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July 7, 2009

Cristie Kerr


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please. Ladies and gentlemen, we'd like to welcome you to the 2009 United States Women's Open Championship. We're glad all of you are here. Our first guest is Cristie Kerr, who is the 2007 United States Women's Open Champion. Cristie, we're happy to have you with us. Do you have any remarks you'd like to make to start?
CRISTIE KERR: Absolutely. I want to read something I've actually prepared for everybody.
I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone for coming out for the 2009 U.S. Women's Open at Saucon Valley. The USGA as usual has done an amazing job preparing for this event, and I speak for a lot of players when I say we're very excited to be here this week.
As a former champion of this prestigious event, I can honestly say that this course, the community and the field for this year's event is going to provide a memorable week. I happen to think it's one of my favorite U.S. Open golf courses I've ever played. I also realize many of you in this room probably have questions and concerns and issues involving the LPGA.
Out of respect for the USGA, I'm asking that questions at this time be reserved for the U.S. Open or questions about myself and my golf and perhaps my wine making. I cannot comment on matters pertaining to the LPGA operations as I do not have an official capacity to do that.
What I will say is that our player organization is very focused on how these difficult economic times affect our tour, and we are actively working with our executive board of management to create the best product for our partners and fans, so let's talk about the U.S. Open this week. Thank you.
THE MODERATOR: Thanks. What do you think about the length of this golf course? It's a pretty big course.
CRISTIE KERR: Yeah, it is. I think it's one of the longest that I've played in Open history. It's just very challenging all around. No. 7, No. 14 and 15. You know, even some of the not super long par-4s. They're just very challenging. You have to hit the ball in the fairway and then when you hit the ball in the fairway, you're met with long irons and fairway woods into greens. You almost kind of have to take the pin out of the equation and focus on hitting the green because that's what wins Opens.
THE MODERATOR: Any way to predict a score for this week?
CRISTIE KERR: I don't want to predict a score. If I shoot under par every day, I'll be doing well.
THE MODERATOR: We're going to have the microphone passed around. Wait until you receive the microphone before you ask your question. Ready to take questions from the reporters.

Q. You mentioned the greens. What kind of shot making will it take to keep the ball from rolling away from the pins this week?
CRISTIE KERR: I think it's going to take a smart golfer, because you have to really kind of know where the trouble is around the greens and where you can hit it, where you can't.
You know, if you're going to miss the green, you need to plan a side you're going to miss it on. Kind of break the greens down in quadrants and kind of stick to the game plan, not think about the situation, not think about, you know, the pin is back right and if I hit it front of the green. You know, you have to really kind of just think your way around the golf course. That's what the U.S. Open golf is all about. And yes, the greens are difficult.

Q. I think yesterday this played at the full 6740, but it's not going to be that all week. How do you prepare not only for a U.S. Open golf course but a U.S. Open setup that is going to change day to day that you won't know about until the morning of?
CRISTIE KERR: Well, you kind of know the USGA is going to mix it up a little bit, so my caddy and I, even if we're practicing, you know, we're practicing for three days straight, so we'll practice from pretty much every tee we think they'll put us on, especially in some instances where there may be drivable par-4s, just so we're not surprised when anything comes up and we can have our strategy and kind of stick to the game plan.
Was there a second part to the question? I didn't hear that.

Q. Yeah, the movable tees, the idea of drivable par-4s and not only that, but some of the par-3s may be moved around as well. Have you seen all those boxes?
CRISTIE KERR: I think that's what the USGA does really well for us. They give us variety in the course setup. It changes the course every single day.
I think that's a testament to, you know, to this Open tournament and how they set up the course.

Q. Can you just kind of speak to the state of your game now compared to two years ago when you won this event? How do you feel you're a better player?
CRISTIE KERR: You know, I feel like I have a lot more control over my golf ball.
You know, two years ago, I was on the tail end of getting out of a change in my swing that had crept back in there from a couple years previous, and, you know, in the final round, in the '07 Open, I didn't start hitting it good until the 13th hole when I figured out just a way to get it done.
I feel like I'm in a lot more control over my golf ball now and kind of where my misses are. And I've got a great caddy now, so I feel like I'm a lot more consistent from week to week.
My bad weeks have been 15th, 20th. My good weeks are almost winning to winning. So I think, you know, that, it helps to build off of that every week.

