|Evian Championship winner Suzann Pettersen and runner-up Lydia Ko reflect on their final rounds.
An interview with SUZANN PETTERSEN
MODERATOR: We'd like to welcome the champion of the inaugural Evian Championship, Suzann Pettersen. Congratulations.
Where does this one rank on the resume for you?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: I don't know. I don't know if it's actually sunk in that I've actually won another major. All you're trying to do is go out there and win tournaments.
Today I thought we were going to fight the weather more than we did. It was almost like a walk in the park just staying dry.
It was second the time I was in the final group with Lydia Ko. She is such a great competitor and keeps us on our tippy toes to keep making birdies. I didn't know it was just kind of the two of us coming down the stretch again.
But I felt pretty good, to be honest. It's been a while since I won my first major. Now I'm very lucky that I can say I've won two.
Hopefully this is just a start.
MODERATOR: When you saw the parajumper coming down with that flag that you're wearing, what did that mean to you?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: I don't know. I was caught a bit off guard when they started playing the national anthem. I don't think I actually realized that I've actually just put my name on that beautiful trophy. This is a dream come true. This by far on my bucket list to win the Evian Championship now that it's become a major.
But also, they have been such a great supporter of this. This is my 12th or 13th time I'm here. This was good timing to win this tournament.
MODERATOR: Talk about the run you're on. Back‑to‑back victories for the second time in your career. Solheim Cup in Europe. The Evian Championship trophy is in Norway. What's it like?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: I don't know. It's been such a great month, five weeks for me, starting off with the Solheim. I mean, the feelings during the Solheim never really gets old. We had a fantastic team. It was kind of a great kick start for what became probably the month of my career, I would probably say so.
I played fantastic the following week where Lydia won. Then I won in Portland right around the corner from Nike. Then I had my own event last week.
I must say, just giving back and helping other causes and getting together with players, I think as much as a fantastical story it is, it actually gives you a different perspective as well.
I think it's part of how relaxed that I've been all week. I've been pretty much on my best behavior all week on the course, and it really pays off.
MODERATOR: Questions for Suzann? Please use the microphone.
Q. What about that shot at 14th, the escape? That was perhaps the turning point because you were under a little bit of pressure?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Is that the par‑3?
Q. I think you came out of the bunkers and you landed it near the hole.
SUZANN PETTERSEN: No, that was a bit of a tricky yardage for me. I think I had too much club. I hit a pretty good bunker shot I would say at the time.
Q. Are you amazed by Lydia Ko today?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Yeah, she's 16 and good enough to win tournaments and major championships. She's a star for the future. She already is.
She's won I don't know how many LPGA...
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Two. She's a future star for this game.
Q. Sorry to go back to Lydia, but what are the qualities in her that you see that you so admire and respect?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: She just doesn't fade away. She don't take par for par. Just how she tees it off today. And her birdie on No. 1, it's probably the toughest pin out there and she makes to look is easy.
At the same time, it's good for us to get young players like her into this game, because it keeps the rest of us working even harder and pushing the limits, pushing the boundaries.
I think it is the beauty of the game. You can play all different ages. I've been fortunate enough to be part of a great generation that's kind of on the ‑‑ like a lot of my playing partners on the Solheim Cup are going to retire.
It's fun that you see the next generation popping up and they're playing fantastic.
Q. You mentioned that your goal is to be top of the world rankings. You're No. 3 now. Talk about that.
SUZANN PETTERSEN: I think this is just a part of the process. You got to win tournaments; you got to win majors.
With that in mind, this feels pretty natural. If that's where I want to go, I got to get used to the feel of winning tournaments and delivering under pressure. That's what I practice for. That's why I wake up every morning.
I think hopefully this can kick start my action towards No. 1. Inbee kicked off a pretty fantastic year winning this tournament last year; hopefully I can feed off that and do the same.
MODERATOR: You're projected to go to No. 2 in the rankings. Still a wide gap from Inbee. Let me give you a couple numbers here: Your 13th LPGA win; your third of the season; your second major championship; and this week you crossed the $11 million mark in career earnings. You're only the seven th player in history to do that.
What do those numbers sound like to you?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: I don't know. I was never good in math in school. You know what? I just feel very fortunate to do what I do. I've had my hurdles through the years. I feel great. I'm healthy. I have a fantastic group around me who are constantly pushing me to become a better person, a better player. I think it both feeds off for me on the golf course.
I feel like I've been a lot more relaxed on the golf course, a round the game, over the last year or so. I try to smile and enjoy myself as much as I'm very tense and really want to to win.
You can't win them all, but this is definitely a sweet one.
Q. Which yardage and what club did you use on the second shot of the 18th?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: I don't even remember. I was so in between laying up or not. I was so chicken to lay up. Brian said, If Lydia lays up, we lay up. I'm like, Okay. She has a wood in her hand. She's going to go for it.
