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June 3, 2001

Karrie Webb


RHONDA GLENN: Ladies and gentlemen, our 2001 United States Women's Open Champion, Karrie Webb. Karrie, just tell us what it means to you having won your second straight Championship. I remember Media Day you said I just had to send the cup back and it kind of broke your heart when you had to do that. What does this mean?

KARRIE WEBB: It means just a tremendous amount. Not only -- I feel fortunate enough to have won one, but to win two, back-to-back is -- you just really can't put it into words. It's just a dream come true. This year I've really been working towards trying to play well in the Majors. And it's always easy to say that your game is going to peak when you want it to. But it really did peak when I wanted it to this week. And the first three rounds I played really well today. I was a little scratchy. But in the U.S. Open that's going to happen probably 1 out of 4 rounds. And I just really didn't miss greens in bad places and was able to get it up-and-down. And actually was on a lot of fringes and was putting a lot, too. But to walk up 18 two years in a row with a comfortable enough lead to really enjoy the atmosphere of the 18th green is just a great feeling. And there's just times when I retire from golf that I'll sit back and remember these times. It's just so rewarding. As a little girl I never expected to be sitting here once, let alone twice. So it's just a great feeling.

Q. Only one question.

KARRIE WEBB: Let me get a pen (laughter.)

Q. When you lost that stroke early in the round and suddenly your lead was three, did you have a little talk with yourself and say, this is not going to happen again, and then got busy and buried everybody?

KARRIE WEBB: Well, I really made a good putt on 2 for a bogey. It was a bit of a scrappy hole, and not particularly the way I wanted to get started. But rolling that putt in eased a couple of the nerves. But still -- I was still very nervous the first few holes, because when you have such a lead it's one tournament to win or lose, the way most people look at it. I wanted to try to keep as much of a buffer as I could the whole day. And I knew what type of competitor Se Ri is. And I knew that she could rattle off a couple of birdies in no time, and I'll only have a one or two shot lead. I had to remember like I did last year, that even if that were the case, I'd still be leading, and I had to keep thinking about the same things that I thought about all week and try to hit as many fairways and greens as I could.

Q. Did it bother you at all that early in the week it seemed like all the attention was on Annika and the maternity ward and Morgan Pressel? You were almost kind of an afterthought. You're the defending champion, but you're kind of an afterthought. Or did that help because we weren't bothering you?

KARRIE WEBB: Well, I don't know. I really -- as most of you guys know, I don't really get involved in all the attention. And especially this week, you try to not get involved in all the hype of the tournament, because you really can be overwhelmed by it. Coming in here and really just doing my weekly press conference that I do week to week and all the tournaments I play, most people weren't treating this tournament as big as it was for me. There was other stories to talk about, other players to talk about, and that's fine with me. You guys can keep doing that and I can be the second thought and hopefully sneak up and win a few more tournaments.

Q. Karrie, now that you can look at the tournament as a whole picture, can you talk about how much it meant Friday to be able to get that round in and then -- and to be able to put up such a good number that day and then to hang on like you did on Saturday?

KARRIE WEBB: Friday really set me up for the whole tournament. Shooting 5-under and having the weather that we did, everyone, for the most part, was trying to play catchup golf. And that's to my advantage, because this course is a hard course to play that sort of golf on. And the last two days was pretty breezy. Today was very breezy today, actually, at times. And I knew that if I shot even par today, that someone would have to shoot an unbelievable score. If they did that in those conditions, then they deserved to win it as much as I did. I just think, like you said, that Friday really did set me up. And I just had to continue to play some good golf after that. But being on the wave, you talk about -- it all evens out in the end. But this week I got the lucky break of having the right tee times.

Q. I was going to ask about the 7th hole when you made the birdie and Se Ri bogeyed. You gave a couple of fist pumps, which for you might be an explosion of motion. It had to be the pivotal hole.

KARRIE WEBB: Yeah, it was. Because I really hit a good tee shot there and a good 6-iron into that hole. And hit a really good putt, as well. And then Se Ri had just as long a putt for par. And either way if she made it, I still would have had a fair shot ahead. It felt good to hit three really good shots in a row. And as it turned out, I ended up having a 6-shot lead there. Not that any sort of lead is comfortable, by any means, but that really, I think, was the first time that I settled down into the round.

Q. How helpful was it to be playing with Se Ri and knowing what she was doing the whole time and what your lead was?

KARRIE WEBB: Well, I think that not only her, but there was other competitors out there, other players out there that definitely could put the numbers on the board. But I knew that Se Ri was definitely one of the players that was if they were going to go out there and shoot a low number. I didn't by any means think that I had the tournament wrapped up. But playing with her, at least I could gauge how she was playing. Sometimes when you're watching the leaderboard, you don't know if someone is playing well, and the putts aren't dropping and they're about to or if they're scraping it around and making pars. So it's always good to play with the person that you're gauging how you stand in the tournament.

Q. Karrie, Annika has gotten a lot of attention this year, and rightfully so. You said early this week there's a lot of golf to be played this year. How does winning this tournament set you up for the rest of the year? Can it be something that you can start a roll from this?

