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McDONALD'S LPGA CHAMPIONSHIP MEDIA DAY
May 16, 2005
JIM MURRAY: We have a really interesting and novel program today, and we're going to have some great champions interacting, among them, Annika to Betsy to Patty. It's a little different. I hope you'll participate and bear with us if there are any glitches, but this is sports history today. We have moved down I-95. We have changed the course. We have changed the way the holes looked, you guys have played them, but we haven't changed the mission statement. Our friends from Delaware are here, we've been there 18 years and our friends from white man or are there, we were there for six years and this tournament has made sports history by raising $41.6 billion for the children at Ronald McDonald Houses and Ronald McDonald House Charities throughout the world. The country started in Pennsylvania, this little town called Philadelphia. The first Constitution was ratified in Delaware at the Golden Fleece Tavern, and now we've moved somewhere else. We are honored that the honorary chairpersons for this year's first tournament at Bulle Rock is the Governor Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr., and his wife, Kendall. Kendall and I had the privilege, pleasure and honor of being together last Monday when tournament co-founder Frank Quinn and tournament chairman Chris Gabriel at the Ronald McDonald House in Baltimore. In a personal way, you just never, ever get used to going to the Ronald McDonald House. As Herb Lotman, the co-founder says, this tournament is about the kids, and I'd like to bring a lady up who has got kids, who has been to the Ronald McDonald House and played Bulle Rock with you guys, so the first lady of the State of Maryland, Kendall Ehrlich. (Applause.)
KENDALL EHRLICH: Thanks, Jim. Good afternoon, everybody. So, what did you think of our course? Easy? (Laughing) I don't think so. Oh, boy. It is a course that is actually familiar to my husband and myself. It was a fixture of this entire county for eight years, so we love this place, we love Bulle Rock. Jim Harkins is here, the county executive is here; he knows how terrific it is. So we are thrilled to have you experience it. I didn't do too badly for a mom with two kids and no time for golf, I'll have you know, but it was really great to be out there today, and I hope you all enjoyed it. I can't tell you what this means to Maryland. We are incredibly proud to be able to have this tournament here and be able to celebrate women's golf. They are awesome, Annika, and it goes on and on and on, and we're just so excited to have these incredible professionals here in Maryland, it's such a terrific place. We know that it's going to be a great challenge. The course is in fabulous shape. You've done a great job, Bulle Rock, you really have. It's in great shape and we know there's a few more weeks for that rough, apparently, and it's going to be very challenging. Let me tell you just a little bit what this means for Maryland: Roughly $4 million in revenue, 45,000 visitors we are expecting; that's huge. We have from about 1,200 volunteers that are here. Our great City of Havre de Grace is an incredible gem that will benefit from all of the tourism, and we have a lot of employees that are going to be here for the tournament as well, about 50 employees, as well as, like I said, all of those volunteers. So we are thrilled to be able to showcase such a gem here in Maryland, this county is beautiful, like I said. Havre de Grace is a very special spot and we're just thrilled to be able to showcase everything. Let me just say, also, Jim Murray does a terrific job in all of those, and Chris, everybody associated with the Ronald McDonald House, they are just amazing. My press secretary, Megan, is here, and when we went to see the Ronald McDonald House, she knows how emotional I can get, and seeing those kids was really a very special thing for me. We are particularly in Maryland proud of our Ronald McDonald Houses because of the stellar medical attention and the medical facilities that we have here. Places like Hopkins at the University of Maryland are on the cutting edge for those kids, and it's really, really important. So even as I stand here before you today, what we're really doing is we're all here because we love golf and because it's exciting to have the real professionals come here and we get a firsthand look at them. So what really matters is the kids, and I'm seeing some nodding heads out there, particularly moms, you know if you were in that position to be able to have a facility like a Ronald McDonald House, like I said, in an area like Maryland that has Hopkins in Maryland and other incredible medical institutions that are at the cutting edge of research. So we just could not be more proud of the combination of what this means for our state. So I just want to say, obviously, with such a successful day here today, congratulations to everybody involved, Bulle Rock, the County, the State, McDonald's, everyone involved. It is just such a terrific cause and we're really, really excited about bringing everybody out. I'm going to be here most of the week. My husband is going to play. We're just so thrilled and thank you all for being part of this today because it's a big kickoff. I hope that you really get the word out, that you write about it, talk about it, so that we can make it the success we need for those kids. Thanks.
