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March 10, 2004

Torrey Gane

Nancy Lopez

Se Ri Pak

TORREY GANE: Let me start off, this is Torrey Gane, the executive director of the Chick-fil-A Charity Championship hosted by Nancy Lopez. Thank you all for calling in today for our press conference. We are proud to be celebrating our 13th year at Eagle's Landing Country Club as a tournament, an LPGA Tour event. We are also celebrating our 10th anniversary with Chick-fil-A as the title sponsor of this tournament, and the fifth anniversary for Nancy Lopez as our tournament host. We are proud to announce a $250,000 increase in or purse to $1.6 million, which matches three of the LPGA Tour's majors and is the fourth highest purse on the tour, not including the majors. In 2004 we are changing our format. We are going to four days of professional play versus three days as in the past, and we will be televised on a combination of ESPN and ESPN2. Our tournament week is April 26 through May 2nd, and professional play will begin on Thursday, April 29th. In our nine-year history with Chick-Fil-A, we have raised $5 million for charity, including WinShape Homes, AIM For the Handicap and the East Lake Community Foundation. So that's a lot of money from this event and we're very proud of that. With our 13-year history as a tour event, we really have gained a lot of perspective on the tour and its players, and we're really excited about the future of the LPGA Tour. The LPGA as a partner of ours has been completely supportive in everything we do and has always been there for us. Each year we see the quality of the players grow stronger and stronger, the emergence of young players out there, such as the Rookie-of-the-Year Lorena Ochoa, who won the Nancy Lopez Award last year, which we started four years ago. But we're also having a tremendous amount of strength in our field, which also brings a terrific past champion's list such as our defending champion, Se Ri Pak, who finished No. 2 on the tour's money list last year. We're proud to welcome back Se Ri as our defending champion, who is also a great friend of Nancy Lopez. I guess I'll just give you some perspective. It sounds like we're going to mix it up a little bit now. Nancy Lopez is in the midst of playing in a Pro-Am at the Tucson LPGA tournament right now. She's actually stepping away for a few minutes and will join us on her cell phone. It sounds like at this point we're going to introduce Se Ri as our defending champion to answer any questions. When Nancy joins us, we'll ask her to say a few words, answer any questions, then return her back to her amateur she's playing. John, if you'd like to introduce Se Ri.

JOHN MARSHALL: As many of you know, Se Ri won one of the longest Chick-fil-A Championships last year, it was a 72-hole event, and it's moving back to 72 holes this year, as Torrey mentioned. But Se Ri won a four-hole playoff over Shani Waugh, the longest playoff in tournament history. It was exciting from the beginning till the end. She, at the age of -- how old are you now?

SE RI PAK: 26 now.

JOHN MARSHALL: You're 26. You've already done everything that you need to do to qualify for the LPGA Tour Hall of Fame except meet the 10-year playing requirement. You will have done that in just a few years, in 2007. Obviously, you've had a terrific career from the very outset. We were thrilled last year to have you as our champion and our defending champion this year. Maybe if you could say a few words about your win, how exciting it was to win such a long playoff, then we'll open it up to questions.

SE RI PAK: Well, I think last year is my sixth year in the LPGA Tour. I think I didn't miss much Chick-fil-A tournament because I love to play over there. The golf course is just great, and people are lovely over there. Such a great field every single season. At the same time I am good friends with Nancy. I always want to see her. I get such a great experience at the golf course and the tournament the last couple years. So I have always had great memories and at the same time, especially last year, I won a four-hole playoff. That was exciting having that, especially 18 on final round. I have to make that long putt for make the playoff. All those things for me was a great memory, and at the same time was a really great time. I'm pretty much happy to go back to Chick-fil-A again.

JOHN MARSHALL: Very good. We will certainly be looking forward to having you here.

SE RI PAK: Thank you very much.

JOHN MARSHALL: Now we can open it up to questions.

Q. How was it feeling last year and this year? Do you have more confidence to win this year than last year?

SE RI PAK: Every year's different. Every year pass, and then I have a lot of good experience every single years, and I learn a lot. At the same time, my game is getting improved better and better every year. Really, I'm really happy about my game right now. I was having great off-seasons. Me and my trainer, my coach, work so hard together for get ready for the 2004 season. At the same time my game is get pretty much ready to go right now. So it's just great off-season. Just rest a lot, then practice a lot, then making myself having good shape. Was great. I just pretty much exciting to play 2004 season.

Q. Tell me, do you think that now your game is stronger mentally than it's ever been? I know you always had good shots; you were always a spectacular player. Do you think mentally you're stronger now for competition than you've ever been before?

SE RI PAK: Yes, I think so. Well, I think every year's different. Even last year was really great shape, I pretty much feel ready to go. But this year in particular we work much more on like (inaudible). Like mentally I'm pretty much happy the way I'm working on my swings, and at the same time, you know, usually you're traveling a lot, you have to be strong physically. So we were working a lot of the training with my trainer about helping my swing, at the same time make sure I'm having great shape myself. So I think I am pretty much ready. At the same time everything I'm doing last off-season was great. So I think this year's going to be -- I just exciting to play 2004 season.

