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July 11, 2018

Kay Cockerill

Chicago, Illinois

THE MODERATOR: Kay, thanks for joining us. Recently you've been on the other side of the ropes. Talk about your preparation for this week and what your expectations are.

KAY COCKERILL: Preparation has been that I brought my golf clubs out with me every week that I've traveled with the hopes that I would touch my clubs three to four times a week, whether it was hitting a few chips and some putts for 45 minutes or actually getting out and playing some golf. Fortunately a lot of my coworkers at Golf Channel love to play, as well, so Tom Abbott, Jerry Foltz is actually trying to qualify for the Senior British, or Senior Open at St. Andrews, and our producer and some of the cameramen love to play, so usually I would call ahead and try to figure out and get a couple of courses lined up and at least play nine holes, occasionally some 18 holes, just so that I'd feel like I had a little bit of consistency with the swing and that my body wouldn't go into full revolt when I got out and started playing a few holes.

And I think I've done a pretty good job of it, so after I've played some rounds here, my body feels pretty darned good.

As far as expectations, I would say par is your friend, and I'm hoping to play all four days. That would be my goal.

Q. Talk a little bit about the outside the ropes experience. Obviously the players gathered last night. You're part of an inaugural event. What does that mean?
KAY COCKERILL: It was tremendous. I loved every minute of it, and that's been my biggest hope was that this would be a celebration of women's golf, and I feel like it truly is. I felt that it would be like a reunion and a celebration, and I felt that the minute I stepped on the ground here and just started seeing all the old faces. And I can say old because I'm part of that group, right? But all the players I used to play with on Tour, Rosie Jones, Missie Berteotti, Nancy Scranton, Laurel Kean, players like that that I just haven't seen since they retired. I, of course, started to transition from being a player into doing TV and followed them and did call some of their golf up to the point where they retired, and I don't really play in the Legends Tour events, so I haven't kept up with them that way. So for me, getting to see a lot of them has been great.

Q. I'm just curious how much competition you've played the last couple of years. What have you played in, anything at all?
KAY COCKERILL: I think my last -- I had to even go back, and my last tournament, I believe, was the Ping Welch's in 1997 in Canton, Massachusetts, south of Boston. I think I played five events that year. I had been weaning myself off of competition in '95, '96, '97 as I did more TV, and then I did a one-off, tried to qualify for a U.S. Open, I think it was in 2005. Was that the year it was at Newport Country Club? '06? '06, I tried that year, and I missed qualifying. So that was the only competition. Other than that, it's matches at home with buddies, playing $5, $10 Nassaus, playing for who buys dinner. That's it. And I've been playing a fair bit at home with dare adore man, Pat Hurst, Juli, Nancy McDaniel, who's the Cal women's golf coach, some form of us -- Sara Sanders, who used to play on Tour, Jean Zedlitz who played on Tour a little bit. She was a Bruin. And it's funny, in the last couple weeks, some of them tried to qualify. Others, they're not quite old enough. But we're like, we need to start holing out putts. We have to actually finish the hole, because we go, oh, that's good, scoop it up. I haven't had to finish out and actually put a score down on a scorecard and sign a scorecard in a long time. That makes me anxious, so I'm trying not to think about that, just trying to think about a hole at a time, one shot at a time.

Q. I know you're good buddies with Juli. Has she given you any advice?
KAY COCKERILL: No. She just gives you a hard time. She gives you a hard time. We played the back nine, and she goes, oh, I'm just going to go hit a couple tee shots off the first, and I'm like, do you want me to get the yardages and text you back where your ball ended up and what yardage you have in? She goes, yeah, will you do that for me, and leave the balls back in my locker when you're done? It's like, okay, is there anything else that we can do for you?

So Juli is giving you a hard time and making fun of you, you know you're doing okay.

