home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


July 7, 2002

Juli Inkster


MODERATOR: Ladies and gentlemen, this is, I think, my 16th Women's Open. I've never seen putting like that by a winner. It was wonderful to watch, Juli. In your heart, how does it feel compared to the first win?

JULI INKSTER: Well, this is, I think -- i mean, winning your first win is really hard. And I was fortunate I had a pretty big lead. This one was a lot tougher, but I think a lot more satisfying. Playing on the golf course that I won the Amateur on, and coming back here and having an awesome Sunday round with the crowd -- the crowd was phenomenal. It was great. And I fed off that, and I played better today, hit the ball better today, you know, and to beat the best player in the world, you don't get an opportunity to do that often. So, I mean, I think this is pretty sweet right now.

Q. You were so tenacious in the third round, holding it together, managing a good score. Despite the fact that you were not hitting the ball to your own standards, did you feel as if it all came together today?

JULI INKSTER: Basically, Friday and Saturday won me the golf tournament. It's really hard to do, in an Open, when things aren't going your way, is to hang in there. My putting hung me in there. I made a lot of good 5 -, 6 -, 7-footers for par.

Today, like 15 minutes, I started out hitting balls, and I was hitting them bad, and I didn't feel anything, and 15 minutes before I got ahead of the tee, I finally found something that clicked, and my last dozen balls, I hit well, and my first iron shot into 1 -- I hit a great shot into 1 and great shot into 2, and I felt a lot better.

Q. You said yesterday you promised you would chip in today, which you did.

JULI INKSTER: That's right.

Q. Juli, when you saw the pairings, did you like the pairings, or would you have preferred it to have been --

JULI INKSTER: I loved where I was at. I was playing with Shani, who I'm good friends with.

And I felt like all the pressure was on Annika. She's the No. 1 player in the world; she had the two-shot lead. I just felt like if I could get off to a reasonable start, that I would have a shot, so, I mean, I loved my pairing.

Q. There seems to be some sense that maybe not everybody liked the pairing, that some people would have preferred to have you paired with Annika.

Do you think pairing should be done that way, where you put the marquee players together, or should the chips fall?

JULI INKSTER: I think the LPGA does it a great way. Low score goes out first, low score of the day goes out last -- first in, last out. I think that's -- i think you should have it that way instead of having, you know -- because everybody is a marquee player if you win a tournament.

You can't tell somebody, a Shani or Jill McGill that they are not marquee players. They have just as good a game and just a good an opportunity to win the tournament as we did. You have to go by your standard structure and go from there.

Q. Double question: When you mentioned that this is the most satisfying of your career, does it make that so because of where you were in your career or because of who you beat today?

JULI INKSTER: I think both. Being 42 and having the chance to win a U.S. Open -- you don't get that many opportunities to win a U.S. Open -- and then to come out play the way I played today was great, and I don't know how many more Opens I'm going to be able to compete in, so to be able to be close and come away the winner makes it all the more satisfying to me.

Q. Where do you rank this round?

JULI INKSTER: As far as overall, I would say it's up there. As far as the pressure and the conditions and what was at stake, I would say it's probably No. 1. It is right now.

Q. I was wondering where you were, where Annika was, and what she was doing. Shani said she saw her birdie 14. Did you see it?

JULI INKSTER: No, I didn't see her birdie 14. I thought I did a really good job at that -- not really -- i mean, I glanced at the leader board, saw where I was at, but I didn't really fix on the leader board. I mean, I didn't really want to concentrate on the leader board and how I was doing. I just felt like my swing was starting to click, I was going to have some birdie opportunities. When I made the turn, I had a two-shot lead. If I could make a couple more birdies come in, that's going to win the tournament. I had a great save on 15.

That was just -- first of all, to read that putt right and then to hit it hard enough to get it up that hill, and then for it to go in, it was great.

Q. Juli, before the tournament began, you said you were kind of at the place in your life where winning wasn't as important, playing well was important. Did you surprise yourself today how much you wanted to win?

JULI INKSTER: Every time I win a tournament I surprise myself. I'm 42 years old, I'm already in the Hall of Fame, I don't really -- i don't know -- you know, everybody asks me where why I play. I play because I love to play, and how can you not love to do what I did today?

