Tuesday, August 18, 2020
JEREMY FRIEDMAN: We’ll get things going. Thank you everybody for joining. Appreciate the flexibility on shifting 30 minutes forward for this call. Much appreciated. My name is Jeremy Friedman. Thanks for joining the roundtable call. We’re here to preview the AIG Women’s Open at Royal Troon this week and also looking ahead a little bit on the LPGA season as it returns to the U.S. next week in Arkansas at the Northwest Arkansas Championship and then the next LPGA major in a couple of weeks at the ANA Inspiration.
This call is being transcribed, and I’ll send it to you after the call when it’s available. The transcript also will be available this afternoon, easy to look at, at NBCSportsGrouppressbox.com.
Thank you to Judy Rankin, Jerry Foltz and Dame Laura Davies for joining this call today to preview the tournament this week. A little unique on the broadcast front. The broadcast on Golf Channel and NBC here in the States this week, it’ll be what we call the world feed broadcast team, so it’ll be produced by
European Tour Productions.
Laura will be a part of the broadcast team this week, and she’ll also — it’s a big week for her, we were talking earlier, this is going to be her 40th Women’s Open, and she is going to be hitting the first tee shot on Thursday morning bright and early playing with Alena Sharp and Olivia Mahaffey.
We are thrilled to have Laura joining us on this call, and then all of you know, our U.S. based group Judy Rankin and Jerry Foltz, they will be watching coverage this week, and they will be back on your TV screens next week in Arkansas for the Northwest Arkansas Championship and then the ANA Inspiration a couple weeks later.
Thank you all for joining. I’m going to just ask a quick opening question to each of you and then we will open it up for questions. Laura, you just got off the golf course, and you were saying earlier how the weather is great. Thursday may be a little different. Talk to us about how the course is and your excitement for competing in your 40th tournament this week.
LAURA DAVIES: Well, the condition of the course is about as good as I reckon you could have a links golf course. I said to a couple of girls I was practicing with this afternoon, best links greens I’ve ever putted on. They really are unbelievable.
The course is set up extremely hard. You get some of those holes coming in from sort of 13 onwards where you’re basically coming into the prevailing wind, that should be that wind all week from what the R&A were saying earlier, and it’s just going to be tough out there. But condition-wise I’ve never seen anything like it.
JEREMY FRIEDMAN: How much are you looking forward to — maybe not looking forward to getting up so early, but hitting the opening tee shot on Thursday?
LAURA DAVIES: Well, yeah, they sent me an email, the R&A, Mr. Slumbers, he sent me an email last week saying we’d love to invite you to hit the opening tee shot, and that’s an honor, but more importantly you get a clear golf course, and I’m looking forward to not waiting on people. It’s an early start, but once you’re out there in hopefully as good a conditions — we might get the best of it from looking at the gusts up to 35 miles an hour. That early in the day I’m hoping we can get out there and maybe have a decent start.
It’s definitely an honor, and he mentioned that Monty had done it at the men’s Open the last time he played, so yeah, I didn’t hesitate to say yes, and yeah, I’m looking forward to it. I hope I hit a good one.
JEREMY FRIEDMAN: Judy, it is great to hear your voice, as well. I know you and Jerry really wish you were at Troon this week, as well. You are familiar with Troon having covered the Open Championships there back in your ESPN days. Talk about how this is the first time that Troon is host to the Women’s Open. Just talk about your excitement of watching this week and the ladies playing this course.
JUDY RANKIN: Yeah, I do have a little history there because — I very much wanted to be there this week. I think it was a trip that all of those of us at the Golf Channel that went to the Women’s British Open or what is now the Open often, we really looked forward to this trip this year, and it’s just too bad. It’s too bad about a lot of things, actually.
But my history is the very first Open Championship that I did was at Troon in 1989, and that was the year that Wayne Grady and Greg Norman were in the playoff, and I was certainly new at Open Championship kind of golf, and I will tell you that in the final round, they sent me out with Greg Norman, and to this day I have a very keen memory of it.
