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July 11, 2018

JoAnne Carner

Chicago, Illinois

THE MODERATOR: We are joined by JoAnne Carner, one of the most decorated USGA competitors in the field. JoAnne has won the U.S. Women's Open championship twice, the U.S. Women's Amateur Championship five times, the U.S. Girls' Junior once, and is a four-time Curtis Cup team member. We're so happy to have you here. Talk about what it means to finally have this week here. As Mike alluded to last night, it's a long time coming.

JOANNE CARNER: Well, it is. As I said, I've been waiting 29 years for it. But to have it finally happen and have it at such a great course is probably the most fitting thing that the USGA could do is to initiate it right here. So much history with this course and everything.

But all the players are really excited. You know, our LPGA has worked on it, our Legends Tour has met for several years trying to get it all together, and of course realizing how long everything takes to put it together. I was hoping I'd still be alive to play. So far I made it. I played three practice rounds walking, and as near as I can remember, the last time I walked was 2004. It's going to be an interesting week.

THE MODERATOR: Talk a little bit about hitting the first tee shot tomorrow.

JOANNE CARNER: Well, I didn't know I was going to until I got here and found out that I am. I may have to tee it up way ahead of time because teeing up the ball when you're nervous -- right now I'm not nervous at all, but maybe when they announce me -- you know, typical USGA, on the tee, from Palm Beach, Florida, JoAnne Carner. Play away, please. And then you get nervous.

But I do remember my husband, who was an amateur golfer, and when we met and we teamed up in the mixed foursomes, he would excuse himself, and I thought he was making a pit stop, and what it was, I found out after I married him, that he'd go in and have a quick shot because he couldn't tee the ball up. He practiced to put it down and then quickly spread his fingers. So you may see me do that tomorrow morning. But I will not have a shot before I play.

Q. What are your expectations this week?
JOANNE CARNER: Finish. No, I'd love to make the cut. The game is a little suspect, but I -- and it's very hard to make birdies here with these big greens, you know. I wish I had the length that I used to because you could then go in with a much shorter iron than I have to at this point in my game. But I just shoot less than my age every day.

Q. I'm just curious how you prepared for this championship physically since you haven't walked a tournament in so long. Did you hit the gym?
JOANNE CARNER: (Laughs.) Do I look like I hit the gym? No. In fact, let's see, when did we get back on the boat trip? I left Sunday, which is the 8th, and I got back from the boat trip the 30th, I think. Then unloaded the boat. And of course you don't do anything golf-oriented when you're on the boat trip for two and a half weeks. So that was my pre-training.

And then I got into a quick session, and then I was swinging so bad that my hip was killing me, so I went over to my pro, and he made a recommendation which helped, but everything got too stiff before I got the help. That, and I found a pair of shoes that fit. I switched two pair yesterday. But I'm still going to make it. Sandra Plummer said, my caddie is going to drag me in that last hole if it needed.

Q. Where did you go on your trip in your boat?
JOANNE CARNER: We go to the Bahamas. We went to Green Turtle. I had rented a villa on the ocean there. So there's six of us that go, two couples and my sister and myself. I have a woman boat captain, so she and her husband, and then another couple that are very good friends. So the six of us go every year. One is a teacher, so right after school is out, somewhere around June 10th or 12th, something like that. It was later, which interfered with my practice for this. It was a week later.

Q. I'd like to ask you what you remember about your women's U.S. Open victory at Rolling Green in Philadelphia. When I was there a couple years ago, I met some members that said after you won there, the USGA told the club the course was too hard for women and they'd never come back. Did you watch with interest when the Women's Amateur was there two years ago? Now I understand they're hoping the USGA will bring maybe the Women's Open or maybe even this championship back to that club in the future now.
JOANNE CARNER: Well, at that time they had had a lot of rain, and one par-5, I can't remember if it's 18 or what, but they had to roll the fairway because a lot of the players weren't getting home in three shots. But I was a high-ball hitter in my era, long, so I just played the course.

But it's all been a long, tough golf course. I was back there previous to them running the Women's Amateur there. You know, the women nowadays are hitting it so much longer that they're all hitting like I was in my prime. I mean, it's not a short golf course, never will be, but it plays a lot easier for the women amateurs in just the fact that they're hitting it longer. The hybrids are just a salvation instead of having to try to hit a 2- or 3-iron into those holes, which when I was playing in the Open, that's what you did. Now they go in with those hybrids, they can hit it high and it'll hold the green. It's just better quality players that are out there now.

Q. Had you been to Chicago Golf Club before this week? And what's been your preparation, like how many holes have you played each day since you've arrived?
JOANNE CARNER: I had never played here. Some of the assistants at one of the courses I belong to in Florida came from the Chicago area and had nothing but praise about the golf course. So I was looking forward to it. I did not -- because I'm not very computer-oriented, I did not go online to see the display of the holes, so everything was new when I got here. I didn't know that it was a links golf course. But other than that, it was a total surprise when I got here. Beautiful it is.

Q. Did you play like nine holes Monday, nine holes Tuesday, or how did you prepare this actual week?
JOANNE CARNER: I played 18 every day.

Q. Every day?
JOANNE CARNER: Yes, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday. And it feels good to sit down right now since it's day three.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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