June 22, 2001
HELEN ALFREDSSON: Yeah, this is shocking to me, too, actually. (Laughs).
Q. Does this mean you are feeling good; you're healthy?
HELEN ALFREDSSON: I don't know what it is. It's like you wonder, why did it take so long to feel -- you know it's not just the golf. It's everything around it. I feel pretty at peace, actually.
Q. Why? Should we be surprised to see you in an interview room?
HELEN ALFREDSSON: I don't know, it's been a long time ago and I haven't posted anything for years. This is as good a time as any, I agree with you.
Q. Is it mechanical, physical?
HELEN ALFREDSSON: I think it's been a little bit of everything. I think the recovery after my surgery in '96, and going through a separation after that and having a little bit of family things. It's a lot of things. I always said that if it would have happened when you were 25 -- oh, nothing really bothers you, you get on with your life. But this, you just don't throw it under the carpet. At least I don't. And I didn't think it was something that needed to be done, but it still bothers you mentally.
Q. You haven't had great success here. What is different about this week? This is obviously the best two rounds?
HELEN ALFREDSSON: I stayed with the housing, the Dukarts and they are wonderful. And this is the only year grandma didn't show up. I said, "Oh, it's Grandma. Grandma has been holding me back." (Laughter.) No, she went to a wedding, so maybe she was tired of my game, too, actually. It was funny, I finished third here, I think '94, '95, and I always love this place. After that, I was never able to play well. It was one of my greatest moments that week, here. Ever since then, I have never played well here. Because everything should be great. I love the golf course. I have a great place to stay. I don't know. I have no excuses. Except my game was not good enough for this golf course. You can get in trouble here pretty easy.
Q. Do you take great pride in the Swedish contingents success?
HELEN ALFREDSSON: As a pioneer? They are all coming by me now, these young ones. No, it's fun. I was watching the paper the other day, and there's nine -- I think all nine has done pretty good here. I do take a lot of pride in that because we are such a small country and somewhere, we have done something quite well. So, yeah, it's fun to see -- it's not fun to be beat by them, these young ones, but you've just got to take it. You could be a mother out here to some of these kids.
Q. Do you remember Annika as a junior golfer?
HELEN ALFREDSSON: You know what, I don't remember Annika at all, actually. I think when she came up, kind of, I went to the States and when she went to college, I turned pro. So, we sort of always missed each other and we never had the same coach or anything. I don't know, I guess in college I sort of started hearing about her but I never really knew anything about her, to be honest with you.
Q. With the development of the Swedish golfers, the Australians, some of the other foreigners, what do you think is happening to the American golfers in terms of really being competitive?
HELEN ALFREDSSON: I don't know. I don't know, I think maybe it could be a lot of it -- you know, when you're coming here, you know you have to have a top game to be able to play well. And I think maybe all the ones are coming up are being very prepared and the systems. Like in Sweden, you have great group from the country clubs or for the golf clubs to everything else. Maybe sometimes that's a little bit harder here. Maybe you have to find your own teachers. Our Federation do a lot of that. Even in 1980, we were having diaries sent into the Federation every month about physical and how we're eating and cardiovascular training and all of that. I don't think America really has that the same way. And that builds something from a very early age. It has -- if you're good, then you are with the best in your age. I think here, Americans -- you have college, which is great, but then you're kind of on your own after that.
Q. Who runs the Federation?
HELEN ALFREDSSON: I think it's -- I don't know. Private sponsors -- like national teams in Europe for us is very big, like soccer teams. National teams is not very big in the States. Olympics is really the only one. We have this consistent. It's much easier, obviously. We are only 8.5 or 9 million people. I don't know why. All Europe is the same basically. That's how we grew up, playing the Europeans against each other. All the countries got together in the summers, the Juniors.
Q. From what you've heard, is there another wave of the Swedish contingent?
HELEN ALFREDSSON: No. Actually, that's something that I have heard that it's not coming up very well. It was only -- they only registered one new player last year. So, I don't know what happens. I guess when we get a little too old to be out here, we have could come back and try to help the other young ones out.
