Interview With WAPL Champion Alice Jo

CHRISTINA LANCE:  Congratulations, Alice.  What a fabulous, fabulous tournament.  Tell us how you're feeling right now.

ALICE JO:  Really, really excited and happy.  Yeah, I feel really happy because yesterday like I was already on like the China news in China, and they were like, if you win today you'll make history or something.  I was really happy.

Q.  Tell me about this trip thing to Universal Studios you've got planned.  You mentioned yesterday you missed a tour with your buddies this week?

ALICE JO:  Yes, because I was here.  They were actually going yesterday.  They went yesterday, so I was like, I have to get in there.

Q.  How many kids are going?

ALICE JO:  About like eight.

Q.  Are they all golfers or no?

ALICE JO:  Yeah, they're here for like summer vacations, summer golf.

Q.  Just like you?

ALICE JO:  Yeah.

Q.  Are you getting a reprieve or going to go with them at some point?

ALICE JO:  Yes, if I got to the finals everyone would go again with me.

Q.  When will that happen?

ALICE JO:  They said any time I want, so I could join them today and go tomorrow.

Q.  Do you have plans to fly to LA this week to do that?

ALICE JO:  Yeah, I think so.  I'm not really sure.  I just follow my mom.

Q.  You said yesterday that you really didn't have any expectations coming into this week.  Now that you've won this, does this change personal expectations?  Does it kind of lift them a little bit in terms of your expectations?

ALICE JO:  Yeah, but I think I'll just like think the same way I did before.  But yeah, I think I will like just ‑‑ I don't really think I'll ‑‑ what am I saying?  Sorry, my English is not very good.

It's like I don't think I'll raise my expectations every time I have a tournament, I'll just like try my best, just like before.

Q.  Does this win change your life?  Does it change things the way you look at golf now, now that you've come over here and won a USGA national championship?

ALICE JO:  Yeah, I think it will.  Like in China, I think everyone will be talking about it.  Yeah, I'm just really happy.

Q.  Do you think they'll put you on the Chinese team that goes to Japan for the Espirito Santo Trophy?  Do you know about that championship they have over there?

ALICE JO:  The Chinese team?

Q.  Yeah, in September, three players are selected from every country that goes and plays the Women’s World Amateur.

ALICE JO:  I have not heard about that because I'm not in the Chinese national team.  Yeah, because the Chinese national team, they don't allow parents to follow you there, and they don't let you go to school, so my mom doesn't want me to join them, so I don't think so.

Q.  Can you go back a little bit in your experience in the United States?  You came here last year, came here this year.  Sounds like you lived in New York for a few years.  How much time have you spent in the United States and what are some of the cultural things you've picked up?  When you were talking to us it sounds like you almost have a California drawl.

ALICE JO:  Oh, really?  I didn't know I had a California ‑‑ yeah, because I go to an international school in Shanghai, so all my teachers are from California.

Q.  Really?

ALICE JO:  Yeah, they are.

Q.  In Shanghai?

ALICE JO:  Yeah, we have a lot of Americans in Shanghai.  Yeah, they love Shanghai.

Q.  How old were you when you lived in New York and what made you do this summer vacation thing?

ALICE JO:  Because I actually missed America very much since last year, and my mom was like, you know, you can spend the summer there and just play golf tournaments, because I really like it here, so now she brings me here every summer.  Maybe I'll come to America next year, but I'm not sure about that.

Q.  Did you live in New York for a few years?

ALICE JO:  I lived in New York for three years when I was little.

Q.  Do you remember much about living in ‑‑

ALICE JO:  Yes, I remember everything.

Q.  How old were you?

ALICE JO:  I was three to six, yeah, and then we went back to Shanghai.

Q.  Why were you in New York?  Why did you live in New York?

ALICE JO:  My parents wanted to change their environment or something.  They wanted to travel for a few years, so yeah, they took me with them.

Q.  How about the match today?  You led the entire way.  I don't know if that was exhausting because ‑‑

ALICE JO:  Yeah, it was, it actually was.  I was really nervous at the beginning of the front nine at the second round because, yeah, I knew she was going to like play very aggressively, like she was just going to like go for the flag.  Yeah, and when I lost one hole ‑‑ yeah, I had my mom, so she kept telling me to relax, not feel too nervous or something, and yeah, she was a big help.  Yeah, I think I did pretty good with controlling my emotions and stuff like that.

