is always very memorable, and we have a history here and so many people have been with us here; and yeah, I think being able to put my name on the trophy in Rochester for the last time will have such a lot of meaning for me. So I'll play as hard as I can so I'll put my name on it again.
Former Major Winners, Juli Inkster, Laura Davies, Paula Creamer, and Karrie Webb
KRAIG KANN: Good afternoon, everybody. Welcome to the Media Center here at the Wegmans LPGA Championship. It is a great pleasure to have the four players sitting on this stage. Full disclosure about why this press conference was created is obviously to talk about this week's event, but also to talk about the history of this championship and the folks in Rochester and what it's meant to the LPGA and these players. So I think we have an all‑star cast here with Juli Inkster, Laura Davies, Paula Creamer and Karrie Webb. We'll take plenty of questions, but I want to get some thoughts, first of all, on this week's venue and this golf course specifically before we talk about past and history and memories. So Juli, let's start with you. What are your thoughts on Monroe?
JULI INKSTER: Oh, it's a great golf course. I love the way it looks off the tee. It's very ‑‑ the greens are rolling very nice. Great bunkering. Some of the bunkers you can't see off the tee. You gotta kind of know where they're at. It's playing very long, or I'm getting very short, one or the other.
But I think it's a great venue. I think the crowds are going to be fantastic this week, and you know, I don't know why we haven't been here for a while. It's kind of nice. It's a nice golf course.
KRAIG KANN: Good to be here. Laura, your thoughts.
LAURA DAVIES: Yeah. Same as Juli. Really nice on the eye off the tee. I mean I like hitting the ball left to right and that sets up for virtually every hole out here, which is nice for me, and I think you've gotta be pretty long because the fairways the way they are at the moment, pretty wet with all the rain we've had the last couple of days. But yeah, nice shots into the ‑‑ par‑3s I think are going to play a big part because they're not only long, but if you miss the greens, you're gonna have some real problems, so I think the par‑3s as well as the course being long it's going to sort the winner out I think.
KRAIG KANN: Paula, some folks have talked about second‑shot golf course, and your name was mentioned as somebody that that would suit quite well, hybrids being potentially a club of choice on some holes. What are your thoughts after a couple of days here?
PAULA CREAMER: I just think that some of the holes aren't quite set up to be the way they should be intentionally played, with the ridges and things. I think 18 is a heck of a finishing hole. It's pretty long. When you're hitting woods into that green, just that fall front is difficult. But I think it's a really good test of golf on the par‑3s and probably the hardest par‑3s on 18 that we've played I think all year.
The rough is thick around the greens. Fairways are very generous. It's just it's playing long.
KRAIG KANN: Karrie, what's your take on Monroe Golf Club?
KARRIE WEBB: I actually think this is one of the best courses I've played in a long time. I played Monday evening, and obviously I'd say the setup for how the course played Monday evening it was dry and running and just in beautiful shape, but actually, the course has held the water really well. I mean we're not getting any roll off the tee, but there was not an ounce of casual water out there today. I think it's, you know, obviously a very well‑maintained golf course.
You know, I love the grain complex. It's very true Donald Ross grain complexes, and it is a second‑shot course, and with the roughs around the greens this week, you know, trying to hit as many greens as possible will be key.
KRAIG KANN: There's been a lot of talk, since it was announced that the LPGA was moving away from this fine community, about the LPGA leaving, so we thought we'd talk about that and talk about some of the memories that you all have had. I think the theme for the LPGA is not good‑bye this week, but thank you, and everybody realizes what a special place this is. So with that, I want to kind of get some thoughts from you all about that and your time here and what perhaps you'll miss most or some of the memories that you have. So why don't I kind of work my way back this way and then we'll take some questions. We've got microphones out there. Karrie, start with you. What stands out? I know you've had a great history.
KARRIE WEBB: Yeah, obviously I've won at Locust Hill a couple of times. For me my first impression here, the first year I played was obviously the fan base and the crowds. You know, I don't think we have a more loyal fan base out there, and even playing this week a lot of the people saying that they're sad to see us leave, and obviously we are, too.
