KATHIE SHEARER: Thank you for coming into the media centre Michelle. I believe this is your first trip to Australia? MICHELLE WIE: No, it s my first time playing in Australia but I ve been here before once when I was about four years old and I came here a couple of years ago to watch the Australian Tennis Open. So, I have been to Sydney and Melbourne, so now I m smack down the middle. I m really excited to play this week. KATHIE SHEARER: I think you ve played two or three rounds around this golf course, have you? MICHELLE WIE: Yeah, I just played the front nine once and the back nine once. It’s a great track. It looks like a pretty old course, all the big trees. The course is in really great condition. The greens are rolling really well, the fairways. Everything s just very green and what-not and perfect weather this week. So I m just really excited to start. Q. Michelle, you mentioned the course, many years ago, probably before your parents were even born, Arnold Palmer likened this golf course to Augusta. The first question, have you ever been to Augusta? MICHELLE WIE: No. Q. The second question, I read one of your ambitions in life is to play in the US Masters. Do you still hold that ambition? I read that in a profile of yourself. MICHELLE WIE: Yes, that is definitely one of my dreams; still is one of my dreams. You ve got to dream high right and that s definitely one of my dreams, to play in the Masters, but right now I m just really focused on this year, this week. You have to set up really high dreams, dreams that you may or may not achieve in your lifetime, but to still have them. I m just really focused on winning tournaments this year, just being happy and enjoying golf. Q. You made quite a name for yourself early on by attempting to play on the PGA tour. You played in Europe, you played in Japan in various tournaments. You seem to have given that away for a while? MICHELLE WIE: Yeah, it was really fun. I learned a lot, I had a lot of great experiences playing in men’s events. Like I said, right now I really want to focus on kind of playing really well on this tour, winning tournaments and making my name on this tour and just bringing my game to a whole other level; like I said, winning a lot of tournaments and majors, just really focusing on that. Q. Michelle, I think 25 events last year, one top 10. How would you describe 2012 and how would you describe where your game s at right now? MICHELLE WIE: 2012 was probably the worst year I ve ever had in my entire career. It was rough. Kind of one thing led to another and it kind of snowballed. The next thing I knew I was kind of struggling to keep my head above water. But I think I learned a lot from last year. I think that struggling makes you really realise what you have to work on in the game, what is really lacking and it makes you really realise that you have to work harder, you have to become a better player. I just really started from scratch. I think that s what I did this off season. Some reporter asked me earlier on what I worked on in the off season and I replied everything. That s really what I had to work on after last year. Nothing was really spectacular last year so this off season I really took a lot of time just kind of ripping everything apart and starting from new. I saw David Leadbetter a lot this off season, a lot more than I usually did and just really working on my swing, my short game, my putting, everything. I wanted my game to be on a whole other level and hopefully 2013 will be really good. Q. Did it all come too easily for you too young, because you say you ve had to work at it now? MICHELLE WIE: No, I don t think so. What I mean by working really hard, I mean that especially kind of after last year you have to – the game of golf has risen. I think every year in the game of golf players are getting better and you just have to kind of push yourself to be ahead of the game. I think that obviously working really hard is a given but I worked extra hard I think and I think it hopefully will pay off. Q. What importance do you place on the Australian Open? MICHELLE WIE: Very high. It’s the first tournament of the year. I m really excited to be over here. I think it s a great field and I want to get off to a really good start. Q. The field, because it is quite strong, it s a real challenge for you, isn t it? MICHELLE WIE: For sure, yeah. It’s a great field. I think last week there was also a really good field as well. It was almost like the first day of school yesterday when I came out and seeing everyone for the first time after the off season. It’s going to be a great event. It’s a great golf course, like I said. It’s going to be challenging and great conditions, great field, so overall it s going to be a really good event. I m going to try my hardest this week. Q. What importance has the event outside Australia? Have you received much interest to make up your mind to play in the Australian Open? MICHELLE WIE: Yeah, for sure, definitely peaked a lot of interest knowing that we re going to be playing in Australia, there s going to be an LPG event here. I think that a lot of players, US players are very excited to come over here. If it wasn t really for this tournament, a lot of us won t have that much of an opportunity to come down here. It’s a far flight and it just creates a great experience for all US players. I think it s the first time a lot of us have seen kangaroos on the golf course and cockatoos flying around, not in cages. So it s a great experience for all of us. I think that everyone is very excited to be here. Q. Why did you come here when you were only four? Obviously your parents brought you. Why did they come here; for a holiday? MICHELLE WIE: Yeah, my parents were great travellers, always were, loved seeing sights. We travelled all across Europe, Asia. We went to New Zealand, drove from the north of it to the south of it. Q. When you were aged four? MICHELLE WIE: Just every year we did something. So I went to New Zealand when I was a little bit older. I remember Sydney. I got really sick because I ate too many M&Ms and I was four. I misjudged the size of my stomach at that time and I remember seeing – I have this picture of me with a koala bear and I look exactly like the koala bear with my face just round and I had these two little buns that looked exactly like a koala bear. But I enjoyed it and from what I can remember, I loved Sydney. Then when I came to Melbourne, I absolutely loved it; watching the tennis. It was a bit hot but it was awesome. So I m really excited to experience Canberra. Q. What was your interest in tennis? MICHELLE WIE: I love watching tennis. Q. Why did you come to Australia? You could have gone to a French Open that was closer? MICHELLE WIE: It just fitted my schedule. I think that I ve always wanted to come to Melbourne and I had the opportunity to come. I was like: why not? Q. Whose cheer squad were you on? MICHELLE WIE: Serena Williams. Q. Michelle, given that you said you broke your swing down basically the last few months after last year. Is it a bit of the unknown going into this tournament? MICHELLE WIE: Yeah, it s always a bit of an unknown the first tournament of the year. I think that