JIM MURRAY: All success is due to strong leadership and, Herb Lotman decided that Betsy Rawls successor be Alice Miller. Alice did win our championship, and it changed names so many times, I think it was the Kids Classic, whatever it was called, I remember that she shot four 68s. Once again, this is going to be a unique format, and we want it to be fun, we want it to be interactive, and we want it to be something special and something you'll enjoy and participate in. First, our leader, Alice, would love to say a few words.
ALICE MILLER: Thank you, Jimmy. Thank you all for being here. Welcome to the new home of the LPGA Championship Presented by Coca-Cola. For those of you that were here last fall or last summer when we made the announcement can see there have been a few changes, and I think the first thing I would like to do is acknowledge, Herb Ramskill (ph), the director of golf and general manager here at Bulle Rock, and the owners, Art Turner, Richard Alter. They have put the time and resources and energy in making this truly, truly a spectacular facility. The golf course is already spectacular, the LPGA said it needed a little more infrastructure to put on a major championship, and they made it happen. Bill Lewis, the superintendent, hats off to Bill, I see you in the back, for always keeping this course in championship condition. I did hear today that the greens are probably going to be a little faster and the rough a little higher in three weeks. So job well done, and thank you all for the great work you've done here. I would be remiss if I didn't being knowledge my staff here, I think I see everybody around. I have Jackie, Elaine, Pete, just wave your hands real quick, around the room, thank you. And then also we have interns from the University of Delaware, this makes up our team, and we work year-round putting on this one tournament. Our board of directors, you have probably met most of them, and Betsy Rawls, who will be on our panel today, vice chairman of our board, my predecessor and my mentor, and we'll hear about her a little bit later on. And Judy, running our golf program, and we are very proud to announce that she's starting a First Tee Chapter here in Harford County, if you want to hear about that you can see Judy after the luncheon, we are very excited about that. Our theme today is going to be LPGA champions, past and present. We felt since we were moving to a new venue, it would be the right time to look at the history of the championship, where it's been and where it's going and we really are looking to take it to a new level. Annika, can you hear me out there?
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: Yes, I can.
ALICE MILLER: Welcome, Annika. We have Betsy Rawl and Patty Sheehan here in person on our panel, and I'll let you ladies make your way up to the chairs at your leisure. And we have Annika Sorenstam, our defending champion, and between them they have won 150 official tournaments and 22 major championships. All are members of the LPGA Hall of Fame considered by most to be the most difficult Hall of Fame in sports; so they are very accomplished and they have won all through the decades. I'm going to start by introducing Betsy, and I'm not going to go into all of their stats because we would be here for the next three days, but eight major championships, including the LPGA and this event in 1959 and 1969. She has received numerous honors and awards, but one do I want to mention is that in two weeks she is one of the honorees at the Memorial, a PGA TOUR event in Dublin, Ohio, Mr. Nicklaus' tournament, and she is only the third woman to be honored in the history of event; for any golfer male or female this is a tremendous honor. Next I'd like to introduce Patty Sheehan, my contemporary who beat me all the time regularly when I was on Tour, with 35 major victories and six major championships. She won the LPGA in 1983, 1984 and also in 1993. She won both at the Jack Nicklaus Sports Complex in Kings Island, Ohio, and in 1993 she won the championship when it was at Bethesda Country Club in Bethesda, Maryland. So we are coming full circle bringing Patty back in. Most recently, captain of the U.S. Solheim Cup team in the two most recent competitions, and we might get you and Annika to comment on that later, time permitting. Last but definitely not least, I'd like to introduce our two-time defending champion who is with us by teleconference. She has 60 wins with her win yesterday which ties here for third place with Patty Berg in career victories, and eight major championships, and coming off a win yesterday. On behalf of all of us congratulations on that great win down there at the Chick-Fil-A Championship. And given that your streak unfortunately ended, if you can hear me, a couple of weeks ago you didn't waste any time in getting it started again, and really blew away the field yesterday. Would you like to make a few comments about your win yesterday and what it means to you?
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: Yes, I've love to. Obviously I was very happy the way I played all last week. It was a little bit of a disappointment to leave Kingsmill and not be able to continue my streak, but then I showed up in Atlanta and it seemed like things were just going my way again and making a lot of putts. I felt like I was hitting a lot of good shots, just a wonderful week, and to come back so strong after a little bit of a letdown, maybe I started another streak, who knows.
