Michelle Wie - Interview Transcript


Michelle Wie - Interview Transcript
Samsung World Championship
October 11, 2005

Q. You played in this tournament last year as an amateur, and as everyone knows, you will be making your professional debut this week. Could you talk about if there have been any difference so far between the two weeks and then we will take some questions.
MICHELLE WIE: Well, you know, I was really excited coming this week playing my first tournament as a professional. Just the other day I got my first tax form. So I was excited about that. It's not something you should be excited about, but it's pretty cool for me.
Q. Michelle, first of all, I would like to know, I would like to know when you made the decision to become a pro, did you make the decision talking to your parents or you just said I want to be a pro now?
MICHELLE WIE: Of course, I mean it took a lot of planning. It took a lot of discussion, talking about, you know, what are the cons and what are the pros of turning pro, and all of a sudden I said, I think I'm ready for it, I really want to do it, and I think I made a pretty good decision.
Q. Happy birthday.
MICHELLE WIE: Thank you.
Q. Can you tell me who your role model was?
MICHELLE WIE: My role model definitely is Ernie Els. I love looking at him, swinging. He is such a nice person. I talked to him, and he is like, you're ready to turn pro. It made me feel a lot better. I'm really glad.
Q. When was the first time you picked up a golf club?
MICHELLE WIE: I was 4 years old.
Q. When we last spoke to you Michelle you were rushing off to a class of Japanese or drawing, you weren't sure, which one was it?
MICHELLE WIE: There was a lot of things going on that day, and I think the press conference took a lot of energy off of me that way. So I just took the day off. Sorry to say that.
Q. You didn't go back to school at all?
MICHELLE WIE: No. They all bought me leis that day. We were going to have a big party but I was too tired. They called me, why aren't you coming to school? I'm sorry, I'm just a little tired. I went to school the next day though.
Q. What's been the reaction from the other pros on the Tour? I know you have played in other tournaments. What have they said to you?
MICHELLE WIE: Well, they are all saying congratulations and stuff like that. It makes me feel really good.
Q. Michelle, I think we all probably know the pros of turning pro, but can you articulate what some of the cons were that you were thinking about?
MICHELLE WIE: Well, I think some of the cons are, that I think about is maybe I was too young, would my life be a lot different? But as I turned pro, I mean nothing is changing, I just found that out. I'm still going to go to school. Nothing is going to change. All of the cons turned to pros.
Q. Is there a sense in your mind that things are maybe going to change now that you are playing for money? Is there just a different way you might go about the golf course, the way you might attack things?
MICHELLE WIE: I was practicing really hard playing for $5.00 incentives, you know. My dad would give me $5.00 if I make a birdie and stuff like that. But my stakes are going to be a lot higher right now, so I'm practicing really hard. I don't really see it as pressure, I see it as incentive to practice harder.
Q. Michelle, have you treated yourself to anything yet? And what did you get for your birthday?
MICHELLE WIE: Well, for my birthday I got a lot of new gadgets from Sony. That was really excited for me, getting a lot of new phones and Walkman's. I felt like a little girl on Christmas day. It was awesome.
Q. Well, Asia is crazy about you because you speak Japanese and Korean, you were born in this country, so it's so to speak yours, I would like to know about European tournaments, such as the British Open, both of them, how did you want to participate and want to win both of them?
MICHELLE WIE: Well, the women's British Open was extra fun this year. It was really cool. I never really played in that kind of condition before. The links golf course are super nice, and I would just love to play in both of the British Opens. I think that would be really awesome.
Q. Michelle, some people have said it's a little different when you are no longer playing with a little A next to your name, the amateur sign, what do you see as being any different about playing Thursday as a pro than when you last played at when you last played, wherever that was, the British Women's Open?
MICHELLE WIE: I don't think there is going to be that much difference. I was so excited when I got my name on my bag. Usually when you are an amateur, you can't have your name on your bag, and then my Sony bag came in an it had my name on it. I was so excited.
Q. Did they spell it right?
MICHELLE WIE: Yes, they spelled it right.
Q. Michelle, can you talk about what it's like traveling on the road with your parents? Do have you your own room like do you at home? How much independence do you have out here?
MICHELLE WIE: Well, we travel a lot together and I have my own room most of the time. You know, we are pretty much staying on the golf course the whole day. I have my own independence and stuff like that. I can't wait to go to college and everything like that, it's going to be awesome. It's lot of fun travelling with my parents. It's a lot more fun that traveling alone. They are like my friends and companions. I mean it's great. It's really fun.
Q. Michelle, could you talk about how you were different or better as a golfer today than you were a year ago when you came to this tournament?
MICHELLE WIE: Well, I think that I'm a lot more mature than last year. I have grown up a lot since last year. My game hopefully is more consistent than last year. I just have been working really hard over the past year so hopefully it's gotten a lot better.
