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June 21, 2000

Annika Sorenstam


LAURA NEAL: We'd like to welcome Annika to DuPont Country Club, and congratulate you on the win, very exciting, for those of you who may not have seen any of it. If you would like it talk a little bit about last week, and what you're looking forward to here.

ANNIKA SORENSTAM: Sure. First of all, thank you. It was quite an exciting finish, too exciting for my comfort, but turned out okay in the end for me. So I was very pleased. Had a safe trip over. Came over late Sunday night. Got my golf clubs this is time. So I'm all ready to go. Had a chance to play the course for the first time this week, yesterday, and then in the Pro-Am I played nine holes. It seems like my game came, also; so I'm really looking forward to playing tomorrow.

Q. Does this really give you a nice shot of confidence going into a major championship?

ANNIKA SORENSTAM: Yes. I mean, I think I played really good the last few months, and I'm glad the major is here and see if I can handle this situation again. I'm striking the ball well, putting well; my short game is really coming around. If you have parts of the game going for you, you still want to see some results, and I've seen that the last few months especially with the victory in Dayton, I played some super golf, and last week the way I finished really boosted my confidence. So definitely.

Q. Do you think the course conditions now, the faster greens, the rough, do you think this enhances your chances?

ANNIKA SORENSTAM: Well, the course is tough. It's playing pretty long, a lot longer than usual. You don't get a lot of roll off your driver or 3-wood. The rough is really thick. But the greens are firm and fast, and it's really setting up like a great championship course, I think, and I think that whoever plays the best here is hitting the ball in the fairway and hitting on the green; it's really going to pay off. You're going to see a big difference between someone who is not really striking the ball that well.

Q. You mentioned last week you are getting your game back on track, is there something extra that's coming out now that we have not seen in your game?

ANNIKA SORENSTAM: No. I just think all the pieces are falling together. I think the victory in Tucson really kind of got my confidence going. I think I played some solid golf the rest of the month. Confidence is everything. There's some tournaments in the beginning of the year where I think I really played well, but, you know you kind of get into the tournament mood, and you need the confidence from previous tournament, and it's really adding up this year, that's what I mean by all the pieces coming together. I mean, I feel as ready as you can be for tomorrow, and it's just a matter of going out there swinging and doing what I know how. I'm excited, obviously.

Q. Could you talk about your game and this golf course, how it's compatible or not compatible?

ANNIKA SORENSTAM: Yeah, I'd say it's very compatible. You have to drive the ball well, which I think that I can do. You need to be a good iron player, which I think I can do, also. The feel around the greens, you want to make sure you hit the shots short of the pin. You don't want to have a putt going downhill or a putt with a lot of break to it. So it takes a little planning putting your shots into the greens. I don't see why I can't do well here. I think I've had one good finish; I finished third a few years ago. Other than that it's been so-so here. Also, conditions have been a little different, it's been very rainy, it's been very cold, and I haven't really been driving the ball as well. So this year is really setting up good for it.

Q. Do you especially relish the opportunity to go head-to-head with Karrie?

ANNIKA SORENSTAM: Well, last week was really a lot of fun, because Karrie beat me in a playoff in Hawaii. So this is kind of my revenge a little bit, and I took her on the first playoff hole. So, for me personally, it means a lot. Karrie right now is the No. 1 player, and when you beat somebody like that, it gives you more confidence. But also, it helps knowing your game is good enough, to know that you can beat her; that means a lot.

Q. The last hole, the playoff hole last week, did you hit first into the 18th, or did she?


Q. So your shot, was that as good a shot as --

ANNIKA SORENSTAM: The second one or the drive?

Q. Your second shot.

ANNIKA SORENSTAM: It was as good as what?

Q. Was that five feet you hit it to?

ANNIKA SORENSTAM: About seven feet.

Q. Are you working harder now than you did when you started on the Tour?

ANNIKA SORENSTAM: Not when I started. But I'm working much harder than the last maybe two, three years. I worked really hard in college, and the first two years I came out here and this just kind of fell in place and I was just kind of riding the wave, and I think I lost a little bit of my practice routine and just the will to practice. But after last year, I was very disappointed and decided this year, I don't want to have a year like that. So now I'm really kind of picked up my practice again and I really enjoy it. The motivation is there. Now I'm chasing somebody and know what I want, and I think that's what drives me now.

