June 30, 1998
RHONDA GLENN: Good morning. My name is Rhonda Glenn. I am with the United States Golf Association. We welcome you to our first player interview of this day. We are very happy to welcome Sherri Steinhauer who was born and raised and still lives in Madison, Wisconsin. Sherri, how does it feel to be playing the U.S. Women's Open in your own home territory.
SHERRI STEINHAUER: I have been looking forward to this tournament all year. It is exciting to be back in Wisconsin and especially to be playing a tournament here. We have never had tournament -- the LPGA has never been in Wisconsin. So this is just really exciting and fun for me to play in front of family and friends and play in front of the people who have supported me throughout the years. I am looking forward to this week.
RHONDA GLENN: I noticed on your player biography that you had won the Wisconsin State Junior Championship three times. So, you really should have quite a collection of fans going back many years here.
SHERRI STEINHAUER: Yeah, already -- I was really surprised yesterday when I came out Monday or my first day here, there were a lot of people and a lot of faces from the past playing when I was younger, in the junior tournaments and all. So it is fun already.
RHONDA GLENN: How do you like this golf course?
SHERRI STEINHAUER: It is a great golf course. I think it is a great venue for the U.S. Open. It is going to be extremely difficult, definitely want to drive it straight, and I think the greens are going to be a big factor this week with all the undulations and all. For me, the important part is going to be able to read the greens correctly. They are not easy to read with all the undulations.
RHONDA GLENN: Are you a pretty good wind player?
SHERRI STEINHAUER: I wouldn't call myself one of the best wedge players on Tour, but I am all right with it.
RHONDA GLENN: I was referring to the wind.
SHERRI STEINHAUER: Oh, okay.
RHONDA GLENN: Quite a bit of breeze out there.
SHERRI STEINHAUER: It is good today. Since we are having a practice round, the wind is blowing pretty good. So we will get a good test with that. And plus I went to school at Texas so I am used to playing in a little bit of wind and I do like playing in the wind.
RHONDA GLENN: All right, if we have any questions.
Q. Can you talk about being back in Wisconsin and the fact that throughout your career - and it has been in your second decade on Tour about coming back to Wisconsin - has it been kind of the only emptiness in your career not being able to play a lot in front of the people?
SHERRI STEINHAUER: Yeah, I have gathered -- a lot of people that have followed me from other parts of the country and all which has been fun, but it is special back here and the support that I have had throughout the years. So I am just -- I am really happy to be back here and to be able to play in front of a lot of the Wisconsin fans here.
Q. The last tournament you played in the state was the Madison City tournament?
SHERRI STEINHAUER: Good question. Let's see, it would be -- that usually comes in August. That probably is the last tournament I have played in the state.
Q. You missed the cut last week. Your talks with Manuel -- we talked last week. You talked about how golf was a funny game. Is it being comical right now and are you feeling pretty good about heading in here even though you didn't miss last week?
SHERRI STEINHAUER: Yeah, I feel pretty good. I am glad that I was able to see Manuel yesterday and I am going to be working with him again today. And I definitely started hitting the ball better after seeing him yesterday. Really, I am pretty disappointed right now with my putting. I am hoping I still have a couple days to work on that. That is going to be a big factor for me this week.
RHONDA GLENN: She is referring to the fame teaching profession, Manuel De Latore (ph) who has been your instructor almost from the beginning of your pro career.
SHERRI STEINHAUER: Yeah, I worked Manny for about twelve years. He is from Milwaukee, about 45 minutes from here. So I am pretty fortunate that I am able to work with him this week.
Q. Before yesterday you had only played nine holes here, 18 in a scramble. This isn't really a course you know that well. Is it going to be tough to prepare for the Open?
SHERRI STEINHAUER: Actually I was home a couple of weeks ago and I came out and played 18 holes and I was able to play the 18 holes for the tournament, so I did have a little sneak preview. When I played it then, it was extremely wet and playing really, really long. I played nine holes yesterday and I thought the golf course would play a little bit shorter. But I can still see that it is still playing long so that is going to be tough this week. But I haven't seen -- I played it in a scramble about twelve years ago, and other than that, that is it. So, it is probably the same for most - the players haven't seen it. We are all coming into it pretty blind, but I do feel fortunate at least I had another practice round on it a couple weeks ago.
