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May 8, 2024

Vanna White

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, USA

Dunes Golf and Beach Club

Press Conference

THE MODERATOR: Welcome to your hometown. How long has it been since you've been back?

VANNA WHITE: I was here a few months ago. I try to get home at least a couple times a year, and it's always so much fun. I just love coming home. It's home, and it will always be home.

Q. This is a golf event, so let's start with golf. How long have you played? Have you been working on your game? Are you excited about tomorrow?

VANNA WHITE: Well, I started playing golf when I was young, and it only lasted for a couple of years, of course. Then other things got in the way. But I started back only five years ago, but I absolutely love it, and I play as often as I can.

I'm here, I can't believe I'm here and I can't believe I'm playing tomorrow in this pro-am. It is so exciting. I'm also so thrilled that this is the first time that we're having the Myrtle Beach Classic here. I'm so happy to be part of it.

Q. Myrtle Beach has changed since you've been here, but you've still got to love it, don't you?

VANNA WHITE: I do. It has changed a lot, but there's still a lot that is the same. When I come home, there's some of the same restaurants, some of the same houses are there, and it always feels close to my heart when I come here, and of course you see the highrises and the beautiful hotels and all the other things. It has a little bit of both.

Q. What's it like to return home as a celebrity? Talk about that.

VANNA WHITE: Well, when I was born, my name is Vanna, right, and nobody could pronounce my name correctly. What's your name? Vahna? Vayna? I'm thrilled that I can come home now and people know me as Vanna.

I've been doing "Wheel of Fortune" for 41 years, so I don't consider myself a celebrity even though I'm on TV, and especially when I come home. This is my hometown. I'm still that Vanna that I grew up as, and I'll always be that same person.

Q. When you got the call that they wanted you to come take part in this, what was your reaction?

VANNA WHITE: I jumped up and down. I was so excited. I really was. I heard about this, and when I heard about it, I was like, oh, my gosh, I have to publicize it or do something. I was so proud of this happening here in Myrtle Beach. This is such an honor that here we are right before the big event, and it's just so exciting. I can't wait!

Q. You've been on a journey to break 100, which happened. Is there a break 90 update, or where are you currently in your golf journey?

VANNA WHITE: I'm so close. I'm shooting in the mid-90s right now. That's not bragging by any means. But it's those few putts that you miss. It's like, I could have gotten an 89, I really could have. I missed by six putts or four putts. I'm working on it. Maybe tomorrow.

Q. How did you get involved in this? Who reached out to you, and how did this come about for you?

VANNA WHITE: Well, I have to tell you, when I first heard about it, I said to my publicist, please call somebody. I don't want to play in it, but I just want to publicize it because I'm so proud of my hometown. I want to be part of it. I want to tell everybody to come and watch it. Watch it on TV, whatever it is. Then it turned into me coming here and someone said, well, would you like to play in the pro-am. I said, no, no, I'm just here to publicize this. I'm so proud. They said, would you please play in it. I said, okay. I still don't know why. But no, it's going to be fun. I'm really excited about it.

I don't know what to say. I feel like a little kid in a candy store.

Q. You mentioned coming here how much you wanted to be a part of this. Do you think it's about time Myrtle Beach got something like this?

VANNA WHITE: Absolutely. We all know Myrtle Beach, we relate Myrtle Beach to golf, and it has been that way for a long, long, long time. It's about time the PGA TOUR came here. Yes!

Q. When you're away from Myrtle, what do you miss?

VANNA WHITE: About Myrtle Beach? I miss the people. I miss the ocean. I miss the food. People are so kind here. I miss the accent.

Now, I used to talk like this, too, and I do when I come home, and I absolutely love it. It makes me feel at home. But no, the food, of course, from the South. I love everything about this place.

