UL INTERNATIONAL CROWN MEDIA DAY
July 2, 2018
Georgia Hall Nasa Hataoka Moriya Jutanugarn Katherine Kirk Pernilla Lindberg Mike Whan Keith Williams So Yeon RyuIncheon, South Korea
JERRY FOLTZ: My name is Jerry Foltz. I work for The Golf Channel covering primarily the LPGA Tour and I consider that an honor and I consider it a huge honor to be here today to emcee this press conference with some very exciting team announcements. Welcome, of course, to the UL's headquarters. I understand it's recently undergone a huge renovation and everybody I've talked to says what a great pleasure it is to be here in the new building. Congratulations to UL and thank you for having us and hosting this here. Might as well kick things off right away with introducing two wonderful minds that came together to create, conceive and then support a unique event that has transcended the international sports landscape like we never thought possible a few years back when Mike Whan first introduced the original International Crown. Please welcome LPGA commissioner Mike Whan and the president and CEO of UL, Keith Williams.
Mike, it's the first time we're taking this outside the United States to Korea, 32 players, eight countries. With Korea being, let's just understate it, passionate about golf, just a little bit, and especially with the women's game, the biggest stars in the entire country are the women golfers, and I'd have to say the most difficult team to qualify for in the entire world of sports, Olympics included, is the Korean women's UL International Crown team. How excited are you about taking it to the Jack Nicklaus Golf Club?
MIKE WHAN: Thanks, Jerry. As you know, I've never met a script I liked so I'm not sure I'm going to follow the script. I just want to say that I kind of feel like in sport when you're in a position like we're in, your job is to leave something for the next generation. Our players get to leap in Poppies Pond not because of us but because people before us had this vision and left something better for women's golf. When my time is done here and when these players move on and watch younger players take their role, I'm pretty certain that when we look back on the top of our list of proud accomplishments will be the UL International Crown. This is different. Golf didn't have this before. This isn't the women's version of the men's something. From the very beginning when we sat down and built this, we wanted to build something unique. We wanted to build a situation where no selection committee, no back room, no 64 teams, who got in. This is you play your way in. You've got to be one of the best eight golfing countries in the world. We decided no coaches and captains. Let's let the players get together and decide who they're going to play with, when they're going to play, which may not always work, but when it doesn't work, it might be just as interesting.
We really wanted to create something where even the format is different, and we wanted to be willing to take this to great golfing nations.
So when you have a vision like that at the LPGA, you're usually missing one key ingredient, which is a business partner who will take it to a bigger level, and when you get to know Keith and the team at UL, they not only get golf and they have a passion for the women's game, but they understand global in a way we don't. We talk about being a global sport, but when you talk about being a global business, you find a leader that can really take you there.
What am I excited about? I'm excited about showcasing the UL International Crown in a time zone that hasn't had it live in primetime, so this isn't going to be just about Korea, this is going to be about everybody in Asia who loves the women's game. If you know Asia, you know Incheon Airport is easy to get to. I'd expect there to be 80, 90,000 Koreans screaming for Team Korea, but I also expect to see some folks from different places. Team Korea has got No. 1 in the world, No. 2 in the world, No. 4 in the world and No. 7 in the world. I don't know if the new Rolex rankings are out yet, but that is what you are going to see when the new rankings come out. They could put a team out there that's 1 and 2 in the world against sort of anybody else, and it will be nice for those young women who have worked hard to earn this spot to be able to put this in front of their hometown friends and family.
Last year at our Hana Bank Championship on the final day, we had 38,000 people on Sunday in one day. That's a monster Sunday. I'd expect to see that around the first tee when we tee it up on Thursday, so it's going to be a lot of fun. It's going to be different. We have walk-up music. They choose their own walk-up music, which is interesting, not a song in those 32 I've ever heard of, but all those things kind of came about. Working with UL, working with the players. One time a player said to me, is there music on the first tee? I was standing on the range with her and I said yeah, there is music and she goes, can we pick it? I remember picking up my phone going can they pick their music? And they go, commissioner if you want them to pick their music they'll pick their music.
A lot of these things we built, and I'm sure a lot of new traditions will get created in Korea but we're really excited, and on behalf of the whole LPGA thank you to UL, because I think we're leaving something for the next 100 years of women's golf.
