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CHICK-FIL-A CHARITY CHAMPIONSHIP


April 24, 2003


Juli Inkster


STOCKBRIDGE, GEORGIA

Q. Thanks for joining us today.

JULI INKSTER: Thanks for having me.

Q. What are your thoughts about what you remember about last yearテつケs event, besides the rain?

JULI INKSTER: I have good feelings coming back here. I love the golf course and I love the way it plays. You know, this season so far has been kind of slow starting off. I feel like I'm playing about 16 holes pretty good, two not so good, struggling a little with my putting, but it's starting to make a turn.

I'm looking forward to this week. I love the golf course, love the people I stay with, (inaudible) spring break. Hopefully we'll get some decent weather because I think we'll see crowds this weekend.

Q. How does the course look this year?

JULI INKSTER: The course looks good. I know we had a lot of bad weather, cold and rain, some of the greens are a little barren, but they are doing the best they can to get them smooth, but the fairways, the bunkers are all in great shape.

Q. What do you remember most about last year?

JULI INKSTER: I remember sitting around a lot one day, not doing much a lot. I remember I hit the ball really well last year, a lot of fairways. I played the par 5 well, putted pretty good, you know, exciting finish with Kelly hitting it up there and (inaudible) you know, I remember it took a lot of good golf shots.

Q. Was it tough last year with all of the rain delays?

JULI INKSTER: Yeah, you know, plus my family was here so we were busy doing stuff and, I mean, I feel like it went pretty quick, and I wasn't just sitting around eating bon-bons so keeping busy and (inaudible). The hard part is not knowing what was going on. I had tee times at 1:00, 4:00 and 6:00, and I remember playing, but I had a great draw. Sometimes you get those; sometimes you don't.

Q. Since last yearテつケs event was only 36 holes, is there a little asterisk by that win in your mind?

JULI INKSTER: I think I was playing well enough to win. You know, to me, a win is a win.

Q. Would you like to see this tournament go to 72 holes in the future?

JULI INKSTER: Well, I think this golf course and this tournament, it's a well-run tournament, and the golf course is such a fun golf course to play. I just think 72 holes is a true tournament test, but that's not my call, that's the sponsor's call.

Q. Annika Sorenstam mentioned that she is thinking about starting a family in a few years, but she said that thereテつケs no way sheテつケd be able to do it now while sheテつケs playing the way you are. What do you think about that and how do you manage it all?

JULI INKSTER: Yeah, yeah, I don't know, I just do it. I mean, it's not -- it's not a secret out there. I'm really good at managing my time, and if I had to sit around all day in the locker room -- i go do what I have to do and handle the kids, and it was tough when the kids were little. If you look at my golf scores, I played very poorly, and it's hard when you're up all night, and you golf all day, and come home and do a mom's job.

And a mom's job is 24 hours a day in addition to playing golf. You don't have much time. I remember being in my golf clothes all day long. Get up in the morning, go play, and stay in them until 9:30, 10:00 at night until I go to bed.

My kids now, they know what I do, work 20 weeks out of the year and get the other weeks off, and I'm fortunate enough they've come out a lot with me; I have a very supportive husband. Some people can do 24 hours, 7 days a week golf. I can't do that. I need a different life. And my family does that for me. I enjoy the challenge of trying to be a great mom and a great golfer and a so-so wife. Just kidding.

Q. When you are playing, how and when do you practice and get your game in shape?

JULI INKSTER: Well, I feel like I'm going to do what I need to do. I'm going to practice at home. I have a tendency to take some time off during the spring and fall when the kids were at their peak of school, so when the kids are at school, I go practice. That's when I do what I need to do.

And then they go to school at 8:00 and they get out at 2:30, so if I can't find practice time in there to do it then, I don't do it, but I usually have enough time to practice and get what I need to do done. And at 2:30 they are home.

And right now it's working pretty good, but I feel like I have to practice in order to be ready to play when I get here. I can't play myself into shape. I need to be ready to play when I get here.

Q. Do you think what Annika has done the last couple years has hurt the Tour since itテつケs put so much focus on her and taken focus away from other players?

JULI INKSTER: No, I think what she's doing is phenomenal. I think she should have all the limelight. She's stepping up to the plate and saying "I'd like to challenge myself." I don't think it's a gender thing she's doing. I think it's more she wants to see how she compares to the best in the world, and the best in the world are by far the men, and they are the strongest and hit it the farthest, and they are great players, but I think she just wants to see how she'll do.

And I think the toughest part of her week is just dealing with the hoopla. If she can get around that, I don't know how, and play golf, I think she's going to do fine.

Q. Do you think it matters what she shoots at the Bank of America Colonial?

JULI INKSTER: For her, I think it matters. I want to go out there and shoot that. For us as an organization, anybody who judges us on two rounds a golf or four rounds of golf doesn't know golf. And she's a phenomenal player and I just -- whether she shoots 80 or 68, I'm still going to think she's a phenomenal player.

Q. It seems that Annikaテつケs performance has just continued to improve the last few years when people thought it couldnテつケt. Thatテつケs pretty rare in sports, donテつケt you think?

JULI INKSTER: Yeah, she's rare. I mean, it's a rare person these days that gets there and wants to do better and wants to see how good they can get. It's rare an athlete will say, instead of competing against -- they compete against themselves, that's why she's so good, and she's probably one of the best, when she does lose, come up and say, "Congratulations, good playing. Next week I'm going to be right back out there trying to beat you." And she doesn't really ever feel she's competing against you. She's trying to get better (inaudible).

At the end of the year she re-evaluates every shot, every putt, until she needs to get better, and that's what she does in the off-season, she works at it. You got to hand it to her. Nothing comes easy for her. She works hard at everything she does.

Q. How do you feel about your game so far this year?

JULI INKSTER: Well, you know, I feel like I can -- i'm off to a little bit of a slow start, and I can get up there and win some tournaments. And I feel the best I've ever felt as far as my golf game, I just haven't put it all together. Golf is funny. One shot here, one putt here, and you're off for the year. But you know, I kind of evaluate my year after -- for the next year after I get done playing for the year, and I play this year all the way through the Solheim, and after that I'll re-evaluate, see what the kids are doing and how I feel.

Q. What makes this golf course a fun one to play? Is it because itテつケs kind of a risk-reward course?

JULI INKSTER: Kind of a risk-reward. There is a lot of -- a lot of issues out there, if you're not hitting the ball good, you're going to run into. The par fives are fun because (inaudible) driving area, tough second shot. Some of the par fours are short, tricky par threes out there, so it's a fun course to play. You got to keep on your toes most of the day.

Q. Do you take risks out there?

JULI INKSTER: Oh, yeah, definitely, definitely (inaudible). I'm one of those that -- if I hit a good shot I'm not going to lay up, I'm going to go for it. That's what's fun about it.

Q. What do you think about Michelle Wie and what sheテつケs done at the age of 13?

JULI INKSTER: Well, I have a 13-year-old daughter so it's really hard for me to fathom 13. I just hope when she's 20 she still has the passion for the game. She's a great player. You know, it's just unbelievable she's 13 and plays so well.

Q. Can you talk again about whatテつケs so good about this tournament?

JULI INKSTER: Yeah. Okay. You know, I look forward to playing here just because I love the golf course and I love the people I've stayed with, they have great housing, and it's nice to come back, a lot of fond memories here. It's hosted by Nancy Lopez who is the all-time greatest player, so it's fun to be back.

End of FastScripts....

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