Saturday, May 15, 2010

Quotable Quotes from LPGAers at Magnolia Grove

Those darn robots on the LPGA. So boring. So unemotional.

Brittany Lincicome on the LPGA's packed early-season schedule:

Q. There has only been I believe five or six tournaments this year on the LPGA tour. How tough is it now as a golfer not to be able to get into a routine, a rhythm? You're playing, you're off for three weeks, playing in Mexico and you're flying and you're off for a week. What does that do to a golfer after the kind of year you had last year?

BRITTANY LINCICOME: Yeah, it's a little difficult, but I enjoy being home. So a week on and a week off, for me personally it doesn't really affect me at all. Unfortunately, I didn't do too much practicing last week, so it's nice to kind of see myself playing well with not practicing at all last week. But you're definitely right. I mean, we have two weeks here in a row, so we're excited. Then we have two weeks off, I guess, and then we have a five week stretch. So it's kind of picking up here slowly. I don't mind it one bit. It works.

Se Ri Pak on Lorena's retirement and the glamorous LPGA life:

Q. Se Ri, as someone who has won a lot out here Lorena has left the game I'm curious what your thoughts were, and have you ever had any moments where you felt like you wanted to walk away? You've had great ups and great downs, but...

SE RI PAK: Yes, of course. Probably all the players same as Lorena. We are actually living in the suitcase. Week to week we spend whole week in the hotel, traveling because of tournament. I'm very understanding. I mean, I actually was feel that way, too. I mean, I really love to playing golf, but not packing all the time. I have to see my suitcase right next me all every single time, every week, all year long. That's probably most hard part, though. You don't have really great life. You always been traveling probably 300 days of traveling, especially like by myself, which is pretty lonely, you know. Of course you see the golf course and many fans out there, so many players here, but not really social like in my private life. It's pretty hard, though.

Of course I was thinking about that way, too. But I'm still loving the game, you know. I'm still like to be playing out here, of course. For me, of course still hard to be unpack, packing, traveling. But as long as I love golf, I'm still out there. That's why I'm still here keep playing it. Sooner or later, yes, I'm gonna be probably find like a normal life. Stay home, being as normal person, do something as normal people. So soon, but not right now. (Laughter.)

Brittany Lincicome, Suzann Pettersen, and Cristie Kerr on the battle for #1 on the Lorena-less LPGA:

Q. I talked to the new commissioner this morning, and he said Lorena, everyone is sad to see her go. It opens up opportunities for someone else to be No. 1. How much do you talk about that most your peers?

BRITTANY LINCICOME: Yeah, any one of us can step up at any minute. Obviously Ai Miyazato is kind of killing it right now, or Jiyai Shin. Their short game, if I had their short game, wow, with my long game and their short game, it would be crazy. But, yeah, I mean, he said it right. Anybody can step up. It's just a matter of who is willing to do it. Obviously being an American I would like to see the Americans do it. But it's nice for our fans to see somebody different win each week, or Ai just gonna go out and win every week. (Laughing.) We'll just see what happens.

Q. With Lorena's retirement, which was kind of a surprise to me anyway... It really as you said opens up the game of golf, and the game now needs another kind of like face. What you do I think? Do you that's what it needs, or needs a different face every week?

BRITTANY LINCICOME: You know, it could be either way. People obviously liked when Lorena was winning every week or when Annika was winning every week. I personally think it's fun to kind of see different players win each week just so somebody even a new fan will learn something about that player. So I like different players winning each week, or myself, of course. But, yeah, either way it seems to work. We need a Tiger on our tour, and maybe be Ai or Jiyai or somebody can kind of take over that spot and be No. 1.

Q. This is the first event where Lorena is no longer No. 1. Does it feel different? Does it feel like there is a chance, a door is open there?

SUZANN PETTERSEN: It feels like we're in between two eras. It feels like I don't know. We've been so used to having first Annika being so dominating, then Lorena. Now it's just a bunch of us trying to fight and get the most out of each week. It's fun, but it just feels like we're kind of right in between two kind of eras of players here.

MODERATOR: OK. I've got one, and then I'll open it up. You're ranked No. 5 in the world right now. You've been around the top of the rankings for quite a while. Now with Lorena's retirement, do you feel like that's opened a door for you to move up?

CRISTIE KERR: Well, absolutely. We're sad to see that she's gone. She was such a great personality and a great player for this tour, and very visible. You know, she probably single handedly brought three or four events to Mexico for this tour, so we're sad to see her go. But definitely when somebody exits there's always more room at the top. But, you know, there is still a lot great players. Jiyai Shin, Suzann Pettersen, Yani Tseng. There's a lot of great players ahead of me right now. It's gonna take a couple wins to vault me up there. I think I'm ready for that challenge, and that's why we play golf.

Q. From some people's perspective, losing Lorena and Annika a couple years ago, turnover at commissioner, that things are in a state of, if not chaos, at least flux. How do you view the strength and the state of the tour as you sit here after your 67?

CRISTIE KERR: I think we're definitely on the upswing with a new commissioner, Michael Whan. I mean, if you haven't met him, go meet him because he's the kind of guy that will get in trenches and caddie for somebody just to see what it's like and see how it is to be a caddie. He'll go and sit with anybody and talk about any business matter. He's a great guy for business development. Very personable. Sometimes self admittedly talks a little bit too fast (laughs), but I think he's ready for our tour. Since he's come on, HSBC has not only renewed their tournament in Singapore from my understanding, but they've added this tournament in Brazil, and a lot of other conversations are going on.

