July 11, 1995
COLORADO SPRINGS, COLORADO
CRAIG SMITH: Welcome, our defending champion.
PATTY SHEEHAN: Thank you.
CRAIG SMITH: I guess, Patti, one of the things that we have all been discussing here are the greens because the altitude has kind of helped some of us get to the par 4s and to the par 5s and it is -- is it all a matter of putting; is that fair or too easy?
PATTY SHEEHAN: Well, you know, the golf course is difficult. And I think that the thing that makes it difficult are the greens. Just because you hit a green, doesn't mean you are in a good position to make a good birdie attempt. I think iron play is going to be very important. Obviously, off the tee; hitting it in the fairway is always important. But iron play, setting yourself up, putting yourself in a good position on the green is very important. You know, like I said, just because you are on the green doesn't mean you have a good putt at birdie. So setting yourself up is important and then being very imaginative and patient on the greens is probably going to be the key.
CRAIG SMITH: Have you set yourself up in pretty good shape to feel like you are in good form to defend?
PATTY SHEEHAN: I don't know. I never know, you know, what is going to happen in the tournament and especially at The Open. I had a pretty good week last week. I took it off and had a couple of good days of practice. I spent a lot of time pulling weeds and mowing my lawn, but other than that, I thought a lot about The Open. I thought a lot about the golf course and was trying to prepare myself mentally and emotionally for it. So hopefully, I am in good shape. I don't know. Only time will tell....
Q. Patti, on the theme of thinking about the golf course, is that something you do more for an Open than any other event?
PATTY SHEEHAN: Yeah, I probably think more about an Open than any other event. I seem to -- I really was kind of unconscious to this in the past, but this year, I have been a little bit more aware of my preparation for The Open and I am probably thinking about the Open a month in advance and trying to prepare myself emotionally for it, and I think I was a little bit more aware of it this year.
Q. Nicklaus did that for The Masters. He would start preparing, he says, in January for that tournament. Now, he said he had changed the type of shots he hit and things of that nature. When you start preparing for an Open, what do you change or remind yourself of?
PATTY SHEEHAN: I think basically I try to keep my emotions very steady, you know, kind of a straight line sort of instead of the up-and-down curves; try to stay very even and not get too upset over mistakes and get too excited over birdies, because it is just the type of golf course that you have to keep grinding away.
Q. Is it sort of like a state of Zen or something like that? I don't know -- but I mean, it seems like you prepare yourself in a different emotional state for this one week.
PATTY SHEEHAN: Yeah, I do. And I think it is important to do that. I don't feel that -- I really don't feel that there is any other golf course that we play on our Tour that is any more difficult than a U.S. Open course and it demands everything from you, so I feel that you have to give it so much more emotionally, physically, and mentally during an Open week than you do any other week.
Q. When did you last play this course, Patty?
PATTY SHEEHAN: I played 19 holes a month ago, Press Day.
Q. Was that the first time?
PATTY SHEEHAN: Actually, yes, I think it is. I had a conversation with Juli Inkster this morning and she was telling me that she won her amateur, is it the south course? She was saying that, you know, we always played the south course in tournaments when we played here and when I came out to play a month ago, I didn't remember the golf course and I was thinking, maybe I am just getting old and forgetting things and not retaining things very well, but she seems to think that we have not played this golf course before, so ---I couldn't remember the golf course a month ago, so I don't know -- I don't know when I last played it before, if I have....
Q. Does it compare favorably with other U.S. Open courses? Especially the two you won on? How does it compare? Let us put it that way.
PATTY SHEEHAN: I think it is equally as difficult. Obviously Oakmont and Indian Wood were entirely different and I think this is too. I think that because of the altitude and mountain factor, this is an entirely different type of golf course.
Q. Having played here at least three or four times now, is there any potential for an Open record, a scoring record?
PATTY SHEEHAN: In what way? Low?
PATTY SHEEHAN: I don't think so.
Q. A 7, you don't think that would go?
PATTY SHEEHAN: I am never good at that. I mean, I don't even know why you guys ask me that question. I am never good at answering that question. I never know. I have been very surprised a lot because I have thought that golf courses were very, very difficult and people have shot lights out on them, so I just -- I don't foresee any super low scores out there. I don't foresee a lot of low scores out there, so...
Q. Given the altitude factor you talked about and the mountainous setting for the greens, do you need every bit of preparation time that you have for the tournament or are you ready to go now?
PATTY SHEEHAN: No, I could use probably another practice round; maybe more. Who is to know, but I certainly will take advantage of it tomorrow. That is all I get.
Q. What is the more significant, the altitude or the undulations and slopes of the greens?
PATTY SHEEHAN: That is a good question.
Q. Thank you.
PATTY SHEEHAN: You're welcome. One of the few good questions you have ever had, Jerry. No, just kiding. I don't know which is going to be more of a factor, but I would tend to think that the altitude would have more effect because it will affect you both -- more physically which can also kind of trickle down into your mental and psychologically, hopefully, balanced way of thinking. A lot of times the altitude will do a lot to your -- how should I say-- God, I feel like I am in court here. "No -- yes, I think he did it." "No, I didn't see him do it." (JOKINGLY) The altitude is affecting me right now. I think it will trickle down into the way that you physically feel and I think that will probably be more of a factor.
