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July 24, 2003

Suzy Whaley


JOEL SCHUCHMANN: We would like to welcome Suzy Whaley to the media center. Suzy, great round today, 75, but just as importantly you had a great time doing it and won over a lot of fans. If we can start with an opening comment on a great day for golf.

SUZY WHALEY: It's so funny, my tee time was 1:48. We walked up, I started to could walk through to get to the first tee and we almost get there, and they say, no we are 2 groups behind. It was like being at my dress rehearsal at my wedding. I had to walk back up and walk back up again. I think that was a good thing I got the jitters out the first walk. I never in my life. It was the most unbelievable moment walking up on that tee and having that many people cheering for me and supporting me and so many young kids out there yelling my name, and wishing me well. It was just an incredible, incredible moment.

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: It's nice to hit that first one down the middle, too.

SUZY WHALEY: Yes, that was great. I was happy to get in the fairway. As soon as I walked off the tee, I thought the nerves were going to get there today. It was blowing way too hard in my face today so I thought I would lay a 3-wood upright, which I did. I hit a great shot, a fabulous chip to about four feet. I thought I had it totally under control until I put one foot to green and it sucked the wind out of me. I was extremely nervous to the first green and obviously made a bad putt and bad-putted and walked off with 6. I just knew it was nerves and wasn't my stroke. I just kept going. By the time I stepped to the second green I'm really had settled down and calmed down and felt like I could make that putt on 2.


Q. Suzy, you stayed clear mostly of naming a number that you had in mind, at the same time would someone say would you take a 75 yesterday, would you take it?

SUZY WHALEY: With the conditions today that I played in, absolutely, I felt like was playing the British Open to back nine. It was blowing so hard in my face. The ball was just absolutely stopping on every drive. I got literally no roll at all. This golf course played extremely long for me today, as I knew it would. But this was above and beyond. I am extremely proud of the way I played. I'm proud of the way I hung in there and I look forward to hopefully making it a little lower tomorrow, if the conditions are better. But I'm happy with the way that I played today.

Q. I counted 2 irons into the greens on the front 9, one on the back?

SUZY WHALEY: I hit iron into 11. I hit iron into 13. I hit iron into 15. And I had to lay up on 17. So I hit an iron into 17, that was it.

Q. A lot of fairway woods?

SUZY WHALEY: A lot of fairway woods. I couldn't reach 3 today. There was no way I could get to 3. I couldn't reach 3, I couldn't reach one because of the wind today. It was an impossibility for me to get to 12 today.

Q. How tough was the combination of the nerves plus the first three holes all into the wind?

SUZY WHALEY: It was brutal. But it's just what it is. And I worked so hard with Bill, my husband, and with Mr. Coop on those kind of situations. You know, without them and without Bucky, my caddy, all 3 of them as a team, you know, I could hear them in my head telling me it's all right. You don't have to kill it. You can get it up and down on these three holes, stay in your game, stay focused. And I did that. Obviously one was shaky but the other holes I did that. We worked very hard for that to occur. I'm just glad that I could do it.

Q. Were you calm after the 2nd hole on the rest of the way, Suzy?

SUZY WHALEY: I was fairly calm. I got a little worked up again when I stepped on the 12th tee box because it was blowing like mad because I knew I had 3 incredibly hard holes in front of me, with how hard it was blowing. I said to Bucky, I don't need to kill it off the tee, let's just hit it where we can and try to manage my game, so we will leave ourselves in a position that I will have the best shot getting it up and down, and thinking about that got rid of the nerves again, and got me back focused.

Q. Tell us about the putt on 18.

SUZY WHALEY: Wasn't that great? I wanted to make a birdie so much today. I really had some good opportunities and they didn't go in. I felt my putter -- my feel was good today, I got most of my putts beyond the hole. I knew 18 was my last shot, but that putt -- I played this golf course enough, that putt is brutal. It's downhill and as soon as it passes the cup, the hole just runs away from you, so I had a fleeting moment to feed it up there, and get it close and get your par and get out of here. You know what, I'm a little too competitive for that and I wanted to make a birdie out here. So I decided to go ahead and hit it on the line I wanted to. When I saw it fall in, I knew I had it.

Q. Left-to-right?

SUZY WHALEY: Left-to-right.

Q. 35 feet?


Q. Your putter let you down on the first hole?

SUZY WHALEY: It sure did. I don't think my putter did, I think my nerves let me down on the first hole.

Q. It sure saved you on a lot of other holes.

SUZY WHALEY: Yes, I did. I had a great putting round today. I'm sorry, I have no idea how many putts I had, I can't tell that you. The first hole as I said, it wasn't my stroke, it was adrenaline and nerves and I said that -- actually Bucky said that to me, coming to the hole he said, actually you made 2 decent strokes out of it, you were just playing for 10-footers instead of four feet. I didn't lose my confidence in my putter on the first hole. I have to tell you, I'm proud of that.

Q. Suzy, you've prepared for this day for a long time?

SUZY WHALEY: A long time.

Q. How do you prepare for your tee time tomorrow, which is pretty early?

SUZY WHALEY: I think that for me if I can learn anything from Annika, it would be that not to let it be a let-down; that I've made it through that first day. I'm not saying that's what she did, but to me, and from her words, she looked like, you know, like she got that round in, it's hard not to do that, it is hard not to say, okay, I've done it and to get back up for the next day, to do it just as well. She did such a fabulous job at that. If I can do it as well as she did it and stay as focused as she did even though we've already done a day, does that make any sense here, then that would be great, you know.

