CME Group Tour Championship

Thursday, November 2, 2023

Naples, Florida, USA

Tiburon Golf Club

Angel Yin

Press Conference

CHRISTINA LANCE: Hello everybody coming in. Happy to have you here. I'll start off with some questions for Angel, looking back at her year, looking ahead to CME, and then we'll open up for questions for everybody.

Angel, thanks for taking time on your off week to chat with us back home. You came home an LPGA Tour winner. How great does that feel?

ANGEL YIN: Feels good. Pretty happy. Everyone around me is really happy, so good to see. Good to see everyone else happy, too.

CHRISTINA LANCE: We like seeing everybody happy, but we like seeing you happy. We know that was a long time coming for the win, and you've changed your game. You've had a lot going on over the last few years. How fulfilling was it to get at that win in Shanghai and get your name on that list of winners?

ANGEL YIN: Obviously really nice feeling because, what is it, 159 starts? So LPGA Tour is a tour that you grow up wanting to play on as a kid. You know, a lot of great players haven't won on tour, so it's very accomplishing and grateful for it to happen to me, and the way it happened for me was something very special.

CHRISTINA LANCE: It was a full-circle moment from Chevron earlier in the year. Did you have any flashbacks to Chevron while you were facing off against Lilia?

ANGEL YIN: Oh, yeah, 100%. I mean, that was that my head constantly. Actually, like on 17, I was looking at the scoreboard because I like looking at the leaderboards. That's one of my things, because I know what I'm playing for. I'm not a person that doesn't like to look.

I saw that and I was like, well, if I can pull it off I'm going to hopefully not see Lilia, but if I do, we're going to do it again. It was pretty special. The way it happened was -- couldn't have gone better. The whole entire year feels so scripted; it's pretty crazy.

Carlota's putt to win at Solheim and everything. It was pretty wild.

CHRISTINA LANCE: It has been an amazing year for the women's game and for you. I think you've talked about some of the struggles you had over the last few years, and now coming through, to get close to Chevron, to play your way onto the Solheim Cup team. You played so well around Solheim Cup time that you're now leading the race to maybe get $1 million. You're one the favorites coming into CME.

What has the story of this year been for you to make it back up to the top of the mountain?

ANGEL YIN: A lot of learning, a lot of growth. I think that, you know, you always anticipate how to learn and how to grow and experience it, and you then it's more about living through the moment and learning, experiencing it. That's more than reading in a textbook or people teaching you or talking to you about it. It's actually experiencing it yourself.

So I think that's what I went through a lot this year. Last year was a lot of learning and trying to get through it. So more something on the surface, something you can learn from your golf game; this year to me was more of an inner growth emotionally and everything around me.

I think I created a great team and the team has really helped me grow as well. I think I'm really happy with Marcus being on my bag since the beginning of this year. First tournament starting in Saudi, and we had a really good run. The people around me in my life have been such great support. You know, it speaks volumes and helps a lot.

CHRISTINA LANCE: I know you were a key member of that Team USA team room, keeping it light, keeping it fun. How was that week in Spain? I know you had a great week going 2-1-1. It's hard work to get back on the team, but I know Stacy really relied on you for that lightness in the room.

ANGEL YIN: Yeah, going in before the interviews and such, I always don't like to talk about what I can give to the rookies and such because I don't really like that seniority role.

I am a person that believes everyone is equal. Other than the captains that are leaders, everyone in the team room is equal, and I don't really like the seniority rule. I'm playing in this for the third time. What am I going to say to the rookies. I've been against questions like that.

That's just not how I see it in life. I just think when you enter the room then you know what you're getting throughout the week. We all adapted really well, and this year's team was a lot quieter than normal, but everyone doesn't really need to speak much.

They are almost on the same waver length. I think that's what worked well this year. Unfortunately we tied and lost the Cup. We didn't win it. I think it's really good momentum into next year. Obviously we wished to have won going into next year, but I think where we are and with the team we have, it's good. It's really good.

CHRISTINA LANCE: And now, last question from me before we open it up.

