July 9, 1997
NORTH PLAINS, OREGON
RHONDA GLENN: Ladies and gentlemen, we are privileged to have with us Kelly Robbins, an outstanding young player, who's made a great impact on women's golf since she turned professional in 1991. It's certainly a great victory for Kelly last week, when she broke the all time LPGA scoring record in the Jamie Farr Kroger Classic; 67, 64, 67, incredible, 19 under par. Kelly, we know your game is in really great shape coming into this week, how do you like the golf course.
KELLY ROBBINS: Well, it's always tough to say. I missed the cut the week prior to the last in Atlantic City. I've been working on a few things for a few weeks, and then you go and win. Golf is like that, and anytime you can win, the confidence goes up, and winning the week before the U.S. Open and then bringing that to this tournament, hopefully will be a plus for me. So I love the golf course, it's in great shape. I like this part of the country. I seem to fair pretty well out on the west coast. The expectations unfortunately are quite high, but I don't think there's anything wrong with that. So I'm looking forward to having a good week this week.
RHONDA GLENN: Are those your expectations or the expectations of your friends and peers?
KELLY ROBBINS: Maybe a little bit of both. I try to keep things in perspective as much as I can out here. It's a great opportunity for women to have an opportunity to make money playing a professional sport, and I've been a very fortunate participant in that aspect. But your expectations once you do start playing better and playing well, they tend to go up, because there's always room for improvement. And you try to find where you can improve.
Q. Kelly, strategically how do you think the course sets up? Where do you think the course will be won at? And do you feel like it favors the long hitter like yourself or does it neutralize the longer hitters?
KELLY ROBBINS: I think from what I saw yesterday, I've only been on the course once, it definitely favors a longer hitter. I was hitting a lot of 6, 7, 7-irons into greens. So -- into greens where you needed to hit good shots, where you needed the proper carry, you couldn't be short type of thing. And so in that aspect there's definitely an advantage there. As far as where the course is going to be -- where on the course the tournament could be determined, any hole. It's one of those courses, it's a typical Open course, you just have no time to relax, you have no time to fall asleep. You need to keep the ball in the fairway and being on the proper part of the green. The greens are always key at an Open, and you really need to concentrate on where you want to be putting the ball from. So typically week in and week out the putting is key, who's putting better, usually has the better score.
Q. JoAnne Carner was in earlier and she mentioned the par-5s, that you could really get in some difficult positions on those greens. I'm assuming that's one of the things you're referring to, is it really important if you go for the par-5s in two, you get it in the right spot?
KELLY ROBBINS: Definitely. There's some of the greens, I'm sure you're all aware of where they can fall off, they're not very big, and they fall off into a drainage area type situation. And those places are going to be busy and there's going to be a lot of traffic down there. You just really have to be smart. You've got to know where you want to be hitting your shot in from, and just where you want that ball on the green. It might not even matter where the pin is, but you know the ball needs to be on the green. So I obviously agree with that.
Q. A lot of people are talking about Annika and Karrie. What are your chances here and how do you see yourself fitting in this week?
KELLY ROBBINS: Well, anything can happen during this week. I'd like to think that I'm going to show up and try my best and bring my best game that I have for that particular day. And if that's good enough to be better, play the golf course better than everybody else, then I guess my chances are pretty good. I'm going to just try and stick with what I know how to do, stick with my game. If it happens to be better than everybody else, then fine. And if not, well, I'm just going to play the best I can.
Q. Obviously you're not playing against Annika, but how do you see this course set up for Annika? Is this the kind of course that she could win her third win on?
KELLY ROBBINS: I think every course sets up for Annika. There doesn't seem to be too many courses that don't set up for Annika. Oh, definitely, I think it's very realistic. Annika is playing great. Every time she comes out she seems to be in contention. I think that would be great. That would be incredible, what a great player, and she's a nice person and it would be neat to see that happen. She might have a few other people to contend with on that, but I think it can happen. I don't see a course that we play that Annika just doesn't have a game for.
Q. Kelly, you tend to be fairly self critical or analytical in a way. How do you assess your game right now? I know you've been working really hard this year and your dad's been around watching you play. How do you stack up tee-to-green?
KELLY ROBBINS: Well, it's been really good to me. You always are looking for improvement. There's always something to work on in golf. Most of us can putt better than what we do now, so I feel like my game right now is pretty good. I've had a good, consistent year already. I put myself in position a few times to come out and win. Fortunately I've been able to take advantage of a couple of them. But I'm very happy and pleased with my year so far and what I've done. I'd like to continue pace, I'd like to continue the consistent play. So I'm just going to keep working hard and putting my time in and waiting for another chance.
Q. Can you have another week this week like you had last week?
KELLY ROBBINS: I think so, sure, yeah.
Q. What has to happen?
KELLY ROBBINS: I need to play better than everybody else. You just need to play better than everyone else. You just need to hit the ball fewer number of times. That's what happens when somebody wins.
RHONDA GLENN: In the big tournaments, the Dinah Shore and the Titleholders, you were tied for third and in the McDonald's you were 11th. What is it about the big tournaments that makes you play well? Is it just that you psych yourself up or is is it the fact that the courses are a little more difficult?
