Saying she is 95% recovered from her long term back injury, Lilia Vu is looking at this week as a new opportunity to win rather than on defending her Chevron Championship title

Nearly exactly a year to the date Lilia Vu won her first Major title at the Chevron Championship, this was her second win of the season and she would go on to claim one more Major, the AIG Women's Open, and a fourth at The Annika. The American was also crowned 2023 Rolex Player of the Year.

Having battled with a back injury for over two years, a recent flare-up has stalled some of her plans to make sure that she is Major ready. Ahead of her Chevron Championship title defence, the 26-year-old has shared how she is feeling and her mindset heading into the week.

How would you assess your game coming into this Major championship?

It's been a rough couple of months battling with my injury. It's been a little scary. I've definitely cried a lot on the range sometimes because my back just couldn't hold up. I definitely feel a lot better than I did at PV and Phoenix. I would say we're basically 95% there.

If I stay healthy this week I think I'll be able to do what I need to do.

What's the biggest challenge you've dealt with in the early part of the year?

It's just been kind of an up and down not being fully physically healthy. On the days that I feel physically healthy then I'll get upset not performing the way I think I should. It's up and down.

For me, I'm just going to try and enjoy myself. I think the reason my body was angry was because I was internally angry, so last week I told myself, not going to be angry anymore. Whatever happens, happens. You're doing your best that day, so focus on that.

Take us through the rehab, how you get yourself physically ready after a round, what that looks like.

So I've definitely kind of put lifting kind of on the back burner and just let myself recover. Seeing my physical therapist at home almost every single day. It kind of kills me that I can't go and train fully the way I like to, because that's something I love to do. I got back into it last week and was fine.

I stretch every night. That's something that has been really crucial. I've taken that very seriously recently with how my body is reacting.

I feel like I'm in a good area for this week.

Since your recovery, how has your patience with yourself grown?

I think it's been a rough ride for me. I feel like recovery is such a journey. It's up and down. Some days I'll feel really good and work out really well, feeling so strong and have a good practice session, and the next day it would be cold and I could feel the pain while driving.

It kind of got to me one of the days last week. It's scary when you can't do normal everyday activity without pain. When you're kind of like, oh, gosh, if I go play golf, something I love to do and want to do every single day, but I can't even sit in a car and drive 20 minutes, that's a scary feeling, right?

Basically, I think it's also your mindset. I think once I decided, okay, I think I'm internally angry. I am not going to let that affect my body. I am just going to let whatever happens, happen. I have the best people around me and they know I'm moving well, so I'm just going to trust what they think.

Been a year since your first Major victory. I'm just wondering what your mindset is like coming back to this place where you won a Major last year.

I'm going to be honest, I'm not trying to put too much pressure on myself. I think I'm going to look at this tournament as a new opportunity to win and not put too much pressure on trying to defend my title. I feel like that kind of comes up time and time again, but trying to enjoy myself out here. Feel really calm out here, good memories, so looking forward to this week.

Does remembering some of your good shots and moments from last year help with you preparation?

Absolutely. I know I had a good first two rounds last year. Saturday didn't do much, and then Sunday kind of fought back my way. It's a tougher golf course this year I think with the new greens and it's firmer, and then some new added bunkers in different areas.

Major test for some players just hit different. Winning two last year, what is it about Majors that brings out the best in you?

I think I typically enjoy a really difficult course. I feel like it really challenges the best part of your game. You have to have everything. You can't find an easy way out of it. You have to have everything here.

The Chevron Championship starts on April 18, Lilia Vu will be playing alongside World Number one Nelly Korda and Minjee Lee at 1:10pm (ET). Here's our guide to this week's Major - find out more.