Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Wie at John Deere

Michelle Wie gives the PGA Tour another shot this week, teeing it up at the John Deere Classic.

Here are some excerpts from here pre-tournament press conference. It starts boring but gets better as it goes on.
Q. At this stage in your career, would you consider it a bigger accomplishment to win an LPGA event or make the cut on the PGA TOUR?

MICHELLE WIE: Well, I'll tell you after I do both (laughter).

Q. What do you have to say to the young females that you've captivated? You've got a lot of following out here. What do you have to say about being a role model for so many young women out there?
MICHELLE WIE: Well, I don't know if I'm a role model, but I think it's awesome that more and more young girls are starting to play the game. I just think that if golf is really what you want to do, then do what you want to do. You don't really have to follow any, I guess, rules. You don't have to do what other people do. They don't actually have to follow my footsteps, they just have to do what they want to do.

Q. Kind of a follow up on the role model question, there's a youth golf clinic out there today. What would be some of your advice for young kids that want to be serious about pursuing golf as a career?
MICHELLE WIE: Well, they're just kids. I mean, one day you want to be an astronaut and another day you want to be a firefighter. You never know what you want to do with your life. Golf is just a game. Enjoy it. I mean, I think kids should really start getting serious when they're in their teens. I mean, when they're kids, go out and have some fun, play with your friends. That's what I did, too. I mean, obviously when you're getting serious playing the junior tournaments, obviously that's when you have to practice.
I mean, golf is still a game. You just have to have fun. I don't think you should see golf as a career. I don't see golf as a career for me, it's just a game.

Q. How much has your game changed from when you were here last year until now?
MICHELLE WIE: Hopefully I've gotten better. I think I've gotten a lot more consistent. My putting feels pretty good, and I've been working a lot on my swing, consistency of my game, and hopefully I've become a little bit more mature than last year.

Q. People have said that they expect you or anticipate you to make the cut this year, whereas last year it might have been a pleasant surprise. Do you feel a shift in expectations this year?
MICHELLE WIE: A lot of people have expectations of me and I have my own expectations of what I want to do or accomplish. I'm not going to think about this the cut this year. I really want to play well and maybe go to the British Open. If I go to the British Open, then I've made the cut (laughter).

Q. Earlier today Sean said that he thinks you're extremely talented and that you definitely belong here, but he said he thought you should win a tournament on the LPGA Tour before coming here. How do you respond to that?
MICHELLE WIE: It's not like I'm a full time member of the LPGA or a full time member of the PGA. I'm just still trying to figure out what I want to do and doing what I want to do, and obviously I want to win an LPGA tournament and I want to play in PGA tournaments. I feel like I'm having a really good balance right now of playing men's events and women's events, and I know that a win on an LPGA event will come. I just want to do what I want to do, and that's always been my kind of motto. I'm just going to do what I want to do and not really follow anything.

Q. Do you speak some Korean at home?
MICHELLE WIE: Yeah, I'm fluent.

Q. You finished in the Top 5 in five of the last six majors on the LPGA Tour. What have you taken from those experiences that you feel eventually will help you reach your goal of winning on the LPGA Tour?
MICHELLE WIE: Well, I've been really I really had a chance to win in every single one of those majors, and I feel like every single time I'm learning how to win. I'm learning how to handle that kind of like last round pressure going into the last couple of holes, and I feel like it really showed at the U.S. Open where I really felt like I made some smart moves. I made pars, even though you never really know in a U.S. Open, and I felt like I played really smart.
I learned a lot from the majors, from the Kraft. I learned a lot in the McDonald's and the British Open. It's just being able to go in the last couple of holes, being able to win, I think it's an amazing thing.

Q. Whenever you look back on John Deere last year, do you feel like you let one get away, or do you learn something from the specific experience of being 3 over on the two holes on your back nine? Do you reflect what you might have done differently?
MICHELLE WIE: Yeah, definitely. I mean, I've thought about it and then I forgot about it. I made a couple of bad decisions coming into the final holes, but I was only 15. I can make mistakes when I'm 15. Hopefully I learned a lot from those mistakes that I made last year, and hopefully I won't do them this year.

