Cheyenne Woods, Karrie Webb and Jiyai Shin discuss the start of the 2013 season at the Volvik RACV Ladies Masters in Australia.
KATHIE SHEARER: Cheyenne, it’s great to have you here. This is your first time in Australia?
CHEYENNE WOODS: Very first time, so I’m very excited.
KATHIE SHEARER: You had a little bit of an issue I’m led to believe with a visa is this correct?
CHEYENNE WOODS: It is, very embarrassing.
KATHIE SHEARER: Can you tell us a little bit about that?
CHEYENNE WOODS: So I had flown in from the PGA show the day before I was supposed to fly out here. The next day I was packing, getting everything ready, about three hours before I was supposed to leave I couldn’t find my passport. I looked everywhere around the house, tore the house upside down, couldn’t find it. So I had to spend the weekend not knowing if I was going to play or not. I had to drive two hours to Tucson Arizona to get a new passport, flew out the same day, and now I’m here.
Q. Cheyenne, the obvious question is how do you get around with the Woods’ name?
CHEYENNE WOODS: It’s not that difficult for me, this is normal for me. I started playing when I was five and when I started playing
competitively Tiger was already out on the PGA Tour. So I’ve always grown up with the name and always had the media attention and everything, so I’m kind of used to it. There is that added pressure and expectation and that’s something that I’ve had growing up, but playing professionally it is now upped a level. So I’m still trying to adjust to that and get used to it. But overall I’m pretty used the media attention and the expectation that the Woods’ name brings.
Q. Do you feel you need a certain level of success or victories before you become your own person and not Tiger’s niece?
CHEYENNE WOODS: I think I’ll always kind of have that title because Tiger Woods has been Tiger Woods for a long time. He’s a very
elite athlete; he’s up there with the Michael Jordan’s of the world, so I think that me coming up in the exact same profession will always kind of have me with that title of being his niece. I accept that; I understand it. But I’m excited for my own career. I’m excited for this year on the European Tour and to have my very first season out here as a professional.
Q. What are your expectations of Australia? It’s your first time out here; you would have heard a lot about it.
CHEYENNE WOODS: I have. I’ve always wanted to come to Australia so I’m excited to start playing out here. I’ve heard it’s beautiful and hopefully I’ll be able to see it these next few days. But my expectations, I just hope to start my season off very strongly.
Q. How much contact do you have with him (Tiger) about your golf?
CHEYENNE WOODS: Yeah, we keep in touch a lot. He always keeps up with my career and if I ever need advice from him, he’s always there. He’s been where I am before so he’s the best person I could ever go to for advice. I’m sorry, what was the other part of the question?
Q. What sort of influence has he had?
CHEYENNE WOODS: He’s had a huge influence, growing up watching him on TV and having somebody that close in your family being
that elite athlete and having that much success, I was very motivated by watching him every weekend and every year being so successful on tour.
Q. Your program is you’re playing here and then New Zealand, is that right?
CHEYENNE WOODS: Yes.
Q. Then the Australian Open?
CHEYENNE WOODS: Yes.
Q. Cheyenne, did Tiger try to convince you one way or the other whether you should follow this path, because obviously he was very aware of the pitfalls I imagine and the fact that you would be constantly in his shadow or compared with him, did he have opinion on whether you should or shouldn’t do this?
CHEYENNE WOODS: Not really, the only thing he had ever said to me was that he’s proud of how far I’ve come. I mean, this is something that I love to do so I would never second guess it just because of being in a shadow or anything like that. I think where I am right now and what I’m experiencing trumps having the expectation and the pressure that’s put on me. Overall, Tiger has always just shown that he’s proud of me and excited for how far I’ve come in my own career.
Q. When Tiger travels how many people go with him in his entourage?
CHEYENNE WOODS: When he travels, I actually have no idea, that’s a good question.
Q. Because you came over here on your own?
CHEYENNE WOODS: I did, just me, myself and I.
Q. He would travel with at least 10 people?
CHEYENNE WOODS: Maybe, I have no idea. I wouldn’t even know.
Q. Have you had a hit with him lately?
CHEYENNE WOODS: No, I haven’t seen him in a while. I mean, I’ve been busy travelling and ever since I graduated last May I’ve been on the move constantly, going from tournament to tournament and he’s busy as well. We both have your busy schedules so it’s hard to keep up with each other.
Q. What’s the relationship, who’s related to who?
CHEYENNE WOODS: My father is Tiger’s half-brother. They have the same Dad, but different Mums, so Earl was my grandfather.
Q. How has your first six or eight months been as a professional player? How have you found being out there on the circuit and what are your expectations for this year?