Q. Will it help you any that you live most of the time in Reno?
PATTY SHEEHAN: Well, it certainly can't hurt and that is one of the reasons why I spent last week in Reno was to try to thin my blood a little bit, but we are almost 2000 feet higher here than at Reno and that is pretty significant, but all the people that are coming from sea level, I am sure having a difficult time with it.
Q. Nobody from Hilton Head South Carolina should win this golf tournament?
PATTY SHEEHAN: I am not going to say that. You can. Don't quote me on that.
Q. Dottie Mochrie agreed that it probably wouldn't be real good to come here from Hilton Head.
PATTY SHEEHAN: I don't know.
Q. Patty, some of the players have talked about altitude in another sense, that is, the amount of time it takes to walk this course and play it. Do you worry about slow play having a bearing on the next four days of the tournament?
PATTY SHEEHAN: U.S. Open typically we play a little bit slower and it always is a factor, I think, you know, in U.S. Open tournaments and I think that playing slowly is never very fun for anybody, but there again, I think patience will come into play.
Q. Do you think the heat is going to be a factor at all, people going out early will have an advantage?
PATTY SHEEHAN: Well, from what I understand, it is going to be cooling off, so I don't think that is going to be too much of a big deal. You know, if you had some humidity and all that kind of stuff, it might be a problem, but from what I hear, it is going to be in the low '80s. That is beautiful.
CRAIG SMITH: Patty, I see a charm there. It has a "2" on it. That might be just a little less than a year old. Maybe a jeweler in Reno is hoping to see you on Sunday.
PATTY SHEEHAN: A friend of mine in Reno gave me this. It is a No. 2 charm for my second Open win, so... Very nice gift -- no more (indicating does not want to say any more on subject.).
Q. Do you think that will bring you luck this week?
PATTY SHEEHAN: I don't know. I have been wearing it ever since I got it, so it is not something that I just put on. I wear it all the time.
Q. I have a very general question. With all of the things in professional sports about role models, how do you look at yourself as a role model for young golfers?
PATTY SHEEHAN: Well, I try to do the right things. I try to be a good person; try to help out others; and you know, I think that is about all I can do and hopefully, the youngsters will look at me as somebody that they would like to be like - hopefully they will be a little bit taller than me - be a little bit stronger, but yeah, you know, it is a consideration and I think about it sometimes.
Q. What are some of the things in your career that you feel are real positive things for younger golfers to look at and be able to emulate?
PATTY SHEEHAN: Wow! I think basically the fact that I never give up is probably the thing that they can -- if they know me, they can look at that as being very positive and I am just not one to give up and let down. I will always be fighting no matter where I stand and try to do better.
Q. Patty, can you talk about Majors and how they affect players, how trying they are? Apparently The Open is even more in that regard than any other Major. Could you give us your experiences on that in your opinion?
PATTY SHEEHAN: Well, I think that The Open is just a lot more difficult a week. Number one, because of the physical aspect of the golf courses that we play typically for The Open. They are always very, very difficult and put a premium on every part of your game. There are other courses that are Major Championship-type courses that are also difficult courses, but I think that with the added pressure of the history of this tournament and wanting to be a part of that history makes for an additional amount of pressure that you put on yourself. I don't think that, you know, some of the other Major tournaments have as much history. The LPGA Championship has almost as much, but the other ones are fairly young, so...
Q. If you could, could you recall your emotional feelings after, say, The Open in Atlanta as opposed to The Open in Oakmont and then The Open last year?
PATTY SHEEHAN: Well, The Open at Atlanta was you know, devastating; probably the lowest, emotionally, than I have ever been in from a golf tournament and Oakmont, no doubt, was the pinnacle of how I felt. It was the -- not only for winning the tournament, but for eliminating the demons that were created by Atlanta and all of the negative feelings that I had towards the way I played in The Open and then last year was a confirmation of my win at Oakmont, you know, just to kind of an exclamation point saying that Oakmont was not a fluke and I really can win Opens.
Q. So last year said "you are a national champion?"
PATTY SHEEHAN: Yeah, Oakmont did too, but --
Q. But you said a confirmation --
PATTY SHEEHAN: Right.
Q. But a lot of people could win one U.S. Open. Fewer people win two --
PATTY SHEEHAN: Yeah.
Q. -- or whatever.
PATTY SHEEHAN: Yeah, I had a lot more fun with the trophy last time too at home. We had a lot of people drinking champagne out of it this time. I hope they have cleaned it up by now too.
CRAIG SMITH: Any other questions? Patty, thank you for coming in here.
PATTY SHEEHAN: Thank you so much.
CRAIG SMITH: Best of luck.
PATTY SHEEHAN: Thank you.
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