CME Group Tour Championship

Tuesday, November 14, 2023

Naples, Florida, USA

Tiburon Golf Club

Lilia Vu

Press Conference

THE MODERATOR: Hello everyone, we are at the CME Group Tour Championship. Joined here by Lilia Vu, four-time champion. This is your second time here at the CME Group Tour Championship. What did you learn most about last year?

LILIA VU: I think last year I put a lot of pressure on myself during the Tour Championship and kind of learned a lot that I just am my own enemy.

I mean, I played this morning and, I mean, it could only get better. I was really hard on myself last year, so I'm really excited to play this year with a different mindset that I've learned and changed over the past year.

Q. And coming fresh off a win, most recent champion last week at The ANNIKA, how would you describe this year as a whole? Won four times, two major championships. What has that been like?

LILIA VU: I think it's just been wild. I don't think I expected this at all. I have said this before. I came in with no expectations because last year I had too many and was too hard on myself. I'm trying to enjoy every moment and be grateful I'm out here.

A lot of people would love to be in our position. When it gets tough out there and I'm being a little bit of a brat, I just remind myself I'm being ungrateful and go back to that mindset.

Q. And this might a little different question, but how would you describe your journey of confidence throughout the year? Touching a little bit too with your year on Epson Tour, coming on, winning once, and winning a total of four times this year.

LILIA VU: It's definitely been up and down. I mean, it's hard not to look at results when golf is truly just results based, and then kind of just -- I mean, I'm really my own enemy. I'm balancing between the line of trying to be perfect on the golf course and then not being too content where I'm at. It's a fine line that I keep going between.

So I think just being where my feet are and just doing what I need to in front of me, just taking every day literally one shot at a time. I say this so much, but that's literally how I play. Then it just sometimes works out.

Q. And last question from me and I'll open it up. Sponsors have stepped up in a big way these past few years for women's golf. What has that been like to see that growth and investment as a player?

LILIA VU: It's been so great. I won two of my first events without any sponsors, but have so many now that I have a great team behind me.

Yeah, just been really great for women's golf. I love that more people are showing up, more people supporting. There are little kids everywhere. I saw a stat last night on Twitter, it was like 6 to 12 year old kids there is like 33% more growth from the beginning of COVID, so that's been really cool to see, too.

Q. I think winning is such a hard thing to do out here. Everybody talks about it. For you, how have you learned to win this year on the LPGA Tour?

LILIA VU: I don't really know how to explain it. I feel like I just try my best, and for some reason I kind of take the same mindset I had in college where I really focused on playing a match between myself and the golf course. Like this is the par. I'm going to try to beat the hole every hole. If I don't, I just move on and try again the next hole.

Q. Last week coming from behind -- I know couple of your wins you were in the lead or near the top -- what is it for you about chasing that fires you up? Clearly when you're a little bit behind you kind of look different on the golf course. Like you get a little more hungry for it.

LILIA VU: I think there is really nothing to lose. I think I learned that pressure is not really real. The only pressure I have is from myself.

Just because you're leading after the third round doesn't mean you're winning the tournament. You're never winning the tournament until the end. So I just think about just doing what I need to do in order to be in that position.

I think for me the first two days all I want to do is be like hopefully be in contention on the weekend, and then that's when I kind of just kick into full gear and I'm like, okay, I'm where I want to be. Let's go from here.

Q. What would you tell Lilia at CME Group Tour Championship last year knowing what you know now?

LILIA VU: Golf isn't life or death. I think I really -- I mean, I cried on the 18th hole last year. I don't know why. I think I just wanted to win so badly last year.

It's kind of this concept where when you want something too much it gets away from you. You just have to believe it's coming, and I did that this year.

Q. You said last week you haven't followed any of the races for any the awards this year. Are you aware where you are coming into this week?

LILIA VU: For which one?

Q. Any of them.

LILIA VU: I mean, I know I got the major award one, the ANNIKA one. I haven't looked at anything else. I don't really know how any of the points system works, to be honest. I just kind of hear and you guys tell me. (Laughter.)

Yeah, so I'm not aware. I have one goal this week, so I'll focus on that.

Q. What is that one goal?

LILIA VU: Try and win, be in contention.

Q. Are there any other things floating out there that you might be in contention for that are on your radar that would be also be a priority or something else you might be thinking about, or just wanting to go out there and win?

LILIA VU: I think if I stay to my normal trying to win I think it's just going to solve itself and it'll happen.

