July 16, 2003
NEW ROCHELLE, NEW YORK
MODERATOR: Welcome everybody. Suzy, welcome to New York.
SUZY WHALEY: Thank you.
MODERATOR: You have an interesting week coming up. I know you have been preparing for it. Can you tell us what you have been doing, and then we'll take some questions.
SUZY WHALEY: When I decided to play in December, I went through an extensive workout schedule, upper body, lower body strengthening, core strengthening, obviously trying to gain some distance off the tee. So, I have done that. I've also played -- this is my fourth LPGA tour stop this year. I played in Virginia, in Youngstown and last week I played at the Features event. I have been playing as much as I can with my job requirements, as well as my family. So I try to get on the golf course as much as possible.
SUZY WHALEY: I had a great week last week. I shot my lowest competitive 9-hole score ever. My golf swing right now is the best it's been probably since last September. I'm hitting it farther. I'm very happy where my game is right now. For me this week, I have full intentions of being competitive.
Q. First of all, Suzy, good luck this week. Have you made any changes in the last six months to gain some distance?
SUZY WHALEY: I changed from the beginning of the year for us, which was May, in New England. I have a 7-wood and a new driver that I did not have in the bag last year. That's it.
Q. You don't want to look ahead, but is there anything in particular that you're trying to zero in on at this point?
SUZY WHALEY: Yes, I also changed balls. I left that out. For me, this week is all about remaining composed over each shot, staying in my routine. I will work extremely hard this week on my concentration over each shot. Not in between shots, obviously, but during my allotted time, making sure I have a target every time, making sure I'm visualizing ball flight every time. I would like to practice here, and if there is any breakdown or I see anything I can improve on, I will do it before next week.
Q. Suzy, obviously this is something you have been gearing for for a while. Is it hard to believe it's coming right around the corner? Is there a little bit of apprehension?
SUZY WHALEY: No, I'm ready to go. I was ready to go last week. For me now, it's all about staying patient, not getting ahead of myself and trying to play this event as its own separate event. It's hard -- I never forget about the GHL. For me, it's more about staying here being in New York this week, playing the best competitive golf I can. I have to keep the two separate. It's hard to do.
SUZY WHALEY: The most difficult holes for me as far as distance is concerned, not layout, will be 4, 7, 10 and 17. Depending on weather conditions and wind, they play dramatically different day to day. It's really going to depend on the condition of the golf course what hole plays the hardest for me.
SUZY WHALEY: I'll have to hit most likely -- it just depends on if the course dries out. I'll hit wood in for 4. I'll hit wood on 5, 240 par 3. I'll hit wood on 10 most likely. It's hard to say. We'll have to wait until next week to find out.
Q. What's been the best part of this whole process?
SUZY WHALEY: There's been more than one best part. I think for me getting into the best physical condition in my life has been a great benefit. Also, I have gotten in touch with people I haven't heard from since high school that I've lost touch with. That's pretty neat. The letters I've received from all over the world, letters that just humble you because they tell you that you've changed their lives in some way or another. I never thought I would do that for people. For me, it's extremely touching. These people have handwritten me three- or four-page letters. That's been a thrill. Me teaming up with the March of Dimes has been a wonderful thing. My sister had premature twins that are now thriving toddlers. So, for me to be able to give back to the March of Dimes is extremely special. There's been a ton of things that have been great about this whole experience for me.
Q. What's been the more difficult things maybe that you had to sacrifice?
SUZY WHALEY: Time with my family, time with my children. I spend as much as I possibly can with them. For that, I can never get enough of my children and family. That's been hard. Time management, making sure I can juggle everything and do the best I can as well on the golf course. I take next week and this week very seriously. I like to play competitive golf well. I hope to do that. I work as hard as I possibly can and give it as much time as I can to do the best I can.
Q. Regardless of how it turns out next week, when you look back on it, how much more will it mean to you that you actually qualified?
SUZY WHALEY: For me, I'm here this week on a sponsor's exemption. I think I played well enough the last couple of events to deserve that. I don't know if it would be any different for me having qualified. I know it was different for me in my decision-making process, because when I was deciding, I had to believe there was nothing left to prove. I already qualified. So, in that respect, if I can look at it that way, I think I'll play better golf.
Q. How closely did you watch Annika's performance, and what did you take out of that? Did you learn dos and don'ts?
SUZY WHALEY: I think watching her you always learn something. For me, I already committed to two outings, so unfortunately I only got to see 8 holes live on Thursday and 9 holes live on Friday. I watched it all taped in the evenings.
What I would take the most is how she handled herself. She looked calm. She didn't look rushed. She took her time over every shot, and I can't speak for Annika, but what I read was that her goal was to hit fairways and greens. It's not that easy to do that, and that's what she did. She hit middles of the greens. If I can try to not short-sight myself and leave myself in the middle of the greens, I certainly will play better golf there. I need to hit in the center of them.
So, I can learn a lot from what she did and especially her demeanor and her charisma, and she looked like she was enjoying herself, and I would hope to do the same.
Q. She seemed to be enjoying herself until the Back 9 of the second round. It really got to her. Are you concerned about that at all, or are you trying your hardest to avoid putting yourself -- that much emotion into it?
SUZY WHALEY: I don't think you can say she lost everything. She played tremendous golf under the pressure. She said she was playing for Annika, but I think the media and everybody else in the world felt like she was playing for all the women and women's golf. The job she did was tremendous. I think only she can talk about what her expectations were.
So, from my standpoint, to even come close to how she behaved and how she played would be huge. So for me, I'm just going to take it one shot at a time, one hole at a time, try to stay calm and try to keep all of you in perspective and have some fun, and if I start to get it going, great. I'm just going to do it one hole at a time.
SUZY WHALEY: I probably played seven times from the tip. I find on that golf course, when it's dry, certain places in the fairway, if I can hit it to the correct spot in the fairway, I can get 20 extra yards. Number 3, if I hit it right on that fairway, I'll probably have 180 into the green; and if I hit it left center, I'll probably have 130 into the green. It depends on if you catch some of the hills. There are holes -- I have a plan for every hole, and if I can execute the perfect plan, I'll have a lot shorter yardage than I will if I don't.
SUZY WHALEY: The fairways are fairly wide. You mean targets?
SUZY WHALEY: 30 yards. You know, for me, I'm not going to try to pinpoint my drive on every single hole. I never do that. That's why they make an if any 40 yards wide. You want to have a target in mind and visualize it all the time. The perfect scenario gets me a lot of shorter irons in than woods.
SUZY WHALEY: No, no, I feel like I'm playing to represent my Connecticut section. I hope to represent them the best I possibly can. If anybody that I'm playing for, I would hope to be playing for people who have never played golf before, to get people involved in golf. I hope I'm playing for young women everywhere to show them anything they didn't think was in their reach is. Anything is possible with a lot of hard work. That's my job. I'm a core professional, and my job is to grow the game of golf. If I can pass any of that on, then I've done a great thing.
MODERATOR: Thank you.
SUZY WHALEY: Thank you.
End of FastScripts....