Q. Michelle, can you kind of update us on your thought about playing on the PGA Tour, goals of playing, having a car on the Tour, playing in the Masters? I know your dad has backed off a little bit on saying that those were your dreams of a young girl. I mean where are your thoughts now about playing with the men on any kind of a regular basis? And also playing next year, do you expect to get a full contingent of exemptions.
MICHELLE WIE: I mean I just love playing the PGA Tour events. They are so much fun. But I realize I have to gain a little more distance. I'm still going to play a couple each year. It's still going to be my goal to be able to make the cut, to be able to compete in the PGA events and to one day play in the Masters. That is my goal.
But I have other goals. I think I'm going to focus on winning more tournaments. I think that's going to be my major focus over the next couple of years. I'm not going to not focus on the PGA Tour events. Those are still my goal, my dreams. But I have a lot of different focuses.
Q. Just to follow up on that, do you know how many PGA Tour events you're going to try to play next year?
Q. Would you play the full contingent if you got offers for exemptions?
MICHELLE WIE: Well, concerning my school schedule I'm not sure how many tournaments I can play. I can't really play a full schedule. But I'm not really sure. I haven't really planned on my schedules for next year.
Q. Michelle, do you think there are so women out there that do resent you for what you have in just a short period of time? If so, what would you say to them?
MICHELLE WIE: Well, I know that there are going to be some people against me. There's not going to be everyone that's going to go for me and there are going to be people that have different opinions about me. But you know I'm really thankful for my sponsors for trusting me and giving me lots of opportunities. I'm really thankful for that.
Q. Michelle, back to the question of your school friends, obviously, they'll be envying you at the moment, is there anything about their lives that you envy? Do you envy them in any way?
MICHELLE WIE: Well, I go to school full time, so I had to spend a lot of time with them. They are asking me to buy lunch a lot more often now. But there are certain things that I envy about them. But, you know, looking at my life and their life, I'd rather live my own because I love traveling. I love to do what I do. It's my dream job. I love this. I mean I love to hang out with my friends a lot more often. But I do get to hang out with them a lot when I go back home. It's really good because I get two sides of never mind. I get all of the good stuff.
Q. What questions do they ask you, your school friends?
MICHELLE WIE: Can you get me a car? That's what they ask me. Well, we don't really talk about that at school. They goof around a lot around me just joking about how much money I should make, just drop out of school and not go to school. But, you know, it's really cool to have a group of friends you know before you turn pro so they know you for what you really are. So it's really nice.
Q. Two questions. Give us an update on the driving. How soon do you get your license now that you are of age? And plans for a car?
MICHELLE WIE: Well, I get my license next week, so I'm kind of nervous and excited about that. And hopefully I I'll get a car. Hint. Maybe, hopefully.
Q. Secondly, there has been over the last three or four months some comments from Morgan Pressel about turning pro. How well do you know Morgan? Can you describe the relationship you had with her?
MICHELLE WIE: Well, I mean I don't really know her that often. I respect her opinion. Everyone has different opinions. They have the right to say their opinions. You know, I'm not really going to comment on that. I respect her opinions and she has got to say what she wants to say.
Q. Michelle, you are represented by William Morris, the famous Hollywood agency. I would like to know who, in your opinion is the coolest guy; Brad Pitt or Johnny Depp?
MICHELLE WIE: Now that's a hard one. I don't know. I don't know on that one. They are even.
Q. What do you want to accomplish this week?
MICHELLE WIE: Well, obviously, I want to win. I have been really working hard on that. I just want to have fun. It's my first tournament as a pro, I think. I'm going to cherish all of the parts of this tournament and try to play as hard as I can. Hopefully, I'll play good.
Q. Is there every a point when you are just sitting there, you are 16, you are thinking, obviously you're great, but the pressure, does it ever get to you, like whoa? I saw you looking at a magazine with you on the cover of it, do you ever say whose life is it? What's going on? Is there any feelings like that?
MICHELLE WIE: No, not really, I don't feel any pressure at all. I see it as incentive. I'm just loving every moment of this life, you know. It's great. I'm loving it. I'm not feeling really any pressure. It's great. That's all I can say.
Q. Michelle, could you tell us what is the most interesting tournament that you have ever played as an amateur?
MICHELLE WIE: I think the most impressive was the funnest was the public links I played in this past year, the men's public links. I think it was the greatest. It was so much fun playing Match Play against them. They are such great players. It was a whole new experience for me. It was awesome. I don't know. All of the tournaments that I played in were really good. I can't really choose one. But that's the one that I remember right now.
Q. Michelle, this is a question we'll be asking of all of the players, what do you think of the greens, they have had a bit of trouble with them?
MICHELLE WIE: Well, I think that they're not as bad as I thought they are going to be. They are rolling nicely. When I first looked at them, I'm like, okay, it's not the greatest but doable. After putting on them, they are getting better every day. They are actually not wiggling that much. I think they are going to be really good by Thursday. And at home the greens are aerified, so I think I've been playing on those kind of greens for quite a while.