You're not playing in the ANNIKA next week. I know you had to pull out of Malaysia last week. I think you said it's your back and how that's going before we head into CME.

ANGEL YIN: So, yeah, it's actually really sad for me because Malaysia, we haven't been back in a very long time and it was like China, but longer than that. To play in that tournament would've been really special because I played there my rookie year.

But, you know, my back really started bugging me in Korea. Just really tired. And then going over to Asia, food for me can be a struggle because I actually struggle with a lot of like -- it's not just the back-back, it's just the easiest way to explain it. It's more of like organ issues. Like, you know, adapting to the climate there and so my thyroid has big issues, so it swelled up causing my back to really swell up, and so that's the reason why.

And so I pushed through Korea, but then like the heat in Malaysia --it was like cold in Korea, and the heat in Malaysia is not just any kind of heat. It's like hot!

I was like, I don't think I can do it. I talked to my caddie and he was like, you know what? You should take two weeks off. So it just so happens I am leading Aon, so I'm grateful that I did well in Korea to sustain my lead with 28 birdies in 30 holes.

So I do have a nice lead over Atthaya I believe. The truth is everybody is doing match. By the last two months everybody is just talking to me about Aon. Anyone and their moms are texting me about Aon. It's hard not to know about and do the math on it because you would be kind of stupid not to. It's $1 million. Doesn't matter how much inflation is going on in this world, it's a lot of money.

CHRISTINA LANCE: That is. We can chat about that more later. We're glad you're doing better. And yes, I was in Malaysia the last time we played there and I looked like a drowned rat in all the pictures.

I understand the feeling.

Q. Hi, Angel, congratulations. Haven't seen you since the big W. When the Solheim Cup was going on, Juli was in the booth and she talked a little bit about your relationship and how much she enjoys you and how you've talked to her since Solheim Cup just in general for advice. Just hoping you can talk about Juli and her influence on you. I think you had dinner in Spain as well or you caught up with her at some point.

ANGEL YIN: Yeah, so Juli, since Solheim, her picking me, to me, I think was such an, I mean, inspirational move. I never really felt like -- I mean, I knew I had a chance because my caddie then, Jeff King, veteran caddie, been part of many Solheims, he said, look, you just play well you can do it.

Then Cristie Kerr was very kind and inspiring. Look, I'm going to put it in a word for you. She played golf with me like one round of golf of a tournament at Thornberry. And she was like, look, I want you on the team.

So Cristie and Jeff King, my caddie then, they told me to keep pushing. In the back of my mind I didn't think that I had a chance, even though I was like second on the rookie list.

You know, Juli called me with Cristie Kerr there and told me I was a pick. That was crazy because I was really disappointed that I couldn't finish better because I felt like I had a chance to get in by myself with points.

You know, I know that year, regardless of what everyone says, I know I wasn't the popular pick. I was the underdog, and so she did something inspiring, and ever since then she's been my second mom. I hang out with her in Palm Springs, play golf with her, hang with her family, Hayley and Cori, Brian, her husband.

It's been such a journey since 2017 being a pick to play Solheim, and she always calls me and talks to me. Her and Judy Rankin have also been close. We'll go to Palm Springs, talk, hang out, play golf. It's been special.

It was really cool to see her in the booth with Judy Rankin, and her coming into our team room and telling us the past stories. Pat Bradley was also in there. Told us how she hit the first tee shot for Solheim and it was not Nancy Lopez because she got nervous.

So she pulled out last minute and Pat Bradley took the shot for the opening shot for Solheim at Lake Nona.

Q. What's the best piece of advice that you got from Juli that you think helped get you over the finish line?

ANGEL YIN: Don't do it for the money. Do it for golf. I mean, it's pretty funny how she says it. It's our job; we do it for the money. (Laughter.) I mean, everyone is here doing it for the money.

She always tells me to not look at it like that. If you look at it like that you don't really see more than that. Do it for the love of the golf, why I play, why you win, something beyond the money.

So I really take that to heart. She says once you accomplish what you want to accomplish all that stuff will follow. That's something I tell myself. Who doesn't want to go after the money.