ALICE MILLER: Very good. A little bit of history of the LPGA Championship that I'm going to ask each you have to give your perspective on. This is the 51st anniversary of the LPGA Championship, which began in 1955. Betsy, you started on Tour in 1951 and won your first championship in 1959 when the total purse was $7,500 and your portion was just over $1,200; and again in 1969, and the purse had grown to a whopping $35,000. Can you tell us of the early years as you recall it?
BETSY RAWLS: Well, the whole tour was much less than it is now. Winning the LPGA Championship did not cause a great amount of hoopla like it would now. There was no television, of course, and didn't get as much publicity, but I'm sure I enjoyed winning it as much as Annika enjoyed winning, too. The first one was at -- I won my first one in French Lick, Indiana, and the man who was national vice chairman of sales for the Getty Company (ph) which was gasoline, came down and met with me and said, "You know what, you remember the last round of the LPGA Championship in French Lick?" He said, "I caddied for Louise Suggs and played with you for the last round, and you were just phenomenal. I thought you were the greatest thing." He said, "So I'm going to give you all of the gasoline you would ever want."
ALICE MILLER: And we still take him up on that, don't we, Betsy?
BETSY RAWLS: But it is a small world. The tournament I probably got the most satisfaction from my whole career was winning the 1969 LPGA Championship. It was at Concord Club in Kiameshia Lake, New York, the hardest course I think we ever played an LPGA tournament on. And it was toward the end of my career, I had not been playing particularly well and somehow everything came together that week and I won that tournament. It was the next to the last tournament I ever won, in fact. But somehow, I just felt -- I got so much satisfaction because I was petrified on every hole, it was -- there was water on every hole. One of the pros said her Pro-Am team set a record that day; they lost 25 golf balls. But I played that last round and did not make a bogey. I made 1-under par and won that tournament and got a huge kick out of that. By that time there was a little publicity about that, so it was all great fun. But the Tour has changed a lot. The staging of the tournaments have changed. Back in those early days we didn't have bleachers and leaderboards and roped fairways and all that. I mean, we had come to this place, we'd thought we had gone to heaven already. But it was just as much fun, and players over the years have not changed much. They are still the same nice people that they were back then, and I'm still very proud to be associated with them.
ALICE MILLER: Thank you. Betsy has not only played for 24 years, when she finished her playing career, she became a tournament director for the LPGA Tour and she joined the staff of this tournament in the early days in 1981 when the board had the good sense to see they needed help in the golf tournament and is still with us today. So she has seen the whole history, not only of the LPGA Tour, but of this championship. Patty, I'm going to move on to you and ask you about your win. You won in 1983 and 1984 at the Jack Nicklaus Sports Complex in Kings Island, Ohio, and then you went to Bethesda Country Club in 1993. Are there any spots from any one of your championship that is stick out in your mind?
PATTY SHEEHAN: Well, by the way, I wanted to say a quick hello to Annika, and congratulations. We're all so proud of and you think the world of you, and 60 wins is just an incredible amount of wins. Hate to say it in front of Betsy, but it's five more than Betsy. Pretty damned good. (Laughter).
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: Thank you, Patty. I appreciate it.
PATTY SHEEHAN: Back when I -- I'm so old now, back when I started playing the LPGA Championship, my first was in 1981 and I missed the cut. My second was in 1982 and I got disqualified. So I had a lot of incentive to play well that third year; I figured third time was a charm. I was seven strokes behind the last day, Sandra Haynie was leading, and I just felt that, you know, this was going to be my day. And after eight holes I remember the par-3 8th, and I went up to my manager who said, "I'm going to take off. I'm going to the airport."
I said, "You'd better stick around because I think I'm going to win." She said, well, okay, and stood around. I came out the winner that day, actually winning by a couple of shots, and that was my first major championship and that was a very, very exciting time for me. I was only out there three years, and so I was pretty excited. And then the next year, I was defending and happened to be having a great tournament that year, and I believe I shot 63 last day with a bogey on the 17th hole; I was starting to choke, but I ended up winning that one, too, by quite a bit.
ALICE MILLER: I think by ten.