Q. Michelle, you say the pressure, is the pressure off you now that you have made your decision to turn pro and it can just be about the golf now. Is there a sense in your mind what's ahead for you?
MICHELLE WIE: There is a little sense of relief knowing that going to a press conference someone asked me, when are you going to turn pro? They are not going to ask me that anymore. So it's little bit of relief. I like pressure. It's fun. When there is no pressure, it's not as fun.
Q. Michelle, when do you think you will start traveling more on your own? And what are your thoughts about that. You obviously come from a very successful background. Those of us who have watched you, you have a model relationship with your parents in a way, that there are circumstances where it can be anything other than model, how long do you think that will last? And when do you think you will start moving out on your own?
MICHELLE WIE: Well, I love traveling with them. But I guess over time maybe I don't know, how long it will take. I don't even know how to book a plane ticket. I can't even leave the islands by myself.
So I think over time I think I will be able to travel alone. Right now I don't think I can handle it by myself. I love having my parents with me. I think I will be kind of lonely by myself. It's really fun having my parents around.
Q. This may be early to ask this question, but after the $500,000 donation toward Katrina relief, have you given any thought to long term plans on what you want to do charity wise?
MICHELLE WIE: Well, I mean I've been thinking about a lot of stuff. There is so many things you can do. So many possibilities. I would just like to help people like giving travel fund to golfers that can't get their way into tournaments. And just helping kids. Getting them on the right track. I mean there is thousands, thousands of possibilities. Hopefully I will be able to help as many as I can.
Q. Michelle when Tiger turned pro he hooked up with Mark O'Meara as sort of a mentor. Is there any one? Have you even thought about doing something like that? If there is, is there any one off the top of your head that you think you can really learn from?
MICHELLE WIE: Well, over the last couple over the last two years, and this year and going forward, I've been I really look up to Ernie Els. And I want to play with him. He's awesome. Any advice I get I'm open to.
Q. These because he is six, three?
MICHELLE WIE: Not really.
Q. To kind of follow up on that Michelle, how close to when you decide to turn pro did you talk to Ernie? Did you actually say Ernie, what do you think about me turning pro?
MICHELLE WIE: Not really. He actually brought up the conversation first. I mean he is like, girl, you are just ready to turn pro already. I was just like okay.
Q. When was that? When do you remember talking to him last about that?
MICHELLE WIE: I don't remember. It was August, as my dad said.
Q. As a follow up to that, do you see yourself ever trying Q School for the PGA Tour?
MICHELLE WIE: Yes, I'd love to one day. I'd like to any way get into PGA Tour. I'll try.
Q. But you can see yourself going first stage, all that stuff?
Q. Is it a realistic possibility in the next couple of years do you think?
MICHELLE WIE: Yes. I think if I try harder, if I practice really hard. I think anything is possible. I have to think that.
Q. Michelle, are you reading a book that has nothing to do with either golf or school at the moment? If so, what is it?
MICHELLE WIE: Well, I don't know, this one book is pretty it's not really long, but a hard book. It's for school but it's keeping me occupied. It's the Scarlet Letter.
Q. Again, a non golf question about the fashion and fashion statements. Lipman decided what you are going to wear on the Letterman show. Your mom decided many times for you. But on and off the golf course, what you are going to wear, is it going to be dictated by the sponsors or maybe you?
MICHELLE WIE: Well, I'm definitely going to have a lot of input on what clothes I want to where. I pick out my own clothes. I coordinate my own stuff. So I have a pretty big say in what I want to wear.
Q. I'm curious, what's the most nervous you have ever been on the golf course?
MICHELLE WIE: I don't know.
Q. I didn't think it was that hard of a question.
MICHELLE WIE: I don't know actually. Well, I think from the most recent memory, the most nervous I've been was in the first match of the public links on the last hole. That putt was pretty nerve wracking.
Q. Do you think your feelings, your nerves, whatever will be any different to Thursday's tee just given the circumstances of it being your first pro tournament?
MICHELLE WIE: No, not really. I don't think I will be that nervous.
Q. Why not, Michelle, you like clothes a lot. Do you have any ideas about designing your own clothing line or working with Nike to do that?
MICHELLE WIE: Well, I'd love to one day. That's every girl's dream to make their own clothes line. I'm just so grateful that I have the opportunity to. Hopefully I will be able to. I'm really looking forward to it.
Q. Do you have any plans to visit Korea?
MICHELLE WIE: Right now I don't have any plans. If there is a chance I would love to one day.
Q. Making the huge contract with Sony and Nike does it work as pressure to you, do you feel more pressure to live up to the expectations?
MICHELLE WIE: No, I'm not pressured at all. I just feel really thankful for the opportunity. Hopefully I can live up to that. I don't feel any pressure. I see it as incentive.
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