|Final round comments from Stacy Lewis, Na Yeon Choi and Inbee Park at The Old Course, St. Andrews.
The Old Course, St. Andrews
Final-round Notes and Interviews
August 4, 2013
Stacy Lewis -8, Rolex Rankings No. 2
Na Yeon Choi -6, Rolex Rankings No. 4
Inbee Park +6, Rolex Rankings No. 1
STACY LEWIS, Rolex Rankings No. 2
COLIN CALLANDER: We welcome Stacy Lewis, winner of the Ricoh Women's British Open, 8‑under par and a total of 280, a two‑shot victory. Your initial thoughts having won the U.S. Women's Open.
STACY LEWIS: It's just crazy, I was just hanging in there all day, and then, you know, 17 and 18 just happened so fast that I don't know if it's really hit me yet. It was so hard, you had to stay focused on the next shot, you couldn't even really think about the end.
You know, I made par on 16 and thought if I could par 17 and birdie 18 somehow, that you know, that might be good enough for a playoff. Just my patience what won it for me today, and it's really cool to have that trophy.
COLIN CALLANDER: You all talked about how difficult the weather was yesterday, but clearly today was much easier by any stretch of the imagination.
STACY LEWIS: Yeah, this morning was nice. We could get out there. You could make some birdies. The wind wasn't too bad. And then, you know, I think this morning into 1, I had like a gap wedge, and then this afternoon, I hit 6‑iron, so the wind definitely started blowing.
Once you made the turn, the loop out there, 7 on in, it was just hard. The wind was brutal, and you had to fight to make some pars, and you know, I never thought birdieing the last two was even possible.
Q. Tell me, with your back, is two rounds in one day, does that put a lot of pressure on it, or not?
STACY LEWIS: No, my back was great today. If anything, it's keeping your legs loose, and even after I finished I didn't want to sit down because after I sat down, I knew I would get tired. So just tried to keep moving all day. My body felt great. I had no issues with my back, so I felt good out there today.
Q. How important was it for you making a birdie on the 17th hole, watching the leaderboard just in front of you?
STACY LEWIS: You know, I was honestly trying to make par on 17. I was trying to hit it down there to the front of the green and 2‑putt and move on. That was kind of the goal.
And then I hit the perfect golf shot. I mean, that was the shot ‑‑ I saw the shot in my head, but to actually pull it off, when it counts, it doesn't ‑‑ a shot like that doesn't happen very often.
So I knew after I hit it close, I was like, all right, I have to make this putt; somehow this putt was going to go in, because the shot was so good.
Q. Before I get to the question I had, I wonder if you can kind of describe the flight of the ball on 17, what you were seeing and what it did.
STACY LEWIS: It was ‑‑ I don't know how far it was to the pin. I knew I was 160 to the front so I don't know how far the pin was on, but we were just trying to land it around that front number. And the shot I saw was a little ‑‑ kind of a low 5‑iron, and you know, what we wanted to do was start it at the front right of the green and let it turn with the wind and it would knock it down, it would hit into the slope and it would roll up there. Somehow, it did that.
So, it's one of those shots you see in your head but you don't really ever pull it off, and it just ‑‑ off the clubface, it was perfect. I was just yelling at it to get down, because if you land it up on top, it was going to go over. So I was fortunate laying it into the slope and it killed it a little bit.
Q. Laying up on 18 from where you were, could just talk about your decision to go with putter.
STACY LEWIS: Travis, he didn't even give me a number. We were playing something on the ground, we never even thought about flying anything up there. But we were talking about whether we were going to putt it or chip it, and the chip shot, it was a flat and then it went down and then back up. So we were worried about it hitting on a flat and then missing the down and going straight into the slope.
So, you know, right away Travis said, "Why don't you putt it." And actually in the practise round, I threw some balls down there and hit some putts from there. I knew it was possible.
As soon as he felt confident with the putter, it made me even more confident with it, because I think that was the only shot from where I was that you could get it somewhat close.
Q. At the beginning of the year, you talked about the pressures of being Player of the Year and then No. 1 being a bit overwhelming. Did it almost set up well for you this week, that all of the attention was on Inbee and you could just do your thing or how much of a role do you think that played?
