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June 1, 2001

A.J. Eathorne


RHONDA GLENN: Ladies and gentlemen, we'll proceed. A.J., you started on the back 9 today, you played only 4 holes, you had 4 pars, you remain at 3-under par. What's your take on all this weather situation and your position in the championship.

A.J. EATHORNE: Well, it's a lot of fun. And it was -- it's tough out there when you've got -- you know, you're going to wait all day on and off. So just kind of sit back, relax, practice your breathing and don't let anything get too far ahead of you. It's tough. We played two holes, and we broke for 45 minutes or half an hour, and then we went back out for another two. Luckily I've got good swing thoughts going, still. Putting is a little off. You want to get that good rhythm. They're stopping our rhythm with the rain delays, but there's nothing we can do, so we'll keep waiting.

RHONDA GLENN: There was no question that you could play on.

A.J. EATHORNE: There's no question. We drove through all the courses around Pinehurst, and there's a lot of standing water and probably water in the bunkers and on the greens. No one wants to play in conditions like that, especially when you see players this morning go out and play in pretty good conditions. And hopefully it will clear up a little bit for us, get it out of its system tonight and we'll get a chance to play all day tomorrow.

Q. Could you explain practice your breathing?

A.J. EATHORNE: Well, I get a little tense, and that's one thing my coach always said is just to -- the easiest way to relax yourself without going through a whole lot of things is practice your deep breathing, bring it in through your mouth and taking a deep breath in your belly and just releasing the whole breath. That seems to relax a lot of people, and just do that.

Q. We expected to hear practice your breathing from Brenda Kuehn this week, not you.

A.J. EATHORNE: I heard she almost had to with a few contractions.

Q. Can you talk about how Saturday shapes up for you, the length of the day in a tournament that by its nature is a bit of a grind?

A.J. EATHORNE: I think everyone is going to be grinding out tomorrow. I got ahead of myself thinking we were going to play today and got psyched up for it this morning. Just do the same sort of routine, do whatever you were going to do the day before. I sort of ended on a green, so it's strange to start your round out with a putt. Everyone has to go out and play their hardest. It's going to be tough tomorrow, just pace yourself and hit one shot at a time. That's all we can ask of ourselves and we can do.

RHONDA GLENN: How did you mark your ball on the last green?

A.J. EATHORNE: Actually, I didn't mark it properly, and I'm afraid that my 10-footer is now about a 45 footer. We're supposed to mark it with a tee and all around. We kind of wanted to get out of there with all the booms and lightning. And I don't think a lot of us marked our balls properly.

RHONDA GLENN: You used a regular ball marker, is it a coin?

A.J. EATHORNE: It's a coin. So I'm afraid that's probably gone by now. We know -- there's a couple of putts right where we were, so we know where we were.

RHONDA GLENN: And the hole locations tomorrow will be in the same spots that they are today until the round is completed.

Q. What have you been doing for the last couple of hours?

A.J. EATHORNE: Well, I wish I had a deck of cards or something, that would have taken up a lot of the time. We sat around talking, met a few people, just kind of set everything on hold for a few hours. I didn't really want to talk to too many people. I was still a little nervous about not playing today. But we just sat around. I went back to the condo and watched a little TV, watched a little men's golf. Just tried to be as normal as possible and wait like everybody else.

Q. Just to clarify, the putt you have is on the 5th hole?

A.J. EATHORNE: On the 14th hole.

Q. For birdie or par?

A.J. EATHORNE: For par.

Q. And the four holes you completed, were they all regulation pars or was there some happenings out there?

A.J. EATHORNE: They were interesting. I left myself a long -- I hit in the bunker on No. 10, actually, on 2, and got out on the green, but I wasn't necessarily close. And knocked that by about 12 feet and made that nice one for par. So the next hole I just missed a birdie putt. It was probably about 12 feet. Then we went down 12, after the second -- after the rain delay, and probably hit my first putt to about 5 feet and managed to make that one. I was doing a little scrambling, I hit a good shot on 13, just 2-putted that one for par, too. And kind of hit my first putt short on No. 14 where I'm at, so I've got a 10-footer up the hill for that. But made those yesterday. I might as well keep making them.

