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July 19, 2000

Pat Bradley


RHONDA GLENN: Ladies and gentlemen, in 1981, Pat Bradley achieved what all of the women here this week hope to achieve, and she did it with a birdie on the 72nd hole, winning the United States Women's Open Championship at the Greenwich Country Club. She won by one stroke over Beth Daniel, and I know it remains a highlight of her career. She is playing this Women's Open by virtue of a special exemption of the USGA Women's Committee. How do you feel about going into your tee time tomorrow, Thursday, and what do you think of this golf course?

PAT BRADLEY: Well, I'm happy to be here. This area brings back a lot of fond memories for me, because in 1981, I won the U.S. Open at La Grange Country Club in Chicago, and as I have been reminiscing and looking forward to coming back here, I thought that this would be the perfect time to say that this is my last United States Women's Open. It has been a terrific road to travel, it's been a great adventure, and I know that it is time to let go and to move on. I want to say a very special thanks to Mary Capouch and the Women's Executive Committee and their support, especially this year as I travel to being captain of our Solheim Cup. I really do appreciate it. And I will always -- I will always treasure this Open, this tournament. It was a major win, not only in light of golf standings, but it was also a major event in my life. I believe it helped define me as a player, as a competitor, and also as a person. This golf tournament takes so much of one's -- not only physical ability, but emotional ability, mental ability. You have to have the whole package to be able to walk away with this event. When I won this Open in 1981, I saw things that happened during that week, and with me that I never really thought that it was in Pat Bradley. And this championship brought that out, and it just really enforced, to me, that I had the right stuff to win a National Championship, the Women's U.S. Open. So, this tournament will forever be high on my list and I know as I was growing up as a young girl, winning the U.S. Open was my father's dream, long before it was my dream. When I began golf at 11 years old, we would sit, we'd have front-row seats in the den, and we would watch the Women's Open as I grew up. And, I remembered, you know, he knew the Patty Bergs and he knew the Kathy Whitworths, Betsy Rawls, Mickey Wrights, long before I knew them. And his dream became my dream as I grew in the game of golf, and as I, you know, got a more competitive and saw things get better and better, and little did I know that, you know, a small country bumpkin from Massachusetts who had no real national experience in tournament play, I had local experience, which was wonderful, but never had the credits or the resume that many of the women on that trophy have. And so, it was really a dream come true for me, and for me family. We have all shared in this road that I have taken with the Open, and I will miss it, but I know that it's a natural circle of the competitive life. It is something that happens to all of us. It's nothing to get angry about or be sad about. It's very, very normal, and, you know, one must move on. So, I take this moment to thank everyone for, as I say, all their support, and encouragement, and I appreciate it. Maybe some day, we might have a Women's Senior Open, and hopefully, if that does happen, I'll be back in a second. But until that time, I thank you all very much, and I appreciate your support.

Q. Obviously, this is very, very difficult for you. Simply, why?

PAT BRADLEY: Well, reality has set in. This is my 27th Open, and I'm at a stage in my life where, you know, it is time. I've seen it in other great athletes, like a Gretzky, Elway, and I know in my heart. The other thing I notice is that when I worry about the stock market numbers more than I worry about my golf score numbers; then, I know, something is changing. And so, it is time. You know, it is bittersweet, but I feel very, very -- I feel very grateful that I can walk away knowing that I have won my National Championship of my sport, and that allows me to walk away with my head high and my shoulders back and with a big smile.

Q. Well, can you just give us a couple of moments that stick out particularly in your mind over the last two-plus decades in the Women's Open?

PAT BRADLEY: Well, I mean, every Open is different. I think that's one of the great challenges of this tournament. But, I mean, I remember, like, in Dayton Ohio, we had a chemical spill, we had an earthquake. We had thunderstorms, tree limbs following from -- missing carts. I think Kary Yamamoto (phonetic) was thrown from a cart. I mean, I remember waiting at Crooked Stick on a par 3 for hour and a half hour, backed up with groups. I mean, it takes every -- you know, it takes a number of variables, this tournament does. Now, if you want to know something about my '81 win, I could probably go hole for hole. In fact, I remember that 1st hole. Kathy Whitworth was leading the tournament, and I was in the next to the last group with Beth Daniel and I remember the 1st hole, I hit driver, 7-iron and lipped it out from the fairway, and I remember in my head going, "Now, Pat, somebody is trying to tell you something." And then on 15, Beth -- I had hit it on the front of the green, and the pin was all the way in the back. It had to be, you know, 80 feet, and Beth was in a fairway bunker, and she hit out about, I don't know, about a foot and a half and tapped in for par, which was a great par. And then, I stood over that 80-footer, and if the damned thing did not go in the hole. I mean, it was almost like, you know, destiny. And, I remember thinking, you know, well, whatever somebody does something, I'm either going to match it or do one better. And then of course on 18, Beth hit a great drive down the center of the fairway and I hit a 3-wood short of the green and Beth had enough length to get home, and she went for it and she hooked it a little bit over on the left-hand side of the green, and I had a -- I had about a 60-yard wedge. And to this day, I remember -- all I remember is, you know, looking at my shot. I stood over my shot. I do not remember the actual swinging of the club. I mean, that's how the subconscious took over at that moment, and the next thing I remember is watching the ball in the air, and it landed about two feet from the hole, and then Beth chipped for eagle. And I'm telling you, I mean, less than a fraction, it missed from going in. It stopped less than a fraction. I mean, it was -- it was just unbelievable. And then I stood over that 2-footer and I remember, again, that little voice saying, "Now, Pat, don't dwell on this. You know, get up and hit it." The more you think about it, the longer it gets. And sure enough, I tapped it -- I hit it in and that was history. So, it is just -- it's just one of those incredible tournaments that you really have to be out there, inside the ropes to really get the true feeling of it's enormity.

Q. Have you physically visited there? When is the last time you were there, 1981?

PAT BRADLEY: '81 was the first and only time. I really -- the Open was at La Grange in '74, and then it came back in '81 and I honestly thought it would come back again before I said good-bye, but it never did happen. But, I will always remember that course and remember it fondly.

Q. And you don't want to go back there any time this weekend, regardless?

PAT BRADLEY: Well, hopefully I'll be right here this weekend. (Laughter.)

Q. If you could give us your assessment of two players who have gotten a lot of recognition here this week, Annika, for one, and Karrie, for another. I know that you certainly have studied Annika because she is going to be opposing you this fall. Give us your impression of their games and why you think they are the two best, I guess, on the TOUR?

PAT BRADLEY: Well, their records sure do speak for itself. But Annika and Karrie are really two different types of players, but yet, their minds are pretty similar whether it comes to winning golf tournaments. As you watch-- best of my knowledge of them, Annika is a much more methodical type of player. Very, very controlled. And if I -- if I say this word, I do not mean it derogatory, she's kind of robotic, in her play, which is, you know, there's nothing wrong with that. When I look at Karrie, I think of Robert Redford, The Natural, in the baseball. She is just such a pure and natural swinger, or hitter of the golf ball. She strikes it -- well, they both strike it very, very pure. They both know their weaknesses and their strengths, and they stay away from their weaknesses, if there is any, and they just concentrate on their strengths. Their minds are very, very strong mentally. They can -- they can maneuver a golf course. Their course management is probably second to none. They have terrific course management. I mean, it is just -- I mean, I am a fan of both those young ladies. I, myself, enjoy watching them play, and you know, when you look at those two players, you kind of have to -- have to kind of pump up your own chest because these are the two players that are going to take the TOUR to the next level. I'm very, very proud of them and I look forward to watching them for many, many years.

Q. During the span of your career, you've seen the legends, you've seen young up-and-comers. If Ty Votaw and David Fay were to go into a room and you for your single biggest suggestion to ensure the health and future women's golf, what would it be?

PAT BRADLEY: Well, to tell you the honest truth, from what I've seen from those two gentlemen, I would not have to suggest a whole lot. These two gentlemen, they know exactly what to do and where they want to go. I just am very fortunate to have been -- to have been around both of them to take the ride. I think they are very aware of how important marketing is for the LPGA as well as for the USGA. I mean, I have seen in just the last few years, the enormity of the Open, the big tents, the corporate -- I mean, we never had those for so many years.

These two people, these two gentlemen are going out and selling their product, and I couldn't -- I couldn't think of two other people that I would want to be able to do this. I feel I'm in good hands with those two gentlemen.

Q. Outside of Juli Inkster, who of the American players does this course set up for?

PAT BRADLEY: I think somebody who really has a feel for these greens is going to be -- is going to be very important. I think the player who might have to resign to the fact that we've got to play USGA golf this week and not -- maybe not their golf; the player who has a game plan and has the courage age and the abilities to trust that game plan and to leave the driver in the bag or pull out a 2-iron instead of, you know, trying to muscle this golf course. I think you have to have a game plan and you have to have the ability to trust it, because this golf course will test you, and in some spots, if you get too -- too aggressive, you're going to pay a penalty.