Q. What do you think of the golf course --

Q. And does it suit you?
KAY COCKERILL: I love it. I think it's great for this championship because you don't have to hit the high ball. I think as everyone ages, it's like, every couple years your altitude and the apex of your golf shots comes down, down, down. Juli and Laura Davis, for example, still can hit the high ball, still get a lot of acceleration, and I occasionally can get it up there, too, but you don't have to here. You can play the low ball. You can bunt things in. You can just find that opening on the front and hit it up through that opening, or even if it ends up short of the green, you can hybrid putt it or 7-iron it. I think probably the biggest challenge is going to be some of the bunker shots and some of the chip shots around the greens that you have to sort of hit off those tight little lies if you have to loft it at all or hit those -- if you short-side yourself and you're in one of those deep bunkers, those are the shots you get a little rusty on.

But I think in general, the course sets up beautifully, and as it's drying out more and more in the afternoons, you can get 40, 50 yards of roll, so it makes you feel like you're a long driver. Even Juli said, I feel like Lexi, some of these bunkers, I don't even have to think about them. She just pounds them by. I don't think length is going to be a factor for some of the players that are still competing a lot, but it's just managing your ball flight and hitting the right parts of these greens.

Q. Kay, prior to this week, had you been to Chicago Golf Club before? And how much did you know about the history of this iconic venue?
KAY COCKERILL: I had just -- I didn't know a ton about it. I just heard from some friends who had occasionally been through Chicago and had played here and raved about it. I played it last year, I think it was Tuesday of KPMG when we were at Olympia Fields and I had arranged a game and played with a member, Van Salmans, and an old friend of mine, Blue Canander, who's volunteering this week as a walking scorer, and then I played also Thursday of KPMG, so I walked 14 holes in the morning while we were on air for four hours, and then I headed over here and I played with Van again and John Guyton, the head pro. And that day I had gone 10 and a half miles, thank you very much, but playing with these guys recently was great, especially Van. He was a multiple club champion here, and John, of course, the head pro, they were able to give me some really good insights.

The first time I played it, I kind of just soaked it in and enjoyed the walk, and then this last time I played, I actually took some notes and really sort of thought about how the course was going to play and asked them questions about where you want to miss it and what happens when the hole is here, and they gave me some really good thoughts.

Q. Has your husband ever caddied for you before, and what is his main job?
KAY COCKERILL: Oh, you know the answer to that. Danny caddied for me all of 1991. That's how we basically met, and we started out as player-caddie, and then midway through '91 season we became a little bit more than player-caddie, kept it all a secret because, of course, everything on Tour -- gossip would spread, and we didn't want the entire world knowing about our relationship before we figured out what was going on. And it's a little tricky with the caddie-player when you become a little more than caddie-player and sort of figuring out the dynamics of who we are on and off the golf course. But he caddied for me all of '91, and that was my best year on Tour. We just saw Sue Ertl, who she's the reason we even came together because Sue stayed at Dan's house in Corning, New York, for the Corning Classic for a good 10-plus years. Danny had known Sue since he was in fifth grade, and when he graduated Ithaca College, she had just fired her caddie. She asked him if he would caddie that week. She finished top 10, and she said, how about you come out the rest of the summer; what are you doing the rest of the summer, and he said, nothing, and she said, why don't you come caddie for me. So it was actually in the summer of '90 where we met and became friends, and then Danny came out -- he didn't get a real job, came out and caddied for me. And then he followed me to Arizona and got a job in baseball. That was his foot in the door. He started working for the Phoenix Firebirds, which is the Giants' AAA team.

Q. What year did y'all get married?
KAY COCKERILL: Last year was our 20th, so this year is 21. But he hasn't caddied -- the last time he caddied was maybe '96 or '97 ANA for Beth Daniel. He caddied for her there, and I think that was the last time -- well, he caddied for me in that one-off U.S. Open qualifier at Half Moon Bay. It's really neat because there's been a lot of old caddie teams, Liselotte Neumann and Mark Scott, Tammy Green and her nephew Travis. I mean, there's a bunch of -- Juli, of course, and -- well, Juli had a few different caddies. But yeah, there's been some really good old teams. Ammaccapane and Dan Wilson. Yeah, so it's really been funny to see some of the old caddies out here. Fitzy with Donna Andrews. Yeah, like these guys -- some of these guys are off -- they have their own jobs, they've gone on to different careers, and they came back out to be here and be a part of this special week, so really cool.

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