JERRY FOLTZ: I was fortunate to be over there covering the Presidents Cup, same course, just a couple years ago, and that a grand total, as Keith said, one-and-a-half Koreans in the field, including Danny Lee, who's a Korean New Zealander, and it was absolutely crazy. Well-behaved but crazy, so I can't imagine what it's going to be like this week.
Keith, as you know, under this man's guidance and leadership, the LPGA has grown 88 percent in revenue, 50 percent almost in tournaments played, 58 percent in purses played for, and over 450 hours of television coverage for the LPGA currently, and that keeps growing every year. What makes the LPGA and the International Crown, the UL International Crown such a great fit for you corporately, and how significant is it that it's being played in Korea this year?
KEITH WILLIAMS: Well, I think the thing that really makes it a fit for us are the players themselves. There's an incredible level of integrity and competition but also friendliness among the players, and you may remember a playoff, I think it was at the U.S. Women's Open, when in the playoff a long putt was made, competitor, Moriya, applauding -- I guess Ariya, applauding the putt. That's a level of friendliness and friendly competition that you rarely see in sports, and it really goes to the integrity and the quality of the people who play the game.
First and foremost, we're just delighted to be associated with people of that caliber.
Second thing for us, our real corporate interest was to enhance our brand awareness outside the U.S. This is a game, women's golf, that has great viewership around the world, especially in Asia. I lived in Asia for 11 years and played a lot of golf there when I had a chance. You go into a golf club on any weekend, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, what's on TV in the locker room, in the restaurant, in the lobby. It's golf, and it's usually women's golf, KLPGA, JLPGA, LPGA, so such a keen interest in it, and it's really, for us, it's a perfect venue for us to accomplish our business mission, which is to broaden our name around the world. And then this format as commissioner said is so unique because it allows anybody, any country in the world to put together a team to qualify. There's nothing like it in any other version of golf.
So if you're from Spain or if you're from Sweden, you can play for Team Europe in the Solheim Cup, that's one thing, but to play for Spain or Sweden or England in the UL International Crown with the flag on your shirt is different. Of course if you're from Asia you really can't play in any other event except this one. So I think it's also a unique event as the commissioner said, and I think it's going to be a really long run for golf because everyone can qualify.
JERRY FOLTZ: I know being around the players since this was conceived four years ago or staged for the first time, it means so much to them now, and you were curious how it was going to take off back then, but it means so much to them now and we can't thank you enough, everybody involved with the LPGA, everybody involved, for your involvement and support. The International Crown, as we know, is a unique, biannual event that features the best female players across the globe. They get a chance to wear their national colors, taking place this year, four days at the Jack Nicklaus Golf Club in Korea. It's the cut and thrust format of match play. I'm going to steal that for the broadcast. Please turn your attention for a brief video.
I've got to tell you a quick story about how popular golf is in Korea. When I was down there for the Presidents Cup, I've never seen anything like the fan reaction there, but at night when you turn on your TV after the live golf is done, turn on your TV, and in primetime, you see Tour golf but not on a golf course. They literally have simulator Tours of professional simulator golfers with caddies and announcers during the evening playing for prize money. That's how popular golf is in Korea.
KEITH WILLIAMS: Well, of course you would want to do that, right?
JERRY FOLTZ: Absolutely.
KEITH WILLIAMS: It's a great country for golf. I've been to Korea easily more than 100 times, and I've played a lot of the golf courses there. You're right, the fans are some of the best fans in the world, and they're very passionate about it, and I can imagine it's going to be incredible -- both excitement and pressure for team Korea. Four years ago at Caves Valley they were third, and two years ago at the Merit Club they were second, and so the trend is right. But you can imagine teeing it up on October the 4th at the Jack Nicklaus Golf Club in Korea, the Korean anthem played, the Korean flag raised, and as the commissioner said, 40,000 people around the first tee, it's going to be a hard shot to hit. Taking the driver back from that ball is going to take a little courage.
MIKE WHAN: One of my favorite photos in my office, we were standing on the first tee in 2010, Seri Pak, it might have been So Yeon, playing together in the final group, and back then, when you had your cameras, they always made a noise and you couldn't silence them, so it would always click all the time, and when 25,000 do it at once it's pretty overwhelming. So I said to the tournament director, hey can you please can go up and in Korean say, can you please not take pictures today? And the best photo in my office is a picture. I'm standing him and I just figured, I might as well take a picture because 28,000 people were taking his picture while he was saying please don't take pictures.