Q. Very true. Speaking of the $1 million.


Q. Angel, got to ask about Aon. Been the last couple months that Aon has been on your mind. At what point did you first realize, oh, I have a chance at this?

ANGEL YIN: Actually, really funny, because I never look at things like that. I don't even know where I'm ranked in the world or CME unless it's in my face. Like I realized I was tenth in CME because I was in Maybank, in Malaysia; I think I dropped probably, but it was in Malaysia and there was a CME board there.

They have them everywhere. I was like 10th. I was like, oh, my God, my name is up there. That's incredible.

But what was it? I think it was my mom who texted me in Cincinnati and goes -- the week before and goes, dude, you're like second. I'm like, what? I really didn't think I had a chance, because to me, Aon is a lottery. It's really difficult to maintain under par consistently throughout the entire year and not mess up.

It's super tough. You don't really know what the holes are and sometimes the holes can be really tough. Doesn't always have to land on a par-5; could be a par-4. So you kind of just focus on the tournaments that have something like that, and I was like, wow, that's incredible.

And then eagled the hole and birdied the hole in Cincinnati, so I was still second. And then a lot of the movement happened at Walmart. I was just -- I didn't play Walmart and I was sitting on my couch and I noticed, holy cow, I'm one.

How do I do the math? I'm so foreign to all this. Does anybody know what's going on? So my caddie really sat down with me and helped me, and actually like I texted a few people to ask them how to even do the math, right?

That's just the truth of it. I just -- we did some calculations. It was really complicated to figure out by yourself. Later on, kind of get a hang of it and then you kind of understand what's going on.

But, yeah, it's probably around Cincinnati when I realized that I probably had a chance.

Q. It's definitely complicated math. If you end up winning you'll earn $2.6 million this year with CME still a go. Is it hard to process that given how much money that is relative to other seasons you've earned?

ANGEL YIN: I could tell you it's a lot more money that I've earned in the last three, four years, since COVID. I mean, I don't really know how to process it other than that I have to pay a lot of tax.

Since the way it's progressed the last few years, I just know that I'm my own sponsor, and I won't take this money for granted and just spend it. I will be a lot wiser with it. Hopefully. Hopefully a lot wiser with it. (Smiling.) Invest it well and do whatever I want with it.

And now actually gives me the flexibility of doing something I want. Someone reached out and was like, do you want to have your own tournament? That's something I've thought about. Or, you know, starting things and helping me out, whatever it is I want to do.

So that would be really cool.

Yeah, definitely not going to take it for granted because I don't have any sponsors and I'm my own sponsor.

Q. What tournament would that be?

ANGEL YIN: So I'm friends with Nicki Gatch. She's the CEO of SCPGA, so she just reached out if I wanted to do a Toyota Tour Cup. I don't know.

Q. Thank you, Angel.

CHRISTINA LANCE: That is something that it's not just about the money, but money is a by-product of this and what you're able to achieve. It says a lot for you being able to go out and support younger players, but also says a lot with the announcement we had last week with the new event coming to Boston.

People are seeing what you and your fellow players are doing, and that's helping to elevate the tour. Does it feel that way to you?

ANGEL YIN: Yeah. (Smiling.) I do. So because I had a little bit extra cash this year, I actually just invested -- I mean, I invested in two companies. One was this new clothing company that's really, really small. Just starting up. Based in Malaysia. It's a women-run company with women-focused women's apparel. I think that's really cool, so I want to be able to use what I have to support people that are not as well supported as bigger companies or bigger people involved.

People who are just like and you me, average Joes that need a little bit more support to chase a dream. That's something I want to pursue.

You know, like I said, I never really had any sponsorships in my career. I've had two great ones, Titleist has been ball and glove, but never really had sponsors. In the last four years I've had no sponsors. And so to me, I've always just wanted to help people who are not being helped.

CHRISTINA LANCE: This is a great opportunity for you to do that. Good stuff.

Q. Going back to Aon, I know you said this year you want to spend your money a little bit more wisely. If you do end up winning that, is there anything you want to treat yourself to after such a long, successful year?

