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June 21, 2000

Karrie Webb


LAURA NEAL: Welcome, Karrie. If you could talk a little bit about going for your third major in a row, starting from last year with the Nabisco, and then playing the course today, what you thought of the changes?

KARRIE WEBB: Well, the course is in the best shape that I've ever seen it. It's been the fifth year that I've played the McDonald's LPGA Championship, and, you know, I understand that there's a new greens superintendent here, and I think he's done a fabulous job. The fairways are in super shape, and the greens are in great shape, run pretty fast and he's got the rough up to a pretty good length out there. By the time we get to the weekend, it should be nice and long.

Q. What do you remember about last year?

KARRIE WEBB: I had the weekend off. That's what I remember.

Q. How important to you is it to keep your major streak going?

KARRIE WEBB: Well, obviously it would be great and very important to me if I won this week. But as far as a streak, I don't think -- I seem to try and take one tournament at a time. And the fact that I won two in a row, I mean, it would be great to win three in a row, but it's only Wednesday and I've got a long road ahead of me before I even have a chance to hold that trophy on Sunday. My main goal this week is I've never been in contention at this tournament before. I've always had a good weekend, but never gotten off to a good start on Thursday and Friday. I try not to put too much pressure on myself, because I've never really played that well here. I don't have high expectations than I do, say, going into The Nabisco Championship. I'm just trying to get myself into contention come Friday night, and hopefully have a good weekend and then see what happens from there.

Q. Your name has come up frequently when discussing the person to beat, how do you feel about that? Are you getting used to it?

KARRIE WEBB: Well, I guess. I'm not a person that actually ever looks at one specific person to beat. You know, I think anyone that's in the field this week has a chance to win the tournament, just as much chance as anyone else. So, you know, if people do, obviously I've been playing well, and coming off losing in a playoff to Annika last week, my game is still there and I feel like it's -- the last couple weeks I've got it back into the shape I'd like to see it. You know, obviously, I feel that if I'm playing good, I have a chance to win every week. You know that sort of talk from other players and the media is probably just the results of playing as good of golf as I have for the last year and a half.

Q. Do you sense that? Do you get any sense at all that certain players are gunning for you?

KARRIE WEBB: I don't think any of the top players, say in the Top-20, I think they know that I'm playing well, and if we were going head-to-head on the weekend, I think they know they are going to have to play well to beat me. But I don't think there would be too many players out there that would say that they -- especially in the Top-20 or 30 that would say they couldn't beat me. I think if you think that one player has got your number, then, you know, I just think you're in trouble if you think that there's one player out there that you can't beat, and then all of the sudden you have to come head-to-head with them. So I don't think there's too many players that think like that.

Q. What do you think of Tiger and the way he seems to be distancing himself from his competition?

KARRIE WEBB: Well, I think -- I mean, Tiger is just unbelievable. To do what he did last week is -- you know, I guess he doesn't surprise me anymore. The way he played last week, it was unfortunate that I did not get to see too much of it, but to beat those guys by 15 shots, you know, that's just unbelievable. And it just shows -- he puts so much time and work into what he does. He truly wants to be the best. And it's paying off for him. You know, I know those guys out there, they don't think that they can't beat him, but when he plays like that, he's just in a league of his own right now.

Q. When Juli was in here, she basically said that you're doing the same thing on this Tour as Tiger does over there. Do you think about it in those kind of terms? She thinks maybe you get more of a shorter stick because the women's golf doesn't get the attention the men does.

KARRIE WEBB: I think because Tiger and my careers have paralleled so much, I think the LPGA probably has not gotten as much attention due to the way I've been playing -- hasn't gotten as much attention in that period of time as it probably should have. I think the year that Se Ri Pak was a rookie, that year no one on the PGA TOUR seemed to have an outstanding year; so the LPGA got a little bit more coverage. But my career has uncannily paralleled Tiger's, and I think it has hurt the LPGA some what just because, you know, the attention has been to what he's been doing a little bit more.

Q. Does that bother you that much or is that something you can't worry about or you can't control?

KARRIE WEBB: I definitely think it's something that I can't control. I think in the last few years, I've made every effort to, you know, to do as much as I can media-wise without it affecting my golf. I think that it doesn't upset me personally, as much as it does for the LPGA. I think, you know, I think that we can do with more publicity. And the fact that the standard of golf out here has got -- has just increased greatly in the five years that I've been out here, I think that it goes unnoticed, and it's not until people are out there and actually watching us that they realize how good we play.

