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April 5, 2019

Nancy Lopez

Lorena Ochoa

Se Ri Pak

Annika Sorenstam

Augusta, Georgia

Q. You three are pioneer, legends in the women ace game and now you're seeing this momentous occasions where these ladies who all look up to you and watched you play. How does it feel seeing the next generation having the opportunity?
NANCY LOPEZ: I'm thrilled. It's just such a great moment in golf for women amateurs to be able to have this opportunity. I know when they announced it last year, I just sat there for awhile and went, wow, this is awesome. I had chills wishing I could be an amateur again so I could come and play in the event this year.

These young players, they are excellent players, and the opportunity for them to come and play Augusta National is like a feather in their cap. They will never forget it, and so I wish them all good luck, and like I say, it's just so exciting for women amateurs, and women in golf. And Augusta has been really great about amateur golf and really bringing people to golf, and I think amateur golf is a way you do it. Start with amateur golf for sure.

Q. As legends of the game who a lot of these girls have looked up to for their short careers, how is it seeing them have this opportunity?
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: I think it's fantastic. It's so exciting to see them and talking to them after their rounds, the smiles are up to their ear, all of them. They can't stop smiling and it's a dream come true. I'm so happy for them. What a cool experience, to come here and just to get a chance to experience it, because many of them have not been here.

This is golf, and it's what you dream about, so I'm very happy for them.

Q. This is so great for so many of the girls out here but what does it say to young girls who are just now taking up the game?
LORENA OCHOA: I think for sure, like Annika said, I think they, like for example, the Olympics, something as big and as special, is being here, being at Augusta and being able to walk around and to play in this beautiful place, you know, with the names that they have been here before.

They know how special it is, so that they are going to dream about it and practice and be motivated and try to continue their junior career and dream about having the opportunity for them to play here for the first time, is going to be just a great motivation, and it's beautiful. They know how special it is. Like Annika says, you just see their faces. They are walking around, happy, every shot, enjoying. Hitting that first tee shot is probably going to be the highlight of their career.

So just thank you for everybody here at Augusta National to make this possible, and we are happy to be here and enjoy this moment.

Q. Can you talk about your relationship with Maria and when you first met her, and how great it's been to watch her develop into the player that she's become?
LORENA OCHOA: I met Maria when she was little and I went to Pachuca, to her place, and surprised her and played with her for the first time on a very simple golf course. I was still okay. I was still good and I was able to play with her very comfortable.

And in the only hand, I played with her this January, you know, now that she's a college player and she's been winning a few events against a really good level of college player, just very happy to see that. We know how much she loves the game and how good she represents not only her university but México.

I played with her in January and she hits the ball 30 yards farther than me, so now it's difficult to play with her, but I can be close to her, know that I'm a friend and sometimes she texts me or asks for advice and I'm really happy to be able to help her in any way.

Hopefully she makes a little bit less mistakes than the one I made, and I'm very proud to say that, you know, she feels that she enjoys and she's very professional in that way; that she knows what she wants and she's practicing hard.

I wish her the best. We are very proud of her.

Q. Talk about tomorrow. How excited are y'all to do that first tee shot?
NANCY LOPEZ: I'm excited because she's hitting it first.

SE RI PAK: I think first time in long time get nervous. Seriously, after I retire, it's like I'm a rookie for the retired players. First thing up tomorrow, but like I said, very excited, but at the same time, I have honor to be lead and first nervous in a long time. I don't know if I can sleep tonight.

NANCY LOPEZ: You're going to hit driver, right?

ANNIKA SORENSTAM: You don't travel with your clubs anymore? This is a big tee shot. Do you want to borrow mine?

SE RI PAK: No excuse, I'm going to shoot it tomorrow.

Q. How is the order determined who will go first?


NANCY LOPEZ: And then me, and Annika.


NANCY LOPEZ: They told us at lunch and we almost lost it.

LORENA OCHOA: I think it's important to things that this is also special for me, very special to have the four of us together. I grew up admiring the three of you a lot and being good friends here together is a special day for all of us.

Q. What does it mean to you that the four of you are doing is mirroring what Palmer and Nicklaus have done?
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: It's a huge honor, it really is. When this tournament was announced about a year ago, it was just, wow, is this really happening. Like Lorena said, we want to thank Augusta National and the Masters Foundation for giving us this opportunity. We are equally thrilled as Lorena said to see each other and hang around. We all care about the game and women's golf. This is a huge potential to not just inspire young girls, but golfers, other women in sports and women in business.

So yeah, for us to be here is just, wow, we're equally as thrilled. It's going to be fun.

LORENA OCHOA: Maybe tomorrow we can continue and play (laughter).

Q. How do you think you in our would stack up against the ladies out here?
NANCY LOPEZ: Scramble would do very well.

ANNIKA SORENSTAM: We're still competitive.

Q. Nicklaus and Player every year try to out-drive the other. Is there any competitiveness with that tomorrow? Who is going to win?

SE RI PAK: I'm going to try it. Without the club.

ANNIKA SORENSTAM: You can borrow my 3-wood.

NANCY LOPEZ: I think when they did the press conference in New York last week, my thing was, okay, I have to hit it past my three competitors, because I think you always stay competitive. Even though I realistically probably can't, I'm going to try, but it will be fun. Like Lorena said, it's such an honor and when they asked us to be a part of it, it's a thrill for me, to be a professional golfer for so long and to enjoy this great game and to really watch these ladies compete, they are great players, and to be able to be a part of this and for them to kind of make us like the Arnold, Jack and Gary, it's a real big honor for me to be here and hit that first shot.

I will confess, I will be a little nervous. I probably won't sleep, either. But it's just exciting to be a part of history. Tomorrow will be a day of history for us, for the amateurs that are here and for Augusta National.

Q. What do you think the low score could be tomorrow?
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: Depends on the conditions.

LORENA OCHOA: Pin placements.

ANNIKA SORENSTAM: That, too. They said it was going to rain today and it didn't. Hopefully we'll get a nice day tomorrow like we did today. But these girls can play. Several of them walked off the course and said they shot under par. But I know today's practice is a little different.

LORENA OCHOA: They will improve tomorrow, three or four shots, because once they know the course, it will be a little bit easier. That's very important on the course.

ANNIKA SORENSTAM: But it's interesting, they have nothing really to compare it with. If you think it's the first competitive women's event here, so they are setting the bar.

Q. Do you think it's going to matter having Patrons here tomorrow, because today, with really no one watching, and then today, the large crowd, is that going to inspire them to do better? Will that bring out some nerves that weren't here today?
LORENA OCHOA: For some of the players, they do like that. They concentrate better. They feel, in a way, like excited just to be able to play in front of a crowd. I think probably one or two players are going to go 3- or 4-under and maybe be two or three shots in front of the other players, because there is always somebody that gets that low round, a little more comfortable. So it will be interesting. We will be there tomorrow to walk a little bit around the players and see them.

Q. What's your advice to those 30 players on attacking a course that's pretty legendary but also pretty difficult?
ANNIKA SORENSTAM: They need to have fun. What an experience. That's what it's all about. Yeah, of course, they are here to compete and play, but sometimes a score is maybe not as important in a sense, but come out here, do your best, trust yourself, enjoy it. This is, like Nancy said, this is historic. So I know several of the girls said that they were so nervous on Wednesday because, you know, they wanted to prove that they were the right people to be part of the field. So some of them will feel the same way tomorrow.

But you've just got to experience it. These young girls are just starting their careers, so build on the experience and they are learning lessons and that will make them stronger, and next time they tee up at an event, it's not going to feel so big.

LORENA OCHOA: I think at least the two Mexican players, they know how special they are just for being here. I just say congratulations for being here.

The players we saw this morning, we said congratulations for being here because they already made it. They are the top amateur players from around the world and I think they need to understand, they have nothing to lose tomorrow, just go enjoy, laugh, have a good time with the other players and be part of this historic day.

SE RI PAK: Yeah, experience always been great for golfer. Especially they know how to play, but at the same time especially the golf course, like Annika said, go out and have fun, but at the same time, they just need experience, but they will have a great time.

LORENA OCHOA: It was very nice to see some of the Korean players, how they look at Se Ri (laughter).

NANCY LOPEZ: She really started the Korean contingency coming over here, because they said, well, Se Ri is great, so we want to try to be like her. It was a great thing for her.

SE RI PAK: Great for them to be inspired for Korean athletes and golfers, beginning tomorrow. Very excited.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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