In this interview, Suzann Pettersen speaks about how she will be taking her mind off the horrific events in her native Norway by focusing on the golf at the Ricoh Women’s British Open this week.
Q. You've had some great results, including your victory at Match Play this year. Do you feel confident coming into the tournament?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Sure, just can't transition from playing along on the hillside to playing a links course. But I feel great. I've seen the course twice now. I don't think I'll see the course like this during the tournament days. It's probably going to be a little windier and coming from all different directions. But this is as nice as it gets here, and it's nice to come and get a feel for the course. I feel most of my work this week will be on the course in the preparation because nothing is like playing links golf, and you've just got to go out there and get a feel for the game.
Q. What did you think about the golf course now that you've seen it a couple of times?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Of all the links courses that I've played British Open, I think this will be my favourite. Like I said, I haven't seen it from a nasty kind of condition perspective. It's been very nice, very generous I would say. I think it's a fair course. You can kind of avoid the problems, and good shots are nicely rewarded, and really tough par‑3s. The finishing stretch there, depending on what the wind does, but 15, 16, 17 and 18 is probably one of the best finishing holes on any of these courses around here. It's going to be a good test.
Q. Sympathies for what happened in Norway last week. How do you feel now three or four days after it happened?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: It's still heartbreaking. I talked to ‑‑ over the weekend it was a bit hard to get hold of everybody because everybody was kind of in shock. Yesterday was a fantastic ceremony. It was meant to be a parade, but there was actually too many people to walk in the parade, so they had to cancel the parade and kind of hold more of like a ‑‑ I think it was some kind of a concert. They gathered 150,000 people in Oslo. There are only 500,000 people living in Oslo, barely, so it was as crowded as anyone has seen the place.
Really what's amazing through all this is how we all stick together. We stay strong together. Obviously no one can do anything about what actually happened, but we can all stay together for the future. It's just so sad, very, very sad. Yesterday was the first day of trial for the guy who did it, and he's just a maniac, just a crazy guy. I don't think we could have done anything different to protect the society from people like that, unfortunately.
From my perspective it's kind of like 9/11 because of the size of the country and so many people has been affected in one way or the other. So it's ‑‑ people are really in shock.
Q. As you say, like Scotland, Norway is a small country. Do you know personally any of the families involved?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: No, I don't, not that I know of so far. But it doesn't matter if you know someone close or someone out there, because we all ‑‑ like I said, one loss is one loss from all of us. So unfortunately it was a lot of young people, all young people pretty much. It's sad.
Q. I understand you learned about this from your father. Was that in a telephone call after the second round?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: Well, my parents were down there, I finished the round, kind of felt good, and they were all sitting there, and they said, "I guess we've got to give her the breaking news." I said, "What do you mean, breaking news?" I just knew the way they said it was wrong. I thought it was something in the immediate family, that something had happened, just the way they looked. And then they told me all about it, and at the time I think they hadn't even caught the guy who was shooting at the island.
When I went to bed on Friday ‑‑ was it Friday? I think there was 13 dead, and when I woke up on Saturday I think it was 90, so breakfast did not taste good on Saturday morning.
Q. You wore the black armband as a mark of respect on Saturday. Did you think at any time about pulling out of the tournament?
SUZANN PETTERSEN: No, because I think everyone at home would feel like you should go out there and play for us. In Norway they actually cancelled all sports events throughout the weekend. Friday night, every bar, restaurant, any public place was closed. It was a ghost town. I thought, sports means nothing when it comes to situations like this. You go out there and you fight for your heart and you fight for your friends and kind of fellow Norwegians at home.