How surprised were you by Lorena Ochoa’s retirement?
I was not surprised by her desire to retire, as she did not make it a secret that she would not be out on tour for a long time. Lorena and I have had many discussions regarding careers and other subjects but I was caught somewhat off guard as to her timing.
Your recent progress has been checked by a number of injuries. Have you always struggled to stay injury free?
None of my injuries have been as serious as the torn ligament in my thumb which kept me out for the first half of this year. My stomach illness at the end of 2008 is still a medical mystery to the expert team that treated me and they are still monitoring me.
Are you a patient person away from the course?
Are you implying that I’m not a patient person on the course (laughs)? Hopefully I am getting more patient, be it on or off the course. Sitting out half the season tends to give you a lot of time to evaluate things.
What did you first think after your first round of links golf?
Birkdale in 2005 initiated me the hard way. My entire first round was played in cold, rainy and extremely windy conditions. In my practice round on a par 4, I hit driver, 6 iron to the green. The next day, in the first round, I hit driver, 3 wood, and then a 9 iron to reach. After that I’ve been ready for anything!
You can get some quirky bounces. What do you say to yourself when your ball kicks into a bunker?
It is never fun to see good shots getting penalised but that’s what makes it so different. Most of the time you can’t see where your ball lands so you go by the gallery’s response. My caddy, Colin Cann, is British, so doesn’t let me get too far out of sync. Having grown up playing on these courses he knows what to expect and is able to keep me quite calm – most of the time.
I have great confidence in my matchplay abilities and anything is possible with that format but it really has no place in a Major championship. What are your top three courses here?
Playing at the Old Course at St Andrews has to be my favourite, especially since the final round, in 2007, was on my 21st birthday. But I like Birkdale and Lytham very much too, so I guess those are my top three. It is hard to choose since they are all Hall of Fame-type courses. Wherever I win my first Women’s British Open will probably become my clear favourite.
How often did you get asked about not having won a Major?
I always felt the expression ‘Best Player Not To Have Won A Major’ applied to someone who had been around a long time so at 21, when I was first asked about it, I was honoured that people respected my game enough to think I should have already won a Major. I was fine with it as I knew it was simply a matter of time before I won my first. If I was still being asked that question at 35 I might have had a different answer.
Your Solheim Cup record is up there with the best. Should one of the Majors be a matchplay event?
Interesting question, who knows? I have great confidence in my matchplay abilities and anything is possible with that format but it really has no place in a Major championship.
You are not yet 24 but do you feel like one of the old timers now on the LPGA Tour?
This is my sixth year as a pro and, in some ways, I do feel like a veteran but, in other ways, I don’t. In reality, I am still very young and I am learning so much. Whenever I think of being a veteran I just remind myself of Juli Inkster and then I feel like a rookie again!
Date of birth: August 5, 1986
Lives: Isleworth, Florida LPGA wins: 9
Solheim Cup appearances: 3
Career high world ranking: 2nd
If not a golfer? Fashion designer