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Interview with Stacy Lewis ahead of the ISPS HANDA Women´s Australian Open

Q.  Stacy, thank you for coming in.  You had a fantastic year last year and started 2014 very well in the Bahamas.  Last time you were in the Melbourne it was a second place finish as well.  How are you feeling going into this week?

STACY LEWIS:  You know, I'm excited.  I'm excited to get playing.  This whole off season I've just wanted to play really because my game's in such a good place that I just need to get out on the course and start hitting some shots. We had two weeks off, which was nice to kind of evaluate some things and rework on some things a little bit, but you know, I'm ready to go.

Q.  You've had some time out on the course now, what do you think about Victoria?

STACY LEWIS: It's a really good course.  It's really similar style-wise to Royal Melbourne.  This one I think you've got to be really - it's a lot of placement golf, not so much off the tees but a lot into the greens, it's just hitting it into the right spots.  Being below the hole is going to be key this week - and staying out of the bunkers [LAUGHS].  The bunkers I think are the worst and the hardest part of this golf course. So for me it's just going to be playing smart golf and hopefully making a few putts here and there.

Q.  What's been the secret to your consistency, last year and then obviously the start of this year as well?

STACY LEWIS:  You know, I think I've been driving the ball a lot better over the last year and I think that's been really key.  But then it's just getting there, it's getting there and being comfortable, seeing your name on the leader board, having the lead, it's being comfortable there and knowing that you belong there.  I think that's a lot of it. My game has just gotten really consistent on all levels and it's gotten me to where I am.

Q.  Stacy, do you look at this course and think that's a course I can score well on?  Do you think it suits your game?

            STACY LEWIS: Yeah, I think it does.  I mean, it's a hard course, it's not easy.  I don't think anybody's going to go crazy low on it, especially if it stays hot and gets firmer and faster throughout the week.  I think any golf course where you have to think your way around is to my advantage.  I like that.  I think you're going to have to play away from the hole sometimes and maybe have a 10 footer instead of going right at it, especially even chip shots you might have to. So it's playing smart and I think that fits me pretty well.

Q.  Is smart slightly defensive if you were trying to explain it to the general public?

            STACY LEWIS: Yeah, it's just taking the big number out of play; that's really what it is.  I think the person that minimises making big numbers this week is the one that's going to be there at the end.

Q. When you think back to a couple of years ago, what are your memories of Melbourne? Does that leave a sort of sour taste in your mouth or how do you remember Melbourne?

            STACY LEWIS: No, I mean I think I shot like 67 on Sunday so I left there playing well.  It was one of my favourite golf courses I ever played.  So I was kind of hoping we'd go back there again, but maybe sometime soon we will [LAUGHS]. No, I loved it.  It's got a little links golf feel to it, with the sand base.  I like links golf, I've played well on it.  I don't know, it's a place I'm comfortable with.

Q.  You made it to World No. 1, it only lasted a few weeks, has that really sort of stoked the fire to get back there?

            STACY LEWIS: Yeah, I got to No. 1 so quick - so early in the year last year I think it kind of surprised me.  It was a world wind four weeks.  It was pretty crazy.  So I mean, I really want to get back there so I can actually enjoy it a little bit more now.  I know what to expect.  I know kind of what goes along with being No.1 I certainly don't feel like I lost it.  I played - last year was probably one of my most consistent years I've ever had.  So I don't feel like I'm doing anything wrong.  I've just got to keep chipping away at Inbee and Suzann and I'll get there.

Q. From what you've seen of the golf course, you said that it suits your game, who else out of the field do you think that it particularly suits?

            STACY LEWIS:  I mean I don't know any one player but I think anybody with length, it's definitely an advantage.  The par 5s, all but one is reachable, all but 17.  All the rest of them are reachable for me and people can hit it passed me and they can get there with some irons.  So I think length is definitely an advantage, especially with the greens getting firmer. But again, it's the person that plays the smartest and doesn't make the big numbers.

Q.  I just wanted to go back to the No. 1 thing, if you won this week would you get to No. 1 or would you be fairly close, do you know?

            STACY LEWIS: I don't know, I don't think I would get there, just because Inbee and Suzann are a pretty good ahead of me right now but I mean, I think if I won any time in the next three weeks and played well, I think I could get there before we get back to the US. So it's kind of a little bit of a goal, to chip away at that before we get back in the States.

            Q.  Also you were talking about the length of the holes.  What sort of clubs are you hitting say on the par 4s?  Say, for instance, 10 and 11?

            STACY LEWIS:  10 I had a 6-iron yesterday and 8-iron today.  11's pretty short.  11 you've got to just get your drive down there around the corner.  That's one of the tee shots you have to hit pretty well.

            A lot of the par 4s you're not hitting any really long irons into.  But the greens are just deceptively big, because they all seem to kind of run off, so the greens are really a lot smaller than they look, so you just have to hit it to the right places.

            Q.  What was special about No. 1 - aside from the obvious - why is it so appealing to you?

STACY LEWIS: I like being the person with the target on my back.  I like kind of setting the bar for people and showing them what it takes.  I want to raise the bar really.  I want to keep playing better and better.  What Inbee did last year, it made me start working harder, that's for sure. I think we can make each other better and we can get women's golf more on the map and make people realise that we're actually some pretty good golfers.

Q.  Not that you weren't confident when you were at Royal Melbourne a couple of years ago, but you seem like you're really confident with how your game sits right now.

STACY LEWIS: Yeah, I think I've got more comfortable just being in the role I'm at, over the last couple of years.  It's been almost two years since I became the top American and I think I've kind of grown into that role more and got more comfortable there, gotten more comfortable dealing with fans, being that person, being in the position, comfortable with you guys. I don't know, just kind of grown up a little bit I guess since a couple of years ago.

Q.  I saw in your bio that you like working out.  Is that something that the new generation golfers really have to do these days, particularly the females?  Is that something that's changed over the last few years?

STACY LEWIS: Yeah, I'd say - I started working with my trainer about four years ago and it's completely changed my game.  I've increased distance, I feel a lot better, I hit the ball better.  Tiger ultimately, he was the one that kind of got everybody going on it but now you go to a hotel and golfers are in the gym all day long [LAUGHS]. I work out six days a week, it's usually an hour and 15, hour and a half and it's just - to me it's as important as hitting balls before my round or putting, it's just kind of become part of my routine.

Q.  The surgery and the treatment that you had on your back is well documented, do you ever have any troubles from that now? 

STACY LEWIS: No, it's actually been - I don't know if this table's wood - but knock on wood, it's been great.  I think that's part of the working out, is to keep it healthy, keep it in shape and if I keep everything around my back strong it doesn't put any stress there. So I really just try to take care of myself and know when to stop hitting balls and when I need the day off here and there.  I've just been trying to be really smart about it.

Q.  Do you do Pilates and Yoga and things like that or meditation or anything?

STACY LEWIS: Not really, no, it's more just working with my trainer.  We do a lot of lifting some pretty heavy weights and throwing medicine balls.  It's pretty fun.  It all revolves around my golf game and kind of what we're working on with my golf swing.  We're just trying to train the muscles and make the swing easier.


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