Q. When you talked about Tiger's work ethic and his wanting to be No. 1, do you carry a lot of those same traits? Do you want to be thought of as the best player that ever played this game at some point?

KARRIE WEBB: I can't say that I wouldn't want to be classed like that, but I just think that that is such a hefty goal. I think if I -- when I retire, if I'm regarded by my peers as one of the best to play out here, that I would be very happy. I don't have to be the best. I think it's too hard, in all sports, they compare people from different eras, and it's really just too hard to compare two people who have played in different eras and never played against one another. You know, if I'm just regarded by my peers as one of the -- as one of the best, that would be as much as I could ever wish.

Q. Have you ever met Mickey Wright?

KARRIE WEBB: Never met her, no.

Q. She's just up the road from you, though?


Q. Do you know much of about her, her career?

KARRIE WEBB: Just from what I've read since I've been out here. You know, not as much as probably most people as far as, you know, great swing, just probably one of the best ball-strikers ever to play on the LPGA. I'd love to meet her, and I think one day I will. And I know that she said a lot of good things about me in a couple articles that I've read, she was questioned about my game, and I was very honored by some of the things that she said. I was at Beth Daniel's Hall of Fame party, and Beth said that she was glad that she had played in the era that she played, because she got to play with nearly every Hall of Famer and founder of the LPGA. Because of the time she came on to the Tour, most of the older players were still playing, and then, you know, she played alongside some of the now current Hall of Famers that are still playing out here. I've been fortunate enough to get to play with them, but meeting Mickey Wright is one thing that I have not done.

Q. You've heard the two sides of how players prepare for a major events. This morning Nancy was talking about targeting the U.S. open for making her game be in the best shape possible, and Annika was saying she treats every week the same way. Where do you fall?

KARRIE WEBB: I think that the four majors that we play are the four biggest tournaments that we play all year, and far as prestige they carry the most prestige for winning those tournaments in a given year. To me, I set my schedule up to play, to try and bet my game into shape, to play well in all of those four majors, and that's something that's pretty tricky to do. Sometimes it's totally out of your control. You can do everything right and still not play well that week. So, you know, I regard the four majors as my top priority of the year.

Q. What haven't you done here well enough to make a better run than you have, do you think?

KARRIE WEBB: I just haven't scored well here. Well, when it was played in May, I'm definitely not a cold weather person, so I would have to say that the cold weather probably got me a couple times here. But, I don't know, I just have never -- my rookie year before I came here, everyone told me that this course would suit my game, and I've just never -- I've just never gotten off to a good start here. I've played well on the weekend, shot some low numbers on the weekend to make up some ground and finish in the Top-10 a few times. But never -- I don't know, Thursday and Friday I just never felt comfortable on the golf course, I guess. Just never scored well. It's not just one thing that I haven't done; it's numerous things that add up to not shooting low enough.

Q. Tiger winning by double digits last week, anything you can relate to?

KARRIE WEBB: Well, he won by 15; I only won by 10 at Nabisco.

Q. What did that feel like, to finish a major that far ahead of everybody else? Did it push your confidence to an even higher level?

KARRIE WEBB: I think so. I sat back after that week and, you know, just asking questions to myself: What did I really play that much better or was the course really that difficult and I played that well? Because the way played, I -- you know, I was at high stats to fairway and high stats to green, and it seemed not easier, but I guess I made it look a lot easier than the way everyone else was playing the golf course. And obviously, walking down the last hole with a 10-shot lead is a very comfortable feeling. I didn't allow myself to think about winning until the 16th green on Sunday, just because you never know what's going to happen in golf. Something silly could happen and after thinking you're going to win, and all the sudden you've got to play some golf coming down the stretch; so I didn't want to get too far ahead of myself.

Q. What conclusions did you reach when you asked yourself all these questions?

KARRIE WEBB: Actually, I've never seen the TV coverage yet of The Nabisco Championship, which I'd love to see. But I think I just came to the conclusion that I just played that great; I just peaked at the right time. We talk about trying to peak for the four majors and everything fell into place that week. I hit the ball probably the best I've hit it in four rounds in any tournament. You know, I had plenty of 10-footers, and inside 10-footers for birdies all week, and I putted great. You know a lot of people could say that I left a few shots out there, but I did enough to shoot under par every day and hold the trophy on Sunday.