JERRY FOLTZ: Those kind of pieces always give me, as a huge fan of golf and women's golf especially, give me chills, and I've been at both of those, and it's really something. I encourage every one of you if you can possibly make the trip to Seoul, you won't regret it.
The main reason we're here today is to announce the 32 players that have officially qualified to take part in the 2018 UL International Crown. As we know, it's to be contested at the Jack Nicklaus Golf Club in Korea, the first week of October, and we're fortunate to have eight players who will be competing here with us today, and coincidentally one from each of the qualifying countries. Let's start with No. 1 seed, Team Korea. The Republic of Korea will be represented today by So Yeon Ryu who is here today, and she will announce her teammates, who will join us at the Jack Nicklaus Golf Club.
SO YEON RYU: The players that are going to represent my country is going to be Inbee Park, Sung Hyun Park, myself, and IK Kim.
JERRY FOLTZ: And I know there was some talk earlier from Keith about the grace and dignity shown during a playoff at the U.S. Open. You can't speak highly enough for this young lady how she handles herself each and every day, and especially yesterday.
Team USA, the reigning champions -- sorry, So Yeon. And the No. 2 seed. They are represented today by Jessica Korda, and she'll announce her teammates.
JESSICA KORDA: Representing the United States of America is Lexi Thompson, myself, Cristie Kerr, and Michelle Wie.
JERRY FOLTZ: So many questions I want to ask you, as we're going to save that until we get through all of them. Flying the flag for Team England, the third seed, the young lady who almost won the Ricoh Women's British Open a year ago, a rookie this year on the LPGA Tour, Georgia Hall will introduce her teammates joining her in Korea.
I'm out of order, sorry. Team Japan is now in third position, and here representing them and working through an interpreter, a very courageous performance yesterday, a final-round 64, almost beat the record of the largest deficit in the history of a major championship, she came back from nine shots to get into the playoff with So Yeon and Sung Hyun Park, she is Nasa Hataoka.
Fourth now is Georgia Hall, flying the flag for team England.
GEORGIA HALL: Representing Team England will be Charley Hull, myself, Jodi Ewart Shadoff, and Bronte Law.
JERRY FOLTZ: No. 5 seed at the Jack Nicklaus Golf Club in this year's UL International Crown, Team Australia represented by Katherine Kirk.
KATHERINE KIRK: Team Australia will be Minjee Lee, myself, Sarah Jane Smith, and Su Oh.
JERRY FOLTZ: Sixth position we have Team Thailand, and here to represent them at this press conference, Moriya Jutanugarn.
MORIYA JUTANUGARN: Team Thailand is going to be Ariya Jutanugarn, myself, Pornanong Phatlum, and Sherman Santiwiwatthanaphong.
JERRY FOLTZ: The seventh seed is Team Sweden, and here today representing Team Sweden is ANA Inspiration champion, Pernilla Lindberg.
PERNILLA LINDBERG: Representing Sweden is Anna Nordqvist, myself, Madelene Sagstrom and Caroline Hedwall.
JERRY FOLTZ: And rounding out the competition is team Chinese Taipei in the eighth position, and here at the UL headquarters is Candie Kung, who will give us the rest of the lineup.
CANDIE KUNG: For Team Chinese Taipei we have Teresa Lu, Wei-Ling Hsu, Hsuan-Yu Yao and myself.
JERRY FOLTZ: A little Q & A time. Thank you for joining us and taking time out of your extremely busy schedules to be here today, and I know how excited you guys are to be competing, and we're so excited to be there covering it to an international audience. So Yeon, what's it going to be like playing in front of your home country and the home crowd and all the pressure you guys face that I don't think we can comprehend?
SO YEON RYU: It's going to be crazy. Golf is such a popular sport in Korea, and especially a lot of Korean players dominating on the LPGA, is women's golf is such a big thing in Korea. We never really had a chance to represent our country before we had the UL International Crown, so all the Korean golf fans just cannot wait for this fantastic tournament.
Yeah, it's going to be a lot of pressure, but I think that's why we are good at it. I think we can handle it, and hopefully we can get the Crown.
JERRY FOLTZ: You guys are the favorites, but what are the strengths of your team and each player individually?
