|Shanshan Feng discussed her experiences at home in China where she was treated as a super star after winning the Wegman's LPGA Championship, her first major. |
|Shanshan Feng at Evian Masters Golf Club on Wednesday
Shanshan Feng discussed her experiences at home in China where she was treated as a super star after winning the Wegman's LPGA Championship, her first major.
MODERATOR: We'd like to welcome Shanshan Feng into the interview room, otherwise known as Jenny, who is now a major champion after winning Wegman's LPGA Championship in June.
I know you just got back from being home in China recognising you as a major champion. What was that experience like for and you, and how nice is it to go home as a major champion?
SHANSHAN FENG: I mean, I was home for two weeks totally and it was so busy, like the schedule was like nonstop for 10 days in a row. Started like when I arrived at the airport in Beijing.
I mean, every time when I went home before only my parents will come and pick me up. This time when I just arrived I saw so many media from China and Korea, too. They were waiting and had the big poster of my picture and were taking pictures and I had interviews. I felt like a star, you know. (Laughter.)
MODERATOR: I know they had a big celebration for you. What did you do in terms celebrating in China? What did you do with your family as well?
SHANSHAN FENG: I didn't really have too much time to hang without with my family. I had I think like two fans' meetings, like one Guangzhou and one in Beijing. The one in Beijing was really huge.
You know, a lot of fans, they came, and a lot sponsors. Even the president of China Golf Association, they all came. It was my first experience to, actually how you call it, like champagne with a lot of glasses and I'm the one that fill it up.
It was quite a fun experience.
MODERATOR: I know you've talked about what you want to be for golf in China in terms of we talked about Li Na and what she's meant to tennis. When you went back and got to see all the fans and all the support you've got, did that give you even more hope to bring awareness of golf in China and also Korea and Japan?
SHANSHAN FENG: I think actually maybe it affects a little more than I expected. You know, a lot juniors now they said now they believe they can be a pro and they want to come out of the country and play maybe in the States or Europe or Japan.
Yeah, I mean, I didn't think that, you know, my win would do too much. I want to try to do something, but golf is still not very, how do you say, not very popular in China yet.
But I think at the time I won, a lot different medias, like not only golf medias, but like all the newspapers and magazines, they all like had articles of mine. You know, even like my primary schoolmates, they all contact me and say, Hey, I saw you in newspaper. So I think it was pretty big.
Yeah, I don't know. Maybe I slept too much in morning. I'm sorry. My brain is running a little slow this morning.
MODERATOR: That's okay. I've been in that mode all week. In terms of this win, we talked about what it means in China. But for you, you had set the goal to win this year on the LPGA and to have a top 10 finish in a major, and to do both in the same event, how much have you taken from that and the confidence level you have going into the rest of the LPGA season?
SHANSHAN FENG: I mean, really gave me a lot of confidence. You know, now I really believe myself that I can, you know, win. Not only one, I can win more. I'm able to win.
Actually, at the fans' meeting in Beijing we had like a topic, and the title was actually like a new start. So I think what it means to me is that maybe I had really good results this year so far, but I'm going to be like a new self.
Like I'm not going to give myself too much pressure because I'm a major winner now. I'm just going to take that confidence and have a new start.
Q. (Question regarding oddball questions she's been asked.)
SHANSHAN FENG: I think there was one question that was funny. Usually in Asia, like parents, they are involved maybe sometimes for coaching and caddying, things like that.
They asked me if my dad is still teaching me. I said, Well ‑‑ I told them a story. I said like maybe it was my second year on the tour and my dad, it was my worst year.
During the off‑season, my dad was on the range with me and he was like, Oh, I think the swing here is wrong, there is wrong, something is wrong. I told him, I said, Dad, you don't know what my coach is coaching me. I'll give you two options. One is that you can go to my coach's academy and you can you what he's teaching me and you learn and then you can teach me. Or second, if you don't want to go you can just be a dad, a happy dad.
He said, Okay, I choose the second. I think my dad is really happy right now. I think he's really happy just as a dad and not anybody else.
I want to actually say that's a special thing. We have like (indiscernible) of sports in China. I don't know the English name. It's like a big sportsman of the year or something.
There weren't any golfers in that ever, and then this year I think I was voted for being an alternate for nonOlympic Games this year. Starting next year golf is going to be one of the Olympic Games. If I'm voted again, I'll be voted for best female sportsman of China.
MODERATOR: That's pretty cool.
SHANSHAN FENG: I know. I feel so proud, because last year ‑‑ this year, January, I was sitting home and watching the whole thing. I was like, When can a golfer be in that ceremony? That would be super. I didn't visualize next year I will be there.
MODERATOR: Since the last few times we've talked has it really started to sink in grasp what all this means being back in China what all this means in terms of not just for yourself but overall?
SHANSHAN FENG: I mean, for myself I think it really gives me a lot of confidence. I think for the country, you know maybe my win is letting people to know of course like golf is a sport, first of all, and it's very healthy, and Chinese are going to be good at it.
Now I think there is more and more medias saying positive things about golf, and I'm sure that's going to help golf to remain growing. And a lot more like schools, maybe they're going to have sports teams, I mean golf teams. Maybe a lot of juniors will play.
We are going to have so many good players. China is gonna be a strong country in golf.
MODERATOR: Now I guess getting back to this week and this golf course, have you gotten a chance to get out and play? There have been some slight changes as we start to get ready for next year and this event turning into a major. How is the golf course playing so far?
SHANSHAN FENG: I played nine and nine yesterday and the day before. I've always liked this course so far. I mean, it's a pretty and it's good for me because it's kind of narrow. It's narrow and people really need good striking. I mean, I think the greens are always tough parts because they're hard to read. Like it's so easy to miss just on the edges.
I think I'm going to take more time over some putting. I think I've had a really good season so far. My best finish before this year was 30, and I think I'm going to break that this year.
Q. (Question regarding Olympics prediction.)
SHANSHAN FENG: I don't know when the deadline is. I mean, our Rolex ranking, I think it's, how do you say, it rotates every two years.
SHANSHAN FENG: So it's four years later. We don't know what's going to happen. The good results now are not going to count.
So I really want to play, just like I told you. I mean, I'm still going to play mostly in the States and I'm going to play a few in Japan every year. These two tours are the tours that have the most points for the world rankings. I mean, I'm just going to try my best.
It's four years later. Who knows if there is going to be more good Chinese players that appear. If they are better than me and they play the Olympics, I actually feel happy. It means China is getting stronger.
Q. I've been to Mission Hills where they have a team of kids training to be Olympic golfers. Do you know about that scheme?
SHANSHAN FENG: I don't think we have that.
Q. Well, it's at Mission Hills. There are about 20 boys and girls and they have education and they play golf. It's all happened since the Olympic thing came into the equation.
SHANSHAN FENG: I don't think I've ever heard about that. I mean, they might have like a team, like a junior team that maybe they have some benefits, but I haven't heard about it. I'm sorry.
Q. They're not golfers, they're just children of famous athletes and they are going to turn them into athletes. I think it's working quite well.
SHANSHAN FENG: Okay. Hopefully it's going to work.