Q. What have you done to turn your putting around?

ANNIKA SORENSTAM: Well, I've done a lot of thinking, but most of all, I'm taking lessons from Dave Stockton. He's helped me several times. I think he's one of the best putters out there, and he's looked at my stroke a little bit. It's mostly just positive; he always gives me good feedback. I haven't really changed a lot, but it's the way he's told me to practice. Just positive feedback, helped get my confidence back. For a while, I was really low. I didn't enjoy going on the green, even though I hitting to two, four feet, who knows what the score is going to be. He's really turned that around and now I enjoy practicing putting. If you enjoy practicing putting you get a lot of confidence also. That's the biggest change.

Q. Is it more fun chasing someone or being chased as far as being No. 1 in the world?

ANNIKA SORENSTAM: Well, I like to be No. 1 in the world, but it's tough to stay up there, and I think that what kind of caught up with me is all the hard work you need to do to stay there. I was very comfortable up there and things went really well, and I was enjoying it you kind of step down and you realize, I don't want to be here, and now you have to climb back up again and that's hard work to get there. But if you reach the No. 1 spot, it's a fun place to be.

Q. Annika, I was just wondering about your health and fitness. Are you working out a lot? Have you changed anything in your workout or diet in the last few months, or six months?

ANNIKA SORENSTAM: I've always worked out. But I think what I've changed a little bit last year and a half is having more of a structured workout so that I get something out of it. In the past, I would just go run if I felt like it or go swim if I felt like it. Now, I have a more structured way of doing it and I think that's paying off. Because some weeks, I work harder than other weeks, and in the past I would just do whatever felt good. So I never really got into, you know -- my body never really adjusted to what I was doing. But I'm not really changing the way I am doing it. It's just more on a regular basis and a little bit more variety. I don't run three days in a row; I might do swimming instead. So I have changed it in that sense.

Q. How often? How much time do you spend a week?

ANNIKA SORENSTAM: Working out? It varies a little bit. I have this trainer I work with in Sweden, and she calls -- I'm trying to translate. Like you practice in different periods, there's a hard period, medium, and a light one, and it depends on my schedule. This week, I'm having more of a light schedule. Next week, I'm home; I will do a hard one. So it varies a little bit. But on a hard week, it's six times; and a light one is three. So that's kind of how it is.

Q. Did you ever jump on the low carbs thing?

ANNIKA SORENSTAM: No. I've never been on a diet. I don't try to lose weight. I'd like to gain some muscle so in that sense, just trying to strengthen myself and eat more protein, than anything, just to build muscle. But I'm not on a diet at all. I really want to gain weight. It's just that you lose weight when you work out a lot.

Q. Do you still do yoga?

ANNIKA SORENSTAM: I still do yoga.

Q. You've earned enough points to qualify for the LPGA Hall of Fame. You cannot be inducted until 2003, how satisfying is that to make it after seven years?

ANNIKA SORENSTAM: Yeah, it was really exciting. To be honored, it's something I never thought I could achieve until they changed the qualifications. When I did achieve it -- it still has not really sunk in because I don't really feel -- you know, I just play golf because I think it's fun. And when you talk about Hall of Fame, I never thought like I would be there one day. But to be part of an elite group like it is, it's tremendous honor, and maybe that day when I retire, maybe around 40 or 50, I'll realize how tough it is, and probably enjoy it more than now. Right now, I'm really not in it anyway. Maybe in a few years, it will sink in a little bit more, but it's definitely an honor.

Q. Tiger talks about the different mentality that comes into a major week. Can you talk about how you approach it, a major week, as opposed to a regular Tour stop?