I just ‑‑ I find it hard to believe that we could have such a great relationship with the community as we do here in Rochester that we won't be back here at some point. I really believe that, you know, the love affair between us and Rochester community could continue. I think there would be interest to that.
You know, the Rochester community has given us a lot over the years, but I feel like we've given back a lot by the entertainment we've provided but also the charity money that we've raised for the local community. So hopefully it's good‑bye for now, but hopefully we'll be back.
KRAIG KANN: There are a lot of memories posted around the golf course. There's like a gallery and all that sort of stuff. I was talking with the tournament director, Linda Hampton, today, Paula, and she said, "ah, Paula Creamer, this is as close to a second home as you could find for any player on this tour" because you kind of grew up with this whole place. Could you share some thoughts on that and what it's meant to you?
PAULA CREAMER: Oh, my goodness. You know, everything that Wegmans has done, I got a sponsor exemption to this event when I was 16 years old, and I was joking, I've had the same security guard since I was 16 to now, I'm 28.
You know, all the memories with my grandfather and my family coming out to watch, you know, has just been so supportive of not only just my golf, but women's golf in general, and I have made so many friends. I mean I had a lot of people that come from this event that came to my grandfather's memorial a couple of years ago, and that just truly means so much to me.
I learned how to drive a car here, and now I'm getting married. It's crazy to think 12 years. But you know, like Webbie said, this has been ‑‑ there's no way we're not going to have another event back here. It's just the way you think of Rochester you think of women's golf and the fans, they've always been supportive no matter what and they continue to do that.
And playing out here you constantly hear "we're sorry to see you leave." It's not about that. 38 years is a long time, and everybody should be proud of what they've done for women's golf here in this area.
KRAIG KANN: Laura, you look up there with the list of champions, and it's hardly a who's that; it's a who's who, and your image is up there as well. What does this event mean to you?
LAURA DAVIES: Yeah, I was trying to work out last night, I think I've played 26 of the 28 years I've been on tour, so this is a golf course. I loved Locust Hill when we played there, and obviously now we've moved here. It's another great venue.
But I think as the girls have said, the galleries ‑‑ I think the major championships, maybe the U.S. Open, sometimes the British Open, depending on where we are, you get bigger galleries, but I think the Rochester and Locust Hill galleries have been amazing, and on the first tee to the 18th green there's usually a pretty good number of people and walking the fairways with. And they're they enthusiastic, and I think we'll miss that, and I think as they've both said, I find it hard to believe we won't come back here and play a tournament in this area again hopefully in the near future, because I think everyone loves coming back here.
KRAIG KANN: If you've got questions, let's get some hands up and we'll get microphones. Could be on any topic, and I'll get some thoughts here from Juli before we take our first question. Juli, what's your take on this community and what everybody means?
JULI INKSTER: Basically what they all said. I mean I just I love the fans. Coming down the first fairway they're three, four, five deep.
You know, starting ‑‑ I was kind of just driving in here where you see the $10 parking signs. I think when I first started it was like maybe two bucks to park on ‑‑ yeah. Maybe 50 cents. I'm not even sure. And now it's all the way up to $10 on a practice round. So yeah, that was kind of funny, because I vividly remember two dollars. So that's how long I've been out here.
KRAIG KANN: In a way do you think it'll be tough to play four rounds without ‑‑ you know, kind of putting those emotions aside of history and memories and all that sort of stuff? Will the focus on golf be difficult this week?
JULI INKSTER: No. I think the focus is always on golf. I just think for us and the community, you know, it's a love affair. I mean we knew when we came to Rochester, and also Corning, you know, most people from Rochester drove down to Corning to watch us play.
So you know, I just think the area, you know, we've grown up together. We've started this thing together, and they take a real interest in who you are and what you do and how you play. They're very golf knowledgeable, and you know, like they said, hopefully it's not good‑bye, it's just a short time and we'll get back here.
KRAIG KANN: Let's take some questions. Right here in the front.
Q. In what ways is this course different and maybe more difficult than Locust Hill?
KRAIG KANN: Specific to which player? Any of them?
Q. Let's start with Karrie.
JULI INKSTER: Rochester I feel like I was driving it down a one‑way street. Yeah, and I never hit it.
KARRIE WEBB: You feel like you can breathe around here, I think. At least off the tee.
