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April 24, 2003

Nancy Lopez

Lorena Ochoa

Steve Robinson

Ty Votaw


STEVE ROBINSON: Good afternoon, everybody. I'm Steve Robinson, and I work with Chick-fil-A, and we are proud, this is the ninth year of the Chick-fil-A Charity Championship hosted by Nancy Lopez, and this is the third year that Nancy is our official hostess, and we are very, very proud of that.

When we started talking to Nancy about four years ago of her potential interest in aligning with our event, one of the things that crossed our mind, we uncovered, was that there was no award out there comparable to the Haskins award for best female amateur in the world, so when Nancy agreed to become the official hostess of our event, it seemed to make a lot of sense to create an award for the best female amateur in the world in her honor, and so with the help of the USGA, specifically the chapter here in Georgia, headed by Mike Walton, a nominating committee was put together and then a voting panel was put together, and, of course, Nancy is on both, and so we are now in our third year of honoring the best female amateur in the world, and we're very, very happy that's Lorena Ochoa this year.

So I'm going to turn it over to Nancy and Ty to make any remarks they'd like to make, and then our award recipient, Lorena.

TY VOTAW: Thank you very much. On behalf of the LPGA I want to continue to congratulate the Chick-fil-A Charity Championship hosted by Nancy Lopez, and Nancy Lopez, and all the people that put this event together for the continuation of this tradition of the Nancy Lopez award and recognizing the world's greatest amateur.

We were very impressed with Lorena in her amateur career, and we're thrilled that she's no longer an amateur. She's now a member of the LPGA.

A lot of players have come onto the LPGA Tour with enormous expectations and no small amount of what people call potential, and many have not lived up to those expectations and potential, but certainly if the first several weeks in which Lorena has participated on the LPGA Tour are any indication, she will have no problems whatsoever in living up to the potential and the expectations a lot of people have for her, and we're thrilled that she is the most recent recipient and joins a very prestigious list of previous winners of this award, and we welcome her to that list and we welcome her to the LPGA and couldn't be more happy to have her here and want to extend our congratulations.

With that, I'll turn it over to the namesake of this wonderful award, the incomparable, Ms. Nancy Lopez.

NANCY LOPEZ: Thank you. I'm very happy to be here today and very happy to be a part of the Chick-fil-A event. They put on a beautiful event always. I was telling the ladies in the tournament office today that they make me really look good because everyone says, "Oh, you're doing such a good job with the tournament." I'm like, "Well, I'm not really doing all the work."

But I'm just honored to be here and honored to be part of this event, and honored that they have named an award after me, and also honored that Lorena Ochoa has won it this year. I like her a lot because she's the same color that I am.

Lorena, you have been a star for a long time as an amateur golfer, and I'm proud that you're now on the LPGA Tour because I think you will bring a lot of excitement to the game out here, your wonderful smile, your great personality, and I have three daughters -- and you're really cute, too -- so I always talk about my daughters that way, and I'm just proud that you're out here, I'm very proud that your name will be on the trophy. I think you represent golf in a very high, classy, quality-type way, and I just want to congratulate you so much and thank you for being the person that you are and the golfer that you are.

LORENA OCHOA: Thank you very much. I'm very, very excited to be here. This is a very special moment. I've been thinking, and it sounds funny because now I've been almost one year professional, and this is an amateur recognition, and I think this is very, very special to me. I think it's the best way to finish and remember my amateur career, so I feel very, very honored to be here to be part of your tournament and get to know you.

When I was young I always hear about your great golf career, your charisma, and all you do have going for you, and I always say "I want to be like Nancy, I want to be like Nancy, I want to get there sometime. Here I am. I'm honored to be here and hope we can do many things together.

Q. (Inaudible).

NANCY LOPEZ: Twenty-five years ago I was just hoping I'd win one tournament. It's hard because, you know, when you're growing up and you're playing golf and you're young, you never think you're going to get old, and now that I'm old, I know what she's thinking, I'm going to beat those old women, because I used to think that. No, I never thought I'd be in this position, of course, I just wanted to play great golf and play good for my dad, because I always wanted to do well and wanted him to be proud of me, and my mother, and to be in the situation now where now I'm with a wonderful tournament, an award has been named after me, those are things I never really thought would ever happen.

I'm very honored, I'm honored to be a part of this tournament, I really am. Some people say, "Well, her name is on the tournament, but I really am. Chick-fil-A, and the whole family, the whole group here, they work so hard and they are so proud of everything that they do. That's how I've always wanted to live my life. I always wanted to be proud of everything I did, and I always wanted my kids to be proud of everything that I did.

But being able to a part of this, it's a great honor. I late getting old. I'm 46, I'm not afraid to say it, but I feel like I'm 100 some days. I would love to stay competitive, but my body is not letting me do that, and my mind is saying "Spend more time with your family," but it's fun to watch players like Lorena come out here and play golf, I kind of live my life through them, watching them play, and I say, "I used to do that. I used to be able to do that."

