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November 18, 2008

Cristie Kerr


JASON TAYLOR: Thanks for coming in. Welcome to ADT. You have one victory this year at Safeway, and 11 Top 10 finishes, if you would just talk about your year and being here this week.
CRISTIE KERR: It's great to be here back in south Florida at Trump International Golf Club, where I'm a member, I'm proud to say. You know, it's a fantastic golf course. It's a great event. Huge first place prize. A lot on the line.
You know, I've been working a lot on my game, and I feel like my game is as good as it's been in a long time heading into this week.

Q. You said being a member here and knowing this course almost as well as probably anyone maybe, besides you and Morgan, it seems like that's about it, can the importance of that be overstated this week at all? Do you think it's a real big factor as far as just knowing this layout as well as better than just about everyone else playing?
CRISTIE KERR: I think it is an advantage. You know, but at the end of the day those last couple of closing holes are determining factors in who will play on Saturday and who will play on Sunday.
Ultimately, I've been here a long time and seen a lot of tournaments here. Ultimately, I haven't seen really a winner where it hasn't come down to those last three holes. So, you know, I think it is definitely an advantage, but you still need to be able to win. To win you'll have to play those last three holes better than everybody else.
There's definitely some birdie holes on this course. And there's definitely some holes if you par them every day you're not going to be losing any shots to the field. Like 7, let's see, 7, 8 on the front 9, and the 13th hole is a great hole. Obviously, you've got to try to take advantage of 15, and 16, 17, 18, if you play those even par for the week or 1 under for the week, you're doing pretty good.

Q. Understanding that all three of those closing holes is dicey. But has one of them got a greater penalty than the other two in terms of trying to come down the stretch and put the tournament away?
CRISTIE KERR: I think 16th hole, if you play 16th hole well it gives you a sense of confidence going into the last two holes. You know, 16 and 17, again, it's a great layout in the sense that you play 16, it gives you confidence. You play 17. You play 17 well, it gives you confidence for 18. It's sort of like a domino effect.
Because if you bogey 16 and you need to birdie 17 or something, you want to be able to just play the rest of the golf course well enough to where you're a couple under, and then on the last three holes you're just sort of trying to make pars. You don't want to go into the last couple of holes having to make birdies.
It's just a great design. This is one of my favorite courses I play, so I like the challenge very much.

Q. With the in essence two cut format, does the approach change going from Thursday, Friday, to the weekend rounds where it's 18 holes to get it done?
CRISTIE KERR: Yeah, I think it's a case of wanting to just basically keep qualifying and just play well. Then, you know, you have enough left in the tank to be able to try to get it done on Sunday.
It's the most unique format that we have, that we play. Like I said, my goal is to just try to keep play. You don't have to win, you know, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. You just want to be able to be in the Top 10 for the first couple of days. Then obviously you need to play well enough to get to Sunday.
So just try to keep qualifying. Kind of like you do when you played in the U.S. Amateur or the Girls Junior or the Public Links where you just qualified to get into -- you stroke play to get into the match play. It's been a long times since I played those, so if I mess it up, forgive me.
You just keep qualifying, and then get off to a good start on Sunday. That's all you can ask for. Anything can happen from there. That's why this is so covered and so exciting, because nobody really knows what's going to happen.

Q. In a "normal week," do you scoreboard watch?
CRISTIE KERR: I do. I like to know where I stand. Making it to Sunday and then having a chance to win. You know what, I think I'm taking a little different view this year than I have in the past.
You focus on the million dollars, million dollars, million dollars, but this year I'm going to try to not think about that so much. Because, you know, I take -- I've always taken greater satisfaction in winning than I ever have playing for money.
It's kind of daunting seeing the cube and the million dollars that's right there. You really don't get access to that unless you play to win, unless you don't care about the money. So that's kind of like what I intend to do this year.
I've already said if that does happen I'm going to give a good portion of it away to my parents and to charity. So I'm really going to just try to focus on doing what I know how to do to win, and I get greater satisfaction in that than winning the money, ultimately.

Q. Do you think that as this tournament has evolved and the players who are here every year get used to that, is that maybe the approach that's kind of shared among all of the women in the tournament? Or is it still tough to make that million dollars less daunting?
CRISTIE KERR: Yeah, for me, you know, that's my approach this year. I don't think that's the case with a lot of the other girls. But I can't speak for them, you have to ask them. That might be a good question to ask them. So that's what I'm going to try to do this year.