Q. What I'm asking you is, you were always good, you're still young, do you feel like you're growing up as a golfer?

SE RI PAK: I think so, yes. Like the first couple years, the LPGA Tour, I think I'm still young there. Still not say I'm old (laughter). But I think the way I'm last two years, three years, I think I'm growing up more as more great top players.

NANCY LOPEZ: This is Nancy Lopez, Se Ri. You just got out of your diapers a couple years ago.

SE RI PAK: I know that. I just looking for my mom. I just forgot my mom (laughter).

TORREY GANE: Nancy, did you want to take a moment, I know you're in the middle of a lot there in Tucson, if you want to take a moment and talk about the tournament.

NANCY LOPEZ: I'm very excited about it. The purse has gone up. We've gone to four days. We've had such bad luck with the weather, that we know for sure we'll get three days in for sure with this tournament this year. I'm just very excited. Se Ri being the defending champion, she's such a great champion, great player. The Chick-fil-A people have done such a beautiful job. I'm very proud to be a part of the event and look forward to everybody being there. Of course, with Se Ri being there, there's going to be some great competition.

Q. Nancy, do you think with an extra day of tournament round, it kind of boosts it in the credibility factor, to push to that next level where it's regarded more highly around the tour?

NANCY LOPEZ: I think the tournament has always been regarded very highly because the players have always enjoyed the Chick-fil-A tournament. Now I think they want it four days because they want the opportunity to have a chance to win it. Three days is a little tough because you have to really stay at the top for all three of those days. And four days, more players feel like they have more of an opportunity to win the event. I know a lot of them are very happy it's gone to four days.

Q. Se Ri, do you feel the same way about that?

SE RI PAK: Yes, I do. I mean, that tournament is already great shape, pretty much the field is always strong. The Chick-fil-A is always great shape. That should be pretty much happy about the way I'm doing.

NANCY LOPEZ: Can y'all hold on a second. I've got to hit my shot.

Q. Playing with Annika Sorenstam, are you considering her as the top player so you always feel like your chasing Sorenstam?

SE RI PAK: Everybody asks the same question. Annika, she's been No. 1 like for a couple years, then I was right behind her. But I think she's great. She's great player. Her game is strong. So no doubt about it. But I think the way I'm doing right now so happy about game. At the same time I think I have much more -- I'm having a lot more experience. Annika, she has such -- I think she like three to four years early than I am. She have already great experience for herself. That's why she hung in there pretty well. Right now, I'm pretty much happy about it. Even though right now is very behind her, but I think every single years I'm going up, and my game gets more better and better. It's just the way I'm doing right now. Just going to be one day. I am just waiting for the right time. Well, as long as I work hard, at the same time having great season every year, so I just no complain about it. So probably later. Later, No. 1 spot, I'm trying to get on there.

NANCY LOPEZ: I'm back with you guys now.

JOHN MARSHALL: Any additional questions for Nancy?

Q. How did the shot go?

NANCY LOPEZ: I hit a good shot (laughter). I'm playing in the Pro-Am in Tucson. I'm doing The Golf Channel this week and also I have to play.

Q. The four days, a lot of people feel like the tournament is just below the majors, almost like a Players Championship type feel. Four days heighten that.

NANCY LOPEZ: Definitely, I think so. Four days just really makes it a true event to me. I think that the Chick-fil-A people have done a tremendous job because really when you walk in the locker room, you feel like it's a major event because they've worked so hard to make the players happy. I think that's probably more important than anything. If the players are happy, they're always going to come there. They've worked so hard on the golf course to make it bigger and better. I think everybody comes there with a great attitude.

Q. In your opinion, is this course really beginning to mature even more? It's already quite a test. Is it starting to mature to a test that really challenges all aspects of a golfer's game, especially when you factor in the weather problems?

NANCY LOPEZ: I definitely think that. When we first started here, a lot of the players didn't like the golf course. They thought it was too easy. It has matured tremendously. Now it's very tough. The greens are fast. Good greens. I think the players are happy with it because they feel like they have to go there and they have to play well. It's definitely developed a personality all its own. It's a golf course where you remember all the holes. I always thought a good golf course is one where you could do that.

Q. Se Ri, the same question for you. You played this golf course now five or six years. What do you think of this golf course? Is it getting better and tougher, more of a challenge?

SE RI PAK: It is getting better, much more tougher, much more like a challenging golf course. Especially the weather make it much more hard. I think this golf course is great. Everybody has to be in great shape to be playing that tournament. At the same time, has to be really smart. Have to use a lot of brain to make it easier next shot.

Q. You have to manage your game around that course, right?

SE RI PAK: Right, right, exactly.