Q. How do the undulations of the greens compare to weekly greens on the LPGA?
SHERRI STEINHAUER: Definitely a lot more undulating than what we play on Tour. I grew up playing at Nickcomb (ph) and Madison, but we all have to get used to it and hopefully I will adapt quickly.
Q. Walk us through these practice rounds. What are you doing out there with your coach and with your caddie having never played the course before and what are you looking for? Yesterday I saw a few players - and it is really a practice round - they are taking like two or three shots from the same spot on the course. Kind of give us your strategies and things as you are going through yesterday and what you are going to do today.
SHERRI STEINHAUER: Just trying to get a feel for the golf course and a feel of how it is rolling - if, you know, the shots -- if the greens are receptive to shots or if they are not. Testing what different clubs you want to be hitting into greens. Shooting at different parts of the greens and seeing the different bounces that you are going to be getting. So it is basically just out there getting a feel for the golf course and spending a lot of time chipping and putting and just getting a feel for the roll of the greens.
Q. More nervous than normal this week, Sherri?
SHERRI STEINHAUER: I am probably more nervous and excited. It is just so much fun to be here and the feeling that I have already, I am really looking forward to it. Definitely I am nervous about it, but that is only normal. So I am looking forward to the week.
RHONDA GLENN: How does this stack up as far as your nerves in other U.S. Women's Opens?
SHERRI STEINHAUER: Probably more so, more so being home.
Q. Along that same line, I was going to ask - you and Martha maybe kind of talked back and forth as to: Hey, we are going to have some big galleries following us, maybe more so than some of the other players like Nancy Lopez might have this week.
SHERRI STEINHAUER: Actually I haven't talked much with Martha about it. She just qualified about two weeks ago. So I didn't want to bring up, the Open. I know this was very special to her; especially she lives even closer and she wanted to be here very badly. I am very happy for her that she did qualify and make it. We actually haven't spoken about it.
RHONDA GLENN: That is Martha Nause from Sheboygan, Wisconsin.
Q. How often do you get back to Madison?
SHERRI STEINHAUER: Probably about seven weeks out of the year; not too often.
Q. What do you miss most about it?
SHERRI STEINHAUER: Probably the Brats and the beer, I guess (laughs).
RHONDA GLENN: You have had some really good performances in recent weeks on the LPGA, although you missed the cut last week, you have had two fifth place finishes and a fourth place finish. You made an awful lot of money in that three-week period. What was good about your game at that time? What was really positive about it or were you just doing everything well?
SHERRI STEINHAUER: During that time my Top-10 finishes, I was driving it really well; keeping it in the fairway and made a lot of putts. So my driving and my putting was the key to those weeks.
RHONDA GLENN: How does the length of this golf course compare to the courses you play on a week-to-week basis?
SHERRI STEINHAUER: It is quite a bit longer. It is going to play very, very long and I am probably -- if I am swinging my best, I am probably about an above-average hitter. So, hopefully, if I am swinging well - I mean, it is going to be a factor, but I think I will fair pretty well with the other players with it.
Q. You have had a couple of injuries the last couple of years, but you seem to be playing relatively health free this year. Has that been a big reason for your solid season this year?
SHERRI STEINHAUER: I have been. Actually over the years I have had a little rib problem and it hasn't been anything too major that has been too costly for me. This year I felt great. I don't -- I really don't look at the years that I haven't played as well having anything to do really with my injuries except that I was out maybe a few weeks and wasn't able to play in as many events. But I feel great this year. I just I think I am playing better. I really attribute that to my good play.
RHONDA GLENN: Give us an analysis of how you think your career has gone so far as a professional.
SHERRI STEINHAUER: Well, I am happy with how my career has gone. I haven't done anything extraordinary. I am not one known as a superstar player, but I think I have made my mark out here and I feel good about that. I am happy with my career. I have made a good living and enjoyed doing what I love to do and that is playing golf. So I am happy with that.