First of all, he birdied the first six holes. That was pretty impressive to me. Then he hit probably as good a shot as I have ever seen hit in my life at the par-5, 16th, when he put a driver on the green about, I don’t know, 18 feet behind the hole. He went on to lose in the playoff, but — I’m sorry, he went on to lose in a playoff. Was that the Mark Calcavecchia year? Anyway, but it was a spectacular experience. I think it’s an extremely difficult golf course.
But I will tell you that that first week that I was there in 1989 I had taken all kinds of warm clothes. I was ready for it, and they had a heat wave. The golf course was bone dry and it was getting close to 100 some days. It was just not what the Scots are used to.
I was ill prepared for really hot weather, which is what it was, and I’m sure the golf course played 400 yards shorter than it normally would have.
JEREMY FRIEDMAN: That shot that you referenced about Greg Norman, we were talking about the David Feherty show because Laura — those of you that didn’t see it last night, Laura Davies was a special guest on David’s show last night. Judy, you mentioned to David when you were on his show that that Norman shot made you speechless. How so?
JUDY RANKIN: Yeah, I’ll tell you, he had hit the ball off the tee just short of the little berm that crossed the fairway, and he was on a very flat lie in fact on a little bit of a downhill slope. You know, this was 1989, so clubs were a little different, balls were a little different, and the sound when a shot is hit absolutely on the dead center of the club face is a sound that if you’ve ever done it you won’t forget it, and you appreciate it any time you hear it, particularly if you do it. But he just hit this absolutely magnificent shot, and he did not make the putt, sadly for him.
But it was one of those experiences that early on in my on-course career, and a lot of it was in men’s golf, that even though you think you know what people are doing and you know what’s happening, there are things certainly, and I see it every day now in our women’s golf, that just leave you a little bit with — your jaw dropped. The level of ability and the excellence that women and men play the game. It’s pretty amazing. You almost have to see it in person to totally appreciate it, I think.
JEREMY FRIEDMAN: Jerry, you have experience with Troon, as well. Most recently you were there for the Open in 2016 to witness that epic final day with Henrik Stenson and Phil Mickelson. Kind of a similar question: Talk about the course and also just the fact that this is the first time that the LPGA or that the Women’s Open will be staged here at Royal Troon.
JERRY FOLTZ: Gladly. First of all, when you stated that Judy and I really wish we were there, that’s kind of true. Once I saw the forecast, it’s not as true as it was last week or the week before.
When I was there I got to watch Monty hit the first tee ball in the first game and I would love to be able to be there to watch Laura do the same thing. That would mean a lot, all the people that could have been on hand. Obviously that’s not going to be the case and it’s sad.
But my biggest recollection of Troon was we had some travel issues getting there; my luggage got lost, I had to go shopping for clothes. I couldn’t get around the course in a golf cart to check it out the day before, so literally I’m with the first game off in the morning and I hadn’t seen the golf course before. That is not the way you want to open your broadcast career in links golf covering your first men’s major on NBC. That was a little bit of a tough one. But I managed to get through it.
I do remember just thinking it’s a whole new world out there because there were seven microphones and 11 talking heads walking with that first group, when normally we’re used to it just being us, so that was a little unusual, too. But the course itself is going to make for some great viewing. If it’s in the shape that Laura says it’s in, I literally cannot wait to set my alarm to get up early and watch and see the players battle the elements.
It’s nothing new, of course, to playing the Women’s Open there, and Laura has got a ton of experience with it, but it’s going to make for interesting TV, and there will be some drama, put it that way.
But the course I love. The area I loved, and I am really sad that we don’t get to be there to take it in in person because last year’s Open, Women’s Open, was one of the most surreal finishes I had ever seen with Hinako Shibuno winning at Woburn and all those tens of thousands of people around the 18th hole who had never heard of her five days ago rooting her on, and she had just won them over, and it was really a surreal setting.
JEREMY FRIEDMAN: Yep, and completely agree on those sentiments, too. Thanks, Jerry.
