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July 23, 2000

Karrie Webb


RHONDA GLENN: We have Karrie Webb, winner of the 2000 U.S. Women's Open. Would you please tell us about your day in the sun.

KARRIE WEBB: The front nine felt especially particularly long today. But all in all, it was, you know, just like all of the other days. Felt like it was a lot of hard work. But, definitely at the end, very, very rewarding, and, you know, just really proud of myself, the fact that after double-bogey on 7 that, you know, I held myself together and, you know I didn't make a bogey after that. You know, I just played very solid golf. I hit fairways and greens, and gave myself a lot of opportunities to make birdies, but, you know, I had a lot of easy 2-putts. So, you know it was just even coming down the last three holes with a four-shot lead, anything can happen out there. So, you know, I had to play right down to the wire. I wasn't counting my chickens. It was a great feeling.

Q. In the beginning of the week before the tournament started, you talked about being patient and some of the things that were your troubles early on. How do you handle that today? When you would have got everyone upset did you do what you wanted to? Was it a scenario like, it could have been, like you talked about earlier?

KARRIE WEBB: Yeah, I had been playing pretty solidly all week. You know, I made a pretty stupid choice on my second shot on 8, to hit it over the tree. I thought I had a pretty good lie in the rough, and in the end, it wasn't as good as I thought, and hit it into the tree. And ended up making -- after walking to that shot, I just was really talking to myself and just, you know, just to play smart and hang in there, you're still leading a golf tournament. That was the ultimate thing. I was still leading and I had to remember that and just forget what had happened and just play solid from there. I made a great par on 8. I think it didn't calm me down a lot, but it was better than making another bogey. And put a great two swings on the drive, my shot into 9, and after that, I had gotten back into a good rhythm with my swing. I just had to keep reminding myself that there's just so much golf left, and just couldn't get frustrated or feel like I was losing the tournament when I was still leading.

Q. You've won three of the last four majors, you've won the Open, you've made the Hall of Fame, which you said is your ultimate career goal. What do you do for an encore? How do you keep motivated?

KARRIE WEBB: Well, holding up trophies like that, that's got to keep you motivated. Winning golf tournaments is, to me, is what I'm out there to do, is to win. You know, that's my motivation. Obviously, I have achieved pretty much all my career goals already. But, you know, there's still a lot more to achieve, and I think I can only get better and improve my game. You know, just give myself more chances to win tournaments like the U.S. Open and the majors that we have on the LPGA. Like I said, that's my motivation and that's why I work so hard to do is get myself into those positions.

Q. Karrie, you seem visibly irked when on Wednesday, someone said this has eluded you. Does that motivate you when the media says you haven't done this?

KARRIE WEBB: I don't necessarily think so. I had another really good question; that I had not won for so long, and it's only been three months. (Laughter.). You know, those are the things, you know, just let them brush off my back, roll off my back. I know how hard that I work and I know what I'm out there to do. You know, I think what -- you know, the media sometimes doesn't understand how hard it is to peak at the right time. And, you know, there's a lot of great players that have won the Open, haven't won the Open, and, you know, it's just luck. You know, all those things combined don't necessarily add up to -- and this is only the fifth time I've played in an Open, and knowing I've achieved that on my fifth try is a great accomplishment. You know, there's just that extra little bit of pressure when you're playing the U.S. Open. You know, I felt it. I felt it all week. I felt it, especially today. It's just so intense out there. It's like no other tournament I've ever played.

RHONDA GLENN: It took Tiger six tries to win the Open. (Laughter.)

Q. As you sit up there and talk about meeting all your career goals, you're only 25. Has that sunk in yet that you have done this and you are only 25? If not, do you think that it will eventually?

KARRIE WEBB: Yeah, I don't know about winning the U.S. Open or having enough points to be in the Hall of Fame, I don't think that's quite sunk in yet. Every year as I look back at what I've achieved, I just shake my head. I can't believe that I've done so much so soon. You know, the fact that I've added two other notches on the belt, I guess, or achieved two more things that I'd set goals for, and I'm not yet 26, you know, it's really hard for me to believe that I've done this already. You know, like I said, there's plenty of tournaments for me to play that, you know, I'm going to go out there and try to win as well. You know, I think I've got far, far more golf to play, and, you know, the fact that I've achieved this so soon is just a bonus, I guess. Everything from now on in is a bonus for me.

Q. If you were describing what it takes to be one of the all-time great players on the LPGA TOUR, what other-- what are the qualifications that you would set for this kind of description? And with a $2 million year possible, can you just talk about your schedule for the rest of the year?