KARRIE WEBB: Well, hopefully. But if it's the only tournament I win all year, it's the U.S. Open, and no one can take that away from me. And if someone tells me I'm only going to win one tournament a year, and it's going to be a major every year, I'll be quite happy with that. Like I did say, it's a long year, and there's still a lot of golf to be played. And hopefully some of the good golf is going to be played by me. But I'm just going to keep working hard and hopefully have a couple more chances to win.

Q. Could you compare last year's Championship with this one?

KARRIE WEBB: Not really. I think that obviously today, for the most part, I did have an easier time. I never had any less than a 3 shot lead today, so it was probably -- and plus having that experience from last year probably did help, a lot more than I thought it would. But both wins are very special to me, and I don't think that I could compare them, just because they're both different. I felt more confident this week going into this tournament, felt like I had more chance of winning than I did last year, put it up-and-down out the same way. Like I said at the start of the week, I felt fortunate to have won one. And now to win two, it's unbelievably fortunate, as far as I'm concerned. I'm well, well ahead of the game. I'm just looking forward to defending next year.

Q. Would you talk about the feeling of the birdies at the last two holes to kind of cap things off. And also, what were the length of the putts on those two holes?

KARRIE WEBB: 17 was nearly a putt with a sand wedge. But luckily they put a hole in the ground so it could go in. 17 I guess was probably about 40 feet, 45 feet. And it had about 6 inches of break, but I think I took it all out of it with the speed I hit it. And then on 18 -- just one of those putts that Se Ri didn't want to finish out, because she had a big putt to make to finish second, so I went ahead. And just one of those putts that you're going to try to make. But if you miss it and you have a tap in, you're going to mark it and wait for her to hole out. But it's a great way to cap off the week by holing that putt on the last hole with all the fans around.

RHONDA GLENN: How long was it?

KARRIE WEBB: It was about 20 feet, I guess.

Q. There's been a sense that you've kind of been taking some time off, getting away from it all, almost in a hiatus, as Annika has done so well this year. You've won four of the last 7 majors, two U.S. Opens by, what, 13 strokes, the 10 shot at Nabisco. Have you been anywhere? Can you talk about these last two years and have you really come down from that two-year high you talked about or have you not come down at all and Annika has just brought her game up? How would you assess that?

KARRIE WEBB: I definitely think Annika has brought her game up. She's playing incredibly good golf. As she said to you guys a lot that she wanted to get back to No. 1, and she worked really hard to do it. And I don't think that I've come down from it. I think that a lot of it caught up to me. And I just really needed to have that five weeks off that I had, just to take a breather, just to -- sometimes you just think that it's just a continuation. I was definitely not ready to start the year off this year. I couldn't believe we were already in 2001. And I just felt like I had, at the end of last year, a few things crept into my game that I needed to work on. And for me to become a better player, I needed to do that. I really feel like I haven't played that badly this year, but I just haven't done the right things. And then you have someone like Annika that is playing extremely well, it looks like I've dropped off a bit, when I think she stepped up a lot. I think I may have dropped off a bit in my standards, but I don't think the standards I set the last two years are some that you're going to expect to maintain for your whole career.

Q. Karrie, every time you do one of these things, you move into more elite company. The next plateau sitting out in front of you is Career Slam. Can you talk a little bit about Career Slam and your preparations for that in three weeks?

KARRIE WEBB: Well, as I said the last couple of years DuPont Country Club isn't exactly my favorite golf course. But I think it's grown on me year after year. And I'm really looking forward to playing. My parents are going to be over that week. And I've gotten my game to where I want it. I've played extremely well this week. I've got next week off and I'll play over in Evian, France the following week. And hopefully have my game is maintained in as good a shape as this week for the next couple of tournaments, especially McDonald's.

Q. Karrie, a couple of weeks ago in Dayton the headlines read Slumping Webb, Webb Spinning From Last Year's Success. Were you as concerned as the critics? Were you worried about where your game was?

KARRIE WEBB: Not really. I knew how close my game was to coming around. And I've said a few times that a lot more people are more worried about the state of my game than I was. I just can't keep that pace for my whole career, it's just not possible. But I knew I was working on certain things, and I knew I was trying to become a better player, and I knew how close I was to having everything in the right shape at the right time. And it just really paid off, the hard work really paid off. And it's just great timing to have it peak at this week.

Q. Karrie, you talked about peaking this week. Can you tell us how close to getting everything done you wanted this week were you and how impressive was it, considering no one else even broke par for the week?

KARRIE WEBB: Well, just -- the first three rounds, especially, I really felt like I hit the ball well. I hit it where I wanted to. I had very good distance control, because I don't think there's one hole out there that I hit it into a spot that I told my caddy, Mark, we do not want to hit it here. And I didn't hit it in one of those spots all week. So that comes from good ball-striking, also good course management that Mark and I -- we didn't get overly greedy on pins that were tucked back in dangerous positions. And we really talked about it and we had our maximum distance on greens that we wanted to be, no matter where the pin was. We just followed through with our gameplan. And sometimes it's easier said than done. But if you're hitting the ball good, it's easier to put it in that spot than it is if you're not hitting it that well.

