Read a transcript of a pre-tournament press conference with Lilia Vu and Joel Dahmen.
Read a transcript of a pre-tournament press conference with Lilia Vu and Joel Dahmen.
MODERATOR: All right. Thank you, everyone. Welcome back inside the media center here at the Grant Thornton Invitational. Pleased to be joined by the team of Lilia Vu and Joel Dahmen.
Lilia, I’ll start with you. What has it been like — I know we’ve just been here from the CME Group Tour Championship, but what is it like being prepared and excited for an event like this and playing with Joel?
LILIA VU: Yeah, I’ve been looking forward to this tournament all year. To be Joel’s partner, I’m very excited to play and I think we’re going to have a good time this week.
MODERATOR: Joel, what are some of the most exciting parts of Lilia’s game that you are excited to compete with?
JOEL DAHMEN: Her putting. I’m not the greatest putter in history. I’m getting better. I got better a lot today. But I hit it in play a lot, I hit a lot of greens and then to watch her make all the putts is going to be really fun. I’m just going to be celebrating on the side as she’s rolling in all the putts.
LILIA VU: Yeah, I’ve got you.
JOEL DAHMEN: Love that.
MODERATOR: What’s it been like to get ready for an event like this? This is unlike anything we have on the LPGA Tour, but what are some of the things that you’re most excited about looking at Joel’s game as you head into this weekend?
LILIA VU: Yeah, I’m super grateful to be here for this tournament to actually happen and to play alongside the men. I’ve heard that you’re really good off the tee, so that’s better than me. I’m really excited to be here. Super nervous to be quite honest, but yeah.
JOEL DAHMEN: What is there to be nervous about? It’s the offseason, you’re the best player in the world, we’re just goofing off and we’re going to beat most players here.
LILIA VU: Yeah, you’re right. I’m going to need that a lot.
MODERATOR: Joel, have you been able to watch Lilia over the last couple months and weeks as she’s ascended to the height that she has?
JOEL DAHMEN: I have. I had a kid this last year so I’ve had a lot more time on the couch than usual. I’ve always followed the LPGA game a little bit. I’m not going to say I’m a massive fan, but between social media and all this stuff, yeah.
I remember with the British Open this summer watching her finish that one off and run away with it, it was very impressive. To watch her win three weeks ago here in Florida at the Annika. So she hasn’t cooled off one bit.
When I heard I was playing with her I was very excited. Started following her on Instagram recently, and lacking there I will say on your Instagram game.
LILIA VU: Yeah.
JOEL DAHMEN: So we’ll try to pick it up a little bit this week for you. I was just super excited. Anytime you can play with the best is super special. I’m looking forward to maybe you can teach me a thing or two.
LILIA VU: Yeah, same for me.
Q. You two were both gushing about each other on social media when you found out you would be paired together. What has it been like getting to meet and get to know each other in person?
LILIA VU: Yeah, we just met each other last night, but I think we got off to a good start, felt like we’ve been friends before. Pretty easy, yeah.
JOEL DAHMEN: Our caddies are good friends, they’ve known each other for a while and that’s kind of helped this partnership along. We’ve been in a group text for, what, about a month-ish. Once again, a lack of texting from someone. She’s been busy winning.
LILIA VU: I’m better in person, trust me.
JOEL DAHMEN: That’s what I’ve heard. I think we’re going to have a great time. Hopefully we can just kind of feed off each other. This is all just kind of gravy on the plate at the end of the year and I think we’re just going to have a really fun time this week.
Q. Has there been any strategizing yet about how you’re going to approach the different rounds?
LILIA VU: I think just making as many birdies as we can, honestly.
JOEL DAHMEN: That’s a great strategy, yeah. I was discussing with Geno today, I was like I haven’t seen the golf course. You played here recently. The alternate shot, a lot of times on the Tour we have all the data and all the analytics to figure out what we’re doing and what holes to play and who’s teeing off. I kind of laugh, I don’t know anything. So whatever she says goes and I’m going to hang on for dear life.
LILIA VU: Yeah, I just listen to my caddie, so whatever he says.
JOEL DAHMEN: I do, too, and then I yell at him when he’s wrong.
LILIA VU: Fair.
Q. Joel, this is for both of you, you’re playing with the No. 1 woman in the world and yet it seems the betting favorite seems to be Tony and Nelly.
JOEL DAHMEN: Are you aware of why that is?
Q. I wanted to get — are you guys OK with that?
JOEL DAHMEN: Yeah. I’m 150th in the world, I’ve made like four cuts this year. There’s a reason for this. But I’m hoping not to be the weakest link in the group, but if I’m even not — if I can play somewhat OK, we’re going to be just fine this week. I just can’t screw everything up.
LILIA VU: I don’t think we have like any less of a chance of winning though. That’s what you were asking.
JOEL DAHMEN: We’re coming in with — our team’s going to have more fun than everyone else, that’s the number one thing.
Q. Joel, when the announcement was made you tweeted almost immediately and said my partner’s currently the best player in the world. How cool is it for you to just tee it up alongside the No. 1 player on the LPGA this week?
JOEL DAHMEN: It’s awesome. Anytime on Tour I get to play with, you know, you can name one of those top- 10 players, Rory or Rahm or Scottie or Hovland, it’s a big deal for me and it’s really cool.
