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July 6, 2016

Cristie Kerr

San Martin, California

MODERATOR: It's my pleasure to welcome 2007 U.S. Women's Open champion Cristie Kerr into the media center. Cristie is playing in her 21st U.S. Women's Open. In addition to her victory in 2007, Cristie had six other top-10 finishes in the Women's Open.

Since you played your first one as an amateur at the Broadmoor, what has this championship meant to you as a competitor?

CRISTIE KERR: Wow, it's our national championship, you know. As an American, it's not only an honor to participate, but to be a champion. I've got so many great memories over the years of playing in this event. It's a lot of tough golf. Twenty times of the U.S. Women's Open, it's a lot of tough golf, but rewarding at the same time. It's a challenge every year, and also rewarding.

MODERATOR: Do you approach it any differently now than you did when you played the first three or four years?

CRISTIE KERR: I think seeing 20 -- it's hard to believe 20 -- I played with a 15-year-old in a practice round here. And I think I played in at least 20.

I do approach it differently. When I first started playing, I was very aggressive, playing in this championship. That comes back to bite you sometimes. And I think you have to be very patient to play well in an Open. You have to pick your spots where you want to be aggressive. And I think you kind of know when that is and when that isn't when you've played in enough of these.

MODERATOR: And two of the top players in the Rolex Rankings are teenagers. When you were a teenager playing, who were some of the players that you looked up to on Tour?

CRISTIE KERR: Well, all the great American players. I mean, Juli Inkster, she's still playing on Tour. Beth Daniel, Nancy Lopez, Meg Mallon, Patty Sheehan, Betsy King, I grew up watching them, watching them on TV and wanting to be like them. And it's pretty amazing that I've had such a great career thus far.

I've always admired the way they played the game, their love for the game, how they gave back to fans, their grit, heart and determination. Those are all things that I've tried to model my game after.

MODERATOR: You had a really nice season last year, two wins, and a win at The TOUR Championship. How is your state of game heading into the championship here at CordeValle this week?

CRISTIE KERR: I think it's shaping up. I've had difficulty this year with different parts of my game coming together, but I feel like I'm about to turn the corner, and there's no better time to do it than here at the Women's Open.

MODERATOR: Everyone knows you love wine, learning about it, the process of growing the grapes, bottling it, to tasting it. You have your own label. Have you had a chance to taste any of the wines here at CordeValle?

CRISTIE KERR: I have actually been up to the winery that's above the golf course, and they make some fine wines there. Of course, being so close to Napa Valley, not only do we work there now, but we make two different projects, Curvature Wines, which we make with Pride Mountain Vineyards, and also our new project Kerr Cellars. Anybody interested can go to kerrcellars.com and check it out. We have a new wine club where you can purchase both.

MODERATOR: The course itself, what do you think of CordeValle? The U.S. Women's Open goes around to different courses. First time the U.S. Women's Open has been here. From what you've seen so far, what do you think of the course?

CRISTIE KERR: I think it's spectacular. There's nothing super tricky about it. It's straightforward tough, and the course is starting to firm up. So I think players who have only played in the morning practice rounds may not have seen that. But it's definitely starting to shape up. I think exactly where they want it.

Q. This golf course, who do you think it tends to favor and what are the big challenges here?
CRISTIE KERR: I think obviously driving is a premium here. All the fairways look wide. If you miss the fairways, I mean, I hit it in the rough a couple of times today and they haven't cut it in a couple of weeks, I can tell you that.

For instance, I played the 9th hole yesterday and hit driver, 3-wood, flip wedge. And today I hit it two yards into the rough and had to hack an 8-iron out and I hit a 5-wood into the green. You can never let your guard down on this golf course. You need to drive it well. If you drive it well then I think the -- your destiny is in your own hands. To be able to leave it on the greens where you want, you can play as aggressively or conservatively into these greens as you want.

Drive it well and go from there. Obviously putting -- you have to putt well to win an Open, and short game. You need everything here.

Q. Can a big hitter take advantage of their advantage here, if it's really firm and fast?
CRISTIE KERR: I think so. The fairways are not so narrow that you wouldn't see a longer hitter hit drivers. With that being said, though, they better be confident standing over the ball, because if there's any doubt what they're doing is the right play, that's going to come back to bite them.

Q. You're the same age as Se Ri Pak, who is saying good-bye. You've competed against her for many years. Could you please try to put her contribution to women's golf into perspective, from your seat?
CRISTIE KERR: I mean, I think she pretty much started the women's golf movement in Korea. I mean, I remember, when she first came out on Tour, there weren't many Koreans, let alone Asians on our Tour. And when she won this championship on, I think it was, Blackwolf Run, I think that really exploded the movement over there. You see how many talented Korean players there are now. It's pretty incredible.

We are the same age. She is retiring. It just goes to show you, you can look at Juli Inkster, she can still play as much as she wants to. It depends on how healthy you stay, your love for the game, your work ethic, the golf ball doesn't know an age. I won two tournaments last year and I'm in my late 30s. So for me, I want to play as long as I want to play for, as long as I have a passion for the game, the work ethic.

I played 18 holes today, no problem. God, that made me sound old, didn't it, Kevin? I played a 18-hole practice round, yeah, I'm young. No, I mean, I love the game, and I want to play for as long as I can play for, as long as I feel like I'm competitive. I have had a tough year thus far, but as we all know, playing golf as long as we have, it can change at any moment.

Q. A lot of players have said this is a unique U.S. Women's Open venue, does it remind you of any other place you've played?
CRISTIE KERR: It doesn't. I think it's uniquely CordeValle. It is straightforward tough. There's nothing tricky about it. You can take risks off the tee or play conservatively. Nobody has really played this course before, ever, in a tournament, on the women's Tour, that is.

People are going to see the golf course changing over the next four days, and I think that's where experience comes in, where people have seen a lot of U.S. Open championships. We kind of know where they want it to get to. So it will be interesting to see what happens.

MODERATOR: Cristie Kerr, 8:44 a.m. off the 10th tee on Thursday. Best of luck.


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