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May 10, 2006

Cristie Kerr


DANA GROSS RHODE: Thanks again for coming in today. You've played in nine tournaments, obviously you're coming in in a great position defending this tournament, but coming off of a win last week, just talk about being in that position right now.

CRISTIE KERR: Well, I feel good about my game. I didn't hit it exceptionally great last week. I've got my coach out with me this week and we've done some good work. I'm managing my energy a little bit. I've been tired this week so far, and tried to work out a couple times to boost my energy. I'm going to take the rest of today off after I practice and just kind of relax and watch some TV or something. I just feel really, really good about where I am in my career and looking how I can get better and go forward from here.

Q. Could be mucky tomorrow. You've actual played well out here in the muck.

CRISTIE KERR: At this time of year in the northeast is touch and go as far as the weather goes and if the temperatures are warmer. You can get a cold front or some rain move through which tends to cool things off a bit.

I don't mind bad weather. You just have to be really patient and just know that well, sometimes it's the same for everybody but not all the time. You just have to just be patient and just accept what you've been given, and, you know, I'm pretty good at that I think.

Q. How hopeful is it that you're coming off such a nice win to build momentum in a tournament that golfers enjoy coming to?

CRISTIE KERR: It's definitely a great confidence boost for me to win last week. I felt like I've been playing well all year and it just had not really come together.

And you know, I definitely like my chances for this week. Just for me, I've been doing a lot of off the course stuff as well, and, you know, for me it's just about managing my energy right now. That's what I'm probably going to do today is kind of relax after I hit some balls and practice a little bit.

Q. What kind of off the course stuff have you been wearing yourself down with?

CRISTIE KERR: I have great sponsors: Mutual of Omaha, Lacoste, Ginn Clubs and Resorts, Titleist, Footjoy, and the last three or four weeks, I've had Monday outings for each of those sponsors. So really, consequently I did a photo shoot it was supposed to be Monday, but it got rained out to Tuesday morning in Nashville. So the last three or four weeks I've done stuff. I took Monday and Tuesday of Nashville off actually no, I'm sorry. I've mixed my days up.

I took Monday and Tuesday of Nashville off. Flew in Tuesday afternoon. It was supposed to be that Tuesday afternoon, but it got rained out, so I did a three hour photo shoot before the Pro Am. And it's my fifth week in a row, which is a lot for me. I'm really enjoying playing golf right now, and I'm even going over to Korea next week, and then I'll have a week off after that. So this is my one big stretch of tournaments that I play in a row so just trying to manage my energy right now.

Q. What's in Korea?

CRISTIE KERR: The Korean Open.

Q. Is that Sybase week?

CRISTIE KERR: It's the week of the Sybase, yeah. I put in for a release from the LPGA months and months and months ago.

Q. Just having had such a great start to the season, do you then start looking at Money Lists, these sort of things?

CRISTIE KERR: Yeah, absolutely, these are all sort of things I pay attention to now, little goals here and there.

Q. And how about majors, are they another big

CRISTIE KERR: Absolutely. Those are all things that I have my eyes on. You just have to be able to put yourself in position to be able to play well in those major tournaments. If the recipe is right and everything works out well, you end up playing well.

Those are definitely things all the players pay attention to, not only winning tournaments, but majors and little other goals like that. So Money List, being competitive, seeing how much you need to move up to whatever spot you're looking at. I think those are all things that good players pay attention to.

Q. This is a very interesting season so far in that you've got all these young players of tremendous talent, and you've got Hall of Famers who are, some of them, finding their game again all of a sudden; Karrie Webb, Inkster playing well, and then you have players like you who are in their prime. Are we hitting like a peak for the Tour right now?

CRISTIE KERR: Well, I think I've told this to a lot of people: If we were a stock, it would be a really, really good time to buy because we are about to tip. I feel like, honestly I feel like if I had gone to college, I would only be in my fourth or fifth year out here, fourth, fifth, sixth, something like that. So I feel like I haven't really hit my prime yet, which is a good place to be. We have a lot of great young talent out here and we also have some great veteran players who are playing well.

I think you're seeing that as a result of everybody really excited about the LPGA right now and where the LPGA is headed, and you know, it's never been a more competitive place to play golf.

Q. One of your non members just went to Korea and made the cut in a men's event, obviously. There doesn't seem to be a lot of buzz about it here this week, or am I just missing something?

CRISTIE KERR: About Michelle?

