July 2, 1998
RHONDA GLENN: Kim Williams two years ago almost to the date was the first-round leader at Southern Pines in the 1996 Women's Open which you shot a 69. We had her in the media room.
KIM WILLIAMS: Let's hope I follow it up better this year.
RHONDA GLENN: That is right because I am sure you will. If you look in your Players Guide you can see what she shot. Actually, the record keeper that we hire as a consultant, Kim's records in the Women's Open are not correct. In this Players Guide, he has got her playing in two Women's Open previously.
KIM WILLIAMS: He left a one off in front of that.
RHONDA GLENN: Yeah, I think you have played about nine, actually, or is it more?
KIM WILLIAMS: I think I am around 12, I think.
RHONDA GLENN: I think what he did is look at Kimberly Williams and looked at Kim Williams and somehow was not able to put that together for you. All I am saying this is not Kim Williams' third Women's Open. Also, four year ago to the day I understand was when you got shot?
KIM WILLIAMS: Yes.
RHONDA GLENN: This is a big anniversary in a lot of ways. Tell us your impressions of your game today and how you felt about your round.
KIM WILLIAMS: It just was very steady which was surprising. I haven't played in a while because I have been hurt. Hit a lot of fairways. I believe I missed one fairway. And I hit 15 greens and I missed one green, like, I was an inch off the green. Had 32 putts. I was just lucky able to keep it in play.
RHONDA GLENN: What injuries have you been suffering from your back?
KIM WILLIAMS: I hurt my back the second tournament in the year and maybe late January, February, then I hurt it again about three or four weeks ago and haven't played since. It was just a week ago today that I had got up and maybe let like 20 half-shots and then each day I played a little bit more. Played like four holes last Friday and maybe like five the next day.
RHONDA GLENN: We will go over your birdies and your one bogey, then I know you all want to get to the questions quickly. 1st hole you birdied.
KIM WILLIAMS: Yeah, I hit 3-wood. Pitching wedge up maybe like 15 feet, 10, 15 feet.
RHONDA GLENN: 4th hole you birdied.
KIM WILLIAMS: I am really bad at this. The short -- isn't that the -- I did not hit a very good drive. That is my fairway I missed right there, missed by a couple inches; had a hit 6-iron in there and hit it pretty close, maybe, I don't know, six to ten feet. Probably about six feet, knocked it in.
RHONDA GLENN: Par 3, 6th hole you made a deuce.
KIM WILLIAMS: Yeah, I knocked it close on 5 and missed it. And, then on the par 3, I hit it fairly close again. Maybe like 10 feet.
RHONDA GLENN: What club? About 159 yards.
KIM WILLIAMS: I think I hit 6-iron into there. I believe I hit -- I hit 7-iron in there. 145 today, I hit 7-iron.
RHONDA GLENN: How long was your putt?
KIM WILLIAMS: 10, 15 feet, maybe, something like that.
RHONDA GLENN: 9 you bogeyed, drove it in the fairway, hit the green, 3-putted.
KIM WILLIAMS: I hit a good shot, pin-high, maybe 20, 25 feet to the right, had a good first putt. It was kind of a sweeping putt; then I had a little two and a half, 3-foot putt coming back and it was one of those you either dime it in the hole or you play it straight and I knocked it on -- I played it straight and played it on my dime line and knocked it right through the break. It happens.
RHONDA GLENN: Birdied the 14th. Is that the hole coming back to the clubhouse after the par?
KIM WILLIAMS: Yeah, I hit 3-wood and then I hit a wedge up there, maybe like four feet, just right of the hole where you just get it started and it goes right down the hole.
RHONDA GLENN: Questions.
Q. Did you wear your back brace all day?
KIM WILLIAMS: No, I started wearing it on -- I asked the USGA lady if I could wear it. I knew I could, but I wanted to double check on maybe like 12 or 13, right around in there. My back was getting so tired. I wore it all during the practice rounds like in between shots on the back 9. My back gets so tired and you don't feel like you can keep your back -- feel like you are going to hurt your back because you can't, you know, stand up straight. It just really helps it.