Q. For a long time you've been almost the unofficial ambassador for Grand Strand. What's it like seeing all the growth and the changes around Grand Strand every time you come back and we've had so many new events come to Myrtle Beach. What would you say to people watching at home who have never been here to the Grand Strand before to encourage them to visit and maybe even become members of our community?

VANNA WHITE: I would say absolutely take a trip to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. There's something for everyone. There's golf. There's beach. There's so many activities. There's so many adventures. There's so many restaurants. There's something for everyone of all ages, which is great. It is a great family resort area. I can only say great things about it.

Q. Anything you'd like to add?

VANNA WHITE: I'm just so happy to be here. I really am. This is going to be a great weekend. I'm looking forward to it, and I hope everybody else is, too.

Q. Talk about your career. When you left here, how did you ever foresee something like what happened to you happen?

VANNA WHITE: I don't know how it happened. From the time -- I was in the third grade, I remember, I just had my appendix taken out and I was laying on the sofa recovering and there was a show on TV called "Rat Patrol," and my mother turned to me and said, oh, that's your uncle Christopher George. He's on TV? I have an uncle on TV? I want to be on TV. That was the third grade, and I never forgot that. From that point on, I wanted to be on TV.

When I graduated high school, I moved to Atlanta because being from a small town -- now, when I was growing up it was population 5,000. It's a long time ago. So I was unsure about moving to Hollywood, such a big city. So I moved to Atlanta, went to a college there, and then moved to Los Angeles in 1980, pursuing that dream.

So I kept pursuing it, and it happened in November of 1982. Merv Griffin hired me for "Wheel of Fortune" and I'm so grateful and thankful 41 years later that I'm still doing it. I want to say to everyone out there, follow your dreams. It can come true. They will come true.

Q. What do you like the most about golf?

VANNA WHITE: What do I like most about golf? Everything except the sand traps and -- no, I do like everything. It's beautiful on the course. It's nature. You're really competing against yourself. I do it -- I just have fun when I go out there. I don't take it too seriously. I just have a good time. It's a great escape. We're all so busy all the time, so it's a good way to just clear your mind, look at the birds, look at the beautiful trees, the lakes. It's just a wonderful thing.

Q. What do you personally believe is the secret to a perfect game of golf?

VANNA WHITE: The perfect game of golf, that's a very good question, and you have stumped me. I don't know. Does anybody else have an answer to that, the perfect game of golf?

Q. With your friends.

VANNA WHITE: Golf with your friends. That's a good one. Yeah, I like that. Have fun.

Q. Can you fill us in on when your run at Wheel of Fortune is going to end and what you have planned next after that?

VANNA WHITE: Well, I just signed on for two more years with the show, so I'm not going anywhere. My sweetheart Pat Sajack retired after 41 years, so I now am going to get used to working with a new host, Ryan Seacrest, who we have done some locations, and we've worked together well. He's nice. He's kind. He's professional. He's good at what he does. He said to me, he goes, listen, no one can ever replace Pat Sajack. I am not here to replace him. I am just going to fill in for him.

I'm looking forward to starting a new season with Ryan, and you have me for at least two more years. We'll see from there.

Q. Have you learned anything on the golf course that's helped you in your career over the past five years?

VANNA WHITE: I would say to learn something about golf, it would be, again, as I said before, never give up. Never give up. There's always a better score, right?

Q. Have you had a chance to play Dunes Club in the past or even earlier this week, and what do you see as the challenges on this course?

VANNA WHITE: I did say the Dunes Club a few months ago. It was my one and only time that I've played here. My score wasn't great. It was the first time playing here. But the course is so beautiful. I don't even know how to describe it. It's just breathtaking. The ocean views, the beautiful trees, the water. Everything about it is beautiful. I'm so looking forward to getting back out there and doing better this time.

By the way, my brother, there's my brother over there, chip white. He will be playing with me tomorrow.

Q. Who's your pro?

VANNA WHITE: They haven't told us yet. We're going to find out in a couple hours. I'm so curious. It's going to be a surprise for everybody.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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