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July 10, 2019

Kathryn Tappen

Dylan Dreyer

Lisa Cornwell

Stateline, Nevada

THE MODERATOR: We're joined by Dylan Dreyer, Kathryn Tappen and Lisa Cornwell.

Q. Lisa, talk about the experience of playing here and kind of what it means for NBC Sports, what it means for you all to be here and representing the ladies of American Century?
LISA CORNWELL: I think the latter part is the coolest thing. I've been fortunate enough to know Kathryn over the years and play a little golf. And Dylan and I played today.

Without question, the more that you're here, it's not really just about the celebrities and all of these big personalities, but to me the big personalities with the fans. They're here every single year. They make the track whether it's from portions of California or the East Coast.

I'll say this, last week I got back from a tournament and maybe the best letter I received in my entire life. It kind of makes me emotional. It was from a fan who was out here last year. And he had Stage 3 cancer. And he and his wife were out here and they talked about the impact of the tournament and meeting folks.

And it's so far beyond golf. Golf is just a secondary story. But it's really just an honor to be out here, to play, to represent the women, but just to get to know these fans.

And to me that's the best part of the week. I say that it's the best week of the year, but it's not just the backdrop and scenery; Tahoe is the bonus. It's the people who we get to know and meet and interact with.

KATHRYN TAPPEN: I'll agree with that. Lisa was so generous the first year I came on board to take my phone call. I'm, like, what is this all about? What do I wear? What do I bring? What's it going to be like, to tee off in front of people?

LISA CORNWELL: You don't want fashion advice from me.

KATHRYN TAPPEN: Today I played the Edgewood course with many of the American Century clients, many of whom I played with last year. And it's the repeated fans that come back and they thank you for being here.

And I'm, like, no, thank you for coming out and supporting us. But the young women that are out there, maybe they don't watch me on television and they don't watch the sports I cover, but they're watching today and they're learning from a role model that's out there that you can do this, too.

And I think it's great that our field of women has increased. I'm super proud to be a part of it. I love coming to this event every year. It's what Lisa said, it's not about the golf, but it's about everything that happens around it and the fans that have such close access to superstars that they look at in their life, which is really cool. It's the first chance they have an opportunity to really get that close and personal with some of the athletes that they've looked up to, and musicians and actors.

So I think just being here and being a part of this is a huge honor, and I can't wait to play with these wonderful women on Thursday, Friday.

Q. Dylan, talk about making your debut and also your practice round today.
DYLAN DREYER: Yes, everything about this is kind of just overwhelming for me because it's my first time, my first time in Tahoe. Taking in the scenery and the views and getting to play an amazing round of golf today.

It's funny because Kathryn has looked to you, Lisa, and I look to Kathryn and asked her all the questions -- what do I need to pack? What can I expect? What all happens while we're here?

And, Kathryn, I'll never forget what you said to me last year; you're, like, there's these little girls in the stands watching and coming up to you to ask for your autograph. I don't even know if they knew who I was but they wanted my autograph because there is something to be said about being one of so few women in a largely male tournament.

And girls love having those role models. I mean, younger girls. And just young kids in general are getting into golf, I think, a lot earlier now.

And I grew up in a family where my dad didn't play, my brothers didn't play, so I didn't really know who to look up to. And I think this is the perfect example of a place you can look up to and watch women playing.

So I'm so excited to be one of those women that hopefully those kids look up to and see on the course. But also today -- I just met Lisa for the first time. So I'm already making friends. And it was so fun to play with you today.

I happened to shoot my best round ever. So I'm so excited. I've never shot an 86 before. So I'm really, really happy about that. So morale is high, I'd say right now.

LISA CORNWELL: And it was her first all-female foursome, so girl power.

DYLAN DREYER: Girl power.

LISA CORNWELL: And you wen out there and an 86.

Q. Lisa, you and Kathryn, you cover golf and sports, so the athletes and celebrities out here, they play a different sport for a living, but they all love playing and talking golf. Talk about that a little bit.
LISA CORNWELL: I'm just going to say, most of them are retired and they're basically professional golfers now. You look at -- I think most of them personally own TrackMan or they're bringing out their swing coach. I look at some of these guys -- you'll know this -- the hockey players are ridiculous. They have so much hand strength and so much speed at the ball that it's ridiculous.

I played with Jeremy Roenick two years ago. I might as well be playing with Daly. They're so talented; they work at it extremely hard. They carry over that competitiveness and drive, whether it's football or hockey or baseball, whatever they played. And they now have it in golf. And it is 12 months out of the year for these guys.

They are grinders. I'm telling you, they're super talented. For me to go out there see the talent on the professional level week in, week out, to watch these superb athletes be able to transition from one sport to another and really take it to a pretty high level in this game, it's impressive.

KATHRYN TAPPEN: It's fun to watch them be humbled, too, though, I've got to say. There's guys that go out there and they're super frustrated because the game of golf is frustrating. And you have world class athletes and they're great at what they do in their sport. But when they go out on the golf course it's a different ballgame. This isn't their primary sport.