STACY LEWIS: That was some of it, but I still had things I had to do this week. I mean, Inbee deserved the attention, so I was totally fine with it. I know that position she's in is very hard, and she did extremely well, all year, playing with it. Nice to know I guess that she's human (laughter).
But, you know, I love this place, and I knew I was playing well. I don't know, I had a good feeling about it, and it just ‑‑ that's just nice the way it all worked out.
Q. So you've won two Majors and you know what it's like to go through the pressure; is it possible to do what Inbee Park hasn't done this week, and is it possible in the future?
STACY LEWIS: Honestly, I didn't think you could win ‑‑ I thought winning three in a year would be hard, let alone three in a row.
You know, the four, I don't know if you ever see the three in a row again. I mean, that's pretty incredible, just to do that, to deal ‑‑ she went to the U.S. Open with all the questions, and she had to answer all the questions, every single day, about winning it, what would it feel like, what would it feel like, and she still did it. That's the most impressive part to me. But I find it hard to believe that anybody ever does get four of them in a year.
Q. Curtis Cup, I know you went 5‑0, did you have the clinching point?
STACY LEWIS: I did.
Q. Two or three people ‑‑ or nobody ‑‑
STACY LEWIS: People thought I was on 16, people thought I was going to end on 17, and so everybody was crowded around 17, because that's where they thought it was going to happen, but I holed my putt first, so I technically got the winning point.
Q. I wonder if you can talk about just your affection for St. Andrews and what you've done there twice in the last five years, and how the finish just kind of adds to the whole substance of it all?
STACY LEWIS: Yeah, when we came here for Curtis Cup, we got off the plane and we got here early in the morning and it was raining side ways and we all put on our Jane jackets and our rain gear and we came out and just walked around. Instantly, I fell in love with it. I think it's more the history of it more than anything, just knowing all the great champions that have played here. Golf was started here. I mean, it's amazing to even think of. I was saying to Travis as we were walking up 18 the other day, just to think, who would have thought everything would start here.
I don't know, I love this golf course more than I think any links course I've played. You can get rewarded for good shots. There's not any crazy bunkers right in the dead center of the fairway. You can at least kind of play around things and get rewarded for good shots, and that's what I like. But, I don't know, I love this golf course, and I think I was happy being here all week, and I was comfortable and I think that's a lot of the reason I'm here right now.
Q. After winning the U.S. Open, Inbee wins, you finish tied for 42nd, pretty far behind; at that point, are you feeling as if you're losing ground through no fault of your own? I mean, how do you explain that a few weeks later, you win and she finishes tied for 42nd?
STACY LEWIS: That's golf. I mean, I don't know. You know, I was definitely disappointed with the U.S. Open, because that's one I was looking forward to all year. But you know, after that week, I just got back to work, and I started working on my game, and I kind of ‑‑ I felt it coming around. I shot 64 both the final rounds the last two weeks coming into this week, so I knew I was playing good golf. It was just kind of putting it all together.
You know, golf is a crazy game. Some people play well on some courses; some people don't. It's just kind of the way it is. Inbee's dealt with a lot, so I'm sure she's exhausted and ready for a little break.
Q. Do you remember the first time you saw St. Andrews on television? And before the tournament started, you said you can tell the players who have been there in the final round because they have adjusted to what your body does and the pressure; can you talk about having been there, how that helped?
STACY LEWIS: Yeah, I don't remember honestly the first time I saw it on TV or anything like that. I mean, obviously I watched the men's Majors, but I don't really remember too much of it.
But as far as being in those final groups, you know to just keep hanging in there, you know it's playing hard. You know ‑‑ I mean, the hole locations, there are a couple on the back nine that were really hard, and so I saw my name falling down that leaderboard, but I knew eventually it would go back up, if I could just make some pars and just sneak a birdie on the par 5.
But, you know, you look at ‑‑ look at who ended up at the top. You've got Morgan and Na Yeon Choi. They know how to win Majors. They know you just keep hanging in there. I made bogey on 15 and walking off that tee, I said to myself, "I can still win this. Just keep your head in it and don't get frustrated."
I never allowed myself to think: Oh, I'm out of it, that lost me the golf tournament.
