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July 3, 2018

Lydia Ko

Oneida, Wisconsin

THE MODERATOR: Welcome to the Thornberry Creek LPGA Classic media Center. It's my pleasure to welcome in Lydia Ko, 15-time LPGA winner, two time major champion.

Lydia, welcome.

LYDIA KO: Thank you.

THE MODERATOR: Lydia, we're more than halfway through the season. You've already got a win under your belt. How do you gauge your season so far?

LYDIA KO: Yeah, I think it's either been really high or really low. I'm trying to be a little bit more consistent. Definitely winning in San Francisco gave me a lot of confidence, and I was able to have another top 10 the week after. I had a couple to Top 10s in this stretch, so, yeah, hopefully I'll be able to finish this stretch of events with a solid week here this week.

I think no matter how well you're playing, you always feel like there are many aspects in your game you can improve on. I've got two weeks off after this, so hopefully now be able to get some time to relax and also work on my game before the next couple events and our next major.

THE MODERATOR: You mentioned you had four top 20 finishes since you won at Lake Merced. What did that win do for your confidence?

LYDIA KO: I felt like the puzzle pieces were there but I just couldn't put it together. Sometimes that's the hardest thing, just to be able to glue all those things together. I felt like I was able to do that in San Francisco.

I think the big key for me that week was a couple of my friends came so I really wasn't worrying about the golf. I was just there to have a good time. I love San Francisco. Yeah, you know, I think my mind was less -- it's almost a bad thing to say, but you're less focused on the golf.

At the same time, just made me not worry about it that much. I think that just gave me the confidence to say, Hey, there are a lot of good things going on. You're moving in the right direction.

THE MODERATOR: We're through three majors already this season. We've got two left, one where you've won before, the Evian Championship. How do you assess your play in majors so far?

LYDIA KO: I had one really, really good round last week, and then last three were not so good. But, no, I love playing in the British Open. Playing on those links golf courses is definitely different to playing any other golf course.

Sometimes you need to have another -- a 15th club, which is handling the wind and being safe at places and being a bit more aggressive.

So links play golf I think is a bit different, but I love playing that. It's just a lot of fun being able to hit different shots. Evian always draws a lot of great memories with my first major win.

Yeah, no, it's exciting times. I guess whatever tournament you go to you want to play your best. To me, I think the big focus is to not get too caught up in thinking it's a major championship and just go out there and play my game and not worry about trying to peak at that event.

THE MODERATOR: So we're in Green Bay now. You weren't able to play this event last year. What did some of your fellow players tell you about the inaugural Thornberry Creek LPGA Classic.

LYDIA KO: Yeah, I think obviously Kat has a lot of great things and great memories. I think she won like 22-under par, so just that itself just says there is quite a few birdies out there.

I heard that a few of the players said it's not as firm as last year, so I think maybe with the rain we had a couple days ago. I'm pretty sure with good forecast it'll dry out and play a little bit differently to what I played today.

But, yeah, no, it's a really nice golf course. It's really beautiful. No, it's not driver off every single tee, but you have to play smart, because in the past the scores have been quite low. You do have to be a little bit more aggressive and try and get those birdies.

THE MODERATOR: You had a chance to play 18 holes this morning. What were you initial thoughts? Are you comfortable playing a style that's kind of a birdie-fest like you mentioned?

LYDIA KO: I got to pray that my putter is hot. (Laughter.)

Yeah, you know, when you're going out there knowing that there are birdies, actually makes it fun because not every golf course is like that. Especially coming off a major championship, it's definitely a different type of course management.

The course is really nice. It's in really good shape. With the sun baking out a little bit, I'm sure the greens are going to get even more firmer and faster. The course itself is really beautiful.

THE MODERATOR: Have you been to Green Bay before? Will we see you in any Packers gear maybe this week?

LYDIA KO: I have never been here before, and, yeah, I don't really know too much about American football. Yeah, so who knows? If I play great, you might see me in the green.


Q. How much desire do you have to get back to No. 1, especially after winning earlier this year?
LYDIA KO: There are so many players playing well at the top of the leaderboard, and just players from all different countries. So I think now it's actually more harder to win, I guess, which means it's obviously harder to become world No. 1.

All I can do is really focus on my game and be more consistent. I know that the more times I put myself in contention and the more times I'm in the top 10 or I'm the one holding a trophy, the rankings kind of sort itself out.

I honestly do not know what my world ranking is right now. 14? There you go. Yeah, I mean...

So I think the rankings isn't something that I'm mainly focusing on. I'm more focusing on the areas of my game to improve. If those improve, the scores will improve and then the rankings improve.

I've been really not worrying about the rankings and just going out there and playing my game.

Q. So much has been said about your changes in coaches and changes in caddies. Has it ever gotten frustrating for you for all people talking about those things and not focusing on just your golf? And if so, did you ever lose the fun or the passion you had for playing golf over the last year?
LYDIA KO: I don't think because of what other people said, that affected how much I loved or don't love the game. I mean, I can't make every single person like me. I can't make every single person agree with me. But at the end of the day, I feel like I made the right decisions.