ANNIKA SORENSTAM: I try not to change anything. I try and do the same routine. Try and play a practice round and a Pro-Am. For me, I know inside it's a big tournament and it means a lot to me, but I learned the mistake along the way that you cannot prepare differently. I prepare for other tournaments and do well; so why change it? That's kind of the attitude I have this week. Like last week, it was a big tournament and it means a lot. I do my preparation and then I go out and play. And this week, I'm going to do my preparation and go play. I'm a person with a lot of routines. If I can just do the same thing over and over again, I think that's the way I perform the best instead of changing things. That will screw me up more than anything.

Q. The speed of the greens, did it kind of surprise you at first?

ANNIKA SORENSTAM: Yeah. They are very fast. I think they are a little faster than yesterday. Especially when you putt on the putting green, it's not as fast as on the course, and it seems like they rolled them. They are very firm. Turning them around, you can really tell that they are cutting them down. It's tough. But that's what it's all about. I like to have a challenge. And I think if you read the putts well, they are so fair that if you read them right, you are going to make them. It's just a matter that they are fast.

Q. You have challenged in a lot of majors, but you really have not won one since the '96 Women's Open. Are you getting impatient to get into the winner's circle again?

ANNIKA SORENSTAM: I'm not impatient, but I think I'm due. I won that championship and I'm very proud of that. And it's not easy to win one, especially with the field that's here this week. You cannot put any pressure on yourself, even though you have not won in a while. I know my game is good enough. I have confidence. It's just you need some luck sometimes, and sometimes it's your week, and sometimes it's not. And hopefully the more majors you play, the chances you are going to win one are bigger. So I'm just going to be patient. That's my key this week.

Q. By the way, are these conditions a little closer to U.S. Open conditions?

ANNIKA SORENSTAM: I think so. Yeah. I mean, the past, it's been so wet and you get no roll; the greens are not as fast. I mean, they are very firm. You still don't get any roll in the fairways, which makes this course long.

Q. Going back to Dave Stockton, I just wondered how long you've been working with him and how you came to meet up with him?

ANNIKA SORENSTAM: We hooked up at a golf outing in New Jersey. And it was the week after the U.S. Open, which was the lowest point I had had in my putting. Actually there was 20 seniors there, and we went to dinner the night before and I think I got 20 tips that evening, and I said, hang on, I can only use so much. So the next day, one of the seniors had talked to all the seniors and they said, "Let Dave straighten her out." And I worked with him the next day. It didn't take very long and he was really helpful. This was -- when was the Open last year, July? I don't remember. So it's almost a year. I go and I worked with him a total of four times through the last few months.

Q. What event was it?

ANNIKA SORENSTAM: It was an outing. Just a one-day.

Q. It you could summarize what he told you?

ANNIKA SORENSTAM: He was really emphasizing a lot on follow-through. I was so concerned about how I take my putter back, in a nervous situation that I cannot take the putter back. He says, "Forget about the back, strike it forward. Who cares how you go back." That's what I'm doing now, just focusing on getting the putter forward. I was worried about straight back or take it outside, you hear people say that. He said it doesn't matter, just strike the ball with the hand forward, and get a feel with your left hand. I was using my right hand; that's why I had difficulty taking back. There's a few more things, but that's mostly what it is.

Q. How many Swedes do you think will make the Solheim Cup team this year?

ANNIKA SORENSTAM: It's going to be many. At least six.

Q. That's half the team, as it was last time.

ANNIKA SORENSTAM: Maybe even seven.

Q. Is that exciting to you to see that shaping up with so much talent coming from your country?

ANNIKA SORENSTAM: I'm proud of being from Sweden, and I have a lot to be thankful for what they have done for me and my golf. It is exciting to see. When you're out here and you play against all of these different nationalities every week, that, you know, I probably have more friends that are not Swedish than are Swedish, so to speak. So I don't really think about it that way. I think it would have been different if it was country against country, you know, when we have a tournament in Malaysia, the team championship.

Q. Juli was saying that the Americans will be underdogs. Do you agree?

ANNIKA SORENSTAM: I think she's right.

Q. You referred to your clubs, about "your clubs got here," did they not get over?

ANNIKA SORENSTAM: No, I didn't get them until Tuesday afternoon in Evian. I had some difficulties getting them.

End of FastScripts….

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