SO YEON RYU: First of all, Inbee Park, nothing I really need to explain about Inbee Park. She's one of the best putters in golf history, I believe, and then Sung Hyun Park, she just won yesterday, and she's a very aggressive player, and she's very good for match play, and myself, I think I made three in a row for this tournament, so I'm just going to give my credit.
And then IK Kim, also she's incredible player, and then me myself, Inbee and I.K. played together at The International Crown in 2014, so we know how it's going to work, so hopefully we can help out Sung Hyun Park really well, so I think our teamwork will be really great.
JERRY FOLTZ: The only lineup that changed yesterday was I.K.'s finish yesterday out of all the eight teams? That's pretty impressive.
Jessica, you haven't competed in this before, but you have competed in the Solheim Cup, and that obviously is a lot of pressure, and you played it at home, Colorado?
JESSICA KORDA: Yeah, we played it at home.
JERRY FOLTZ: What especially appeals to you, Team USA, about this event and how satisfying is it for you? I know it's a big deal amongst the players to qualify for this. You guys talk about it for two years, and especially in the off Solheim Cup years, how important it is to be on this team. What's it mean to you, and how excited do you think your team is?
JESSICA KORDA: I know they're super excited. Michelle already texted me yesterday, and her and Lexi, we talked about it a couple weeks ago, so everybody representing the United States, it's always such an honor wearing red, white and blue and playing underneath the American flag. It's just an honor in itself.
JERRY FOLTZ: Is Korea really the favorite?
JESSICA KORDA: No comment. I don't want to say anything that gets me in trouble. We'll see when we get there.
JERRY FOLTZ: That's really the unique thing about team sports, when you bring it to an individual sport is how passionate they are about it but how much respect they still have for each other when all is said and done, but they do compete with a lot of patriotism, each and every one of them. I'm going to Nasa next. Nasa, your second year after having won Q-school, that was pretty impressive, by the way, coming back here and making the noise you're making this year, I can't speak highly enough of you as a player and as a person. What do you especially like about each of your teammates?
NASA HATAOKA: Ai Suzuki, she's the money winner on the JLPGA last year, and her strength is putting, and Misuzu Narita, I think she's going to be a mood maker as well as a leader on the team. And Mamiko Higa, she's a long hitter.
JERRY FOLTZ: By the way, when Nasa won in Arkansas just over a week ago, on Saturday evening, the LPGA pressroom got bombarded with more credential requests, a minimum of 20 members of the Japanese media flew in overnight to cover this young lady's victory. That's pretty impressive to me.
Georgia, this is technically your rookie season on the LPGA Tour, and your first year on the Ladies European Tour, you debuted that season as a member of the Solheim Cup. You stunningly showed what you could do against the male opposition at the Golf Sixes, you and your partner was Charlie, and then of course Carlota and Mel. What will it mean to you to compete in your first UL International Crown and play for Team England amongst your fellow countrywomen?
GEORGIA HALL: Yeah, it's very special to me. It was one of my goals to start the year to make the team. I missed out a couple years ago, and playing Solheim was massive to me, and it's very rare for us to play in team events. To play with Charlie, Jodi and Bronte I think it going to be a great week.
JERRY FOLTZ: Do you expect to have a similar atmosphere to what you had at Golf Sixes? That was more of a festive atmosphere, this is going to be pretty intense, wasn't it?
GEORGIA HALL: Yeah, Charlie is extremely fun to play with as a lot of people know and she's very funny, so I think it's going to be very relaxed. She's very competitive and so is Bronte, so yeah, I think it'll be good.
JERRY FOLTZ: Katherine Kirk from Australia, you're heading up to Green Bay today or this afternoon, I'm sure, to be the defending champion in the next LPGA event. Karrie Webb has been an inspiration to generations of golfers from Australia. I think that's an understatement, and an influential figure for Team Australia in the first two editions of this, but she's not qualified this year. She'll be there in spirit, I can promise you. You're the veteran on the team; that doesn't make you old, just makes you more experienced. How does that feel and what do you expect from your team when we get to Korea?
KATHERINE KIRK: Well, I think we might make Karrie our honorary captain. Obviously her experience and playing on the first UL International Crown was huge, and yeah, she'll be cheering us from afar.
Yeah, I feel like very much the oldest person here. I've known Sarah Jane Smith on our team longer than Mo might have been alive. How old are you, Mo?