Q. How close has your game come to that point in the last several weeks, last couple of weeks?

KARRIE WEBB: I haven't played like that since. Not that well.

Q. Close?

KARRIE WEBB: No. Not that close.

Q. Tiger talked about a sense of inner calm that he had. Have you experienced that as well?

KARRIE WEBB: I don't know what he means when he says that. I guess I don't look that far inside myself to realize that I am in control of myself. I think obviously Nabisco Championship that I did -- on the golf course I think those questions you could probably ask my caddy, Evan, because the weeks that I've probably had that inner calm, as you say, he probably has a pretty easy week; and weeks that I don't, he has a tough week.

Q. How did winning the first major relax you going into the Nabisco, and not being asked about winning your first major yet?

KARRIE WEBB: That's pretty funny, because at Nabisco I was asked how I felt now that I didn't have to answer those questions. (Laughter.) So, the question still popped up a little bit. But it was good not to -- you know, especially being on the run that I was on, too, to go into the Nabisco and not have to answer those questions was -- I think it just made me relax a little bit more going into that tournament, because it -- you know, I just can't imagine the focus that would have been on me had I not won du Maurier last year and not gotten the start that I did this year and not going into the Nabisco having won a major. It would just have put a negative spin on what I had been doing already, and I was just glad that, you know, I had won du Maurier and didn't have to answer those questions.

Q. How much are you enjoying golf just now, say compared to your rookie year? Have you ever enjoyed it more than you are at the moment?

KARRIE WEBB: I don't think so. I think the last year and a half, give or take a couple of weeks I haven't played my best performance, even on weeks where I haven't been happy, still at the end of the week, oh, I finished 8th. It's still a good week. Even some days where I probably don't look the happiest on the golf course, I think that at the end of the week and the end of the year when I look at the performances that I put in week-in and week-out, you know, I am totally enjoying what I do and I work hard at what I do and I'm just reaping those rewards right now.

Q. On the men's side, some people complained about Tiger not having a consistent rival, as you have Juli and Annika, how much does that serve as a motivator to you?

KARRIE WEBB: I think it's a great motivator. I think last year Juli pushed me all the way for the whole year, and I thought -- it couldn't have been a better person, because Juli is one of my most favorite people out here. Just to go head-to-head with her, it did motivate me to keep up my performance that I had started earlier in the year. Annika and Juli and a couple others are doing it now. Obviously, Annika and I have been in two playoffs against one another this year. So obviously, I played the last two days with her last week and when I play head-to-head with her, I know that I have to play my best golf to beat her. Neither of us probably played our best golf the last two rounds last week, but we pushed each other all the way to the end. And that's what I'm out here for. I love that competitiveness. And when it's against Annika, I know that my most competitive nature comes out, as far as knowing that I'm just going to have to grit this one out all the way to the end to beat her. You know, I got beat by an eagle in the end. I really enjoy that part of it.

Q. (Inaudible.)

KARRIE WEBB: I made an eagle in the Pro-Am the next day; so that didn't help me out too much, but it helped my team out.

Q. Did she say anything special to you when you sunk those incredible clutch putts on the 17th and 18th greens last week?

KARRIE WEBB: She just said, "Great putt on 18." We really didn't talk about the putt on 17. But obviously, the bunker shot was problem the biggest, because I was pretty dead over there. I played a great bunker shot. And to make that putt, you know, that's just going back to my competitive nature, especially against someone like Annika. You know, I wanted it to go to a playoff. I still wanted to have a chance to win the playoff, and I was fortunate enough that I actually kept my head down on a putt and hit in. It was -- you know, that's just the things that I love about golf and what golf gives me, is the chance to produce golf like that when I need to.

Q. Would you say in golf, men's or women's tour, doesn't matter, that when you get the top players who are on their game for that week that it essentially comes down to a putting contest, that shot-making and all this other stuff can be overrated, whoever makes putts wins? Is that what it ultimately comes down to?

