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May 19, 2019

Helen Alfredsson

Southern Pines, North Carolina

THE MODERATOR: It is my pleasure to be joined by our newest Senior Women's Open champion, Helen Alfredsson. Just a little bit about what you're feeling right now.

HELEN ALFREDSSON: Well, completely elated. Exhausted. This probably goes before elated. It's just -- you just have a hard time believing it, you know, because it's so -- when you're out there and particularly we struggled today, you keep grinding and grinding and you're trying to just stay focused on what you're doing, not let your thoughts slip, and that's something that is also very difficult when you don't play as much, to really stay -- I think I said that yesterday somewhere, that when you play, it's much easier. You realize how much -- it is the truth that golf is 90 percent mental because that's what keeps you together when you're struggling.

Q. You talked about the stress that you kind of went through today. When did it start, and what is it like?
HELEN ALFREDSSON: How about last night? (Laughter.) How about this first week? I mean, you come, you know it's going to be tough. Well, the funny thing is I came up here in March because I just wanted to see the golf course. You know, it was a little bit wet. It was very long. We played from -- whatever the first set of tees are where they had marked it off, and I said to my husband, I don't think this has been a great idea because it was so bleep-bleep damn hard. So since then, I've been fretting for this golf course. Normally you can say, okay, I know it better, but you don't know this course better. You still have to hit the shots and you still get penalized and you still have to find a way to get out of tough lies. So no, it didn't really help, but I've been stressed since March. But today was -- I just couldn't find it. I just didn't know what it was that was wrong. I got myself in play. I did a stupid double bogey on 5, and then I saw that nobody else was running away, so I knew that then it was tough for everybody.

Q. You were close seven times at the U.S. Women's Open. Does this make that feel better? Does this make up for that?
HELEN ALFREDSSON: Yeah, a little bit, I guess. Just to have something USGA, it feels very nice. I've always -- since my first -- one of my first years when I finished second, it was very special. I know it's one of the toughest tests you ever will do in golf is to play a U.S. Open. And you know that, and I always like tough, I think. Maybe not at 54, but yeah, it's a little bit -- it's nice to have that USGA.

Q. Is there a point when those old competitive juices kicked in after not playing a whole lot and then now you're under the gun on Sunday at a major?
HELEN ALFREDSSON: Oh, absolutely. I mean, you're looking for that. You're looking to, like I said a little bit earlier, you're looking for that how am I focusing, stick to your thoughts, have your pre-shot routine, do it. When you play week in and week out, it just becomes so natural. And I was a player that played eight weeks in a row, no problem, flying back and forth to Europe, and bang, you're on the first tee and there you go. I'm glad my next tournament is not until October so I can recover because the recovery time is a lot longer.

So yeah, it is something that -- we practice the game, the physical game, but the mental game is very difficult to practice unless you play competition.

Q. How many times have you competed since Chicago last year?
HELEN ALFREDSSON: Once. But I think that all my things that was my strength, I was never a great swinger of the club and my putting -- I'm just very stubborn and very -- I am a grinder. I don't give up. So you know, it's good sometimes to have that.

Q. Did it enter into your mind any over the weekend that you might be at somewhat of a disadvantage against Trish or Laura or Juli because they had done competitive --
HELEN ALFREDSSON: Oh, absolutely. There's been in the last few tournaments when we've played the French Lick, the LPGA Championship Legends and then U.S. Open last week, it is a big difference to play and practice every day because you practice for a purpose. I love golf. It's probably the only place my mind is normally most quiet is when I go and hit my balls on my own. But that doesn't really -- then you have to -- it's easy to keep your thoughts clean and not having anything interrupting that.

But yeah, it's a big difference, too, so I'm glad that I put the work in, and they get to continue to feel the stress and I get to go home.

Q. Speaking of stress, obviously this victory earns you an exemption into the Women's Open in Charleston, and we got a good laugh outside that you said this did not spur you to play any more, but will that be a decision for you or is that an easy one, to not --
HELEN ALFREDSSON: No, but I mean, it's a big difference to play, to go out with those girls and play that kind of golf. I don't kid myself. I mean, when I'm striking the ball well, I still -- I know I still have the distance because I see it with Juli and the girls that are playing. But to play and -- I don't think so.

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