Q. You're improved over a year at the British Open, can you explain that you've come to grips with links golf, and is the difference between 11th and 8th the last couple of years and winning, the experience at the Old Course five years ago?
STACY LEWIS: Yeah, I had gotten better at this tournament, I think just learning how to hit little chip shots around the green, learning how to putt from 40 yards away on 18, learning that the putter is the shot there, not trying to flop it up there or anything like that. It's a totally different style of golf. You're going to get weird bounces. It's understanding how it works, and I think every year I've kind of done that.
But I played it ‑‑ the Curtis Cup week, I played the course 11 times that week, so I saw it in a right‑to‑left wind, a left‑to‑right wind, in rain, in sun. I saw it in all the conditions, and so I knew, you know, during the practise round, I told my caddie, I said, you know, this hole is into the wind, but if it's downwind, what are we going to do. So we talked about all the scenarios. When stuff changed out there, we rolled with it and it didn't seem like a big deal.
Q. Earlier this year, you talked about how you were working on your emotions and not getting too upset when things weren't going right. Today, you had a number of setbacks with five bogeys. How much was that tested?
STACY LEWIS: It was tested a lot today. It was tested all week really. It was between the delays yesterday and all that, your emotions are tested there. People were pretty upset about not playing yesterday, some were happy; so all week was kind of pretty emotional.
But I was certainly tested, that's for sure. I got mad at myself but I found a way to, if I made bogey, I was off that green, I was on the next tee, and I was thinking about the next shot at hand. So I forgot about what I was doing.
Somehow this week I was just able to move on to the next shot. It's easier said than done, but this week, I don't know why I was completely different, but I made bogey on 2 and I said, all right, I hit a drive in the bunker, and I didn't hit a very good wedge shot in there, so I probably deserved make bogey, so let's go figure out how I'm not going to hit it in the bunker on the next hole. That was my mentality all day; it was, what do I have to do for the next shot.
Q. Could I ask, did you have any specialty mementos from St. Andrews and the Curtis Cup, any paintings or anything, and do you intend to buy any tomorrow?
STACY LEWIS: I should probably take some home with me I guess. I have a lot of pictures on the bridge and stuff like that and the trophy, so pictures with this will definitely go right next to it.
Q. How did you feel about not playing yesterday?
STACY LEWIS: You know, I was ‑‑ I wanted it to be fair. As the day went on, we could get the feeling that we weren't going to go back out there, and you know, people that have played in it were obviously very upset. But truthfully, I was happy that I didn't get out there. Paula, I think she was the last person to hit into 1 and she hit 5‑wood into 1 yesterday.
Obviously it was unplayable and I think once I got out there and saw some of the hole locations, the hole locations weren't set up for a bunch of wind. So I don't know if we kind of put ourselves behind the 8‑ball a little bit with that, but I mean, for me and the leaders, we were all glad we didn't get out there.
Q. And a real quick question about Phil; do you have the kind of relationship with him ‑‑ have you communicated with him since his British Open win, and have you take anything from seeing him finally win that thing?
STACY LEWIS: I haven't talked with him directly, but you know, the people at KPMG, they were actually very excited. They had spoken to him, and they were ‑‑ right after Phil won, they said, all right, you have to do it now. To actually do it is kind of crazy. They are definitely very excited.
Q. Could you go over the details of your bogeys on 12, 13 and 15, and secondly, as you're looking at that and remembering, if there was ever a time when your patience was most tested, when you felt it was the most bleak in other words?
STACY LEWIS: All right, my bogeys, on 11, I hit it ‑‑ gosh, I was pretty far right. I hit a 5‑iron off the tee and just kind of blocked it and it rode the wind. I had a really hard 2‑putt and I 3‑putted there.
Q. How far?
STACY LEWIS: I don't even know. It was far. The pin was in kind of a funky spot, and the goal there was to get left of the flag and I missed it on the wrong side.
And then 12, I hit it in the left rough off the tee, which is not ‑‑ that was kind of my play was to go down there, and then I hit it front right down in the front part of the green, and the pin was up on the left shelf, which is obviously another really hard 2‑putt. The pin was ‑‑ I don't even know ‑‑ we were talking about it afterwards. I don't know where you hit it on 12. I don't know if you hit it ‑‑ if you hit it to the hole, it's going to go over.