MORIYA JUTANUGARN: 23.
KATHERINE KIRK: Yeah, I've known Sarah Jane 23 years. But no, we've got a great team. Obviously Minjee and Sue and SJ played the previous one, so we know what it's like, and we're the underdogs for sure, but we'll give it our best.
JERRY FOLTZ: Being from one those countries that has been on the outside looking in every two years watching the Solheim Cup thinking what it would be like to compete for your country, now you've had a taste of doing that, what is it like? How is the pressure different?
KATHERINE KIRK: Well, you are thinking about the 24 million people back home cheering you on, and yeah, it is a huge honor, like Georgia just said, to represent your country, and we don't get the chance other than in the Olympics. It's a huge deal, and I know the girls are constantly looking at their rankings to see if they're going to make the team. UL International Crown is a great event. I got to experience it in 2014, and we're excited to go to South Korea and experience the atmosphere there.
JERRY FOLTZ: Do you like your team's chances?
KATHERINE KIRK: Like I said, we're the underdogs.
JERRY FOLTZ: Moriya, you played in both 2014 and 2016. What's been your best experience so far in the competition, and how do you think the event will be received the first time in Asia?
MORIYA JUTANUGARN: Well, to me it's always really very exciting to play UL International Crown again and play as a team. It's so much fun. It doesn't get a lot of experience, and especially this time it's going to be really, really exciting because it's going to be the first time in Asia. UL is like such a really good event, and also golf fans is very global. I want to see more of that.
JERRY FOLTZ: Will you and Ariya play all the team matches together or are you going to split up a little bit?
MORIYA JUTANUGARN: We're going to keep that a secret of Thailand. How about that? But I'll try.
JERRY FOLTZ: Pernilla, you represented Team Sweden in the inaugural International Crown in 2014. Now we fast forward four years and you head into your second appearance as a major champion, and a major champion in dramatic style in that Monday morning playoff making every putt inside 15 feet. After a while I just didn't say anything. I just couldn't even speak. It was one of the greatest putting displays ever. What is it going to be like for you now competing as a major champion. Is there going to be more pressure?
PERNILLA LINDBERG: No, no more pressure. I would just say walking in there with more confidence. That's for sure the biggest difference for me. And obviously, like you said, I got to play in 2014, and Sweden actually finished runner up to Spain that year, and we had a similar team, three out of four players are back this time around, and we were very bummed to miss out two years ago. No, we're just excited to be back, having the runner-up finish in '14, and yeah, everything just points to walking in with more confidence, no more pressure.
JERRY FOLTZ: Tell us one thing that most fans wouldn't know about Anna, Madelene and Caroline?
PERNILLA LINDBERG: Our golf fans are pretty knowledgeable, so whatever you see out there, a lot of people know a lot about them, but one kind of fun fact is in October when we will be in Korea, it will be exactly 10 years ago that me, Anna and Caroline won the world amateur championships together in Australia, and we won it in a pretty big way. I can't remember how many shots, but double digits. So that's kind of an interesting fact. It'll be our 10-year anniversary then.
And then Madeline and I have gotten to know and become pretty good friends over the last couple years. She was a rookie last year, obviously made it on to the European Solheim Cup in her rookie year, which is very impressive, and she's just a fun -- kind of fun spirit who likes to be artsy and do her yoga and kind of -- yeah, a little out there things when she's not on the golf course.
JERRY FOLTZ: Am I the only one sensing just a little bit of optimism on your behalf, on your team's chances here?
PERNILLA LINDBERG: Yeah, like same as kind of the phrase that Catherine used there, being the underdog, but that's how I felt at ANA, too, and it kind of paid off.
JERRY FOLTZ: Candie, you've represented your country in the first two editions, and you will be the veteran on Chinese Taipei this year. Such a great player for so many years. How much has this team competition grown to an elite global level in your view?
CANDIE KUNG: All teams are getting stronger and stronger every year. Everybody is trying to make it on their UL team, representing their country. We don't really have too much chances as an Asian player to play for our own country, and this is actually going to be very exciting for us to be in Korea. We'll be hearing a lot of cheering going on, and we're going to be close to Asia, too, so hopefully we'll have some fans from Taiwan, Chinese Taipei, to come support us during the week of the event, and we'd like to thank UL for giving us the opportunity to represent our country, to be able to play in front of our fans.