Q. I wanted to ask you what’s the secret to longevity on Tour?
LAURA DAVIES: I don’t know, just loving to compete, I think. I think if you lose that — I mean, last week you wouldn’t have thought I was competing. I really didn’t play very well in Scotland at all. After five months away from tournament golf, I found it quite difficult and hit some of the worst shots of my career, but I think if you still have that fire in your belly that you just think maybe this is my week when you get there on Thursday morning, if you lose that in your 30s, your 40s — I’m 56 now and I’m not saying I could ever win again, that would be asking too much, but I’m thinking I can hopefully this COVID has not done too much damage to my game, and I think that’s where it is. If you still want to compete, that’s where longevity comes from. If you lose that real fire to get out there against the best players in the world, most of them are 30 years younger than me — I had two girls today come up and say they were standard bearers for me on Tour so you know you’re getting old.
Q. Two players in the field?
LAURA DAVIES: Yeah, it was — oh, what’s her name? I just played nine holes with her. Hannah Burke. Yeah, she’d done it, and then we made reference to the fact that Brittany Lincicome — I don’t think Brittany is here this week but we were talking about Brittany, who was a standard bearer for me at the JC Penney when I played with John Daly one year. So you know you’re getting old.
But yeah, you need to have that competitive spirit, and I think that’s what keeps you going.
Q. A lot of chatter last week about slow play. How long do you think it’ll take you to get round in the first group? What would be a good time for you on Thursday? And then what do you think the Tour needs to do or should do to address slow play?
LAURA DAVIES: Well, with Troon, if it’s as windy as they’re telling us it’s going to be, and you never quite know, then it could take — it literally could take four and a half, five hours. I played 18 holes yesterday morning at 7:30 basically on my own in two hours and 15 minutes, played every hole properly, chipped and putted on quite a few. I’m not saying we can get round in two hours and 15 minutes, but we should be round in under four, as long as the weather is not crazy. If the weather is crazy then obviously you get up on those holes around the turn, anything can happen. You can spend half an hour on the tee if you’re unlucky. So yeah, this is unusual.
As for long-term speeding play up, I have not absolutely no idea. It drives me wild to watch it.
Q. Judy, do you want to tackle slow play?
JUDY RANKIN: You know, I will tell you something I thought, and I guess it applies to golf. I have a family that has a big interest in football and all, but I was thinking, and congratulations to Stacy Lewis for that win last week, but I was thinking that I know it’s miserable to be the fastest player amongst slow. I know it’s miserable to wait all the time. But there is that old adage in sport and in competition that maybe you should never let them see you sweat. So there has to be some — there is some degree of don’t let the competition know it is getting under your skin. I mean, you’ve got to find — and apparently in the final round, Stacy did. You’ve got to find a way to get around it because it’s not that I think anybody is intentionally trying to aggravate anybody else, but that thought came to me when I was watching last week, and I thought, you know, you’re playing so well and everything, don’t undermine what you’re doing by letting all the competition know that they’re aggravating you with their pace of play.
And what do I think about pace of play? I think it is — I’ve always said this, I think — and men’s golf is not immune, but just specifically to women’s golf, there’s a tendency to be a slightly too polite. I think you’re just going to have to understand that everybody is going about their business until you’re actually playing the shot, and it’s not everybody stands back and the floor is yours.
Because sometimes of this feeling that you have to be very still and not create any commotion while someone else is playing is a big part of the problem, and everybody has to get on that page and realize that people are going to be moving around, they’re going to be this, they’re going to be that, until you hit your shot. But you just — there’s a level of good sportsmanship and politeness and then there is just the practicality of playing the game.
JERRY FOLTZ: My answer wouldn’t be quite as democratic as yours. Pretty much every answer I have was on a Twitter little banter back-and-forth with a couple people yesterday. What I find is unfair, and this comes from Karen Stupples, who unfortunately couldn’t join us today, and I posted it yesterday, when a guy plays slow on the PGA TOUR he’s a slow player. When an LPGA player plays slow then the LPGA is slow and there’s a huge double standard there, and I think it’s unfair because by and large the overall time for PGA TOUR versus LPGA Tour in a round of golf in threes is pretty much nearly identical.