So the hole location there was just really hard. The first putt barely got up the ridge. I was fortunate it stayed there. So I took my bogey and ran out of there.
14, I hit the green in two and made birdie.
15 was the other bogey. 15 I hit the fairway and then actually thought I hit a pretty good shot. The wind kind of switched as we were coming in. It had been downwind on 11, 12, 13 and 14, it was kind of helping and we got to 15 and it switched back in and I didn't hit enough club, so I hit the wrong club there and was short of the green.
Hit a good chip shot to five feet and just hit a terrible putt. That was probably the time when I was probably most frustrated, because I had been hanging in there all day, and it was a pretty straight 5‑footer and I missed it. That was kind of the moment when I could have gotten frustrated but I held it together and finished really good.
Q. The putt on 18, can you just talk about that, because seemed like you saw that very well, the birdie putt that you made?
STACY LEWIS: Yeah, I remember one of my matches in Curtis Cup, the pin was in that similar place, and I remember having a putt back up the hill and leaving it short.
So that's kind of the mistake there is to not get the put to the hole, because you say the swale on the other side, you think it's downhill but it's actually back up the hill. So I had a little bit of knowledge there, and that whole right half of the green doesn't break as much as you think. It's kind of a visual thing with the other side of the green.
I knew what that putt did. The hardest part was just getting it to the hole. Right off the face, it looked pretty good, and it was pretty cool when it went in.
Q. How does it feel to get a major win right before the Solheim Cup?
STACY LEWIS: I'm very excited. I'm tired about hearing about the last American to win a major, so I'm glad we got rid of that. It's been a little while so I'm glad that's off the table.
It's nice just to be playing well going into the Solheim Cup and see Morgan is playing well, Paula is playing well and to see the American flag up on the board has definitely been a lot of fun this week.
Q. Where would you rank this finish in your career, 17 and 18?
STACY LEWIS: It's up there with the craft, for sure. The finish might be even be better than the craft truth fly. I made a pretty good putt at the craft, too. 17 must be my hole for some reason. It might be ahead of the Kraft.
To make those two birdies on 18, that's probably the hardest hole location we had all week there. And to birdie 17, any day, is good, let alone the final round of a major.
So the finish is definitely one of my best.
Q. And then second, one of your close friends was telling me a little bit ago that you really want to get No. 1 back really badly. Can you talk about that a little bit, chasing down Inbee?
STACY LEWIS: Yeah, you know, I was pretty ‑‑ I don't feel like I lost it. I definitely haven't been playing my best the last few months, but I don't feel like I lost it. I just feel like Inbee was playing better.
So if anything, it made me want to go practise and want to work harder to be better. It made me realize that, you know, what I was doing was pretty good, but she's doing something that's even better now, so I need to go out there and I need to work hard. If I get back there, you know, when I get there, I just want to enjoy it more. When I got there in March, I was overwhelmed and busy and never really got to enjoy it. So I want to get back there just so I can enjoy it a little more.
Q. How do you feel about the fact that you've got ‑‑ one of the Asian winners over the last 11 Majors, and before then, it was you, as well?
STACY LEWIS: I'm pretty excited about that. I guess it was the longest stretch we've ever had for an American gap; I don't know if that's for sure. But we get asked about it. I got asked about it this week. Every major, we get asked about it, and it definitely gets old, so more than anything, you guys can't ask me the question for awhile.
Q. Do you have any sympathy for Inbee Park and how do you think she'll deal with it?
STACY LEWIS: I think she's doing okay (laughter). I think she's doing just fine.
NA YEON CHOI, Rolex Rankings No. 4
Q. I know not quite the finish that you were hoping for but just take me through this final round, your thoughts on it?
NA YEON CHOI: I mean, I know that was like a great opportunity to, you know, finish great, but I don't know, my focus wasn't bad. I think, you know, sometimes when I play 36 holes, I felt like after like 30 holes, I felt like very tired. But I was okay, and I think I missed a lot of putts out there.