Q. Can you just talk about what it is about this tournament that seems to be well for you? You played this tournament well, you actually won a couple years ago, obviously. What is it about this tournament that seems to suit your game so well?
CRISTIE KERR: I don't know. It just makes the butterflies in my stomach go. I just love it.
It's always the toughest course, toughest course setup, variety of setup, the field, the prestige, biggest purse. I mean, it's the -- the jewel in the crown of what you want to win as a professional.
You know, even as a European or Asian player, they want to win the U.S. Open. It's the biggest tournament, so I get excited for that.
THE MODERATOR: You're paired with Yani Tseng and Anna Nordqvist. How do you feel that that pairing might influence your game, if it does?
CRISTIE KERR: I'm very comfortable playing with Yani. I don't think I ever played with Anna before and she's a newly winner of a major championship, so congratulations to her. It's going to be pretty exciting for her, and myself, as well. You know, it's a very good pairing for me.
You know, I think the timing that I, playing with Yani in other groups, we kind of get each other. So I think it's going to be fun.

Q. At McDonald's you talked about the change in your mental preparation. I think you actually may have mentioned the word Buddhism, too. Have you begun studying that, or is that --
CRISTIE KERR: I work with Dr. Joe Parent, who is the author of Zen Golf, and he's a Zen Buddhist, and he's a very good influence for me. He's very calming. I'm not a Buddhist, but he is and it kind of rubs off a little bit.

Q. As a junior, as an amateur, I don't remember much about your amateur career with --
CRISTIE KERR: God, it was that long ago already?

Q. It is, for all of us. How did you play in USGA events as a junior and kind of morphing into where you are now?
CRISTIE KERR: I have to say I'm very sad that I never played in the U.S. Am. I never played in it. I thought I was going to go to college for four years. I always played in the Junior Cannon Cup because I swore I was going to go to college for four years. I played in the USGA Girls Junior. I think I got to the semis once there.
Funny enough, at Pine Needles I was low amateur in the Open in '96. I finished fourth in 2001 when Karrie won and then won there. You know, I've done -- played in the Women Amateur, Women's Amateur Public Links --
THE MODERATOR: It's a bug.
CRISTIE KERR: I'm a woos when it comes to spiders. It's on me still.
Anyways, go back to the question. Trust me, my caddy cracks up at me at least once a day. Jackson Hole, Wyoming Women's Amateur -- I think medalist there when I was 12. So I have some history. Most notable history was winning the US Women's Open --

Q. On the Curtis Cup team.
CRISTIE KERR: Curtis Cup team. I'm really dating myself now. Fairly well. Hope to continue recent success.
THE MODERATOR: Is there an element where a golfer is accustomed to playing in USGA championships and it makes her more comfortable competing as they go along and in the Women's Open?
CRISTIE KERR: I think no doubt. I still remember the first time I played my first U.S. Women's Open at the Broadmoor in Colorado, and it was the first time I ever putted bent greens and I was scared to death.
I turned out to be a pretty good putter. So I think over the years you definitely get more comfortable in the USGA tournaments, and you kind of get inside the head of the USGA and kind of know what they're thinking about the setup and kind of know where pins are going to be and where you need to maneuver your golf ball around the course.

Q. You talked about being determined to go to college. You didn't. What would you advise some of these young kids coming out now? They seem to get younger and younger and seem to come right out here. Was that a good thing for you? Was it -- do you have any regrets about it at this point?
CRISTIE KERR: I think I do regret not going for a year or two, but my whole thing was I didn't want to go for a year and take somebody's scholarship for a year or two and not graduate. I wanted to get a degree or not at all at the time. So I really thought I was going to go, and I started playing really great towards the end of my 17th birthday, and said let's give it a shot and qualified, and it was hard for me my first year.
I finished 112 on the LPGA money list. You know, it was kind of a tough time and a learning curve for me. You know, I think I would have gone, looking back, maybe for a year or two but it's so different now with the girls coming out and they have money behind them. We didn't have hardly any money behind, you know, my starting my career on the LPGA.
You know, they have -- it's different. They have the coach, they have the mental coach, they have the money, they're so focused so it's -- it's hard to say now. Really depends on the individual. Some people are very comfortable going to college and some want to get right after it.

Q. Where would you have gone?
CRISTIE KERR: Um, probably maybe U of M to stay close to Jim McLean and Brian Lebedevich, my team over there. Or, you know, very good academic school like a Stanford or maybe like a Wake Forest or a Duke. But somewhere warm because I don't really like the cold weather.

Q. How much comfortable do you feel playing in a major now that you've won a U.S. Open?
CRISTIE KERR: A lot more comfortable. There's not that question can I do it, have I done it? And, you know, I almost pulled another one off in the beginning of this year. I feel really comfortable, and I know it really takes nothing special, nothing extra. It's just good, solid golf you have to play. You have to manage your misses and your mistakes, and, you know, really these kinds of tournaments I think for me the more difficult the setup, the more simplified I get with my game because I know exactly what I have to do.

Q. How is that mindset different than before you won?
CRISTIE KERR: Well, I mean, yeah, like I said, you know, you can win a major. You've won a lot of tournaments. You know, it's really not a question anymore, so it's hard to remember what that felt like.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you so much. Good luck this week. We'll see you again.

End of FastScripts

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