KRAIG KANN: All right. Welcome, everybody, to the press room here at the Wegmans LPGA Championship, a great honor and pleasure to have the world’s No. 1 ranked player in the Rolex Rankings Women’s World Rankings with us. Stacy Lewis is here and having yet another fine year. Let’s start with this golf course, this venue, and the next major championship on the schedule for the LPGA. What are your thoughts on this place.
STACY LEWIS: This is a great venue. It’s a golf course we should be playing on. It’s the type of course we should be playing, and it’s going to be hard. It’s going to be a great test. I wish we were coming back really. I wish we weren’t here for just one year, but it’s a great course, and I’m excited to play it.
KRAIG KANN: You said wish we were coming back, so I’m going to actually follow up with that topic and get that out of the way. The LPGA is leaving. You’ve been a big part of the promotion because of KPMG’s involvement with where this major championship will go in the future. Can you give us some thoughts and an assessment of elevating the major championship and leaving a place as comfortable as Rochester has been for the LPGA for so many years?
STACY LEWIS: Yeah, I mean it’s ?? the opportunity with KPMG was one I think we couldn’t turn down. But I don’t think ?? I hope everyone Leafs this week and goes into the week not saying how sad it is that we’re leaving, but thanking Wegmans and thanking Rochester because that’s what we should be doing, we should be saying thank you because without Wegmans for the last 30 something years we don’t have the opportunity we do with the PGA of America and with KPMG. So instead of everybody talking about how sad it is, we should be celebrating. How many tournaments on the men’s or the women’s side can say that they’ve been in a town for 38 years. There’s not many.
So I just ?? I’m more here this week to say thank you to all the people, and I don’t think it’s the last time we play in Rochester. I think down the road I think we’ll be back here.
KRAIG KANN: We’ll take some questions. Eleventh week at No. 1 since you’ve reclaimed that from Inbee Park. How are you different now as a world No. 1 than you might have been the last go around, and is it easier?
STACY LEWIS: I don’t think I’m any different. I think I’m more comfortable here. I think I’m more ?? more prepared for everything that goes along with it, more ready for all the questions and all that stuff. Definitely I think the second go around is definitely easier just because you know ?? I know how to play now. I know how I just need to go out there and take care of my game and not worry about the scenarios and what Lydia can do, what Inbee can do. I just need to go out there and take care of myself.
And I haven’t been doing that. I haven’t played as well as I would have liked the last three or four weeks or so, but I’m working on my game and that’s what I need to keep doing.
KRAIG KANN: We’ll take some questions.
Q. What do you think about the hitting into the greens here and how a lot of them are raised up from the fairway and how does that affect your strategy?
STACY LEWIS: Well, prior to today it was actually kind of nice that the greens were elevated because it was taking some heat off the ball coming in, but with the rain last night, the greens are a lot softer, so now you have to be a little bit more aggressive into the greens, carrying the ball a little bit further.
But it’s a fair test. It’s not ?? it’s not a goofy golf course by any means. If you hit a good shot you’re going to be rewarded. So I like the golf course. I think it’s going to lead to real ?? especially the last four holes are going to lead to some good golf coming in.
Q. Does this year seem like some sort of a break?out year for the LPGA and a real pointed departure from say five years ago when things were at a low point?
STACY LEWIS: Yeah. I think on and off the golf course it’s a break?out year. You look at all the Americans we have playing well. That’s certainly kind of helped the momentum, but then you look at the sponsors and the partners we’ve signed with our tour, and increasing events, increasing purses, giving more girls an opportunity to play, you know, that’s what we’re trying to do. So on and off the golf course, they’re kind of correlating and it’s going together, and you know, we’re saying that more people are paying attention to us, more media, more fans, and you know, we’re heading on the right track.
Q. You mentioned the American success. The International Crown didn’t go the way you wanted, but Americans are doing well individually. The Spanish side won, but individually they’re not getting the results. Why do you think that is, and do you see everything coming together for one or the other?
STACY LEWIS: I mean the events like International Crown, Solheim Cup, they’re ?? it’s a goofy week. You know, it’s team golf and it’s Match Play, and you’re playing your own ball in Match Play is hard enough, and then when you put yourself out there with another person, it’s just a little bit tougher. And I don’t think you can point it to one thing or the other. It’s just Match Play. It is what it is. I mean I actually thought I played some pretty good golf that week, and you know, the match results didn’t show it. So it’s just Match Play.
I don’t know, I would take a major championship win over an International Crown win. So you know, I don’t know if I’m the only one that’s like that, but that’s just me.
Q. You’ve touched on it now a couple of times the American dominance this year in the majors, won all three. You’re at the top of the Rolex Rankings. How important is that to you and how important do you think that is to the tour for the growth of the tour?
STACY LEWIS: Well, it’s a great thing for the tour. I think Americans playing well, your stars playing well, it’s a great thing for our tour. And you know, it’s something that hasn’t been done in quite a few years, and it’s been great to see. You know, it’s been great to see Lexi get that major win, even better to see Michelle get the win at Pinehurst. And you know, I would definitely like to add my name to that list and get a major win. You know, that’s what we’re all out here for.
It’s just great ?? I love seeing the young kids ?? if they’re going to come out when they’re young, let’s see them be successful, and that’s what I like seeing, Lexi and Jessica Korda getting some wins.
KRAIG KANN: Stacy, I was asked earlier about the topic of why it’s different out here from my perspective in an interview that I was a part of earlier. Rather than me sharing everything that I said, because I’m probably closer to it than most people.
STACY LEWIS: They want to hear from you.
KRAIG KANN: They don’t. I want to hear from you, why is it different, and I think you have a different perspective than a lot of the players on our tour. No. 1, you’re No. 1. B, you’re beyond engaged in this tour. For those that don’t know, you study all the time. I mean you’re always asking for more information. You want to know where we’re going, what we’re doing, why we’re doing what we’re doing, et cetera. You’re a No. 1 player who books their own travel. You don’t have all these people doing stuff for you. So tell me what is different about the LPGA and you all.
STACY LEWIS: I mean I do things different, I guess, than a lot of people. But I think our tour is different because we realize how important our partners and our sponsors are, and our job is, yeah, it’s to play good golf, but we have to be able to support the tour and bring our partners in. I mean I’ve got ?? I think I have six tournaments now that I’m tied to whether it’s through one of my sponsors or where I’m from.
KRAIG KANN: You got a lot of logos.
STACY LEWIS: I got a lot of logos, but I’m pretty proud of the fact that I’ve brought partners to our tour that are now title sponsors of events. That’s something I’m pretty proud of and been able to show them why it’s different out here and to show them just in the way I do things and the way I act and the way I play that it is different out here.
And I don’t think you can point it to one thing, but it’s just the way we do things.
KRAIG KANN: Do you look at it as an obligation to be engaged as you are? I’m going to share a quick story. So Friday morning International Crown standing on the first tee, I don’t know how many minutes before the first tee time and you text me with an I’ve got a great idea for how we can ramp up the atmosphere on the first tee for tomorrow, and my response was basically like why don’t you just go play great golf and we’ll talk about it later, but your idea fantastic. It was about having two tunnels and the American team coming from one side and the other team coming from the other side. I mean that sort of stuff, you’ve got a responsibility to play golf, but yet you’re so in tune with everything else. How do you do that and play great golf?
STACY LEWIS: I don’t know. I guess my mind is ?? my mind’s always going, and I think you can always do things better. I think, yeah, it may be a great event, but how are we going to improve it for the next year. I think we can always do things better. That’s how I am with my golf game, too. It’s just me, who I am, and I like that you guys and Mike are so just willing to listen to me at least and to hear what I have to say. You know, that’s important, too. A lot of times you feel like you’re blowing smoke and you’re not getting anything done, but I feel like the tour does a good job of listening to us and letting us be engaged.
KRAIG KANN: Question here in the front. Then we’ll go back, then we’ll go middle.
Q. Several players have said this has a championship feel, the course has a championship feel. What does that mean? What aspects or characteristics of this course to you make it feel like a major?
STACY LEWIS: You can walk on the first tee and see it’s a major. Just you know, the way the golf course is designed, you know, it’s shaped off the tee for you to hit certain shots off tees and then into the greens ?? into the greens especially you have to hit it to the right spot. You can’t just hit it to the middle of the green. You have to either hit it short or just past the green. You really have to think your way around. I think that’s what makes it a major championship. And the length they have it setup. With the rain last night you’re hitting lot of four and 5?irons, five and 6?irons into the greens. So it’s setup like a major. The rough is long. I mean everything about it just kind of screams major championship.
Q. No disrespect to Locust Hill, does it feel like a major course, major championship course than Locust Hill?
STACY LEWIS: I mean I think you have to say yes there. I mean I think Locust Hill is a great golf course, but it’s just on such a small property it’s very limited to what they could do with it. So you have more room here. You got more room for spectators, more room for stands. It’s just got a bigger feel to it in general.
Q. You said that you brought sponsors to the tour. Did you get the sponsor, and then in discussions with the sponsor somehow introduce them to them or encourage them or how did that work?
STACY LEWIS: Well, Marathon, you know, they became a partner of mine, and then the first event I did with them the CEO walked up to me and asked me why they should sponsor an event. So that’s kind of how ?? I mean that’s kind of how it starts. Maybe you put a bug in their ear and kind of show them, you know, throw ideas at them and say, you know, you could do this event. You know, the whole KPMG event, I mean I was pretty involved in seeing that coming together, and I was throwing ideas to KPMG the whole time throughout the process of it all coming together. I don’t know. It’s cool for me to be able to do that.
Q. Could you share some of those ideas?
KRAIG KANN: Yeah. What’s your sales pitch.
STACY LEWIS: Sales pitch. I don’t know if I want to share my secrets. Well, I think for bringing a sponsor in, you have to ?? first you have to find out what they want, what do they want to get out of it, whether it’s a grocery store chain like a Wegmans or a ShopRite. You know, they’re here to bring their vendors in. Or is it with KPMG where they’re doing a women’s initiative, so they’re going to have a summit around it. They’re going to have these kind of up and coming female leaders out there. Maybe they’re playing in the pro am, you know, so what is their goal with the tournament. You know, like what can they get out of it first and then how do you make that work for the LPGA. You know, it’s getting those two parties to come together. So I think the first part is just figuring out what the sponsor wants out of it.
Q. Stacy, what do you see as the biggest positives of the new women’s PGA championship next year?
STACY LEWIS: I think the biggest thing that’s going to come out of that event is what it’s going to lead to. I think you can say, you know, the purse obviously, but I think the purse is going to lead to more other events down the road.
I think it’s going to grow the game of golf. You’re going to get the PGA of America involved and they’re having a women’s initiative to get more women playing golf. And that’s what KPMG’s initiative is as well, so we’re growing the game of golf in at that aspect. And then you have a partner with KPMG that has so many ties to a lot of other big companies that, you know, we get them out to that event next year and what does that lead to down the road. I just think there are so many more good things that are going to happen because of that event down the road versus just saying the golf course or the purse or anything like that.
Q. The biggest thing you talked about in the press conference when that announcement was made or that got eyebrows raised was the leadership initiative and identifying women leaders, to grow that. Leadership’s been a big thing for you. Why is that so special? Why is that so important, and what can you do as the No. 1 player in women’s golf right now to further that cause?
STACY LEWIS: Well, I realize with working with KPMG over the last few years is how many few women are in leadership roles. How many ?? I think the PGA of America less than one percent of their members are female. And just the numbers are just astonishing, and it’s something that I always ?? I get to do these events with KPMG, and I’m playing golf with CEOs and CFOs, pretty high?profile women, and you know, something that we kind of I talk to them about is to realize that we’re all leaders, no matter what we’re doing. We’re all leaders. There’s always somebody looking up to you and even whether you’re Lexi Thompson and you’re 18 years old, there’s always somebody looking up to you. So it’s something that I think it’s important for all women. I don’t think it’s just me or the No. 1 player in the world or number 100. I think it’s important for all women.
Q. I’m just curious with more tournaments on the schedule, it’s probably more important than ever to pace yourself when you’re trying to get those year?end goals. Can you kind of talk about your up coming schedule and maybe how you feel and how you’re going to accomplish that?
STACY LEWIS: Yeah. The last ?? that last three?week stretch was tough for me. I was pretty worn down. I could have used some time off there after Arkansas. But unfortunately with the majors, the way the majors are spaced out there’s not a whole lot of options there.