But she's such a great kid, and I'm going to watch her a lot. I hope she wins a lot of events, I think she will. She's got a tiger look on her face when she's out there playing, but yet she's really soft, and she smiles a lot. It's fun because I like to see that kind of representation on the LPGA Tour. We like to see people smile and enjoy the game because that's what I've always done. I've loved it. It's a great part of my life and I wouldn't have had it any other way.

Q. When you started 25 years ago, did you ever think that you'd have a prestigious award like this named after you?

NANCY LOPEZ: Well, I hope that I can do that. I know when I came out on the LPGA Tour I always wanted to represent my tour the best way that I could. I wanted people to know that I loved golf, enjoyed it. My dad always taught me I wasn't going to play good if I got angry and, you know, to live that life of enjoying something and being successful and loving it, enjoying what I've accomplished out here, and enjoying the friends I've made, and the life that God has given me. I've had a great life out here playing golf.

And to look kind of look at the young players and say, you know, "This is a great life, enjoy it. You're young, have a great time with it. Be grateful for the time you get to be out here playing something that you love so much."

And any of the young players -- I hope I've always left the door open for them if they ever needed to talk about something, because it's tough out here, you're on your own. You can talk to other players but, of course, in the back of your mind you're saying, "I know she wants to beat me," so you have to have somebody you can talk to that, you know, you can truly feel their sense of what they are trying to teach you or tell you.

And there is a lot of young players that do come up to me and they pick my brain a little bit and ask me how I feel about this or that, or what would I do in that situation, and it's fun for me to be able to share that with them, tell them what I was feeling, or to share any kind of wisdom that they might be able to get from me.

I'm proud that they come to ask me any kind of question that they do. But, like I said, all the young girls kind of remind my of my daughters, and I've always want to be their friend and help them to accomplish anything they can out here because the LPGA tour has been my life, and still is, and I'm very proud of it and I want it to keep growing and prospering, and I want the young players of today to come out and show everyone in the world that they love this game, it's fun to play, and that they are competitive, and it's not viciousness out there, but they really love what they are doing.

Q. What do you think about the young players on Tour now?

NANCY LOPEZ: I wish I was their age again. I wish I could come out there and play against them. I think it's great, we have so many great stars out there that are playing super golf. It's fun to watch them, watch them grow, watch their careers grow, watch them win, and it's fun because Annika has played so well and she's been so competitive, and now we are getting new and younger players -- even younger than Annika, because I always considered her young, but she's getting old, you know.

So it's fun to see the young players coming out and I'm sure they will make Annika have to work harder on her game because they are younger and better and they're coming out being younger, so it's neat to watch that, and the competitiveness of the LPGA Tour, we want people to come out and watch, watch what these players can do, watch the competitive spirit that they have, and know they can play golf as good as anyone.

Q. Lorena, does the high quality of the competition help you out there, and what do you think about being on Tour so far?

LORENA OCHOA: I accomplished what I wanted to accomplish in my college career, and I really wanted to turn pro by the time I was ready to be competing with the professionals and trying to win tournaments and (inaudible) I did make a contribution every time, and now that this is my fifth tournament, I think I -- everything is new for me and it's very hard. The hardest thing is that every player come to win, and there is so many, it means so much, because in college, maybe three or four (inaudible) "Whew," you're allowing so many players, so I'm learning from that alone to see how important one stroke, and to get 100 percent I need to stroke and concentrate 100 percent, and make sure you did your best and you need to stroke. I'm very happy. (Inaudible) LPGA since I was -- since I remember, so it's a dream for, me and I'm trying to be very patient and learn the most I can and hopefully I can win some tournaments soon.

Q. Ty, how does the large number of younger players bode for the Tour and for the older veterans out there?

TY VOTAW: I think it bodes very well. I think the pipeline that you've seen over the last couple years that you referenced has been getting bigger and bigger and filled with talented young players, and that only makes the competition that fans come out and see week in, week out, more compelling, and if the competition is more compelling, and we present the very best of women's professional golf every week, that's going to make more people come out, more media coverage, more television coverage, and more value for our corporate partners and out sponsors like Chick-fil-A, and all of that bodes very well for the LPGA and I think the breadth and depth of talent is out here, with the veterans, the old veterans like Annika, the icons like Nancy Lopez and the --

Q. (Inaudible).

TY VOTAW: Young players like Lorena and Beth Bauer and Natalie Gulbis and Angela Jerman from here in Georgia, it is a great time to be part of the LPGA and it's an even greater time to be a fan of the LPGA.

Q. What do you think about the dominance of the international players on Tour?

TY VOTAW: Yeah, I get a lot of questions every week wherever we go about the fact that America hasn't won on the LPGA Tour this year, five evens, and five different winners, but if you look at the top 50, no country has more people in the top 50 than the US, but it's not a question of just who is winning, but who is having success. The US Solheim Cup team was no slouch at Interlachen, winning that event on its home soil, so when we open up our arms in the world, for the best players in the world to come play our tour, and I think that speaks volumes for the quality of the competition and the quality of our sponsors and economic opportunities here on the LPGA Tour, and I think the fact that we have such international and diverse membership base provides enormous economic opportunities for the overall organization.