Still I've got a good experience with this course, and you know, I practised with my coach like last eight, nine days, and I'm pretty sure he has some answers for my game, so you know, I'm expecting that, and still season going so far, so also we have one more major tournament, so we'll see.
Q. When you take a look at the back side of this golf course, kind of what ‑‑ it's usually definitely more difficult; did you kind of know that when you were making the turn thinking, I kind of have to keep pushing through this stretch, not make too many mistakes?
NA YEON CHOI: I mean, like if I compare first day and second day and today, like first two days, I didn't miss not many fairways, I didn't miss ‑‑ not many greens. But today, I got maybe five or six bunkers out there. I think that that was like kind of the low key. I think I should hit the first and then try like birdie chance or par chance, but if as long as you hit the bunker, you have to lay up. So it was kind of like driving my crazy out there.
But I try to, you know, stay calm, and still, a good experience. I learned many things, after the round always missing something out there, and I think that was the putting this week, so I need to keep working on my putting, especially speed. Actually green speed was fast today. So I just keep working on and make some good results in my five tour.
Q. Can you take me through some of the bogeys on the back side?
NA YEON CHOI: I got bogey on 13, that was actually 3‑putt. And then 14, that was a 3‑putt, too. The 14 was a par 5 and I drove very well, but my third shot was in fescue and my birdie putt was almost 30‑yard putt, so I missed a par putt, so bogey.
And then bogey on 17, I missed a par putt, like four or five feet par putt, I missed it.
Q. How aware are you of what Stacy was doing, especially as she was kind of coming down the stretch with her birdies on 17 and 18?
NA YEON CHOI: Oh, I didn't know where she got birdie. She got birdie on 17 and 18? That's huge, especially this golf course. I mean, I feel like I missed a couple putts out there, but still, she's playing well. She's playing better than me. I think that's why she won. I think I have to accept that.
Q. Were you looking at the leaderboard down the stretch?
NA YEON CHOI: Yes, actually I watch it a little bit because I thought I was leading and then after two bogeys, I thought, I have to check, so I checked the leaderboard and I mean, it was okay, but like after a couple holes later, Stacy went up, and I think I got a little pressure when I check the leaderboard.
But, I mean, no regret. That's what I can do right now.
Q. And on 18, being two shots down, were you thinking to hole that second shot?
NA YEON CHOI: That's what my caddie said. I tried to keep like visualise my ball landing there and roll. I tried my best.
INBEE PARK, Rolex Rankings No. 1
INBEE PARK: It was a tough day today, so I'm just glad that the 18th hole, that's the toughest hole, playing all the tough holes on the back nine, 18 holes feels like a relief. Feels like almost there.
Q. Walking off the 18th hole, is there a feeling of disappointment?
INBEE PARK: I mean, fourth round, I really got off to a bad start. I 4-putted the first hole, really slow start. Really tough to get your day going after that kind of a hole, but, you know, just glad that this tournament is over, and I've gone through four rounds of under pressure.
So it's something that I've never experienced before, and I just had a great experience. I might not have won this week, but I've learned.
Q. Saying you're glad it's over, did you not enjoy the week --
INBEE PARK: I enjoyed it but 36 holes in the final round under the pressure was very tough. I feel like I have a relief now, and I'm really relieved that -- I really enjoyed this week, every moment that I was here.
Yeah, but it is tough to be in the center of everything for a week, and I feel exhausted a little bit.
Q. You were 6-under par through ten holes in the opening round, do you look back at a moment during the week where things really changed for you; if so, where would that be?
INBEE PARK: It would have been probably the back nine for the first round. Yeah, I mean, it's just a couple bad drives, and I was really having trouble on the greens after that.
Especially around 3 and 4, there's a lot of 3-putts and 4-putts, so I left a lot of shots on the greens, but the greens were just really tough to judge the speed; they were great one minute, and one minute they were slow. It was a tough tournament, tough greens to read, tough greens to judge, but this has been a great experience for me.
I still have a lot to learn and a lot of room to improve.
Q. Apart from the fact that the media can be very annoying, what else did you learn this week?
INBEE PARK: Obviously this week playing under the pressure, that's one thing that I've learned. You know, everything I think, my play -- just I would never experience some kind of things like that where I go for four Majors in a row and everybody watching me. Felt a little bit weird. I get to do interview even if I shot a 6-over today. Just everything about this tournament is new for me.
