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November 15, 2016
THE MODERATOR: Good afternoon everyone, and welcome to the 2016 CME Group Tour Championship. I'm very pleased to be joined by our defending champion, Cristie Kerr.
Cristie, I know you described this win last year as feeling like a walk-off win in the World Series, just ending the season.
What does it feel like to be back? Are you having great memories of what happened here last year?
CRISTIE KERR: Yeah, definitely felt like a walk-off homerun. Yeah, I've had great memories since I've been back walking around kind of remembering some of the shots I hit or how I felt.
Yeah, I've played pretty well the last couple days, so fingers crossed.
THE MODERATOR: What is it about a tour championship and ending the year on a win that sets off a great feeling into the off-season?
CRISTIE KERR: I was actually a little disappointed. I wanted to keep going at the end of last year.
But at the same time, I had the whole off-season to savor it. It's an interesting feeling. I'm glad I got to experience it.
THE MODERATOR: Now, one of the unique things this week is the golf course. They did kind of a total redo of this golf course: new fairways, new greens, and no one had really played it until yesterday. Have you gotten out there yet and got a chance to see anything with the course?
CRISTIE KERR: Yeah, I've played the whole course. There is definitely some fairway bunkers that are new. It still reminds me of the course that I won on last year. It's just slightly different.
They've softened some of the greens, added some more slopes in other greens. It's a little bit different, but when I look at the holes and into the greens, it doesn't seem so unfamiliar to me.
THE MODERATOR: How are you feeling coming into this week overall? Everything good with the game? If you had to rate where your feeling right now, where would you rate it?
CRISTIE KERR: Well, I started playing better. Had a couple Top 10s in the last three events. It's going to be great to play here again as defending champion. I kind of feel a little bit like a hometown girl with all the friends and family that come to watch me play.
It'll be great to have an off-season after this as well. Hit the gym, get back in shape, get ready for next year.
THE MODERATOR: I already saw Mason running around this week so I know he's ready to go, and looks like you are too.
Anybody, if you have questions, please raise your hand. We'll pass around the microphones.
Q. Looking at your stats all year, you'll have a top 10 and won't play well for a couple weeks, have another top 10 and won't play well. What's happened throughout the course of the year?
CRISTIE KERR: Just been kind of a transitional year. Moved three times. My husband had knee surgery. I took a couple weeks off to help him.
It's been a crazy year for us. It's been kind of nonstop. Like not a lot of rest. Always doing something. We're renovating our house. I said in another interview, It'll be nice when January 1st rolls around and it's a fresh new year.
But sometimes you have those in your career. If you play professional golf long enough, you'll have years that are transitional years. You have to get through them and ride the highs and lows of a career. It's not all high. People who play professional golf know it's not all high.
Q. And one more follow-up. We were talking earlier, this is the first time the tour has been back in the United States since the UL International Crown, which seems like a long time ago. Has this year been more difficult because of the amount of international travel?
CRISTIE KERR: I think it has been a little bit. You know, I went to Asia, came home for a couple weeks, and went back to Asia. So, yeah, it's not getting any easier.
They certainly do treat us great when we fly over there and travel in Asia, but you think of the toll it takes on your body. It's not easy. I don't care whether you're 20 or 40, it's not easy.
Q. Can you give is the lowdown on all the moves? Where you moved to, from, what you solid when you did it?
CRISTIE KERR: Well, we had an investment property in New York. We sold that. Closed in January, but moved in December.
We moved from our house in northern Scottsdale to further down by the 101 also in late January.
Then before that, there was a move from New York with all of our stuff to Scottsdale to put into storage.
That got moved into the new house. So it's been a little bit crazy.
Q. What's going on with your knee? That just wear and tear?
CRISTIE KERR: No, I fell at Evian. I slipped and kind of twisted my knee the second round at 13th hole. So it's not been so great since then.
I'll get it checked out at the end of the year. Hopefully it's fine and I can just rehab it and be ready for next year.
But, yeah, it's crazy. You never get hurt actually playing. You get hurt slipping in the bathtub or falling. I mean, it was so wet that week. My caddie fell twice. About 30 people slipped and fell that week.
I just happened to be the one that got tweaked from it. Hopefully it's nothing.
Q. I'm sure it's been difficult to even congratulate Donald Trump, but can you talk about your reaction to a friend being all of a sudden the President of the United States?
CRISTIE KERR: I don't know? Can you actually speak your mind anymore? (Laughter.)
Yes, as of last week, yes. It's really funny. Yeah, I haven't talked to him. I haven't had a chance to congratulate him. I just still can't believe he's president-elect of the United States. I mean, every time I say it it's like, Wow. Really? It's just so shocking all these protests around the country. It's a fair and square election. Everyone got to vote.
Just let's just move on and make the country better. Hopefully he can do that. Hopefully he's can do the things that he says he's going to do.
The person that I've known over the years, he always does what he says he's going to do and he surrounds himself with really smart people. I'm really happy for him. I hope people will grow to understand that he is a man of his word and he can get things done. Hopefully he'll be the CEO of this country like he's been the CEO of his businesses.
I'm very happy for him and his family.
Q. Refresh my memory, do you have playing privileges at all his courses? Are you a member at one of them?
CRISTIE KERR: Yeah, I don't know if he's going to be forced to sell those now. Who knows what's going to happen with the presidency. All these rumors that he wouldn't be able to own his properties, he won't be able to do all that. You know, if he does deals to get tournaments at his courses, he can't do that anymore.