Q. Have you thought about what it would mean to be Player of the Year?

LILIA VU: I haven't really like sat down and thought about it. I think because this year has just been so wild for me. I just did not ever imagine this happening. Not at this like extent and full force.

So no, I haven't thought about what it would mean. I think I would just start crying. I cried during the awards ceremony last week because it was Annika handing me the trophy. At every single level you want to win her tournament, The ANNIKA Junior, The ANNIKA Collegiate, and The ANNIKA Award, and I never won any of those. To be there and winning her tournament, I got so emotional.

Q. You mentioned wanting to win this event. Obviously a huge payday that comes with doing that. When you came here last year you mentioned you had an old car you were hoping to replace. What would you splurge on if you were to win here this weekend?

LILIA VU: I'm not quite sure yet. I think get my mom something really nice. I think I'll just kind of keep it a secret until then.

Yeah, last year I did have my windshield wipers flew off before coming this event. My caddie was like, you better get a new car before next season. I told myself I would buy my dream car when I won next year. I bought it before and ended up winning my first event out here.

I was like, oh, it's because I knew I was going to win.

Q. What is your dream car?

LILIA VU: I have a G 550, yeah.

Q. Very nice.


Q. I was going to ask a money question too. We talk about money a lot this week because the purse is what it is. Has there been a financially stressful time for you on this journey to get to that point?

LILIA VU: Definitely. I think my rookie year I think just altogether there was so much pressure. I think I was comparing myself to a lot of girls that came out of college my year and I was like, how come I don't have any sponsors, and then I felt like -- I had help from my parents. They really helped me with that.

Then just the pressure of just trying to make money and hopefully pay them back. They never expected that. It was just me wanting to do that. I think I kind of just like stopped letting money control me. I don't really think about it anymore. I just knew like, okay, I just want to start having fun playing golf again and then everything will follow along. That's what happened.

I think COVID was a huge thing for me. Really helped. I read a lot of books. Helped change my mindset. Looked at life differently. My rookie year just destroyed me. I put so much pressure on each and every shot, life and death.

I just remember being miserable. This is like the dream, everything we ever worked for was to be out here, and I was just not in the right mindset for it.

Everything happens for a reason and that's why I'm here now.

Q. What was the best book you read during that stretch?

LILIA VU: I would say the first book that got it started was The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson; 1% better every day is the basis of that book.

It was not only in your career. It's like all of life. So I think every single day. I did like ten pages of a book every single day and I still do that until this day.

Just trying to get better in all aspects of your life.

Q. What are you reading now?

LILIA VU: Right now, it's called -- can I look at my phone?

Q. Yeah.

LILIA VU: 101 Essays That Will Change the Way You Think by Brianna Wiest. I read her first book, the other book. That's actually my favorite book, but I'm blanking. The Mountain is You. I love that book. Yeah, so I'm reading her other one.

Q. Obviously very successful season. If you could summarize your year on tour in one word, what would it be?

LILIA VU: Wild. I don't know why that word keeps coming in. I think I though about it last week because I got a similar question. It's just wild. I don't know. I'm very grateful to be in the position I am in, and I don't know, I have a great team around me and I think that's why I do so well. I think they keep me on my toes and humble me, too. Yeah, keep pushing me to be better in all aspects.

Q. Any specific moments from your team pushing you this year that come to mind?

LILIA VU: Yeah, I've definitely said this before, but it was the Wednesday of the Open. I came into that week just soggy diapers and not feeling great about how I played at the Scottish Open. I think just putting a lot of pressure on myself just post Chevron and I was just kind of on this decline, just trying to make my way back up just post U.S. Open.

So I remember my team just sitting me down and saying, all we need to do is be in contention, as I said before. That was my goal that week. I don't know, just from there got into contention and then the weekend just came by and worked out really well.

Q. You had a dream turnaround from rookie season to Epson, back on tour. How many players do you think have the talent between the Epson and the LPGA to have this kind of ascendant season?

LILIA VU: I think a lot of girls out here. I mean, I think everyone is just so talented. I remember specifically last week I think -- I don't remember, hole No. 3 of last week it was 175 into the wind and we all hit it to like ten feet. I'm like, damn, we're really good. Could the guys do this with a 5-iron? I think they play different yardages into par-3s in my opinion.

Yeah, I think the girls out here are amazing and more people should watch us.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports
139130-1-1041 2023-11-14 17:05:00 GMT

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