Q. Any names come to mind, though, on the American side, outside of Juli?

PAT BRADLEY: I think Meg Mallon has great course management. I think Meg is a great driver of the golf ball. I see her hitting a lot of fairways, and she's up there in greens and regulations. So, I think Meg would be one to watch. Let me see, Betsy would also be a very good choice. Betsy's not afraid to, you know, to go the way the USGA has set you up out there. And Betsy likes these type of greens. The faster, the better. She has that bulls-eye putter where she gets a feel for the greens and she can run the tables.

Q. Nancy is going to be in here later, and there's always the annual talk about that void in her career. Is it just unbelievable to you that she never won an Open, and what it would mean, winning an Open to her, and going in the locker room, knowing she didn't win the Open?

PAT BRADLEY: It is hard to believe, when you think of all of the things that Nancy has accomplished in all 49 golf tournaments that she has won, that this one has slipped. I know she's brave enough and strong enough to say, well, that's okay. But I know in her heart, it does have a little pit in her stomach. I know it would, me. I know it would anybody that it kind of eludes. But, I think at this stage, we're all kind of rooting for Nancy to maybe have one more year of that magic and have this tournament. But I'm sure it is very difficult. You know, whenever you've got to answer a question like that, it does kind of put a little pit in your stomach. But, you know, she's such a great person and a happy-go-lucky person that it -- you know, she'll make it like it just rolls off her back. You know, it wasn't meant to be, we gave it a good try, but I know it is hard for all of us to believe that this one did elude her.

Q. You said earlier that you'd return in a second if there was a U.S. Women's Senior Open. There are a couple this year, one in Green Bay and one in Des Moines. Are you going to play those and do you think a Senior Tour would get off the ground and be a success?

PAT BRADLEY: There is talk of it and there are some players that are working very, very hard on it, and I think it's a wonderful opportunity. I think their age is 43 and older. But, I tell you the honest truth, I cannot commit to that. I have given 27 years of myself to this tour, and to this tournament; that it really is, right now, hard for me to even fathom. I've sacrificed a number of years, and I don't know if I can sacrifice a Senior Tour again. Now, if the Women's Committee of the USGA could find a way to do a Senior Women's Open, I'd be here in a second. I think -- I think it's something that should be talked about and I think it has been talked about. I think the women are very, very aware of it. I think they have seen that players like myself, like Nancy, like Patty Sheehan, like Betsy king, Beth Daniel or not fading away like players faded away maybe in the past. But yet, you know, for this -- for this particular tournament, I know in my heart that this is my last year.

Q. Is there enough room on the golf calendar for a Senior Tour?

PAT BRADLEY: I think something could be done in the fall, when golf does kind of, you know, kind of wind down a little bit. I'm not sure of the USGA's schedule in the fall, but I think -- I mean, I think that could very well happen. And if you look on the Senior Open, you know, you have Watson, you have Kite, you have Floyd. They double-dip. They go to Pebble Beach and play the regular Open and they go to the seniors. I'm sure that if the USGA picked 40 or 43, I'm sure we would double-dip. I'm sure Juli Inkster would play. I'm sure that could happen, also. But, I mean, I know it is being talked about and for that I'm very, very grateful, because I do think that they are -- they have a -- they have a Women's Senior Amateur, they have a Mid-Amateur to take care of that, you know, in between. The men's group, they make sure there was a U.S. Senior Open for the people like the Nicklauses, Palmers, Trevinos, could slide right over and not miss a beat. I hope it happens and I hope it's soon, so I can have an opportunity to try it out.

Q. How much do you see yourself playing now? Are you going to play at selected events?

PAT BRADLEY: This is probably my last real full season, and mainly that is due to, you know, my Solheim duties, which I'm really enjoying and things are starting to -- starting to heat up with players, playing this week and du Maurier and the British. But next year, if I play 10 events, that will be a lot. This is, as I say, 27 years, and the cycle of competitive life is making it's turn.

Q. What if you win?

PAT BRADLEY: Well, then it's a women's prerogative to change her mind. (Laughter.)

Q. What do you see yourself doing if you take all this time off next year?

PAT BRADLEY: That's a good question. I'm not -- I am not really sure right at the moment. But, I would like to -- I would like to do some corporate outings or some charity outings, to keep my hand in it. I don't believe I'll be a teacher of the game. I'm still getting lessons at this moment in my life. So, I don't believe I'll be a teacher. But, you know, hopefully something at least I'll have some time now to be able to explore that avenue. Thank you all very much. I appreciate you being here.

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