Now, keep in mind the LPGA changed their policy, their timing policy two and a half years ago and in the process picked up nearly 20 minutes a round. Is it enough? I don’t think so, not after what we watched Sunday. But what we watched Sunday — Saturday and Sunday actually in Scotland is a little unusual because of the limited resources U.COM had in providing you the telecast. Typically you don’t see players taking a minute and a half, two minutes, three minutes to hit a shot because the producer has somewhere else to go and a little bit more resources. They didn’t have that. They were basically limited to two holes of coverage with I think about six cameras to rove between those to follow the leaders.
It’s a little bit kind of hamstrung with all the COVID protocols and keeping our footprint the smallest that we were exposed to. But it’s there, it’s frustrating when you’re out there, it’s frustrating to watch, and I really do hope the LPGA tries to invent a policy to put a little bit of teeth into it to get the players to play faster because it would be a great precedent to set in women’s golf for all professional golf.
Q. I guess I’m curious about what everyone thinks about the fact that we’re in our first major week, because top players in the world are not here, and as World Rankings change without top players being present, just kind of — I guess I’m trying to figure out what that means.
JUDY RANKIN: Well, if I were to go, I would just say that it seems to me as a world population or maybe American population, I’m not sure, we seem to have gotten used to the virus. When we hear some of the things that are very dire, they were more dire to us in April and May than they seem to be now because we just seem to have gotten used to it.
But the fact is we’re going forward with these things in the best way possible, and it’s a completely unprecedented time. The fact that we can be playing any global golf I think is pretty amazing, and I think that was — I think the fact that some of the players from Asia and maybe a few other places that are not playing because of fear of the virus, I think it’s totally understandable.
You know, I’m in a place right now where I kind of applaud anybody who is taking it really seriously because I think in some ways we aren’t. I do applaud golf. I think in some way, whatever all the protocols and everything are that they have done, it’s been pretty amazing that they’ve done it as safely as they have.
You know, we don’t tackle in golf and we’re not in an indoor building in golf, and there are a lot of things that make it work. I’m sad for how it may change things like best players in the world and this and that, but it’s just a fact of where we are.
I think where we are with this virus takes precedent over everything else. You just have to make some accommodations.
JERRY FOLTZ: I’ll add just a little bit to that. It’s an asterisk year unlike any other in any of our lifetimes. So yeah, what Judy said, I applaud and agree with. In the big picture it really isn’t significant. The fact that they’re playing is amazing. Basically the only way, other than World Rankings ranging here and there, even though they have kind of adjusted that from what I understand, Heather Daly-Donofrio and the gang have made some adjustments to that to keep it from being too drastic. Nobody can improve their status this year unless they win a tournament, so everything is going to be pretty much the same next year and the World Rankings will iron themselves out once we get back to normal, if we get back to normal anytime soon.
LAURA DAVIES: The slow play, it drives you crazy, and we know who the slow ones are, but everyone, they just brush around it and no one ever gets shots. The only way to stop it is to give shots penalty. Fines are no good. Some of these players have got more money, and a fine doesn’t hurt them, but two-shot penalty here, there and everywhere, that will start hurting players because being out there with it, I wish you could have seen Stacy’s face on the weekend. She wasn’t enjoying how slow that last group was, and it’s not fair because it doesn’t help the faster players in those sort of positions. We all know the slow players but nothing ever gets done.
Q. Laura, just asking about what it means to be playing in a major with some of the top players in the world not able to join and what that means for World Rankings changing without everyone in the field.