CHEYENNE WOODS: I’ve definitely learnt a lot in that transition from collegiate golf and amateur golf to professional. It’s been a great
experience being able to travel the world and play in two LPGA majors so far. I’ve learnt a lot, trying to learn from the players that I’m surrounded by each week. Each week I just take it as a new experience and continue to grow my game.
Q. You’ve just been telling us that you’ve had great inspiration from Tiger, but who in the ladies game has been your hero? Do you have a hero, with posters on the wall?
CHEYENNE WOODS: On the ladies’ side I grew up really liking Grace Park. She was somewhat local to Arizona and and she went to my high school for one year, so I kind of had that little bit of connection that I was excited about and watching her play on TV was something that I will always try to do.
Q. What do you hope to achieve this year? This is your first full year as a pro?
CHEYENNE WOODS: It is, my first full season, so I guess I’ll be playing on the LPGA Tour for the majority of the year and I just hope to use it as experience and really grow my game and my ultimate goal is for this year, at the end of the year, to play LPGA Q school and hopefully earn my LPGA tour card.
Q. What is your best low round finish so far this year?
CHEYENNE WOODS: I played in the Evian Masters and I believe I finished 36th. I was I think eagle pars for the four days.
Q. You won a mini tour?
CHEYENNE WOODS: I did, last summer I won the SunCoast Series Event in Daytona Beach Florida.
Q. Obviously the weather hasn’t helped you in terms of understanding this layout seeing that you haven’t been on an Australian course before, so what do you know about Australian courses and what have you been able to see to help you prepare for this week?
CHEYENNE WOODS: Well with just getting in yesterday afternoon I really haven’t had a chance to see much of the course at all besides what I can see from the clubhouse. I don't know a whole lot about Australian golf courses but luckily I have a local caddy, James is with me this week, and I think that will be a huge help.
Q. You have been compared to Greg Norman. What are your thoughts on that?
KARRIE WEBB: I mean obviously it’s a great compliment but it’s not something that you ever set out to achieve to become. I think you set out to achieve to be the best that you can be. I think it’s always hard to compare careers to other players, and different generations and obviously male/female. I think it’s very hard to compare. I am very proud of my career and what I’ve achieved
with golf. For people to say that it’s definitely the highest compliment. But even to me Greg Norman’s still Greg Norman. I’m still an 11 year old girl sometimes when I think of Greg Norman.
Q. People’s opinions of you Karrie, how they view what people have achieved, they all have an opinion.
KARRIE WEBB: Right, you guys do a good job of writing about all that. I don’t compare my career to a Greg Norman or a David Graham or a Peter Thompson. It’s just really too hard to do that. I think they’ve had fabulous careers and my career doesn’t diminish theirs or vice versa. I think we’ve all waved the Aussie flag when we’ve been overseas and we’ve all done it very well. I think that’s why golf has continued to be a big sport in Australia and continued to grow over the years.
KARRIE WEBB: No, I wouldn’t say that. I did feel pressure, I did feel pressure to play this year but I also have so many great memories here, of the lowest 72 hole score I’ve ever had in a tournament I’ve done twice here. My lowest career
round was here – as well as somewhere else -- but here as well. There are a number of great memories that I have here and also those memories I share with my family. It’s a great place for me to come. When I was younger choices were easy, I just chose golf all the time; now it’s family, golf; so it’s a hard decision. I was going to be up in North Queensland anyway and my two sisters and their kids decided they’d come down, so really that ultimately made that decision easier for me because I didn’t want to miss spending time with them.
Q. You’ve been spending time with your sister’s kids?
KARRIE WEBB: Yes I just went to the physio and I was all out of whack and I think they have a little bit to do with that, picking them up and throwing them around and stuff like that.
Q. Karrie, you’ve eluded to it before, this tournament has special memories for you. It’s probably where you launched yourself in many ways. Is it a little bit disappointing to see it downgraded in terms of losing a little bit of funding and dropping prize money? Does that hurt you personally seeing as you’ve put so much in trying to build up golf here?
KARRIE WEBB: I guess that’s a tough question to answer right now when you’re talking about funding in the recent days with all the
flooding that is going on, to complain about playing professional sport for money, it’s hard to sit here and say that when there are a lot of people suffering, but to answer the question, it is disappointing. Women’s golf around the world doesn’t have many events that have been going for as long as this event and there is a lot of history here, obviously great memories for me, but also for a number players. A number of number one players in the world have won this event. I would love to see it get up to the quality that it was 12, 15 years ago.
