April 16, 2019
KRISTEN YOON: Good afternoon everyone. I am excited to be here at the media center at Ko Olina Golf Course for the 2019 Lotte Championship.
I'm here with a lovely panel of talented and international golfers. I'm going to introduce everyone, and then after that ask one question each.
Next to me is Hyo Joo Kim, three-time winner on the LPGA and also a Lotte-sponsored player.
Next to her is our defending champion and seven-time winner on the LPGA, Broke Henderson.
Next to her is the 2016 champion and four-time champion on the LPGA Tour, Minjee Lee.
Next to her is four-time winner on the KLPGA and also Lotte-sponsored player, making her 14th start on the LPGA Tour this week, Hye Jin Choi.
And last but not least, Hannah Green, making her second start at the Lotte Championship, a 2018 rookie.
Welcome everyone and aloha, ladies.
I am going to throw this first question over to Hannah. You were a 2018 rookie and have one full season under your belt. How helpful is it for you to have seen these golf courses and experienced them when you make your second or third start at some events?
HANNAH GREEN: Yeah, I think that's the thing I'm most excited about this year, is being able to go to an event, know what the golf course is like, where to stay, where to eat, little things like that, which is kind of daunting I guess your first year on tour.
It's definitely helped the last few weeks, which is nice, so I hope it continues for the rest of the year.
KRISTEN YOON: This next question is for our past champions Minjee and Brooke. Both of you have found victory at Ko Olina. Take us back to your wins and explain to us what was working so well for you that week and the key to your success here.
MINJEE LEE: I think I won from maybe three or four shots behind. I think I shot 8-under the last round to win by a shot.
Yeah, no, it was pretty cool. I think it was my second win in my career, so, yeah, it was nice to do it here.
Yeah, nice to be back.
BROOKE HENDERSON: Yeah, you know, it was really exciting to be able to hoist the trophy last year here. I felt like I've always really loved this golf course and I feel like I can play well here, which is a great feeling to have when you step out on a course. I don't really get that every week, so I especially like coming here.
I feel like when you win a tournament on the LPGA Tour everything has to be working for you. Definitely ball striking is a strength of mine, and I feel like on this course if you can get that then eventually the putts will roll in. I feel like the biggest challenge is definitely the winds, and if the wind is low then scores will be really low.
Just have to make a lot of birdies.
KRISTEN YOON: This next question is for Hye Jin and Hyo Joo. Both of you are Lotte-sponsored players. Lotte has sponsored this event on the tour for eight years. What does this week mean for both of you?
HYE JIN CHOI: (Through translation.) I've been playing on the LPGA Tour ever since I've been an amateur, and it's been really helpful to have been sponsored by Lotte all these years and to be able to be invited to the Lotte Championship, as I am one of the first players sponsored by Lotte.
Their support has meant a lot, and I just want to be able to play well and comfortable out here as I make my start.
HYO JOO KIM: (Through translation.) I've been able to play at this event ever since the first year, and ever since then I've just been able to have a lot of great opportunities and good experiences, and I'm so thankful to Lotte for that.
On this golf course I've had a lot of great memories, which I'm also thankful for. This week I just hope that I am able to play well and show my performance and be able to show my gratitude through that.
KRISTEN YOON: We'll open it to the floor. If you have any questions, raise your hand and we'll come around with a mic.
Q. For Brooke. I'm sure you've talked about it a lot since your second win last year, but how much does it mean to be one away from Sandra Post now, and how much is that chase kind of motivating you?
BROOKE HENDERSON: Yeah, it's really amazing to be mentioned in the same sentence as Sandra Post and some of the amazing golfers that have come before me in Canada. To be one win a way from tying the record is pretty sweet.
I feel like on the LPGA Tour I've been really fortunate. I've won every year since 2015 and won twice on tour for the last three seasons. I'm hoping to keep that going this year. The talent is so incredible out here that you have to really bring your A Game and catch breaks along the way to have a win.
I'm definitely excited to come back here where I have so many great memories, and hopefully I can rekindle some of the magic I had last year here.
Q. This is also for Brooke. You touched on the wind. What was it like out there today? It is expected to grow more moderate as the week goes on.
BROOKE HENDERSON: Yeah, you know, it's definitely windy out here. You just really have to stay patient throughout the entire round. There are definitely holes where it blows a little stronger and holes where par is good. When you realize that on holes where birdie is an opportunity, you really have to take advantage of that.
I feel like the winds maybe aren't as strong as they were last year, which is maybe a good thing. Maybe the scores will be a little bit lower.