JERRY FOLTZ: Tell us a little bit about your teammates in terms of the attributes you think are going to help you guys out as the eighth seed coming into the UL International Crown.
CANDIE KUNG: I'm going to have to be honest here: I don't know much. I have two of them playing in Japan. I know they're playing pretty well right now. That's how they make it on the team. And then I have one who's playing pretty good in the U.S. right now, but she's a little younger than the rest of us. We'll see. This is going to be our strategy. We're just going to show up and play our own golf, and we'll see what happens.
JERRY FOLTZ: Let's go ahead and open this up to some questions from the gathered media if you guys have any.
Q. So Yeon, you've been in all of these. When you walk into your National Anthem being played, how different do you expect that to be in your home country, and what are you going to tell your teammates who haven't been a part of this?
SO YEON RYU: Well, even like 2014 and '16 I nearly cried when I heard the National Anthem before I started to tee it off. There's something special representing your country. It's such a really honor thing to do and then a very special thing to do. At the same time, a lot of pressure.
But like I said, I play with Inbee and I.K. before but haven't played with Sung Hyun so hopefully we can help her out to make her feel more comfortable being in such a pressure moment.
Hopefully our team is going to work really well in front of the golf fans, so hopefully we can make Korean golf fans really happy.
Q. Pernilla, you wept like a baby in Baltimore when your National Anthem was played. What are you going to tell your teammates?
PERNILLA LINDBERG: Just really to enjoy the week. I mean, we're fortunate to also have the Solheim Cup at least compared to some of these Asian countries, but still, playing as a team, it's just so rarely we get to do it. We're just going to try to have fun, and I think playing in Korea, for me personally it's been a big goal my last couple years to make it. Ever since they announced it was going to be in Korea, I know how big of a deal it's going to be over there. So yeah, we're just going to try to enjoy the week as much as possible.
Q. Jessica, you've enjoyed the home-field advantages with the Solheim Cup and the big home crowds. What do you think it's going to be like being the road team, and what's the strategy there in that kind of atmosphere?
JESSICA KORDA: Well, playing in Korea is going to be crazy. Even when we play tournaments there, just the amount of fans and the amount of love that you get from the Korean fans is incredible. It's something that -- I've never played in anything like this before. But I've just heard -- even Inbee was telling me that it's going to be absolutely massive. Catherine was saying that they sold out the tickets within minutes, so I can only imagine what it's going to be like playing in Korea against the Korean girls. Hopefully some American fans show up for us, and obviously I think everybody is kind of wishing that, but I can almost guarantee you won't be hearing a whole lot of them.
In terms of strategy, honestly I have no idea. I've never played in anything like this before. Solheim Cup you have a captain that kind of makes the decisions. Here you captain yourselves basically. You're making your own decisions, and there's only four girls. Hopefully Cristie and Lexi can give us a little bit of insight as to what kind of goes on a little bit because Michelle and I have never been on the team before.
Q. We've got eight girls from eight different countries standing in front of a background that says International Crown, and the commissioner has mentioned the growth of the LPGA. I see a lot of endorsement logos on PGA TOUR players that say Wheels Up or NetJets. Do any of you get to fly private jets, or do you always fly commercial?
JERRY FOLTZ: That's a really good question. Which of you flies privately more than just the occasional?
JESSICA KORDA: I don't think any of us really fly private. Maybe like once or twice a year, but definitely not something that we fund ourselves.
If you know somebody that could sponsor any of us, we'd really appreciate it.
Q. Jerry, you mentioned that the play-in format was going to be the same. What about the competition format? Will that be the same, have two pools?
MIKE WHAN: Yes, there will be Pool A, Pool B, playoff on Saturday night, the two third-place teams from the two pools, so you know there's only five countries that will play on Sunday, and the reason that works is if you think about five countries, each of the four players will play in a singles match.
Q. So Yeon, if you compare UL International Crown to the Olympics, what's the beauty and what's more fun comparing to the Olympic golf?
SO YEON RYU: You know I didn't play the Olympics.
