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May 21, 2003

Laura Diaz


Q. Welcome back Laura, as the defending champ. Can you talk about how you feel to be back here and how your game is right now.

LAURA DIAZ: Yeah, it's always great to be back in the State of New York and Corning especially, because, as I've said a number of times, it's such a welcoming town, and everyone loves having us. Our galleries are great and very supportive, and I'm looking forward to another great week here, and I'm hoping that the weather gets a little warmer. I was here, I guess, about three weeks ago for my media day, and it was really similar weather, and everyone here told you it was going to get warmer, and I'm thinking you were lying.

So, I'm just crossing my fingers and hope that we have beautiful weather and you guys see a lot of great golf.

Q. Can you tell them what you think of the golf course and how it looks this week?

LAURA DIAZ: The course is in good shape. You know, it's the same course that we have played for 25 years now. I think that's what makes it so inviting is we know what we're getting into when we sign up for the event, and it's always a fun course to play. You know, you get to play a lot of different shots, and, you know, see all aspects of your game, and how they're working.

Q. Can you give us an update on your ankle? Are you getting more used to playing with the brace on it?

LAURA DIAZ: Yeah, I would go with that, the latter statement there. I'm getting more used to having it taped and braced. Since I was here, I have had three sonic care treatments, which is a sonic treatment by Dr. Terry at the Houston Sports Clinic in Columbus, Georgia. That increased blood flow to the area. It creates an injury, and due to the creation of the injury, more blood flows to the area, and it helps your original injury heal. They've used it on tennis elbow. This is new for the tear in the tendon, which is what I have, but the first treatment went pretty well, and the second and third treatment, I can't really decide how they've gone so far, because they were really close together, and it takes a few days to kind of feel the effect of it. I had my last one Friday, and, you know, it's a little sore in that area, it's a little tender, but like I said, I'm probably getting more used to playing injured, not necessarily a good thing, but it's what I have to do for now.

Q. It's colder than normal here this year. Will that have an adverse effect on your ankle?

LAURA DIAZ: You know, it does really help when the weather is warmer. Everything in my body is looser. I think that's a general statement for everybody, but there is really nothing I can do about it, keep as many clothes on as I can, and hopefully my whole body will stay warm, and the sun will come out here and there. It's just one of those things that we're all going to have to deal with it. You know, not everyone is injured, but no one's as loose in cold weather as they are in warm.

Q. How do you feel about the field for this year's tournament?

LAURA DIAZ: I'm very excited. I think Corning has been such a huge supporter of the LPGA for 25 years. They deserve the best field that they can get, and this is a great field, you know, Karrie Webb and Juli Inkster, two of the two players who are here this year, they add a tremendous -- I don't know what the word is -- to the field. You know, Corning's happy to have top ranked players like them here, and I think it's just a way for the players to show that we really appreciate what Corning, Incorporated has done for us for 25 years, and we're looking forward to another 25.

Q. What kind of an advantage is it for players like you who have played here the last five or so years compared to players like Juli and Karrie who haven't played as much here lately?

LAURA DIAZ: I don't know that it's an advantage or a disadvantage to them at all. I think, you know, it's great to know the golf course, but the great thing about the game of golf is that every day you go out and you have to play the golf course, and, you know, there is so many things that go into playing 18 holes of golf. You never know what's going to happen. You know, you could get a bad bounce, you could make a bad swing. Even if you know the golf course by heart, those things still happen. It's definitely helpful to us, the players who have played here many years, because we do know where we're trying to go, but those players I alluded to, they've played here before.

So, then the golf course as well, but like I said, it's one of those things where who knows when you're going to make a bad swing or you could make a good swing and get a bad bounce.

Q. Are you going to be keeping an eye on what's going on in Fort Worth this weekend?

LAURA DIAZ: I think we're all very interested in what's going on in Fort Worth. I know that Annika is incredible, and she's about to do one of the hardest things in sports, and everybody is very supportive of her and very interested to see how she'll do. We're all pulling for her and looking forward to her coming in in the top 20.

Q. If she does well, do you think it will encourage other players to try it too?

LAURA DIAZ: I don't think so. I don't think this is one of those things where if she does it, then I can do it too. I can only speak for myself, but I personally have no interest in doing that. I think Annika has said that, you know, she's doing this for herself. She's not doing this to set any type of precedent. She wants to test her game. I haven't read too many of the stories about the whole situation, but I don't think too many other players out here have really expressed a great interest in doing that. My take on the situation is I love the LPGA Tour. It provides a great living for me. I have never been No. 1 in the world, so I'm going to keep striving to be that. I think that's probably how most players feel.

Q. Is there added pressure being the defending champion, and have you learned from your experience from being the defending champion at Tucson earlier this year?

LAURA DIAZ: No, I mean, you always learn from every experience you're in, and although I didn't play exceptional in Tucson, I shot 2 under par, it just wasn't good enough, so, you know, every week is a learning experience for me, but it's great to be back here. I'm just going to do what I do every week, and that's the same thing I did in Tucson. It's very nice to have people walk by you and say, "Hey, defending champ." That's a great feeling. The fact of the matter is it's a new year, and every day I go out and try to play the best golf that I can, and this week will be no different.

Q. Are there more distractions as a defending champion?

LAURA DIAZ: Not really. You know, shootouts, we have occasionally, whether or not you're defending champion or not. I played in one in Toledo for a few years now. Dinners, we go to a lot of dinners throughout the year. Those are things that go on in a normal week. The only difference in defending is that more people know that you won the tournament. You know, because you can come in second, and people not know that you came in second, except here you're Rosie, then everyone knows you played well every year. I don't think there is any more distractions than any typical week, you know.

Q. Over what period of time did you have the treatments on your ankle?

LAURA DIAZ: I had the first one, and then a week before, I had the second one. It was three days in between those two. I can't have any more until August. That was last Friday.

Q. How is your game right now and how is this course suited to your game?

LAURA DIAZ: Well, I'm coming off a good week. I know we have had a week off, but Augusta was a good week for me. Although I didn't play -- I didn't score necessarily great at Kingsville, I have been working with my dad for the last few weeks. I feel pretty good. Like I said, golf is one of those games that you go out and give it your all for 18 holes and see what happens. So, hopefully I'll hit a lot of fairways and make a lot of putts.

Q. Are you expecting more home-state support here this year like you had last year?

LAURA DIAZ: Well, last year, I think, I had my sister was here, and my father was here, and this year, my -- and my husband was here. My husband's here. My mom's going to be here the whole week, and the same type of, you know, amount of people will come towards the weekend. As far as tomorrow, just basically my husband and my mom. I don't know that it will be as full as it was last year.

Q. Do you think the LPGA could lose its top drawing card in Annika if she plays in a few more PGA Tour events this year and plays more on that Tour?

LAURA DIAZ: I think the LPGA Tour is so deep in talent that, you know, every year somebody makes different decisions, whether it's to have a baby or retire or, you know, it's just not to play as full of a schedule, and I think that we're so deep in our talent, that, no matter what happens, more players are coming out of college and playing. We have so much talent going on, I think that itself is what makes the LPGA, you know, the greatest women's golf tour in the world. I don't think that's a concern. Of course, no matter what happens, even Carin Koch having a baby, that's a loss to the Tour, but she will be back. Those types of things happen all the time. We love it when Annika is out. You want to play against the best players in the world week in and week out, and I just think that we have that. Even if Annika is not out, everybody is going so low these days that I don't think that's a concern.

End of FastScripts....

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