Q.  Just us walking with you guys, it felt like kind of the up‑and‑down you had on No. 9 on the second 18.

ALICE JO:  Yeah.

Q. It was big, and then you turned around on the par‑5 and put that wedge shot from 50 yards within four or five inches to go back to 2‑up.  How big were those two holes when you look at the way the match played out?

ALICE JO:  I was actually really, really nervous on like the 9th hole because, yeah, I knew ‑‑ was I 1‑up at that time?

Q.  Yeah.

ALICE JO:  Yeah, because I knew if I lost that hole, the chances are ‑‑ because when you lose like on the 9th hole or something, it's really hard to get back up.  Yeah, I was like really happy when I made that putt because she missed it, and then, yeah, I was like, I have to get it in, and I did.  That was like ‑‑ and then I started to relax more and just play like normal.

Q.  How big was the wedge shot that you hit out of the rough?  I don't know if your second shot you thought was maybe going to go out of bounds and it stayed in the rough and you hit it from 50 yards to a tap‑in.  How big was that in the grand scheme of things?  She was way by you on the fairway and then ‑‑

ALICE JO:  Yeah, that shot meant a lot to me because it makes it easier to play on the next two holes, and on that shot I didn't think too much, I just wanted to like hit it out.  Yeah, I actually knew it was going to be safe when I hit it there, because yeah, I saw some girls before me, they all went left and they were all fine.  Actually they were fine, but I was pretty happy I could hit it that close to the hole on that one.

Q.  It did seem like your wedge play was really the difference in this match.  When you needed something, either chipping it or a small wedge shot, it just seemed like you came up with really good shots.  Do you feel that way, that your wedge play was really big in this match and the entire week?

ALICE JO:  Yeah, yeah.

Q.  Was your wedge play pretty good this week?

ALICE JO:  Yeah, it was pretty good because I've been here two months, and my swing is a little off.  But on the wedge shots, like you don't have to go on ‑‑ like to the top, very high, so I can control it more.  I'll have to go back to Shanghai and fix my swing a little.  Some balls are just going straight right.  Yeah, I had a lot of trouble on par‑3s because I was trying to get it like close to the hole too much, and the wind was very strong today, and my swing was already a little off, so if it's blowing this way, I was actually shaking a little bit on the driver, and then when I came back down, it didn't always go straight.

Yeah, the wedge shots are pretty consistent, I think, because I don't go too high.

Q.  What do you think now that you saw her live and played against her for 33 holes or whatever?  What did you think of her game and the way she conducted her business?

ALICE JO:  She's a really good player and I really enjoyed playing with her today.  I'm really happy I won.  I was like really nervous because we were like ‑‑ she was just 1‑down on like the turning point of like the 9th hole, so I was like really tired already.  My mom was just like, there's only like nine more holes to go; you can do it.  Yeah, I'm really happy I can play with her, and she's a really great player.

Q.  I'm curious, do you have an idol in China?  Shanshan Feng won an LPGA major a few years ago.  I don't know if you follow Chinese golf.  Li Na has won a major in tennis.  Anybody you model your game after?  Do you follow professional golf?

ALICE JO:  Yeah, I really like Yani Tseng.

Q.  Have you watched her play?

ALICE JO:  Yeah.  I actually went to her camp in Taiwan, and she was for like ‑‑ we spent time with her for one week and she taught me a lot.  I really like her.

Q.  How did you get into golf?

ALICE JO:  Me?  It's like a really funny story actually because when I was in America, every Sunday and Saturday my parents played tennis, and I would like go with them to just like play and have fun in the park or something.  And there was ‑‑ and we came back to China, and they were still going to tennis that day but it was raining, so they brought me to a driving range.  They were like, how about we go play golf today.  Yeah, and then it was raining so we went to the driving range, and then there was this coach, he saw me like hit a couple of shots, and he was like, do you want to learn golf, and I actually can hit the ball really good on the first few shots, and I was like, yeah, because I think it's pretty fun.  Yeah, so I started playing golf like that.

And after like three months in China, I won this tournament in China.  I was really small, like eight years old, and my parents thought like I had the potential to like play better, so they let me play.

Q.  When you did this tennis thing start? Were you in New York or were you back in China?

ALICE JO:  It started when I was in New York.  I just followed them to the tennis court.  They played for fun.

Q.  The story at the driving range was in China?

ALICE JO:  Yeah, it was in China.  I didn't start playing golf until I was back in China.