KARRIE WEBB: I don't really know how to set a criteria for the best player ever. I think I said that earlier in the week when we were talking about Tiger -- we've talked a little bit about him this week -- just how you can't really compare players from different eras, because you never get to play against one another. And the fact that, you know, Tiger is compared to Jack Nicklaus, it's just too hard, because like I said, they never played against one another. And I think that's why the Hall of Fame -- the LPGA Hall of Fame is so great. I think every single person that's in the Hall of Fame is the best players of their era, and the fact that the criteria has changed a little bit to allow people from each era to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, I think that, you know, it just shows that over the years, that this group of players were the best for their era, and you just can't -- you just can't compare two people that have not played in the same era, I don't think. As far as $2 million, I have a week off now, and I'm supposed to play five in a row. So, I think I'm still going to do that. But, you know, I've got du Maurier coming up, and I went and did my Media Day there a couple of months ago. The course is a great course, Royal Ottawa, and I'm really looking forward to playing out there, defending. The British Open, playing at Royal Birkdale, seeing as the guys had such great weather this week, we'll probably get really nasty weather. So, I'm looking forward to that. You know, I don't know how many more tournaments I've got left on my schedule. I'll probably stick pretty close to what I already have down. And as far as the $2 million, I'm still a little ways off from there. I think I've got to win a couple more to cross that, but we'll see what happens as the year progresses.

Q. You mentioned you had a little talk with yourself on the 8th hole it. That was such a great turnaround, it looked like things were slipping away from you there. Did anything else happen? Did your caddy say anything? Were there any other incidents that happened that might have snapped you out of it or whatever?

KARRIE WEBB: No. I think just that little talk to myself. Just the belief that my game is good enough; that I could turn it around and I was still leading. Even though I think things did feel like they were slipping away a little bit; I was still leading. You know, I just had to forget about that stuff. I mean, I don't think anything else -- I think playing the 9th hole very solidly was another key. And birdie on 10, you know that got me right back on track, and I don't believe I missed a green after that, you know, I hit the ball very well.

Q. Can you take us through No. 7, your emotions there, and also your distance in on 8 and the distance of your par putt on 8?

KARRIE WEBB: Okay. Well, on 7, it was -- the wind was probably -- it was different again on that fee to what it had been all week, and, you know, just didn't feel all that comfortable over the ball. Just was a bad swing, and pretty much as soon as I hit it I knew it was not going to carry the left edge, and just one of those things. I felt like I played a pretty good shot from the drop zone, and, you know, made two good putts. There's not much I could do about it after hitting it in the water. And then on 8, I hit fourth shot to about seven feet, I guess, seven or eight feet and made the putt. My fourth shot, it was a sand wedge, so, I don't know, 88 yards,90 yards, something like that.

Q. Meg said she thought you were a little bit perked up when you saw the Australian flag on 15, and you looked over there and saw it, can you talk about that? Did that cheer you up a little bit to see that?

KARRIE WEBB: Actually, it did. I had to calm myself down. I got tears in my eyes because I felt like I was playing the Solheim Cup out there and I was on the European team. You know, it was just -- it was a great sight. Obviously, when people come over and play in Australia, the crowds are the same. They think the crowds today were great, too. You can always tell who the crowds were cheering for, but they still appreciated the way I played, too. And when people come to Australia, they are put in that experience, as well. But to see that big Australian flag really made me feel -- I don't know, just made me feel really good, and that there were some Australians out there supporting me.

Q. What were your emotions walking up the 18th fairway? I kind of noticed that you and Evan kind of slapped hands and had a big smile on your face what was going through your mind at that point?

KARRIE WEBB: Coming into this week, I probably didn't play it up as much as I would like, because I didn't want to talk about it every day, I guess, but I really wasn't swinging it very well, and I didn't feel like -- I really didn't feel like my game was in good enough shape to win the U.S. Open. You know, on Monday afternoon, I thought if I could just make the cut, you know, have a decent tournament, that was as much as I could expect. The only thing that I knew was that it was windy, and like I said, I could play my way into a swing, and that's what happened. You know, I just told Evan not to listen to me anymore, not to listen to the crap that I was speaking on Monday. Sometimes I think that I do that to myself to cheer myself up and tell my other personality to -- the one that says that I can do it, overrides the doubting one. You know, I just told Evan not to listen to me, and, you know, he did a great job this week, and you know, we work very well together. I think one of our things going into this week, one of the things that I've had problems in the Open, too, is not trying -- I was trying to hit it to the pin all the time, so -- instead of just hitting to spots where you had decent putts; and we worked very well and very consistently doing that this week. So, all in all, I think that's what we were talking about, walking up the 18th.

Q. I know you can only guess an answer to the question I'm about to ask, but if you and Tiger were thrown into a group together to discuss your approaches to the swing and your mental approaches to the game, do you think there would be similarities, and if so, what might some of those similarities be?

KARRIE WEBB: I have no idea. I don't know. Sometimes I don't understand, you know, sometimes why I'm sitting here. I think I was given a gift to play golf and to be mentally strong. You know, I don't see a sports psychologist. Everything that I've done besides my actual swing, the mental aspect of it, I've somehow just known what to do in that situation. You know, I don't know what Tiger has done throughout his career. He was brought up to be in the position that he was in. I mean, you know, his dad told him when he was a little boy that he was going to be the best golfer in the world. So, I think that the way we grew up is probably a little bit different. You know, my approach to the game is, you know, just to work very hard and, you know, as is his. But, I don't know what the similarities would be. It would be interesting to find out.