Q. What does that make you think, if anything, Karrie's score?

A.J. EATHORNE: Something to shoot for. Obviously the birdies are out there. She's had at least five of them. She's a great player. But it shows that it's possible on this golf course. And it's nice -- I'm hitting it fairly good still, and something to reach for, going for birdies out there still, and just hopefully at the end of the round I'm right with her.

Q. How many holes have you ever played before in one day, and how has your health been? I know a couple of years ago your back and everything was bothering you.

A.J. EATHORNE: I'm actually pretty healthy right now, considering myself to be still an athlete and in good shape and workout quite a bit. It doesn't bother me to play a lot of holes. I used to play 36 holes in a day as a junior or as many as you can in a day. The thing is to play continuously, just don't think of, oh, my goodness, I have so many holes left. And sort of getting yourself down before you get out there, and just take it one hole at a time. We might get stopped tomorrow with some rain delays. I guess just take it at the present, don't look to the future or don't look behind you on what's happened.

Q. A.J., how much of an advantage does Karrie have, already being in the house?

A.J. EATHORNE: She's resting right now. She's loving it. I would love it too. She got her round in and she can just kind of sit back and wait for everybody else to finish out tomorrow. Who wouldn't want to sit on a nice little lead going into Saturday in a U.S. Open. I think that would be anybody's dream. I'm sure she'd like to be hitting balls and practicing as well. But I don't think there's anyone out here in this field that wouldn't trade her places right now.

Q. Speaking of getting out to the range and hitting balls, if you went back to play today you wouldn't be afforded that luxury, correct?

A.J. EATHORNE: Actually, they said we would be able to hit a few balls, because it has been such a long rain delay, that we were going to be able to practice and warm up just briefly.

Q. But tomorrow you will be able to get a nice full normal --

A.J. EATHORNE: Hopefully. Depends on what time our tee time is and get warmed up a little bit, which is nice.

Q. (Inaudible.)

A.J. EATHORNE: When you haven't played for 12 hours or whatever, it's nice to be able to loosen up. Not everyone is quite too limber in the morning, especially. When it's humid out, sometimes it's nice, you can maintain your limberness. But it's hard going in and out of cold situations, in an air conditioned room and then back out to the heat.

Q. Clearly Karrie and some of the other early starters have the fatigue factor to their advantage. But will there be anything for you guys with so much rain, you're going to be looking at extremely soft greens, at least for the --

A.J. EATHORNE: Yeah, we're going to try to find the positives in that. Hopefully a couple of girls might be able to hit into the greens before, and just see what happens out there tomorrow morning, if the greens will hold slightly. They were noticeably a little bit more bouncy this morning when we did hit the first couple of greens. Maybe it will make it a little longer. We were getting a little roll in the fairways. But sort of give and take. If you can hold on the green, that's going to help us a lot.

Q. Rhonda, do you know if the USGA has a preferred lies rule?

RHONDA GLENN: It is a local rule that can be implemented by the Championship Committee. I don't recall having seen it in the U.S. Open.

Q. My question to A.J., is it going to make a big difference if it is muddy out there, if they don't play clean and --

A.J. EATHORNE: It's going to be up to the committee to decide whether it's needed or not. I don't think that they'll put us out there and sort of sit there in the back and say ha, ha, she's going to have to hit a muddy ball. I don't think that's what the game of golf is all about. It's who's hitting good shots. If it's necessary, we have to pick up our ball and clean it off, if it's that bad out there. The grass is pretty tight. I don't hopefully see that it's going to be too muddy out there.

Q. (Inaudible) -- where was she when the rain stopped?

A.J. EATHORNE: She had a par-putt as well. She had made a birdie early on, and had a bogey just on 13, on the par-3. So she was --

Q. Do you know how long her putt is?

A.J. EATHORNE: It was about eight feet for par.

RHONDA GLENN: A.J., thank you, it's very gracious of you to spend some extra time and come in with us.

End of FastScripts....

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