KELLY ROBBINS: It may have to do with the courses a little bit. And you do psych yourself up to a certain extent on the bigger tournaments. This is the U.S. Open. This is probably the biggest tournament on the schedule. But I just think that we're fortunate to play some of the bigger tournaments on the more difficult courses. And fortunately if my game is close to being on or pretty good I usually tend to fair well at them, and hopefully I can do that again this week.
Q. Correct me if I'm wrong, but you haven't had a lot of success in the Open?
KELLY ROBBINS: You're right.
Q. Any reasons why?
KELLY ROBBINS: I don't know. I wish I had an answer for that. I don't know if -- I have no idea why. This time of the year is sometimes a slow time for me, for whatever reason, as far as playing. Last week I didn't -- I've been playing well, but I've been working pretty hard, but I didn't expect to do what I did last week. And it seems like July, August is just kind of a down time for me for whatever reason, I don't know. And unfortunately the Open falls on to that. But I do wish that there was something in particular that I did know why I didn't fair so well at Opens. I'm looking forward to that changing, though, and if it's this year, fine, I just know that I don't believe it has anything to do with the course or anything. I don't know what type of mindset. I guess I just don't show up that week with the game that I need to have -- until now.
Q. I wanted to ask you about your streak, is it 62 holes in a row without a bogey, about that. That obviously is a symbol of very consistent play. And the other thing I was curious about, is because this is an open week, did you maybe not celebrate last week as much as you might have otherwise? Did you come back to earth quicker?
KELLY ROBBINS: Oh, celebrate? Yes, that 62 hole without a birdie thing, that's kind of neat. I didn't realize that until someone told me --
Q. Bogey, right?
KELLY ROBBINS: I'm sorry, without a bogey. So that's good, consistent golf. I did a lot of good things right. I hit a lot of greens last week. No, I haven't quite settled in yet, it hasn't felt like I won. I just felt like I played really good golf, and I haven't thought about it really yet. I'm taking next week off. We'll get through this week and then maybe I'll think about it a little bit more next week. Don't get me wrong, by all means, it was a very rewarding week. Those are the types of four days you work your whole life to have, to shoot those numbers and play well for four days that consistently.
RHONDA GLENN: I suppose there's no chance that you peaked too soon, is there?
KELLY ROBBINS: I hope not. That has gone through my mind, though. No, I don't think so. Fortunately when I seem to be playing well, things seem to kind of stick around for a while. I'm learning that about myself, and when to take time off, and when to play. Try to go no more than three or four weeks at a time, and then just really take some time off. So, no, I hope I haven't hit that high note too soon.
Q. Can you talk about what are you doing differently or what's going on in your game right now that you're playing so well?
KELLY ROBBINS: Well, fortunately I played pretty well most of the year. When I tend to finish closer to the top I tend to make more putts. I haven't been hitting the ball as well the last three or four weeks as I did earlier in the year. You're going through some swing changes and trying to get in positions that have worked for you in the past. But usually fortunately I hit a lot of greens most of the time and it kind of determines on how many putts that I make that week, that is the difference in score.
Q. How does Pumpkin Ridge stack up to some of the Open courses you've seen and what kind of scores could you see winning this week?
KELLY ROBBINS: Well, I'm a big fan of the type of condition that it's in, the type of grass and the greens, that type of thing. So it's probably going to be, I'm sure, one of my favorites. The Open courses are always great. I don't ever remember being on an Open course that wasn't, but as far as scores, I don't know. It's going to probably depend on weather and wind and that type of thing. Nothing surprises me anymore. It seems like someone just always comes out of the pack, and there's always a few good numbers shot, surprisingly, on certain days, and I'm just not one to venture on what's going to win and at all that good stuff. I really don't think about it a whole lot.
Q. Can you talk a little bit just about your background, when you started playing, when you really thought you might do this as a profession?
KELLY ROBBINS: Golf's been in my family my whole life. As far as professionally, probably not until late high school years, and then went to the University of Tulsa for four years, played there. Then I've been on Tour ever since. I knew that I could have a chance out here. I knew that -- I wanted to give myself a chance, anyway. Give myself a few years to see if things worked out. I guess I'll do it for a couple more years (laughter). It's been good. I've been blessed. I've been very greatful for having this opportunity.
Q. Did you play any USGA junior championships when you were a kid?
KELLY ROBBINS: No, I didn't. I didn't play hardly any junior tournaments. I played maybe a couple in the state, and then a few amateurs, that type of thing, but financially, the whole family wanted to go and spend time and we just couldn't quite do it all together. So I would just play a few tournaments during the summer and go from there, and take those experiences when I could. I didn't really have a lot of amateur experience at all, and I went into Tulsa really green, I was as green as they come, from a small town and going away 1500 miles away from home just wasn't heard of. So I enjoyed myself for a couple of years and just tried to find myself and get my bearings and just kind of go from there.
RHONDA GLENN: Kelly, thank you so much. I appreciate you being with us and wish you a lot of luck this week.
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