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March 26, 2002

Laura Diaz


LAURA NEAL: How are you feeling now being a tournament winner.

LAURA DIAZ: Tournament winner feels right, being introduced this morning on the 1st tee for the tires time as the Welch's/Circle K 2002 champion was really great. However, I am extremely exhausted right now and so ready to go rest for a little while.

Q. Did it ever annoy you if you were playing in the first round and you hear: Now on the tee from England is Laura Davies, winner of 20 LPGA event; next is Meg Mallon, 10 Tour victories, and now Laura Diaz from Amelia Island and that's it?

LAURA DIAZ: What is the question, did that annoy me?

Q. Yeah, did that ever get under your skin?

LAURA DIAZ: I think it is a privilege and an honor to be in a group with -- I mean I am going to go from Sunday -- Juli Inkster winner of 28 LPGA events, Hall of Famer, mother of two. I mean, that, to me, is a great honor and privilege to play and to be on the LPGA with such incredible athletes. I think it will feel great to be introduced now as a tournament champion, but it never bothered me previously.

Q. People saying that there's no young Americans coming through ---

LAURA DIAZ: I believe there's so many young Americans coming through and I just -- I think that it takes time for everyone to develop their game, and there are a few players who have been able to come out here and bang, bang, bang win, but you know, those are few and far between. So I think that if we give everyone a little time to work in on being on the LPGA, get adjusted to playing in groups such as Juli Inkster, Nancy Lopez, Dottie Pepper, Karrie Webb, Annika Sorenstam, you know, that takes a little while to get adjusted to.

Q. When you were answering Doug's question you mentioned Juli Inkster and you said: Winner of X number of tournaments and mother of two. You sounded as if you admired the second one as much as the first. Do you want to combine motherhood and tournament winning?

LAURA DIAZ: I definitely do. My long-term goal out here is to be in the Hall of Fame. So I admire Juli for achieving Hall of Fame status along with achieving being an incredible mother and an incredible wife. So some day down the road, I would love to be able to have those things in common with Juli.

Q. On a Sunday as your first win becomes a real possibility, what is going through your mind, what kind of thoughts do you have?

LAURA DIAZ: This past Sunday?

Q. Yes.

LAURA DIAZ: Sunday on the 18th tee I put my yoga that I had learned during the off-season into practice just really trying to control my breathing, control my nerves, really just thinking about the last hole, how I am going to play it, really trying hard to focus on this hole and not get distracted by what could happen because I didn't know for one, you know how the girls ahead of us had done, and 18 is a go-after-it-hole so it's still anybody's ballgame.

Q. (Inaudible)

LAURA DIAZ: I spoke with David over the off-season mainly about the workout routine that he had gotten involved in over the last two and a half years and then also about the second place finishes because he had a number of them and I had a few last year too. His bit of advice was how did you achieve those 2nd's; did you win those 2nd's, or did you hand those 2nd's to somebody else. And I believe all my 2nd's I won; I played my heart out on Sunday every single time and it resulted in some low scores. But there's just those days when somebody always plays better and you can't control that. So his advice was just to go out and play golf; don't worry about anything else. Whoever has the low score at the end of the week is the one that's going to win. As long as you are giving it all you can give it all week, that's all you can do.

Q. Do you feel like you have won -- did you feel like a winner even though you weren't specifically a winner?

LAURA DIAZ: Tucson was a great example. I think last year I shot 19-under par there. I think that's probably a career low for me. I felt like I had won that golf tournament. Annika was on fire last year there, I think she shot 23-under. It is hard to keep up with that, so I definitely walked away from Tucson last year with, I feel like I won a golf tournament.

Q. Did you ever question yourself 'what am I doing wrong' or did you have to remind yourself 'I am doing nothing wrong; it's going to happen?'

LAURA DIAZ: I think I focused on what more can I do, is it something I am not doing. Not necessarily did I focus on what I was doing wrong. I believe that I looked back at my 2nd's that I did win those. I know I had a lot of 66s on Sunday last year, and you can't really complain about that too much. But yesterday, or not yesterday, still feels like yesterday, Sunday going out and actually winning, it's such a great feeling that you know, it is different than when I did feel like I won the 2nd's because I actually did win. It is incredible. It was a really great experience for me.

Q. What did you think on the third tee after you had gone started bogey bogey on Sunday?

LAURA DIAZ: The third tee, my father had noticed over the past few years that when I made some bogeys or when I made maybe even a double-bogey, that my shoulders would go forward and as we waited to hit our tee shots on that hole, I said my shoulders aren't going forward; I am not going to let this happen. I proceeded to make three birdies in a row. I think that's the end of the story. I mean, as soon as I decided that my shoulders weren't going forward I was going forward and that was it.

Q. That was a positive thought you had rather than, oh, my God, what is happening now?

LAURA DIAZ: Yeah, because there's still 16 more holes to play. Out there it's anybody's ballgame.

Q. When you mean your shoulders went forward, is that something in address or is that a saying that I am in a bad mood?

LAURA DIAZ: When you go like this you are like slumping, you are down, you are depressed.

