July 11, 2018
Q. Welcome back. You said this is your second time playing here?
JILLIAN HOLLIS: Yes, it is.
Q. So you had a sponsor exemption three, four years ago, and now you're back as a new professional. What was the experience like a couple years ago compared to this year?
JILLIAN HOLLIS: Oh, it was so great. It was one of my first pro events as an amateur. So it was a little bit nerve-racking, you know, going on to the practice green and the driving range, and seeing all of the people that I've watched on TV for so long. So it was definitely a great experience. I've played this golf course numerous times, just as a junior and in this tournament.
So it's a little bit different now because I know a lot of people out here. I have a coach that works with a lot of the girls out here, so he introduces me to them. And I played the U.S. Open earlier in the year, and have played several Symetra tour events. So it's really, I've gotten my bearings for being a professional. So it's been a little easier this time, a little more relaxed.
Q. What year was that that you played here?
JILLIAN HOLLIS: 2014.
Q. Okay. Did you make the cut?
JILLIAN HOLLIS: I did not, no. I was very nervous.
Q. Do you remember what your first tee shot was like in a pro event?
JILLIAN HOLLIS: My first pro event was the Canadian Open, and I hit it right down the middle, and didn't hit many more down the middle after that. But it was great. It's all just a great learning experience, and I'm so thankful that I did get to play in the Canadian Open and in this four years ago. It's been awesome. Every tournament you learn something new, and I'm really excited to take more things away from this week.
Q. I think this tournament is as close to home as you get, right?
JILLIAN HOLLIS: It is, an hour and 15 minutes to be exact.
Q. Do you have family and friends that are stopping by?
JILLIAN HOLLIS: I do. I just met my mom here. She just got in with my sister. So it's nice to see them and my dad. My brother are going to come. My brother and sister don't get to watch me play golf a lot. They're younger than me, and they're doing their own things. It's always so far away that it's hard for them to make the trip. But it's nice that they get to come see me this week.
Q. Is that a good thing for you when you're on the course and you have family walking with you?
JILLIAN HOLLIS: Yes. I'm very close with my family, and my mom and my dad are always at tournaments when they can be, and my mom played golf, so she knows how it is. It's really comforting just because I spend so much time with them when I am at home, and to have them on the golf course watching me is just great.
Q. Did you learn golf growing up with a golf family or how did that work?
JILLIAN HOLLIS: Yes, so my mom played college golf, and she played at Ohio State. She played professionally for a couple years and played over in Europe. Then she taught golf for 15 years, so she knows quite a bit about golf and the golf swing and everything. So she kind of taught me as soon as I could walk, and I just fell in love with it and went from there.
Q. What is her name?
JILLIAN HOLLIS: Sharon Hollis, and it was Sharon Minnich at the time.
Q. How's that spelled?
JILLIAN HOLLIS: S-h-a-r-o-n, M-i-n-n-i-c-h.
Q. Was there a player that you sort of idolized growing up or just your mom?
JILLIAN HOLLIS: Oh, I always idolized my mom. I always wanted to beat her. That was my goal. I always wanted to outdrive her, and as soon as I could do those things, it was, okay, what's next? And I have always enjoyed watching Lexi play and Michelle Wie and all those girls. They're closer to my age, so it's really fun watching them. I love Christina Kim, and I've actually become friends with her now, so it's even cooler now being friends with someone you've watched play for so long.
Q. Did you have any star struck moments walking on the tee with a person or on the putting green?
JILLIAN HOLLIS: I think more when I played four years ago because I didn't know anybody, and Lexi got on the putt being green and she has her whole crowd. Same thing at the U.S. Open, I was putting with her on the putting green because we had a rain delay, so it was like all of us there at once. There were so many people around, and it's just cool to see her following and all the people that come out and watch and support her. I think that's great for women's golf. So it's definitely neat to see all those girls out there.
Q. You made it to the weekend at the U.S. Open?
JILLIAN HOLLIS: I did.
Q. What were your expectations going in, and how did that compare with what you did?
JILLIAN HOLLIS: Well, I really was just trying to make the cut and make the weekend. That was my number one goal. I ended up doing that, and just playing how I've been playing all spring. I had a really good spring and continued that into my pro career so far. I had my coach as my caddie. We had that really long weather delay on Friday, so I teed off in the afternoon, got one hole in, and they blew the horn, and we waited for about four hours to go back out.
Played a couple holes in the dark, and got suspended again till the morning, not because it was getting dark, because another storm came in. So it was a tough week, just because the course was setting up really long, and the ball didn't travel very far just because it was so wet.
So definitely battling the elements was a thing, and then playing 31 holes of golf on Saturday was very exhausting. So I was a little tired come Saturday, Sunday, and I think that's another balance you have to learn when you come out here is what's best for you. What do you need to do in the beginning of the week, and how do you need to balance all your time so you're not really tired come Sunday.
Q. Getting to the weekend at the U.S. Open and then finishing second in your first Symetra event, sounds like you're pretty fearless on the golf course.
JILLIAN HOLLIS: Yeah, I mean, I've gotten to that point where I just realize that every round I play, whether it's the U.S. Open or whether it's a college tournament or Symetra tournament or here at the Marathon, it's just golf. If you can block away all of the things surrounding you and the people that are watching and the expectations and you just play your game that you know how to play, and I know that I'm a really good player, and if I can just believe that when I'm on the golf course and just play like I've been playing.
Q. Your mom had a sponsor exemption into this event back when she was playing amateur, and you told me a couple stories a few years ago when you showed up with mom. Can you tell us about that story?
