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March 26, 2002

Nancy Lopez


MODERATOR: I guess we're going to get started, maybe just talk about your morning pro-am, how that went and which course you played.

NANCY LOPEZ: It was great. Beautiful day, and we had a good time. Hit the ball pretty good. Wind didn't blow very much, which was nice and I know I came in on Saturday evening and the wind was playing pretty good. Sunday it was pretty good and yesterday was nice again. The wind is blowing a lot today. I know that will make the course tougher if it blows like I have heard it has been blowing but hopefully it won't do that this week.

MODERATOR: Maybe you could talk about the last couple of weeks, you missed the cut by one last week.

NANCY LOPEZ: The one the week before.

MODERATOR: How do you feel coming into this week?

NANCY LOPEZ: I have really hit the ball pretty well. Tried to work on my game a little bit this winter but the weather wasn't very good at home so didn't really get day-in, day-out practice. It was more broken up still. But I played well last week, last day lost a little bit of concentration on the backside. I think when you don't play a lot, sometimes that happens, and I ended up bogeying three holes coming in, that happened one time. Three holes out of the left six holes just really trying to get some good timing going and hitting the ball consistently every time and I think coming here you get more pumped up and you feel more excited even more so, because this golf course is in super shape. I have played it now for a couple of days. I have hit the ball well on it. Still trying to find the right driver, the right ball, everybody is always trying to hit it a little bit further. But I am excited to be back out anyway because this was really only my third week out playing.

MODERATOR: We'll open it up for questions.

Q. With your announcement a couple of weeks ago does it make coming to each of these tournaments a little bit different now, you are a pretty emotional person you have demonstrated through the years, how do you keep these emotions in control knowing this may be the last time you play here or there -- not here, you are playing here, right?

NANCY LOPEZ: (Laughs) I hope so. It has been emotional for me. I think finishing in Phoenix and on the last -- well on Friday I hit a 7-iron right, almost in the hole, it stepped about an inch from going in, and I made that for birdie. And missed the cut by one but when I was walking up to the green I was very emotional because I said, gosh, I didn't even think about the cut. I just -- I felt like I had missed the cut by a lot because I didn't really play good on Thursday. Played really good on Friday, unfortunately it didn't go -- if I would have made the cut which would have been really fun to talk about. It was hard because walking up to the 18th green thinking that I may not be there anymore, it was emotional for me. I was glad I hit it that close because I think if it would have been further I wouldn't have made it.

I had a lot of tears in my eyes. I don't know if anybody saw them. I was really trying to hold them in. Yeah, it was tough. Last week in Tucson I thought I had made the cut but I never played to make the cut. I just play. If I make it I make it. If I don't, you know, I don't. I don't think about it. I am not out there trying to do that. I just want to play my best golf. I didn't really think I had missed the cut, but unfortunately I guess I had bogeyed three out of the last six holes, and I was at 4-under at one time so I was hoping I got some timing going, I was hitting the ball really well. I was disappointed that I bogeyed three holes coming in. I really wasn't thinking about the cut at all and maybe didn't feel as sad maybe because I still felt I had a chance to play the next couple of days but I didn't, so ..

Q. This is your last fold here so you said you'd play selected tournaments, is this one of those selected tournaments that we'll see you in 2003 and beyond?

NANCY LOPEZ: Well, as long as they let the Hall of Famers play here I will keep come back. I would just really work hard on my game and try and bring a game here because I think that to come here you want to play your best golf, of course, and the opportunity to play here at the Nabisco tournament is one that you want to do as long as you can. So I would definitely try and be here every year still.

Q. Given what you said about the first couple of weeks, what is it going to be like just tournament after tournament with emotion the whole time?

NANCY LOPEZ: Well, it will be tough. Because I feel like I am seeing a lot of my fans that I won't see anymore and you see familiar faces. You may not know their names, but you know them because they are there every year, and they are always -- they make their appearance and you know that they are there. I just think that your fans are what make you the professional athlete that you are. They are here to support you. They were always -- they were there through the good times and the bad times, the good times, the bad games, the divorce from my first husband and they always wrote encouraging letters of 'hang in there' and to me, they think I can't do anything wrong, so (laughs), I mean, I appreciate that, but the fans are what I think has probably kept me out here as long as I have played. I am only 45, but you know, you get up in the mornings and you don't feel as good. I don't think I can work on my golf game to get it to where -- I think I could get it to where it was very, very competitive again, but with my family and my husband, his career now back with the Reds, there's just so much going on that I can't get my game to where I would want to compete with Annika and Karrie. I don't want to be 150th on the money list. I love to play golf, but it's discouraging when I can't hit that shot that I know I could hit. And I don't like that. I would rather you know, walk away and then work on my game a little bit and play once in a while next year, but I just -- and I don't want to say -- I guess I have always felt like if I couldn't play my best golf out here then I am wasting my time not being with my family. But I am not wasting my time being out here, there's two ways to say that because I love being out here. I love playing. I love golf. What it has brought to my life, it has been tremendous. I have had a wonderful life out here on the LPGA Tour and I have enjoyed it tremendously. But I want to still hit those good shots and if I can't hit those good shots anymore then I need to try and do something else with the rest of my other life.

Q. Was there a particular time when you thought -- felt really frustrated by the tug of home versus the tug of the Tour and was there kind of an enlightening moment or did it just kind of happen over time?

NANCY LOPEZ: Well, I feel like I have just struggled all the time even when I was playing my best golf because I probably could have been on the golf course, I'd be home doing something there and I'd feel guilty because I wasn't practicing. Then when I came out here I felt guilty because I wasn't with my family or I wasn't at a dance recital or I didn't spend Halloween with them, I was in Japan -- I used to be in Japan when Halloween came around. Those things are really special, especially when you have children - at least they are to me - and when you can't do those, you are struggling all the time, and I think just you know, the feeling of being guilty or feeling guilty or feeling bad because I don't go to a tournament to play in it, or I am not home when I feel like I need to be because I have to be here at the Nabisco, like this week my daughters have spring break and they are here but they wanted to go to the beach. I said well, this is a big tournament for mom. This is -- I want to play really good there, but if mom is not with you at the beach, you can't go to the beach. Because I am their body guard. (Laughs). So I told them they had to come here. I told them they'd have a great time. Of course you know, that age, Ashley is 18 and she felt a little offended that I wouldn't let her go to the beach without her mom. But she's not going to go to the beach without her mom. As long as I pay for everything, she is still going to go when I go. And Erinn, my 16 year old wanted to go to the beach and I said, no, you can't go to the beach. And little Torri who is 10 doesn't matter to her, she just wants to be with mom or dad one or the other. It's always been a struggle through my whole career where I should have been and what I should have -- if I should have been working on my game a little bit more. Maybe I could have won a few more tournaments if I would have worked a little bit harder. So it has just gotten to where I just decided that it was just, you know, it was time if I couldn't give -- I think because you are so public with your career, I didn't want to just shoot 72, 74, you know, and I shot some really bad rounds last year and it just -- it's not so much embarrassing, but you humiliate yourself with this golf game if you are not prepared. Like I said, if you are going to be out here, I want to be in that last group with Annika and Karrie, even if I am 45. I want to have that golf game and I know I could have it if I worked hard on it. But I just don't have the desire to do that, but I do have the desire to come out and play and enjoy it the way I always have.

Q. (Inaudible) know what it is going to be like going to be home all the time?

NANCY LOPEZ: This winter probably the longest time I had been at home. I had been there since the Tournament of the Champions in September, and didn't come out 'til two weeks ago. It was really hard to leave that morning. It was just real strange to pack up my luggage and come back out. But I loved-- practiced every day, when I got to Phoenix I started practicing on Sunday just -- Thursday I could barely move I was hurting so bad. (Laughs) because I am so out of shape right now. I am trying to get in the trailer and work out, lose some weight, get the -- cardio is what kills me, I just-- want to have that physical fitness with the cardio because that makes me feel like I can walk 18 holes, my feet aren't killing me and my knees are not killing me. They wrote that in U.S.A. tODAY and I do work for Cynvisc (phonetic), I got the injections and they said: Why did you tell them your knee is killing you. That's the only thing that is not killing me. They kind of took it with that because my knees have been my big problem for a long time. But my knees aren't killing me. It is my feet. My legs start hurting. I have a sore shoulder a lot of times, and you don't want to make excuses so I don't. I really don't come out here and say oh I am hurting but I said, you know, it would be kind of fun if we could wear a shirt that day and tell everybody how you are feeling that day and "I might not play as I'd like to because... " You know, something is not feeling good. But otherwise, I mean, I love being out here. I enjoy it and the fans always, you know, make me feel like I can play great golf because they are very supportive.

Q. Were you pleased to see Laura Diaz winning on Sunday and are you disappointed there aren't more Americans following up behind you winning tournaments?

NANCY LOPEZ: Well, Laura Diaz is a great player. She's a really nice person too, and I think that she's added a lot to our Tour. Of course, I'd like to see Americans winning golf tournaments. I think that the foreign players have added a lot to our Tour. I feel like I am pretty good friends with all of them and I enjoy all their personalities because there's quite a few different personalities. But of course I am from the United States and I will always root for my fellow players to do well. And I guess the people that are over here that are watching LPGA golf, they would like to see I am sure U.S. players winning because the foreign players are -- really just come over here and played very well and were pretty dominated by them right now and sure, I think just because of the rivalry like to see more U.S. players winning. But it has been a lot of fun watching them. I think that Annika and Karrie have added a lot to our Tour and I don't think people realize what great players they are. You know, when Annika shot the 59 I know when we went back to Phoenix this year, they said, we don't want anybody shooting a 59 so they made the golf course a little tougher. She's a great player, she hits the ball straight down the middle of the fairway. She was never in that high rough that felt like it was up to your nostrils when you were stepping in it. They didn't give her credit for hitting that great shot down in the fairway and a shot into the greens that are not biting at all. You had to land the ball short and kind of guess to see what it was going to do when it ended up finishing its rolling. But they are great players and we need to always push LPGA golf and what the players are all about and what great games they have, especially because we're all women and they don't expect to us hit the ball a long way and they don't expect us to shoot 59s. But I think Annika deserves a lot of credit for that score because that was a great score on that golf course.

Q. Are your children like other peoples' children not noticing what their parents do or how aware are they of your career?

NANCY LOPEZ: They know I've made a lot of money. (Laughs) because they sure like to spend it. (Laughs).

My daughters, when they travel with me I mean Ashley who is 18 now she's graduating this year, she would travel with me and I really didn't bring her out to the golf course a bunch. And Erinn, same thing, she was out here, loved it, they really didn't come out here. They did a lot of sight-seeing and museums and zoos, things like that. But I think that they have always known what our careers were all about. And I think that they have enjoyed the travelling. I think that they still do. There is just more interest at home that they like to stay closer to home. But they have made a lot of friends on Tour too, in other cities, and other kids on the Tour. So I don't know -- we have always tried to keep their life as normal as possible and whatever they have gotten out of our celebrity, you know, you'd have to ask them because I don't feel like they really make a big deal out of it. We're pretty normal to them.

Q. Taking the concept of the foreign players dominating right now, can you think of something that might be done or the reason that the Americans are kind of taking a back seat at this particular time? Is there something in the training or the discipline of the foreign players that perhaps we don't do?

NANCY LOPEZ: I really like to probably look at that. I think that when you look at all the Korean players that have come over here, they are very, very good players. I don't know why we have gone away from that here in the United States. I feel like -- I feel like we have had pretty good junior programs but when you see the players that are coming up you see more foreign players having the great players that are coming up. I don't know if it's, you know, the parents, what they are doing, if they are you know, not supporting their kids in more, you know, more sports, more golf. I know when I was growing up I didn't have computers. I hardly watched television, but I was doing something with my mom and dad and my dad played golf. So I played golf with him. And he took the time to do that. I think that lots of times and probably Ray and are guilty too, we could spend a little more time doing something with our kids to play golf our daughters don't play golf. Ashley is a softball player and Erinn is a basketball player and Torri, she plays some golf with us when we go out on the golf course. I think it's really you know, the parents have to introduce the sport to their child and take them out there and show them the interest to keep that growing because it's hard-- I know when we were playing golf it was a rich man's sport and for us to have the opportunity to go out on the golf course and play wasn't that easy. I know junior programs really didn't exist when I was coming up. I played golf with the guys, my age, and really got better because I played with them. But I think that we really need to push -- encourage the young girls to come out and play golf. If we can bring programs to every city that we come to when we have an LPGA event, and have something -- because I know kids are always looking for something to do to be a part of and if they can come out and see golf, women's golf, I think you can start an interest there and keep it going, but it is more time-consuming. You see a lot of kids playing other sports because it doesn't take as much time. Golf, you know, if I -- when I look back on it every day when I played, you know, there's four, five hours, six hours of my day to practice, but it is what I wanted to do. You have got -- you have got to form the interest first I think to bring those girls out here. I think in other countries there's probably not -- I know soccer is very popular in England and some other countries, but golf has been something that, I think, that the parents have said this is something we can encourage you to do and you can become a professional and you can make a living doing it. I think that they have encouraged them in that way and with that, they have gotten trainers for these girls. I know Se Ri Pak has had trainers for ever, I think, helping her and coaches working on her golf game. So I think that they just -- they set a goal, let's play golf, and I think over here there's so many things to do that the young kids just aren't interested in just golf. They do other things, and because like I said, golf is more time consuming maybe, but I think that we're going to work on that. I think the LPGA is going to work on encouraging young women to start playing golf, really push that and I think that that would be a great thing because I would like to see more American players coming up with a kind of golf that they need to come out here and win golf tournaments.

Q. Are you saying that there's no substitute for having a parent that's interested? You have any amount of these programs but if your parent weren't taking you out to play you are not going to get there...

NANCY LOPEZ: I think that's where it starts. In junior programs, if you can bring the kids out, get them interested, then I think they can influence the parents to help them also to keep them going saying, mom and dad, I want to play golf. I think it is a great sport, let's play golf. I think that that would be one way to get them interested, but I know we did a junior clinic years ago in Los Angeles, and I think there was supposed to be about 150 kids. It ended up being about 400 kids that came and it was great. It was a lot of fun. They gave me the 6 year olds or -- 60 of them. It was really fun. They were really interested, but yet a lot of those kids didn't have the money to play golf, but every week we would donate shoes, clubs, different stuff to help these kids and distribute all that stuff to give them the opportunity to do that. I think The 1st Tee Program is helping in that respect to get kids out there to play a little bit more golf.

It's such a great sport. It is something that you can do with your parents but it is something that's a great sport you can do for a long, long time.

Q. Any pressure on you from the LPGA to stay given that there's certain instability perhaps in the Tour at the moment?

NANCY LOPEZ: No, I mean, there's not any pressure for me to stay out here. I think that I always look at the other players and hope that they can, you know, carry the torch that has been carried through all the years on the LPGA Tour and we do have the players that can do that. We have got great players out here. Television is going to help us. If we could have television every weekend, I feel that women's golf would be very, very popular, but it's hard when you don't see us every weekend. You just see us once in a while and get to see the competitiveness of the players out there. Like last week, if that tournament would have been on television I think that you'd see the great players that we have and it has to be consistent though week-in and week-out like it has always been for the men. But I will still be around in spirit, and support the LPGA as long as I live because it is a wonderful organization and it has been a part of my life for a long, long time.

Q. (Inaudible)

NANCY LOPEZ: I don't know for sure what I am going to do right now with the Senior Tour. I won't be able to play any of the events this year, I believe, because I am going to be busy doing other stuff, but I would certainly like to play a little bit maybe next year, you know, once in a while. I really didn't want to leave this Tour to join another Tour. I would love to support that Tour though and help them in any way that I can. But my priorities are going to be my family and other things that I want to do and then if I can play in other event, I will.

End of FastScripts....

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