I want to come out tomorrow with as much focus as I had today.

Q. Is that possible?

SUZY WHALEY: I'm going to try do it, yes. I had a great time and I hope I can that much fun tomorrow. And hopefully the wind will be a little calmer in the morning.

Q. Suzy, I'm wondering if you feel more relieved that it's over or excited how it went?

SUZY WHALEY: I'm more excited of how it went.

Q. Suzy looking back at the last 11 champions from here, I looked the other day, the average for guys was 75.3.

SUZY WHALEY: Beautiful.

Q. There has been a lot with the spot you have, it's got to feel good though, doesn't it?

SUZY WHALEY: Yes, our section, the guys at work and the females in my section, we work extremely hard in promoting the game of golf. We love golf. We do it for -- we have chosen it as our living and any golf professional that's a club professional that comes out here and has the courage to tee it up against the best men in the world, any of the guys that have been here previous to me, regardless of what they shot have done a great job. We work for a living.

Q. Suzy was it everything that you anticipated it would be?

SUZY WHALEY: It was more. I had more fun than I thought I would. It was harder than I thought it would be, which is hard to believe. Because I certainly didn't come into this naively. I knew how hard it was going to be, it was harder because of the conditions, but the experience was absolutely more than I could have ever imagined with all of those people cheering for you. It's an unbelievable experience.

Q. Suzy, right from the start you interacted with the crowd. It seemed like you never had any intention to enter a zone or focus, but not shutting people off --


Q. -- did you interact with them more than you anticipated you would?

SUZY WHALEY: No, that's me. Don't misunderstand when it's my turn to hit I'm very focused about the task at hand. But when the shot's over, I'm actually -- I actually played better not thinking about the next shot then. I would rather talk to people and joke around, you know, say thank you, for whatever people that are yelling. That's just my personality, if I try to come out here and be serious for the entire 5 hours, it wouldn't go well.

Q. Suzy, how were your playing partners?

SUZY WHALEY: They were so nice to me. I can't give them enough credit. They were cheering for me. They were just wonderful gentlemen.

Q. Suzy, what's going through your mind coming off of 18 and you are at the top of the hill and your dad is standing there with a huge smile?

SUZY WHALEY: Yes, it was pretty special.

Q. Was your 8-year-old daughter, who was responsible for your decision to play this tournament, here today?

SUZY WHALEY: She wasn't actually. She will be here tomorrow. Both of my daughters will be here tomorrow. They didn't come today because my daughter had the opportunity at camp to go to Lake Compounce for the first time. So we talked about it and that's what an eight-year-old should be doing today and that's what she did, but she will be here tomorrow. She will watch me play in this tournament and I felt like -- I wanted her here at least one day and that would be enough.

Q. Suzy, if somebody told you before you teed it up that you were going to meet a former U.S. Open champ and former British Open champ today, how does that make you feel?

SUZY WHALEY: I did? I can only speak for my round, I can't speak for theirs. It was something I will always be proud of. I didn't let the first hole get to me. I stayed with my plan. Everything I wanted to have happen today as far as my course management I did and that's just a huge leap for me in competitive golf. Before, you know, I used to -- still, even last week I would go at shots that probably I shouldn't have, and today I didn't. You know, could it have been lower? Absolutely. Do I feel like there were some putts that didn't fall? I did not make 100% good shots; I made mistakes. But it's how you recover from them and how you react to them that counts and, you know, I hate to be so redundant but I'm really, really proud of the way I played.

Q. Does it rank as your greatest round?

SUZY WHALEY: It's right up there. Yes, I would say it's right up there.

Q. What did David Duval say to you? I know about an hour before the putting green he shook your hand.

SUZY WHALEY: He introduced himself, which I thought was kind of funny because obviously I knew who he was. But he wished me the best of luck. He told me to enjoy it and have a great day. I mean, I can't say it enough how many PGA TOUR players have taken a moment to walk up to me, shake my hand, wish me well, have fun. I mean I'm haven't had anything but a great experience with all of them that have come up to me.

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: One or two more.

Q. Was this a little bit like UConn women's basketball out there?

SUZY WHALEY: If I could only be like Diana, that would be great. You know, UConn women's basketball, obviously, this year they were just so fabulous and so great because nobody gave them the credit that they were going to do it and they came together as a team and did it. And I think my team being my husband and my family, and Dr. Coop and Bucky, and down and deep I think we all know I could do it. I'm not sure anybody else knew, but we knew. And we came together as a team and we did it today, and in that respect maybe it's similar.

Q. The response from the fans?

SUZY WHALEY: The response from the fans was overwhelming. They cheered for me on every single shot, whether I missed it or hit a great one, or as soon as I walked to every green they were cheering for me, they were cheering me on the tees. I wish I could explain to you. It keeps you going, it keeps you moving forward. I credit the fans with helping me get through that round because they kept a smile on my face all day. They were great.


Q. Was the putt on 18 a moment that will you remember, or are there any other moments that stand ahead of that?

SUZY WHALEY: No, I won't say anything stood ahead of it but getting up and down on 17 was pretty big.

Q. Suzy, how about the putt on No. 6, the 30-footer?

SUZY WHALEY: That was great, too. There were a couple of putts in there that were pretty good. But yes, there is a lot that when I go home tonight I will kind of relive and think about and enjoy.

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Suzy Whaley, thank you very much.

SUZY WHALEY: You're welcome.

End of FastScripts....

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