SARAH KEMP Q. Welcome to another press conference and welcome to 12-year LPGA veteran, Sarah Kemp. Kempy, it’s great to have you back for this new event. You had a good year in America last year, how’s your form been as far as you can tell? SARAH KEMP: Not too bad. I’ve been home […]
Q. Welcome to another press conference and welcome to 12-year LPGA veteran, Sarah Kemp. Kempy, it’s great to have you back for this new event. You had a good year in America last year, how’s your form been as far as you can tell?
SARAH KEMP: Not too bad. I’ve been home since 10 December and just been working with my coach getting back into the swing of things, so I’m not really sure what’s going to happen this week, but I’m looking forward to it.
Q. Talk to us a little bit about the Karrie Webb influence, you’re obviously playing for the Karrie Webb Cup this week. Do you remember your first meeting with Karrie and what’s your relationship with her?
SARAH KEMP: Yeah, Webbie’s awesome. When I was growing up, she was world number 1, which was awesome. I remember getting my LPGA Tour card and she was one of the first people to email me and we’ve been lucky enough to have a pretty good relationship and we have a few Queensland/New South Wales bets throughout the year that embarrass myself and embarrass her, which is good.
But no, it’s great to be playing for a trophy that’s got her name on it.
Q. Just for background for all you people, Sarah had two top fives on the LPGA last year and was tied 19th at the Evian Championship, which is a Major and she was also in the hunt for the Pure Silk Championship until late. Any questions?
Q. Sarah, is this sort of the perfect start for your year? You’ve got four rounds, you see where your game’s at before you get ready to head back home?
SARAH KEMP: Absolutely perfect. There’s no better way to start the year, especially playing at home too. My coach is here, so he can see where my game’s at before I head over to the States, but no, it’s the absolute ideal start.
Q. Last year your status was flipping to everything, the LPGA stuff, do you think that actually helped you play really well if you did get a start, because every time you did get a start in an event, you played some really good golf?
SARAH KEMP: So my status last year was actually – it was better than the year before, so I got into more than I thought I would. But it wasn’t that sort of last minute stuff where I had to worry about booking a flight more later. The Majors, I had to all qualify for, but yeah, definitely helps when you know you’re going to be into, like next year I can already plan for a couple of Majors and book flights and accommodation for that, which is really, really cool.
Q. The work in the lead up to this, is it just fine tune stuff or anything major for the year ahead?
SARAH KEMP: No, not really. I think I’ve pretty much done the same thing throughout my career. We just kind of put band-aids on it and try and fix it as best we can, but yeah, it’s the same sort of stuff. It’s great to get in to get eyes on it and fix it.
Q. The golf course this week, probably a bit shorter than what you’re used to playing in LPGA Tour events, small greens, hard greens and it seems to be pretty tough for the guys and the girls at the same time. How do you think the course will play here?
SARAH KEMP: Yeah, I walked the back nine yesterday. I played here when I was a kid in one of the amateur events, but it’s completely different. But yeah, like you said, it feels pretty generous off the tee but small greens, but yeah, you’ve got to be able to – feels like a second shot golf course, which is great. I love if you miss the green, it’s not going to be an easy up and down, so it should be a good challenge for all of us.
Q. Just to expand on that, the format, the guys and the girls playing at the same time, I guess it’s something that everyone’s kind of asked you, but your thoughts on that?
SARAH KEMP: The Vic Open has been my favourite tournament ever, all year to play in. It’s so cool playing along with the guys and practising with them, and you’re just hitting balls next to them on the range. I played junior golf and amateur golf with a lot of the boys and I haven’t seen them in 10, 15 years, so it’s nice to catch up and just be around them is great. So it’s awesome to have another event like that and I hope we get more.
Q. I just want to go to something that you told Tony Webeck before last year at one of the Majors, the pressure you felt Sarah, with Karrie Webb being world number 1 and you being earmarked as the next Aussie superstar, and now we’ve got these youngsters like Hannah Green and Minjee Lee really taking the pressure off everyone who’s an Aussie on the Tour. What’s it been like for you seeing them develop, and if you take us back to what it was like for you being under that sort of pressure.
SARAH KEMP: I think, yeah, I had a pretty good amateur career and there were comparisons right as I turned pro, so I think I felt a little bit of pressure back then, but I mean, Karrie’s career is like, it’s hall of fame, it’s one in – you know, even if you had 15 per cent of her career, you’ve had a great career. So I don’t really feel any type of pressure and I don’t think the girls coming up should either. Hannah and Minjee have won Majors in the last few years and that’s awesome. But to feel what Karrie did, it’s a big ask. I definitely think they can do it, but I don’t think they should feel pressure to have a career like Karrie.
Q. The next cab off the rank is Stephanie Kyriacou. Do you mentor someone like her, do you talk to her, because of your experience on Tour, about what it’s going to be like? It’s actually very hard, she’s coming over to your place?
SARAH KEMP: This morning I had to spent 20 minutes downloading an app to sign some papers for to get a visa, so yeah, I guess I’m helping along the process to get her over to America. But yeah, I mean, I’m here, I guess being on Tour now for so long, you know, if any of the girls need any help, just travel or visas or stuff like that, yeah, I’m happy to help and I’m definitely there for all the girls.
Q. I don’t want to labour the point, you haven’t won yet, after obviously being hailed the next one, is there a bit of pressure on you personally that you’d like to get one of those, particularly in the stage we’re at, winning the Karrie Webb Cup, just to put it up on the mantelpiece so to speak?
SARAH KEMP: Yeah, I’d love to win. I finished second on the LPGA and third, fourth, whatever. It would be awesome to get a win, but I’m not putting too much pressure on myself. I had my best year last year and I had a really good chat with Brad Kennedy yesterday and he’s 47 now and he talks about his last 10 years being the best of his career. So, I nailed him down and got some good nuggets to take through my next 10 years. But yes, do I think it’s possible – yes. I feel healthy, I feel fit, so that’s the plan. The plan’s to still win.
Q. Sarah, after you we interview Min Woo Lee, who’s had a great year but still struggles to be the best player in his family. You’ve had a fair bit to do with Minjee, how much has he got his work cut out to match what she’s done and how impressed have you been with that?
SARAH KEMP: That’s awesome, those two, they’re great talents, represent Australia wonderfully. Very happy for both of them, but yeah, I’m going for Minjee to win a couple more.
Q. Can I ask, obviously you enjoy it with the guys, but does the dynamic change when you’re out there with the guys? You’ve got to try and not be as long, how does the mindset work when you are alongside the guys?
SARAH KEMP: I don’t know, I don’t really feel a mindset change, to be honest. I’m playing against the girls, but I love playing with the guys. I walked around with some of the boys yesterday and had a practice round on the back 9 with some wedges and putter and I loved watching the shots that they played. But it doesn’t really change my mindset, how they play the golf course versus how the girls play the golf course. I just like being around them.
Q. Do you find the chat is a little bit more interesting with the guys or can you be just as brutal with the girls?
SARAH KEMP: Yeah, it’s probably similar. No, it’s not any different. It’s just really, really awesome to have these mixed events like this. I’ve never heard a bad – coming from all the girls, we all love it. I really hope that there’s more going forward. It’s awesome.
Q. Thanks for that. Thank you Kempy for coming up and good luck this week and we’ll have Min Woo Lee pretty soon, if you want to stay around.