Even though I made more changes at the start of the year going into the season, I felt like we were all -- I was going in the right steps. So all I can do is do my best at that moment and what I think is the right decision there, so I have no regrets.

I feel like I've got a solid team around me. Everybody makes changes or does things differently just because they want to get better. Everybody is working towards getting better, so that's what I felt like I needed to do at those times.

Q. This is your sixth event of your six-in-row stretch. What's that like for you? You talked about that being the longest stretch of events in your career that you played consecutively, so how does it feel now?
LYDIA KO: I think I've got to like a gray hair. I'm just joking. Or as Steve says, it's platinum. Yeah, it's definitely been the longest stretch since I've been on tour. Haven't done more than four in a row, so I was wondering what it was going to be like on the fifth week.

I think I just survived, so I an hoping to just survive again this week and have a good few days off after this week. I think more so when you get in tournament mode you really don't know what week you're on and you're just out there playing that hole, playing that shot.

So even last week when I was playing, your whole focus is out there playing, so you don't really worry about how tired you are physically. I think when these stretch of events are going to be over I'm definitely going to be feeling it.

I mean, I didn't leave my bed until going out to dinner yesterday. That kind of shows what I was kind of in the groove of. Yeah, no, it's been fun. All these stretch of events have been great. A few of my really favorite events obviously with the two majors. I love going comeback to Meijer and Arkansas.

So it's hard to pick and choose at times because you really want to play them all, but you do have to think about the energy levels, too.

THE MODERATOR: What led you to make that decision this year to play six instead of capping at your usual four in a row?

LYDIA KO: Well, I had my one in four that I had to play, and just obviously you're super excited about the majors. And the middle events, like I said, they're events that I love going back to.

Like in Arkansas. I played with the same pro-am group for the last four years, so there are faces I love going back to see.

Yeah, no, it's just -- obviously you got so many great events, ending with Marathon next week. Just really hard to choose which ones you want to play. Sometimes travels and logistics come into play, too and it's really nice to just be able to drive from last week to come here to this week, too.

Q. You've accomplished so much already at such a young age. Do you ever feel like people forget you're only 21 years old? Do you still feel young out here or starting to feel like a veteran now?
LYDIA KO: I'm just kind of in that dodgy area where I'm not a veteran but not a rookie. Like it's that five years where your foot is half in but half out.

Yeah, so, yeah, no, people are like, Hey, how old are you now? I'm 21. What? How are you still 21?

So, no, at times I feel a lot older than I am. Then at times I'm like, Oh, yeah, I do feel like a 21 year old. My mom probably thinks I'm like 15 with the way I act around the house.

Yeah, I think age is really just a number out here. There are girls that have been on tour longer than I've lived and girls like this year -- I know, that's kind of sad, guys, sorry. But there are rookies this year that can be the youngest of being born in the 2000s. That's crazy.

But I think experience is a totally different thing to actually how old you are.

THE MODERATOR: Any other questions?

Q. How different does your mindset change when you go from a major to a regular tour event, your approach to the tournament and what have to do?
LYDIA KO: I think, you know, more changes, your course management changes depending on the type of golf course and how you need to play this golf course rather than it being a major or just another event on our calendar.

I think, I mean, even last week obviously it was really tough stretch of holes coming in, 16, 17, 18. Looked like here it wasn't the easiest finishing holes either.

So I think doesn't really matter about, Hey, it's a major or not. It's more about how that course plays. Obviously with this one last year, with the scores being so low and with the girls playing is a great and a pretty strong field this week, I'm pretty sure the scores are going to be low.

You kind of have to think about trying to make as many birdies as you can, but also not make careless mistakes out there, too.

Q. There have been 18 tournaments this year and 16 different winners. Just in the time you've been on the tour, how much harder has it gotten to win out here?
LYDIA KO: I think it's gotten a lot harder to win. Even last year I came second three times or something and I felt like I was playing good golf. Every time I played solid somebody played better.

I think that's the thing with golf, that all you can do is try your best. If somebody plays better than you, you can't do anything about it. You have to be proud about how you played.

I think it's great that there are so many players from different countries, from Thailand and Korea, the European countries the American girls, Australia - Minjee is playing great - and Brooke. There are just endless names and just endless names of girls that are playing consistently well.

I think it just shows what a global tour the LPGA is going to keep getting and is still growing to be. It's a great place I think for the women's game. With this obviously it makes it trickier for us to win, but I think it's a great step forward for the juniors that are taking up the game and girls all around the world to say, Hey, I want to be the next Ariya Jutanugarn or I want to be the next Brooke Henderson or Lexi Thompson.

So I think it's a really cool place for women's golf. Makes it harder for us, but I think it's more fun that there is great competition and just so much talent. You are definitely playing against the best female golfers in the world.

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