CHICK-FIL-A CHARITY CHAMPIONSHIP MEDIA DAY
March 14, 2005
TORREY GANE: I'm Torrey Gane, the Executive Director of the Chick-Fil-A Charity Championship Hosted by Nancy Lopez and I want to thank you for calling which today. This year our tournament is May 9 through 15, and of course held at Eagle's Landing Country Club in Stockbridge, Georgia. Our purse will be $1.6 million, and we're celebrating our 11th year with Chick-Fil-A as the title sponsor and our sixth year with Nancy Lopez as our official host. In that time period we've raised over $5.75 million for charity including Winshape Homes, Aim For the Handicapped and the East Lake Community Foundation. This year, as in last year, we will remain a four-day professional event. Our professional play will begin on Thursday, May 12, played through Sunday, May 15, and we are also televised by ESPN2. We haven't gotten an official tournament field list. This is actually the week that it starts coming in but we are expecting the top 100 pros to come to this event. We normally get 95 of the top 100 to play in our tournament, so we hope they will come back again, as well. But we are especially looking forward to Nancy Lopez playing in our tournament, and our defending champion, Jennifer Rosales. And now I'd like to ask Don Perry, senior vice president of public relations for Chick-Fil-A to say a few words as our title sponsor.
DON PERRY: Well, thank you, Torrey, and maybe we'll be able to extend that welcome and congratulations to Jennifer on her second win, which was going to be my opening comment. But thanks to all of you for your time, and Nancy, it is good to be with you today. We hope you're feeling better and we look forward to your comments in a few minutes. Officially on behalf of Chick-Fil-A, the Chick-Fil-A business, I do want to say welcome and especially to the media. We are delighted to have Jennifer back as our defending champion. It seems like the Chick-Fil-A has put her on a roll. It seems like she has gotten her second win after her first with us, and I would tell you just observing reaction during the past year with her as our champion, and Nancy, as always, our host, we've just been happy campers here at Chick-Fil-A with the way these two ladies have represented the tournament as well as hosting it this past year. So we could not be anything but excited about this second week of May coming up for the Chick-Fil-A this time around. Thanks for letting me say a few opening comments, Torrey. Back to you.
TORREY GANE: Nancy, would you like to say a few opening comments?
NANCY LOPEZ: I sure will. I just want to say hi to everybody and Torrey, Don, and everyone that's on the phone. I think that Chick-Fil-A and Torrey Gane and her staff have done a great job with this event. I'm very proud to have my name on it and it makes me look good. And Jennifer, being the very defending champion, I was very excited for her when she won. It's always fun to be out on the green with a player that has won her first tournament, especially for me to be there as she won her first events and she is playing very well. She did win her second one this year as Don has said I'm just looking forward to the event. I'm working on my game a little bit and trying get in shape to really play better this year than I did last year, and just looking forward to the event. I think the players love the Chick-Fil-A event in Atlanta. We're at Stockbridge, and we really appreciate the job that Torrey and her staff have done, and of course, the sponsorship, Chick-Fil-A, and how proud they are of the event. I hear and see it all the time with the players; they always comment about how much they enjoy coming to this event, and I think we will have a great field again this year, Torrey.
TORREY GANE: Good, well, thank you Nancy. We understand that Jennifer was calling in and she may have come on while you were speaking.
DON PERRY: While we do have a moment, I just happened to be at the course Saturday, and again those guys are just plugging away at getting that place ready, working on the greens. So I think we're going to have, with the later date, even better and for sure our same good conditions again, especially on the greens.
TORREY GANE: Yeah, they are actually doing very well right now. The golf course has been overseeded, but not shoulder-to-shoulder, just on the fairways and on the tee boxes. And Cecil Smith and his group have done an excellent job for this year. So I agree with you, Don. I think that the May date is going to help us out, one more week, it's only better.
Q. We've had some rain issues in the past couple of years, but do you think going back a week or so is going to make a significant difference in the way the course looks and plays, and possibility of getting all four rounds in?
NANCY LOPEZ: Oh, definitely. I think they were hoping we would have that date and give us another week, like they said, to have the golf course even more ready. I think the players, too, with the 72 holes that we changed to last year are very excited about that. Because when you have a quality event like the Chick-Fil-A, you don't want to have just three days to win the tournament; it's too short. They really feel like it's a test of golf if you can do 72 holes. I think with that -- hopefully we won't have any rain. It will be nice to be able to be dry the whole week. I don't know if we know what to do if it is. (Laughs.)
Q. It's kind of a course where I guess it's considered the kind of course to test all of the clubs in your bag. Do you think you'll have even a better chance of that happening, of all aspects of your game being tested if it gets a little bit drier and a little bit warmer?
NANCY LOPEZ: Oh, definitely. It's a great golf course. You really have to use all the clubs in your bag, and you find some days you don't have courses like that much anymore where you can just really hit a driver all the time and put yourself in front of the green. Definitely, the course will play differently. The greens will be harder if we don't get any rain, but I think that's why we are professional golfers; we have to figure it out quickly.