For me, it was almost the perfect shot. I could just hit my stop shot and just hit a little fade with my hybrid. It's definitely become a very tough hole. This is what they want, for us to question what we're going to do.
Even if you have a two‑shot lead, it does not feel easy.
Q. You've mentioned being more relaxed. Obviously the mental side of the game is crucial. When did you realize that needed to ‑‑ maybe the words "chill out" are a bit ‑‑ when did you kind of realize that?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Well, a lot of people have tried to tell me this for years. I guess you can only take action when you first realize and you kind of ‑‑ I don't know. It's a maturing process, I think.
I don't know. I'm just in a very good, happy spot in life right now. I have nothing to worry about. Everyone around me is very supportive. My family is all great.
I must say, I feel like I've come to this age where I'm too old to be around and not be happy. I know you guys don't see me smile that much, but you've probably seen a few more smiles than in the past.
I'm working on it.
MODERATOR: Is that $487, 000 check help with the smile?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: I am sure my bank account will smile. I'm sure my caddie will be quite happy with it.
Q. Could you speak a bit about going down the stretch in a major? What are the thoughts like? Do you think about the satisfaction of winning and the hurt of losing?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: No guts no glory, I would say. I actually felt pretty comfortable. Feel like I've been in this situation quite a few times. I've had my chances. I feel like I've had enough chances to win other major championships, especially over the last two or three years.
This year I've had one disaster where I missed the cut in the U S. Open. At the same time, that was almost a wake‑up call for me. I had to see where the hurdle was. I had to look at my game. It was a question of being honest. I couldn't lie.
For me, it was definitely the putting. It's been a part I've been trying to improve, and it's nice when it pays off that quickly. Coming down the stretch I feel more and more comfortable. If I want to be the best player in the world, I got to get used to being in this situation.
It's very satisfying when you hit shots and pull them off at the right time and make putts when you really have to. It's nice to hit that second shot on 18 and have actually a 3‑putt to win.
Q. (No microphone.)
SUZANN PETTERSEN: I felt too chicken to lay up, to be honest. I felt like it was right down my yardage, right down my ballpark, to hit that shot. Came out off exactly how it should.
It was just Lydia kind of, when she went for it, I'm like, There is no chance I'm laying up. I have to thank her for that actually.
Q. David Leadbetter, how often do you meet, and he visit you or you can visit him?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Can you please repeat that question?
Q. If you are working with David Leadbetter...
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Oh, David. Yeah.
Q. How often you meet, and he visits you or you visit him? And how often?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: I worked with David now since 2007; 2008 was my first year with him. We've had a lot of success. It's a continuous process, what we do. It's nothing new. It don't really change. My habits are all the same.
It's been great to have him here this week. He usually doesn't stick around for the weekend, but I guess Evian was nice enough for him to stay. Had a nice warmup this morning. Felt pretty good. He left halfway through it and said, You got it. Didn't get too much out of him today.
He's been a fantastic guy for me to have on my team, not only as coach, but just as a person. He is a guy I can call and talk about anything but golf. He's become a very, very good friend of mine. He has a lot of great stories and a lot of great tips for everything that I do.
I'm very thankful to have a guy like him on my team.
Q. Thank you. And congratulations for your win.
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Thank you. Well, I know it's going to be one heck of a party with the people I have around me. I think it's also a little get‑together of Solheim team members and assistants warming up.
So I think it's going to be a pretty fun night.
MODERATOR: One more. We will finish up in the back.
Q. Can you tell me what you appreciate most about the new course and what you like about the region?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: First of all, I must say the course today I thought was in great shape. I didn't know what to really expect with the weather we had overnight.
The greens, I mean, you wouldn't know it rained overnight. So that obviously helped to cover them up. I feel like this course, you need to play it quite a few times to get to know the greens and how you can use the slopes to your advantage to get close to certain pins.
You can definitely easily be on the wrong side of certain pins and not have the chance to get up and down.
It's become a tougher course. I think 15, 16, 17, 18, have become quite the holes they were hoping for.
16 is not an easy par‑3 with the pin placement today. I think 5 has turned out to be a fantastic par‑3.
So I think it's actually amazing that we did play here this year considering it's only a year ago they started changing this course. Knowing Jacques and Franck, they only want to do this in a world‑class ‑‑ they want to make this a world‑class event, but the way they do it, they really stand up for their work.
Here we are, 2013, the first year if the Evian Championship as the fifth major.
MODERATOR: Suzann, terrific champion. Congratulations. Enjoy your party.
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Thanks.
An interview with LYDIA KO
MODERATOR: We'd like to welcome runner‑up Lydia Ko to the interview room at the inaugural Evian Championship. If you would, walk us through your day. You gave it a good run and fell just a couple shots short of another LPGA win.