Q. Did you find yourself in past years at odd times thinking there's a million dollars out there?
CRISTIE KERR: Yeah, last year I got off to a good start. I was 1 under through a couple of holes, then you start thinking about it. Then you start thinking about it. It's kind of like when you're 8 under through 10 holes thinking I can shoot 59, I can shoot 59, and then it doesn't happen.
You know, I think I'm going to draw on my experience for that. I'm working with a new mental coach this year, Dr. Joe Parent. He wrote the books on golf. He's a Zen Buddhist. He's given me a great sense of peace with myself. He's helped me take my game to better and higher levels.

Q. What is your personal pucker level on dollars when you start -- a million bucks when you see it in that see-through glass display case, probably even smell it if you got close enough, is there a number that makes you blink personally?
CRISTIE KERR: I wouldn't say anything really makes me blink. I mean it's exciting. I love the challenge.

Q. It's life-changing for some of these players?
CRISTIE KERR: I think what is more interesting about this event more than anything is the psychological effect it has on on the players. If they were playing for $200,000, you wouldn't have that level of anxiety for some people.
So I'm going to try to just remove that this year, because in the past when I thought about it, it hasn't worked anyways. So I'm going to try to just focus on my golf.

Q. Do you have any thoughts on the floated change of this thing in the beginning of the year?
CRISTIE KERR: You know what, the first year that it was ever, I thought it was the way it was last year. So that shows you how much I understand about the format the first time. I thought it was like the first year was the two rounds, cut, wash it, then you have to make it to the last day. So you wash for the third and wash for the last round.
And the first year I found out that the scores were cumulative. So the first two counted, and then they cut people. But the scores carried over. So I thought the first year was like it was last year, so...

Q. I meant there's a proposal to move it to the beginning of the season from the end to the beginning of the 2010 season has apparently been discussed and could be imminent?
CRISTIE KERR: Yeah, I'm not really sure where that stands. I think we're having a meeting tomorrow to announce the schedule. Is that what they have said?

Q. That's what they usually do with us?
CRISTIE KERR: I'm not quite sure what's going on with that. They mentioned there might be some kind of version of the tournament maybe at the beginning of the year for next year, like in one of the player meetings. But they didn't really announce who the sponsor would be or anything.
So I don't really know what they're going to tell us tomorrow. And the economy, I just hope that we keep all of our sponsors.

Q. Do you have a player meeting tomorrow?
CRISTIE KERR: You know, we usually just have a meeting where they get together and they kind of announce the schedule to us before they announce it to you, I think. Yeah, that's been that way for the last six years, so I wouldn't think it's any different.

Q. You talked about anxiety levels, when is that challenge when it's not involved money. Just at the majors?
CRISTIE KERR: Well, there's good anxiety, bad anxiety. When I play it's like a good anxiety. It's an anxiousness. It's an excitement to play. It's any time you're playing for a big title for me. It doesn't really have anything to do with the money.
I mean, there was definitely good anxiety when I won the Open last year coming down the stretch. But not like where you couldn't breathe or anything. Not like when you get stressed out by your parents, that bad anxiety.

Q. How does the Zen thing, you just reciting Dalai Lama lines from "Caddyshack"?
CRISTIE KERR: Yeah, pretty much. No, I'm kidding. No, he just.

Q. But practical adaptation of that.
CRISTIE KERR: He just teaches me to understand that you really can't -- if you cannot control the process that you go through which is getting the plan together, what the yardage is, what you're hitting. Okay, I've got the idea, committing to that and being at peace with that before you go and trying tos actually execute the shot. If you're in conflict with yourself over something, you won't be able to do that.
So I've just tried to make it more sim. Get my plan, do all the thinking beforehand, and I'll take a breath before I walk to the ball. Then you basically have said to yourself, I've done what I need to do to prepare, and it will just happen.