Q. But if you compare the competition rules and stuff.
SO YEON RYU: Well, I think Olympic, even though you're representing your own country, they only have individual, it's not a team sport, so you cannot really have team spirit. You cannot be really having fun with the teammates. But UL International Crown we're going to represent our country like for each players, and then it's just something special. Even though we are all friends out here, we're always competing with each other, so we never really had a chance to discuss about how the golf game going to be, how are we going to play that hole kind of stuff, but we all four together always talk about how we're going to play better with this golf course. It's like so much fun.
Also it's a really great way to know each other better. I think since I played 2014 UL International Crown I started to get closer to all my teammates, like Inbee, Na Yeon, I.K. It's just such a great tournament. It's also a really, really great atmosphere.
Q. Who would you like to pair up with this year?
SO YEON RYU: Like Moriya said, I want to keep that a secret.
Q. Nasa, this is the first time this is being played relatively close to the same time zone as it is in Japan as opposed to having to watch in the middle of the night or like 5:30 yesterday morning when you started the playoff. How big do you think this is going to be received from the television audience in Japan?
NASA HATAOKA: Well, obviously playing for my country, it'll be a huge event. It'll be a huge hit, I think, as well in Japan, and especially being played in Korea. But also I want our Japanese fans to come over to Korea and cheer for Team Japan.
Q. So Yeon, what was it like all those years watching the Solheim Cup and not being able to be a part of it? And has this format sort of satisfied what you guys wanted?
SO YEON RYU: Yeah, it's definitely a bit different because we have eight countries instead of just two teams, and watching the Solheim is kind of torturing for me. I don't know which team I should be rooting for with all my friends out there. But playing International Crown, like you know which team you're going to be rooting for, so it's going to be different.
And then like to be honest, maybe I think still a lot of people are confused with the format about the UL International Crown, but for sure when Solheim started no one really knew how it was going to work out. But first year UL International going to be something like Solheim, hopefully even bigger than Solheim, and then once we started to have more tournaments people started to get there, and I think Mike Whan did a really good job to make a good format to make us competing against each other as a fair way.
Q. Mo, what has it meant to the Jutanugarn sisters to be able to take Thailand to so many world stages?
MORIYA JUTANUGARN: Well, for us, it's really big honor to represent our country. I think it's very proud, as well. To represent Thailand, for a lot of people to know, it's been really an honor. And UL International Crown, we're going to play under Thailand, and we're just going to try to support each other, not like trying to play against each other, like what I'm doing with my sister right now. But I think it's going to be a lot, a lot of fun.
Q. Katherine, we know that the other girls up there have played in Solheim Cups and have played in other international competitions, but very unfamiliar with whether or not Australia has competed in team competitions in the past. What is your team's history in that regard?
KATHERINE KIRK: Yeah, other than amateur golf, I mean, this UL International Crown is kind of a first for us professionally, and then obviously with the Olympics being added a couple years ago. We're very much used to it and used to playing match play in amateur golf, but yeah, this is kind of groundbreaking for professional golf, so we're excited that someone actually brought it to the forefront. It's a huge part of our schedule now, and I think it's only going to continue to grow just because more people around the world are going to catch on to the team spirit, the country kind of rivalries, and from a camaraderie perspective, it doesn't get any better playing for a team.
Q. I've never asked you this, but it seems like these competitions always come down to putting. When you're watching Solheim, somebody makes a big putt. I've never seen a better putting exhibition than what you put on in the weekend in the desert. I'm curious to know what was your pre-putt thought? How do you do that, and what was going through your mind as you stepped up over the 15, 12-foot putt?
PERNILLA LINDBERG: That's a very personal question. (Laughter.) No, I think the best thing and what's the hardest to actually do is to have as few thoughts as possible, and that's -- for me, I was just -- people talk about being in the zone. I just had this calm to myself the whole week at ANA. I just felt confident for each and every 12-footer I was making, obviously, the confidence was growing. I was just really comfortable in the situation. It's just one of those weeks, I just saw the lines, I started the putts where I wanted to, and when I do that, I don't have to thinking about. I was pretty much just thinking about breathing. That was about it. Take a couple of deep breaths.
No, I mean, golf, it's funny. You can pretty much always save an average day if you putt well, and that's why it seems like coming down in these kind of matches, it doesn't really matter where you hit it, it all comes down to making those big putts in the end, and I'm sure everyone is going to get to see some of those moments in Korea again in October.
Q. Trust is a key value at UL, and I would imagine trust is a key component to your success as golfers. Can you share a bit about the role of trust in your relationship with teammates, caddies, trainers, physical equipment?