PATTY SHEEHAN: I had forgotten; my age. (Laughter). But that was an unbelievable week that I could actually come back and have such great championship. And then in 1993, we had moved to Bethesda, a beautiful country club that it is, and I had been inducted into the Hall of Fame the year before. And I don't recall, like I said, I don't remember much, but I don't recall if I won a tournament since I got in the Hall of Fame. But that week was just another one of those magic weeks. I remember standing on the 18th green, about the only thing I remember was standing on the 18th green and I had a five-foot putt to win the tournament and I told my caddie that my hands were shaking so badly I could barely hang onto my club. Somehow I was able to hit my putt in between jitters and yips and shakes and the ball went in the hole, and that was an amazing time. I was so nervous; it was just ridiculous. But I remember how nervous I was for that one.
ALICE MILLER: Thanks, Patty. Annika, moving along to you, winning in 2003 and 2004, you're our two-time defending champion, we might talk about threepeat, you've had chances to threepeat before in majors, and so has Patty, and that has never been done in the history of the LPGA. But before we talk about that, would you like to comment on your victory here last year and what it meant to you and any thoughts you have on the change of venue?
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: Yes, I have a lot of good memories from the LPGA McDonald's Championship, especially the last few years. And you brought up last year, and probably what I will never forget is my approach shot on the 16th hole, and I was actually coming from another fairway, I believe it was 11 fairway, and I had to hit over trees and I hit one of those shots that you dream about. And I had a sand wedge in my hand and hit a shot and stood up there for birdie to win my second championship. It's one of those career shots that I will never forget. It's just amazing when I look back at those two years, I finally figured out the course, and now they are moving the venue. (Laughter.) But having said that, I've heard a lot of wonderful things about our new place, and I'm looking forward to seeing it. I just hope it won't take me seven or eight years to figure it out. I hope to get there and hopefully defend my title and continue to reach my goal.
ALICE MILLER: Annika, I saw that shot that you're referring to, and I think all of us that have gone back out and looked at that spot that is one of the greatest golf shots that I've ever witnessed. That was tremendous . With the change of venue, I've been asked, who is your favorite and is Annika going on able to do it again. If it had been at the Du Pont Country Club, I would bet lot of money on you. I still think you're very favored because you manage your game so well and are good at going into a new venue and figuring it out as quick as the next person. Will it change your strategy how you approach the event this year?
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: I'm actually just going to stick to my routine which is coming in on Monday and play some Pro-Ams and play a practice round and get ready for the tournament. I have tried different strategies in trying to defend a title, which is coming a few weeks early to play a round or two, but has not really worked out for me. This year I will stick to what I normally do. It seems to work. I HAVE a great caddie that's going to go there early and walk the course. He obviously knows my game and he will suggest the way to play it. I'm excited about the opportunity to play a new golf course. It's always challenging to figure out the route around the golf course, and we'll see what happens.
ALICE MILLER: Okay. Look out, to the rest of the field, that's all I can say. Well, Betsy, I need to mention as I'm looking at my list here for the most major championship titles, and you and Annika are tied for fifth place right now with eight. She might be pulling by you in that category, too.
BETSY RAWLS: She whizzed by me in the other one. Annika, I know it's in your mind to win all four majors this year. Is that something you think about a lot, or just back of your mind? What is it?
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: It's mostly in the back of my mind. It's actually a goal I set up early, December, January, and after that I just kind of, you know, try not to think about it. I know what I want to do. Now I'm focusing more on the process of how to do it. It's obviously going to be very, very hard and nobody has ever done it. So, I know that, but, you know, for me that's kept me motivated. That's what keeps me motivated in the mornings is to have a huge challenge ahead of me. I just want to test myself to see if I can really do it. Having said that, if I don't achieve it, I'm not going to look back at this year and say, "what a disappointment," because the competition is very, very tough out here. You need to play well, and you also need some good breaks you need some good momentum and you need to like the golf course. There's so many factors that need to work to win a golf tournament. I've been lucky to do it a few times. And I don't want to be good greedy and ask for too many times, but I'm going to prepare as much as I can and hope that it goes my way.
BETSY RAWLS: There will be a lot of people that will be disappointed if you don't do it this year, including me. (Laughter).
ALICE MILLER: That's interesting, Annika, because you said, just like in any goal setting, you set your goals and try to set it and forget it. But I don't think there's anybody in this room or any of the tournaments you're going to visit in the coming weeks that are going to let you forget about that goal. So good luck to you. We're all pulling for you.
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: Thank you very much.
ALICE MILLER: Any questions from the audience?
Q. Annika, you were quite adamant last year about never playing in another PGA TOUR event. Does that vow, does that pledge still stand, and why?
