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May 9, 2007

Karrie Webb


DANA GROSS-RHODE: Thank you all for coming in and joining us. Karrie, your first press conference of the day as defending champion, you had a chance to out and see the course again, are you feeling any memories of 2006 where this was your second of five victories last year?
KARRIE WEBB: Yeah, I am for sure. You know, obviously this tournament and this golf course brings back a lot of good memories. I played very well from Thursday through Sunday last year, and it's probably my favorite course that we play year-in and year-out on the schedule. So it's really good to be back here.

Q. What makes it your favorite course?
KARRIE WEBB: I think the layout to start with. It's a bit of a ball-striker's course and you've got to be able to work the ball both ways. I think out here to be able to challenge some of the tough pin positions. But then the conditioning of the course is always in impeccable shape, so it's just a combination of both I think.

Q. How would you rate your year, the way things have gone this year?
KARRIE WEBB: This year? Well, I got off to a good start. I played well in Australia and I won five tournaments. Probably not as well -- I haven't played as well lately as I would have liked through Dinah, at Kraft Nabisco, I didn't play as well as I would have liked. I got off to a good start the first day and just didn't play quite as well, and I haven't been as sharp as I would have liked to this point of the year.
But obviously if I can start to sharpen things up, and if it starts this week, this would be fantastic. There's a big couple months coming up. So, you know, hopefully getting geared for those tournaments.

Q. Is there anything, you mentioned "not as sharp as you would like," anything in particular?
KARRIE WEBB: It's just a combination. I haven't putted as well as I was for the most of last year. I think this is a tournament that really my putting turned around last year and really started to make a lot of putts. I haven't really putted as well for the last few weeks and I think that putts pressure on every other aspect of your game.
You know, I haven't hit it as well, putting pressure on myself trying to hit it closer and closer. Not worry so much the putt and just play and you know, again, not worry about the outcome and not worry about what score I'm shooting.

Q. Last year you were so hot; how much of a difference does that make when you come out every week when you're rolling like that?
KARRIE WEBB: Say that again?

Q. You won five times last year?

Q. How much of a difference does it make when you're on a roll like that pretty much all year?
KARRIE WEBB: Well, I think it's a lot easier when you win earlier in the year, and the fashion that I won Kraft Nabisco last year and to dominate the tournament here from start to finish were two different ways to win and two ways that I haven't won previously in my career.
So, you know, after I won here, I think that really solidified even to me, that, you know, I was on the right track and I just had to keep believing in myself.

Q. Was that last year, you had some off-years, was the believing in yourself part, was that the whole key?
KARRIE WEBB: I think it was a major part of it.

Q. With Annika relinquishing the No. 1 ranking after a long run, does that sort of spread the power base around a little bit in terms of the Tour and making things more interesting out here that one player is not dominating the Tour?
KARRIE WEBB: Well, I think it's tough to say that it wasn't interesting out here, but I think, you know, certainly as you said I don't think -- unless Lorena rolls off five or six years like Annika, I don't think you can really say that she's the dominant No. 1. I mean, she's clearly had the best two or three years out here by far, and even if Annika were healthy and were playing out here, you know, I think I'd still say that Lorena was No. 1 in the world over the last two or three years.
But I think there's four or five players that, really, if they kick it into another gear have a chance of being No. 1.

Q. Who are those players?
KARRIE WEBB: Well, I guess I have to say myself (laughter) if I can kick it into that gear that I had it in last year.
I think Paula Creamer definitely. I thought when she won early in the year, the first tournament of the year, I predicted that she'll probably have a pretty good year this year. I wouldn't be surprised to see her win another couple of tournaments.
I'm just trying to think. Cristie Kerr has not gotten off to the best start, but again, just like me, if you play well the next couple of months, you've had a fantastic year.
There's just a number of players, somebody like a Brittany Lincicome isn't close to being No. 1, but as she grows in the next two, three, four, five years, I think once she learns a little bit more about her game and that she doesn't have to unleash all of her power every single time she hits, I think she'll be someone that's around for a long time, too.

Q. That in mind, and the fact that as you said, there's not one dominant player at the moment, is there not surprising that there has not been a repeat winner yet this year? It's only May, I know.
KARRIE WEBB: Yeah, that doesn't ever surprise me. I think -- I guess what surprises me is that people think that it's easy to win six or seven times a year like Annika has and do it for such a long period of time. You know, there's been -- even Lorena's had a number of chances to win this year and has only won once. It's not a matter -- you can put yourself there a lot. But sometimes you can play well and just not be the winner at the end of the week. So there's just a lot that goes into it.
You know, the more I'm out here, the more I learn the fine line that you walk between having a sensational year like I did last year to right now not being completely satisfied but knowing I'm not that far away.

Q. What is it about this tournament in particular that has made it really a successful venture for veterans and that a young player really hasn't come in here and won this thing?
KARRIE WEBB: I don't know if it's a young player thing or not. But I think it's -- you have to be a pretty good ball-striker. It's 6,350 yards, a par 71, that's a pretty decent length course. There's a lot of elevation change. I think this year it's playing a little bit longer than it did last year. I think it's a little bit softer than it played last year. So, you know, it's playing all of it's length and then some.
The greens are typically -- they are a little bit softer again this year but still releasing a little bit. To get back to some of the pins, if you're going to take that aggressive line and go at the pins, you're going to have to have really good distance control and good flight on your ball; otherwise, where your misses are, it's a very difficult up-and-down. That's why, you know, the champions that have won generally hit the ball pretty well and I think that's what it takes around here. You can be -- have a great short game, but to get up-and-down all four rounds, a lot, is a tough task.