But now we’ve got some time where I’m going to play next week in Canada, but not play Portland, play Evian, and then the Asian schedule is still a little bit up in the air. I need some time off. I need to kind of recharge the batteries a little bit. I’ve had that the last few weeks where I’ve actually been able to work on my game again, but you just get in a mode where you’re trying to do so much and you’re tired that your golf game suffers just because you kind of get a little lazy with it and you just don’t quite have the energy to do what you need to do.
Q. I know you’ve only seen this course a few times, but would you say that it’s one of the top 3 tracks you would play all year? I mean just kind of give us an idea of how strong it is.
STACY LEWIS: Yeah. It’s ?? yeah. For this year, I would put it right behind Pinehurst as far as ?? I mean I love Pinehurst, but this one, it’s right up there. It’s just a good, fair test. It’s not goofy golf. You know, if you hit a good shot, you get rewarded. It’s in great shape. You know, it rained like crazy last night and you would never know it. So it’s up there.
KRAIG KANN: When it comes to stats right now, you’re first in scoring average, putts per green in regulations, rounds under par and birdies; you’re third in greens in regulation so that would suggest that things are going great, yet you just said a few minutes ago that the last few weeks haven’t been going so great. Is that maybe Stacy putting a high expectation on Stacy, Stacy needing time off, or what would it be?
STACY LEWIS: A little bit of both. I have high expectations for myself. You know, I had a pretty good streak there of Top 10s going for a while and I know I haven’t had one in a while. You know, that’s just who I am. You know, I’m pretty tough on myself in that aspect, but I think that’s what drives me to get better.
And you know, I don’t feel like the game is far off, and like I said before, you can always get better. So that’s what I’m out there doing every day. I probably drive my caddie and my coach Joe crazy sometimes, but it’s what’s gotten me to where I am, so I’m not changing that.
KRAIG KANN: Question from Randall. We’ve got time for two more. If anybody else has them, please raise your hand.
Q. Speaking of Joe, he keeps a pretty low profile for having the No. 1 player in the world. Can you tell us how you guys got together and what you most like about having Joe as your coach?
STACY LEWIS: Yeah. We met by it was kind of a chance thing. My rookie year I was doing ?? I did just kind of an outing deal for the PGA of America. It was in like May or so down in Florida. And at the time he was working for the PGA, and so he was out there at the event, and we just had down time and we started talking, and he gave me his card and said if I can ever do anything, let me know. And then at the end of the year I was kind of searching. I was looking for a coach. I didn’t really know what I was going to do. I needed somebody to kind of push me in a different direction, so he was really kind of the only person I had on the list to call, and so I called him and went down to Florida and worked with him for a couple of days, and the rest is history, I guess. So it was just kind of a chance deal, and I think what I like about him is from the beginning it was, you know, it wasn’t just fixing my golf swing for the next week. It was how are we going to fix it down the road. It was, we need to get your hips stronger, we need to get your legs stronger so that we can make this move. And I didn’t want the quick fix. I wanted something that was going to help me play good golf a couple of years from now maybe. And that’s what I liked about it.
And he’s still that way. I mean he’s still ?? he’s not going to go out there and just tell me how to go fix it for one shot. He’s going to tell me how to fix it so I can play good all week. And he’s very patient with me, which is good. And he’s super positive. You know, that’s the biggest thing is he’s always talking, always chatting. No matter how frustrated I am out there, he’s always talking and chatting. And I know when I get him quiet, I’ve done something right.
KRAIG KANN: Followup? Anything? Any other questions? Last one from me. This is the last event here in Rochester for now; right? Major championship, somebody gets to put their name on that trophy. The other thing that would lead to would also be the Rolex?Annika Major Award at the end of the year. You have to win one to be qualified. You’ve had a great run in the majors this year, third at Kraft, second at the Women’s Open, 12th at the British. How important to put your name on the trophy and how much does that other trophy I just mentioned mean to you with a couple majors left?
STACY LEWIS: Well, the Annika one is definitely I think at the back of everybody’s mind, but more than anything, you just ?? you know, you look at all the past champions we’ve had here in Rochester and it’s just such a cool list that it’s just a lot of great winners, and I would love to be a part of that list more than anything.
KRAIG KANN: I figured you might say that. Very motivated, Stacy Lewis, No. 1 in the world, best of luck this week. Thank you very much for coming in.
STACY LEWIS: Thank you.