Q.  Are you going to go to the U.S. Women's Amateur?


Q.  And you're also exempt for next year, as well, at the Women's Amateur.

ALICE JO:  Oh, really?

Q.  Yeah.  You said you wanted to come back to the States.

ALICE JO:  Yeah, I really do.

Q.  Now you can come back.  Now that you've won this, is Universal Studios still the number one goal?

ALICE JO:  Yeah, it is.  We played like 36 holes, 36 holes every day almost every day this week.  I'm so tired, I think my mom is almost like near to collapsing or something.  Like when she goes up those hills, she's like panting so hard.  I'm like, yeah, I'm really glad that she can finish this 36 holes today.

Q.  So you're ready for some fun?

ALICE JO:  Yeah, I am ready for some fun.  I think I'm going to a water park tomorrow.

Q.  Here?

ALICE JO:  Yeah, here.

Q.  Is there anything at Universal Studios you want to see?

ALICE JO:  Yeah, I'm going with a lot of people, so we'll just have fun, and roller coaster rides, that would be good.

Q.  Is your dad back in China?

ALICE JO:  My dad is in China.

Q.  What's your dad's name?

ALICE JO:  His English name is Jack Ni, so it's a really long Japanese name.

Q.  You said he's in the automotive business or something?

ALICE JO:  Yeah, in China.

Q.  Does he play golf?

ALICE JO:  Yeah, he plays golf.  But he's a little ‑‑ like it was raining that day, so he's like, do you want to go play golf with me, and I was like, okay.  It sounded fun, so I just went.

Q.  Is he any good at golf?

ALICE JO:  Oh, ever since I played he quit.  He just like watched me play, just like my mom.

Q.  Have you had a chance to talk to him, obviously not since you've won but this week?

ALICE JO:  Yeah, because the time is different in China, so every time I finish playing it's like early morning in China, and every time I wake up it's like midnight, so we just talk on this thing.

Q.  What's the time difference between here and China?

ALICE JO:  I think it's 13 hours.  It's like ‑‑ actually I'm not really sure about that.  I think it's 13 hours earlier.

Q.  Now, it's later, 13 hours later there.

ALICE JO:  Later?

Q.  It's already tomorrow.  Is your coach in Shanghai?

ALICE JO:  Yeah, he's in Shanghai.

Q.  Is it a Chinese name or American name or English name?

ALICE JO:  Actually I have two coaches.  One is in Taiwan.  She played on the Japanese Tour for like eight years, and one is just like ‑‑ he practices with me, and he just turned professional and he's practicing with me in China, and yeah, he gives me like good advice, so he's like my coach.

Q.  So you almost have like two coaches?

ALICE JO:  Yeah, yeah.

Q.  Do you know some of the junior golfers like Andy Zhang, Carl Yuan, some of the guys that have played over here in the States, the boys, the young kids?

ALICE JO:  No, I only came here last year, and I don't know a lot of people in America because last year I just played a few tournaments, and this year, yeah, we were flying around.

Q.  How many people from China came over as part of this camp?

ALICE JO:  As part of the summer camp?

Q.  Yeah.

ALICE JO:  Well, there are two coaches that came and our camp director.  He's always here.

Q.  Kai (phonetic)?

ALICE JO:  Yeah, Kai, and there were like 10 kids in total.

Q.  Did you all come over at the same time then?

ALICE JO:  No, I came early, because my schedule is like different from theirs.

Q.  You were part of Yani Tseng's organization.  Is this through Yani?

ALICE JO:  Yeah.

Q.  You've played in Yani Tseng's invitational event in San Diego?

ALICE JO:  Yeah.  I didn't play very well.

Q.  Better than Ryan's tournament last year, huh?

ALICE JO:  Yeah, that was a tournament I got fully exempt on so I was really happy on that one because my goal last year was to get fully exempt on AJGA tournaments, so yeah, I made it, and I actually won one like after that tournament, so last year's expectations actually went like higher than my expectations last year, and this season's are like way higher.

Q.  Now we know why you love Washington state.  It's a good state for you.

ALICE JO:  Yeah.

Q.  I'm sure you've spotted Yani Tseng's name on that trophy.  She won this.

ALICE JO:  Yeah, I know.

Q.  How cool is that to be on the same trophy as Yani Tseng?

ALICE JO:  I'm so excited.  I'm really happy.  Yeah.

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