it s kind of like studying for a test, I kind of relate it to that. I know I ve put my work in, I know I ve put my hours in, so I m confident in that matter. But the first tournament of the year you always have that jitter; you always have that nervousness. But right now it s really mostly excitement. I m excited for this week and I m just going to try my hardest. I m not going to put too much pressure on myself. I m just going to put pressure to just try my hardest every single shot; give it my all this week and see what happens. Q. So it s like the first day back to school after the holidays where you have to sit a test? MICHELLE WIE: Exactly. So you can only imagine how nervous one would be. Q. Are you really nervous then, leading into that? MICHELLE WIE: Yes, I think I m definitely nervous, but I think it s a good nervous. I think I was feeling it the week before I came here and I think it really shows. It showed me, to myself, how much it means to me and how much I m excited for this and how much I really want to do well. But you kind of have to move your nervousness into excitement and you ve just got to realise you ve got to enjoy it really. What s the point of playing if you don t really get nervous, you don t get excited, you don t have those butterflies? That s the fun part about it. Q. You obviously had a lot of success as a school girl and obviously Lydia Ko has come on the circuit recently. What advice would you give her, you re both sort of creations going along. MICHELLE WIE: She’s a phenomenal player. The fact that she’s won three times in the last 53 weeks, as I said, it s phenomenal. She’s a really nice person as well. She seems like she has a great head on her shoulders. She just seems like a kid. So I hope she stays that way and she just keeps getting better. I hope she just enjoys it. Q. She’s showing no signs of turning professional as yet, but you, when you were aged 16 turned pro. What would your advice be, to turn pro now or stay amateur? MICHELLE WIE: I have no advice for her. Turning pro or not turning pro, going to college, not going to college, it s a very personal decision. It’s not something where someone can say: I think you should turn pro. I think you should stay amateur. I think you should do this or that. It’s her life; it s her career. When I turned pro I really wanted to turn pro. That was a very personal decision for me. I really wanted to do that and I have no regrets. I hope she makes the right decision for her. Whatever decision she makes, it has to really just be on her and what she wants to do. Q. Michelle, talking of college, I m assuming now you re completely done at Stanford, are you? MICHELLE WIE: Yes. Q. What did you walk away from there with other than the experience? MICHELLE WIE: The experience is everything but just people that I met and it was just a life experience that I really needed. I think that growing up in the spotlight, I had a fairly normal childhood but a nominal childhood. I kind of almost had to grow up a little bit quickly. It was a big goal that I had growing up. It was one of my biggest dreams. All that I can really remember is just wanting to go to Stanford and just kind of achieving that goal of mine was almost as important as playing golf. So just being able to do that was awesome. I learned a lot – time management, no one s there telling you do this, do that, eat your dinner, do your laundry, clean your room. You just kind of really learn to do everything on your own; trust yourself, go to practice on time, put your work in, go to the gym and do your homework at the same time. I really learned to juggle a lot of things and I had a lot of fun. I made a lot of great friends and a lot of great professors. I wouldn t trade it for anything. Q. Did you get a degree or not? MICHELLE WIE: Yes, that s what you do when you graduate. Q. You went on you had a great time there, I didn t think you said you got a degree. MICHELLE WIE: Yeah, I studied, I got a degree from communication. Q. You weren t able to play on the College scene because you were a professional obviously. MICHELLE WIE: No I could not. Q. Were you able to use the facilities and did you train with the team there? MICHELLE WIE: Yeah, it was a bit interesting and there are all actually double A rules. Because I was a professional I guess I couldn’t practice at the same time they did but they were very helpful. I used the range. I used the facilities. I used the gym and Jim Harbaugh was very nice, the football coach. He was very nice and let me use all their facilities. So I got a lot of help from them. I think it would have been difficult if I just wasn t able to use all the facilities, but they were very helpful. Q. Just looking at your career, you ve got a couple of LPGA Tour wins. I think you ve had top 3s in each of the four Majors. Is there one particular performance that you rate higher than any others in your career to date? MICHELLE WIE: I take a lot of pride in my wins and what-not. I guess just experiences, just overcoming a couple of my injuries. I just enjoy all the Majors and the Solheim Cups, they re definitely one of the top. But I guess there s nothing that beats a win; for sure. Q. Talking about working with David over the last couple of months, were there major changes that needed to be made or were they just little tweaks to get back on track? MICHELLE WIE: I wouldn t call it really major, it was just tweaks here and there; especially after last year, just working on my confidence, working on my mental game as well. Just kind of knowing that I m good at this; just kind of realising that again. A lot of the tweaks are there, but it was just good, because I got to see David once every week, once every two weeks, so it was just good to kind of keep up with it. Nothing really major, just a couple of tweaks here and there. Q. How hard was it for you as you went on last year, to then go into every tournament thinking is this the week that it s going to change? How low was your confidence getting towards the end of the year? MICHELLE WIE: I got pretty low a couple of times but I just won t let myself get to that point. It’s still something that I really love to do. At times it was a struggle, enjoying it, but I was kind of just going out there and just really giving it my all. I had a lot of help from a lot of people. Sometimes you ve got to really look at yourself. I really needed this off season I think to just kind of take some time and not try to fix everything in one week the week before a tournament or whatever, but just take a good month, two months to really let it slowly get back on track, instead of just trying to change it all in one week. Q. During the year when your form goes off, do you actually try and fix things from one week to the next? MICHELLE WIE: Yeah, it s definitely a difficult part but it is a long year, so I think that having a good off season really does make a difference and the longevity of the year. But it was a little bit difficult to try and fix something, fix something in one week. But like I said, you just have to just have fun out there and know you tried your hardest. KATHIE SHEARER: Thank you very much for coming in.
Author: Golf Australia