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: Yes, it still stands, and the reason why is actually because, you know, I just had such a great time at the Colonial and I think things will never be the same if I do it again. And. No. 2 is really I just did it once to just test myself, and, you know, I experienced so much that week. Actually, I have to say prior to the week and after, and we're still talking about it, you know, two years later. So for me it was just a learning experience. I have a tour where I love to play. This is where I belong. And No. 3 is I like to win golf tournaments. I want to be in the hunt on Sundays, and that's a thrill that I love to see if I can hit that winning shot when I need to. Having said that, what I learned from the Colonial is what I'm taking to our tour and hopefully use it and win tournaments.
Q. You mentioned preparation for the LPGA Championship. What events will you be playing before then?
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: My plan is to -- I'm going to defend my title at the Corning Classic in two weeks, and then I'm playing in ShopRite Classic, and then I'm hitting up to a little north.
ALICE MILLER: Or a little south.
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: South?
ALICE MILLER: That's okay. You're from Sweden.
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: Sorry about that. (Laughter).
ALICE MILLER: For everybody's knowledge, Annika can make history this year by winning three in a row. She won back-to-back titles in three different majors and only Patty Berg ever won three in a row, winning the Titleholders back in the 30s before the Tour was in existence. Patty, you had a chance to do it, but winning the same major three years in a row seems to be an equally difficult task.
PATTY SHEEHAN: Well, it is difficult, when you really think about there's only four majors a year. You're only playing in a very limited amount of majors your whole life, and to be able to just win it back-to-back is really quite a feat in itself. But I think that, you know, it definitely is in reach for Annika. I think that she is -- she is by far the best player that the LPGA has right now. She is winning more than she's losing, and so I think the odds are pretty good that she's going to come in here and learn the golf course very quickly. You know if she doesn't win, I'll be surprised, but I know that she'll be up there and probably in the Top 5 even if she doesn't win. But I expect that she's going to win. So Annika, I'm putting the big whammy on you and putting the pressure on you. And I know that that -- it is a little bit of pressure, but you handle it so well. And that's one of the things that I am most amazed at is how you handle yourself on the golf course and how you handle all of the media attention. You've grown up so much, and you've learned so much and it's just really been fun for me to watch your career as I really was sort of winding down my career as you started coming up, and it's been really a treat for me to be able to watch it, Annika, and I want you to know that I am very sincere about that. I know that there's a lot of people that say a lot of things to you, but I have always had the greatest amount of admiration for you and for what you've done and what you're doing for the LPGA. So thank you, Annika.
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: Thank you for saying that.
ALICE MILLER: Now, concerning the Solheim Cup, actually Patty Sheehan is the U.S. Team Solheim Cup captain for the last two Solheim Cups, and it just so happens this year's Solheim competition is going to be played at another Pete Dye designed course up in Indiana. And Annika, you had the privilege of winning the last time in 2003 on your own turf. So if you do want to discuss Solheim and that competition and that rivalry, feel free.
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: Oh, I've love to talk about it.
PATTY SHEEHAN: Yeah, since you won.
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: It was a great week in many ways.
PATTY SHEEHAN: It really was. It was a great week for all of us to go to Sweden. I had never been to Sweden and the people over there are absolutely so friendly and so accommodating. So now I know, you know, a little bit of background, where you came from and the rest of the Swedish players, and I know now why you're all so nice to us.
ALICE MILLER: If you do well on this course, I think you'll like Crooked Stick, because I think they are both very typical Pete Dye designed. If Annika does well here, watch out for the U.S. Team in September.
PATTY SHEEHAN: But you have to keep in mind there's 12 players. I feel comforted by that thought.
ALICE MILLER: I want to ask you, in my personal observation in recent years, especially the last year or two, you really seem to be having a lot of fun on the golf. And that's not to say that all professional golfers don't enjoy what they do, but not all have fun on the course doing it, and it seems to me that recently you've really had a lot of fun. Are you having fun because of your success, or are you having more success because you are truly having fun out there, or am I totally mistaken on all fronts?
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: No, I think you're pretty right on. I mean, obviously it's fun to play good golf. And I think that, you know, when you're happy, that leads to good golf shots and that leads to good tournaments. You know, I've always enjoyed what I do. I just think that the last few years that maybe I've just transformed myself into myself, and I feel able to react the way I want to react. I think in the beginning when I came out on Tour, I felt that I needed to be somebody I really wasn't and I felt very uncomfortable. Even though I enjoyed playing, I really could not express my feelings the way I was used to expressing them. The last few years, especially after the Colonial, people realize who I am and what I do and I do it my way, and when I feel accepted, then it was easier for my to just go out there and play my game and react the way I wanted to. I love what I do. I mean, I feel so fortunate to have my hobby as a job and go out there and win tournaments. It really doesn't get much better than that, and then come home, set some goals and practice a little bit and test it, and see if it works against the best players in the world; it's a thrill for me.