Q. Men’s golf has a way with the papers, how do we get women’s golf back on the back pages?
KARRIE WEBB: I think in many countries it is. I think golf in general in a number of countries is a lot more popular than at different times than it is here. I think what it is going to take for women’s golf in this country, maybe me to go on another run or some of the younger players to continue to grow and then step up and win worldwide tournaments.
Q. Stacey Keating is doing well, she is playing with you tomorrow and is excited about that.
KARRIE WEBB: Yes, I think her quote was she’s died and gone to heaven at 26, not bad she said, about playing with me tomorrow. Stacey is probably the most excitable person that I have ever met and most enthusiastic person. I don’t think I’ve ever loved golf as much as she loves golf. That’s my first impression of her and still to this day when I think about Stacey, that’s what I think her. She’s really developed in the last few years. I’m really proud of her. I’m glad that I’ve seen her go from when she first came over to stay
with us in the States - I think that was maybe five years ago - and progressed through the amateur ranks to becoming the best amateur in the country, then starting out her professional career and obviously last year. I don't know if many of you know but the week before she won her event was the British Open and her and I were actually tied for the lead on Thursday and we were the only two names on the leader board - which I thought was really cool – and she played really well, made the cut but signed for an incorrect score and got disqualified. I was in the physio van and she waited so that she she could tell me. She was balling her eyes out. I haven’t seen anyone so devastated. It just shows the mental strength that she had, she went the next week, I think they played in Portugal (Spain) and won the event, and then won the week after that. I think that just shows the sort of player that she is. She’s a very gritty and determined player and gets the most out of her game, for sure.
Q. Karrie, you mentioned you’ve been up north, how disrupted has your preparation been by the weather or did you manage to get quite a bit of golf in prior to the weather kicking in?
KARRIE WEBB: I actually was in Florida for most of January and came back on Saturday, so all the rain had gone through North
Queensland. I only had to deal with the most oppressive heat that I’ve ever felt up there. It was incredibly hot. Calvin’s son in law had a thermometer out in the sun on Monday after we’d practised and it said 52 degrees on the thermometer in the sun and with the humidity up there – I’ve never felt so hot in my life. I couldn’t imagine if we had to play a full 18 holes in that sort of weather.
Q. You didn’t win last year anywhere but you had a pretty solid year, how would you describe it yourself?
KARRIE WEBB: It was probably from start to finish one of my most consistent years for the last four or five. I actually probably gave myself more chances to win last year than I had in any of the last three or four years but just didn’t get across into the winners’ circle. That was probably the only disappointing part for me but I felt I ended the season really well, which normally the last three or four events I sort of can’t wait to be done. I ended really well. I felt really good. I mentally felt fresher than I had in past years at the end of the year, so that really excited me for the start of this year.
Q. There were lots of top 10s mixed in last year, do you want to win another major?
KARRIE WEBB: Yeah for sure. I know I still have the game to do that. For me I think the countdown for how many majors I have left sits in the back of my mind sometimes. I could have another 40 or 50 if I decided I wanted to play that long, but in my mind I don’t think I’m going to play that long. So I think sometimes I put a little bit too much pressure on myself to play well at the majors
or even just to have good lead ups to the majors, I think I put a little pressure on myself. It’s just dealing with that and not setting expectations too high.
Q. Last time you were winless--
KARRIE WEBB: Actually I’ve never gone winless in my career, last year was the first year. Winless on the LPGA I’ve done but it’s the first time that I haven’t won somewhere in the world in a calendar year.
Q. After being so long on the tournament, you half answered the question there, what is it that actually drives you on the tournament?
KARRIE WEBB: I think I’m still prepared to work really hard, which that’s the part I don’t see lasting for 10 or 15 more years and I think with golf being added to the Olympics in 2016, that is the carrot that’s dangling out there in front of me to keep me working hard. That would really be a special thing to achieve in my career, if I could be good enough to make the Australian team for the
Q. You mentioned physio and serious injuries--
KARRIE WEBB: No I don’t have anything serious - touch wood - just wear and tear, just the rigours. We travel a lot now; we sit on a lot of long haul flights, back and forth from Asia to the States and Europe and Australia. That doesn’t get any easier as you get older. Last year was the first year actually five of us employed an Australian guy, Adam Olarenshaw, osteopath to travel with us. Actually, talking about how fresh I was at the end of the year, I think that was money well spent. I think that had a large part to do with why I felt so good at the end of the year.
KARRIE WEBB: Well it’s hard to say. When I think about the Olympics I guess I don’t even think about medalling, I think I just think
about being a part of it, in the Olympic Village. I’ve loved the Olympics since I can remember. My first one I remember watching Moscow Olympics with Mum and Dad, getting up in the early hours of the morning and watching it on TV. So that’s what I look forward to and playing golf is almost probably secondary. Walking out with the team, the opening ceremony, those sorts of things are the things that I think about.
Q. Would you rate a gold medal as high as a major?
KARRIE WEBB: Gees that would icing on the cake, wouldn’t it, if you could medal in that because I really believe that would be my only chance to be in the Olympics.
Q. The men are going to take the Olympics seriously, are the girls?
KARRIE WEBB: Yes, I think it is. I think everyone that I have spoken to is excited about it. I actually just finished reading Ian Thorpe’s autobiography and he mentioned in there that he didn’t think golf should be in the Olympics because we have four major tournaments every year and he didn’t think we’d take it seriously. That was one of the only things in his book that I really disagreed with because I think that any golfers that I’ve spoken to, we play a sport, most of us just love watching sport. Yesterday I watched bull riding in the morning and I couldn’t even believe it held my attention for as long as it did. I just love sport and the Olympics to me growing up was the ultimate thing. Australia gets so behind the Olympics. Some of our most famous sporting athletes in Australia are Olympians. Growing up in Australia you realise how big the Olympics are.
Q. Did you always hope golf would be an Olympic sport?
KARRIE WEBB: Yes, I didn’t play golf thinking that it would ever be in the Olympics. I was a part of the Olympic bid, I was on the
Olympic Committee or the World Golf Federation that put everything together for the Olympics and that’s when I thought could this really happen, could golf go into the Olympics. In many ways I was a little torn because I knew at the same time softball was one of the sports that was bidding – just to get away from baseball - and I have a few friends that play softball for the US and some in Australia and I knew that golf would be fine if we never got into the Olympics, but I knew softball would take a hit from government funding around the world. In many ways I was obviously very excited that golf got in but there were two sports that got announced and I was really pulling for softball as well to get in because I knew how important it was for them to be in the Olympics.
Q. The new tour, the International Crown, do you like the idea?
KARRIE WEBB: Yes, I like the idea. I don’t really know the full format but it’s good even with Solheim Cup, the Europeans don’t play for their country, they play for their continent, so they’re having to mix different cultures together, whereas the US are just playing. They all grew up relatively with the same sort of upbringings. Even though the Europeans band together as one, I think playing for your country means something a little bit more special than playing for a region.
Q. Karrie getting back quickly to your decision to play here this year, you didn’t play here last year, is your preparation better if you play here?
KARRIE WEBB: The main reason why I didn’t play last year was that it was four in a row for me to start the year and I’d done that for two years previous and although I played well in those four events, they way the schedule works it’s only a week or two off and then straight back in with three in a row, ending with a major. I only play 22 events a year and I was playing seven events in nine weeks, so I was playing a third of my season in two and a half months. Our first major of the year is at Kraft Nabisco, so I just didn’t feel like it was a good lead up to that. This is not a complaint in any way but the two Australian tournaments, my commitments are definitely tenfold compared to going to Thailand where for the most part unless I get into contention I don’t see the media room, so with all the travel and all of that, that’s why I didn’t play last year. With the schedule being the way it is this year, if it had of been four in a row I probably wouldn’t be here.
KARRIE WEBB: It doesn’t concern me. I think it’s really hard. I’ve talked to a few of the younger players. As soon as they show promise they get compared to my career and I think that’s just too tough. I could never imagine the career that I’ve had and if I was just starting out and someone was putting that on me to be someone else, tends to make those players feel like that’s
the only way to be successful, if their career compares to mine. We have a great group of young girls that are coming out, obviously Stacey Keating won twice last year and Julia Boland finished in the top 10 on the Symetra tour and gained her LPGA tour
card. There are a lot of young girls just starting out. I feel that if we encourage them in the right way – success as a professional golfer could come ten years in for them and they could have a purple patch of five or six years where they are a top 10
player in the world. I think with the rare exceptions of maybe five or six players in the last five years that have been under 20 and been successful, that doesn’t happen very often. I know a lot of the Australian girls that I talk to think if they’re 18 and they’re not
turning pro then they’re already behind the eight ball. It’s hard to convince them that you can play for another four years as an amateur and gain all the experience that you can, Golf Australia pays for everything that you do and then turn pro. They’re a lot more mature at 22 anyway. Stacey Keating is a perfect example, she turned pro when she was 24. It’s not a race when you start off in professional golf. I’m not the example because I did start off straight out of the gates, but more often than not there’s such a learning curve from amateur golf to professional golf and I think that takes different amounts of time for different individuals.
KATHIE SHEARER: Welcome back to Australia, you had a fantastic 2012, could you tell us more about it.
JIYAI SHIN: Well, I am very surprised by myself too, because I won two times last year, after my hand operation. Actually before that when I won the Kingsmill Championship I was losing my confidence because I didn’t win for almost two years before Kingsmill, but things didn’t work. But after the Kingsmill win, finally I find my confidence is back, straight after the British, lost competition to weather but was good experience for me, it was really tough course for the women's golfer, but it made more challenging that week, so I kept saying I should focus on the course and the game. After this is my second major title, so I have good confidence right now, and so I am looking forward to this year too.
Q. You finished runner-up here, are looking to go one better and be the winner this week?
JIYAI SHIN: Sure, Yeah, I have a good memory of this golf course and this event. The first time when I came here in 2007 I finished second, so at the time, I played great and great memory playing with Karrie, so I still am a lot of the time remember the time of coming back to here and I want to try and make the game good play.
Q. Can you tell us what happened with your hand, what was the surgery and how long it took to recover?
JIYAI SHIN: Um it was actually I don't know exactly the name of it but it was a small bone was broken, so I just take it over, and it take 2 months for the recovery, and the my first event was at the Evian, but I didn’t play very well, because I couldn't use my left arm or hand, so I lost a lot of strength on my left side so my balance wasn't quite good. But I really enjoy the play, because I missed the golf game for a couple of months.
Q. So it was 2011?
JIYAI SHIN: Well the pain started beginning of last year, so the operation was in May.
Q. So you haven't played here in 3 years is that right?
JIYAI SHIN:I didn't play the last 3 years that's right.
Q. What was the reason for that? Did you want to change your season up or were there other reasons?
JIYAI SHIN: Well, I have a couple of reason because I play a full season doing the December, so I don't not much time to do much training for some winter training, so I try and focus more on the training and be ready for the season and practice. And because the tournament and other schedule is very different to other players over the past 3 years. It's good to be back here this year.
Q. What has changed in your schedule that makes it more comfortable now ?
JIYAI SHIN: I'm all the time happy to play in Australia, I know a lot of the Australia people love to watch the Women's golf, and a lot of fans are here. So I like coming here, because my fans are here.
Q. You were number 1 in the world for one or two years, but you lost your way for 12 or 18 months or so, was there a reason for that? Was it a confidence thing was your game bad?
JIYAI SHIN: Well when I was number 1 I had a lot of pressure by myself, sometimes to push myself because I sometimes thing I am number 1 so I have to make it perfect. So pressure myself, but now I am 8th or around there so I'm more comfortable. But I still look up at the 1 or so, so its lots of hard training and practice.
Q. So if you get back to number 1 again, would you handle things differently?
JIYAI SHIN: Yes definitely. I knew how much pressure there is to be number one and I play with experience, so I learn a lot. I would be better control of myself.
Q. Korean players have a wonderful record of doing extremely well here over recent years, what is the secret of Korean Golfers?
JIYAI SHIN: Well um I don't know, when I think about the Korean players, we are use to all the competition, with a big game. When I grow up in Korea in a junior tournament, it was just so young, like teenager players have really great focus. So after we turn pro we still use that focus throughout the competition, thats why we keep focus for the tournament.
Q. So before you turned pro, how many junior tournaments and amateur tournaments did you play?
JIYAI SHIN: Well we have a lot of junior tournament in Korea, and like 20 every year, so, and then we have a lot of chance to play the professional tournaments, when I junior and I play the professional tournament I learn a lot from the professionals and that made a good expereicen for the rest of us.
Q. Did you have to make a lot of sacrifices to be as good as you are at golf?
JIYAI SHIN: Yes, of course.
Q. So Dean Herdon use to Caddy for you, do you still have an Australian caddy?
JIYAI SHIN: No I have a French guy (laughs). We started September last year, and before him, I worked with Sean Cruise another Aussie guy (laughs) but I just changed for a new refreshing feeling. So I learn some French words now (laughs).
Q. Just in terms of the timing for the operation on your hand, when did you get that operated on ? - May last year. You played the Australian Open did it bother you?
JIYAI SHIN: Yes there was a little bit of pain, but not too serious, but it was pain.
Q. So it just got so painful that you couldn't stand it any more and had to do something about it?
JIYAI SHIN: well after I played in Thailand and Singapore, there was more pain, so I tried to keep playing until the end of the season but I couldn't.
Q. Did you have the operation in Korea or the United States?
JIYAI SHIN: I had it in the States.
Q. So is that your base now in the States?
JIYAI SHIN: Yes I have a home in Atlanta. And my family moved there.
Q. So is your game in good shape for this week?
JIYAI SHIN: I think, I am pretty much ready for this week, so hopefully no more rain.