I mean, the crowds were great. When I made that putt on 16, my heart was pumping so hard. It was fantastic. And that's why I work hard at my game, so I can come out here and stay competitive and play with the Annikas and Karries.

I'm not going to win every tournament. They are going to win more than I win, but if I can stay competitive and win my fair share and raise my family, I'm ecstatic.

Q. Juli, you're 42 now. I was just wondering, how long do you think you're going to be out there on the Tour and how long do you want to be out there?

JULI INKSTER: Well, you know, I really don't put a timetable on it. I'm going to play -- i'm going to play until I stay competitive. I like to play this year because it's a Solheim Cup year, and see how I do at the end of the year. I'm going to definitely play next year because of my contracts, and probably play the same amount, 18 tournaments, and then I'm going to reevaluate.

I feel like I'm in the best shape of my life. My kids know what I do, they are able to travel with me, so I'm just -- i just play it one year at a time.

Q. Juli, after the round yesterday it seemed like you had battled it so much. How much of a chance did you really think you had to pull your swing together and play as well as you did today?

JULI INKSTER: I talked to my coach last night and he watched my swing on TV, he gave me some keys. I didn't hit any balls yesterday. The way I was putting, I felt like I still had a good chance. Putting can make up for a lot of mistakes, and I putted great all week, and today I hit the ball better and had a few more opportunities for birdies.

Q. As I recall, you were born and raised in the San Francisco area?


Q. Close enough.

JULI INKSTER: Yeah, close.

Q. You have won now two U.S. Opens in rather rural parts of America. I wonder if there is any significance or if you have an explanation for that.

JULI INKSTER: This golf course, the undulations in the fairways and greens are a lot like a golf course I grew up on in Santa Cruz, Pasatiempo, an old Allister McKenzie golf course, and they have the rolling hills, and you don't ever really get a flat lie.

Mississippi, I was playing so well at that time, I mean I was hitting the ball well, I was putting well. That golf course just suited my game to the tee, and this golf course, you had to work the ball a little more, a little more strategizing, but this golf course without the wind is a lot like the golf course I grew up on.

Q. If you could talk a little bit about 15 and how fortunate were you to get the relief after your tee shot.

JULI INKSTER: I mean, whether it was there or 2 yards down, I still had a barren lie, and I still had a tough chip shot. I was surprised it rolled out so much. I thought I hit a pretty good chip, but, you know, there you were just trying to get it close.

And the way I was putting, I felt like if I could get it somewhere on the green, I had a chance to make it. It was fortunate it went past the hole, because my next one was straight up the hole, and I played it by the cup on the edge and it went over the heart.

Those are the putts -- like the putt on 9 I made, it keeps your momentum going in the right direction instead of saying, "Oh, oh, no, here we go."

And then I hit two really good shots on 16, and hit a great putt there. I hit three good shots on 17; just spun back and I ended up making bogey there.

Q. What club did you hit on 15?

JULI INKSTER: 15, I hit a 5-iron.

Q. Juli, considering where you're at in your career, being a mom, do you think maybe you had a little deeper well to draw on today? Is that one of the benefits of age, maybe?

JULI INKSTER: Yeah, it's like I was saying, I don't take these days for granted. I try to enjoy them, I appreciate where I'm at. I don't know how many times I'm going to get here so it was -- i think I do. I think I appreciate what I have.

Q. Juli, can you describe the shot on 6 and what was your thought process there as far as what shape of shot you had, and how big was that?

JULI INKSTER: Well, I mean, it's a short hole that you're thinking you don't get too many chances for birdie, so you're thinking birdie, and when I hit it in the rough, now I'm thinking par.

The pin was on the back right ledge, and I was just directly below it, but it kind of went to the right starting out, and came back to the left, and went back more to the left, so I played it about a yard out there on the right-hand side, and I had perfect speed because it just went up the hill, and I thought it was going to be just short, and at the last moment it trickled in.

Q. How big was that?

JULI INKSTER: It was huge. Anytime you make birdie, it's huge, but to make birdie from the rough, it was huge.

Q. Juli, some of the boys on the PGA are taking a beating right now and being criticized for not being able to stand up to Tiger. What could they learn from you today?

JULI INKSTER: Tiger is human and Annika is human. I just think you've got to play your own game and you can't -- you can't worry about what Tiger is doing -- or Annika is doing. You know, to me, I thought she'd come out here and shoot under par. That's just the way I felt.