I ran into Coach Herm Edwards on the way up here, and he's, like, how you doing; great to see you; how did you play. I said I played okay, but I get really nervous, Coach.

He said, no, no, no. We're all getting nervous. We're all super competitive. We're all athletes. You just gotta go out there and have fun. If I can remember that.

But it's so cool, when you see guys like Roenick and Joe Pavelski who almost won it last year -- Tyler Seguin is joining the group this year from the Dallas Stars. I'm excited to see him.

I just think it's interesting when you see the way they're able to transition from their professional lives to a fun event like this, but still bring that competitiveness and that finesse that they've got, the hand-eye coordination, it's really cool to watch, especially just standing on the driving range and even the chipping range and watching how they do it. It's awesome.

Q. Dylan, tomorrow morning you're going to be talking to a few of these folks on the driving range. What are you going to be asking them on the range tomorrow?
DYLAN DREYER: I think what's fun, as somebody who plays golf as a hobby, it's become a passion of mine. So I'm a metrologist by trade, but golf is my passion.

So I can't wait to actually talk to these guys and just talk golf, because so often we interview certain celebrities or certain sports stars and we're talking about just what they're always talk about -- what latest album do you have coming out, how do you feel winning this event. So we finally just get to chitchat about golf, and I can kind of say here's what I love about it; what do you love about it. My son plays, does your son play? And my son is two and a half and, yes, he plays putt-putt.

But how young were your kids when they got involved? Is it a family sport? And just talk like I would talk with any of my friends on the golf course and just more have more of a personal conversation as opposed to always talking to them about the things we always talk to them about.

Q. You've all mentioned role models. Do you see some parallels between you and the U.S. Women's Soccer Team that just won the world championship? Do you feel a little bit of that draw out there with some of the kids?
DYLAN DREYER: It's cool you asked that because this morning was the parade for the U.S. Women's Soccer Team, and it went right by my house in New York City. And my son was out there front row at his first parade ever watching the girls carry the trophy and go right by him.

I saw a video of him jumping up and down. And I was on the course today and I Facetimed him and I asked Lisa, can you just hold the phone so Calvin can see me swing? Calvin was watching me swing and play golf.

So here's this kid growing up and knowing that girls rock. And girls can do it and it isn't anything unusual to him. I do see a parallel there.

LISA CORNWELL: I got to watch Calvin smile when mom hit the ball. He just lit up. His little cheeks ballooned. It was so cute.

KATHRYN TAPPEN: Carli Lloyd was a fellow athlete of mine at Rutgers University. I was a senior. She was a sophomore on the soccer team. I've known her a long time and followed her. And she joined me on the On Her Turf podcast earlier this year and we chatted about the difference now with her this year versus four years ago when she was able to win the World Cup.

It was interesting to hear how she's balanced life, the way life has changed for her; she's gotten married, a lot of different elements she had to factor into her game. And go out and see her win it again.

She, for me, was one of the biggest superstars that I was keeping an eye out for during the tournament. Just so proud of everything she's accomplished. And she knows that's the last one she's going to have.

And I felt just, I feel a connection to her because we're both athletes at the same school and followed each other throughout the course of our career.

That whole team is just awesome. They are a force of nature. They're awesome.

LISA CORNWELL: I think the example they're setting -- I work in an industry where -- and I constantly -- I think Jeremy knows this -- sort of fight this battle, too, with women's golf and fight it for them because I know how good they are.

And I don't think the rest of the world, I'm talking about the LPGA, I don't think that the world realizes because it's such a controlled game, it's not -- they're not out there bashing 320 yards, I don't think that they see the talent that we all see week in, week out.

And I was on a plane a week ago when the U.S. was in the semifinals. And every TV on that airplane was tuned in to the women's World Cup. And I thought how great is this; I'm on a plane. None of these people have any kind of connection that I know of to women's athletics, women's soccer, soccer in general, and they're all on board watching women compete on a global stage. And so it made me think about golf. If we can translate this, we can somehow springboard off of this effect and grow any sport in any way -- and I think for all of us, we're two women in a sports or male-dominated sports industry. And Dylan, your business is male-dominated as a metrologist.

So I think kids seeing that, seeing women in sports, women in Dylan's role, which is absolutely huge, it sets that example. So I think the more that we can just build off of it and encourage other people to follow and set that example, but great for them. They sparked an enormous interest with that win.

Q. Lisa, you were here in 2014 when Annika was here playing. Did you have a chance to meet her? And as tough as this game is and the course can be, she tied for second when a lot of people thought she may have won or -- or would have been the winner. Did you have a chance to talk to her when she was here and talk golf?
LISA CORNWELL: You know, the great thing about my job growing up, I started playing golf when I was five. And I'll never forget the first time I did something with Faldo who was my hero or Nancy Lopez when she sent me a text. I thought I was going to fall over.

But I always admired Annika because she's a few years older than me and just her ability -- I told Annika this. I think if we took Annika to a PGA TOUR range, I think PGA TOUR players would actually stop and watch her hit shots or stop and watch her walk by. I don't think they would do that with a lot of women.

