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May 10, 2009

Cristie Kerr


JASON TAYLOR: Cristie, congratulations.
CRISTIE KERR: Thanks. Do you need me to do the score card? It was pretty simple. Pitching wedge on No. 4 to seven feet, made it for birdie.
JASON TAYLOR: Bogeyed 13.
CRISTIE KERR: Bogeyed 13. Hit it left to the green and hit a really tough up-and-down and my putt lipped out.
Then 15, hit 3-wood into the green, on the backside of the green and two-putted from about 45 feet probably, tap-in. And then really good par save on 16.
17, 18 -- 18 was pretty solid. It was pretty tough with the back left pin today.
JASON TAYLOR: All right. Well, congratulations on the win.
CRISTIE KERR: Thank you.
JASON TAYLOR: It's your twelfth career win, second time at this tournament in Williamsburg. If you would, just take us through your day.
CRISTIE KERR: Well, it was pretty tight all the way through there, you know, until the last couple holes, and I just tried to play my own game, tried to be good mentally on every shot, and the momentum kind of swung in my favor when I birdied 15.
And I don't know who doubled 16, but somebody doubled 16, and that gave me good momentum going into the last couple holes. And the par save on 16 to get a two-shot lead instead of one going into the last two holes was big.
And just played really solid today. Didn't hit it really close, but I tell you, the course played a lot different today, played a lot tougher. 12 of the 18 pins were 35 or 38 on the green and three or four were to the left or right of the edge of the green, so the course played really tough today.
JASON TAYLOR: Questions?

Q. Were you surprised that the pin placements were so easy the first few rounds? It gave you an opportunity to really go low.
CRISTIE KERR: Yeah. It played really different today. You know, the course, even though we had rain last night, the course didn't seem like incredibly wet, enough to have to play lift-clean-and-place, but the greens were releasing a little bit more, and they tucked all the pins today, which is why you saw the scores what they were.
I think the pins were a lot more accessible the last three days, and you know, that's what you had to do, you had to kind of take it low and just shoot a really good solid round of golf today, and the wind switched around, so it made the course play different today. I think with north wind it plays tougher.

Q. How grueling is it when it's such a grind like that when you're playing and playing and waiting to do something, to pull ahead or somebody do something and it's kind of --
CRISTIE KERR: Yeah. It is a grind, and at Kraft this year I was on the other end of the momentum spectrum, and this time I just stuck it out, stuck it out. And I knew the course was playing tough, and I just knew I had to hang in there.
I hit a lot of good putts that were just a little too hard or a little too soft to be able to make more birdies, but I thought the greens speed was a little bit quicker today, so that was probably the reason for that. I was hitting it through the break on some of them.
And you know, I made a big par putt at 16, which was probably one of the best putts -- I made a lot of birdies, but it was one of the best putts I hit today.

Q. How long was that putt?
CRISTIE KERR: Probably about seven feet, six, seven feet.

Q. How tough was that particularly to hit?
CRISTIE KERR: Yeah. That's the toughest pin on the golf course, and my caddy John Killeen and I just said game plan is to be ten yards short of the pin no matter what we're hitting in. I was hitting middle right center of the green and I kind of pulled it a little bit, but I hit a really solid shot, and it left me with a really tough putt. And I did everything I could to get it six feet by the hole, and I made it for par. So that hole was a bear today.

Q. How much of an advantage today was it to be hitting second there from the fairway? And after seeing what Lindsey did, did that change anything?
CRISTIE KERR: It wouldn't have changed my game plan. Even if I was tied for the lead, I would have still tried to play the shot that I played.
You just can't go at that pin. If you go at that pin and you tug a little bit, you're way over the green. There's tons of rough back there. And where I pulled it I was still on the fringe, and that was in my dispersion pattern, so that's just not a pin that you go for, not even if you're one down. You let somebody else make the mistakes on that pin.

