May 30, 1996
SOUTHERN PINES, NORTH CAROLINA
RHONDA GLENN: We have Kimberly Williams, who's the leader in the clubhouse with a one under par, 69. Wow, how did you do that?
KIMBERLY WILLIAMS: Made a lot of putts.
RHONDA GLENN: Is putting the key to your round?
KIMBERLY WILLIAMS: That, and I drove the ball well on the back 9.
RHONDA GLENN: I noticed you didn't have a par until the 5th hole.
KIMBERLY WILLIAMS: Yeah, I was a little up-and-down in the beginning.
RHONDA GLENN: What are your general comments about the golf course and your game today?
KIMBERLY WILLIAMS: I putted the first hole well, real solid, then I went out and didn't drive it well for a few holes. It seemed the front 9 a lot of the holes played into the wind, and I got quick. I got fast when -- I come out of it a lot when it's in my face. And then I slowed down. But I putted well on the front and made a couple good saves. And it was more downwind, and I drove the ball better on the back.
RHONDA GLENN: You started out with a birdie on the first hole. How did you do that?
KIMBERLY WILLIAMS: I hit a decent drive out there. I laid it up to about -- I think I was about maybe 80 yards, hit a sand wedge up there about maybe three or four feet, knocked it in.
RHONDA GLENN: Then we went to a double on the second hole. Go through, as painful as it is, shot by shot.
KIMBERLY WILLIAMS: I hit it over on the right, in the rough, just took an 8-iron, hit it out. Just had a little -- maybe like a hundred yard shot into the green, and I was trying to be real careful with it, because the green slopes off. And I didn't run it off the back, I hit a bad shot, I was about a foot off the front of the green, then I putted it off the green.
RHONDA GLENN: Past the hole?
KIMBERLY WILLIAMS: Yeah. And I thought I hit a good putt. Then I almost made it coming back and -- but I was making bogey. That hole played long. I wasn't worried about it, it's the U.S. Open, that's going to happen.
RHONDA GLENN: Then we go to a birdie on the hole.
KIMBERLY WILLIAMS: Yeah, I made about a 20-footer.
RHONDA GLENN: What did you hit in there?
KIMBERLY WILLIAMS: I hit an 8-iron.
RHONDA GLENN: And then a bogey on the 4th.
KIMBERLY WILLIAMS: Yeah. I hit a good drive, didn't hit a very good iron up there, kind of a so-so chip and kind of a so-so putt.
RHONDA GLENN: You're off to a great start, but you're only one over.
KIMBERLY WILLIAMS: It's the U.S. Open, you're going to make bogeys. I wasn't worried about it.
RHONDA GLENN: Straight pars until No. 10, you got another birdie. How did you do that?
KIMBERLY WILLIAMS: Hit a decent drive. Didn't hit a very good layup. I was in the rough, just in the second cut and hit a good sand wedge up there about maybe a foot-and-a-half, two feet.
RHONDA GLENN: And then straight pars until No. 18. For those who didn't see it on TV, how did you do that birdie?
KIMBERLY WILLIAMS: Hit a pretty good drive out there, and then I hit a good 7-iron maybe about -- I don't know, 15 feet just to the right of the hole. My caddy said let's get this one, and I did. I just hit a good putt up there. I hit it close a few times coming in, and didn't hit real good putts, being a little too careful with them. I thought I'm going to roll this one up there.
RHONDA GLENN: You did. 33 on the back 9. 69 --
KIMBERLY WILLIAMS: I putted very well today.
RHONDA GLENN: How did you do that, these are difficult greens?
KIMBERLY WILLIAMS: I think I kept it in the right spot a lot. I didn't have too many putts that could really -- that were really fast. I hit it real close one of the holes, and I don't remember what hole, on the back. And it's when the pin's all the way back, maybe 11. And boy, I had a fast putt there. And that was probably the only putt all day that it really could have really gotten away from me, and I just kind of eased it down there. So I probably had it in good spots on the green, really, and probably went after the ones I could and was careful with the ones that I had to keep an eye on.
RHONDA GLENN: 1994, Kim is the player, you'll recall, who was hit by the wayward bullet and had it from her neck until recently, right? You had the bullet removed from your neck?
KIMBERLY WILLIAMS: End of October last year.
Q. At one point I thought they weren't going to take the bullet out.
KIMBERLY WILLIAMS: You know, I cannot get rid of this bullet thing.
RHONDA GLENN: It's your identity.
KIMBERLY WILLIAMS: That's sad. I had a lot of problems last year with it. My neck hurt me all year. I had problems with my neck. I had many problems with my neck, and it always hurt, every day, and especially if it was cold or if it was going to rain. And then at the end of the year in Seattle one day it was very inflamed, and I had to go to the hospital and have all these tests done. My doctor at home said you need to take that out. And also mentally it was really -- constant worry, I was always worried if it was moving and what it was going to do and it needed to come out of there.
Q. Why wasn't it taken out to begin with?
KIMBERLY WILLIAMS: I have no idea. They just -- that's a common practice, apparently. I've never been shot before, I wouldn't know. They said -- the doctor said if I didn't play golf they would have left it in. But there's so much torquing on your neck. And it had moved around and it needed to come out.
Q. Is there a danger to your spinal cord potentially, from the surgery rather than the bullet?
KIMBERLY WILLIAMS: The surgery was very dangerous. But where the bullet was near a lot of arteries. I don't think there's a lot of spare room in your neck for any extra stuff. I think it was pretty near everything.