Q. What are some of pivotal holes that you see out here?
KARRIE WEBB: I just think the finishing holes, 16, 17 and 18 are three pretty tough finishing holes. The whole back nine, really is pretty challenging. But 16, 17, 18, I know when I came to 16 last year, I can't remember exactly but I think I had a four-shot lead or something like that. But I still didn't feel comfortable until I birdied 16 and then I realized I probably had enough up my sleeve to finish up from there.
But they are just three holes that the wind seems to pick up a little bit more once you get out in that corner, and to work out which direction it's coming from and what the actual yardage is playing, you know, I'll take three -- I'll take 12 pars there for the week and be pretty happy.

Q. Four of your five wins last year, you had Ochoa, Sorenstam, Creamer and Kerr all in the field. Do you get more jacked up when they are all there?
KARRIE WEBB: I don't know if I necessarily think about the field. I know I did play really well at some of the bigger events last year. I don't know, I just -- I think I just rode a very big wave of confidence. I know I came to this tournament having been home in Australia for two weeks and then followed it up with four tournaments in a row and this was my fourth.
So I sort of came in here with not a lot of expectations because I was pretty tired, and, you know, got off to a flying start on the front -- I teed off on 10, but I had a good first nine holes and that was it.
So I think a lot of the tournaments that I've played well in last year, you know, I didn't put too much pressure on myself at the start of the tournament and just eased my way into it and got off to a fairly decent start.

Q. So when you find that extra gear, it's not so much that you're looking for it; it just sort of happens?
KARRIE WEBB: Yeah, the more I try, the worse I play. And even, what is this, my 12th year now, it's still hard for me to learn that lesson to not go in and try so much as just go in and trust my ability and not force things from the first tee shot.

Q. When you won the back-to-back Opens, you were the dominant player before Annika's run. Is that a big drive for you to get back to No. 1 in the world? Does that motivate you?
KARRIE WEBB: Yeah, it's a motivation for me for sure. I think to be able to achieve No. 1 in the world again second time around would probably be a bigger achievement than the first time around, because I think I really understand a lot more about what it takes to play well consistently in this game now. You know, that would be a big achievement. But it's not something that I wake up and think about every day.
You know, right now I'm thinking about this tournament and, again, not trying too hard tomorrow and just trying to be as relaxed as I can and, you know, play the good golf I know I'm capable of. You know, coming up to the U.S. Open, obviously it's at Pine Needles and I won there in '01. It's probably my most favorite course I've ever played in the United States. So trying not to get too excited that we're going back there and putting too much pressure on myself to be in top form. But I'm really looking forward to that week again.

Q. Any thoughts about the LPGA's decision to drug test starting next year?
KARRIE WEBB: Any opinion? Is that what you said?

Q. Any thoughts, any opinions?
KARRIE WEBB: Well, I think, you know, golf has got to step in line with other -- all of the other sports around the world. I think it's probably one -- I don't know, this is my opinion, why golf isn't an Olympic sport is because we don't drug test.
I think that, you know, introducing drug tests, if the golf bodies, if that's one of their goals is to get golf into the Olympics, then that has to be part of it. I think it just -- I don't think there's any issues out here. But I think that it just prevents any doubts of anybody that, you know, may think that that is the case.

Q. Se Ri will be qualifying for the LPGA Hall of Fame as you did; does that put pressure on players or do players put more pressure on just to live up to that title?
KARRIE WEBB: Well, for me I guess it seemed like it took pressure off me. But I guess the year that I entered the Hall of Fame was my worst year on Tour. So I think I put a lot of pressure on myself to have a good year for whatever reason to feel like I deserved to go into the Hall of Fame. That's just my own is mind thinking that.
I think after that, it was a motivation that I wanted -- there was a lot of younger players out on Tour that I had not played particularly well since they had been out on Tour, and I wanted to show them why I was going in and that it's not as simple when these kids come out and announce that one of their goals is to get in the Hall of Fame, that it's a matter of saying it and doing it.

Q. You said last year in Baltimore that you had seen it coming from Se Ri in terms of what she did there, I don't know if it was after you had won earlier in the year, but something about you saying you saw it. What did you see in her game?
KARRIE WEBB: I don't know if I saw it. I just know that after I won Kraft Nabisco, she gave me a big hug the next time I saw her and congratulated me. She said, "It's my turn next."
I said, "Yeah, it's your turn next. Let's get going." And the next major, she beat me in a playoff.

Q. So it wasn't --
KARRIE WEBB: I had not played much golf with her. I knew that she had been working on her game. It's just amazing -- it's not amazing, but when a champion like Se Ri puts herself in that situation, you remember pretty quickly how to win. She had not been in contention for a while and then, you know, she goes and wins a major.
You know, it was fun and sad for me, because obviously I had a chance to win two majors in a row, but, you know, there wasn't probably a person in the field that I would have been happier for to see win.
DANA GRASSRHODE: Thank you all very much for coming in. Karrie, good luck this week.

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