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Drummond Golf oct 2020
On the Move with Lilia Vu

Just a few years ago, Lilia Vu, the current world number 2 on the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings was going to quit golf. A series of lacklustre tour results were almost enough to push her to do something completely different. Thank gosh she didn’t! 

Fast forward to 2023 when Lilia accelerated her status, by all accounts as a ‘very, very good golfer’ to an ‘elite top-from player’ and formidable opponent on the green. Sure, she looks friendly, but her talent is deadly. 

2023 was an incredible year for Vu, tallying up two Majors, the Chevron Championship and the Women's British Open and two tour wins, the Honda LPGA Thailand (February 2023) and the Annika (November 2023) to bookend a stellar year. Fact: Seventy-eight percent of Vu's total career earnings were made last season! 

More recently (June, 13th 2024) she won the Meijer LPGA Classic and finished T2 in the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship  (June 24th, 2024). 

Now, at just 26 years old, Vu has the world at her feet, an adoring fanbase and a taste for success that’s unlikely to be sated anytime soon. 

Please enjoy this exclusive interview with Lilia Vu

WG: What motivates you? 

LV: My grandpa motivates me the most. This is going to be a long answer, but my grandpa passed away in 2020 (at the beginning of Covid) and he was my motivation from the get-go. Grandpa’s actions are how my mum and her siblings got to America in the first place. When they lived in Vietnam, he would go away a month at a time building a boat to escape to a better life. To me is it is, like wow, he did all of that and was able to get his wife and his five kids to the US, and the only reason I am here is because of his hard work, determination and commitment to his family.

Grandpa was a very quiet man and the last thing he ever said to me was, ‘Try your best and good luck’. He said that during my slump time too, right after my rookie year on LPGA back in 2019. So yeah, he's my ultimate motivation. 

WG: Do you have a favourite Vietnamese meal and who cooks it best? 

LV: That is such a tough question. I love Vietnamese food. I feel like the most popular dish in general is pho and honestly, my mom makes the best one ever. There’s another Vietnamese meal I love, called Bánh Xèo, it's like a savory pancake and it's delicious. 

WG: What is your warm-up routine? 

LV: I like to get to the golf course at least two hours early. I eat first, then warm up and stretch for about an hour before I start hitting balls. 

WG: How much involvement do you have with your equipment selection?

LV: To be quite honest, I don't nerd out too much on my club equipment. I mostly leave those decisions to my coach and my team; they know exactly what I need and what works best for me. I play a mixed bag and they keep in touch with all the reps. Because I play all types of clubs, they will have me hit a certain club and they'll straight away know like, oh, that's way too high spin, that needs lower launching, and then they'll figure it out. I just hit it; I don't have to stress out about it. 

WG: When you were in a slump and considering leaving professional golf, what career path did you have in mind? 

LV: I majored in political science at UCLA, but I figured I could somehow try to get into law school and go from there. Now I’m glad I didn't take that route!  

WG: Who do you hang out with on tour? 

LV: I've known Andrea Lee and Allisen Corpuz since I was eight years old, so definitely those two. There are a lot of us who played junior and college golf together and then ended up on tour together. Right now is the most fun I've had because everyone I know is on tour and it's a great time. 

WG: Professional athletes lead a nomadic life. How do you try and create a home-like vibe when you're on the road? 

LV: I always take my mum traveling with me! I feel like that brings a sense of home with me too. We try to stay at Airbnb’s so that she can cook for me. That's what I love, the simplicity and we have a lot of fun together. She's like a best friend. 

WG: Which country's culture do you most enjoy exploring and why? 

LV: Ooh, this is going to be biased. I got my cat in Korea last year at that tournament, so I think I'm going to have to say Korea. I love Korean food. I love the culture. I think it's so fun and I have a great time every time we're there. 

WG: Which player would you be most honoured to partner with in a mixed-gender tournament? 

Lydia Ko or Nelly Korda oh hang on, you meant the men…I teamed up with Joel Damon at the very first Grant Thornton and I thought that was super fun, but I don't know. Tiger Woods - that would be so cool. 

WG: In your memory, what is the best sporting moment in the history of women's golf? 

LV: I just keep thinking of Lorena Ochoa jumping into Poppie’s Pond after her win at Mission Hills while a Mariachi band played. I don't know what year that was, but I clearly remember seeing that when I was growing up. 

WG: Tell us about your Solheim Cup experience. 

It was so amazing! So much fun! The course in Spain was so beautiful, yet so hilly. And the fans, wow, I've never played in front of a crowd that big before. It was wild. Everyone was so pumped up, wearing costumes, in their country's gear and the golf that we played…we played so well. 

Danielle Kang and I were playing against Lynn Grant and Carlota Ciganda on Saturday afternoon, and we (team USA) were 8 under through 10 and they (team Europe) were nine under through 10. And I turned to Danielle at one point thinking, how are we going to win a hole? We have to eagle it! It was a very exciting tournament. 

I loved that week at the Solheim Cup, even though it ended in a tie, it was one of the best weeks of my life. 

We'll try again this year this year in Virginia (USA). I think it's during the week of 911 too, so we're going for this cool camo look. I bet there's going to be a lot of fans coming out to support us on home ground.

WG: The 2024 Olympics are on the horizon. How are you feeling about it? 

LV: Oh, I'm very nervous about it. Very excited to play for my country (if I make the cut). I’ve always wanted to represent the USA in the Olympics since I was a little girl! Some friends and family will come out and watch it in Paris too, which is great. 

WG: What part of your game that you would most like to improve? 

Would it be cliche to say all of it? I’m mostly working on pitching and chipping – to improve my short game, which is what we were focusing on in the off-season. 

WG: Do you ever stress about your performance, and if so, how do you deal? 

Absolutely. I think that goes for everyone, surely everyone gets stressed. I have to navigate my brain to say, ‘Hey, I've done the work, let's just go out there and have fun, just hit this shot and whatever happens, happens’. 

My caddy does a good job of keeping me in check, we stay positive out there and don’t talk too much about golf. We chat about other things and just try to have fun because if I'm having fun, the golf tends to solve itself. 

WG: Finish this sentence. Women's golf is… 

Spectacular, fun and interesting. Golf is everything! 


Words by Print & Digital Editor Roxanne Williams