TORREY GANE: Jennifer, thank you so much for calling in. We have done an introduction with Don Perry from Chick-Fil-A and Nancy Lopez has answered a few questions, so we'd like the media to ask you direct questions.
Q. I noticed a week or so ago that you withdrew from the tournament in Mexico, any injury or illness or anything like that?
JENNIFER ROSALES: Yes, I kind of sprained my ankle. I had to pull out.
Q. How serious is it?
JENNIFER ROSALES: Nothing serious, actually, but that week it was hard for me to walk. I was having a hard time, but now I'm feeling a lot better.
Q. How did you do it, Jennifer?
JENNIFER ROSALES: I went in a hole twice and I didn't see it. I tripped on it.
Q. Last year you were already playing well and had contended many times prior to the Chick-Fil-A. Did that win -- did everything kind of come together for you? Have you felt yourself rise to another level of confidence since then; that you can pull out difficult shots under pressure, based on what you did at the Chick-Fil-A?
JENNIFER ROSALES: Yes, it pushed up my confidence, of course and having that first win was really good for me and gave me confidence in that I could play good out here with the best players in the world.
Q. When you get the second win, a lot of times a second win in your own mind will kind of give you that extra bit of credibility, too. Did you feel that way when you won this year?
JENNIFER ROSALES: It was a lot of fun because this was so much different from my first win because I was leading all the way. And I get to feel it in the moment and being in the last group, I played solid golf for the whole week.
NANCY LOPEZ: Congratulations on your win this year, great win.
JENNIFER ROSALES: Thank you.
NANCY LOPEZ: Are you going to be in Phoenix?
JENNIFER ROSALES: Yes, actually, I'm on my way there.
NANCY LOPEZ: Okay, well, I'll see you there. I'm coming tomorrow.
Q. When you went into the tournament last year, what did you think of your chances of winning that week?
JENNIFER ROSALES: In Atlanta?
JENNIFER ROSALES: Oh, my God, I wasn't even thinking of anything. I guess I just stopped thinking about it. You know, you always want to be your very best every week. And the spring, you know, you've got a good week and play good. So it happened to me that week and I wasn't even expecting it. It just, you know, happened. I didn't force anything; it just happened.
Q. Has it been a little difficult this spring with the limited schedule the LPGA plays in the beginning of the year of kind of waiting around for things to get started a little bit?
JENNIFER ROSALES: I kind of like the weeks off, actually. It's good for my wrist.
Q. Which part of your game has improved the most, if you were to compare the Jennifer Rosales of today compared to the Jennifer Rosales who won Chick-Fil-A Charity Championship last year to the Jennifer of three years ago, what have you improved on the most?
JENNIFER ROSALES: One is actually consistency, trying to hit more greens and more fairways. And my putting is a little better than last year, too. I'm making more putts now.
Q. Is that the result of practice or is it a mental toughness? Where did that come from?
JENNIFER ROSALES: It's both, practice and mental. When you're confident, you feel like you're going to make everything. So that's a big part of it, too.
Q. Do you have a particular workout regime that you do?
JENNIFER ROSALES: Not really. During the off-season, I play a lot of badminton, and I did a little Pilates, and so that was about it.
Q. What got you into badminton?
JENNIFER ROSALES: I don't know, it's so big back home, especially in Asia. It's a really fun sport. You sweat a lot and you get to move and it's a really fun sport. I play it with my family, too, so that makes it a more fun.
Q. It's a lot tougher than people realize, isn't it?
JENNIFER ROSALES: Oh, yeah, a lot. A few minutes of the court and you'll be like sweating already, so it's good.
Q. How often do you play?
JENNIFER ROSALES: Almost every day.
Q. Do you play competitively, too, or is it just --
JENNIFER ROSALES: Oh, no, no, no. Just my former teammates in the Philippines, my amateur friends. And sometimes my mom and my sister we kind of goof around and play doubles, actually.
Q. What do you think playing a later date for the tournament this year, how it will affect the course and you and your game; does that help you or hurt you or is that a factor in any way?
JENNIFER ROSALES: I'm sorry, what was the question again?
Q. The tournament is a few weeks later this year, and it will be a little different golf course.
JENNIFER ROSALES: I don't know, I'm just looking forward to defending my title. I can't wait and I can't wait to be in Atlanta.
Q. This is the first time you'll be introduced on the LPGA TOUR as "Defending Champion, Jennifer Rosales." Is that going to give you a bit of bounce in your step that you didn't have before?
JENNIFER ROSALES: It usually does bounce, actually. I can't wait, it's my first time, and hopefully I'll get a good welcome. And hopefully defend my title again.
Q. Is this becoming a more and more prestigious event as word gets around about the course, and of course the sponsorship and Chick-Fil-A and Nancy Lopez? Is this a tournament that people will and look toward to?
JENNIFER ROSALES: Oh, yes because it's hosted by Nancy Lopez. We looked up to her when we were younger and it's just a great win for me, and her hosting it, it's a big pleasure.
