Michelob ULTRA Open QA - Danielle Amiee

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Q. This is a big week for you. You won the Big Break III and now you finally get the reward of playing here this week. Just your general thoughts so far?
 
DANIELLE AMIEE: This one is even a bigger week for me. I'm taking a humble attitude out here. I'm looking up at the girls, hoping to learn something. Everyone has given me a warm welcome here. It has been a warm welcome here. It has been a blessing.
 
Q. What kind of shape is your game in right now?
 
DANIELLE AMIEE: I was self taught all the way up through the show. Once I figured out that I won, I decided to work with a coach full time mainly on my short game. I am hoping that it will show up at the right time. I have been working hard. I am very confident.
 
It was just about the nerves and adrenaline rush. If my scores aren't there, it is due to something else other than my swing.
 
Q. What are your expectations?
 
DANIELLE AMIEE: My expectation is to make the cut. That is the good goal to set for myself with an added pressure.
 
Q. I am from Britain we actually saw some it over there. When did it start and finish?
 
DANIELLE AMIEE: We filmed it within 12 days, and each day was an episode and was edited and put together into an episode a week. Basically it broke down to 11 episodes total.
 
Q. So who is the coach that you have?
 
DANIELLE AMIEE: My new coach is Glen Deck at Pelican Hill Golf Club. Ranked top 100.
 
Q. What is his name?
 
DANIELLE AMIEE: Glen Deck. Very high regards to him. He put in a lot of extra hours with me.
 
Q. Have you seen anything out here in terms of the way women physically hit the ball that surprised you?
 
DANIELLE AMIEE: When I started to drive through, just driving around the golf course, watching other girls play yesterday, I was surprised to see the consistency with their drivers. These girls are long and straight. I think the tee shot is important out here. It sets up for the second shot and their scoring. I was surprised to see that.
 
Q. What are your long term goals?
 
DANIELLE AMIEE: My long term is to stay out here on this tour. I hope that the invite is a stepping stone. I hope that the long term goal is to maintain some credibility out here.
 
Q. Are you going to go to Tour school?
 
DANIELLE AMIEE: I made it to finals one year. Struggled through it, but I felt the pressure.
 
I believe that I can compete with these girls.
 
Q. What year was that?
 
DANIELLE AMIEE: It was for the 2003 Tour. I think it was 2003.
 
Q. What has the response been so for from some of the other players?
 
DANIELLE AMIEE: It has been great. Half of these people I played with on the FUTURES Tour. There are a lot of a familiar faces. They have been really warmly welcoming me here, including old school faces around the Tour. I might have been shunned; I might have been warmly welcomed.
 
Q. Do you ever watch the show? Were you able to watch?
 
DANIELLE AMIEE: Oh, did I ever. Yeah.
 
Q. What did you think of how you were portrayed? You were more controversial than the other women on the show in terms of your competitiveness. Do you feel like that is how you are?
 
DANIELLE AMIEE: I learned a lot from the show. You don't really realize your emotions you may wear on your sleeves, as they portrayed me. It is clipped and edited to make for good TV. Quote, unquote, it is a good, realistic, entertaining show.
 
Q. Was the tension real?
 
DANIELLE AMIEE: I think the tension was real. That wasn't due to the girl conflicts; it was due to the pressure, the environment, wanting to stay, long hours of the sets. Sometimes we were out until 11:30 at night due to interviews.
 
Q. So the personality clashes were more created by the situation?
 
DANIELLE AMIEE: I think it enhanced it. Every girl has different personalities. I believe that, sure, you get ten girls picked around the world to put in this show, there will be some conflicts.
 
Q. Is everyone on the show still on your Christmas card list?
 
DANIELLE AMIEE: We all still call. It has been very nice. We laugh about it now.
 
Q. Since the show was filmed here, is that going to give you some comfort, just the surroundings? You know some of the courses outside, where there you do all those funky drills in competition.
 
DANIELLE AMIEE: I feel like I haven't left since October. I resaw the whole show; I relived the steps until Tuesday. My plane ticket here was Wednesday. I feel like I have been here, yes.
 
Q. Could I just ask what made you enter in the first place?
 
DANIELLE AMIEE: A twist of fate actually got me in to the show. My club maker in Orange County told me he saw something about the Big Break III and I should research the audition spot in California. By the luck of a draw, I was sent on a golf tournament.
 
I went to Decatur, Illinois to play on a FUTURES Tour. I pulled up to the site. There was an audition for the Big Break III. That event was my first event of the year for the FUTURES Tour and I pulled up right into it.
 
Q. When did you start playing golf and what is your home course in California?
 
DANIELLE AMIEE: I was second year in college I was in dental hygiene school, working three jobs, I just decided on the sport of golf, picked up a golf club, hit balls ten hours a day in the summer and got a full scholarship in three weeks. It was to a lesser university but we still competed with bigger schools, like USC. I got to compete. I was very lucky.
 
Q. What school was that?
 
DANIELLE AMIEE: Long Beach State.
 
Q. You picked the game up and within three weeks you had a scholarship?
 
DANIELLE AMIEE: Yes. An instructor had seen me there on the driving range. They offered me to come in and get some status at the college to see if I had playing time on my clock. I was a full time student in dental hygiene school.
 
Q. How old were you then?
 
DANIELLE AMIEE: I was gosh, that is a good question. Time flies so much. I graduated college in '97. That was my senior year. I was 1994, '95. I am 29 now, which is all the controversy I have birth certificates.
 
