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June 2, 2005

Juli Inkster


PAUL ROVNAK: Juli, thanks for coming in and joining us. I understand you just got in a little while ago.

JULI INKSTER: Yeah, I took the lovely redeye from the West Coast, so that's okay.

PAUL ROVNAK: This is the 20th anniversary of the event and you've played here every year and you've won twice. I think you have ten Top 5 finishes and seven in the last eight years or something crazy like that. Just talk about what this place must be special for you.

JULI INKSTER: Well, I got started 20 years ago. Ruthie and Larry wanted to have a tournament and they didn't have a defending champion or they didn't have anyone to come and promote the tournament, and so they asked me if I would do that, and I did. I ended up winning that next year, and I just it was at the Sands Golf Course, and I just feel like, you know, this tournament falls at a great time for me usually. It's a little earlier this year, it not the best time for me for the kids, but it's a great place to bring your kids.

I like the golf course and I have good memories. I seem to play it well. I like the accommodations. So it's just everything kind of sums it up. It's always close to McDonald's, which I have some really good friends I stay with, so they always come down and we kind of make it a family event for them, too. So it's just a lot of things accumulated that it adds up for me to play this tournament.

Q. Your kids are how old now?

JULI INKSTER: I have a freshman in high school and a fifth grader.

Q. I remember when they were this high. (Indicating.)

JULI INKSTER: They have been coming here since they were that high.

Q. I just wonder if there's any change in the way you arrange your schedule as you get older with regards to your kids, and just the fact that you've been out here for a long time?

JULI INKSTER: Yeah, there is. I definitely, you know, pick and choose the tournaments that I can play in that works well with their schedule. You know, I probably wouldn't have played this tournament this year if McDonald's wasn't next week, just because they are still in school and they have two more weeks left. So it's kind of tough to get away.

But they are both playing softball right now and I really enjoy being there for their games and their practices. I help out in the practices and stuff. So it's a tough time of year to miss. They realize this is my job and they are cool with it, so they are you know, it's a lot easier going in one aspect that, again, they are into so many things, it's more difficult to leave. It's difficult more, you know, when you're traveling with two young kids and you've got the car seat and port a crib and the bottles and all that stuff but at least they are here.

This week they are not here, and next week they won't be here, too. So it's kind of a long ten days for me.

Q. Also, just wanted to ask you, you've achieved just about everything there is to achieve in women's golf; what goals remain for you?

JULI INKSTER: Well, you know, winning is always a great goal for me. Working on my game, but also the Solheim Cup. It's a Solheim Cup year and that's my favorite tournament ever, so I want to get ready for that and be ready for Nancy so I can play well.

Q. Talking about your kids and playing softball and stuff, are you the type of person that will be on the cell phone getting updates in between at bats?

JULI INKSTER: Oh, yeah. I'll definitely call in the innings between and find out the score, how they are doing. But I kind of hang on the sidelines and I always set kind of down the first baseline in my little chair and just watch them. Hayley is a pitcher and Cori plays short and third. So pitching, that's the stressful part, because in softball, if you don't pitch good, you don't play well. So I always like it when Hayley is not pitching; it makes it easier on me.

Q. Can you talk a little about the technological advances that have been made in the game between '86 and when you won here and now?

JULI INKSTER: Oh, yeah, it's huge. I know just on my yardage books, when I would go back and look at what I hit off certain tees and par 5s and some of the par 5s I really noticed it in Atlanta, some of the par 5s I was hitting driver, 5 wood in. Then, you know, I looked three or four years, I'm hitting driver, 5 iron in. I know it's not my swing is not that much better and I'm not in that much better shape, even though I am, but still, it's not that much difference.

I think the ball is huge. I especially think that X Ball, it's the Top Flite with Titleist on it, it just goes. The Pro V is the same thing. If you were to play one of those balata balls now next to the Pro V, it would probably be ten or 15 yards difference just in your irons.

Q. How big is your driving now compared?

JULI INKSTER: Well, my driver now is not that huge. I have the TaylorMade 510, which it's not the big, big but it's still big. I used to play an old, wooded Orlimar driver, and then I went right from that to the Big Bertha and I played that for probably five or six years. And then the 510 I've played for the last three years.

Q. Again, this falls the week before the big LPGA Championship, can you talk about the advantages of playing the week before and maybe some of the disadvantages?

JULI INKSTER: Well, for me, I just had two weeks off well, I went to Korea one week, so I just had last week off.

I like to play kind of before a major just to kind of see where my game is at and see what I need it work on. You know, this is going to be a new golf course for pretty much everybody. I know a few girls have played there, so it's up for grabs. You know, DuPont, you can go in there and try to play nine holes because you've played it so many times that you don't really need to grind away, but this golf course is a whole new golf course, and I hear it's a Pete Dye golf course. So I think it's going to have a lot of nuances stuff like that.

I always like to try to get a feel for how my game is and what I need to work on and try to get a little momentum going into a major.

Q. This is semi related to the technology question. How much has the athleticism, the fitness of the players changed the game during your time on Tour?

JULI INKSTER: I never worked out at all, but you know, it's hard. It's really hard to gauge in distance because with the technology and with working out, it's would have been a lot easier and more to gauge if you just worked out and had the same technology.

But I think more mentally, I think it helps you. I think you're fresher. I think you feel better about yourself. I think you feel like you've put the time in and that you deserve to play well. And you can eat more, so that's why I do it. I love to eat. (Laughing).

Q. When did you start working out?

JULI INKSTER: Probably about five years ago. I work with a guy at home two, three times a week. I'm in the hard core. I mean, I do some weights, some cables, some medicine balls. Then I do kind of aerobics and stuff on my own.

Q. What's your opinion of the young players coming in now and obviously you're not conceding anything to them, you're still pretty high on the Money List. What's it like to compete with them?

JULI INKSTER: It's great. I love it. I enjoy competing with the best players. It's good to see the young players coming up and playing well. You know, it's incredible how golf has just gotten so huge. These girls, some of them are my daughter's age and others are 18, 19, 20 and out here playing.

But I'm glad I'm at the tail end and not starting, that's for sure. I enjoy what I do and I love to play, but playing every week is just tough for me.

Q. With all of these young people coming up, there's still Annika. Can you talk about what she means to this event, and do you think some of the spotlight is taken off of her with the new kids coming on?

JULI INKSTER: I don't think so. I think she's the best player, bar none. She just does everything very exceptional. She drives the ball great with distance. Her iron game is good, great, and she's worked really hard on her short game. I think that's the thing that I respect the most is she could go and not work as hard and take a few days off, but she doesn't. She keeps working on her game and she keeps trying to improve. You've got to hand it to her for her tenacity and her determination; it's remarkable.

PAUL ROVNAK: Thanks, Juli.

End of FastScripts.

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