June 20, 2001
LAURA NEAL: Karrie, do you want to just talk about how the course looks this year after playing today?
KARRIE WEBB: I think the course is in great shape. As good as I've ever seen it. The rough is up pretty high. I think after the rain on the weekend, the fairways are not really rolling a whole lot. I think they might have needed it for the greens, because they are still pretty firm, which is good, because I think in a major, hard greens is a good thing, because you really have to be landing the ball at a certain yardage and allow for release and stuff like that. So I think the course is in really good shape.
Q. I'll ask this first question. Lots of us are trying to figure out if there is, in fact, a rivalry between and you and Annika. In your opinion, is there a rivalry, and if so, how does it manifest itself?
KARRIE WEBB: Depends on what your definition of a rivalry is, I guess. To me, a rivalry is when two people slag each other off in the press and don't like each other very much and have no respect for one another. To me, that's not the case. You know, I have the utmost respect for Annika's game. I know how good a player she is and what she's capable of. You know, I think that as good as we've both played in the last couple years, you know, we are bound to come head-to-head every once in awhile, and probably more often than any two other players on the Tour. If that's your description of a rivalry, then I guess that's -- then it is. But my definition is it isn't. Just two competitive people trying to be the best they can be.
Q. Does your first half of the year or her first half the year modify your goals for what you want to do the rest of the year?
KARRIE WEBB: I don't think so. I've had a pretty good run the last couple years. You know, I've played reasonably well this year, and it all peaked at the right time for me a couple of weeks ago at the Open. If I was just going to pick one tournament to play well in and only one tournament, that would have been it. But I feel pretty good about the way things are going with my game. Obviously Annika has played well at the start of the year. I think that when any one player is playing well, you want to get your game into the right shape so that you can compete against them. As far as her play changing my goals, I don't believe that her play changes my goals, because my goals are set for myself personally.
Q. You've said a couple times that if you could only pick one tournament to win, it would be the U.S. Open. Understanding it is a big purse and a big tournament, why not this one? Why wouldn't you take this one over that one?
KARRIE WEBB: I just think the U.S. Open is the U.S. Open. You know, it's the biggest -- to me, it's the biggest tournament that we could ever play in in one year.
Q. The prestige?
KARRIE WEBB: Yeah, it's the most prestigious. But I'll take one winning here, too. This tournament, obviously, now, well it's always been important to me, but now being the one major event I haven't won for the career Grand Slam. That is in the back of my mind. Whether or not I achieve that this week or not, any time that you come here to the day I win this tournament, it will be in the back of my mind and it will be a focus of my mind at the start of the year. It was a focus of mine at the start of the year.
Q. Say that last part of the year?
KARRIE WEBB: Trying to win this tournament was a focus of mine at the start of the year. You have a choice. I don't think there will be too many other people that will want to win the U.S. Open.
Q. Is there anything you've done especially for this week?
KARRIE WEBB: Not really. I just think that I've worked on my game at the start of the year and got it to peak for the U.S. Open. I feel like it's still in pretty similar shape, as it was a couple weeks ago. I played pretty well last week. Just really didn't get any putts to drop, and that's really the only difference there was between those two weeks. I think these greens are a little bit more manageable than the greens we played last week. If I get a couple putts to go in early Thursday and Friday, I think, you know, hopefully things will start to get on a good roll for me and I will have a chance come Sunday.
Q. How does this course set up for you? Is there any particular advantage or disadvantage?
KARRIE WEBB: I don't think so. I think it's the type of course that it's deceivingly harder than what you think it is. It's the sort of course that you can play really well in the practice round and the Pro-Am and feel like you're going to tear it up and it just never is the case. What you play it in the tournament, for whatever reason, I have yet to find the answers for that. I think that like any course, if you're striking the ball well, giving yourself a lot of birdie opportunities, you're going to have a good chance on Sunday.
Q. You've had, I think three Top-10s here. Do you have good vibes or just average vibes about this place?
KARRIE WEBB: I generally always have pretty good vibes. Like I said I don't normally play too badly in the practice round, the Pro-Am. I think -- I talked a lot about patience in the majors, and this is one major that I think I've yet to keep my patience for four rounds. I think if I achieve that this year, I'll have a good shot.
Q. Why is that, do you think?
KARRIE WEBB: I don't know. I think because my mentality is that there's a lot more holes out there that are birdieable and I know last year on Sunday, I think I made -- I bogeyed the 9th and made the turn at 3-under and was really annoyed with myself that I bogeyed the 9th and I think the leaders were at 6- or 7-under at the time. I thought that that one hole might have cost me the tournament. I still had nine holes to go. From there, I lost my patience and shot 3-over on the back nine and finished even. That's a big lesson learned there. I think you continue learning lessons like that when you do stuff like that. But, you know I think that was my downfall, I felt the course was playing easier than what it played, and I felt that I had to get to 6- or 7-under to even have a shot. And as it turned out, 3-under won. You know, you just -- the lesson I learned there was that you just keep playing. It's not like I gave up, but don't set a score. And for the most part, like at the Open this year, I didn't set a score. I just kept playing. Fortunately, it was enough that I could walk down the last with a seven-shot lead. That's just the sort of mindset that I've had to go into this tournament with. I think, you know, that one year that Juli shot 16-under here is probably the reason why your mindset changes a little bit last year, because you think that sort of score is going to win again. But that is -- out of all the years I've played this tournament, that was just a freak of nature and Juli played extremely well that year. As far as this year, I don't see -- I don't think I see double digits winning the tournament. You know, just like I said, I'm not going to set a score. I'm just going to go out there and try and shoot as low as I can every day and keep my patience.