ANGEL YIN: You know what's really funny is everyone is always asking me like what I'm going to get myself, especially after my win. I don't think anything because I actually do have everything I want in life. Probably just travel a little bit. That's just some standard stuff.

Like I said, still going back to investing in Fairmont Clothing Company, something like that like. When something pops up in the future I want to have it on the side and support people who are not being supported, so that's one of my goals.

Q. And on a more serious note, you mentioned the health issues, how they're travel related. I feel like people don't really understand how grueling it is to be on the road for so many weeks in a row and what you guys deal with on a week-to-week basis. Describe how you've learned to deal with the schedule and tricks of the trade you picked up along the way. And if you're still struggling with it, how has that been going?

ANGEL YIN: Yeah, so I've been actively trying to help fix everything going on internally. I had parasites; got rid of that. Parasites is so common because you travel so much wherever you eat, and if you're not careful, boom, they get in there.

Had a few other issues. That was a little bit more complicated. We've been working through that. I'm feeling a lot better. I'm able to eat, and that's more important. I really toned down my schedule this year with less traveling. I think this year is the least amount of tournaments I've ever played in my entire career.

It showed that I'm playing better, so I need to have a little bit more trust in myself. The whole entire reason I was thinking about having a less schedule was because I just thought about Lexi. In the beginning of the year I know my status wasn't as good as the previous years. This was one of the worst statuses I've ever had going into a new season, so it was tough for me to get into Asia.

I thought about writing to them to potentially get a sponsor's invite to potentially get a little bit of cash in hand to support my career starting the season.

And then I just thought about Juli and Lexi, because Lexi never really goes over to Asia. For whatever reason it is, she keeps her schedule pretty light. So I was thinking like there has to be something like it. I didn't get into Asia and kind of just sat out. I didn't have a problem with that.

March we start. It's really nice this year. I get to be home more. I'm not as tired. I get really, really like mentally stressed out. I don't want to use the word "depressed" because everyone throws that around too much. I get really, really stressed out and low emotionally when I get into CME every year and towards the end the year when I'm in Asia.

I wanted to fix that. I think I'm exploring the right route. I do feel emotionally better and I'm not as drained going into CME as I am usually in the past few years.

And so I think that's a lot of adjustments for all the traveling we do as learning as -- I think this is any seventh season.

Q. Did you talk to Lexi about that schedule lightening, or is that something you kind of just were inspired by seeing her do?

ANGEL YIN: Just inspired. I didn't really speak to her about it.

Q. Hearing you talk about your investment, specifically with the clothing company, I thought was pretty interesting. Curious how you want your impact on golf and your platform to tie into the larger role, kind of akin to doing that?

ANGEL YIN: I actually thought Jordan was a guy. When Randy texted me about you I always thought it was a guy. (Laughter.)

What I want to do with my impact? I don't know. I don't know actually. I think I've always wanted to be very truthful person. Don't really want to tell a lie. Obviously not be so truthful where it hurts people, so that's my goal. And I think that's where I want to align my goals in golf as well and just be truthful and honest with people instead of leading them into, let's just say, a false dream or a dream that's not for them.

So it's funny, when I do clinics for juniors, friends get really upset because they want me to tell them to be like super inspired with golf and do all these crazy things, and I just said look, if you don't like it, you don't need to do it. It's not for everyone. It's tough.

That's something that I want, because I feel like there is a lot of talent out there and there are kids who really genuinely love golf, but it's not for everyone.

That's something I wanted to do, to just be truthful.

CHRISTINA LANCE: Thank you, Angel.

Q. I wanted to follow up on the sponsorship situation. We talked about this a little bit over the years. How frustrating is it that you're still in this position looking for sponsors and what should, I don't know, what should golf fans in general know about the landscape out there?

ANGEL YIN: So my attitude with it really has changed. I'm not frustrated at all. I think it's a blessing that I haven't been sponsored because it gives me the opportunity to rely on myself and teach me that I am my own sponsor. I don't need anyone else to believe in me other than me.

