Stacy Lewis, an eight-time winner on the LPGA and the tour’s top-ranked American, recently sat down with Golfweek at the JW Marriott Phoenix, site of next month’s LPGA Founders Cup. Lewis, 28, rose to No. 1 in the world after her victory last spring in Phoenix. She’s No. 3 in the Rolex Rankings and fresh off a runner-up finish to Jessica Korda at the recent season-opening event in the Bahamas.
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What’s the first thing you eat when you return from an overseas trip?
Burger and fries. All-American food. Doesn’t matter where it’s from, just a good one. And the second (meal) is usually Mexican.
What’s the best part of your job?
Getting to do what I love. Not many people actually love their jobs.
What is the thing you fear the most?
Something happening to my back. One, not being able to play golf, but not even being able to walk. (Lewis overcame scoliosis earlier in her life to win 2012 POY)
If golf hadn’t worked out, what would you be doing?
Probably in finance or accounting, using my degree somewhere.
Speaking of money, you’re a frugal person. What’s the most expensive thing you own?
House, car – those are always expensive – but past that, I don’t even know. I mean, watches are sponsors.
What’s the one shot you’d like to have over?
That’s a tough one. . . . Probably the 17th hole at Lorena’s last year (Lewis’ bogey at the hole cost her the victory). Only had 7-iron into the green, just hit a really bad shot and made bogey. I had a one-shot lead at the time.
Finish this sentence: In 20 years I’ll be. . . .
Hopefully retired with a house on the water somewhere and enjoying life.
You criss-cross the globe for a living, in what ways are you a travel snob?
I guess I’ve got all my status with all my airlines, but I don’t stick to one. I have diamond with Delta, gold with United, gold with American. I flew probably 125,000 miles last year alone. . . . I’m pretty easygoing with the travel side. You have to be.
When were you the happiest?
When I’m the happiest is when I’m on the golf course. When I’m just out there playing and I don’t have to do anything else. Don’t have to do sponsor stuff or whatever. When I just get to do what I love to do.
What’s your favorite place to hang out in Jupiter (Fla.)?
Who’s your favorite person to be paired with on tour?
Probably Ai Miyazato. We’ve played a lot together, especially early in my career. Just so nice. She’s so easy to play with. You don’t have to worry if you’re moving too much for her or anything.
Who would play you in a film about your life?
That would require me to know an actress.
What about you tells us you’re a middle child?
I don’t like to share.
How hard it is to meet someone when you’re playing on tour?
It’s really hard. I mean, it’s easy to meet people, but it’s meeting people with the right intentions. The better you play and the more people get to know you, the harder it gets.
If you could partner with a PGA Tour player for an event, whom would you choose?
If you’re going to go out there and have fun and have a good time, Billy Horschel. I played with him at Wendy’s (3-Tour Challenge) and he was awesome to play with. But if you’re going out there trying to win, I’d take Tiger any day.
What word or phrase do you most overuse in the interview room?
You could probably tell me that. I have no idea. . . . I know I say “y’all” sometimes. I try to not have cliches or say the same thing everyone else is going to say. I don’t like just giving the stock answers.
What’s your guiltiest pleasure?
Who is the most misunderstood player on tour?
Michelle (Wie). Just coming out so early she has this perception of what people think of her and why she made the decisions that she did. She’s just completely different from those, once you’re actually around her and just hanging out like normal people.
What has been your most embarrassing moment?
It wasn’t necessarily embarrassing, but something I’d do over again is the way I handled things in China (Lewis tweeted about her frustration with Chinese fans at the Reignwood LPGA Classic).
Coke or Pepsi?
What’s the hardest part about being No. 1?
Just the time commitments. You don’t get a lot of time to yourself. You’re pulled in a lot of directions. The hardest thing is probably saying no, because you have to.
If I can (blank), I’ll be No. 1 again.
Make a few more key putts at the end of a round.