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March 28, 2006

Morgan Pressel


PAM WARNER: Morgan, thanks for coming in and joining us today back at Kraft Nabisco. Last year, I know you finished in the top 20. Talk about being back.

MORGAN PRESSEL: This is a great tournament and this is my first opportunity to I played as an amateur on a sponsor's exemption last year, and that was a real treat for me. It opened up a lot of doors. This tournament has some great memories. I was in the lead after nine holes the second day last year. And I blew that, but that's another story.

I'm excited for the week, definitely.

PAM WARNER: We'll take questions for Morgan.

Q. You started your professional ascent here at this golf course at the sectional last year. You shot 63 I think the last day, if I remember. Talk about how your life has changed since you turned pro. And has anything surprised you in the first few weeks? Have people responded to you differently?

MORGAN PRESSEL: Nothing has surprised me, I guess. It's just a little bit more popularity, a little more attention, which is always a good thing. I'm still playing golf, so I'm still doing the same thing.

Q. So nothing really?

MORGAN PRESSEL: Nothing has really changed.

Q. This obviously also will be your first major as a professional, if I'm not mistaken.

MORGAN PRESSEL: Yes. I didn't think about that.

Q. A lot of people are billing it, whether right or wrong, Morgan versus Michelle or Morgan versus Paula. Do you see that kind of rivalry now? And can you see that as being kind of a fun thing down the road?

MORGAN PRESSEL: Well, I think that's a great thing for publicity and just promotion of the LPGA Tour, to have certain rivals. But just because I beat Michelle or just because I beat Paula doesn't mean I'll win the tournament. I think that's even bigger for the LPGA, that there are so many people that have the opportunity to win on any given week.

Q. Can you talk about your relationship with both Michelle and Paula? Have you become a little friendlier with them or do you interact with them very much?

MORGAN PRESSEL: I've known Paula for a very long time, playing Junior Golf and Amateur Golf together. And we've played on a couple of Junior Solheim Cup teams. And we've been friendly for a long time. Michelle I only see every now and then because she doesn't play that often in the same events, but we're friendly.

Q. I think one of the things that we've enjoyed about you the first couple of years that you've been at professional events is your outspokenness, you're willing to kind of say your thoughts and lay it on the line.

Do you feel like you're going to have to tone it down now at all because you're a professional, and have you felt that, because you're going to face the Michelle questions or the Paula questions kind of everywhere you go. Are you kind of planning on toning it down, or how do you feel about that?

MORGAN PRESSEL: There's no reason for me to tone it down. I don't see why I should. I don't think that I've done anything that would be unprofessional or anything like that. I think it's something that people can relate to. It's just me being me so I'm not going to change.

Q. Obviously you were challenged in Hawaii. How do you feel like your game is now? What do you need to work on to get to the level you want to be at?

MORGAN PRESSEL: I think there are a couple of things. Obviously my game can always improve. I think that length is a big thing, and I just need to start working hard in the gym and working more on hitting the ball maybe 20 yards further, as well as my putting. And that's going to determine a champion week in and week out, who makes every putt they look at. And last week my putting was horrendous. It hasn't been all that great this year, so I think that's one thing I'm really working on trying to improve.

Q. Is length something that's basically physical or is it something you're tinkering around with the equipment, things like that, as well?

MORGAN PRESSEL: Well, when I visited Callaway in the middle of January we did some testing, tinkering with equipment, and I actually gained about 10 yards from just changing drivers, getting the right shaft and the right loft. Other than that, it's going to be mainly physical, maybe a few swing changes or just improvements; obviously not full out changes, but just little things that would be more powerful moves.

Q. Could you discuss your relationship with your Big Sister on Tour and what you may have been learning from her?

MORGAN PRESSEL: Well, Juli Inkster is my big sister, and she's the nicest lady. And she's great. And I've known her for a long time and it was exciting to see that she was going to be my Big Sister. Other than taking 20 bucks from me last week, which was for a bet that we had over I was playing by myself and she and Beth Daniels and Meg Mallon were in front of me, and they waved me up. And she wanted to take money from me because I was the youngest.

I heard she called me the cash bag. And after she won, I said, "Who is the cash bag now?" But I inspired her to her victory, so I'll take credit for that. She taught me to pay my bets.

Actually, I went up to her yesterday and I said, "Here is your 20 bucks." She said, "What is this for?" I said, "The 20 dollars I owe you." She said, "See, I'm so old I forgot already. I've forgotten about it." Meg would have reminded her.

She's great. I know I can always talk to her for whatever I need, especially she has younger daughters about my age, so she knows what it's like.

Q. I know this is kind of the last semester of school for you. What's your schedule been like and how have you been able to balance kind of this last semester really being a student and a teenager with being a professional for the first time?