Q. That's just a phrase then, right?

LAURA DIAZ: That's how my dad described it.

Q. But it has nothing to do with your position over the ball?

LAURA DIAZ: Oh, no. Doesn't have anything to do with that. Just attitude-wise.

Q. Whose idea was the yoga?

LAURA DIAZ: My idea. A few players out here had been doing yoga. I work out. I do a lot of cardio, weightlifting and I wanted to kind of get into something a little different. I have only done it a few times, my husband and I have had some sessions in our house and really, really enjoyed it. It worked out great for me. Even if nothing else comes of it, other than learning how to breathe, it was great to calm my nerves on Sunday.

Q. You say you are exhausted. Is that just from the things that have happened because of the victory on Sunday that you have had to do or it's just -- you are physically tired right now?

LAURA DIAZ: I think it is 26 years. (Laughs).

Over the last three and a half years I have really wanted to win a golf tournament on the LPGA Tour, and I have had a lot of close finishes, but not a victory, so I think a lot happened on Sunday not just -- not just a 6-hour car drive and four-hour sleep, but 15 years of work on my golf game and it all kind of came to a head and now I am just drained.

Q. Having mentioned that, have you -- you talked about David when he won, he started winning and kept going. A couple years ago obviously Lorie Kane the same way, she had so many close calls and then when she won, she won three times that year. Not to put any pressure on you to win this week...

LAURA DIAZ: That's okay.

Q. ...Do you feel like: Okay I have got that one out, that pressure is done, I can win two, three, four more times?

LAURA DIAZ: I think that I have a long career ahead of me and whether I win one after another after another, I don't care. When I retire I want to be in the Hall of Fame. So whatever it takes to get there, however many wins in a row or if I win and then I don't win for, you know, a long time, I don't care because my long-term goal is to be in the Hall of Fame, and I am currently one step closer to that than I was last week.

Q. What do you think of the Solheim Cup?

LAURA DIAZ: I think that the Solheim Cup is going to be awesome and I hope that I am a member of the U.S. team and if I am, I think it will probably be one of the proudest days of my life when I step up onto the tee the first day.

It will be, again, a great honor to play with the best players in the world in such an intense match.

Q. Did your hat go over well here?

LAURA DIAZ: I think it is a pretty nice hat. I know you are referring to Keebler. Keebler and Nabisco are obviously competitors and I think just like this Tour is full of competitors, you know, I mean, I -- they both support me. Nabisco has their own tournament, Keebler now has their own tournament. I have a great relationship with Keebler Company and plan on keeping that for a very long time. And I also appreciate the great support that craft Nabisco gives to the LPGA Tour.

Q. I am just curious if anyone - and I am thinking Juli Inkster in particular, has ever taken you under their wing at all? I am thinking on Juli just being as feisty as she is and getting to a point where she's going to start cutting back in a couple of years, as one American to another in a LPGA landscape that has been dominated by international players, have you been taken under the wing of anyone older than that, be it Juli, Dottie in that regard or no?

LAURA DIAZ: I have a lot of players on this Tour that I go to if I need to talk. Dottie is like a sister to me, so I go to her often. She's probably the one I talk to the most. I also feel as though Meg Mallon has been, I don't know, a great friend to me since I have been out here. She encourages me. She's someone that I look up to, and I just think she's an incredible human being and she's really been supportive of me in the time that I have been on Tour.

I think that all the older players encourage the younger players to play well. I think that we have a great bond between all of us, and I don't think there's anything but encouraging going on throughout the whole LPGA.

Q. What difference is it making to you to have your husband out with you this year?

LAURA DIAZ: Kevin is my best friend, so I think that being able to have your best friend out on the road with you and support you in your career is an incredible asset to my life. It has been a lot of fun and there's a lot of changes that have occurred too because you go from being alone to being with someone all the time. It has been nothing but great for me. I was able to enjoy my first victory with him here, and the only people that were really missing from that were my parents. I think that he's excited to be here and I am loving having him out here.

Q. Your dad wasn't there, was that kind of tough, it wasn't on TV, what transpired, did you call him?

LAURA DIAZ: I got to walk off the 18th green and I was handed my husband's cell phone. He was on the other end. He said: Laura. I said: Dad, I won, I won. It was great. I think that it was a little nerve-wracking for them at home because our site -- the LPGA web site was overloaded so it went down, so my parents were a bit frazzled, I think for a while, but you know, there was so much screaming in the background from his end going on. I think that they miss not being there, but I think they felt it so much in their heart that it was almost like having them there.

Q. If the Solheim were played today (inaudible) basically would be five new players that would have no Solheim experience; is this something that's a good thing maybe, can you use that as you guys are hungry, want to be there?

LAURA DIAZ: I think it's definitely a good thing to have new players in Solheim Cup. I think everyone knows that it's going to happen at one point or another and I think the older players, the experienced players are going to take the younger players under their wing and show them basically how to win a Solheim Cup.

End of FastScripts....

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