JULI INKSTER: Off the tee it's a lot more generous. I mean it's a totally different golf course. You know, I'm not saying anything bad, but Locust Hill is a country club, and it kind of winds up, winds back, winds up. Here, you got different doglegs, you got dogleg‑right, you got dogleg left, you got short holes, you got long holes; the greens set up. You're hitting a lot of different clubs to greens. The chipping area is I think a lot tougher. I think this is a major championship golf course.
KRAIG KANN: Karrie?
KARRIE WEBB: I agree with Juli. You know, I think, you know, obviously like we said earlier, it's a second‑shot golf course, so you know, there's ample room off the tee, which is complete opposite to Locust Hill.
But you know, for the amount of rain we've had in a few days, it shows you the quality of the golf course because we wouldn't probably have had to play preferred lie today because the fairways held up very well.
And you know, I think that the challenge is the second shots, where at Locust Hill you had to get it in the fairway. If you drive it well that week, you normally had a pretty good week. I think this week your iron play is going to be a must, good iron play.
KRAIG KANN: Questions back here.
Q. I have two. The first one is for Karrie, since you're on the board. Can you talk a little bit about what's coming up for this championship next year; new name, and why it's good for the tour? And then do you kind of have a sense that maybe you can get the best of both worlds with the elevation of the major next year and then potentially having a tournament come back here at this venue that you love so far?
KARRIE WEBB: Yeah, I think, you know, obviously it is the best of both worlds. If we could have an event back here in Rochester and have, you know, an organization like the PGA of America be involved with that tournament, I think with our LPGA championship now, women's PGA championship, it gives it a stable future. And we're going to play on some really great venues, in some really big cities, and you know, I think to elevate the LPGA, we need to start cracking into those city markets and drawing those sort of fans, you know, where we get to grow our fan base.
So the best of both worlds would be that we add another tournament to the schedule and we're back here in Rochester.
KRAIG KANN: Do you have a followup?
Q. If you all could just kind of tell us your favorite place here in Rochester off the golf course that you like to go to, eat at, something that you love in the community.
PAULA CREAMER: Wegmans.
KRAIG KANN: Brilliant answer.
JULI INKSTER: North Side Inn, Italian.
LAURA DAVIES: There are three or four really good Indian restaurants that we normally go to.
PAULA CREAMER: I was going to say that.
KRAIG KANN: Let's name them between you two. What are they?
LAURA DAVIES: WELL, there's one just down the street back towards Locust Hill, and the other two are sort of further up.
Q. What's their name?
LAURA DAVIES: I have no idea. The Taj Mahal. I'm going to take a guess. But they're all very nice.
PAULA CREAMER: I was going to say the same thing. The Indian restaurants here are really good.
KARRIE WEBB: I wasn't going to say that.
KRAIG KANN: You weren't? Go ahead. Was there a question in the back?
PAULA CREAMER: They're delicious.
LAURA DAVIES: And for Paula to say that they're good Indian restaurants, then they're good.
KRAIG KANN: Let's get a microphone over here. Following up the question that was directed to you, Karrie, and Paula, maybe I'll put you on the spot here a little bit, but you've seen over the last four or five years, obviously you haven't been on tour as long as Karrie perhaps or Juli, but kind of a change under Mike, and the business aspect of sports dictates change sometimes, and thus, the LPGA will be moving on with an elevation of this event. As a player, is that difficult to wrap your arms around or can you see the need for elevating women's golf and how this could be a positive thing, even though it's very difficult?
PAULA CREAMER: I mean obviously we are going to some bigger places, but last week, even in Grand Rapids, we had huge crowds. It's not necessarily always the big cities or where we do need to go. We need to play the best golf courses and best markets for the sponsors and presenting sponsors. I agree with that.
But there is a lot of loyalty involved in golf as well. And when you get these communities that are just so invested, and this week is all about, like Juli said, I feel kind of bad driving by Locust Hill, there's no parking ‑‑ I feel like we're not helping them go on their vacations or whatnot with their parking.
