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April 4, 2008

Amy Alcott


DANA GROSS-RHODE: Amy, welcome, you're a three-time winner of this tournament, and all that you've done for this tournament, consistently playing here, your name has become synonymous with Dinah Shore who is so well known for this tournament but I know you wanted to take this time and make a special announcement.
AMY ALCOTT: Well, you know, this is not an easy thing to do, because I have so much of my personal golf history is tied in with this tournament going back to my first event in 1975 when I qualified for the Tour, won very quickly after that, and then everybody told me, oh, well, now you're going to be eligible to play in the greatest event in women's golf in Palm Springs in a couple weeks, the Colgate Dinah Shore Championship.
And after that for the last 33 years, this was my 34th year, I have enjoyed this event immensely. I have been so privileged to play some of my greatest golf, have some of my most brilliant wins and memories here, winning in the wind, and starting this tradition of jumping in the water back in 1988 with my caddie, Bill Curry, and in 1991 six months after my mother died, to win after eight or nine shots was pretty amazing. And to this day, that win was my last win on Tour in '91, was winning here.
So I think with the way that all things in life go, I think it's time to say that this is my last Kraft Nabisco Championship, and I do it with a very, very full heart, with a happy heart. I think there just comes a time when I could come here every year; I love seeing the new players come and jump in the lake, and I love being a part of this event, and I love the history of it and how it really changed the face of women's golf. I kind of understand the genesis of it, and it was a real treat to be part that have growth and now the LPGA taking off on that.
I just feel it's time. I will always come back and be a part of the event, but this is basically my last time teeing it up here. Gave it my best shot. Still have some gas, play pretty good golf when I'm off the Tour, but that's really what I wanted to say is just a very friendly farewell to a great history I've had here at Mission Hills.

Q. So not playing here, does that mean you'll still play elsewhere?
AMY ALCOTT: No, I don't think anybody ever retires from golf. I'm not formally retiring. I'm doing too many other things in golf. I just finished a book that will come out next April and I'm designing golf courses and doing more of those and wanting to do more of those, and going into other Avenues in golf.
But the competitive desire is still there. I'll still play out on the legends tour, the over-45 tour, where at least I know a few people. I know a few of the faces.
I'm not closing the door on formally retiring from golf, because I just don't make those kind of announcements. I think you just can't retire from golf.

Q. Will you still play out here?
AMY ALCOTT: This tour, I don't see myself playing much out here. This was the only event I played out here. Unless I got a bee in my bonnet to go to Ottawa and play in the Canadian Open and shot 62 or got hot with my game, I pretty much see this as kind of closing a door.

Q. Obviously there are three big memories here because you won three times, going into the lake with Dinah, going into the lake with Bill and the first year you won when it was a major. What are other things about this tournament in the 34 years that you will remember, other than the obvious?
AMY ALCOTT: I think the thing that is so away from golf is that the getting stopped at airports -- here I am a U.S. Open winner, but over the years, how much joy this tournament brings to this community here. That's one of my big memories, is I've been a part of this real -- of bringing joy to people. I think getting stopped in airports by saying, "Hey, Amy, I saw you one Kraft Nabisco" or "I saw you win the Dinah Shore" or "I saw you win the Kraft Championship," as the event has kind of changed.
You know, sometimes I think, God, I won an Open, and a Canadian Open, and I'm in the Hall of Fame, but so many people remember the jump in the water; could be a businessman in a Cincinnati airport; it could be somebody in a grocery store.
This tournament really has amazing history, and I think that's what I'll always remember the most, and also, how excited players are when they say, oh, God, I get to finally play in that tournament. It was always a carrot to reach for for players, and I'll always be just very thankful to be a part of it and of course the joy it's brought me and so many others.

Q. Any memories of Dinah Shore?
AMY ALCOTT: Well, there's a few of them. She did make a good martini. But I won this tournament -- I go back so far, I really wasn't old enough to drink, but over at her house.
You know, the last win I had here, I was in my car on Pico Boulevard in Los Angeles not far from where they used to play at Hillcrest Country Club, and my mother had just passed away. And she knew I was close to my mind and there she was in her French car she used to drive, the Citron, the old classic one, it was kind of bronze color.
And I go like this (indicating) and she with her beautiful hair, we pull over in the parking lot at Hillcrest. And she says, "I was going to ask you to hit some balls with me," she says, "but I just want to tell you, I'm really, really sorry about you losing your mom. And damn it," she says, "you know, you've got to go out and win my tournament just one more time because it's my 25th anniversary" -- I think it was the 25th anniversary in '91, and she says, "I've just always been a little ticked off that I never got to share in that thrill of going in the water."
I said, "Dinah, I don't know if it will happen again." And she was just so hell-bent on that.
And, I don't know, it was a week all the stars aligned and there was magic in the air and she was behind the green there in her black slacks and she always used to wear white with her Nabisco coat, and I said to my caddie, "She means business." She definitely doesn't want her pantyline to show in white pants. (Laughter).
So I tried to get him to talk her out of it, but it was just one of those things. You can dream with it, you can wish about it, you can have people tell you to win. It's simply a by-product of being in contention and being a little tougher than the next person and playing well.
That and a person spirituality that was in the air, her good wishes. I'll always remember that conversation where she almost got nailed in her car trying to get over three lanes.
So that would be probably make sure her hair had to be done right. She used to say, "Amy, being women athletes, you not only have to play great golf, you have to look the part. This is the way it was in Hollywood."
She says, "The way it was for women in Hollywood, you not only had to have great talent and present yourself well, but you had to like just roll over and bite yourself to get any attention."
And she used to instill that, she used to instill that in me to pass that onto the next generation of players; that they shouldn't take their -- just you can't do it on your talent alone. It's just a special -- it's an advantage in a way to being a woman.
I have too many Dinah stories.

Q. (Would she like how things are today, do you think)?
AMY ALCOTT: I think she would. I think she'd like what she saw, yeah, definitely.
When I thought about this a day or so ago, there's a wonderful feeling of familiarity with this place and I thought, you know, it happens and it would just ruin it. But I did get very emotional, because I have a place here, so I can drive up that 18th hole. But without the bleachers here, the place takes on a different look to it.
But it's all a special joy, like anything, to see your name there three times and know, but you know, believe me, it was quite emotional and I cried and I tried to cover it up but that's not easy to do.

TERRY WILCOX: I just wanted to first of all congratulate Amy on her career. You know, not only was she the first one in the lake with you that '91 win was the first three-time winner, also. Now with evident three three-time winners and first in the lake and first three-time winner.
More important than that, I think when she did that day and what she and Dinah did has meant a great deal to the Kraft Nabisco Championship tournament through the years. I think most importantly, not only Kraft Nabisco and the LPGA and probably all of the players that are playing today, owe Amy a great debt of gratitude for what she created.
I hate to think how many impressions across the world that that jump in the lake created, not just hers but everyone that's jumped in since. You pick up any paper, probably in the world, a sports page who follows golf on the Monday morning after the Kraft Nabisco, and you will see someone coming out of the water or going into the water, and it's all because of your original jump.
And also, the highlights every night across the world on the sport news, I don't know how many of those, left tens of thousands, along with the millions and millions of impressions; it's great not only for us at the Kraft Nabisco, but I know it's I have given the LPGA and all of the current players a tremendous amount of exposure that they duly deserve.
In closing, I just want to say congratulations on your career, from all of us at Kraft Nabisco, and certainly we are going to miss you not playing, but we do wish you the best in whatever you do going forward. Thank you.

End of FastScripts

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