RHONDA GLENN: Is the professional Tour what you expected it to be when you were a student at Texas or how does it differ?
SHERRI STEINHAUER: Boy, good question. As far as how I played, I really never -- I don't think I expected to do as well as I have done out here. That has made it nice. Being out here is a lot of fun and, like I said, doing what I love to do is really great, great for me.
Q. On a regular basis -- on an annual basis, is there one tournament that you kind of look at as your home tournament where you have a lot of family and friends that come down like you will this week?
SHERRI STEINHAUER: Let's see. It seems like on Tour there is a couple of places like when I play down in Florida or in Tucson and Phoenix, you get a lot of the snow birds travelling down south in the wintertime, so I do get a lot of people down there from Wisconsin. I can definitely feel the difference in those areas.
Q. Ever keep in contact with some of guys on Tour like Steve or Jerry and talk about maybe playing back here? Have you spoken with them recently?
SHERRI STEINHAUER: I really haven't. I think they are out on their Tour playing and I have been playing. They have both been doing extremely well. That is great for Wisconsin. It is great to see -- especially that they live in Madison and pretty incredible actually that we have the three players on Tour right now from Madison, Andy North was from there, so I think that it is great for the town and great for the state. But actually I haven't spoken to them in quite a while.
RHONDA GLENN: Of course growing up here the weather up here is what you know, so that is what you are accustomed to and probably doesn't bother you too much. But you don't have the advantage of growing up in Wisconsin that junior players might have in Florida or Texas or Arizona or California. How did you feel about that when you were a young player?
SHERRI STEINHAUER: Well, growing up I definitely took advantage of all the warm weather that I had. Every minute in the summertime was spent on the golf course. I think that is the difference living in California or Florida, you don't play all the time because you have the capability of playing whenever you'd like. So in the summertime I took full advantage of the entire summer and that is what I spent doing.
RHONDA GLENN: How about in the winter, what happened to golf or what could you do about your game?
SHERRI STEINHAUER: In the winter I spent playing basketball in high school and that was really good for me to learn to play a team sport, something different getting away from the individual sport of golf. That taught me a lot. I really enjoyed playing basketball in the wintertime.
RHONDA GLENN: Do you think maybe young players who are from the sunshine states get a little bit more burned out from golf from playing year-round than you might have?
SHERRI STEINHAUER: I am sure there are definitely cases that could be possible. But it could be possible up in the north, too. But I just think being in the south with having the opportunity and also -- they also have other things - they have got the water and a lot of other things for them that they can be doing besides playing golf and maybe in Wisconsin there is so many players that do play golf and I think it is the biggest per capita in the United States, almost, of golfers. One of them, yeah, I know -- I know Minnesota is big too. It is funny how all the northern states are too. We don't have the opportunity with the water and doing other things; that is why I think there are a lot of golfers in the north.
Q. Is there any one person out there that has given you the most help throughout your career probably?
SHERRI STEINHAUER: I suppose I watch a lot of players and I learn a lot from other players and I think that is has probably been my biggest help watching the top players and what they do. I think that has helped me a lot.
Q. You mentioned how much you like it out here. You play one of the heaviest schedules of anyone on Tour. Even when you are not playing you are famous for going to the Masters on the off-week. Do you consider yourself a golf junky?
SHERRI STEINHAUER: I do play a lot. I don't like to take time off. I don't -- I really don't enjoy sitting home and practicing. I was never a good practicer. And I enjoy playing the golf and I just love the competition part of it. So I definitely am out there more than most players. I know they think I am crazy, but that is me.
Q. You obviously want to win this whole thing, but what do you consider a good finish for you?
SHERRI STEINHAUER: I love -- top-10 would be great and a win would be, you know, a dream.
RHONDA GLENN: We wish you all the luck in the world this week. Thank you for being so gracious and joining us this morning.
SHERRI STEINHAUER: Thank you very much, Rhonda.
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