So I think that's hugely positive for us. I think we just have to recognize that those kind of golfers are just not gonna be around forever. Whether they’ve had a baby and they don't want to play anymore, or they're just ready to step away from the game. I think that it's the tour's job and responsibility to kind of showcase the personalities and the stars of the tour so that people don't feel like when some of those players leave, Oh, my God, what are we gonna do? You know, I've been on tour for 14 years now, I finished second on the Money List last year, and I have a real shot to become No. 1. It's gonna take a lot of hard work and it's not gonna be easy. And it's certainly not just because Lorena Ochoa left. I have to work really hard and keep up my end of the bargain.

Angela Stanford takes on national chauvinism:

Q. Asians have won every event this year, a lot last year. Is it getting to be old for Americans to be asked about that? Are you guys past that? Or does it matter to have red, white and blue winning events?

ANGELA STANFORD: Morgan Pressel won Japan last week, so it's kind of like flipped the coin. (Laughing.) You know, I think it's sad. I think it's sad that we have to keep answering questions as players. Because as players, we don't see them as Koreans or Asians. We see them as competitors and players on our tour. So it's frustrating that we can't just accept that. Because the players have. The players know that they're great people and great players. They're making all of us better. It's a global tour because of the Asians and the Europeans. We're stronger in that respect than, you know, say the PGA Tour. But if you look at the PGA Tour, the same thing is kind of starting to happen but nobody is talking about it. That's because an American is still No. 1. So I get frustrated because I don't see them as anything but a player out here. I think they're great people to have on our tour. They're wonderful in the Pro‑Ams. When I say they, I mean, you know, Koreans and Asians because that's who you asked me about.

But I think it's always been a positive, so it's tough. I mean, don't get me wrong. I want to be No. 1. I understand that being an American and having an American be No. 1 is a big deal. I know that. It's not like I'm trying any less when I'm out there. They're just better right now. You know what? It's up to the Americans to say, You know what? We've had enough. We want to be No. 1. Until we do that, we're gonna keep answering the questions. But in my opinion, I think it's just helps all of us.

THE MODERATOR: Actually looking at the rankings and the top 5 players, are just that: You have Jiyai Shin from Korea; Ai Miyazato from Japan; Suzann Pettersen from Norway. Who else do we have up there? Yani Tseng from Taiwan, and No. 5 is Cristie Kerr. So there's is your global fivesome right there, or pretty close. Of those 5, do I see anybody taking off? Is it anybody's game right now? Ai has obviously won three of five events this year, so you got to feel like she's got the hot hand.

ANGELA STANFORD: Yeah, and I think answering the questions of Lorena not being here, it's sad to lose her, to lose the No. 1 player, but we have so many other stories that are gonna come out of this. I mean, I'm not sure if we're gonna have a dominant No. 1, but it's gonna be interesting. You're gonna have those stories all year long. Oh, so‑and‑so is No. 1, but No. 2 is so‑and‑so and she's .9 behind her. I mean, so you're gonna have those weeks.

Personally, I enjoyed‑‑I was at home, in Mexico, but I was watching the Tweets. Okay, Lorena has to finish here, and Jiyai if she wins... I think it could be positive for the tour, if you want it spin if that way. There's always that side story of somebody new could be No. 1 this week.

Angela Stanford on possibly playing in Japan and how length is just a number:

Q. Have you ever thought about playing in Japan? A lot of players doing that, especially this year. Do you have a plan?

ANGELA STANFORD: You know, I actually would. My agent sent me a list of tournaments, and now just trying to figure out where it would fit and make sense travel‑wise. So I looked at it. I had one pinpointed, and I can't remember‑‑I want to say it's in September. I need to go back and look. I have thought about it. It's encouraging. And, I mean, again, seeing the flip, to see Morgan go over there and win, that's kind of neat. I want to go over and play. And Jiyai winning in Japan and moving to No. 1, obviously there is some solid competition over there. I'm definitely checking into it. I think it would be neat.

Q. Could you talk about Ai. She's not a power player, and yet she's got this dominating... What makes her special?

ANGELA STANFORD: You know, I think at this level there's something mentally that she has latched onto that she's running with. I can't remember the last time I played with her, but I don't remember her hitting it extremely far.

I've had people tell me‑‑because in Thailand you had to hit it high and far; Mexico you needed to hit it high, and far helps ‑‑ so I'm baffled how she keeps winning on those golf courses. So it must be something mentally. When you get into that frame of mind and you feel like you can't be beat, chances are you're not gonna be beat. At this level we all hit it very solidly. Our short games, putting, everything is really good. The edge is usually mentally. And confidence. She must be busting with confidence. I want to walk behind her and see if I can pick up some of that. (Laughing.)

Wendy Ward on how age is just a number:

Q. I was talking to Lorie Kane yesterday, who's of a similar vintage as you...

WENDY WARD: She's got a couple years on me.

Q. She does. Just a couple.

WENDY WARD: But you're right.

Q. She talked about being in her late 30s but still feeling like she has a lot of time left. She doesn't feel like a veteran necessarily. Do you find yourself in that same boat where you're saying, Hey, I've got a another eight to 10 great years out here?

WENDY WARD: Well, with Lori, we committed to about six or seven, because that would get me to 20, 21, somewhere in there, and then another evaluation. But I've got a lot of inspiration out here. Juli Inkster, I know she hates to be referred to as that, but, I mean, she's the epitome of a career out here. She's done it. She's got one kid out of school and another one in high school on the way out of the house. She loves golf.

And don't miss Ryan Ballengee's pre-tournament video interview with Angela Stanford!

[Update 1 (5/16/10, 6:05 am): Turns out it was Randall Mell who asked Stanford about how much it matters for Americans to start winning on the LPGA again!]

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