You know, as hard as our industry is, because we spend a lot -- we earn quite a decent amount of money, but we spend as much as we earn. You know, I don't know, just taught me how to manage well and see what's important and what's truly more important than just on the surface.

I'm actually really grateful where I am, and regardless if people come sponsor me or not or support me on this journey, I'm grateful.

But I don't think I'm as desperate as I used to be. I used to be really desperate. Now I'm not as desperate. I think throughout this journey of not being sponsored I think it really helped me learn my own value as a person in life.

I'm actually really, really happy right now. I'm happy that I haven't been sponsored. Sounds psychotic, but I mean, the truth is -- and a person that's on the outside as a golf fan watches, the truth is sponsorships support an athlete's career, because without it it's just a little tougher. Let's just say you got sponsored for 100 grand. You get 100 grand deal out of a few sponsorships, or just the amount of 100 grand. That's your entire travel expense for the year, of your season. That's a lot of money.

And so when you just earn 100,000, that means you pay back 100,000. That's where the sponsorship comes in. You at least can have 100,000 to buy a TrackMan to help you play better, because that's not cheap, or a membership at golf course because sometimes the location you're at you you don't get the privileges to be an honorary member.

Your trainer, your coach, your physio, all that accumulates. Sometimes you don't just need the money to throw it back into the fire of travel and caddies and stuff. You need other support to be even better. I think that's where sponsorships are so important, to be able have that support on your back.

On my side it's just, yeah, I just learned that my value is a little higher. I'm not as desperate. I'm actually a lot calmer.

Q. How do you get to that new place mentally?

ANGEL YIN: I think probably mid-year, you know, I started playing better and I started seeing myself a little bit more than out of just desperation. Felt really pathetic looking at it. It's okay to feel pathetic, because you want to be able to search for things. If you're not searching for it you're not working for it.

My attitude, happy it hasn't changed because that's how hard I want to work for golf, just as much for my career to get sponsored, whatever it is. So you always want that drive.

But through that, like in the middle of the year I really learned, hey, one, happiness is a mindset; two, I can do it myself. I've always done it myself. So why not now?

Q. Did you read a book?

ANGEL YIN: No. You want to know? I sat on the toilet and I really had deep thoughts.

Q. You know what, that's really believable.

ANGEL YIN: That's where I solve all the world's problems, when I just sit there. The white throne.

CHRISTINA LANCE: If I ask you nothing in my career, please don't make that your headline. (Laughter.)

Q. One more quick thing. Tell us about your hats, where you get them.

ANGEL YIN: So G4 has grew huge in Southern California, so a lot of golf clubs started having them in the pro shops. Hacienda, my golf club had them. There were other hats, but I started wearing those and everyone started commenting about them. I was like, okay, I'll start wearing more.

And then my golf club everyone likes it because they can recognize it right away. It's like, HACI! Obnoxiously. In your face. So everyone can see it. And I don't know, just became a thing.

Now I just we're the G4 hats. Exactly see, it's in your face. You can spot it a mile away. Cameras are not always that close to you, and when you have small logo, the imperial ones, can't really see.

So, yeah, when you have -- let's just say when you have something like this, that's pretty big. Every one is going to see it.

So, yeah, actually now like if I don't wear my HACI people don't recognize me. I wear it and they're like, oh, my God, I know who you are. I'm like, wow, it's like a magic trick.

So it just really became a thing. And actually G4 reached out to my golf club to send me more hats. You know, stock, the country club stock you can't have too much. If they don't sell then you just have clutter, so G4 reached out to my golf club and sent me more hats for me.

Q. First of all, congrats on such an amazing year. It's been a pleasure to watch you. I want to go back to your mental health for a second. I really am just fascinated with obviously the travel and the fatigue on your body. But mentally in getting ready for CME, what that looks like for you and how you're mentally getting yourself ready and emotionally. It's an emotional time.

ANGEL YIN: Yeah, I don't really like to play victim on that because I do like to talk about it just because it's something that we either take too extreme or don't talk about at all. There is no medium ground. It's okay to talk about a subject that's very sensitive, but at the same time, not dive too deep. We have to overcome things. We can't just -- you know, anyway.