But you know, it does help, I mean obviously we need to be shown more and things like that, but I love the smaller communities. I personally have always enjoyed going to them, and you know, just having a tournament be around for so long at a same golf course, I personally prefer that, but I do understand the business side of things, and the way that sports goes and the way that just women's sports in general, that's the way it has gone.
KRAIG KANN: Juli, do you see the need for change potentially and the growth or where things are going? There have been a few things that come to mind over the last couple of years, the addition of a fifth major championship, race to the CME globe with a big bonus pool at the end of the year; the Annika Major Award has been added recently, the KPMG Women's PGA Championship now takes over and elevates this major championship to a different level. What are your thoughts on some of those changes you've seen recently?
JULI INKSTER: Well, a lot of people don't like change, you know, but I think as the women's game evolves, I think change it necessary.
I think having the PGA of America involved in supporting a women's sports organization is huge. I think they'll run it well. I think they have a huge amount of marketing money to promote women's golf, and I think that's where we lack sometimes is the marketing, the PR as far as, you know, weeks, months in advance. It's promoting when we're going to be on TV, where we're going to be on TV so people can know and follow it.
But you know, change is tough, and you know, I do have to admit I'm not a big fan of losing the LPGA championship name, but I think in the long run, for the LPGA, I think it's going to be great.
KRAIG KANN: Question right here with Mike. And then let's get a microphone over to Randall, please.
Q. Paula, I was curious about what you think are the biggest positives about the move to the women's PGA championship next year.
PAULA CREAMER: The biggest positives? Well, like what Juli was saying, I mean marketing is going to be huge with that. I think being able to play those golf courses, it's big for women's golf. Being able to go to some of the top places. You know, I don't think that we would have thought that 10 years ago.
You know, even with the British, you know, we've been playing some awesome tracks and being able to go to new levels because of the way that the women have been playing; a little bit more respect I think in that sense, and showing with the U.S. Open this year there's no reason why we can't play the same golf courses as the men.
You know, I think that is a big positive, but just being able to have that, you know, KPMG is going to promote women's golf, and that's what we want. Not to take anything away from this event, but it is a boost, and we'll see what happens, but it's a year from now, and you know, at the same time, it's a bitter‑sweet moment talking about them, but at the same time we can never take away what Wegmans has done for us.
Q. Apologies for changing the topic here, but I'm curious from an international perspective from Paula and Laura, your thoughts on where the American game is right now and with the Americans trying to win four majors in a row, just the effect it has on women's golf overall.
KARRIE WEBB: You haven't spoken for a while. Does your mic work?
LAURA DAVIES: It's great, obviously. Michelle winning the U.S. Open was a massive boost for the women's game because we all know how popular she is. She's box office. She's our Tiger, basically, and her doing what she did was fantastic.
And yeah, I'm not saying we want another American to win this major (laughs), but I'm a foreigner, so maybe an Australian or European.
But yeah, I think it's great for the LPGA because we need good Americans, good young Americans, not that Paula or Juli are very young anymore, but would be nice to see them do well. (Laughs).
So yeah, absolutely. Massive boost, and I think Mike Whan loves it when he sees those sort of results coming in and what Stacy is doing and being at the top of the money list and every single week seems to be in contention. That has to be a good thing.
KRAIG KANN: It's been since '99 since the first three majors were won by Americans, '92 since Americans swept all of the majors available. Did you have a followup?
Q. Karrie thoughts on it?
KARRIE WEBB: I agree with Laura. I think, you know, for ‑‑ when I, you know, went to LPGA Q‑School and you know, got my card at the end of '95, you know, I was predominantly based for 10 years playing U. S. golf, and occasionally leaving the country to play overseas.
You know, I think with the Americans playing better and Stacy being the first American to win Player of the Year a couple of years ago, I think we can have the best of both worlds now. I think, you know, we can have a solid international schedule, but really grow the game back here and have a much more solid schedule here in the U. S., and I think we've needed the American players to play better and to win and win majors so that American companies want to sponsor the LPGA.
KRAIG KANN: Other questions. If we can get a microphone up here in the front please. We can go in any direction now that you all would like, any topics.
Q. You learned how to drive here? Who took you out driving?
PAULA CREAMER: My dad. Well, I was 16, so I think I had my permit at the time. It was my aunt and uncle, they live around here, so it wasn't the rental car, don't worry. It was their car. You're going to get me in trouble.