But now I get to play with the best — you know, she’s the best — I think she’s the hottest player in the world right now doesn’t matter what tour it is. So I’m just excited for that. Kind of just going to hang on, like I said, and stay out of the way, but some high fives along the way.
Q. And for either of you, the joke was should we start coordinating outfits for the week. Pink is Lilia’s power color. How much pink are we going to see? Are there coordinated outfits yet?
LILIA VU: I accidentally didn’t bring any pink, but he said he did.
JOEL DAHMEN: I did. I was packing up at 4:00 a.m. to get here and I found, threw in a pink shirt real quick. She said she didn’t bring any pink.
LILIA VU: But my bag’s pink enough for the rest of the field, to be honest.
JOEL DAHMEN: Okay. I’m pretty neutral, sounds like you’re neutral this week. We’ll be able to figure something out. It won’t be perfect, but it will be close.
Q. Lilia, for you, just to have this event what does it mean obviously both tours to have this kind of event where the LPGA and the PGA TOUR are finally coming together after so many years?
LILIA VU: It means a lot. We’ve been kind of wanting this type of tournament for a long time. I think Amanda said last night the first time in 30 years that this is happening. It’s a really big deal for us to actually be on a stage to showcase both women’s and men’s golf together at the highest level, so it’s an honor to be here and showcase that.
Q. Just kind of wondering, obviously with tour schedules, Joel, you mentioned it’s really tough to get out to events. What are you looking forward to seeing from the women’s game? Obviously you’ve got a great teammate, but broader sense, what are you looking forward to seeing this week? And same to you, Lilia.
JOEL DAHMEN: I heard a rumor yesterday that there were a lot of players practicing yesterday and not one of them was a male golfer. So they put in a lot of work and I’m excited — you know, like all aspects of their game, I think Nelly and Lexi have played here in years past. Lexi played in Vegas this year and played awesome, almost made the cut there. To be up close and personal to it when it also matters for me, like I mean, you’re — my paycheck depends on you this week.
LILIA VU: Oh, no.
JOEL DAHMEN: It’s going to be really fun.
LILIA VU: I just started sweating.
JOEL DAHMEN: I mean, she’s won four times this year. I haven’t won four times since I was like 12. To watch her kind of handle everything that comes out of this week is going to be awesome.
LILIA VU: Yeah, and I think it’s going to be really fun not only learning from Joel but also playing with other players in the field, too, because they also have men as partners. I think that’s going to be really fun for all of us. Just interesting to see how they go through their process before the shot and everything in between that.
Q. And then looking back on your year, obviously an incredible breakthrough year, does anything stick out? What’s your favorite memory? What’s kind of sticking with you as you move forward?
JOEL DAHMEN: That was my question for her walking down the first fairway.
LILIA VU: I think for me I just keep thinking about my Open win I think because my gift to myself after the Open win was my cat and I had just left home the other day and it really broke my heart to come to this event. But I’m super excited to be here and I’m pumped about it anyway.
JOEL DAHMEN: Can’t wait to hear more about the cat this week. I’ll talk about my kid, you talk about your cat. Same thing.
LILIA VU: Yeah, same thing.
MODERATOR: Any other questions from here? I think before we wrap it up I just want to know — we were talking a little bit about the course itself, kind of want to know from both of you as you’ve seen this course, obviously Lilia you just saw this course, but what are your thoughts on just everything?
JOEL DAHMEN: This is my first offseason event. I don’t know what you call it. Used to call it silly season. It’s definitely not a silly event.
I thought it was going to be way easier. I was expecting wide fairways and wedges and a bunch of birdies and I didn’t see them out there today. Especially with the wind blowing, I think that first one through four or five is very difficult. The par 5s aren’t exactly easy, the par 3s are long. It’s a real golf course. It’s going to be a real test this week and it’s a real competition. When that tee goes in the ground on Friday I think we’re all going to be ready. It’s all fun and games until Friday morning.
LILIA VU: I mean, just played here two weeks ago. The course conditions were just wet and everything was playing a little long, but greens were soft. I came here yesterday, right off the bat firmer fairways, firmer greens, so definitely different. I feel like I had to pay attention a little more during today’s round. Definitely not going to be easy.
Q. I just wanted to know if you guys had thought at all or discussed a team name or team motto for the week?
LILIA VU: Our group chat is named Vu-Tang Clan, but that wasn’t my —
JOEL DAHMEN: You’re way too young to know anything about that.
LILIA VU: I know it’s Wu-Woo Tang, but I don’t know what it is.
JOEL DAHMEN: It’s a great name. I think that was your caddie, right?
LILIA VU: Yeah.
JOEL DAHMEN: Yeah, that was cool. So phenomenal name. We are born in the ’80s, I believe. You’re — what year were you born?
LILIA VU: ’97.
JOEL DAHMEN: Yeah, wow. I do have gray hair, I didn’t know I was that old. We’re going to listen to some Wu-Tang Clan on the way to the first tee.
LILIA VU: Is that hiphop?
JOEL DAHMEN: Yeah, it’s the best era in history.
MODERATOR: Looks like we have some learning to do. Thank you guys for joining us today.