Q. Are you at the point in your career where you can pick and choose where you want to be good?

KARRIE WEBB: I wish I had that much control, Jerry. But no. Obviously I want -- my dream year would be for my game to peak four times a year, in the four majors. But that would be everyone's dream. And that's not always possible. But I feel very fortunate, my game has been, in the last few years, around the Majors, it has been where I wanted it to be. And I've done right things at the right time. But, yeah, I don't think anyone has that much control that they -- they peak every single time when they want to.

Q. Karrie, combined with being tired this spring a little bit and tweaking your swing, was this the week you were expecting to break out of whatever you were or were not in?

KARRIE WEBB: I don't know about expecting to break out. But this is the tournament that I wanted to play well in. And I did a lot of things. I turned down an offer to go to Korea a couple of weeks ago. The offer came to me early in the year, and the reason why I didn't go is because it was too close to the Open. And I wanted to be as well prepared for the Open as I could. And fortunately that was the right decision. And you don't know at the time if it's going to be the right decision or not. But to me at this stage in my career, the Majors are the biggest events of my year, and if I don't give myself every possible chance to play well at them, then I really would be letting myself down by not giving myself that opportunity.

RHONDA GLENN: Were there any other things that you gave up or specifically did just for this Championship?

KARRIE WEBB: I didn't go fishing as much last week. It was really nice in Florida and every morning I woke up and it looked great to go fishing, and I just didn't, I went and practiced.

Q. Karrie, you've admitted to being superstitious and looking for signs. Did you see anything this week, anything happen this week?

KARRIE WEBB: I don't think so. No, no, not really.

Q. There have been two U.S. Opens played on this course. You have won one, Annika has won the other. What does that say about Pine Needles and the quality of the course?

KARRIE WEBB: Well, I think the course and the U.S. Open, you have to look at all the names on this trophy, most of them are legends in their own right. And the cream always comes to the top in this tournament. On a course like this, especially. So I think that it takes a lot of good course management, a lot of good ball-striking and a lot of patience to play well. And I guess they're the rules for any U.S. Open, but I think particularly for this one, as well.

Q. Karrie, what is your opinion on why the international players have risen to the top here in the LPGA, and what do the American players need to do to try to bring their game up?

KARRIE WEBB: I don't really concern myself about that. And I don't really think a lot of the Americans do either. I think that our Tour, as a whole, I don't know, I just don't get caught up in the American/foreign player thing. I think that there's so many good American players. It's just not a matter of saying, okay, an American is going to win this week or a foreigner is going to win. So much goes into winning a tournament. And Dottie Pepper had a good week this week. There's a lot of Americans up on the leaderboard that played well this week. I think -- I don't know, I really don't think that it should be made that big of a deal. When you look at the end of the year, I think it all evens out in the end. But I don't know what percentage of foreign versus U.S. Players it is on the LPGA. But when you look at as many foreign players that play over here, you are going to see foreign winners. And I think in years past it wasn't so, because I think that players felt like -- foreign players felt the U.S. is held up here (indicating) in the sporting world. In any sport, it doesn't matter what it is, except for probably cricket or soccer. Americans are held in the highest level, because we just know how good you are. And I think that, as a foreigner growing up and thinking about coming to the States, you didn't see a lot of foreigners winning on U.S. soil, so it's a daunting challenge. But now with foreigners winning on U.S. soil there's other foreigners that think, well, if she can do it, maybe I can. And that's probably why there's a lot more foreigners over here playing and probably feeling a little bit more confident about themselves, just because other foreigners are over here doing it as well.

Q. Karrie, with $520,000 first place, the game's on now with the money title, but would you rather win the Player-of-the-Year?

KARRIE WEBB: Yeah, I think so.

Q. Does the game on -- (inaudible)?

KARRIE WEBB: I don't even know what the point situation is. But like I said, it's a long year, there's still plenty of tournaments left. Any year that I have an opportunity to win a Player-of-the-Year or something like that I'm going to concentrate on it. But you can only take one tournament at a time, it's hard to set your sights on winning that when you can't control what anyone else is doing.

Q. Karrie, how much does the history of women's golf, women's golf, specifically, how much does that mean to you? And at age 26 are you able to put yourself into that history and see that from a perspective of what you've done already?

KARRIE WEBB: It really is hard for me to put myself into that history, because I think when you're doing it, you're just living in the moment and you're not really realizing what you're actually achieving. And I don't think I willfully realize what I've done until I retire and sit back and look at all the things I've achieved. But as far as the history of women's golf goes, there is just so much. And I continue to learn more and more every year, just being out on the LPGA and being involved with some of the founders and just listening to all the stories. I could spend the rest of my life learning about all that stuff, and then sit back at the end of it and realize that I'm a part of it. So it's just a great feeling.

RHONDA GLENN: I'm sorry, we have to cut it off now.

End of FastScripts....

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