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September 18, 2002

Maria Hjorth

Mhairi McKay

Annika Sorenstam


MR. PARK: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. On my right here we have Annika Sorenstam, Maria Hjorth, both from Sweden, and Mhairi McKay from Scotland. Do you have any questions from the floor?

Q. First of all, Mhairi McKay, how do you pronounce your name? I don't want to make a mistake?

MHAIRI McKAY: You said it right already, Mhairi.

Q. And the last name?


Q. Thank you very much.

Q. Annika, you are a veteran on this team, your thoughts with this new group of faces this year.

ANNIKA SORENSTAM: Well, I think it's great that we have a lot of new faces. It just shows that, you know, the European Tour has got some young, upcoming players. A lot of people call them rookies. They might be Solheim Cup rookies, but they have a lot of experience, so I don't really think that's going to be a factor this week. And we got some young blood in our group. I am really looking forward to playing with them.

Q. Annika, when you are playing at the level that you are playing at, I am assuming you don't want to change much, but, obviously, coming into match play might call for making a little bit of change.

What do you do, do you get more aggressive? Is that possible?

ANNIKA SORENSTAM: Yeah, it's possible. But match play, like you said, it's very different than stroke play, you've got to pay attention a little bit to your opponent. You might play more aggressive on certain holes, and maybe more conservative on some other holes. This course is quite tricky, so I think I am going to maybe just play my own game, to start with, try and hit fairways, greens, and roll in as many birdie putts as I can.

But match play is a lot of fun, so different than stroke play, but strategies could change through a weekend.

Q. Annika, at the amazing age of 31, a very young, young age, you have done everything in the books the last eight years: 39 victories; you are now in the Hall of Fame; you have shot a 59; you have done everything. What is there left to create incentive for you to win, and are you even thinking about retiring?


Q. Retiring.

ANNIKA SORENSTAM: Well, the European Team has not won on US soil, so if I can put that on my resume, then it would make it a little more complete. But no, I am not thinking of retiring yet. I do love what I do, I love to play golf, and I do have some goals I want to achieve before I think of something else that I can do.

Q. We have asked the young ladies who have come in here for their opinion on the situation in Augusta, Georgia, the Master's, and the lady players there, and among other things, we had one person say, "Well, let them take in members, I will be the first in line, I will join if they want me to," we had another one say, "Hey, that's a man's club, I went down and played the golf course and they treated me wonderfully." What's your thoughts?

ANNIKA SORENSTAM: Well, it's really an interesting topic right now, but the way I look at it is Augusta National has their own rules, however, being a woman, and being in this profession, I would love is to see a female member, but again, they have their own rules, so I would like to see what the outcome is.

Q. Would you join?

ANNIKA SORENSTAM: I would love to join. I would be a volunteer, yeah.

Q. Annika, how does this golf course set up for your game, personally, and how much impact can one golfer have on the entire Solheim Cup results?

ANNIKA SORENSTAM: Well, first of all, I love the golf course. It's really a fabulous course in many ways. It's old, traditional course, which is my favorite. You've got to drive the ball well. It seems like you have to work the ball right to left, and then left to right, so you really got to hit the shots that you have in mind.

I mean, I look at it the team as 12 players, and every point is as important, so whenever I get a chance to play, I am going to try and get my point, but like I said, it's a 12-player team and everybody is as important. So -- but I have played several Solheim Cups, and I am going to try and be there for everybody and do the best I can.

Q. Annika, a lot of times, I don't know if this is -- if Swedish people do this, but Americans, a lot of time, if they go through a painful situation after a lot of time goes by, it becomes funny or they joke about it.

I am wondering about your situation two year ago at Loch Lomond, the chip you had to play over. How do you deal with that now? Do you joke about it or what's your feeling about it?

ANNIKA SORENSTAM: Well, the way I have said is we left it at Loch Lomond, that was two years ago, and we are just looking forward to great matches this week. It's something I don't really want to talk about, it's over with, and I know we are going to have exciting matches and that's what I look forward to.

Q. As the two new ones, what's the thing that's surprised you most about the week so far, or been different than what you maybe expected?

MHAIRI McKAY: I think -- I guess what I have heard about the players who have been in the Solheim before is that after the opening ceremony on Thursday, that's when you can start thinking about golf, because there is a lot of media going on, a lot of dinners, a lot of things going around outside the golf course, so I think that's really the biggest difference, because there is so many things going on, it's such a big event, we really have to support and try to do our thing for the media. I think that's the biggest thing for me.

Yeah, I think we have just been really busy. I don't really think we have had a moment to ourselves. It's been one thing after the other, and hopefully, when the matches get started, we will be able to focus really well on just the golf.

Q. Mhairi, is this your best year on tour? How do you feel about your game? That's part 1 of the question. And Part 2, what did your good friend Janice Moodie say to you after your selection?

MHAIRI McKAY: I feel this is definitely my best year on tour. It's just been a lot of fun, and I'm so excited for this week, and this has just been sort of the pinnacle of the year. My game feels like it's in good shape. I feel like it's coming just in time, and as for Janice, she is one of my best friends on tour, and she was one of the first people to call and congratulate me and wish me all the best, and then when I left Portland a few days ago, she just told me to enjoy the week and have a great time, and she was just -- I know she is obviously disappointed not to be here, and it's probably strange for me not having her here, too, because we played so much team golf together, but she has just been really a great friend to me, very classy in how she has handled her own disappointment, I think.

Q. Annika, Helen Alfredsson said earlier that your golf game is about as close to perfection as it gets, and you said you had some more goals to try to achieve.

Is it possible, or do you think playing perfect golf, is that one of your goals? Is it possible to do that?

ANNIKA SORENSTAM: Well, I always try to improve in my whole game, and, yeah, there is room for improvement. You can set goals when it comes to -- which I have, at majors, you can set goals of tournament victories, but I have kind of set my goals looking at my game. I believe I can lower my scoring average still. I think it's possible to shoot 54, and those are things that motivate me, and so I have a lot of goals left, even though I am obviously very pleased where I am playing and the way my career has gone.

Q. Annika, usually the players don't play more than four times. Would you be ready to play all five times?

ANNIKA SORENSTAM: I would be ready. That's why I have been working out, for this week. Who knows? I told Dale I would be ready, but she hasn't told me yes or no, so I am just going to be on standby and see what happens.

Q. Annika, coming in to this Solheim Cup, there is obviously a lot of patriotism, as there always is. Do you expect to see more of it this year, given the 911 and the anniversary just last week?

ANNIKA SORENSTAM: Yes, definitely, and also playing on US soil, I think, is another factor, and since Europe is a defending champion, I am sure the American people will come here and root for the team, so I am expecting some big crowds. I think it's going to be a great atmosphere.

Q. Annika, can you kind of expand on shooting that 54? Is that something you think about every day, or just as a whim or --

ANNIKA SORENSTAM: Birdie 1, birdie 2, birdie 3. I believe you can hit every fairway, and I believe you can hit every green, and why not 1-putt? That makes a 54. So try to make it as simple as possible.

Q. Annika, in other sports people talk about when they are playing their best, things seem really easy, and I wonder if it's like that with you, when you shot a 62 a few days ago, when you shot a 59. Does it almost seem like the whole -- this gigantic or -- how are you feeling when you are going through those rounds?

ANNIKA SORENSTAM: Well, right now I feel like my swing is as good as it's been in a long time, so when I am swinging, it seems like when I am on the course, I know what club to hit, I can visualize the shots, I have good feel around the greens, it just seems like they talk about being in the zone, it is when things go your way, when things seem easy, and when you don't ask questions like why all the time, you just kind of go. And that's what's been happening to me in the last few weeks. I have been playing very solid, hitting a lot of fairways, a lot of greens, and I just keep on grinding, I am not standing there thinking too much, and I am not worrying about where the ball is going to end up, I just -- I know I can birdie every hole, and that's my goal on every team.

Q. Annika, how many times a week do you normally work out, and do you have enough time to do this during this week with all these dinners and media things?

ANNIKA SORENSTAM: Yeah, I am trying to squeeze it in, but it's very hectic week, and I believe that then all the preparation, when it comes to workout -- before I came here, so it's just a matter of maintaining a little bit, I am not going to work too hard in the gym, I need some energy for the golf, so if I can get in twice this week, then I am happy.

Q. Annika, what club did you hit on 4? And, also, how many Hole-in-One's have you had in your career?

ANNIKA SORENSTAM: I hit a 7-iron on number 4 today, and I believe it was my fifth Hole-In-One, but I have only had two in competition, so --

Q. Distance?


Q. 178, it says on the --

ANNIKA SORENSTAM: What's it say on the sheet?

Q. 178.

Q. Laura Diaz, in her discussions, compared you, not only favorably, but well ahead of a fellow named Tiger Woods. She said, "I think her achievements this year are even more so than Tiger Woods. You must follow his career because your career and his are quite similar. But there are a lot of us that agree that yours might be a little more amazing.

ANNIKA SORENSTAM: Well, thank you. Of course, I follow Tiger, I think he is a fabulous golfer, but also great for the game, and, you know, it's tough to compare against apples and oranges because it's two different tours, but I am aware what he has done, and I keep a little contact with him, as well. He has called me several times to cheer me on, and then I kind of give him a hard time sometimes, especially when I won Nabisco before he won the Master's. I think our schedule was better for me because I am one major ahead of him, so -- but no, I mean, I take it as a compliment. I think he is fabulous for the game and I really admire him.

Q. Maria, your fingernails are painted in the Swedish colors. Is that special for this week or is it something you do regularly?

MARIA HJORTH: Well, the Swedish and the Europe colors. Yeah, it's just for this week. It's kind of a fun thing to do, I suppose.

Q. Any of your other team members painted their fingernails?

MARIA HJORTH: I haven't seen any of them yet, no, but I still have a few days to go before the matches start. We will see what we can turn up with on Friday.

Q. Annika, two questions: Could you talk about how the Solheim compares with the other competitions, like how important this is to you compared to the other events you play, obviously?

And the second question would be: Are you such a perfectionist that when you look back on this past year you will think more of not making the cut in the British and not winning the US Open than you will with everything else that you have done?

ANNIKA SORENSTAM: Let's start with the first question about the Solheim Cup. I mean, first of all, it's such a different event to play together with, you know, eleven other great ladies, and -- which makes it a lot of fun because it's individual all year, and suddenly you are all togetherl. And, no, this week is really special in that sense.

It's also because it's match play, and, I mean, you become friends with everybody when you normally play against them, so it's a little weird, but really special, as well, and it's really one of the highlights, I think, of the season, something to look forward to.

Question number two, no, I am not going to think about the British Open. It's something I like to forget quickly. I am going to look at the whole tour and just say, I am very happy with my season, I played well most of the time when I wanted to, and, I mean, I think this year I've been as consistent as I can be, and, you know, I guess it shows I am human, and I got to keep working. Never take anything for granted. This game is great in so many ways that when you think you found it, it hits you. So I am back on earth and I am going to keep on working.

Q. I think it was Laura who said that the team expects at least four points from you. Does that put you under more pressure, and are your teammates, are they sort of supporting actresses on this match?

ANNIKA SORENSTAM: I hope I get to play more than three, otherwise it would be tough to get four points. Like I said earlier in the week, I am playing well, and I expect to play a lot of matches, and hopefully I can play like I did last week. I love the golf course, my swing is there, so we will see if that's enough, you know, to make four points.

But I do want to emphasize, I think the US team, they have a great team this year, they have some young players, as well, but I think the matches are going to be tough, and I would like to just take one match at a time and see how it goes.

MR. PARK: Any more questions, ladies and gentlemen?

Q. You both have been mentioned by Annika in the press conference as the ones she wanted to play four balls and foursomes with, so how do you see your role as sort of supporting players or --

MARIA HJORTH: I don't know. I guess we will have to wait until tomorrow and see what the pairings are going to be like. I guess if I am going to play a foursome -- or best ball, I would say with Annika, that would be really good for me, especially being out here as a rookie and having someone that is as good a player as Annika is, just having confidence, you have someone, I would say, like 98 percent of the time, middle of the fairway, middle of the green, so that kind of helps out in a best ball, anyway, so we will have to wait and see, and I would love to play with her and, hopefully, I can give her some birdies anyway to help out.

MHAIRI McKAY: Just as Maria said, we will just have to wait and see what Dale decides to do, but I think there is probably eleven people who would love to be paired with Annika.

MR. PARK: Mhairi, Maria, Annika, thank you very much.

End of FastScripts....

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