And from that event on, I've been able to do a lot of events with her. Couple years ago I went to her house. I just have a tremendous amount of respect for her because of her work ethic. She got to where she is because she outworked everybody. It's plain and simple. You're not born with any kind of talent; you just outwork somebody.

And her mental ability. And like if Annika had even been practicing 20 percent of what she had practiced as a pro, no offense to the guys, but this wouldn't have been close, because she's not going to make mistakes. She's going to make a ton of pars and build up that.

But she shot a 59. And so I know that that was a little tough for her because Annika doesn't obviously compete and play as much as she used to and she tried to sort of cram it in.

But she brought her C-plus game, but it was fun to see her step up against the guys. I know everybody wanted to see her win. And she gave it a heck of a fight, considering how little she had practiced.

Q. One thing I want to say about having more women in the tournament, the leaders have come in several years in the past and complained about the weight of the NFL players on the greens making the greens uneven. I'm sure Mulder and Pavelski and Fish and everyone else, Romo, would like to see more ladies here with lighter feet on the greens?
LISA CORNWELL: Is that why Larry the Cable Guy lost so much weight. (Laughter).

DYLAN DREYER: That's right. We'll tread lightly.

LISA CORNWELL: You can fix spike marks now; so we're all good.

Q. Dylan, what kind of advice did Lisa and Kathryn give you heading into this week?
DYLAN DREYER: I'm still waiting for more pointers. So if you guys want to give me more swing --

KATHRYN TAPPEN: Lots of sunscreen.

DYLAN DREYER: Lots of sunscreen. The sun is hot. It's all about enjoy it and have fun. Golf is such a head game and it's so easy to get frustrated, but if you go out there and especially this type of scoring system, the Stableford system, you have a chance to restart, I feel like, every hole. You can shake off the last hole, get into the next one. Lisa and I were trying to play with that system today so I could understand how it all happens and how all the math works out.

But I think that's the biggest thing: Take in the scenery; think of who you're getting the opportunity to play with; think of the fact that you're even invited to be a part of this.

There are 93 players and we're one of four girls in the entire tournament. There's so much to be proud of and there's so much to be grateful for.

I don't play golf for a living. I work the Today Show six days a week so I don't have a lot of time to play golf. So I want to have fun. I want to enjoy it.

We're all competitive by nature. So there will be that competitive drive as we play, which is why I think we love golf as a hobby.

So it's really just take it all in, enjoy the whole time. Yes, you'll have good holes; you'll have bad holes. But just take in this whole experience. It's nothing like you've ever experienced before.

LISA CORNWELL: I have to brag on Dylan. She's only been playing for nine years. You all remember Monica Seles, when she would hit -- I love to watch Monica Seles play tennis. Dylan has a little fire in her. I heard a couple of grunts after --

DYLAN DREYER: I grunt a little bit because I'm only 5'4".

LISA CORNWELL: She's a rookie but I'm expecting big things this year.

Q. This year is the 30th anniversary of this tournament. So it is one of the longest running made-for-TV events. And I think people in this room who have been covering this for years probably didn't realize it was going to last this long and grow to where it is in stature today. So talk about what it means the three of you to be part of the 30th anniversary of this tournament.
KATHRYN TAPPEN: I'm truly honored. I remember watching this tournament all throughout, before I started getting invited I watched this tournament all the time in the summer with my parents and my mom and my dad. When I got the invitation to play in it four years ago, I nearly fell off my seat. It was like they want me there.

Jon Miller asked me to be a part of it. And I just, ever since, I'm, like, I'm so humbled to be here now that it's the 30th anniversary, a milestone year. You've got -- I think it's two players that have been here all 30 years. And they come and go. There are family commitments that take you away from this one summer or perhaps you don't get the invite, just to be able to be here on a milestone year is awesome. I'm honored just to be here every year. The fact it's the 30th anniversary, pretty darn cool.

DYLAN DREYER: I just found out it was the 30th anniversary. It's something I've just always watched on TV. And Kathryn always talked about how much she loved this event. So I remember when I got the email, I told you, I got invited this year, is this real, is this really happening. So it is a pinch-me moment, just to be invited, just because of the grand scale of this tournament.

But now knowing it's the 30th anniversary, it is something to celebrate and be proud of.

LISA CORNWELL: And like I have to give Jon Miller and NBC Sports such credit. These events are hard to do. And it's hard to get this kind of traction, and especially for it to last over as long as it has and now to be here at 30 years. It's an honor to be here.

But we've all gotten to know American Century folks, too, and their clients. And American Century's given over, what, $1 billion to cancer research.

And so I think the fact that they're able to bring people here together and celebrate that fact. And that is their big mission. And that is what we hear about all week long while we're here. And that's what's important. And to watch some of these celebrities really dive into that and how important it is to them to be here for that cause and to support it, I think, it's remarkable. But to be able to do an event like this for that long is it's unheard of. And they've done it. NBC Sports has really grown this thing. We could be sitting here when we're all 80 talking about --



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