LAURA DAVIES: Well, it’s just one of those years, isn’t it. No one is ever expecting this, and people have to make decisions and some people are going to be okay with it and some people aren’t. I think I just heard Jerry finish up saying I think it’s amazing we’re playing, and I think every player that’s here this week is amazed at all the hard work the R&A and IMG last week and all the hotels, the staff. It’s just remarkable we’re playing. I don’t think anyone can have any moans about anything. You’re pretty unreasonable if you do moan about it because just playing, I find it extraordinary, and if the rankings are off for a little bit, then who cares. The fact that we’re out here — the fact there’s no fans is a shame because obviously that’s what makes it fun for us, but those in contention on the weekend when they’re being given the trophy, although it will take away a little bit from it, again, it’s just remarkable for us to be playing.
Q. Jerry, you referenced the connection Shibuno was able to make with fans even though she doesn’t speak English. Could you each speak to the connection or impression she made with you?
LAURA DAVIES: Yes, it was extraordinary, like Jerry said. I mean, to be honest, I didn’t know her either. I hadn’t played in Japan for a while and it’s just the way she was.
JUDY RANKIN: Jerry was right out there with her, so he should have a word.
JERRY FOLTZ: Okay. First of all, I apologize for the background noise. It’s our daily apocalyptic thunderstorm here in central Florida and it’s just happened to hit.
It’s always been talked about how the UK fans are the most knowledgeable in professional golf and the most appreciative, and it was the same year and only a little while after that a famous golf instructor here in the States had made some what I deemed to be very disparaging remarks about Asians playing professional golf, and then we went to the UK, and here is this young player that nobody had ever heard of. We learned a lot about her through the week obviously, but nobody had ever heard of her unless they followed golf really, really closely and had a good translator app on their Japanese Tour website, and she just won them over with her pace of play, with her demeanor on the course, with the gutsy, gutsy shots had he she hit time and time again. While everybody kept expecting her to go away, she didn’t.
And to bury that putt on the last hole and in a very aggressive fashion, I was standing just short of the green and watched everybody jump to their feet, to say it was Tiger-esque might be selling short some of the reactions at Augusta and some other places, but it certainly felt like that for women’s golf, and to me it was just a very transcendent moment that no matter where you were, what language you speak, what nationality you were, how much you like or don’t like women’s golf, you couldn’t have watched that and not got a little bit of chills running down your spine.
JUDY RANKIN: The one thing I felt when she was watching her was that she was — I mean, the way she played, and it was with such ease that she did it, it was kind of like you were watching the next big thing. I think that’s true so often in golf. Maybe it’s true in all sports. When a player is having that maybe best week of their life, they all look like super world beaters and like they’re going to be there forever. So it’s kind of a surprise sometimes when you find out that that was the week of their life, at least at that point in their career.
Q. I’d like to bring up Lydia Ko. We all saw the very un-Lydia-like in Toledo but then also responded in very typical Lydia fashion, just being a classy and gracious as ever and then played well again last week. What are we seeing with her now, and do we think we’re closer to the form of old?
JUDY RANKIN: Certainly she’s closer to the form of old. Apparently in her younger life and in the past when she got in a situation with the opportunity to win, she didn’t so much think about winning as she thought about her job at hand. Apparently when winning was within her grasp she kind of lost the plot and started to think about winning, I think, instead of playing the next shot. I was shocked in Toledo with how long she took from the far right side of the 18th green. I don’t think anybody could have played a shot after the time she took and the way she thought about it and all. It was so unlike her, and it completely speaks to the fact that she had not won for a long time, and it was a moment to turn that around.
You know, maybe that’s an experience she had to have. I’m not sure. But in fact at the time I texted Grant Boone, who was doing the show, and I said, this is just beyond taking a long time. She is paralyzed. She could not play that shot.
I mean, I’m not a psychologist, but anyone who knows anything about this game is an amateur psychologist, and that had nothing to do with how she plays the game and had everything to do with what was going on in her head.
