KELLY THESIER: All right, everybody. We got the winner here. Good evening, everyone. We would like to welcome the 2014 Wegmans LPGA champion, Inbee Park into the interview room. Congratulations.
INBEE PARK: Thank you.
KELLY THESIER: Taking the final day to a playoff. You’re no stranger to playoffs, you’ve been to quite a few of these, last year in a playoff to win, last week actually lost in a playoff and now to come out victorious. Are you getting used to these now? Are playoffs no big deal anymore?
INBEE PARK: Yeah. You know, I just saved it for this week. Last week I didn’t win because I wanted to save it for this week. No, just kidding.
Yeah, you know, I’ve been in many playoffs in the last year. Last year I won in a playoff. Last week I went into playoff, and this week as well.
I mean it’s not something that I really look forward to doing because you feel so much pressure and you don’t know how many holes you’re going to get to play. And yeah, I think it’s very lucky that I actually got an opportunity today, because you know, I thought I probably won’t get an opportunity with Brittany coming up the last and if she made a par I would not have gone into playoff. And I holed really good putts on number 17 and 18 to put me in the playoffs. So yeah, just very happy the way I played today.
KELLY THESIER: You talked this week about how disappointing this was to lose, to not win the women’s British. How long did that loss stay with you and what does it mean now to come back in the very next major and come away as champion?
INBEE PARK: Yeah, it was very tough tournament to forget. You know, since I was so close and I thought I was definitely able to do it. And that’s been the tournament that I’ve really waited all year long, and that’s been my only goal this year. And not being able to do it in the final round was very disappointing, and it was very tough to forget.
But you know, I came so close after that event, you know, and knocked on the door so many times, and finally being able to do it here in a major, it gives me a little bit of break from the British Open and I can kind of forget about it a little bit and kind of move on now.
So yeah, already looking forward to next year.
KELLY THESIER: We were just out there at the trophy ceremony where they were talking about the 38 great years of history here in Rochester. You now become only the third player ever to win back?to?back events in Rochester joining Nancy Lopez and Patty Sheehan. What does it mean for you to join that elite group, and what has this community meant to the LPGA?
INBEE PARK: I mean it’s always an honor to me to put my name amongst Nancy Lopez and Patty Sheehan, those great athletes, great women’s golf players. And you know, it’s such an honor. And it’s been 38 years in Rochester that we’ve been playing, and so many people have so many great memories. I have great memories, and being able to be a part of the history was such a special feeling.
Yeah, I almost thought it wasn’t going to happen today. But it happened, I don’t know, maybe Rochester and Rochester people has been helping me a lot to make this happen.
Yeah, it’s good that we have this kind of community where everybody is really into golf and they love golf, and they really love supporting us.
KELLY THESIER: We’ll open it up to questions for Inbee.
Q. Inbee, when Brittany was in here, I asked her if the golf gods are just kind of mean. And she said absolutely. Now, on the flip side do you feel like the golf gods were maybe with you today with those putts on 17 and 18 and then in the playoff?
INBEE PARK: Yeah, I mean being able to become a winner there has to be some kind of luck on your side. You know, I have always felt that whenever I was winning I felt like I had probably a little bit more luck than everybody else did.
You know, I kind of struggled all day today kind of and then I dropped really important two putts on number 17 and 18. And yeah, I mean the way I’ve been putting today I thought I wasn’t going to hole those putts, but it just happened, so I think that’s really explaining how you can win.
Q. And when you saw her ?? after you made your great up?and?down at 18, did you think knowing how hard 18 is, even though she hits it a mile, did you think that you had a chance of getting in a playoff because that hole was so hard this week?
INBEE PARK: Yeah, I definitely thought that there is a chance if I made a par because, you know, 18 is a very tough hole and the pin position was quite tough. And you know, with the pressure conditions, you just don’t know what’s going to happen. So I really wanted to make that putt and give myself somewhat opportunity.
Q. Inbee, to win the LAST two championships here in Rochester, what has this community meant to you over these last few years?
INBEE PARK: This is probably one of the favorite weeks that we ?? for me and probably for all the LPGA players to come and kind of stay for a week, and yeah, this tournament has the history, and this tournament has all the memories with us. So being able to put my name on this trophy for twice and being able to do it here in Rochester is such a great honor, and yeah, we’ll be missing Rochester. We definitely want to come back here for another event.
Q. Can you just talk about your nerves going back to the ?? you’ve done this over and over, but surely you just still have them cranking inside you even though we don’t see it going back on the tee on the first playoff hole. Can you just describe that?
INBEE PARK: Yeah, I mean today overall I just felt so comfortable, since last night and this morning, all day today, just before playoff I just felt like it was just a third round almost. I didn’t feel any nerves at all today really.
Once Brittany missed that par putt, I just ?? all of a sudden I felt the nerves, and when I was going to the tee for the playoff. I think that’s when everything really started to come into my mind because I actually have an opportunity to win this tournament. And like all different thoughts really came into my mind when I was riding that cart to that tee.
And yeah, I just tried to tell myself that I just did this last week, and you know, it’s nothing else or it’s just another hole. Just tried to do whatever I did all day today. And yeah, I think having the experience definitely helped. It kind of flashed back how I played last year here in the playoff, and yeah, I think I felt a lot more comfortable after thinking that I’ve been into many playoffs so it’ll be just another one.
KELLY THESIER: Inbee, last year six wins and now you’ve been able to capture two so far this year. And I know everybody was talking about how difficult it was going to be to repeat last year. How are you feeling so far about how you’ve been able to come back this season and still play some tremendous golf?
INBEE PARK: Yeah, I think this year was always going to be a tough year after having such a great year last year and being able to match that this year and match the expectations I had last year was always going to be tough.
You know, I feel like so far this season I’ve really handled myself well in this position, and you know, it feels like I’ve played some good golf. And I played very consistently this year. Yeah, just like I said, I just sometimes didn’t get that lucky as last year. Sometimes I just didn’t putt as well. But I feel like I’m doing pretty good.
Q. Inbee, two shots. How difficult was the chip at 18 in regulation, which you didn’t hit real good but you made the great putt, and then the chip in the playoff. How tough was that coming down elm?
INBEE PARK: Yeah, both times, first time I had probably the worst lie. Grasses were all like tangled together. I was really into the grass. And yeah, it was a very tough chip. It was going up the slope where I had a bad lie. It was very tough shot.
I just told myself maybe give some kind of opportunity at a par and we’ll deal with the putter, not thinking so much about the chip. And in the playoff hole I was actually not that bad of a lie, and it was just a downhill grain, so you just have to be really careful. And you know, I felt like my chipping was, you know, pretty good this week, so I felt quite confident over that chip.
KELLY THESIER: Any other questions for Inbee? Well, Inbee, thank you very much. Congratulations. And now we have the fireworks show. Good timing.