KARRIE WEBB: I think -- ultimately. I think if you have two people that can hit it exactly the same all week and one person, you know, is five shots better, it's because they make more putts. I think for me, myself, that if I'm putting well, the rest of my game is normally pretty good, because I don't have to force anything. I don't have to try and hit it to a foot. If I miss some putts, hitting it to 10 feet, 10 feet, 10 feet and missing all these birdie putts, you know, and then you miss a green and then you make a bogey. So now all of the sudden you're pressing and you're checking, trying to hit it as close as you can so that you can make the birdie putt. I think obviously putting is the biggest key to playing well. My putting has been that much better in the last year and a half. I'd have to agree with you that most weeks it does come down to putting and who putts the best, but, you know, keeping it on the fairway and getting it on the green, if you're not doing that, it puts pressure on your putting, and then you might not make every putt.

Q. How much would you say you devote to your short game out of all the work that you put into your game, what percentage maybe?

KARRIE WEBB: Probably 50/50. Probably more of a perfectionist on my swing, and the way the ball is flying, so I spend at least half my time on the range, as well. A lot of people recommend that you spend less on the range than you do on your short game, but, you know, I've never found that as a happy medium. I've always found that I have to be first content with how I'm hitting the ball, and then work on my short game. And the fact that my short game has been so good the last year and a half, it's been easier on my golf swing as well. You know, I can spend that time on my swing if I need to and not worry about my short game because I know it's there.

Q. Can you tell us a little bit about your work with Christopher Reeve and how important that is to you?

KARRIE WEBB: Well, it's going to be one of my biggest highlights of my year and of my life is this year, in a couple of weeks, actually, July 10th, I'm doing a charity outing with Christopher Reeve to benefit the Christopher Reeve Foundation. As most of you know in the room, my coach is a quadriplegic, and has been for ten years. Ten years ago, I just remember sitting in a spinal unit talking to my coach, who now could not move from the neck down. The doctors said that there was a possibility that he would never walk again. You know, even then, he was sharing a room with three other men who had serious injuries and also would probably not walk again. And I spent, you know, four or five days in there with him, and over the period of time that he was in the hospital I just said to myself that even if Cal was still walking again, if I was ever had the chance to be able to contribute money, or help raise money to find a cure for paralysis, then that's what I wanted to do. It came around a lot more suddenly than I thought, just because of how quickly my career took off. Played in the LPGA Skins Game for two years, and my charity those two years was the Christopher Reeve Foundation. I wasn't a business; just a single person donating this much money. They took an interest and wanted to find out who I was, and why I was doing this, and last year, at the Corning Classic in New York, I had dinner with Chris and got to meet him and we had a great dinner, talked to a lot about -- a lot of different things, but also about this outing that we wanted to do this year. So I'm really excited about it. We've got nine LPGA playing in it and nine celebrities, and the celebrity Pro-Am, 18 holes on July 10 at Manhattan Woods Country Club in New York. It's going to be a very special day, and I'm just honored that I have the chance to do that.

Q. Who is playing?

KARRIE WEBB: Well, the celebrities aren't determined yet. I guess they can't pinpoint their schedules as much as golfers can. The LPGA players are:Lorie Kane, Laura Davies, Juli Inkster, Meg Mallon, Kelly Robbins, Beth Daniel and Dottie Pepper, myself, and Michelle McGann.

Q. There was a story earlier this year in the Palm Beach paper about -- I think it was a deejay who was paralyzed and you helped out there. Is that something where someone sends you some information or did you just read it in the paper and act?

KARRIE WEBB: I was actually in my car listening to that radio station, and I didn't know that the guy was a deejay. They really didn't give any information about it. It was a Friday night, and I was in my car, and I think I was just down -- I don't know why. I just wasn't in a very good mood and I heard that on the radio -- the radio station was doing a fund-raiser for this guy who had recently had an accident and was a paraplegic. Didn't say that he had no health insurance or anything, just that they were raising money for it. I just called the radio station, and they just said to send -- they didn't know why I wanted to know all the stuff, I didn't say who I was or anything, and they just gave me the address. And I just sent him a check and just a letter, just the information on the outing that I was doing. And just talking to Chris and how he believes that there's going to be a cure in a few years, and I honestly believe that myself. You know, someone like my coach is probably not someone who is going to be able to accept a cure, but anyone now that is unfortunate to become paralyzed in the near future, if they work at it, they will be able to walk again. So I just wanted to give him the hope.

End of FastScripts….

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