PATTY SHEEHAN: That sounds like a pretty simple recipe for success, but I don't think any of the rest of us have succeeded it to your level.
ALICE MILLER: You've always been exuberant and enjoyed yourself on the course and that was your personality. Do you agree with what Annika says? I think we all enjoy playing professionally but certain players show it more than others.
PATTY SHEEHAN: Yeah, and I think that early on in my career, I had conversations with people that, you know, it's an entertainment business, you're in the entertainment business; Patty, you need to show some emotion and people like to see emotion. And when I first started, I said: I am not in the entertainment business. I am a professional golfer, and I want to go out and I want to play well. It took me a few years to figure out that I really am in the entertainment business, and I need to be myself. When I learned that, and learned to engrain the fact that I was in the entertainment business, and I also had a job to play well, assuming that I could be entertaining, that's when I started playing better and winning tournaments and doing things that came naturally to me, which, you know, a lot of times I was this or that. But I always had so much pent up energy in my body, that if I win a tournament, I had to do something to get rid of it. So there I was doing somersaults and cartwheels and things like that. It was really me and it was a way to release a lot of energy. But I think it did take me a little bit of time to understand that, and I think it's taken Annika a little bit of time to understand that she can be herself, too, and also let people know she's having a good time, and she certainly is; all of the above.
ALICE MILLER: Any questions from the floor?
Q. Annika, you have gotten a lot of attention in the work you do as far as the conditioning and the extra work you do on the range. What motivates you to work that hard on an ongoing basis?
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: Well, I love to win, and I love to the position I'm in. My goal is to be the best player out there, and right now, what's really challenged me is to see how good I can get. I feel like I'm very close to, you know, reaching my potential as a golfer, and I feel like there's a little bit more and I want to continue to work and see if I can get there. Right now, I'm 34 years old and I've been out here for 11 years, and you know, I think I have a little bit more to give, and I really want to maximize that before I go onto something else. You know, I just don't want to leave something on the table knowing that maybe one day, I'll look back and say, you know, if I just pushed it a little bit harder, I wonder how far I would have gotten. That's really my mindset. I still think that I can improve and I enjoy the results. I love to be there, you know, Sunday, again, having a shot to win and the only way to win is to try and get better every day, keep on working. Something I'm always thinking about, there's no shortcut to success, and my dad told me that at an early age. I still believe that. You have to continue to work hard to stay on top. Right now, this position that I like being in, I don't really want to trade it for anything.
PATTY SHEEHAN: Look out, the rest of the Tour.
Q. You mentioned your dad just know. It was a very exciting at Kraft Nabisco and touching to see your family join you on the 18th green with your win there. Just curious, did you know in advance that your mother and sister were going to jump in the water with you?
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: I have to admit that my sister and I, we had planned to do it together, but I had no idea that my mom was going to jump in with us. That was a total surprise.
Q. Annika, I was just curious what your initial reaction was when you heard the tournament was moving to Bulle Rock and whether you thought DuPont Country Club was a course still worthy of a major, or do you think it was time for a change of the course?
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: Well, I did like DuPont. I thought it was a great golf course. Like I said, it took me several years to figure out how to play it. I always believe in old, traditional golf courses, I love those, the tall trees. It is a demanding golf course in many ways and you have to hit it straight and you have to hit it long and you have to be accurate. We have firm greens and we have rough, putting that all together, it means that it's a great golf course for amazing championships. To be honest, when I heard that they moved, I said, I wonder why, because I thought the setup was pretty good. But, you know, then you talk to some of the other players, you talk to the Commissioner and they are all saying that this is going as good, if not even better. So, you know, I'm looking forward to seeing Bulle Rock and see what it's all about.
Q. I have a question regarding your peers. I think we know that the LPGA has a great bunch of people, ladies playing. Who do you think of as your closest competition?