JILLIAN HOLLIS: I showed up a couple years ago, and my mom knew Judd very well, and Judd gave her the exemption because she went to Ohio State, and he always gave an exemption to one girl from the Ohio State team. So she knew him. She knew who he was, but, you know, she was Sharon Minnich at the time, and he gave the exemption to me, Jillian Hollis. So our last names were the same. And we get there, and she sees Judd, and Judd sees her. And he's like, "I know you from somewhere." She said, "You gave me a sponsor's exemption back when I played for Ohio State." And he was like, "You're Sharon Minnich."
So it's a really funny story, and every time I see Judd he reminds me of that story. He's like I still can't believe that I gave her an exemption and I gave you an exemption. So such a small world. And I think that's a story that he told me that he tells everybody. He says that story and they just die laughing.
Q. When golfers play close to home they put pressure on themselves and subsequently do not play well. Do you feel added pressure to play well being that this is an Ohio tournament?
JILLIAN HOLLIS: I really don't. Because there are so many people out here watching other girls, you know, you have to think that not all the focus is always on you. And if you put that pressure on yourself, it's just another handicap that you're going to have. So I just think that I'm going out there, and it's a bonus that it's in my home State because it is so close. And if I have people that want to come out and watch me, that's awesome. It's just what I've always wanted is people to come watch me play, and to play out here on the LPGA it will just be great practice going forward.
Q. Do you have any thoughts on LeBron leaving?
JILLIAN HOLLIS: You know, I've really asked everybody about that in the Pro-Ams because they're all from Ohio, and everyone's given me different answers. I think it would be selfish to be really sad that he was leaving, because he's played the best basketball of his career this past year and the past couple of years, and to get swept in the finals is just -- it's really sad to see.
He's only got a couple more years, so I think it's great that he's going out to play for the Lakers. Will he do more there? I don't know. But I think he's really happy, and it's just really emotional. I'm really happy for him. But I don't think I'll be watching him a ton when he goes to the Lakers. Not a huge Lakers fan, so...
Q. Have you ever gone to a Cavs game when he was on the team?
JILLIAN HOLLIS: Yes. Actually, so this past couple years tickets have been really expensive, so I haven't gone to as many as I used to when I was younger. My dad, he played a little basketball in college, so he's a huge Cavs fan, and watched all the games and records all of them. I'd go to a couple games with him. But he likes watching them on TV better because he can see everything that's going on. So I've watched my fair share of Cavs Games over the years.
Q. Do you have a goal for this week?
JILLIAN HOLLIS: This week, the goal this week, for all tournaments it's always you want to make the cut. But if my goal is to play golf like I've been playing the whole year, and to keep my emotions in check. Because I'm not so worried as much of how I am as a player, but how I am as a person on the golf course mentally.
Mentally is what you have to overcome. If you can not get emotional about all the stuff that's going on, like I said earlier, and all the people that are watching you, and not alter what you're doing because it's on a bigger stage, I'm just trying to treat everything like a normal golf round. That's my biggest goal for the week. That's my goal every time I come to one of these bigger tournaments is just to play golf.
Q. All the girls here travel so much and you're gone so much, do you have any like number one advice for people that are going to be traveling or golfing a lot on the road?
JILLIAN HOLLIS: I think you need a day off at least once a week. Take Monday off, is usually the day I take off. And if I'm going to do something on Monday, I'll putt. But I think you completely need to just shut down from golf. If you play well, or if you played poorly, I don't think that should ever travel into the next week. I think you need to forget about what you did and what's been happening and just build on all of your fundamentals. I know a lot of people play so much golf that you just get used to playing golf, and then you start slipping into something either with your swing or short game. I think you need to always practice your fundamentals as boring as they may be.
Q. Do you come by this mental maturity naturally or is this through coaching?
JILLIAN HOLLIS: Do you think I'm mentally mature (laughing)?
Q. Yeah, at least your approach golf-wise.
JILLIAN HOLLIS: Well, part of it has been going through three years of college and playing college golf. I think that's so important for anybody to do, at least go play a little bit in college and get that experience, because you do deal with a lot of outside things.
I'm a journalism, communications major, so I've got a lot of practice getting to talk in front of people, and I love writing and reading and everything along those lines. So I appreciate what you guys do, and all the work that goes behind this, because I know it's a lot of work.
Just all the experience that I've had playing and playing for my coach, and then playing these past couple of tournaments, it's just been -- I've learned a lot.
Q. Was that a tough decision to leave Georgia?
JILLIAN HOLLIS: It was, because I was planning on doing Q-school in the fall. Three of my two other teammates and I did Q-school, and it was a grind. My one team mate didn't make it through first stage, and my other teammate didn't make it through second, and so they decided to stay. I got all way through third stage.
When I was done with the whole thing, it was like this is a grind. To even think about doing it next year, because I was doing it for the experience, and I got as far as I got. And my coach was like you'd be stupid to not go do it. So he was fully behind me, and I have a great relationship now, and he caddied for me in the U.S. Open.
So he's really happy for me to see me do it, and I'm finishing school right now, and still taking classes. I turned into some homework last night. So it's like I haven't even left yet. But no, it's been a great decision so far, and I'm really glad that I'm doing it.
Q. Are you still a year away from your degree?
JILLIAN HOLLIS: I'm a little less than a year because I came in with some hours. It's just how much I want to take or do during while I'm doing this. It's a lot. It's a lot to balance it all out, especially on a week like this where you have two Pro-Ams, and you have interviews and everything along those lines. You just get tired at night.
I'm taking two classes this summer, so I'm trying to find a balance, trying to figure out what I'm going to do in the fall. So far I'm signed up for 12 hours, so we'll see. We'll see if I actually take all 12.
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