Q. For support?
KIM WILLIAMS: Yeah, you get tired. It is a long day out there and my back is still real tired.
Q. A couple of questions for you. You had had one of the later tee times this afternoon, so did you have an opportunity to see some of the early scores come in late this morning and early this afternoon? Second question, can you give us some explanation as to how you were able to successfully play this round today when Nancy Lopez and Alison Nicholas struggled today?
KIM WILLIAMS: First question, I didn't pay attention to the scores. I saw a good friend of mine in the first group; ate lunch with her today, Leslie Spalding, I looked at the leaderboards, you know it is the Open. You just kind of go out and hope to shoot even par. As far as Nancy Lopez and Alison Nicholas, I think there is a tremendous amount of pressure on Lopez, not only because she hasn't won the Open and she, you know, within herself there is so much pressure, but like I said to my caddie, every ad on TV during the Open was all about Lopez and I said to my caddie while we were playing, I was like what a tremendous amount of pressure, I mean, every single ad was Nancy Lopez, Nancy Lopez. Alison has been sick as well this year and you -- I am sure she is tired and the pressure of defending, who is -- they could both go out and shoot 6-under tomorrow, so who knows. They are not out of it, by any means, I wouldn't think.
Q. Can you talk about how you hurt your back early this year; how you hurt it four weeks ago and how concerned you were over the weekend about maybe not playing here?
KIM WILLIAMS: I have always kind of had a bad back and just the second tournament this past year I played, you know, okay the first couple days. I just got up one day, I mean, I couldn't move. I missed a couple of weeks. Then it hurt me for months. It really hadn't felt that great all year. Then in Michigan I was working on my swing and hit too many balls and had gotten kind of lazy about doing my exercises and hurt it again and went home and I really was doubtful that I would play here. I have improved tremendously in the last week. For two weeks I had basically very little improvement. I was at home and just laying on the floor. Going to the doctor and doing rehab, but I was very concerned about not being able to play.
RHONDA GLENN: Is this a disc problem or what is the diagnosis?
KIM WILLIAMS: It is, yeah.
RHONDA GLENN: Herniated disk?
KIM WILLIAMS: I don't know. I haven't had an MRI but probably a bulging disc, something like that.
Q. One point on the 12th I think you actually laid down?
KIM WILLIAMS: I was laying down all day because it hurts your back to stand up. We have all seen Larry Bird when his back bothered him, he'd laid down. When you lay on it like that, it takes the pressure off you. I felt like a goof ball. You have got to do what you have got do. It just makes it feel so much better.
Q. On 18, it seemed -- did you miss it, your second shot at all?
KIM WILLIAMS: No, the ball was way above my feet. I was in that little funky collection area on the right-hand side of the fairway and I knew it was going to come out left. I aimed it way right of the TV tower; it just delofted the club so much and I actually put a good swing on it. It was one of those weird shots where the ball is way above your feet and you are not sure what it is going to do.
Q. On 18, could you talk about -- how long was that putt because that was an incredible 2-putt to get --
KIM WILLIAMS: Luckily it was a pretty straight putt and it was downhill a lot, so that helped. It was long, I don't know, maybe probably 60, 70 feet, maybe. I wasn't on 9, but I was pretty close. Ain't that funny, I hit that it far away on 18 and I 2-putted and I hit it close on 9 and I 3-putted.
Q. Given your injury, what were your expectations for this tournament?
KIM WILLIAMS: Not much. Still, who knows how my back will feel tomorrow. I am happy to just -- that I was able to play. That was a big concern that I wasn't going to be able to play. My friend hurt her back this week. It was her first U.S. Open, she didn't get to play.
Q. Who was that?
KIM WILLIAMS: Patti Sherman.
Q. You played awfully well in this tournament last year at Pumpkin Ridge, in the hunt on Sunday. What did you take away from that experience and learn about playing an Open on Sunday like that?