But no, we were driving around, and I was so nervous driving into here anyways to play golf, let alone, you know, on that street you gotta turn into Locust Hill and the policeman comes out and I'm freaking out, but I did it. We were good.
JULI INKSTER: You don't want to hit a horse.
PAULA CREAMER: Yeah, and the horses. Exactly. But yeah, I did.
Q. Was it an automatic?
PAULA CREAMER: No. It was normal, just push the gas pedal and hit the brake.
LAURA DAVIES: That's an automatic car.
PAULA CREAMER: Well, because I've learned only how to drive manual overseas. I can only do it overseas in the British. That's where I learned. I'm sorry. It's true. I can only do it left‑handed.
KRAIG KANN: Question right here.
Q. For each of you, what would it be like to personally put your name on the trophy for the final time in Rochester?
LAURA DAVIES: Obviously that's why we're all here. You want to win it, you want to be ‑‑ yeah, that would be nice, too.
PAULA CREAMER: Hall of Fame.
LAURA DAVIES: Yeah, so it's everyone's goal to win this trophy, because I'm assuming the galleries on Sunday for the championship are going to be amazing. So that walk up 18 is going to be really emotional for someone, and we all want to be there, but there's another 150 odd players that want to be there, too. So it's just going to be a great week, on a great course, and hopefully the weather will let us show everyone what we can do again.
KRAIG KANN: Juli, make you pick up your microphone.
JULI INKSTER: That was perfectly said. It would be amazing, really amazing.
KRAIG KANN: Paula, your thoughts on what it would mean. I mean you've had a great victory already this year, but to win this thing would probably be what?
PAULA CREAMER: Well, I think just because I remember after my grandfather passed away and walking up 18 the first time where he wasn't standing behind the clubhouse at Locust Hill, it was probably the most emotional I think I've ever been on a golf course.
I think this is going to be similar. I've grown up here. It's been very special to me. They've asked me to come here when I was just a 16‑year‑old girl, and to have that ‑‑ be able to come out and see the best players in the world, it definitely changed my life, and to have my name on the trophy for the last name here, it would be very, very special.
KRAIG KANN: Karrie.
KARRIE WEBB: Yeah, obviously similar answers to the other three girls, I think. You know, we are all here to win the event and try to do our best to do that. And you know, to win the event the last time it's called the LPGA Championship will be very special, and last time it's here in Rochester. So you know, I think any of us would be very proud to win this week.
KRAIG KANN: Question in the back.
Q. Juli and Laura, aside from the parking prices can give us a little bit of an idea of the first few years that you played this championship what it was like in terms of crowds and support and just the overall atmosphere, how it's changed?
LAURA DAVIES: Excuse me. I'm not saying anything. When I very first started coming here, it was the Patty Sheehan show and the Nancy Lopez show. They seemed to dominate it. And obviously their popularity, the galleries were huge then.
I'm not saying they've fallen off any now, but in those days I just remember coming here and it looked like a major championship. And I'm not just saying that because we're here now. That's what it was like. The galleries were up from word go. And then it's gone through the ages; you know, Annika came here, Lorena, I'm not sure if she ever won it. I'm sure she did. She won everywhere else. And it's just gone on and on.
1988 was my rookie year, and I'm assuming I played here that year. And as I said, I think one missed in the last 26 years shows how much I've enjoyed it and how much I think the galleries make it for us, and I'm not just saying that.
KRAIG KANN: Juli.
JULI INKSTER: I would say the same. By far it was the biggest gallery we played all year long in front of was Rochester. And I might even put the Open in there. I mean they drew incredible. And like Laura said it was the Patty Sheehan, Pat Bradley, and Lopez show.
And I knew Patty well; I went to school with Patty, and so I was ‑‑ when I was a rookie, I said, what tournaments do I really need to play; and she said, Rochester is the one you need to be at for sure. I mean that's the best golf course we play and the people, the fans are amazing. She goes, you won't even ‑‑ you know, you would be shocked how many people show up. And I was like, yeah, yeah, yeah. But she was right.