Q. The course playing different today, does the approach change that much? Do you kind of look at it and try not to let it --
CRISTIE KERR: You know, I just tried to play each shot the best I could, and you know, you don't know necessarily -- you kind of know where the pins are. The caddies get the pins, if they're out the day before and you run through them, but the wind changed. It played different. I just tried to play each shot the best I could, and I don't know what the round of the day was, but it probably wasn't really, really low.

Q. 66.
CRISTIE KERR: 66. So that's 5-under and people were shooting 8, 9-under every day, so I mean it played four or five shots harder today. I forgot the question. Sorry.

Q. So today did you change your approach any way?
CRISTIE KERR: When they tuck the pins like that, you have to -- I'm a good enough putter that if I hit it 20, 30 feet all day, I'm going to make a couple. And today I didn't.
I hit it close on four, then I birdied 15. I mean the pins were really tough. It played way different out there today.

Q. Is there any thought when you went to 15 that this was the last really good birdie hole?
CRISTIE KERR: Yeah. It was just a perfect 3-wood into the green, and I got these new Ping fairway woods starting in Phoenix, and I love them.
You know, even my misses with them are pretty good, so I was pretty confident going into the green if I didn't pull off the shot that I hit, that I would be in a reasonable place to be able to make birdie.
You still want to think where do you want to miss it, even if you don't hit a perfect shot, so I knew that that was a must at that point, and I knew -- I knew 17 with the wind direction, that it was going to be kind of accessible to get to it. So no, but I knew at the time, you know, where I stood, and you know, I knew that that was a must at that particular time.

Q. Did you bomb your drive pretty well?
CRISTIE KERR: I hit it great. It's just so wet there it just doesn't release. In years past with the wind direction if it was dry, I would have hit a 7-wood and not a 3-wood. I hit the driver much better the last couple days. I only had one or two really bad drives all week.

Q. What distance did you have?
CRISTIE KERR: I had I think 216 front, 220. I don't know how many on the pin was. It was a little downhill and a little down wind, so the 3-wood probably went about 235.

Q. Have you always been so chatty when the ball's in the air?
CRISTIE KERR: No. I yell at it. I always have. I grew up watching Dottie Pepper on TV, and I couldn't help it. I just kind of took after that.

Q. Erik was saying he thought it had been several years since you had gone for a green at 15.
CRISTIE KERR: No. I went for it a lot last year.

Q. Okay.
CRISTIE KERR: It was into the wind and wet this year, except for today is the only day it wasn't even straight downwind. It was kind of right-to-left off the tee and maybe a little downwind into the green. That's all you need for me to get there. I'm not one of the longest, but I'm long enough.

Q. On Friday Kelly was following through with you at the end, and some fan said to her as you hit your shot, are you her sister?" And Kelly goes, "I might as well be."

Q. Tell me about that relationship.
CRISTIE KERR: We've been best friends since we were 10. And I mean there's really nothing else to say. We hang out all the time, play every practice round together that we can, and you know, she's -- she's probably been my best friend since I've been 10 years old. She was maid of honor in my wedding. Co maid of honor was Natalie Gulbis.

Q. (Inaudible question).
CRISTIE KERR: No. If you win the tournament, you deserve it.

Q. The past few days you've been working a little on your mental game. How big an element was that today?
CRISTIE KERR: It's huge. I wasn't really that nervous coming down the stretch because I knew what I had to do to do my own job on every shot, and I have techniques for calming myself down now, which sure makes it easier to play golf.

Q. Does today kind of reinforce your decision to kind of start focusing on that?
CRISTIE KERR: Absolutely. But as I said yesterday, it helps make me a better person. It makes me stress out less about other things outside of golf, too, and it really helps out a lot.

Q. But you're still stressed out about the possibility that you guys might not come back here?
CRISTIE KERR: Yeah. That disturbs me. I tried to tell them on TV, you need to come back, or whoever it is, because we need to have a tournament here. This would be a monumental loss for the LPGA if we lost the event here, in my opinion, for me anyways.

Q. You have won 900 some thousand dollars here.
CRISTIE KERR: I know. Pretty amazing.

Q. This could hurt your bank account.
CRISTIE KERR: Maybe. Definitely and obviously.

Q. That's not the only reason why you --
CRISTIE KERR: No. Through this tournament with the birdies I've made, I've raised a lot of money for charity as well, so that would be a loss.