I know that Lorena's presence out here has opened up Mexico in terms of our televised products being brought into Mexico because of the interest created by Lorena, that speaks volumes for the economic viability of the LPGA and I think it's going to grow exponentially over time.

Q. Ty and Nancy, can you give us your thoughts on Michelle Wie?

TY VOTAW: Well, she's a very impressive young woman, perhaps more so for being a very nice young woman as opposed to a very talented young golfer. I give her parents an enormous amount of credit for making her as well-adjusted and grounded as she is. She's a unique individual, and I have a nine-year old who I can't imagine four years from now him doing anything close to what Michelle is doing now, but having that success, you would also expect there to be some level of ego or edge that may very well be there, that you sometimes see in kids early on, you see none of that with Michelle, and I think that, as I say about Lorena, there are a lot of people who have come out on tour with huge amounts of potential and expectations.

I'd like to see Michelle have as normal a childhood as she possibly can, but it's certainly not normal to have a 13-year old have the media attention that she's getting right now, so then it goes back to where she comes from and what her parents' values are, and both of her parents are just as impressive people as Michelle is, and I think that when she's ready to become a member of the LPGA Tour, we'll welcome her with open arms, and I think the grounding that her parents provided her will make her a better LPGA member over time.

NANCY LOPEZ: I was at the Nabisco tournament and I wanted to go out and watch her hit a couple shots, and if you didn't see who was swinging, and you saw the ball take off, you'd think a man hit it because the ball is so hot coming off the face, and the flight was so high, and she hit a 7-iron or something like that on a hole that I hit a 4-iron on now, and I was, like, goodness gracious, but she's 13 and hopefully someone will guide her, and I think her mom and dad will do that -- they are real nice people -- because you can play great golf at a young age, but to mature and to really prepare yourself for LPGA Tour, that's what colleges are for, and I know coming on the tour when I was 19, you miss a little bit of your young life there when you're thrown out here, and then I won so many tournaments early I had to -- i was in depression a lot, and I had to grow up very quickly, and I missed the part of my life that I sit back and say, maybe I should have enjoyed that part of my life.

You're only young once, and for her to go out there and play the golf she is, playing amateur golf, winning, she needs to be happy with that, enjoy that, and just keep growing as the years go by, and I think some day she may be on the LPGA Tour. She talks a lot about going to Stanford University, and going to school, and I think that's great because it will prepare her more for coming out here and, you know, I think a lot of the players really prepare themselves better when they come out here and become champions quicker than if they were to come out when they were, you know, 17, but she's spectacular, she hits the ball great, I listened to her in the press conference, she was really, really funny.

She said her dad was so nervous, and every time she would hit a shot, she'd say, "Chill, Dad, chill." And I thought that was really funny, but he's so nice, he's got a great personality. I met her dad. Sometimes parents are overbearing, and I hate to see that, but I don't think they are. They are there to hold her hand and support her, and when you have parents like that, you can be very successful. It's the parents that expect too much and put too much pressure on you.

My father never did that. He was always very loving and understanding, and bad golf meant nothing to him, he just felt I had to practice a little harder, but he never made me feel bad about going out and playing a bad round of golf.

And I know, growing up, there's a lot of young players, a lot of parents destroy these players by doing that. They need to have a parent that understands and loves them and holds their hand and support them no matter what happens, and I think her patents will certainly do that, only because I've met them and they are just really kind people.

Q. Nancy, is your family originally from Mexico, and do you think they're from an area close to Lorena's family?

NANCY LOPEZ: My great grandparents are from Mexico and my grandparents were born in The States, and my mom and dad were born in The States, but my great grandparents were from Mexico.

Q. (Inaudible).

NANCY LOPEZ: We are probably related somewhere. She's my cousin.

Q. Does the fact that Lorena's from Mexico make it any more special that she won your award?

NANCY LOPEZ: I think -- i'm sorry, Steve. Being Mexican-American, you know I've always been proud of my race, and I think it's kind of nice to see other Mexicans come out here and play the type golf that she is playing because, you know, so many times I've grown up and there has been so many Mexican Americans that have come up to me and say, Nancy we never thought we could do anything, but we've watched you and you stand for something."

When you represent people that -- no one ever said they could do anything, and they never really boosted them, and I'm proud to be Mexican-American, and I think if I can boost any kids out there that are Mexican Americans or Mexicans, to let them know that no matter what color or what race you are, you live your life with pride, and you have to care, and if you do that you can be successful in anything, so I've always tried to represent my race the best way that I can and, you know, show them that there is a wonderful life out there, but you have to work for it, it's not given to you, and I'm just proud that Lorena has done as well as she has and I hope she does very well on the LPGA Tour.

STEVE ROBINSON: Lorena on behalf of Chick-fil-A and Nancy, congratulations, and anyone who needs any information on her amateur career or how this award was voted on, John Marshall has the fact sheets. Again, congratulations. Thanks again for being here.

End of FastScripts....

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