Q. Do people talk about it?

CRISTIE KERR: I really haven't heard a whole lot about it. I think people know that she did make the cut and that she played. But I mean, I'm with you on that, I really haven't heard a whole lot about it.

Q. In your mind, what kind of an accomplishment is that?

CRISTIE KERR: That's a great accomplishment, especially having to travel all the way from the United States where her home is to play in the Korean Open, the men's Open, rather.

It was inevitable that she was going to make a cut eventually. I mean, she's too talented and I think she's great for us. I thought she was playing here but I don't think she is. So maybe that's why there's not as much buzz, because she's not here on the heels that have maybe.

Q. Is that something you aspire to, ever aspire to attempt?

CRISTIE KERR: Play in a men's event? I think it would be interesting to do that. But if I were to do it, I'd do it for the right reasons, and for me, that would be to raise money for charity or something that was near and dear to my heart.

So if the chance ever came to me, nobody's ever contacted me or asked me to play in a men's PGA Tour event. I think it would be interesting. But I would have to, you know, look at the opportunity as it came in and where it fell on the schedule and everything, and go from there.

Q. But you've never been proactive yourself?

CRISTIE KERR: No, I haven't, I really haven't. I'm not as long as Annika. I'm trying to get longer, I'm trying to find a driver I hit further, but I hit my driver pretty good.

I think it would be just interesting. I mean, to see how I match up and to see how much longer the course plays and where I can improve on my short game. I think that would be a good learning experience for me, but I haven't been real proactive at doing that.

Q. When you come back to a place that you've won, more confidence, more enthusiasm, you walk on the course and say, you know, I won here last year; just talk about the thoughts that go through your head when you come back out here knowing you would be last year?

CRISTIE KERR: Definitely great memories. You walk around the course, or, oh, I hit a great shot here or got up and down here, just places that you come back to that were great wins and you have great people that you say with and great memories. It's just there are really about vibes all around.

I've always enjoyed this tournament and being here and everything that goes along with it. So it's just a real fun experience for me to be here.

Q. Is there another stop where you have a better track record than this place?

CRISTIE KERR: I don't know. I'd have to think about that. (Smiling) I'd have to think about that.

I mean, I walk around the grounds here and I just feel magic. I feel special vibes. I've always felt that since I've come here. Maybe it's the family I stay with. Maybe it's just the overall feel of the tournament and the competition, the course, everything that goes into that. I've just always had really good feelings when I've come here.

Q. Who do you stay with, if you don't mind me asking?

CRISTIE KERR: Michael and Linda Whittaker.

Q. Here on the grounds?

CRISTIE KERR: On the grounds.

Q. When you play, you know you're going to play well, week in and week out, but when you come to a place you've played really well, you walk in here even if you flew in Thursday morning and teed it up 30 minutes later, you know you're going to play really good here, is that how you feel when you come here?

CRISTIE KERR: I think so. But again, nothing's guaranteed. I try to draw upon my past experiences and I've had a lot of good success here. So, you know, confidence is half of the battle, as everybody knows, and this place just gives me a great deal of confidence when I'm here.

Q. What do you recall from last Sunday here last year?

CRISTIE KERR: Being really tired. Actually, from playing so much, I partially tore one of my lower abdominal muscles and went to run in a New York City a couple days after I finished the tournament here and I couldn't run. I was in a lot of pain and went to see my ART specialist there and he's like, you partially tore one of your lower not a huge tear, but enough to make a difference to where I could feel it when I was running and it took four or five weeks for that to heel before I could start running again.

So it was a tough day. I remember eating a lot on the golf course because, you know, we were out there all day, 10 or 11 hours of golf. It was just a great experience for me. I take away great memories from this place.

Q. Did that injury affect you at all coming down the stretch?

CRISTIE KERR: No, it was just more running, because you use your abdominal muscles a ton when you're running. You use your core in golf, but not to that extent where you have to physically move yourself around.

Q. Did it manifest like a cramp?

CRISTIE KERR: It was like a sharp pain when I was running and I couldn't I could do the StairMaster and other stuff like that. But kind of felt like a pulled muscle. But it healed itself in time. Because you're in that posture, and, you know, you're tweaking your body around for 11 hours. You're not used to doing that much. Maybe one round a day.

Q. Did it bother you at all that day or not until a couple of days later?

CRISTIE KERR: I actually felt it when I got back to the house. Everything relaxed and all of the adrenaline was gone. I started feeling it then but didn't really pay attention to it. I just thought, oh, I'm just tired or whatever.

DANA GROSS RHODE: Thank you very much, Cristie.

End of FastScripts.

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