And all this ‑‑ the really sickos sat behind 5 green and watched everybody four‑putt, four and five‑putt on that. I mean it was amazing. The green was perched like that. They've definitely changed it since then, but if you could get by 5 without making a bogey or double bogey, you were pretty good.
PAULA CREAMER: This weekend, like trying to find your way around, you've been coming here forever, but to come to this club and find the locker room, find the range, find everything.
JULI INKSTER: That's what I think kind of makes it feel like a major. The golf course feels that way. You're coming to a new site; you don't know where anything is. You have restaurants, you don't know where those are located. But to me that kind of made it feel like, hey, this is a major.
KRAIG KANN: Laura, have you been disoriented this week with the new venue?
LAURA DAVIES: Not that much. I mean driving past Locust Hill is the worst because normally, like Paula said, you got all these big grand stands. There's nothing but a few people out there, the trolleys playing the golf course. For some reason it doesn't seem right.
Coming into this area, like Juli said, as you drive up the drive there's all the $10 parking, so the community just moved over, so people are going on holiday, Juli. Don't worry about that. They're going to get their money.
PAULA CREAMER: I felt bad.
LAURA DAVIES: I must admit, I did, too, because when we were driving along, Tonya hadn't been there, and we were saying to her, this is where the people used to make their money for their holiday. So it is a bit of a trip down memory lane. It's a shame for everybody, but things move on.
KRAIG KANN: Paula, in talking to some of the folks that run the tournament here locally, I asked them did they feel strange about it not being at Locust Hill for the final time, and they said absolutely the opposite. It's been energizing for everybody. How have you felt this week about a new venue and driving in and stuff?
PAULA CREAMER: It's great. There's still tons of people that came out to watch. Everybody in the clubhouse has been so nice.
You know, I drove by, past the place. I turned around, almost got my car towed. It's all going on so far for me this week. Parking passes, you gotta put those things out or your car is gone. They came out and told me on the putting green today. So I said okay.
Q. You almost had your car towed this week?
PAULA CREAMER: They said, where's your parking pass? Apparently it wasn't visible. I'm not big time like Webbie with the courtesy car.
KARRIE WEBB: Well, if you would give your time on the board, you would get a car.
PAULA CREAMER: Here we go. But ‑‑ I'm ignoring you right now.
KRAIG KANN: Good job, Karrie.
PAULA CREAMER: But it is refreshing, and I think you can tell with the staff. You know, I think it's obviously mixed emotions, but it does have that major feel. I mean we try to figure out where the putting green is, the first tee, tenth tee. That's what we do with our majors, you go out and you kind of find the lay of the land. If this was at Locust, we'd all be kind of just cruising around and know what to do, but everybody does seem very excited that we're here, and the golf course we deserve to be here, but it's a great track.
KRAIG KANN: Any other questions? Any back? Anybody? I'll leave you all with this, and you are not allowed to say, yes, I'll say what she said. Okay. A message from each of you to the folks in Rochester that will be out here this week for what this event has meant to you personally, whatever you'd like to say to them. What would your message be for this community? Karrie, we'll start with you since you're a board member with all the answers. I won't let Inkster go last, because she's the one that always says I'll just say what they said.
KARRIE WEBB: I guess my message to the city of Rochester is thank you. Thank you for 38 years. Thank you for being the greatest fan base that we've had over that time.
You know, we'll miss you and hope to be back sooner rather than later.
KRAIG KANN: Juli?
JULI INKSTER: Thanks for the memories. There were a lot of great memories, a lot of great champions, and you guys should be proud.
KRAIG KANN: Laura.
LAURA DAVIES: I think it's only a five‑hour drive to Westchester, so they could make it if they wanted to next year. So thank you anyway.
PAULA CREAMER: And I'll follow that.
KRAIG KANN: Paula, good luck.
PAULA CREAMER: Just to everybody, thank you for supporting us, you know, for what they do with their charities, using women's golf to help benefit that is pretty special, and being able to come to a place where, you know, you just ‑‑ you see so many happy faces, and I really want to say thanks to Wegmans in itself.
You know, I got to play golf with Mr. Wegman before he passed away and he was just such an amazing person and human being and to believe in our tour and to believe in women's golf, you know, we just take our hats off to that.