LYDIA KO: Yeah, you know, I was pretty happy with my round today. Like yesterday I gave myself a lot of the chances to make birdies, so I hit it much closer to the pins. I probably did half of that today.
So I don't expect myself to make everything, but it was really good to know that I could come so close to the winner at a major. Second is my best finish at a major tournament.
Yeah, hopefully next year will be a 72‑hole event. Other than that, I was pretty happy with the way I played this week.
MODERATOR: You have now played in 15 LPGA events in your young career and made the cut at all 15.
Talk about your future. You're going back New Zealand, is it tomorrow, to think about what's next?
LYDIA KO: Yeah, you know, I'm going back home tomorrow, so I'm thanking God that we finished today. I didn't want to delay my flights. I miss home.
Yeah, obviously my coaching staff, well, my dad is back at home, so they're definitely going to help me with the decision of when I'm going to turn pro.
MODERATOR: Questions for Lydia.
LYDIA KO: The next time you see me I may be a pro.
MODERATOR: Wow. Breaking news.
Q. (No microphone.)
LYDIA KO: I would have no idea. Definitely next year.
MODERATOR: Do you plan to play the season‑ending event that you qualified for, the CME Group Titleholders, with your win in Canada?
LYDIA KO: That's a question mark. I've got exams, and they're meant to finish about a week before the tournament. Personally, I don't want to go there with like five days of practice and just rock up at the tournament, because I don't really practice during exam time.
Yeah, hopefully I will be able to play because I missed out last year as well, at CME.
MODERATOR: The CME Group Titleholders, which is the season‑ending event on the LPGA. She qualified for that via her win at the CN Canadian Women's Open. Before the U.S. Thanksgiving, so mid‑November.
Q. How were the greens today?
LYDIA KO: I think the greens were pretty nice. The greenskeepers did a really good job by keeping the plastics on the greens.
Fortunately there wasn't much rain. There was like little showers like on the 3rd or 4th hole. The weather was really good to us.
The course was definitely wetter than yesterday and the day before, but it was definitely playable.
Yeah, I think the greens did get a little bumpy now and then, but it was in really good condition for how the weather was.
Q. Was it fair, because we saw...
LYDIA KO: Yeah, I misread some putts. I wouldn't blame the greens that were bumpy, blah, blah, blah. I try not to blame others.
Some were challenging putts where I thought it was right to left and it was the other way. I had a couple putts like that. Obviously not everything is going to be right where I see it.
Q. When you saw Suzann Pettersen miss her shot on 17, did you believe you could have an opportunity to come back to minus nine and that maybe you can be tied at this moment?
LYDIA KO: You know, she was putting really great. After I saw her hit it that close, I knew that today was her day. I knew she was going to make the putt. I guess the last two holes really depended on what I did.
You know, I didn't feel that confident with my putting today. I left a couple putts short. I was really happy with my up and down, my chip on 18. It was a good finish.
MODERATOR: Anything else for Lydia?
Q. Were you aware of the sort of history and expectations on your shoulders? What were you thinking all the way round to try and distract yourself?
LYDIA KO: I knew it was a very tight leaderboard coming into today. Everybody was playing great. The weather was pretty good.
No, I tried to play my own game, set my own goals. If somebody else played better, like Suzann did today, I can't do anything about it.
MODERATOR: Other questions?
Q. Was there any point where you started to feel nervous that maybe you were closing in on something enormous?
LYDIA KO: No, like apart from the first hole, I felt pretty good. I had a really good start, so that made it much better.
I don't think I felt that nervous today, especially coming down the last couple holes. I personally thought that Suzann had it in her bag today. She was playing very solid. If I stuck it close, she stuck it close. It was that kind of thing today.
No, I didn't feel as nervous as I probably would be normally.
Q. We saw a match between you and Suzann. Could you describe your match with her, your fight?
LYDIA KO: Today, yeah, you know, I know I made birdie on the 1st and made bogey and then birdie. Then she went par, birdie, birdie.
I think from there it started to go from who is gonna get that shot lead. After the third hole, she already had a couple shot lead and she was making more birdies than me.
So, yeah, I guess, yeah, it was tight. Two shots can happen anywhere. But, yeah, I don't feel like I was too far off.
MODERATOR: Can we confirm you're expecting to turn pro?
LYDIA KO: Maybe. (Laughter.) You know, it's very soon. But like I said, it's not only what I'm saying. It's my parents and everything. They have a big say in it as well.
Obviously people all around the world have their say. I'm seeing some articles saying, Oh, no you shouldn't. You should wait. I guess at the end of the day, it's my support crew that's going to help me make the correct decision.
Yeah, it's secret. I got to get my mom's permission to say anything else.