Q. Is there a particular thing about the course that you especially liked or found it especially challenging last year and were happy to do well?
JENNIFER ROSALES: Always we get a lot of rain every year, but thank God last year it didn't rain that much, so we got to finish the whole round. It was just -- I like the course. It sets up for me and it's kind of tight and narrow, which I like and the greens are good.
Q. Talk a little about last year, you won as a spectator, you won as the people were trying to catch you, how was it watching people come in and several having a chance to catch you at the end?
JENNIFER ROSALES: It was the hardest thing I've ever done in my life waiting. That 45-minute wait felt like forever and I just couldn't wait. I just kept telling myself, just hang in there and if it's yours, it's yours. If you're going to win it, you're going to win it. Let them make mistakes, because I just put up the score, you know, to beat, so less pressure for me.
Q. I don't think were you breathing.
JENNIFER ROSALES: I wasn't. I mean, I wasn't breathing at all. I was just -- it was so different from my second win, absolutely different feeling. I think I liked the first win better. It was more sweet.
Q. How did get started playing golf in the first place?
JENNIFER ROSALES: I started when I was 12. My brother and my dad got me into it one day and I fell in love with it.
Q. Was there something in particular about this is it what made you fall in love with it?
JENNIFER ROSALES: I used to play a lot of sports before and I got to travel around the world when I was young and I love going to new places and meeting new people and different cultures. That's what got me into it.
Q. The last few years there's been a huge influx of Asian players, what do you account for so many Asian players having success playing golf, as opposed to some other sports?
JENNIFER ROSALES: You know what, I have no idea, I can't answer that. But, you know, I think that Koreans, I mean, they are unbelievable. Every year they come out with new good players because of Se Ri Pak and all of those top players. And hopefully my country, I went back last year and I did a lot for junior golfers and I saw a lot of girls playing, younger ones, which I never had a chance to see when I was younger. I grew up playing with guys. So now it's so nice to see female golfers, younger ones.
Q. You played college golf over here and you got to see some of the younger players, why do you think it has been in recent years a lot of the American players have not done as well as they have in the past, and that most of the really outstanding young players coming on to the Tour have been either Korean, or Asian or Australian or something else?
JENNIFER ROSALES: You know what, I'm sorry, I can't answer that. I have no idea why.
Q. What do you do in your spare time? I understand that you like to go shopping and watch movies and you have some dogs.
JENNIFER ROSALES: Yes, I do. That's what I do.
Q. Do you have a favorite movie?
JENNIFER ROSALES: I have a lot of favorite movies. I also love to cook. In my off-time if I don't anything, I try to learn and create new things for cooking.
Q. You also have a huge fan following on the Internet.
JENNIFER ROSALES: I do.
Q. They are very passionate.
JENNIFER ROSALES: I'm so surprised. They put up my Web site. I didn't know. And then my friend just told me about it and I go, wow, cool, so they are very devoted fans and I thank them.
Q. With a major coming up really soon, is it difficult to prepare for a major championship this early in the season after only playing two or three events? Do you like having a major that early in the schedule?
JENNIFER ROSALES: It's kind of tough because you're a little rusty, but playing a few weeks, two or three times, it's pretty good. I'm just looking toward to playing and hopefully finish strong there.
Q. You contended at one of the majors last year, talk a little about the experience, was that the first time that you had been that close to having a chance to win one of the majors?
JENNIFER ROSALES: I was close, too, at the British. I was tied for the lead going into the last day in McDonald's and the U.S. Open, which I didn't finish quite strong. I thought, you know -- I had that the whole week, I was playing great and just Meg Mallon just played awesome, and I learned from it, you know, watching her deal with it. I got a lot of experience.
Q. As a result of that, do you think you'll get into that position again and you'll do a little bit better next time?
JENNIFER ROSALES: Yes, hopefully yes. Like when I won my second, I was just, you know, trying to put things together and, you know, have a good finish on Sunday, which I didn't do quite well last year. I made a lot of boo-boos on Sunday, which I didn't even know, a friend told me; and now I'm kind of wondering why, what's going on with me on Sundays why, 13 times I played over par. So I don't quite get it and try to understand what's wrong and hopefully lessen the strokes and play solid golf.
TORREY GANE: Jennifer, we want to thank you for your time. We appreciate you calling in and we look forward to seeing you in May. And Nancy, also, thank you for also participating, and, of course, Don Perry.
DON PERRY: If you don't mind, since I said this earlier, on behalf of the Chick-Fil-A business, we really just appreciate you being our champion and we are certainly excited about your coming back to Atlanta. And again, I said this at the beginning, but I just wanted to congratulate you on your second win and let you know how pleased we were with how you represented our tournament. We've just gotten a lot of attention as a result of that win, and I just say that to you, I don't know if you're aware of it, but every time we look up, there was some mention about your winning the Chick-Fil-A.
JENNIFER ROSALES: Yeah, it's true. (Laughter.) I think it was the orange shirt.
TORREY GANE: Thank you, everybody. We appreciate you calling in and have a wonderful evening.
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