Q&A with Shannon Yocum

April 19, 2007

BERKELEY, Calif. - Sophomore Shannon Yocum is one of the leaders on this year's Cal women's golf team. Yocum, who hails from Palos Verdes Estates, Calif., boasts the second-best stroke average on the team at 77.5 and holds the No. 2 spot in the Bears' Pac-10 Championships lineup. The conference tournament takes place April 23-25 at the Broadmoor Golf Club in Seattle. CalBears.com sat down with Yocum to discuss the upcoming Pac-10 competition, the season and her short and long-term ambitions.

CalBears.com: What are the team's expectations heading into the Pac-10 Championships next week?
Yocum: 'Our expectations for Pac-10's are obviously to continue on to NCAA regionals. However, during the spring season, we have been focusing on process goals (or controllable goals) instead of outcome goals. We will continue this during the Pac-10's because if we start getting wrapped up in things we can't control, like the outcome, we will lose focus of the bigger picture of continuing to progress and grow as a team.'

CalBears.com: As one of the leaders on the team, how do you help keep the team motivated and maintain team chemistry?
Yocum: 'It has been hard without Mika (Takayama, injured senior) because it seems as though we have a very young team who doesn't yet have the experience that seniors bring. The freshmen are all great players and have done very well in amateur golf, but competitive collegiate golf is completely different. Mika, Allison (Goodman) and I have all been to an NCAA Championship, and we try to motivate the freshmen by explaining to them what that experience was like. Allison and I are just learning how to be leaders, and although we have the titles of captains, we are only sophomores. Right now, all of us are learning from one another, and we are figuring out how this team needs to be pushed and how we need to be motivated. This has definitely been a year of growing and learning about what works, and I think we will come back next year aware of the work that has to be put in and the dedication level that is required.'

CalBears.com: You've seen your scoring average improve by a stroke and a half (79.0to 77.5) this season. What do you attribute the improvement to?
Yocum: 'I attribute my improvement to Jeff Troesch, our mental coach. We just started working with him this spring, and even as a golfer, I never realized how much the mental game played a role in performance until I started talking and learning from Jeff. In addition to Jeff, I thank the coaches for helping me with my short game. It is by far the weakest area of my game, and they have really helped me with my mechanics, tempo and shot selection around the green. Because of this, I feel much more comfortable around the green, which has led to more up and downs, and thus better scoring.'

CalBears.com: What did being selected an Academic All-American mean to you last year?
Yocum: 'Truthfully, when I realized last year that I was an Academic All-American, it didn't mean too much to me until I looked back to previous players who have had this honor. It was then that I noticed that there have only been three players since the beginning of the program in 1995 that have been named Academic All-Americans, and I felt a great sense of pride to be on the list. Being an Academic All-American last year has inspired me set a goal for myself to be a four-time Academic All-American during my time at Cal. Cal is known for having high-class academics and athletics, and it is my goal to show this excellence on the Cal women's golf team.'

CalBears.com: In addition to being one of the top students on the team, what else areyou known for?
Yocum: 'I think one of my key roles on the team is being able to balance all the different aspects of my life. I have high expectations for myself in school and golf, but I am also a firm believer that college is the best time of your life! Because of this, I always make time for fun things like going into San Francisco or going to an A's game, but I am also proud of my academic success and strive to continue that along with my golf career.'

CalBears.com: Have you selected a major yet, and what do you hope to do after graduating from Cal?
Yocum: 'I have decided on being an economics major. I am very much a math person, and when I entered Cal, I wanted to go to the Haas School of Business. However, I realized the competition for getting into Haas is incredibly difficult, and I knew that with golf, there might have been a little too much stress for me. So, I decided the next best thing was econ! After college, I want to play professionally, but after that, I am not sure. I always want to stay in the golf business, so I am hoping that with exposure on tour I may be able to work for one of the golf companies later in life.'

CalBears.com: You're almost halfway done with your Cal career. What if anything do you hope to do differently over the next two years?
Yocum: 'Over the next two years, I want to explore the San Francisco area more. I really want to go see Alcatraz and take a tour of the city! Also, I want to be more active in the Cal athletic community by getting more involved in SAAC (Student Athletic Advisory Committee) and attending as many Cal athletic games as I can! Being here at Cal offers such great opportunities, and I don't want to leave here saying, `Oh, I wish I would've done this more!''

CalBears.com: What are your plans for the summer?
Yocum: 'I am really excited for this summer. I plan to play in seven or eight tournaments all over the country. My sister is also going to be playing in some of these tournaments, so I am extremely excited to be able to travel with her! Other than golf, I can't wait to go back home and hang out with friends and enjoy the wonderful whether at the beaches of Southern California!'

CalBears.com: I understand you like to do many outdoor activities like ski. How does Coach McDaniel feel about activities like this?
Yocum: 'I absolutely love sports! When I was young, I played just about every sport, including volleyball, basketball, swimming and skiing. If I lived in the snow, I would probably be skiing instead of playing golf! This past summer, I went up to Whistler, Canada, and I went hiking, ATV riding, horseback riding and zip trekking (which is where you have a harness on and attach yourself to a cable that crosses gorges, rivers, etc and swing across!) It was such a rush! This summer one of my goals is to learn how to surf and I would love to go parasailing! Coach definitely has her concerns with these activities, and she usually calls me a couple times during summer to make sure I am safe and healthy! But since I have been playing for Cal, I understand the risks and pay attention to what my body tells me. For example, I went skiing before I started Cal, and whenever I started feeling my legs get weak, I would take a break and recuperate. I love the rush and the excitement of other sports, but I will never do anything too extreme because golf is my main goal and focus.'

CalBears.com: Do you attend other Cal sporting events or campus activities?
Yocum: 'I try to attend as many sporting events that I can. My roommate is on the tennis team, and I know all the girls on the tennis team, so I try to go to as many tennis matches as possible. I also go to every football game possible because the atmosphere, camaraderie and rivalry is amazing! You never will get that many fans screaming at the top of their lungs at a golf tournament! I have also been to field hockey, water polo and lacrosse games. I try to support the rest of the athletes at Cal because we all have similar requirements, schedules and expectations. Although golf is not like many other sports, all the athletes can connect on a certain level because we all represent Cal the best we possibly can.'

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