JERRY FOLTZ: I’ll add a little bit to it because I was there watching it. I was actually pretty close to them up on the hill just above them, and I could hear pretty much everything her and Jason were saying. Remember, Jason used to be on her bag for a lot of her wins but he hasn’t been for a while, and he’s not her current caddie, but they had a lot of discussions through the week when I was following them, but it always seemed like Lydia took ownership of them even though she was asking a lot of questions. She made her decisions, and then — everything I had seen up until that final hole, Lydia was being Lydia, and I’ve never seen Lydia have a short game shot that she didn’t know how to hit or she was uncomfortable with her hands cuffed, like Judy said, but she was, and she even said, I don’t know if it came across on the air, she referenced to Jason, You mean, the one like I practiced, that one in the practice round, was maybe the only time she’s ever tried to hit that shot, the one-bank stopper into the hill. She missed it by about six, eight inches, her spot where she wanted to land it. Should she have played a different shot? Absolutely. And just made sure she got it on the green, what Jason was trying to get her to do.
But I think, yeah, she didn’t shy away from trying to hit the shot that she thought needed to be hit, but that was the first time that it didn’t seem like old Lydia with a short game club around the greens where she literally is a savant in terms of the shots she creates and hits and doesn’t see trouble. So it was a little strange.
The biggest mistake was the next shot, not getting it on the green, because she gets that on the green and two-putts, she’s in a playoff. So yeah, it was a tough way, but she handled it like a pro, like a champ, like a gracious human being that she is.
JUDY RANKIN: She is amazing in every situation, the way she deals with things. She really is sincerely somebody to be admired, who is very competitive, but yeah, just has the best heart when it comes to competition.
Q. I want to ask about Troon specifically. The atmosphere was, as Jerry said, fabulous at Woburn with those crowds, but Judy, how important is it for the women to be at Troon and be on a stage where the golf fans in general are familiar with?
JUDY RANKIN: Yeah, I think it’s really important. I mean, we were all thrilled when this whole rotation of courses came about for the women in Britain, and when Troon came up, that was particularly special. It’s not that women have not played at Troon, but there have not been any competitions certainly of this level ever at Troon.
I have to say, the former Women’s British Open and now the Open Championship or whatever it is for women, they have in all the recent years stepped up to the plate every time to move the women’s game forward and to showcase the women’s game. I love that. I love the fact that the women in so many places in the world, but it’s particularly showcased there, I think, with some of the very old storied golf courses are playing those kind of places. As I’ve beat to death many times, the talent is just shockingly good, and they deserve all this.
Q. What experiences do you guys have with Troon?
JUDY RANKIN: We went through a lot of that. I worked Open Championships there a number of times, and my very first one was there. You can read it.
Q. You’ve been out there and you’ve been out with no fans on the golf course. They just announced there will be no fans here at the ANA, which was no surprise. What has the atmosphere been like? Is it something that is palpable or is it something the players are forgetting about after they hit the first tee shot?
JERRY FOLTZ: You know, I think some players miss it, miss the fans and miss the reactions to great shots and stuff, but to be honest, it feels strangely normal, and I don’t know why. To be quite honest, at most LPGA events Thursday and Friday first-round mornings, you’re not having a lot of fans out there anyway. Some of them you would, like the last one in Toledo at Marathon, there’s always a ton of fans. But sometimes there’s not.
But anyway, it’s felt strangely normal, and I think the players adapted to it very quickly. I know their caddies were keeping them abreast of the scores by looking at their phones because for two weeks of being out there, nobody asked me what was going on in the group ahead or what was happening with the scores, and that’s almost always the case when you’re covering somebody who’s in contention on Sunday.
And there is a smattering because at Marathon each player was allowed two guests, so there was a smattering of people around the 18th green and some of the houses along the way, so it wasn’t like it was complete isolation out there, but I think the golfers are basically in their own bubble to begin with by just the nature of the game, and they hit their shots regardless of any of the distractions or what have you that happens outside the ropes. So I guess — I don’t know how to articulate it properly, but it just felt strangely okay.
Q. Laura, the first tee, what will you hit off the first tee, and is it a difficult first tee shot? I haven’t been there. Will you be making your little pyramid with the wedge?