Q. There is no age requirement here. Did you play other sports in high school?
 
DANIELLE AMIEE: In high school it was soccer, I was a softball pitcher for nine years. I was really into softball and gymnastics. That is where I got my timing, flexibility and strength. I moseyed my own way through in college. I graduated high school in three years.
 
I dated a paraplegic at the time. I had to skip a year of high school to take care of him. It was academically compressed in my scheduling. I went to college at an early age.
 
Q. When did you turn pro?
 
DANIELLE AMIEE: You are asking me hard questions. I turned pro, I believe it was the year 2000. '99 or 2000 is when I went to the FUTURES school. Somebody gave me information about Q School. I didn't know what that was. I placed 38. I thought, 'Whoa, I am going to make money at this sport.' 20 missed cuts later...
 
Q. Did you ever do your dental hygiene?
 
DANIELLE AMIEE: I worked in dental orthodontics but they didn't offer that at my university.
 
Q. What were you shooting after three weeks?
 
DANIELLE AMIEE: 82, about. I was a ball beater, as they consider it. I was a driving range guru; I didn't know much about chipping or putting or scoring.
 
Q. You haven't played FUTURES event in two years?
 
DANIELLE AMIEE: Since Decatur, Illinois I tried to play. I played only two last year for the FUTURES Tour. I got the opportunity for the Big Break. I was focusing on getting my game ready.
 
Q. How weird will it be in competition?
 
DANIELLE AMIEE: One of my strategies, I didn't want to play on the FUTURES Tour this year. I just picked up a golf course. I didn't want to put my expectation too high or too low. Work on my game, build up some confidence. I wanted to just come out here and just play some golf and see what happens.
 
Q. How have they been?
 
DANIELLE AMIEE: They have been nice. I played with Natalie Gulbis yesterday. Her reality show. It was really nice to get that pressure starting to feel what it is like to be here with the big names in golf. Her approach shots are phenomenal.
 
This girl is beautiful and has a great game to back it up.
 
Q. How different is your game now before meeting your instructor?
 
DANIELLE AMIEE: I think the difference between now and then is I understand where the swing is developing from. If I get in some trouble on the days I am off, I can find my way back. We have been working on wedge play. My other part of my swing takes on its on course. I got a lot of more control now then I had.
 
Q. What are the expectations for you?
 
DANIELLE AMIEE: My realistic expectations are to make the cut. I think it is a good goal. I think it is suitable to believe that that is possible for me.
 
Q. You received a car for winning too?
 
DANIELLE AMIEE: I gave the car away. Somebody has been helping me out, been supportive of me financially and positive in a way that you can't compete out here if you don't have your personal life in order with the right support. You can't compete out here. It was a gift of gratitude, to say 'thank you'.
 
Q. Was there a course you played in California?
 
DANIELLE AMIEE: Costa Mesa, a golf club. Tiger Woods used to play out there as well. The staff there is the most generous I have ever met. They gave me course time and balls at no expense. They have been helping me get to this point right now. If it wasn't for them I might not be here.
 
Q. Are there any other benefits that the Golf Channel gave you?
 
DANIELLE AMIEE: That is really hard because Big Break III finale confidentiality ended on Tuesday the 26th. I had a plane ticket on the 27th.
You know, I am taking it in a low level. If something happens, I would be gracious and excited to accept it.
 
Q. Has the stretch from October to now been difficult, the pressure of having to keep quiet?
 
DANIELLE AMIEE: It was very difficult, and then to see how sound bites were edited, things taken out of context, you kind of mentally question yourself.
 
The best part is that everybody out there is supportive of me.
 
Q. Has the pressure been building that this day is coming?
 
DANIELLE AMIEE: I think today is probably the most pressure, and tomorrow morning my heart will be racing. I hope I can get that under control.
 
Q. Are you going to look for other exemptions on tour this year as well?
 
DANIELLE AMIEE: Yeah, absolutely. I would be honored to fill that spot. If not, I understand.
 
I am here through a television show and some celebrities that brought me here. I am under a humble statement and appreciate being here. I tell every girl here, 'Thank you for welcoming me here.'
 
Q. When the show started I believe there were four exemptions, when you won they said it was two.
 
DANIELLE AMIEE: We were all told that it was exemptions in the LPGA, including one at Kingsmill. That was the way it was stated in the contracts. We were left in the dark when we were filling in here. We didn't know what event we would be playing. I am doing Kingsmill, Corning Classic, and a celebrity event in Reno Tahoe so far. Depending on how I play, I am sure other sponsors may ask me to come in and fill some spots this year.
 
Q. If not, what is the plan?
 
DANIELLE AMIEE: The plan is to work with the coach. My goal would be Q School at the end of the year. A good strategic plan of how to get my game from a B-plus to an A-minus.
 
Q. But no more FUTURES Tour?
 
DANIELLE AMIEE: The FUTURES Tour was a great developmental tour. It keeps you skilled if you are not in between events. Unfortunately the expense is more incoming than outgoing. It was not a long term goal. There is not much return in the FUTURES Tour unfortunately. Those girls are shooting 14 under in three rounds of golf. The courses are not in any good a shape as the LPGA or PGA Tour. That is a strong field on the FUTURES Tour.
 
Q. Have you ever played here while you were filming the show?
 
DANIELLE AMIEE: We played on the river course due to weather. The course was dormant.
 
We played 16 and 17. Hole 16, we did long drive and we did breaking of the glasses.
 
The rest of it was shot between the Plantation and the Woods. The Woods course is where the match play was, where I won.
 
Related links:
  • Full Coverage - Michelob ULTRA Open at Kingsmill