May 3, 1997
DAYTONA BEACH, FLORIDA
KIRSTEN SEABORG: Go over your card. Birdies, actually.
NANCY LOPEZ: No. 2, I birdied. I hit an 8-iron about 5 feet. Made that for birdie. 8-iron, to about five feet made that for birdie. No. 1, I parred. No. 2, I birdied. No. 3, I was just on the edge. Chipped to about a foot and made that for par. 4, same thing, right on the edge and I chipped to about a foot for par. No. 5, I hit 3-iron and had about a 4-footer. Made that for birdie. No. 6, hit a 6-iron about four feet. Made that for birdie. 7, 2-putted for par. 8, 2-putted for par from the fringe. 9, 2-putted putted for par from the fringe. Number 10, 2-footer, par. No. 11, chipped to about a foot. Made that for par. Number 12, hit an 8-iron about five feet. Made that for birdie. 13, 2-putted for par. 14, I hit a 7-iron about two feet. Made that for birdie. 15, 2-putted for par. 16 and 17, I 2-putted for par. And 18, I hit a sand wedge about ten feet. Made that for birdie.
Q. What hole were you on when they broke?
NANCY LOPEZ: No. 11 green.
Q. Any difference in the way you hit before and after? Obviously, the break didn't affect you.
NANCY LOPEZ: It was -- the course played easier than it was playing when we played to No. 11 because the wind was really blowing hard and really pretty difficult. But, once it rained, there wasn't very much wind at all after that. So, it did make the course a little bit easier because it was playing pretty tough early.
Q. You are in thick of the hunt right there?
NANCY LOPEZ: Great. I really played well today. Was really pleased early because it was playing so tough, and I was able to make some birdies on the front side. And I think the backside always plays a little tougher, so glad to have done that. And I made 6 birdies, so made $6,000 for the American Heart Association today, so, (smiles) that is good too.
Q. How much have you made so far?
NANCY LOPEZ: I made 4 birdies yesterday and 5 birdies the day before, I believe.
Q. How do you feel about being 4 back on the final day?
NANCY LOPEZ: They're not finished yet; are they?
Q. Pretty much.
NANCY LOPEZ: Yeah, good, because I think there is a lot of birdies out there to be made, and I think the weather will be nice tomorrow. I am sure the wind will blow because that is what it has done every other day. Maybe it won't. But, I will look forward to going out there. I feel real good about the way I am hitting the ball and putting well. So I am looking forward to it.
Q. Last week you mentioned that it was nice to win but didn't have that excitement of things going down to a final hole on a Sunday. So, do you like -- really feeling good about having that chance?
NANCY LOPEZ: I look forward to playing a full 18 tomorrow on the last day.
Q. Do you feel like you turned the clock back a little bit, is this the Nancy Lopez of old?
NANCY LOPEZ: I don't know. I have never thought about it that way. (Laughter) But, I hope so. It would be nice to, you know, keep a winning streak going. And, I have got two more tournaments to play after this before I go home, so it will be nice to really play well. Maybe win another one.
Q. Are you getting any sort of flashbacks from the old days or anything like that? Same feelings?
NANCY LOPEZ: Feelings. Feelings, yes, feelings of making putts and hitting the ball where I want to and giving myself opportunities for a lot of birdies. But hitting the shots when I need to. I think that is what you feel most of all is when you overshot and, you know, where you have to hit it and then hitting it there. That is where you feel like -- that is where I feel more flashbacks because of that.
Q. You are 4 out. Is it better for you tomorrow if the wind is blowing?
NANCY LOPEZ: I don't mind playing in the wind. I grew up playing in the wind. I feel like I am a pretty good wind player. It was tough - like I said this morning - it was definitely tougher fighting that wind because it was blowing really hard a few times.
Q. What is the farthest you were behind on a final day and were able to win?
NANCY LOPEZ: I remember being 9 shots behind Donna Capone at a tournament one time and I finished one shot behind her. But, furthest behind, I am not really sure. I am going to probably say 5 and winning.
Q. Is this a tournament that you have felt a little missing from the resume; one you have really wanted to add to your record?
NANCY LOPEZ: Yeah, I'd like to add it to my account at the bank. (Laughter) It is a great tournament to win. It is just that type tournament that you almost feel like it should be a Major. But just winning the tournament would be great; especially for me now. Getting back into the swing of playing, playing the type of golf that I have played in years past, I would be really thrilled to be able to win it tomorrow. Coming from behind especially, too.
Q. Are you hitting the ball any much better in this stretch or is it just the added confidence is back?
NANCY LOPEZ: Confidence. Because I have been hitting it pretty well since about the middle of last year, and you have to be real patient. When you haven't been there for a little while and you are playing well and then all of a sudden you faulter, you get, you know, you just get kind of mad at yourself and it is almost a little hard to pick yourself back up because, you know, you feel like, "Gollie, I lost it there." And you just have to keep going. And so week-in and week-out I was still playing consistent. Then I would have a mistake happen and, you know, it would throw me back. But now, there is less mistakes being made. So, I definitely feel like I am getting closer to having those good rounds and not any mistakes in them.
Q. Was there ever a point during that almost four years where you started to doubt or wonder if maybe you wouldn't win again? Ever get to that point for you?
NANCY LOPEZ: Well, I think during the time when I wasn't winning and I wasn't really feeling good out on the golf course I might have felt like, well, you know, if I am ever going to win again, I am going to have to start working a lot on my golf game, and I really wasn't prepared to do that at that time. I was more involved in my family and what was going on at home. I wasn't really willing to sacrifice that time to the golf course. But then finally after, you know, the last year that I finally decided that, you know, I am getting tired of this and I either needed to start playing better or I needed to quit playing because I was really tormenting myself on the golf course. Because I think once you win, and you are at the top for a little while, when you have to settle with just playing golf and not really having a chance to win, I really didn't like that feeling. So that is why I decided to do what I have done try and get myself back into shape and really like that I have a chance again; when probably before, I really didn't feel that way. I might have thought that I had a chance, but physically I really didn't.
Q. Did you actually think about quitting or you just --
NANCY LOPEZ: Yeah.
Q. How close?
NANCY LOPEZ: I wasn't happy and it wasn't my family; it wasn't my husband. It was just me. And I think as competitive as I have always been, you know, it was okay for the first year and then the second year came -- went and the third year and, you know, just playing that kind of golf, being away from my family, I felt like I was wasting my time. So at least now I feel that when I am out there, I feel good being out there and I feel like I can win or I can get close to winning and eventually it may happen again and again. But, at least I feel that way now and maybe before I said I did, but I probably really didn't feel that way.
Q. At what point did you get that feeling back, that you could win?
NANCY LOPEZ: Probably after I lost about 30 pounds because I felt really strong and I was hitting the ball really well. I mean, I felt really -- at impact, I just felt the ball was coming off really powerfully and I felt really good. And, I was excited about it, felt really good about hitting the ball the way I was, so I looked forward to playing everyday.
Q. Was that before the season started or was it --
NANCY LOPEZ: Before the season started. End of the year, last year started feeling that way.
Q. Patty Sheehan was in here yesterday talking about how sometimes she finds it difficult to find motivation still; obviously the big tournaments do it. But, having been in the Hall of Fame; achieved so much, makes it difficult and you have been there for like ten years now. Have you ever gone through that just in terms of, you know, I-have-done-everything kind of an attitude and that makes it hard to do this?
NANCY LOPEZ: Well, I think you feel that once you get into the Hall of Fame, you kind of feel like well, I have reached that goal; now you have to be able to set another goal. And, you know, I think you have to set goals to keep yourself, you know, wanting to keep playing and keep winning. But, you have to set goals. And, I think once you reach the Hall of Fame, your goals kind of, you know, faulter to the wayside because you don't really think "What else can I do." But, then playing golf and being away from my family, I think Ray has probably motivated me quite a few times while I was sitting at home saying, "Oh, I don't want to play next week, I don't want to play." And, he'd say, "You got to play. You are playing great. You need to get out there and start playing." He always seemed to say something that would get me back out here with some kind of motivation. But, then once I was out here and I was inside the ropes and I was playing golf, I was motivated already because I love being there inside the ropes and competing. And, then it was more like, well, if I am going to be away from my family, I need to play the best golf I can because then I really, you know, I am not wasting my time if I do that. And I am not taking that time away from my kids.
Q. Sounds like you never would have been interested in playing just to make appearances at tournaments and have the people organizing the tournament happy with having a gallery attraction?
NANCY LOPEZ: And be humiliated by your golf game. If you don't played well, you wish nobody was watching you. So I think part of that humiliation makes you try and work harder to play better because you don't like that embarrassment - embarrassing feeling of not hitting the shots when everybody really expects you to still to.
Q. You have no interest in playing unless you are competitive?
NANCY LOPEZ: Yeah.
Q. How do you explain Chris Tschetter on this course? I assumed you have played with her. What do you think it is about her game that helps her so much on this course and what -- do you have courses that you -- seem to fit like a glove like she does here?
NANCY LOPEZ: Yeah, I think every player has her favorite golf course. It seems like probably this is one of Chris's favorites. She has played well here almost every year and I think -- I think she is a good putter. She plays pretty aggressive and this is the type golf course I think that you can do that on.
Q. Good putter, did you say?
NANCY LOPEZ: Yeah.
Q. I assume her length also helps?
NANCY LOPEZ: Yeah, she has got some length because I mean, definitely going to have an advantage if you can hit shorter irons into these greens.
Q. Had you decided long ago to channel most of your energy almost exclusively to golf - in other words, if you didn't take any time for family, how much would your career be different? Would your record be different? How might it have changed?
NANCY LOPEZ: You have to ask my husband that question because he is the stats man (Laughter) I don't know. I feel like I would have stayed very competitive if I wouldn't have got married and had a family I would have -- but, you know, if I didn't have a family and if I wasn't married, I wouldn't be very happy either. So that might have affected the way I played too because I think with my family, I have stayed pretty happy. And, I know if I don't play good my kids still love me and my husband does, too. So you always have something to fall back on. That is important to really round out your life. I think if you just play golf and that is it, eventually I would probably have burned out and probably have not played as well as I could for a long amount of time staying competitive.
Q. As much as you enjoy being competitive out here and obviously enjoy raising your kids and being around your family, it is a different type of enjoyment? Do you enjoy them equally or --
NANCY LOPEZ: Do I enjoy my family more?
NANCY LOPEZ: Oh, yeah. I sure do. I think the thing is I get to watch them compete when I am at home, so I realize that, you know, I like the competition that goes on in their life. Then I know coming out here and them knowing that this is what I need to do still, it is funny because my daughter Torri, my five year old, you know, over so many years I haven't won a tournament and every time I go to play, I say, "Mom is going to try and win a tournament." She says, "Mom, you're just not going to win." (Laughter) And I think she really doesn't understand. But actually they do understand. They started playing golf a couple of years ago after following me a couple of times. I think they got the competition fever because they liked what they saw and that is when they decided that they wanted to start playing golf because they never really liked it. I would take them out once in a while. After I won last week, they were real excited. I felt the excitement in them that I never felt before because I did win. And I said to -- Erin, my 10 year old was asking for a thousand dollar raise for her allowance every week after last week (Laughter) She says, "Just kidding mom." But, I don't know. It is just -- I think competing and being able to have a family and everything, it is very satisfying for me and maybe that is what I need.
Q. They were coming into their prime or at a peak as a golfer, and was trying to decide whether to start a family or keep going, what kind of advice would yougive?
NANCY LOPEZ: Well, you know now that we have the day care, it makes it a lot easier to have a family. And, I think before, it would have been a lot tougher because there are a lot of times when you bring your kids out here, it was really hard to have anybody take care of them because you didn't know who was going to be taking care of them. Unfortunately I have had a nannie all my career, so we have had somebody with our kids all the time. I have always been really be able to just concentrate on what I was doing. But, I mean, I think that all the girls that are on Tour, you know, to have a family, I don't think they should wait unless they just don't feel like they can handle it. Because it gets pretty hectic. You mean you get little crazy sometimes (Laughter). You just sometimes feel like you can't do it. But, you -- I think what I have always tried to do is just concentrate on what I am doing at that time. If I am with my kids, I just concentrate on being with my kids. When I am with my husband, same thing. And, when I am playing golf. I can't do anything about my kids when I am out on the golf course. I have to really totally concentrate on what I am doing there. I think that really helps you to just perform under your best, whatever you are doing at that time.
KIRSTEN SEABORG: Anymore questions for Nancy? Okay. Thanks.
NANCY LOPEZ: Thank you.
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