So all this stuff happening now. I have no idea what's going to happen with all that. I have been an honorary member at his courses for a long time, almost since I came out on tour. So it's a very interesting time for Donald Trump.
I don't think people understand how moderate he is. He's fiscally conservative. He wants to get the country back on track. But he's a little bit socially liberal from some aspects. Hopefully people can get to know him.
Q. You've talked about your complications this season. Stacy Lewis got married and that distracted her for a period of time. Do you think the scarcity of wins by American players this year is a blip or something more than that?
CRISTIE KERR: I think it's just a blip. Honestly, we did win the Solheim Cup last year, and that was a big thing for us. I can't believe it's already a whole year that's gone by. Talk about how fast it goes by.
But, I mean, things go in cycles. Lexi won this year. I think we need to celebrate the Americans that are winning and understand that there will be more coming. It's just in cycles. We are out numbered out here, and that's what people seem to lose sight of a lot.
We do our best and carry the whole country on our backs, and hopefully people can realize that.
Q. On that subject, do you get tired of hearing all the critics whining about the American players not doing well? Is that becoming old?
CRISTIE KERR: I think it's a logical question. I don't think anybody is whining really. We were all trying our best. We're all trying to win. You never know. Maybe it'll be an American this year, and then you can write a story about that.
Q. Just following it up, when you say, We're outnumbered, it seems odd to hear that because it's the United States and Korea is so small. When you look at it, it really is Fry. Does that concern you, that the U.S. is really outnumbered and there is a feeder issue of getting more young girls into the game?
CRISTIE KERR: Yeah, I mean, it's a fact. It's not just Korean players. There are Chinese players now, Taiwanese, Japanese, from all around Asia. Golf has exploded there in the last ten years and America simply hasn't caught up.
Yeah, we have to find new ways to get U.S. girls born in this country to play golf, to get out here, to be inspired. That's one thing that the Founders Cup does really well. We foster that whole tournament for girls golf.
We have to just keep doing those things. I plan on getting more involved with the girls golf in Phoenix, the LPGA girls golf in Phoenix, and seeing what I can do there. It has to start on a small level all over the place.
THE MODERATOR: When you talk about that, with the girls golf program, seeing the numbers we've seen increasing nearly 900% in the last five years, the dedication that the tour has put on that, is that kind of a start to helping get more girls in this country to be rising to that level?
CRISTIE KERR: It definitely is. The competition is fierce. It's tough to get out here. I think that the American golfers, we have done such a great job over the last five years in trying to foster that with the tour that we have seen that huge increase. We have to just keep doing it.
With that golf explosion Asia, that's their main sport they play over there. Here girls are into soccer, cheer, lots of other things. We're a very diverse country in the sense that golf is not the main sport. There is a lot of saturation of a lot of sports.
Golf is becoming more popular all the time, but in Asia it's the main thing they do. It's hard to keep up with that.
Q. Just curious, how you define the success of a year? Has that changed since you became a mom looking at the whole totality of everything on your plate?
CRISTIE KERR: I don't know if it's really changed for me. Wins are big for me. If I were to get a win and defend and repeat here, I will have considered that a successful season.
At this stage of my career, I have seven points to go to get to the Hall of Fame or something like that. Wins are paramount for me now. Just got to keep trying. Even if I've only had four Top 10s this year, if I pull this one off, I mean, you never know.
Wins are huge at this point.
Q. Is the Hall of Fame what drives you the most right now?
CRISTIE KERR: Yeah. I've always had a dream since I was a little girl of being in the Hall of Fame, the LPGA Hall of Fame. You have to find things that inspire you if you want to keep going, traveling this much, keep pushing yourself, keep working at it.
Yeah, wins, I feel like I focus less on the poor weeks and more on the good weeks now. I don't know if that's necessarily about being a mom, but having played many, many years on tour you get more perspective.
Q. Just following up on the Hall of Fame, Kelly is on a committee reviewing the Hall of Fame status. Are you okay with the current points system? As a follow-up to that, there is the 10-year membership rule which really prevents Lorena Ochoa from being admitted.
CRISTIE KERR: She hasn't played ten years on tour?
Q. She didn't. She played seven full seasons.
CRISTIE KERR: That's it? Oh, my God. She won that many tournaments in seven full seasons? Well, she's Lorena Ochoa. I mean, they might have to. It's so hard to win out here now that they might have to look at it again.
I don't know. Just depends on -- they would have to look at the statistics for the last 20 years of how many people got in in the first ten years and how many in the last ten. Wouldn't be a bad exploratory committee to go into.
Q. What about the ten-year rule? Players have differing opinions on how important that is. As of right now, Lorena Ochoa is not eligible for the LPGA Hall of Fame.
CRISTIE KERR: I think they have to look at that too. I think she deserves it. I think if you come out and play one season and win every event on the tour, why can't you be in the Hall of Fame?
If you win 20 events in one season, how can they prevent you from being in the Hall of Fame? If you get that many points, scoring average, player of the year, win 23 events. I mean, is it possible? Yeah. Probable? No, but it is possible.
Like it is possible that somebody could make it in five years if they're Ă¼ber phenom. I think they definitely have to let Lorena in in my opinion.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports