July 1, 1998
RHONDA GLENN: Ladies and gentlemen, we have with us today Hollis Stacy who has a fantastic record, and on a personal note, I'd like to say that the first Women's Open Championship I covered as a journalist was in 1977 and Hollis won. My first Women's Open Championship as a television sports caster for ABC was 1978 and Hollis won. And then she won in 1984. So this is going to be your first for something. Maybe you will win again.
HOLLIS STACY: First interview with a stenographer.
RHONDA GLENN: There you go. Hollis also, as you may know, is a three-time U.S. Girls Junior Champion one of our USGA Championships. Only one to ever do that. She was Tiger Woods before Tiger Woods was Tiger Woods, so we are very proud of her in the USGA. And she went through sectional qualifying this year to get into this Championship. Hollis, what was that like?
HOLLIS STACY: Well, that is a very -- this is the first time -- well, it was very stressful and I decided to go through the sectional qualifying because I felt that I had been given two exemptions in two previous years and even though I was injured, I felt like it was a distraction to be at an Open and to be given an exemption even though I had won three Opens. So I basically told some friends of mine on the committee that I didn't want to play in the Open unless I was qualified. So -- I am glad I went through it and I feel so much better being here at the Open. My game is good right now. I feel fit. I am strong. I am striking the ball well. I have some great equipment and I like the golf course. So I am happy about having gone through it and even though it was real stressful, and if I were to go through it again, I would go through a Tour site where there is some more spots. But my friends got me through the qualifying and I am very, grateful for that.
RHONDA GLENN: That is sort of an interesting situation. You played in your sectional qualifying at the Broadmoor Golf Club in Colorado Springs. You stayed at Barbara McIntire's house. Judy Bell was not there, but some of your other friends from the USGA. I guess you got a lot of support.
HOLLIS STACY: I did. I have known that group for over 30 years, so I feel, you know, I felt like if I was going to go for qualifying, that would be the place to go.
RHONDA GLENN: Was it because of your friendships?
HOLLIS STACY: Yes. And I live in Colorado, so I just felt like doing it. But I forgot how difficult those Broadmoor's greens were. Oh, my God.
RHONDA GLENN: They will prepare you for this week.
HOLLIS STACY: These are flat compared to the Broadmoor. These are nothing compared to the Broadmoor. So, I am happy to have gone through it. But the Broadmoor greens are probably the most difficult greens in the world.
RHONDA GLENN: The influence of the mountains of course.
HOLLIS STACY: Yes, heavily. And Will Rogers at the Shrine, which I learned to hate by the end of the week, everything breaks away, going out, you know, some formula you have to follow at the Broadmoor, so it is pretty difficult. But, I am here. I am here.
RHONDA GLENN: Hollis, you have had a number of injuries. You were just chatting about that. Sort of tell us what had happened with your injuries; how they came about.
HOLLIS STACY: Well, I guess having played golf for 35 years. I developed a little arthritis underneath my patella kneecap. It was stuck for about a year and it caused my quad to tighten up, which caused the hip flexor in my right hip to -- consequently, my swing kind of went down the tubes and it wasn't until I tore my meniscus that I could really rehab my injury because I was just -- the arthritis wasn't allowing my kneecap to move up and down. So I had the surgery fall of 1995 and I basically haven't been 100% until, I think, the beginning of this year after hurting my back and starting, you know, doing the thing of stretching every morning. I had that appetizer back pain and that is all it takes to get you on that regimen of stretching every morning. I feel one hundred percent now, but it was a very circuitous route of getting here with my game the way I'd like to. I feel very good about my game right now. But it has been awhile.
RHONDA GLENN: Finished third in Rochester?
HOLLIS STACY: Yes, had a chance of winning.
RHONDA GLENN: 6-under par.
HOLLIS STACY: Finished 10th the week before. And I have been in the 60s pretty much this year being competitive and hitting the ball long like I have in the past and my putting feels really good, so I feel healthy. It is nice to play and the golf course of this caliber and have your game in tact, I think that, you know, having won this several times it has been a little tough coming back when my game hasn't been 100%. I have probably -- I am probably driving the ball about 25 yards further and it makes it a little bit easier to play certain courses.
RHONDA GLENN: Questions.
Q. Having won three Opens, talk about what it takes to win a major like this and handicap this year's field.
HOLLIS STACY: I think that someone -- the first question was: "What does it take?"
HOLLIS STACY: It takes a memory. (laughs) No. It takes a lot of patience and it takes an all-around game. It takes -- driving the ball probably is the key to winning an Open, driving it long and straight and that sets you up to hit your irons because 9-iron play is probably going to be the key-ingredient on the golf course. You are not going to be making a lot of putts, but putting yourself in position that will allow you to at least have a couple of birdies around because, for sure, you are going to make some bogeys out there. So I think it is a great Open challenge. It is tough, and as far as handicapping the field, I would heavily put a lot of emphasis on the players that drive the ball a longer distance; that will set up the golf course.
Q. Talk about how hard it was to come here. You alluded to it that it was difficult to be here when you weren't playing well. Did you feel like leaving? What were your emotions as three-time champion when you are struggling like that?
HOLLIS STACY: Any time a professional athlete is injured and not 100%, it is not a pretty creature. So because, physically, you are hurt and mentally it does, you know, your self esteem, and I don't know, it just -- it affects you probably more mentally than it does physically. But no, I never felt -- I am a competitor and I never felt like leaving because I had to finish the tournament. But I did, you know, I did get the exemptions the last two years. I missed, I think, Pine Needles by one and where was it last year? It was -- oh, Pumpkin Ridge, I missed it by several. So I had felt my game wasn't great. I just, you know, I just tried to, you know, put my head above everything and just play as hard as I could.
Q. Do you feel there has been a real surge of interest in the Women's Open in the last few years?
HOLLIS STACY: It has been great. In fact, Jan Stephenson and I were talking last -- we played practice rounds the last couple days and I remember back in 1976 a group of players were intending on boycotting because (1) it was our lowest purse and, (2), there was no rapport. I mean, there was rapport, but there seemed to be a little hostility between the LPGA and the USGA, and just in the last, gosh, five years, the U.S. Women's Open turned out to be probably our best golf tournament. The venue is fabulous at each Open event. And you know, our purse - this is the largest purse in women's golf. The USGA has gone full-circle. The players love playing this and, you know, I think you would find very few people to say negative things about this purse and the golf course. It is challenging and the best player will win and all that stuff. So I think we have gone full-circle. I think there is a great relationship now between the LPGA and the USGA.
Q. How about from a gallery standpoint? Have you noticed?
HOLLIS STACY: Huge. I have never written so many autographs, signed so many autographs as this week. The galleries have been great and I know, you know, thanks to Alison's victory last year and Nancy trying to win her first Open, you know, I know that our rankings were better than the U.S. Senior Men's Open and I know that the interest in the public was peak because of how they played last year.
Q. Were there any moments when you felt like you couldn't come back from your injuries; that maybe it was time to do something else or --
HOLLIS STACY: Well, actually, you know, I was injured before back in 1988. I was in a car accident and I had a whiplash and all that stuff. The years after that - I usually try to make the best of a bad situation - I designed a golf course. Then last couple of years a group of us got together and we have started what is probably going to be the beginning I hate -- it is called the Medalist Group, Medalist Tour and it is a group of women that got together to start the beginning of -- I am not going to use the word senior because our age group is 40 and over -- we will have a senior group at 50 and over, but it is a beginning of an alternative Tour to -- not competing with the LPGA. So we have formed that and we are in the midst of getting it going. I have done that the last couple of years. And I am sure that I will be doing that the next couple of years, but in the meantime, I am playing great golf and I will still be playing tournament golf. But when you are hurt like that, you do think -- you don't think of quitting. You think of what can I do to get myself through this. It has been fortunate that I have been able to get my game back.
Q. There are a couple of 18 year olds in this field this week. Is there a big difference between the kids of today and their games than the kids of what you were when you were 18? Second part, what advice would you give them now if they were to ask?
HOLLIS STACY: There is Beth Bauer.
Q. Candy --
HOLLIS STACY: I just met Beth. I think the games are -- I think they are getting more experience. I have never seen Beth play. So I don't know. I mean, at 18 -- I think Nancy Lopez almost won an Open when she was 18 so as far as comparing the two, and myself I probably played in my third or fourth Open by the time I was 18. So I don't -- to ask me the difference, I mean, we were shooting in the mid-60s back then and Nancy was -- she was on the way to winning almost her second Open by the time she was 18. I don't know if you could -- because we were different. We were different. I think on the whole, the 18 year olds, you know, I think have more experience. But between myself and Nancy and Amy, we had a hell of a lot of experience by the time we were 18.
RHONDA GLENN: You were playing in your third Women's Open at the age, I think, of 18?
HOLLIS STACY: I was 18, my third. I think I -- I think I qualified. I think I made the final --
RHONDA GLENN: In 1973 you tied for 25th as an amateur.
HOLLIS STACY: So I was 19. So I can't compare the 18 year olds of -- What advice would I give? To get a good education. To get a good college education and to learn something in college, not just play golf, get a degree. I would do that. Because I know there are some players that come out on Tour thinking that, you know, they are going to be like multi-billionaires and life is rosy and it doesn't happen because it is very, very competitive out here.
RHONDA GLENN: Injuries?
HOLLIS STACY: Injuries, great golf, and it is just very competitive now.
Q. Rhonda mentioned maybe being the Tiger Woods before he was born, I guess, actually. What kind of reaction did you get when you won your three junior titles? Did anyone pay attention? Did it cause any kind of stir?
HOLLIS STACY: I think there was excitement. There was excitement. But I think after I had won three juniors being a woman and being, you know, golf was not the sport of choice. It was -- I think had I been playing tennis and my name was -- and I grew up playing golf in southern Florida, I think things would have been a little different because that is about when Chris Evert was coming up and tennis at that time was big. I did not get the notoriety, no.
Q. How much longer do you want to do this, do you feel, like you being competitive? I know Watson and Nicklaus are playing well. Is it true with women that--
HOLLIS STACY: It is a little different with women's golf because there is a lot, lot, lot more money in men's golf. And, in fact, that is why we started the Medalist Tour is because there is a dysfunction within golf. Usually, you know, the women are the last to get the money and they are the first ones to get the budgets cut. Or they get cut of the budget, so that is why we started this Tour because of that dysfunction. I think that I will be playing this Tour probably two or three more years and then dedicate myself for the rest for our Medalist Tour the next few years.
Q. Is that actually in operation now or the planning stages?
HOLLIS STACY: We have four tournaments this year and we hope to have between five to eight next year. So we are -- you know, we are working hard on it.
RHONDA GLENN: Where are those tournaments, Hollis?
HOLLIS STACY: Salt Lake City. We just did an event in Hudson National in New York. We are going to have a Marshal Fields event in Chicago in two weeks. And we are trying to turn the St. Croix event into one. We are just forming our board right now and we are sending the RFPs out next week so we are getting some great response the next time.
RHONDA GLENN: Who are some of the other players involved in this with you?
HOLLIS STACY: Nancy Lopez, Patti Sheehan, myself, Sally Little, JoAnne Carner, Sandra Palmer, Dottie -- and I can't think offhand -- we have 300 victories. That's not bad. 300 --
RHONDA GLENN: Any other questions?
Q. Is it under the LPGA umbrella?
HOLLIS STACY: No, it is not.
Q. What do you think your chances are, if any, this week?
HOLLIS STACY: I think my chances are good. I like the way that I am playing and I am hitting the ball long enough. My putting seems to be good. So as long as I don't get stressed out and get, you know, take my bogeys when -- take my bogeys and throw in a couple birdies here and there. It is the type of course with your can make one big number but if you can just limit your number to something bearable, then it will be good. But I am looking forward to the week. I feel good.
RHONDA GLENN: Great to have you back. So good to have you at the Women's Open.
HOLLIS STACY: Thank you.
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