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: Well, I think there's a lot of young, upcoming players that I think is going to have great futures. I mean, right now the one that I think is playing really good golf is Cristie Kerr. She is playing very solid the last few weeks. You have Lorena Ochoa who is the most consistent player out there. She is always in the hunt. And somebody that has won a few tournaments is Grace Park; I think she is an incredible player. I love her attitude and the way she plays. There's a lot of young players that are right there knocking on the door. We've got rookies that are tremendously good. They hit it a long ways. They have got fantastic attitudes and they are ready to win. I think the future in general is really good on the LPGA. It's an exciting time. We still have players that have been out there for a long time and we have rookies. What else do you need? It's a fun time.
PATTY SHEEHAN: Glad I'm not playing now, I'll tell you that.
ALICE MILLER: You beat up on them once in awhile.
PATTY SHEEHAN: I beat up on the senior players. I'm solid out there on the Senior Tour.
BETSY RAWLS: I keep setting goals for you, hanging out there 88 wins like Kathy Whitworth, it struck they me that you could easily beat Kathy and then you could surpass it. Have you thought about that, or does that motivate you to play or stay on the Tour maybe longer than you ordinarily would?
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: Well, to be honest I mean thinking about 88 wins, it seems so impossible. I've always thought that was something that I could never do. In a way, I still believe that in my mind. It just seems so impossible but again, I look at myself and say, hey, you won 60 times and I cannot believe that. So, you know, I love to break records, I really do, and who knows if I ever could do that. It's easy to say, well, if you win ten a year, that you can do it, but it's not that easy. It's very competitive out here, and, you know, I am so happy about every win that I win that, you know, you never know if that's going to be your last. So right now, I have some goals. I want to win some majors. I want to take this year as it comes, and then who knows, if I'm at 87 wins one day and I feel like I want to push it, then maybe I will. I think it's going to be tougher and tougher for me.
BETSY RAWLS: The fun is in the trying. Good luck.
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: Thank you.
Q. I was wondering if you could tell us who or what may have inspired you to begin your career in the LPGA?
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: The question is what inspired me to play on the LPGA; is that it? Well, I came over to this country in 1990. I went to the University of Arizona, and I had heard about the LPGA at the time, that they had a Tour stop in Tucson, which is where I went to school, and I went out there to watch the ladies and that was the first time I was really exposed to it. I went to school, I played golf, but I never really thought I could make a living of it. I really wanted to be an engineer. So when I saw them out there, watching them, it looked like they had a great time. I figured, you know, if they can do it, well, maybe I can do it, too. So that's really how it started, and that was my first year at University of Arizona. And then the next year, they came back and I was convinced that that's what I wanted to do. I had heard of Nancy Lopez and Patty Sheehan and Betsy Rawls and Betsy King. To me, they were great role models, and to me it seemed like they were people that I could -- I could never play with them because they seemed like superstars, and here I'm a little girl from Sweden. I had no idea that that's something I could do one day.
Q. I'm surprised you didn't mention Danielle Amiee as one of your up-and-coming challengers. Considering there are a lot of women working hard to get on the LPGA, do you think it's fair to those women that are working hard that someone like Danielle Amiee can get two exemptions to LPGA events?
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: Are you talking about the lady that won on the big break? Well, I think that was just -- I mean, that was just a fun little thing. You know, there's a lot of invitations that go out to certain players every week for certain reasons, and I think there was a lot of attention to that particular tournament. I think she aspired to play on the LPGA and I believe she's been to Tour School at least once, so I don't think it was that farfetched. On the contrary, she brought some excitement that week and people have an interest in that. Personally I don't have a problem with it.
JIM MURRAY: One of the things we have to do is say thank you to our Mayor, David Craig, from Havre de Grace, and his next door neighbor, Mayor Douglas Wilson, City of Aberdeen. Thank you guys for coming. We thought this would be a novel approach and a way to have a little bit of fun and answer had some questions, and I think it was so well stated by both Betsy and Patty that we are about tradition and that we are about the history of this tournament; and once again, this tournament has been on a journey, it's stopped right now at Bulle Rock. We need your help and we're not afraid to say that because we need your help because our goal, our vision as we start this tournament is to help the kids at. Ronald McDonald House, Philadelphia house. And when I heard that Solheim Cup story about the House in Sweden, the Houses all over Europe and the Houses all over the world. So it's a great sports story; and as you said Patty, you're a professional golfer. And Annika, we thank you for being present to us. I'm sure you're going to hear more from us, and a lot of people have gone south from Atlantic City, so we are happy you're playing and we look forward to seeing you here and winning your next tournament. Thank you very much.
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