Q. Morgan was in here a little while ago, and her up-and-down years are well chronicled and the swing changes and all of that. Two questions on that - one, I know you've known each other a long time. Was it obvious, did she ever have to express to you how hard a year it was for her at times and two, did you think it was kind of bold for her to go out mid-season, two-thirds of the way through the season and make some changes?
CRISTIE KERR: Yeah, almost at the end. Well, you know, Morgan's always been one of my good friends. She was a bride's made in my wedding as was Natalie Gulbis and Kelly Kuehne, and Emily Klein who is no longer playing.
Morgan's not the kind of person that usually will -- she kind of consults within her own camp. If she ever needed me I know she would reach out.
But Morgan's always been -- the best part of Morgan's game is her will. You know, the kind of similar thing that's we all kind of share, our genre. She's got a great will for the game, and feistiness about her that it doesn't matter. Nothing. I mean, as long as it takes nothing's going to hold her down, and that is just the kind of person she is.
It didn't surprise me. I guess she made a change in coach and some changes to her putting and some things. But that's what good players do if they want to succeed. If something's not working, they find a way to make it work.

Q. You had said earlier when the schedule came out that you hope you keep all your sponsors.
CRISTIE KERR: Yeah. I hope I keep all my personal sponsors.

Q. Bobby Ginn's pretty shaky?
CRISTIE KERR: I know. I'm not hopeful for the South Carolina tournament. But, hopefully, for the Orlando tournament we'll still have that. I'll know tomorrow.

Q. Is this a real -- given what's going on everywhere in all walks of life, is this a particularly scary time for this game and for you? Just knowing that it all hinges on sponsors out here and the wells are drying up really fast?
CRISTIE KERR: Yeah, it's a scary time for everybody. My whole outlook on that is you've just got to be able to ride the waves.
This is my 12th year on tour. I've seen years when I first came out, 40-something tournaments, and then the next year, I don't know how many we're going to have. But I would expect with the way the state of the economy is not just here but around the world, that we're going to lose some tournaments.
The same thing on the PGA TOUR, same thing on the senior tour. It's scary. It makes you think about where you're going to eat dinner, when you never thought about where you're going to eat dinner. It makes you think about not going shopping. Or maybe not going shopping as much (laughing). As much.
That's where having a great clothing company like Lacoste comes in. I just call them more often now, "I need more clothes."

Q. The number being thrown around is 31 tournaments for '09, and 11 or 12 of them overseas. Is it unsettling?
CRISTIE KERR: How many was there this year? 38 or something? 37?
I was talking to my caddie, John Klein, about this. When I first came out I played about the same number of tournaments, anywhere from a very low end of 22 to a high end of 28. So I average 25, 26, 27 a year. And never really being this tired at this point in the season.
I mean, it's definitely a lot of international travel. But we still have to make a living. So if that's where we need to go to make money now, we're going to have to do that. It's not like they make us fly over there coach. We fly over business class. They usually take care of our hotel when we're overseas. You've just got to kind of deal with it.
Or just win the first two events and then you can take the rest of them off (smiling).

Q. I want to ask you an Annika question since this is supposedly her last hurrah. She's got a bunch of irons in the fire outside the game. She wants to segue into doing these other things, teaching at her academy and designing, she's got perfume and wines and all these other things in the pipeline. I don't know that any female player has ever really successfully launched herself as a brand. You know, I think Nancy Lopez had a few years there where she was fairly popular, and pretty quickly faded. Do you think she can pull that off? Even on the men's side, you can probably name five guys, that's about it.
CRISTIE KERR: If anybody could do it, I think she'd be able to do it. She's got a great team around her. She's won, you know, worldwide. Obviously, LPGA tournaments, 70-something, and worldwide a lot more than that.
But it's difficult. Trying to do that right now with the state of the economy the way it is. Like John McCain's campaign, you know, I think it would have been even though a lot of people were anti-Bush, I think had the stock market not crashed at the end of his campaign when things began to speed up, he probably would have at least -- I don't know if he would have won, but he would have had a lot better chance to see that. I think she's going to be kind of careful with when she decides she wants to launch a lot of these different brands she's coming out with.
If she's going to try to do it now it would have more chance to not succeed. I'm sure she knows all of that though. It will be interesting to see what happens.

Q. Obviously she wants to start a family, and you know, the marriage?
CRISTIE KERR: And she deserves it. She's in her late 30's, and she's done a lot of pretty amazing things for the game.
People always ask me is she going to retire for good. And she's never used the word retire. She's used the words stepping away from the game. Personally, for me, I think she'll be back in a couple of years. But that's just me and my hopes that we don't lose one of the best things that's ever happened to women's golf.

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