Q. Would you like such an opportunity?

KARRIE WEBB: I guess. Whether or not that happens, take it or leave it. Tiger is -- I admire Tiger so much. I mean, what he's achieved in a short time is great. It's just unbelievable, and his dominance is -- you know, it just shows all his hard work and dedication to the game. He makes so, so much money that he doesn't have to work that hard, but he loves the game so much that he puts all that hard work into it, and he's reaping the rewards right now.

Q. Speaking of mental toughness, Meg was talking about the 10th hole when she left her putt short, that you're the type of player who when they smell blood, they really go after it. Did you see a possible opening there, a two-shot swing at that hole?

KARRIE WEBB: Yeah, definitely, when she left that putt short, she still was away. You know, I never count that someone is going to -- I was just counting that she would make that putt. But knowing that if she didn't, you know I had a very good opportunity to make birdie. You know, I just wanted to make birdie no matter what. I left myself a very good birdie opportunity. And whether or not Meg made her putt or not, I wanted to at least get one shot back and take a shot lead and, you know, as it turned out, she 3-putted and I made the putt. So, you know, very quickly, she hits it to five feet on next hole and it's back to one shot. You know, you can't get too far ahead of yourself. Like I've said all week, you've just got to take it one hole at a time.

Q. What was the tougher challenge, the golf course or yourself today, and why?

KARRIE WEBB: I think a bit of both. I think I was very nervous all day. I was nervous this morning when I was getting ready. You know, probably the most nervous I've ever been, and just knowing that I could play great golf today and not win the golf tournament, and, you know, I had no control over that, and that's the part of the course that you know, that you fear. Like on 7, it was just one bad swing at the wrong hole. It could have been at the 4th hole and I just make a bogey and not a double. So, you know, that part of the course, I mean, there's so many holes out there where your heart is in your mouth the whole hole. You just want to hit a good tee hot and get on the green and just get out of there with a par. It was probably a combination of both.

Q. You talked about what Tiger has accomplished at such a young age and how that's unbelievable. Do you ever stop and pause and think about what you've accomplished at such a young age? I mean, when do you take all of this and say, "wow," you qualified for the Hall of Fame?

KARRIE WEBB: I think what I've achieved this week will definitely sink in in the next couple of days. I still can't believe that I've achieved what I have. It's like I've lived a dream for about five years now. It just keeps continuing to happen. I'm just going to go with it for as long as it lasts.

Q. Along the line of goals you mentioned earlier in the year, you said that you definitely wanted to qualify for the Hall of Fame this year. And you said there are other goals out there, can you tell us what they are? Do you have a little mental checklist of things that you want to accomplish as you go along in the year?

KARRIE WEBB: Not really. But just holding up these trophies is a good enough goal right now. I have not really sat down and thought about the future, but I do know that I want to keep getting myself into contention to win tournaments, and, especially the majors. You know, I've got plenty of those left ahead of me, and, every time I tee it up, I'll be trying to win one.

Q. Do you think it's bad luck for you that you had one of your great accomplishments, and it's on the same day that Tiger Woods has maybe one of the greatest accomplishments in golf?

KARRIE WEBB: Well, I guess you could say that about my whole year then, because I was Rookie of the Year the same year that he was Rookie of the Year. And, you know, I had a great year last year when he had a great year. You know, you just can't do anything about it really. You know, my ultimate goal was to win the U.S. Open this week, and I can't help the fact that Tiger then goes out and wins the British Open and wins the career Grand Slam before he's 25. You know, that was probably inevitable and whether or not it was last week or this week, you know, the attention still would have been there. You know, I think that most people that, you know, that watched the British Open and watch the U.S. Open, saw two great tournaments, and I'm sure you guys are all going to report it, just as much as the British Open is reporting it.

RHONDA GLENN: I've been asked to ask you by an a official involved in this, since you're involved with the Olympics carrying the torch, do you want women's golf in the Olympics? And if it is made available, would you be willing to represent your country?

KARRIE WEBB: I've love to see golf in the Olympics. I've talked to a few people about it recently, and a few years ago when they talked about it I always felt that -- probably back in the 80s, I always felt that professional athletes shouldn't participate in the Olympics. Because back then, the track and field stars and swimmers and -- and it still is the case pretty much in Australia. But as far as today, a lot of those athletes are making large sums of money, anyway. But back then, they were pretty much amateur athletes. I always felt, you see the NBA basketball players in the Olympics, I mean, they make millions and millions and millions of dollars, and the gold medal is about the only thing that they can't buy. You know, I always felt that, you know, that wasn't something that I think should happen at the Olympics. But with the fact that now all of these track and field stars are so highly endorsed and the swimmers and what-have-you, I've love to see golf be a part of the Olympics. I think, you know, Tiger Woods and David Duval and a lot of people now are working out and golf has become more athletic every year. You know, you have to be fit to play golf, and I think that was always an argument years back; that you didn't have to be. And I've love to see it in the Olympics, and I definitely would be there with bells on to represent Australia. I think that would be an unbelievable experience, and just to be there with all of the other athletes from their respective sports.

End of FastScripts....

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