SO YEON RYU: Well, golf is an individual sport, but it's actually not an individual sport. It is individual sport on the golf course, but we need a lot of help. It's really important having a great caddie on the golf course. They're not just only giving us the number or the club. They're the one that has to be there as the best cheerleader. They're the ones that make us feel really calm, make us feel happy, make us feel really focused on it.
And then like coach, even though we are professional, sometimes we just have no idea what's going on on the golf course, but they're the one figuring out what's the thing I need to improve myself to being a better golfer all the time. And then like trainer, the agent, LPGA, just everything is just part of it. Without them, we just cannot exist here, so we should all appreciate that.
Officially I'm really thankful for everyone.
JERRY FOLTZ: Pernilla, your caddie situation is different than most.
PERNILLA LINDBERG: Yeah, trust is quite important in my caddie-player relationship since my caddie is also my fiancÃ©. Yeah, and that's -- and trust, it's actually a great word to use there because Daniel caddied for me for almost six years, and then last year we decided to try to not work together. He caddied for a couple other players, and I was missing that trust factor with other caddies, and that's why I kind of called him back at the end of last year and said, I need you back, I don't trust anyone else out there as much as I trust you. And same as So Yeon is talking about coaches and everything. We work so hard, and we just want to have a reliable team around us when we're out there because as a professional golfer on the road, you can be pretty lonely, so you want to have a nice support network around you with people that you trust, and that weighs over to a team event like this, too. The week of UL International Crown, your network around you is going to be the other players on the team, and obviously you want to feel trust and support no matter if you're playing good or bad and kind of just keep each other up the whole week.
Q. As you think forward now to October the 4th and the tournament beginning, what's the one message you would like to send back on this global news conference to your fans back home?
CANDIE KUNG: Hopefully we can get a lot of fans from all eight countries to go out to Korea to support us because we know Korea is going to be pretty loud. Hopefully we can get a few of our own people, our own language out there besides Koreans.
PERNILLA LINDBERG: I think that's a great message, but also just -- if our fans are not able to travel that far to tune in, no matter where in the world they're watching, one guarantee, just look at the season we're having on the LPGA Tour right now. We're going to have a lot of drama out there, no question about it. Everyone is playing so well. If you're a golf fan, you just have to tune in. It's going to be exciting to watch.
MORIYA JUTANUGARN: Well, Thailand is not so far from Korea, so hopefully I've got some Thai fans coming out to cheer for Team Thailand, and I'm pretty sure someone back home, if they can't make it, they're going to be really excited and cheering for us, as well.
KATHERINE KIRK: Aussies love rivalries, so I think we're definitely going to have a good support crew back home. I don't know how many people make the trip up, but it would be lovely to see some Aussie flags in the crowd and hearing some Aussie-Aussie-Aussie, oy, oy, oyes out there. But I think this is a global tournament now, and there's a chance for this thing to get moved around the world. I hope Aussies will pay attention, and hopefully one day we can even host a UL International Crown.
GEORGIA HALL: I very much doubt there will be very many England fans out there because it's a very long way away, but I think there will be a lot of our friends and family supporting us, and it just makes us feel a bit more confident when we know there's people at home watching us. I think when we play in team sports, you see a different kind of golf. I think the atmosphere is so much better. I think we're looking forward to it.
NASA HATAOKA: I feel proud to represent Japan at this tournament. I hope many fans come out and support us in Korea.
JESSICA KORDA: Since we're one of the last people to answer the question, the answer is probably going to be all the same. We hope that the American fans come and support us. It's going to be loud, and it's going to be awesome. Team sports are so much fun, and team events just bring out the best in each other, and it's going to be hopefully dramatic, as always, and just really, really fun. So we hope that everybody tunes in and supports the United States.
SO YEON RYU: Yeah, with our support from Korea, we maybe can be really great on the road, so hopefully we can play some really great golf in front of all the Korean golf fans. And then I know it's a very competitive tournament, but at the same time, I think this is just a festival, just a whole golf festival. Hopefully all the Korean fans are going to come out and enjoy this great festival with us.
JERRY FOLTZ: It will be a week-long celebration of women's golf above everything else and a great competition. Ladies and gentlemen, thank you all for being here today, and especially thank you to these eight stars of the LPGA Tour for giving us their time.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports