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May 15, 2019

Donna Andrews

Southern Pines, North Carolina

THE MODERATOR: Welcome back, everyone. We are with Donna Andrews. She is the head golf instructor here at Pine Needles, competed in the inaugural U.S. Senior Women's Open championship last year. Thank you for being here with us today. Talk about what it's like to have this event here.

DONNA ANDREWS: It's just amazing. It's been so much fun to be able to welcome all the players, and every time I gave them a hug, I'm like, welcome to my world, and they're like, man, we love it here. It's like a little piece of heaven. It's fun to have all the players here, and we've been telling stories and laughing and carrying on, and it's just so much fun to catch up with everybody.

Q. You played in the event last year. Talk a little bit about what that experience was like for you.
DONNA ANDREWS: For me it was more about getting to see everybody again. Obviously I'm here teaching full time, so I don't get out to see players very often, and to hear some of the stories that were told, and we're all sort of going through the same struggles last year.

Most of us don't play full-time anymore for a living. We're out there, we have other jobs, but to be able to go out there and play and enjoy the camaraderie, I think that's why golf is so great. It brings everybody together. Doesn't matter what caliber of player you are. It's just always fun just to get together.

Q. You know this course really well. Talk a little bit about what you expect the play to be like and kind of one or two things you're excited to watch your peers at your course here.
DONNA ANDREWS: I think it'll be fun. I was actually listening to a story. Somebody was talking about Laura playing No. 10, and they said, oh, she hit driver off the tee up and over the trees and hit driver to the man, and I'm like, man, never in my life have I ever pictured playing that hole that way.

So I do want to see that. Because it wouldn't be a way that I would ever play that hole. But the greens are tough. They're hard, they're fast, so the players, we all need to keep it short of the greens. It's typical Donald Ross style. Anybody who's played Pinehurst No. 2 knows the typical Donald Ross style.

So for me, I'm just going to try to hit it in the middle of the fairway, middle of the greens and try to make a few putts here and there.

Q. How have you found a balance between getting ready to compete and actually do your job and be a host and all of the other things that come with you and this event?
DONNA ANDREWS: I laugh because I don't know that I did find that balance. Every year the Open has been here -- and this goes back to 1996, 2001, I always said that I was going to learn to say no. Well, I'm not very good at that. You can ask any of these USGA people. You know, they ask me to do something, I am like, of course. They're asking me to find caddies. They didn't have enough caddies this week, so I was helping them find caddies. But the fun part is I think having my kids and everything have really -- it just reminds me of what's really important in life. I started out Monday, my daughter slammed her finger in the car door, and I just went, okay, this is much more important than any golf tournament will ever be.

So I've just -- it's just so much fun to have everybody here in my hometown and at my course. I'm excited to watch the players play and see how they play the golf course. It's tough. It's going to be a tough course to play.

I've learned that I'm just going to go out there and do my best, and as I told my kids, I said, I'm going with the philosophy of the game you guys play, ready or not, here I come, because that's all I've got. The last two weeks we had golf schools here, so I was sneaking out at lunchtime playing three or four holes, and the big joke was if I play three balls for four holes, does that count that I played 12 holes that day.

So I don't know that I balanced it real well, but ready or not, here I come.

Q. This is just the second year of this tournament, and here it is already just in its second year. How happy do you think Peggy Kirk Bell would be?
DONNA ANDREWS: I think Peggy Kirk Bell would feel honored. I think it's ironic that she's being inducted into Hall of Fame the same year that we're having the tournament here. I said, I looked at the weather, and I said, well, she was in charge of the weather. We know that. She always has been. But I know she would be thrilled to see all of these players. These are players that she watched that she grew up watching, too. She was one of our founding members, and these were the players that she helped establish. So we are all here to honor her.

The family did a very cool thing. All the players found in their lockers this morning one of Peggy Kirk Bell's original putters that they've put the logo from the U.S. Open on, and all the players were talking about what a great -- what a wonderful gift that was that Bonnie and Peggy Ann gave to each of the players. So something that we'll always remember. We'll remember this place as Peggy Kirk Bell's home.

Q. This event was a big step forward for women's golf. In the same way, Peggy getting into Hall of Fame seems like another step forward, recognizing the massive contributions she made to the game, and it's sort of cool that we're here for that reason this week.
DONNA ANDREWS: I certainly think so. And, I mean, everybody said -- I was asked many times what brought me to Pine Needles, and the answer is Peggy Kirk Bell. I had represented Pinehurst on Tour, I had gone to school at UNC, moved here after I graduated and represent Pinehurst when I was playing on Tour the first 13 years and got to know Ms. Bell just through functions in town, and when she heard that I was going to start teaching, she said, you've got to come teach with me.

And it was just such a perfect fit for me. She's like, look, we're a women-friendly place. We really gear everything we do to women. All our golf schools are geared to women, and so now to be here following in her footsteps, somebody said I was brought in to fill her footsteps, and I said, I can't do that, but I will certainly follow in her footsteps.

And the fact that we have so many great women's golf schools here, we've had over a hundred women here the last two weeks for our golf schools, and so we're advancing women's golf in all sorts of ways, and this is just another step.

This tournament brings golf back to the forefront. Women of all ages can be out there playing golf, and that's hopefully what we'll be able to show them this week.

Q. Overall where do you think women's golf is now compared to when you came out on Tour?
DONNA ANDREWS: Leaps and bounds ahead. There's so many more opportunities for women. You know, a lot of the courses used to have stipulations about when women could play, and a lot of those have gone by the wayside, and obviously it's -- one of the fastest growing parts of golf is women's golf. I think we've done a lot to concentrate on that, and I think now that we've got the women playing, you're starting to see the increase in the juniors playing because now the moms are able to take their kids out there to play.

So I think everything is just sort of feeding on itself.

Q. I'm curious, what do you think is the toughest hole on this course?
DONNA ANDREWS: Ooh, the toughest hole? Well, it depends on where they put the tee boxes, and I didn't play today, I played the last two days. I actually took the day off today and just practiced a little bit. So I've heard they moved some tee boxes up, so I don't know.

17 is always a tough hole, especially coming down the stretch. If we play the back tee, a lot of the girls can't carry the bunker off the tee. 2 always played hard because it's a long par-4 that you have to land short of and run it up. And 18 to me is a tough hole to hold the green. Coming off a downslope, hitting to a downhill green, I think you'll see a lot of players over that green, which is not where you want to be, and I'm going to plan on trying not to be there.

But I mean, there's so many great holes out here. A lot will depend on where the USGA ends up playing some of the holes from.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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