Q. Pia has done an incredible job.
HELEN ALFREDSSON: I know it's very easy to come in and get -- Charlotte Montgomery's mother was the real pioneer. She was the one that said to make sure that we were all fit, physically fit. She brought in all the mental trainers. She brought in -- have all this testing done. When we won in Wentworth in 1981, we were running. They thought we were crazy, in England, at Wentworth, at one of the prestige us clubs. She was one of the ones, Charlotte and myself, and we did very well as amateurs, and she was really the pioneer, I think and Pia was under her as a player and Pia kind of took it and moved it, you know, along in the same way. You know I'm very partial to Barbara Montgomery because we grew up with her and she was incredible and somewhere I think Pia, because of golf the way it has been right now, she has gotten all the attention. For me I'm very close to Barbara and I think she should have some credit, too. Now she's playing senior golf in Europe. She's 70 years old. She was in Evian last week. She's an amazing -- one of my absolute favorite women, people in the world. Incredible class. It was awesome with us.
Q. I want to go back to Sweden again. Was it the same federation that promoted tennis?
HELEN ALFREDSSON: Yeah, it's federations. They are all -- when you have junior tournaments and when you become good, you get picked to represent the national -- the national team. Then there are groups and they do a lot of things together, organize all the fitness programs and follow up with everything. That was very good for most of us that came to the States, they always kept in touch with us. They made sure that we kept following what we had started at home, which was very nice.
HELEN ALFREDSSON: I don't think gymnast -- I was the biggest tomboy there was, so I don't think gymnast was anything in my future.
HELEN ALFREDSSON: Swimming? God, that's too much work, man. (Laughter.)
Q. When you look at then leaderboard and see Karrie playing this well --
HELEN ALFREDSSON: Surprise, isn't it. (Smiles).
Q. How difficult does that make it, to see her name up there, looking ahead to the weekend --
HELEN ALFREDSSON: I think it's one of those things. This is similar it happens with both Annika and Karrie. It's sort of a Jack Nicklaus syndrome. They are up there and everybody starts thinking about second place, which is because they are so consistent. Both of them make so few mistakes. I think the best thing is just try to learn to just play your own game and not think of -- you know they are going to play well. There's not enough energy out there to worry about that because you know they are always going to be in contention every week. I think you just have to try to play your best and try to worry less about them. But I think we are in the same -- how Jack was, he knew when he put his name up there, everybody would just --
Q. But how do all the other good players keep from thinking not playing for second place?
HELEN ALFREDSSON: I don't know, you know I think it's just one of those mental things. I think everything is written about them, and they are just awesome. You know, what can you do? You cannot affect anything that they play. We have to take care of them. Just try to beat them in golf. They are very hard to beat right now because they are playing very well, which I think is awesome.
Q. Are you playing well enough to win?
HELEN ALFREDSSON: You know, I haven't been in this, and I think the problem is when you are in this situation and you have won tournaments before and you know how much you love to win, sometimes you only think the worst -- you are your own worst enemy because you want it so much and you get ahead of yourself and you remember how good it felt to win. And instead of just -- my strategy, I just would like to enjoy playing again of the last year was a horrible year, and I think it's just -- tried to enjoy each shot. It's a long day out there. You're forgetting, it's four and a half hours. You're happy when you start playing well, but you have to do that in four and a half to five hours. I think try to enjoy each shot. Sometimes we forget the most basic and simplest things we learned as kids when we don't know any better. That's the way you should actually finish, but sometimes we are grinding and all sweaty.
Q. If you are not enjoying yourself, you have certainly been concealing it well.
HELEN ALFREDSSON: No, last year I certainly didn't enjoy myself. I'm not somebody to just walk around -- yeah, if I'm miserable people know I'm miserable and I let them know I'm miserable so they don't get close to me. It's hard. You're trying, but it's hard when you are trying to have fun. It should not work that way. You should try to enjoy and tell yourself every shot, oh, this is fun, when the ball goes sideways. In the end, it is very draining. It is very hard to go out every day and play bad golf and enjoy it.
HELEN ALFREDSSON: Sometimes you are used to standing in a certain way and figure you are not square and all of the sudden walk differently. It's getting less and less things which is nice.
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