KIM WILLIAMS: That really was an incredible experience. I played in the second to last group in front of Lopez and there were some people in the lunchroom today that were like, oh, gosh, we are playing near Lopez; it is going to be mayhem, and they were all concerned about it. I just thought to myself: You haven't seen anything. You should have seen last year when I had to play in front of her on Sunday. That was a great experience. It was not just -- it was a wonderful learning experience as far as pressure and everything, but it was such a great experience to see such an out-pouring of support for her. People were just -- it was amazing. The support, it was a collective 35,000 people praying for her to make that putt on 18. But I did learn a lot from that. That was very stressful and you just have to learn to be patient and, you know, try and stay calm the best you can.
Q. What is it about you and Opens? You have never won an LPGA tournament, but seems like every year you are involved with the lead at some point in the Open?
KIM WILLIAMS: You know, I asked my pro about that and some of my friends last week, as a matter of fact. Hopefully I will continue that this week, but this one friend of mine, he said: I think that you think you have a chance to win the Open because it is not a birdie barrage. I am a good even par. Even par, to me, is a good score. You see these tournaments where people shoot like not necessarily on our Tour, but on other Tours where they are shooting like 30-under - when did even par become a bad score? I grew up at a very difficult U.S. Open type golf course; that is how I learned to play golf and I think to me it is a challenge to play courses like that and I get up for it. I don't enjoy hitting driver, wedge, and, you know, 22 putts a round. I don't even like to watch that. Really only golf that I watch on television is I watch the men's U.S. Open because I think -- I love to watch people have to work hard to shoot even par. I think that is what golf is all about. We have really gotten away from that with these perfectly manicured greens where it's like a pool table and everything is perfect and -- I just don't think hitting driver, 7-iron into a par 5 is golf. I just -- I don't know they lost me when even par became a bad score in golf and I think that I just have more interest at the Open because I feel like I have a chance because it is not a big putting contest. You have to think. You have to be able to hit a lot of different shots and it is a war.
RHONDA GLENN: You grew up in Bethesda, Maryland. What course was that?
KIM WILLIAMS: Bethesda Country Club, very small greens, very tight, classic style golf course.
Q. Four years ago today you got shot?
KIM WILLIAMS: Yeah, I got four years ago today.
Q. Can you just quickly tell what happened?
KIM WILLIAMS: I just was walking into a drugstore in Ohio, was by a mall. It was a very populated area and someone was about a half mile away in the woods - July 4th weekend - shooting a gun up in the air. I got shot; got air-lifted out to a hospital. I think I was one shot off the lead with one round to go in Youngstown. So it is funny, I spoke to -- Christine wrote an article, an excellent article in U.S.A. TODAY yesterday about the Farrs and I spoke to Missy Farr last night for about an hour and we kind of talked about that and the perspective you gain from going through things like that in life.
RHONDA GLENN: What perspective did you gain?
KIM WILLIAMS: Well, kind of lost it for a while, but hopefully I will get it back - just, you know, it is like I tell people, when I was bleeding to death on that floor in that drugstore, everybody was, like, oh, my God, I never won the U.S. Open or, oh, I don't have enough money or, you know -- Missy and I were just talking about that, like, keep your life in balance and be appreciative of the fact that you are even here and, you know, able to play in the Open.
Q. You mentioned about the crowds last year the final day. What were your thoughts on the attendance out there today and the number of people that came out to watch an opening round?
KIM WILLIAMS: It was outstanding. I knew on Monday that they were going to have huge crowds because I was out here Monday morning early and there were quite a bit of people then. It has been very crowded all week. When it is that crowded in practice rounds, you know it is going to be great galleries. It is a lot of fun. I am glad that the area is excited and that there is a lot of people here. They have done a great job.
RHONDA GLENN: 21,000 today.
KIM WILLIAMS: Wow, that is awesome.
RHONDA GLENN: It is almost a 50% increase over last year and the year before.
KIM WILLIAMS: Lopez is a big part of that. People come out to see her.
RHONDA GLENN: Thanks so much.
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