Q. The last Annika question, then no more. Is it fun to have someone that good to compete with? Is it a good challenge for you to help make you better knowing that Annika is out there? Is it kind of exciting for you to have that?

SE RI PAK: Oh, yeah, is no question about it. Annika's up there. That's why definitely my game's just get, you know, has to be stronger. I mean, not only me, though. Like most of the players just looking forward to being the top. At the same time Annika doing so great, everyone's trying to follow her. So that's the way it is. Especially the golf is more like an individual game, so there has to be someone up there, not only golf, but most sports probably, someone up there we can looking for and trying to be on top with Annika. So that's going to be really exciting having someone up there.

Q. Will you give us a couple words for Korean fans in the United States.

SE RI PAK: (Response in Korean.)

JOHN MARSHALL: Any other questions for Nancy?

Q. You worked hand-in-hand now with Chick-fil-A as a sponsor and helping this tournament to grow, so forth. Talk about that experience, working hand-in-hand with a sponsor, being the conduit between the players, the sponsors, the tour, holding it all together, watching the tournament grow.

NANCY LOPEZ: You know, Torrey and her staff, they're the ones that put the tournament on. The week of the tournament, you know, from Sunday through the whole event, it's been a lot of fun for me. You know, being from Georgia, being able to be a part of the event, as I said before, I'm very proud to be a part of it, and Chick-fil-A, they've always done such a great job. I think it's been a lot of fun. I know the first year my name was on the event, the players wanted the practice putting green to get a little bit bigger. So I went to Torrey, and I said, "Torrey, I know I can't ask for this," but they were already planning to make the green bigger. When they made it bigger, everybody thought I was the one that had control of it. When they did it, it was neat to be able to say, "Oh, yeah, I did, I made them change the greens for you guys." But it's been a lot of fun. I've enjoyed my relationship with them. The tournament is great. The players do come and they ask me if we can do something different. I always talk to Torrey about stuff. They always just try to please the players.

JOHN MARSHALL: Anything else for Nancy? In that case, Nancy, back to your Pro-Am partners. Thanks for joining us.

NANCY LOPEZ: Thank you. See you later, Se Ri.

SE RI PAK: Thank you.

JOHN MARSHALL: Any more questions for Se Ri?

Q. I had the one about your mindset going to the playoff last year on Sunday. Do you feel like you had the upper hand because you had more experience at winning and competing at the top level than Shani Waugh?

SE RI PAK: You know, last year's playoff was exciting. I mean, for myself, too, because I was right up there. But Shani was right behind me, too. She got a great opportunity. Then I have such a great also position to make the playoffs. I had to kind of make myself be mentally stronger, hoping to make the putt, then make the playoff. In a playoff, who knows. Somebody has to win that. But, anyway, I think that I have a great experience before, all the other playoffs, play with all the top players, always final round. I think those help me a lot of to being stand up stronger, having such a hard competition, hard conditions. After I won the playoff, then, you know, you tell that is how much harder, at the same time you want it so much exciting and happy about it. Right now, every second I remember all the playoff. So I was pretty excited.

Q. Se Ri, obviously you made a tremendous impact since the very beginning of your LPGA career. You kind of have been growing up before our eyes, and continuing to prosper. What do you feel like you've got left in terms of growing?

SE RI PAK: I think -- well, pretty much a hard question (laughter). I think still not part of my game is ready yet. Like 1 to 10, my game's got to be around a 7, almost 8. My game has to be all together, like getting much more consistent last couple years. I think mentally at the same time I think that I have to get much better on the golf course. The way Annika does that, she's done really well, everything she's done herself. I think I need to learn more about that. At the same time, has to be -- I don't know, has to be, some reason, mental has to be tough, too. I'm pretty happy with my game. I want to slowly, slowly growing instead of just 1 to 10 just quicker. I just don't want that happen. So I want to be much more having good experience, good learning time, then have some more enjoy my game. That's about it, I guess.

Q. You mentioned it's kind of a slow process. Does that get frustrating for you? Are you getting anxious to see results quicker or is it something you've understood?

SE RI PAK: Well, pretty much understood. I mean, you know, earlier, the first year, 1998, my rookie season, when I had done so many things first season for rookie. After all, just like, you know, 50% was having great time, come right now the way I'm doing here, and 50% was I kind of little bit hard time to be, you know, being enjoy myself overall. I think through now, I think I'm pretty much expecting that right now. I mean, you can tell that Annika is always in front of me, I was behind for couple years. Everybody the same question. But I'm still happy about it. I really don't push myself at all. I know sooner or later I going to be having -- time going to be telling me when. So I just waiting for the right on time.

JOHN MARSHALL: Se Ri, thanks so much for joining us.

SE RI PAK: You're welcome. Thank you very much.

JOHN MARSHALL: We will see you here in about six weeks.

SE RI PAK: Thank you.

JOHN MARSHALL: We thank all of the participants.

End of FastScripts�.

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