LAURA DAVIES: No, it’s a 2-iron because the thing about Royal Troon is it’s so well-bunkered you’ve got to pick your way around the course. So that hole has bunkers down the left side, and you just want to hit a 2-iron about 210, 220 yards, and that should leave a 7- or an 8-iron in. So drivers aren’t necessary because if you hit one of those pot bunkers you have — you know links golf, you’re coming out backwards or just knocking it about 10, 15 yards out like a greenside bunker shot. Yeah, 2-iron, and hopefully hit a good one down the middle.
Q. And then do you go in and do TV work after your round in the booth? Is that the deal?
LAURA DAVIES: Yep, yep, I’m basically working full-time for SKY this week apart from when I’m on the course. So when I’m done on the course, I think they give me about a half an hour to get a sandwich and then they expect me to be in the comm stocks in there with all the others and getting stuck into the commentary side of it, which to be honest, I’m really looking forward to, as well, because not only playing on this golf course but seeing how the others play around this golf course is going to be really interesting. I think it’ll be a cracking week. The fact there’s no galleries takes away quite a bit of the atmosphere, but then again you’ve got Royal Troon, and as Jerry said, everyone is in their own little bubble trying to battle the elements. I think the first two days certainly are going to be some of that. So it’ll be very interesting.
JUDY RANKIN: May I ask Laura a question? Laura, you mentioned in another answer about the turn, those holes at the turn at Troon. That’s what I remember is — well, I guess it starts at the little 8th, and then 9 is kind of a hard hole, but 10 is an interesting hole and 11 is more than interesting, along the railway. Why don’t you talk about those since you’ve just played them, and you can expound on the subject.
LAURA DAVIES: Yeah, well, like you said, it’s going to start on the 8th because really 1 to 7, especially if the wind is not — who knows. In normal conditions, not what we might have Thursday — it might not materialize, but you have to make — the way I’m seeing the course and I think traditionally over the years you’ve got to make your score on those first seven because once you get into 8 that’s obviously the postage stamp, well, you’ve got to hit the green otherwise you’re going to make a bogey from wherever you miss it because such a difficult green to get up-and-down.
9 is a hole where you can’t hit driver, so yesterday I hit 2-iron, a good 2-iron off the tee and it left me with a blind — I couldn’t see the green. I hit 3-iron in there, so that’s going to be a really tough hole. Although it should be going in the direction with a little bit of help from the wind.
But then 10, completely blind tee shot. You can hit driver there because the fairway is very generous, but that hole has probably the widest fairway on the course but you can’t see it, so it’s a visually intimidating hole, which is difficult.
Then 11 obviously all you can see is railroad lines and gorse bushes down the left side. Another tough hole.
And then you’re going to turn into the wind on 12, 13 and then you hit that run of 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, supposed to be into the prevailing wind, and it really is, it’s a nightmare around the turn and then back in. If you’re not under par the first seven I’d suggest you might have a long day ahead.
JUDY RANKIN: I’m glad you could explain that because it’s been a while since I’ve been there.
LAURA DAVIES: Yeah, it’s tough. I played those particular holes yesterday in the driving rain, as well. Maybe they won’t play quite so long in the tournament, but certainly in driving rain yesterday morning, yeah, it was hard out there.
Q. Laura, you had just started on how special it was, the connection Shibuno was able to make with people.
LAURA DAVIES: Yeah, I don’t think she was an underdog in any way, shape or form but she was up against some big guns who the English galleries really knew, and I think the English fans take to an underdog traditionally. That’s what we always love to see. And just her demeanor, it didn’t seem to matter where she hit it, although she hit it really well the whole time, she just had infectious smile going, and I think the whole gallery around the 18th green was willing that putt in. I mean, if it hadn’t gone in, she might have been chipping back. But it was meant to be. It was her week. She captured the hearts, like I said, of the English golf fans, and it was a wonderful finish. It was very unexpected, I think, because she did have some big guns going at her all the way around that back nine.