MORGAN PRESSEL: Well, especially, all your teachers try to cram everything, the last few things they can teach you at the end of your senior year, so I'm backed up on a few term papers. I mailed in a test on Friday and I just I've just got some work with me that I've been doing. I'm on spring break right now. That takes a little bit of the pressure off, but I've still got a lot to do.

Q. Have you been able to do those fun things that a 17 year old senior should be doing?


Q. Like prom and

MORGAN PRESSEL: I went to prom last year, but I'm not going to go this year because I'm going to be in Orlando. I mean, when I was home, when St. Andrews went to the finals of state, I went there. That was fun, but...

Q. Being the opening of the season, can you sum up how you feel about it? Are you pleased with the way you've been playing, the results?

MORGAN PRESSEL: I'm okay with how I've been my first couple of events were very good. But last week well, Phoenix was a little bit of a disappointment for me. I'm just going to take that and move on. It just shows that I have to work on my putting. It's hard to say, I hit the ball really well and shot 77 last week. It was basically all my putting. That's frustrating in itself, in a nut, and I've spent a lot of time this week working on my putting.

Q. In terms of distance, what driving average do you think you need to attain to be as competitive as you want to be?

MORGAN PRESSEL: Well, I think that I would say I hit it probably around 245, 250 now. If I got 20 more yards, I would say that would you know, you're hitting shorter irons into every par 4, and you can hit the par 5s in two. It makes it easier to score, and I think it's turning into a power game.

Q. How attainable do you think that is as far as timewise? How quickly do you think you can gain that 20 yards?

MORGAN PRESSEL: I don't know. I just think it's going to take time in the gym and just dedication.

Q. The one ball idea has popped up now and then on the PGA Tour as far as an issue. Is that discussed much among the LPGA players? Are you aware of the idea of maybe some day using one ball rather than a variety of balls?

MORGAN PRESSEL: I haven't heard that, actually, so I don't think it's talked about much.

Q. As far as you're actually making money now, have you bought any fun prizes with your earnings? And does grandpa give you an allowance or do you just spend as you will?

MORGAN PRESSEL: Well, I've always been a pretty careful spender, but I have bought a couple of purses and a few pairs of earnings, that's for sure, but nothing really big or exciting.

Q. Can you talk a little bit about the U.S. Open and what that did for you as far as motivation? And does it raise your expectation level in majors a little bit now?

MORGAN PRESSEL: Well, going into that Open with the way that course set up and with firmer fairways, firmer greens, fast greens, longer rough, I know that suits my game. And that's why actually in majors I feel almost more comfortable, because the courses are set up that much tougher, where it puts a premium on accuracy, which I think is one of the strongest parts of my game, is my consistency. You know, I feel very comfortable. I hope to do well.

Q. You obviously are skipping college. Is there kind of an attitude now in Junior Golf for girls that players want to get right to the pros right away? Talk about the decision making process.

MORGAN PRESSEL: Well, I think that the game is getting younger and I think you can see that by how skilled younger players how skilled players are becoming at a younger and younger age. For me, it was just something that this is what I wanted to do and I felt I was ready to do it now. I didn't think that one, two, four years of college even would help me at all. I felt that playing out here full time would help me achieve what I want to achieve.

Q. Do you get the sense that there will be more and more players skipping college, especially on the girls side?

MORGAN PRESSEL: Well, I don't know. There is a lot of really good players coming up, so it might become more frequent. I'm not really sure. I guess we'll have to wait and see.

Q. We're seeing this exceptional crop of American women golfers emerging at the same time as young American women tennis players. Can you shed any light on this, whether it's coincidence or whether the game is more appealing to younger women?

MORGAN PRESSEL: I don't know. I think it might be a little bit of a coincidence. I think throughout all sports, the whole generation focuses on maybe one sport instead of playing three sports in school. Maybe parents might focus on it a little more and put a little bit more effort into it. But as far as specifically golf and tennis, I think it's mainly coincidence.

Q. How much did the monster amateur career you had and how much you won, how much do you think that plays into how well you'll do initially out here on the Tour. Whether it's win or just compete, how much winning back then become a factor in that?

MORGAN PRESSEL: Well, I think it gives me a lot of experience in playing in some great events on some great courses against some tough competition. And it also gives me the confidence that I can hit shots under pressure, even if it's pulling out a shot on the last hole of a junior tournament, at least I've done it and I can thrive on that if the situation comes here.

Q. When you were playing here last year, I think it was only your third professional event and first sponsored exemption. How would you compare the you that is sitting here now versus the you that was getting to play as a 15 year old last year, both personally, maturity wise, and as a player?

MORGAN PRESSEL: Well, last year was my first exemption. I tried for a few exemptions before that and wasn't able to get any. This was my first opportunity, I felt, to prove that I could play. I obviously didn't have nearly as much experience in playing in bigger events, but I took that as part of the challenge, and I still hope to play my best.

PAM WARNER: Thank you, Morgan.

End of FastScripts.

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