So I think that's also why I'm taking off Pelican. I know, it's not I think. I know why I'm taking off Pelican. Because I've told my caddie multiple times this year about how it gets to me and how at the end the year it gets really tiring.

So he went with me to Asia and really started playing and it was like, things coming at you 24/7, left, right. Let's say we finished Buick, we go into the flight, we land, we land at night, and then by Tuesday morning we need to get an hour car ride to the golf course, and then we do that.

That night we have a pro-am dinner, so I have to go a tend the pro-am dinner. By Wednesday, fortunately I wasn't in the pro-am, but by Wednesday normally I would be playing in a pro-am again. Thursday we tee off, and we do that all again because there is no cut, no breaks.

We travel to Malaysia and do that all again. So he really started to see, oh, my gosh, because he never really -- I don't think he caddied in Asia last year. I'm not quite sure. He really started to realize, this can get even crazier, more out of hand.

He sees why I'm so stressed out every year at the end of the year before I play CME. So he was like, you know what? I think you should take more time off.

So that was also the reason why I decided to take off Pelican. Even though I really wanted to play, and Annika being involved in it, it's such a huge event, three plus million dollars, one of the biggest purses outside of majors. So it's something I wanted to play.

The people at Pelican are amazing. They always try to make it as best as possible for us, to host us, to provide for us, the concert they always have for us to help us relax.

But still a stressful week when you play because you're fighting for top 10, win, whatever it is, the best score you can make out there.

Q. Is your caddie the person that you mainly have those types of conversations with, or is it your family or just between the two of you?

ANGEL YIN: My friends. Well, not my friends. Just like one friend and then my caddie. I like to keep it light. I don't need too many opinions. I have myself, what I think I want to do. I talk to my caddie about it because he's by my side 24/7. He sees my golf game, my schedule, my career.

From his professional standpoint I wanted to see what he thinks. I think that's why having a caddie is so important, like a good caddie. I never will discredit a caddie because I think they're more than just a person that reads or lasers a number and tells you.

A lot of people think, oh, maybe caddie isn't as important. You just play golf by yourself. When you really can work together well with a caddie, it goes a little bit more than that. I've learned that through the years as well.

Q. Just want to follow up. You mentioned earlier about possibly writing to the opening Asia events to get more cash. What was your cash situation like at the start of the year and is it stressful year over year on tour to make enough money?

ANGEL YIN: Writing what?

Q. You said you were potentially writing the opening Asia events for sponsor invites.

ANGEL YIN: Oh, yeah. If it wasn't for COVID I would be fine, but I think COVID was tough on everyone, and then it just so happened that I was injured, so I wasn't really making extra.

Because previously I've had good years. It's not like I'm bleeding and going paycheck to paycheck, so I've played well enough to make extra.

But COVID really took a hit on a lot of people, and me including, because I was just injured during that time. So it's not always that tough. It's tough when you have a bad stretch of a few years. Your bank gets pretty dry.

That's what happened.

Q. Is that where you were at the start of this year?

ANGEL YIN: Yes. Yes. And last year, too.

CHRISTINA LANCE: Angel, as we wrap things up, we're really happy to see the smile on your face and to see you coming into the end of the year with such success. There is still a week for you to go, still some big opportunities.

When you hit December 31st and you're looking back at 2023 what are going to be some of your big personal takeaways from the year?

ANGEL YIN: So far right now, it's just how everything has played out and how -- where I lack still and where I want to improve. My journey now and the journey in the future. I mean, it's hard to say what's going to happen in the future because we never know. We can only live in the present to know about the future because we lay out the path we want to take looking forward.

Yeah, just very great with everything happened. That's more of the attitude I have instead of, I don't know, just going -- yeah, that's it. Grateful for this year and see what I can do next year and see what I can accomplish.

CHRISTINA LANCE: You're a 25-year-old veteran. We are so excited to have you out here. We love seeing the success and the smile and really happy to have you back out there with us in Naples in two weeks. We'll all be watching Annika to support you and the rest of the players.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports
138748-1-1041 2023-11-02 18:21:00 GMT

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