Q. Now what, now what are you going to do, are you going to go home and drive your Ferrari around Korea?
INBEE PARK: Yeah, sounds nice. I want to relax for two or three days just doing nothing, get my energy back up and just get ready to go again.
Q. What was going through your mind walking up the 18th?
INBEE PARK: It was a tough day today, so I'm just glad that the 18th hole is not the toughest hole. Playing all the tough holes on the back nine, just 18th hole feels like a relief and feels like almost there.
Like I said, just glad it's over, and you know, this great experience that I had, I will never forget.
Q. Was it hard to motivate yourself?
INBEE PARK: Yeah, when you're so far from the lead, it is hard to get your motivation going and get your inspiration going for something. Especially I got off to a really bad start off No. 1. I really tried to push myself to play as good as I can, but the course was playing quite tough. It didn't really quite putt well out there today.
Q. The weather problems hanging around yesterday kind of helped?
INBEE PARK: Yeah, five-hour layover wasn't the easiest thing, but everybody, most of the people had to deal with that.
Q. What do you think it will be like at Evian?
INBEE PARK: I think it will be much less than this -- well, I think. But I have done something like this already, so, you know, I could do anything from now on.
Q. Having come so close, do you think it can be done in the future?
INBEE PARK: Well, I don't really know. I mean, I've done something amazing this season, winning three in a row. I don't even know if I can do that again. That's going to be really tough. It might take a long time to beat that record.
Q. You still have a chance to become the first person and win four Majors, that's not over?
INBEE PARK: I'm trying to get my game back on a good level when I was playing in the U.S. Open. It's been mostly putting this week that I had trouble with, a lot of 3-putts, and even a 4-putt.
Q. What's been your favourite part of the week?
INBEE PARK: Favourite part is I never had this many people rooting for me and wanting me to play good. Never had those feelings before, so that has been nice.
Q. Yesterday, what was that like, waiting and waiting and waiting; did you get back out or --
INBEE PARK: I really wanted to play yesterday. I was ready to play in the wind. I played four holes in really windy conditions, and you know, I was handling myself really good out there and felt really good about my game. We really didn't get to play anymore golf after that, so, yeah, too bad.
Q. That would have helped yesterday to keep --
INBEE PARK: Because I see the results, you might say that, but you just never know. I think I could have been better than this maybe.
Q. You kind of got some bad breaks in the weather all around, and you said that's just kind of the way it goes?
INBEE PARK: The weather and the mother of nature has to be on your side in the British Open if you're going to win this week. Yeah, it didn't happen for me this year, but I have a lot more years to go.
Q. Where do you go -- do you go back to the United States now?
INBEE PARK: I go back to Korea tomorrow.
Q. Do you get a chance then to relax a little bit? I know you were there.
INBEE PARK: Yeah, I think so. I have two weeks there so probably get some time to rest.
Q. When you go back home tomorrow, will they be talking more about you've won three majors, or that you didn't win this major?
INBEE PARK: I don't really know. I mean, I don't really know what they are going to talk about.
Q. Did you put any money on yourself before you left Las Vegas?
INBEE PARK: No (laughing).
Q. Did you buy a house in Vegas?
INBEE PARK: I put an offer on a couple of houses so might get good news, but not something confirmed yet.
Q. Do you watch the Solheim Cup at all? Do you pay any attention, or do you take a break away from golf?
INBEE PARK: I watch, but I don't watch it right on TV for five hours. I watch when I get time. I think this one will be fun, so I'll definitely watch.
Q. If you can't win this, who would you like to see win this today?
INBEE PARK: Well, I mean, Na Yeon Choi is a very good friend of mine, so I would really love her to win, so she's a great friend of mine, so rooting for her.
Q. You're still only 25, so you've got a lot more years left; do you think you'll always look back on this week and say, hey, you know, I faced something --
INBEE PARK: Yeah, of course, I think so. Unless I win four Majors in a row, I think I'll always remember this moment. You know, something like this, not many people get to experience and I was the lucky one to experience this stuff.