Frenchwoman Karine Icher discusses how her game has been affected by the arrival of her first daughter and her thoughts on playing at home in the Evian Masters in France.
MODERATOR: We'd like to welcome Karine Icher into the interview room. Welcome home.
KARINE ICHER: Thank you.
MODERATOR: It's wonderful always to be back in France. It's been a great start to the season for you. You've been applying some really great golf lately. Take me through first off what it's like to be back home in France and come back to this event, and overall how you feel you've been playing as of late.
KARINE ICHER: It's very exciting to be back in France obviously. It's been two years, so I'm very happy to be here to see my friends, family, everybody. It's a beautiful course. There are little changes; really good greens. I think I played maybe 10 Evian Masters, and it's really the first year where the greens are so good. So, so far, it's a good week. Hope it's going to stay like that.
MODERATOR: Your best finish of the year came in Mobile. You've been putting together some solid golf over the past few weeks. What's been the biggest key for you with your golf game to get yourself back to playing consistently and putting together some top performances.
KARINE ICHER: I work a lot on my putting, which is the key now to do some good scores. My game is pretty solid, so it's even easier to hit some birdies when you hit more greens in regulation.
So far it's a good year. After having a baby, it's good for me. I'm happy with my season, and hope to do more, a little bit more.
MODERATOR: As you said, you missed this event last year because you had the exciting event with Lola being born last August. How much has your life changed in the past year being a mom?
KARINE ICHER: My life is changed forever. To have a baby, it's completely different. Now my priority is not anymore my golf but my daughter. Maybe I'm more relaxed and happier for sure. It's fun to travel with her, to have her on tour, and to be a golf professional as well.
MODERATOR: She's here with you this week?
KARINE ICHER: Yeah, with grandpa and grandma. So we have more time to relax too with friends.
MODERATOR: And last year I know you weren't here, but we had the big announcement of this event becoming a major next year, the fifth on the LPGA Tour. What does that mean for France to have a major and for this event to have that distinction?
KARINE ICHER: It's super big. France is not a big country. We don't have a lot of golf courses like in the States. We're going to have the Ryder Cup in '18, so to have a women's major, it means a lot.
I hope we're going to have more kids coming to golf and trying and have more golf, women's golf professionals from France on both the European Tour and LPGA. It would be great.
Definitely it's a big, big thing for us.
Q. What surprised you about the impact of having a baby? How did it affect you in a way you didn't expect it to affect your golf?
KARINE ICHER: It affected my golf last year because I played until seven months pregnant. So when I played being pregnant, I lost a lot of distance. Sometimes you can have people saying, Being pregnant you're going to gain some distance. For many, many players it was completely the opposite.
Then to have the break you lose so much so fast. The beginning of this season I lost a little bit my feeling, short game, putting was hard to coming back and be good on this part of the game.
Long game was okay, but short game was affected a little bit.
Q. How much length did you lose being pregnant and where are you back to now?
KARINE ICHER: I lost maybe one club on my iron, and on the driving, maybe between 20 and 30 yards, which is hard when you're playing on the Tour.
Q. And you've got all that back now?
KARINE ICHER: Yeah, because then to have a break it was good to be back on the technique work on the basics. So Lola was born in August, so I've been back this year in February. I had like six months to work on my game, and now it's okay.
Q. Overall you're saying it's a good experience for your golf to have a baby because it makes you more relaxed and balanced?
KARINE ICHER: I think so. Be focus like 24 hour a day 7 days a week your golf game, sometimes you can collapse. Now I'm more focused on my baby and a little bit less on my golf game, which is good, because I can take more time off golf.
And when I know I'm going to train, maybe I'm going to have two hours instead of six because I need to spend time with her.
So it's more quality rather than quantity. You have to be very well organized and put your priority in an order when you practice.
Q. What do you expect this year from this Evian Masters?
KARINE ICHER: Playing good, enjoy myself on the golf course, and we'll see. My game is good now. I putt pretty well. If everything goes well for me, I can expect a good result, maybe a top 10 or better.
But first thing I just want to enjoy to be in France one time a year, one week a year, and playing with all my fans and family and friends who support me. It's important.
If I can give some example to some young player in France to maybe being professional someday, that's going to be the goal.
Putting is the key. I mean, you can drive perfectly on the fairway like 300 yards or 200 yards, doesn't matter. But if you make the 20‑foot putt on the green, that makes the difference.
Q. To win?
KARINE ICHER: Yeah.