RHONDA GLENN: Where's the bullet now; did you keep it?
KIMBERLY WILLIAMS: No, they said I couldn't have it. They had to keep it. It's in the hospital in Delaware, somewhere.
RHONDA GLENN: I understand you're working on a contract with Bullet Golf; is that right.
KIMBERLY WILLIAMS: Seems appropriate. Yeah, I thought so.
Q. How close are you to being the Bullet rep.?
KIMBERLY WILLIAMS: I don't know, you'll have to call and ask them.
RHONDA GLENN: Are you carrying their bag?
KIMBERLY WILLIAMS: Yes, I have been for a few weeks.
RHONDA GLENN: It says Bullet on the side of your bag?
KIMBERLY WILLIAMS: Yeah.
RHONDA GLENN: Only you would think of that.
KIMBERLY WILLIAMS: It's a natural.
Q. What's it going to take to close this issue? Obviously you would rather it be over.
KIMBERLY WILLIAMS: I don't know. You're the ones that keep asking me. It never will, and that's okay.
RHONDA GLENN: If you carry a golf bag with the name on it --
KIMBERLY WILLIAMS: Yeah, it would be like asking -- it's like Nancy Lopez is a Hall of Famer, has won 47 tournaments.
RHONDA GLENN: Your best finish so far this year has been a tie for 21st, but you're off to a terrific start, biggest women's championship in the world.
KIMBERLY WILLIAMS: Been playing better, lately. Steadier.
RHONDA GLENN: Why?
KIMBERLY WILLIAMS: I've been putting better. I hit it well at the beginning of the year, and just -- just wasn't getting it in the hole. Caddy problems and all kinds of stuff. I have a great caddy this week.
RHONDA GLENN: Who?
KIMBERLY WILLIAMS: Her name is Audrey -- I don't even know Audrey's last name. She usually works for another tour player, and they didn't qualify. And she's very laid back, easygoing, so it was good. She kept me relaxed today, which is nice.
Q. How long were you out of golf after the October surgery? How long did it take before you could get back?
KIMBERLY WILLIAMS: About ten days. It wasn't bad. I felt better immediately when I woke up when I had that surgery. I felt better the day I woke up when I had that surgery than my best day when I had it in there. I didn't realize how much it bothered me until I got it taken out.
Q. Did you find that it affected your swing when you look at tape of yourself back then?
KIMBERLY WILLIAMS: I don't ever look at my swing. I did feel better when I got it out. My swing felt better. I don't know how much of an affect it had. I played awfully well after I got shot.
Q. What about -- you talked about you were worried all the time last year. Did that take a lot of worries off your mind; does that improve your mental ability to get around the course?
KIMBERLY WILLIAMS: It's something that you don't have to think about. That is constantly on your mind. It's hard for me to describe it to you. You've got a .9 millimeter bullet sitting next to every major artery that's going to your head. Like today, it would have hurt. Like today, when it was kind of cloudy and dreary this morning, days like that it always hurt. I feel a lot better without it.
Q. If you were to win the Open, would you no longer be the "bullet lady" or would you be the Open champion who just has a bullet?
KIMBERLY WILLIAMS: I'm sure it would continue.
Q. I just wanted to know how much is the speed of the greens changed from the practice rounds?
KIMBERLY WILLIAMS: They're much faster, considerably. Thank you for asking me a non-bullet related question.
Q. This is isn't a bullet question, either. What separates you from being a contender every week?
KIMBERLY WILLIAMS: I don't know, probably putting. It's like you forget. I had a very good amateur career and won a lot of tournaments. You just kind of -- your comfort zone changes, you forget how to win. You forget how to be comfortable when you're in that position and playing with those people. It seems like a lot of the players now that come out of college, boy, they come right out of here, and get out of the way or they're going to run you over. I've just never been like that. I don't know, I think I have respect for people that have accomplished things and it's taken me longer to get comfortable, I think, too.
Q. Kim, earlier today we've had women in here who talked about carrying five or six fairway woods or utility woods to play this golf course. I know you're a bigger woman -- you're an athlete, athletes are big people.
KIMBERLY WILLIAMS: You know what? I usually carry a 2-iron, and this week I took it out and I put a heaven wood in there, which I didn't hit at all today.
RHONDA GLENN: Normally how far do you hit that, the heaven wood 7?
KIMBERLY WILLIAMS: 195 yards I can fly it. It's like a high 2-iron, about 200 yards, about the same.
RHONDA GLENN: She mentioned her amateur record, it was outstanding. She won the Canadian twice and the Southern twice. She was runner-up in the U.S. Women's Amateur and was on the Curtis Cup Team in 1986, so you had a lot of glory in the amateurs.
KIMBERLY WILLIAMS: I played in the Dinah Shore when I was in college and played very well and felt comfortable. My U.S. Open record is not glorious. I knew it would take me time to adjust, but I thought my professional career would be better. But I'm not working on the airbill at UPS anymore, it beats that.
Q. Do you know how many putts you had today?
KIMBERLY WILLIAMS: I had 27 putts today. That's pretty good for me. I think last week my low was, like, maybe 32.
Q. When did you work for UPS?
KIMBERLY WILLIAMS: 1990. Drove limousine, you name it, two years.
RHONDA GLENN: Welcome back to golf.
KIMBERLY WILLIAMS: Thanks.
RHONDA GLENN: Kim, great round. Thank you so much.