Q. John was saying he doesn't think you believe you are a great player.
CRISTIE KERR: Huh? My caddy said that?

Q. Yeah. He thinks you're a great player, but he's not sure you believe it.
CRISTIE KERR: No I believe it. I believe it. I mean I feel like I'm just tapping into my potential. There's a long time that I didn't, but mental training really helps you believe in yourself. And I mean I think we're seeing since last year, since I started working with Dr. Parent, as they say, the mud's coming off and the gold's shining through underneath. I definitely know I'm good. There's no issue with me there.

Q. Do you think you can become No. 1?
CRISTIE KERR: I think I can. I mean I kind of hesitate to say that, but I think I can. I'm not afraid of it anymore, which is I think maybe is why we're seeing some improvement.
It's fun. It's a goal. You should go get it. There's nothing to be afraid of anymore. There's not a whole lot of self-doubt left in there for me.

Q. When did you become comfortable in saying that out loud?
CRISTIE KERR: Probably this year, you know, because I'd always been comfortable being maybe third or fifth and having my life, and I still have a great life, but I can train in the gym. I can do my practice. I can do my mental stuff, and I can do my job every day on the golf course, and I'll tell you, the way I've been doing it, it's making me a believer.

Q. When you're coming down the stretch like that and you make your birdie at 15 and you see Lindsey miss a makeable birdie putt there --
CRISTIE KERR: She had a really good shot on the green there, by the way. It swung back probably 20 feet. I thought it was almost going in.

Q. And then she bogeys 16. Having been that person who's still trying to get over that hump --
CRISTIE KERR: She hasn't won a tournament yet. Right?

Q. Right. Is there a sympathetic side?
CRISTIE KERR: Yeah. Definitely. But you don't feel that when you're on the course, obviously.
Golf's a very selfish game, and you want to try and accomplish as much as you can for yourself.
There's always great sportsmanship. Hey, you hit a great shot there, nice birdie.
I'm fine with doing all that. I like doing that, but if you're not playing for yourself to win, you have to kind of ask yourself that question.

Q. Lindsey hadn't won. Kim is 20 years old.
CRISTIE KERR: Uh-huh. I remember that age.

Q. We don't. Is there any thought to if I just hang on and play my game, it'll probably work out?
CRISTIE KERR: No. I didn't really feel that out there. I didn't hit it as close today as I had been hitting it, and my speed on the greens was a little bit off, but at Kraft and so many other times, you know, I've finished second a lot in my career as well.
You just can't take anybody for granted. It could be somebody's day if you don't make it your day.
You have to grind. I'm a grinder. Even if I'm not playing 100 percent, I will grind it out, and you have to -- I mean sometimes it goes your way. Sometimes it doesn't. That's golf.

Q. Can you give us any specific techniques that you used out there today to keep yourself focused?
CRISTIE KERR: It's pretty in-depth, but I do a lot of breathing, a lot of deep breathing and a lot of self-awareness of when I'm thinking too much about the outcome, and I just kind of get back into my center, into my body, and kind of breathe down from my head into my body. And you know, when I play shots from there and not when I'm up in my head, I do much better. Even the misses are better.

Q. When you got to the tee at 16, did you know you were leading?

Q. Is that like a deep-breath moment?
CRISTIE KERR: I take lots of deep breaths. I mean it's much more peaceful that way. You get the stress level down.

Q. I mean did you respond in a certain way --
CRISTIE KERR: I mean when I'm feeling a little bit of pressure or I feel like I'm thinking about the results, I will breathe it down. It's not a perfect science. Doesn't always work, but it's most of the time.

Q. I'll have to try that.

Q. Or you could just have another beer.
CRISTIE KERR: That sounds like a personal issue there. (Laughs).
JASON TAYLOR: All right, Cristie. Congratulations.
CRISTIE KERR: Thank you.

End of FastScripts

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