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September 10, 2006

Cristie Kerr


THE MODERATOR: Thank you for joining us. Congratulations on winning the John Q. Hammons Hotel Classic. Great day out there today. On the back nine you really turned it around. Talk about your round.

CRISTIE KERR: On the front nine I felt like I was playing okay, just on the 5th hole par 5 I had about five feet for birdie and just hit an awful putt, pulled it really badly.

Then on 8, first putt, kind of under read it a little bit, went about three feet by. It didn't feel like my stroke, so I adjusted my setup on the back nine and was able to make some really good putts coming down the stretch. But I hit it fairly good today overall. I didn't hit it as close as I did yesterday.

Q. After what Annika did last week, the record score, and you ended up being the victim, things kind of turned out better this week?

CRISTIE KERR: Yeah, I guess you can look at it that way. I played great today, and she shot very, very low rounds at The Rail last week. This golf course is extremely tough.

Q. Is this the first time that you've gone head to head with Annika for a title on Sunday playing in the same group?

CRISTIE KERR: Playing in the same group? I've gone head to head with her before but haven't I mean, she's played in a lot of tournaments that I've won but not in the same group, so this is probably the first or second time going head to head that I've beaten her. This is one of the only times I've gotten her.

Q. How satisfying is it?

CRISTIE KERR: It's the most satisfying feeling in the world. It's a great accomplishment.

Q. It kind of solidifies you right now as the hottest American.

CRISTIE KERR: Yeah, I've been kind of maybe overlooked this year or last year, but I've been feeling good for a long time. I feel like that's where I am, and it took a lot of hard work to be able to be in that position.

Q. She managed to hit every green today and didn't win. Kind of comment on what you did to trump that.

CRISTIE KERR: She got two ahead of me, but 11 was pretty remarkable, and I knew that I was going to have to put some pressure on her and make some birdies to be able to get back even with her. I birdied 11 and made an unbelievable birdie on 12 out of the bunker. We both had chances on 14 and 15, I was able to take a long putt, 16 I almost birdied, 17 was crucial to be able to get a tee shot in the fairway on the last hole.

Q. Talk a little bit about that bunker shot at No. 12. It looked like you were in dire straits and then all of a sudden you were ten feet from the hole.

CRISTIE KERR: It was better to be in the bunker there than the rough, so it really wasn't as difficult as everybody thought it was. I hit a good shot into the green and I was able to make the putt.

Q. You said that you wanted to have fun and that life is too short. I don't know if that was kind of an off the cuff comment or your mental state since your mother has had her difficulties.

CRISTIE KERR: Yeah, in a sense it takes the pressure off. I don't put pressure on myself to have to do this. I just play golf and try to compete again.

Q. Not to make too much of it, but did your mother's situation change your outlook?

CRISTIE KERR: Absolutely. We had my grandparents when I was younger getting sick and all that, but this was really the first thing that had happened to me that made me question my mortality. It definitely gives you a different outlook on life, and my purpose is raising money for charity. That's the way things work out sometimes. Life has a funny way of turning itself around.

Q. Speaking of your foundation, did you think you'd make 14 birdies for the tournament?

CRISTIE KERR: Well, I had never been here before to Cedar Ridge Country Club, and I heard as much about the golf course as everybody. It is all that. I definitely had a great tournament. Down the stretch on the back nine, I knew I had a pretty good chance to win, so I had nothing to lose.

Q. You haven't been to Cedar Ridge in the past. What changed your decision about going to Cedar Ridge?

CRISTIE KERR: Well, I heard from everybody how great the golf course is and that it's heavily involved with the tournament. I didn't want to go and forfeit this tournament. I'm sure glad I did.

Q. On the men's Tour sometimes, guys say that Tiger will just will it in the hole. (Inaudible.)

CRISTIE KERR: Well, I think for many years they have, and I think just recently, in the last year, year and a half, everybody is realizing that everybody's play has gotten better and things are better in all parts of the world. We're all becoming a lot more competitive with her because we're getting better. I think people are starting to realize, hey, you know what, we don't have to play under pressure, we don't have to give it away and give it to her just because she is the best player in the world. Let her stand up for herself and play great golf and see what kind of a match you can make out of it. I think everybody has really gotten more competitive. The whole PGA TOUR has gotten more competitive and everybody can really play right now.

Q. What was going through your mind when you birdied 15 and took a one shot lead over Annika?

CRISTIE KERR: I'm sure glad that ball went in (laughter). But I think 16, 17 and 18 are the toughest holes on the course and I knew I was going to have to play spectacular golf to stay ahead of her. Even having a four shot going into the last three holes cannot matter.

Q. If you're one of the best players in the world right now, when is the last time you can remember being intimidated?

CRISTIE KERR: Well, I think that's something that you well, it's something that I've grown out of. I've realized the dynamic of people playing golf and all that stuff. It's been a really long time since I've been intimidated. But that comes with age, it comes with winning tournaments, it comes with having success, it comes with believing in yourself, all those different things at once.

Q. You've played really well since the final round at Evian. Is there anything in particular that clicked for you in the last month or so?

CRISTIE KERR: Yeah, I've just been finding my focus on the course. I also got a new driver, a Ping Rapture driver, and I absolutely love it. It's given me two or three more fairways now than I was missing. I've played well all year since I got my putter in Atlanta. I'm definitely just loving it.

Q. Do you get extra yardage off the tee with that Rapture, as well?

CRISTIE KERR: A little bit.

Q. Talk about the putter.

CRISTIE KERR: It's been great since I got it. There's something about the putter that I love. I had been using my other putter for a long time and I always had trouble with my feet and lining it up and I could feel my feet coming up, and now I can tell the line. Driver and putter, those are two of the clubs to have working for you.

Q. Can you talk about what Patty Berg has meant to golf?

CRISTIE KERR: One of the all time founders in my opinion of golf, period. If it weren't for her I wouldn't have been interested in the game. I heard about that on the 1st tee this morning, and I was sad to hear that she has passed. She has led a very blessed, a great, long life, and her contribution to the game will be forever commendable.

There's a lot of things that she did do that you can't put your finger on. I know she had a great lust for life, a very long life. She meant the world to me. I knew her personally and didn't get a chance to meet with her before she passed. Right now she's in a better place.

Those founders of the LPGA, all of the players, including myself, we do not begin to thank them enough every day for what they've done for us and the game of golf.

End of FastScripts.

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