Q. Brittany Lincicome made some comments, one of them being about how you didn't talk during the round. When you're in match play, is it different? Do you have a different attitude? Can you talk a little bit about that?

MICHELLE WIE: Well, it's a lot different in match play than stroke play. I feel like you just have to be I mean, I don't talk when I'm in match play. I just try to focus on my own game, and it's very different. It's a lot more intense in match play than stroke play. I mean, in stroke play you just go around, but in match play you have to win or you're not going to play the next day, so I become a lot more intense.

Q. Do you have a preference right now between the PGA TOUR and the LPGA?
MICHELLE WIE: No, I don't really have a preference. I really enjoy playing the LPGA and I really enjoy playing the PGA and I really enjoy playing in Asia and Europe. I love going all over and playing and I don't really have a favorite.

Q. Do you sense that expectations have kind of been ratcheted up outside of your own circle, people disappointed that you haven't broken through yet? Has that affected your confidence at all?
MICHELLE WIE: No. I mean, obviously people are going to have expectations. I can't please everyone. I'm just out here for myself, and my parents still love me even though I don't win tournaments (laughter). It's great.
I mean, I have my own expectations. Obviously I was a little disappointed after not really obviously when you're done after the round, you wish you could have done a couple shots better, but it has nothing to do with kind of making me less confident about my game because I still feel like I'm playing really solid.
It's very hard to win when you're playing one tournament, then take a month off. This summer I've been playing every week, so hopefully I can play a lot better, but it's hard when you don't have that momentum going into every week. People's expectations are going to go up, it's natural. But I just feel like I'm playing very well right now, playing very solid, and it's going to happen.

Q. Michelle, you're the star of the show. I mean, the reason that people are buying tickets this week is to come see this, and you're just 16. How do you avoid being overwhelmed by kind of all the attention that you get on weeks like this?
MICHELLE WIE: Well, I mean, I don't really think about it, you know. I guess being from Hawaii, being very relaxed, I just have kind of a "whatever" mentality. I just have fun with it. I'm very grateful and I feel very lucky that people like watching me play, and I have a lot of fans. I think that's wonderful. But I don't really take it as kind of a hard thing; I just look at it and have fun and just play golf.

Q. You are a role model and kids want to know what you have in your i Pod and how many pairs of sunglasses do you own?
MICHELLE WIE: Well, I have a Walkman.

Q. What do you have in the Walkman?
MICHELLE WIE: Wait, what was the other question?

Q. What kind of music do you like and how many pairs of sunglasses do you own?
MICHELLE WIE: Sunglasses (laughing). I really like alternative music. I'm really into like Korean music these days and alternative, just whatever songs are on MTV. I really like the Black Eyed Peas and Bon Jovi.
How many pairs of sunglasses? A lot, actually (laughter). Nike is making a lot of new sunglasses. Like if you've seen me wear sunglasses, I like to wear them on the golf course, and they're making a lot of casual sunglasses, too, which is really cool. I just like to go shopping, so I get a lot.

Q. Growing up, who did you look to as inspiration for you to try to compete against men? I know your parents were huge role models for you, but were there one or two people, females, that you looked up to?
MICHELLE WIE: Well, Babe, I really looked up to her, and Mickey Wright, obviously I learned about them as I was playing golf, but I think they were great. Obviously Mia Hamm, I really look up to her. She's a great role model. Obviously Tiger Woods, I really look up to him. He really makes me want to crank the ball. He just crushes it. It's amazing to watch.

Q. On Friday, and I know your parents are here, so who's going to know first you make it through the cut, okay. Last year you failed, but this year you make it. If you make it, who are you going to call to let them know first?
MICHELLE WIE: Who am I going to call first? Well, obviously my friends back home. I don't really call anyone after I play well. My friends don't care actually (laughter), so I don't know why I call them. I'll call them and be like, "Hey, I just made the cut." They'll be like, "You just made what? What's the cut?" They don't care.

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