Q. Could you talk a little bit about playing with Annika and David and Tiger in that TV event?
KARRIE WEBB: I'm really looking forward it, obviously. I think it is a great opportunity for myself and for Annika, especially the four of us, it's a great opportunity. But this is the sort of event that you definitely don't want to pass up. You know, it might not be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, but you never know when you get the offer. I'm really excited about it. I think just to be able to play in that foursome is -- it's a big thing. I'm really excited about it. You know, I think it's going to be great for TV because it's not man against woman. It's just four of the best players in the world pairing up and playing together against one another. I think it's just something a little different from the normal golf tournament you watch on TV and I think that's going to intrigue people that are golf fans and people that are just, you know, that are Tiger Woods fans. There's a lot of people that aren't really golf fans that are Tiger Woods fans that will tune in, too. It will give Annika and myself a lot of exposure, as well as the LPGA.
Q. How did you get stuck with David?
KARRIE WEBB: I'm sure he wants to hear that. (Laughter.) Well, I think the way ABC wanted to promote it was the No. 1's take on the challengers. I think that is how it all worked out. But either one or the other. Like I said, I'm just happy to be in the foursome. And, you know, it's alternate-shot, so I don't think, really, anyone has an advantage.
Q. Are you and Annika teeing off the same tees?
KARRIE WEBB: I believe so. We'll just have our set of tees on the even holes or whatever holes we tee off and the guys will have theirs set on the odd holes.
Q. How do you feel about the fact that that's going to make you late or Sunningdale?
KARRIE WEBB: Obviously, it's not the best preparation for that. Like I said a little earlier, you never know if it is going to be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. You know, hopefully I'll have plenty of British Opens left in me. It's just something I couldn't turn down, because if I turned it down, someone else would have gotten the opportunity and I wanted to take advantage of the fact that I got the chance.
Q. And you've been to Sunningdale.
KARRIE WEBB: Yeah. Hopefully, it's playing the same way it is four or five years ago.
Q. Someone said to me earlier this afternoon that however the computer spits out the pairings, that you and Annika have never been paired together often on this tour. In fact, she couldn't remember when something like that had happened.
KARRIE WEBB: That we had been paired together?
Q. Yeah. I would assume you have but --
KARRIE WEBB: Well, we got paired together in the first two rounds in Hawaii this year.
Q. So it happens a few times this year?
KARRIE WEBB: Yeah, I would say that you do play with certain people more often than others, but I wouldn't -- you know, some pairings are done for TV and most times they won't put Annika and I together. So sometimes they are not computer-generated.
Q. When you had to hole out for the 2 at Dayton and you had suddenly taken the lead and Annika birdied right behind you, within minutes, does that have any different meaning to you than if it had been some other player had done that?
KARRIE WEBB: Not really. Because when you stand over a shot on the 18th fairway and say I've got to hole it to be in a playoff, a chance to be in a playoff and you hole it, I don't think it really matters who is the person who makes a birdie after that. The fact that you actually called the shot that you hit and you did it; is that's just a memory that will stick with me forever, I think. You know, you don't think that you are going to hole a shot from 140 yards out on the last hole, but it went in and all of the sudden I have a chance to win the tournament. But at that stage, I'm trying to birdie the last to finish third or fourth or something like that.
Q. Would it be kind of special to be just a one-on-one between you two going down the late holes playing together for the championship? Would that be a lot different than playing with somebody else? Would it be more special?
KARRIE WEBB: You know, I have a lot more respect for all the players out here than just saying that it would be more special to come down the stretch and win the championship with Annika chasing me or me trying to beat her. You know, it would be just because I know that I have to play my best golf to beat her. A win's a win. If I win, you know, whoever finished second, as long as I make that putt on the last to win the tournament, it's special no matter who finishes second, if I win the tournament. But like I said, obviously, Annika -- I don't expect Annika to make mistakes coming down the stretch. I would have to play good golf to win, if that were the case.
Q. I would be curious -- it's a long sorry, Karrie. If you could just reflect and think about seven majors ago, you were trying to win your first one and now you are on the cusp of having -- I guess they call it the Super Slam since you've already got a British.
KARRIE WEBB: But it's not counted as a major.
Q. But you would have them all no matter how you sliced them, in such a short period of time?
KARRIE WEBB: It is amazing to me that even at the Open, I didn't realize until someone said that I've won four out of the last seven majors. You know, I think that once I got over the hurdle and knew that I could do it, I've just been -- I mean I still put a lot of pressure on myself to play well at the majors, but I've been a lot more at ease with myself in the early round of a major just because I don't have to win it in the first two days. But I could lose it in the first two days. I don't know, I think I've just matured as a player, and the fact that I do have a chance at 26 to complete the career Grand Slam, not many women have done that. I believe just two. It's something that would be very special to me, to achieve that. Especially like you said, it was only seven majors ago I had not won one, so it would be quite special, and I'll have achieved that really quickly, as well.
Q. You win here and you win the British, then you'd be the first one to complete the new Slam?
KARRIE WEBB: That's right.
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