Q. And because of your success last year, your fan base is coming out for you a little more. What's that like for you?
BROOKE HENDERSON: It's really exciting. I love being here in Hawaii. The atmosphere is really amazing. The fans are great. Just looking around at the beauty that's all around us you can't really be in a bad mood.
I'm excited to tee it up tomorrow and hopefully put myself in a good position come the weekend.
Q. My name is Tyler. I'm a junior golfer in Hawaii. I have a question for Brooke Henderson. What advice would you give to junior golfers?
BROOKE HENDERSON: Junior golfers? I started playing golf when I was three years old, and I was really fortunate to have my older sister who was also playing. For me it was really fun to go and spend time with her. I think the key there is just to find somebody you really enjoy playing golf with and spend as much time out on the course as you can.
It can lead to many great opportunities.
Q. For Minjee and Brooke, is there a particular aspect about this course that you feel fits your game or you're particularly comfortable with?
MINJEE LEE: I definitely think it's the ball striking; I mean, a second-shot golf course. The rough is probably not that thick this year, so I think you can hit a lot more drives off a lot of the tees and be able to pitch into the green and it'll stop.
Some years it's been really bouncy, but I think this year you can be a little more aggressive. I definitely think ball striking is -- if you're good with your ball striking then it'll really help you.
BROOKE HENDERSON: Yeah, exactly when Minjee said, and especially ball striking in the wind is really important. If you can do that, I feel like you're going to put yourself in good position.
Q. The wind was down today compared to -- I guess over the weekend was kind of crazy, right? So if it stays this way, do you find yourself having to be more aggressive?
BROOKE HENDERSON: Yeah, I mean, I think if the wind stays down there are a lot of birdie opportunities out on this course, and the scores will go lower by the entire field.
I feel if the winds do pick up, then you kind of have to be a little bit more patient. If it gives it to you, definitely a lot of birdies out here.
KRISTEN YOON: Any other questions? I have one for everyone. What are your goals this week?
HANNAH GREEN: I just want to perform better than I did last year. I barely made the cut and didn't have a great weekend. I really enjoyed the course and I thought it was great.
I just hope I can be a little bit more happy out there this year.
HYE JIN CHOI: (Through translation.) I would really like to go out there and enjoy this week, especially since I traveled all the way to Hawaii. I really just want to play well and enjoy the week.
MINJEE LEE: Yeah, I mean, I just don't want to put too much pressure on myself. I mean, everybody is so good out here and everybody wants to win, so I think just -- I don't know. I have expectations for myself. I just don't try and put too much pressure on myself.
BROOKE HENDERSON: Yeah, I think a mixture of what everybody has said. To go out and enjoy yourself and be happy out there; not to put too many expectations. Just try to get four solid rounds together, and hopefully on the weekend we can all put ourselves in a position where we can kind of make a move and see what happens.
HYO JOO KIM: (Through translation.) I just want to go out there and have a fun week since I am not feeling very well. I just want to continue to feel better this week and finish strong.
I am going to Korea next week, so I'm really looking forward to having a good finish and being able to rest back home.
KRISTEN YOON: We are going to conclude our session today with three quick questions. We'll start with Hannah and go down the line. First question is, if you could be any animal, what would it be?
HANNAH GREEN: My spirit animal would be a sloth because I love to sleep and just be lazy. (Laughter.)
KRISTEN YOON: Perfect in Hawaii.
HYE JIN CHOI: (Through translation.) I would probably be a dog; probably the first thing that comes to mind.
MINJEE LEE: I think I would be a unicorn because they're magical. I don't know. I don't really know what they actually do. They can do whatever they want. (Laughter.)
BROOKE HENDERSON: I have no idea what animal I would be. My favorite animal is like a tiger, so maybe.
HYO JOO KIM: (Through translation.) I would be a Cheetah.
Q. If you only had to play with one club in the bag, what would it be?
HANNAH GREEN: Mine would be my 7-iron because it's my favorite, and I think you can kind of play an entire hole with that club.
MINJEE LEE: I think driver, too. Just get it out there. First thing, guys.
BROOKE HENDERSON: I think I would go with Hannah and pick a 7- or 6-iron.
HYE JIN CHOI: Driver for me, too.
KRISTEN YOON: Your favorite meal in Hawaii so far?
HANNAH GREEN: Going to have to say acai bowl. I've had one every day since I've been here. They're pretty good.
HYE JIN CHOI: (Through translation.) Musubi.
MINJEE LEE: I would say acai bowl, too.
BROOKE HENDERSON: We went to Eggs and Things last night and I had eggs and pancakes and it was really good.
HYO JOO KIM: (Through translation.) I think it would be musubi for me, too.
That will conclude our press conference today. Thank you so much ladies, and great luck this week.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports