KATHIE SHEARER: You’ve been to Victoria a number of times, you like it here, you like this golf course. Give us your thoughts on it. HAOTONG LI: Yeah, it’s a great course. Actually, it’s my first time being here, so played here, being here in lovely conditions and nothing can complain. KATHIE SHEARER: Tell us […]
KATHIE SHEARER: You’ve been to Victoria a number of times, you like it here, you like this golf course. Give us your thoughts on it.
HAOTONG LI: Yeah, it’s a great course. Actually, it’s my first time being here, so played here, being here in lovely conditions and nothing can complain.
KATHIE SHEARER: Tell us a little bit about your Presidents Cup experience.
HAOTONG LI: It’s a great experience. Luckily, I make part of the team and everyone’s like going for the same goal, you know. And we were quite close there and our captains does a great jobs. The teams always there and just whatever.
KATHIE SHEARER: That’s exactly what Geoff Ogilvy said when he came in here. He said that you were all such friends that now you’re still on WhatsApp to one another. It was different to any other team that he had been on because it was so cohesive, everybody got along, the girls got along, the guys got along and you had a wonderful time there, especially the game of football when it was all over and you went to the practice fairway and everybody played there when the whole event was over. Do you remember that, you played Aussie rules football?
HAOTONG LI: Oh, yes, yes, I did.
KATHIE SHEARER: And he said that even though you had lost, it was a great bonding time between everybody there.
HAOTONG LI: Sure, sure. It’s a great week. You have to enjoy that, especially against the best team in the world. It’s just a great experience to have there.
KATHIE SHEARER: Doyou like the tournament with the men and the women playing together? Have you ever played a tournament like this before?
HAOTONG LI: I mean, this is my first time, but I think it’s a great idea and to grow the golf games, you know, that more people realize golf can be a little bit different. It’s going to be an interesting week, but I’m enjoying that so far.
Q. We remember your final round at Birkdale in 2017, 63 was fantastic. You played well at the Duty Free Irish Open last year. Is there something about links golf that is particularly appealing to you and does that mean this week we might expect to see you on the leaderboard?
HAOTONG LI: Yeah, I think game’s getting there, just little bit pieces need to put it together, need to be sharp little bit. Especially this course, it’s just very similar, a lot fade shot so you have to hit some ‑‑ keep your ball lower and hit more fairways, you’re going to have birdie chances, yeah.
Q. You’re a pretty stress‑free character, Haotong, but do you feel any pressure being the top‑rated player in the field this week?
HAOTONG LI: No. I’m outside like hundred or something. What’s the reason? (Laughs.)
HAOTONG LI: Seventy‑five.
Q. You’re still No. 1 here. No pressure?
HAOTONG LI: Why? What’s the point? But hopefully I can keep the position, though.
Q. As Kathie says, you’ve been here a few times now. How’s that Aussie accent of yours?
HAOTONG LI: I’m working on it, mate. How’s that sound? (Laughs.) Some others I’m not allowed to say here, but I can say later.
Q. That’s probably wise. In all seriousness, we were joking about it with Lucas ‑‑
HAOTONG LI: No, I’m not joking, I’m serious.
Q. No, about the coronavirus. Have you been given any ‑‑ have you been harassed by anyone because of your nationality? Is it ‑‑
HAOTONG LI: No, but ‑‑ yeah, it’s fine, but I mean, we’re in a tough situation. Hope our country can getting better soon and quick as normal, so you’ve got nothing to expect.
Q. Do you have friends and family in that area of China?
HAOTONG LI: Yeah, my parents.
Q. In Wuhan?
HAOTONG LI: No, in Shanghai.
Q. Is everyone okay?
HAOTONG LI: Yeah.
Q. What do you have to do well here on this course to contend on Sunday?
HAOTONG LI: I think I have to hit a lot of good tee shots on this course. I think it will be the key, especially when in the windy conditions, that course can be some real test there.
Q. Last one for me. Lucas spoke about it being difficult to play at home sometimes because you have so much support, particularly for him. You played many times in China with that pressure. What is it like ‑‑
HAOTONG LI: Great, incredible. Seriously, I felt like everyone’s on your side and everyone’s rooting for you. Just like, just like play at home, you know.
So for me, it’s perfect, but even better playing in Australia and seeing Lucas a little bit stressful.
KATHIE SHEARER: We’ll leave it on that note. Thank you.
HAOTONG LI: Thank you.