And I just felt that when I'm playing well, I can -- i can play with her. I don't do that every week, she wins almost every other week, but given the right situation, you know, I feel like I can play with her, and I just played my own game today. I didn't try to do anything that I wasn't capable of doing and it worked out.

Q. I wondered if you've talked to Hayley and Cori yet and if Cori still likes the big trophies?

JULI INKSTER: I haven't got a hold of them. They are probably at the movies. They probably don't even know. But that's great. That's the way I like it. I like them to do their own thing. Golf is great for me, but it's not their life. And I want them to do what they want to do, so it's fine with me.

Q. As usual, Michelle almost asked my question, but this kind of relates to that. At this point in many athletes careers they get to sit on the couch and tell their kids how good they were, show videos; you get it show them. Is that fun.

JULI INKSTER: It's great, awesome. I really think they do get what I do and they -- hayley wrote me a little E-mail today, she said "Good luck, Mom, you can do it," and then she put, "You can beat Annika. Go for it."

So, I mean, it's great. It's great having their support and you know what? If I would have shot 76 today, Hayley would have said, "Mom, you had a great tournament." They are happy just me being a mom.

Q. Juli, talk about how much the crowd kept --

JULI INKSTER: The crowd was awesome, they were awesome. I mean, they were -- i mean, I know the PGA plays in that every week, but if we could do that every week, it would be -- i really felt them and, you know, 15, 16, 11, made a good par putt on 9, my chip-ins, every time I walked off the green, "Go Juli, go Juli, go Juli," and to be able to play and actually play well for them was -- made it more special.

Q. Did you wear that lavender outfit for the Kansas City fans?

JULI INKSTER: It was my last clean outfit.

Q. You didn't want to go Monday?

JULI INKSTER: I didn't want to go Monday, no.

Q. How would you describe your putting, especially on the weekend, 50 putts? And can you recall having a better run on the greens?

JULI INKSTER: No, these greens are not like right edge, left edge. My putt on 2 probably broke a foot, and it was probably only an 8-foot putt. It went straight down, right in the hole. It's not only my putting, the speed was great. All my putts were right around the hole. The only putt I ran past probably 4 feet was the putt on number 5 today. I hit a good shot in there and I didn't hit a very good putt, and ran it by 3 and a half feet past.

The speed was very good. That's what helped me. When your speed is good, it makes the hole bigger.

Q. In other words, letting the putts die in the hole?

JULI INKSTER: (Nodding.)

Q. Going back to how much longer do you want to play, the Open is booked through 2008, do you want to come back in 2009?

JULI INKSTER: I don't know. I don't even know how old I'll be then. I'll be 51, I don't know. You know what? I'm just hoping to be back in Pumpkin Ridge in 2003, so I'm taking it one year at a time.

Q. Since the last time you were here, this has been talked about before, the Hall of Fame and everything that has happened, can you try and reflect on the time that's passed since then, since 1980?

JULI INKSTER: It's hard to. It's hard to believe 22 years has passed, but I would still say probably my greatest accomplishment is winning those three U.S. Amateurs in a row because it's so hard to do. Three different golf courses, three different venues, match play, where if someone gets hot, you're out of there. That -- winning the first one, you know, just kind of got my career going.

And looking back, you know, the ups and downs I've had in my golf game, I played well early, and I had the kids' era, I didn't play well at all, and I'm playing well again, I think, makes it more satisfying to me.

Q. Juli, you were here last year for, I believe, the ticket kickoff. You mentioned that you almost didn't come to the '80 Amateur. Do you ever think about how your career might have turned out if you didn't show up?

JULI INKSTER: I'd probably have ten kids, I don't know. I really didn't want to come. I hadn't played, and Brian, my husband, said "Juli, your parents will kill me if you don't go to the U.S. Amateur. Just go, do the best you can, and go from there."

I came in here and I didn't care if I shot 90, you know. I was just very happy to be married. And I ended up, you know, every day playing a little bit better, just like this week, and come Sunday I beat Patty Rizzo who then was the best amateur golfer in the world.

So, I mean, it was pretty special. Brian flew in for the last round.

Q. Juli, could you reflect a little on the year that Patty Sheehan caught you at the U.S. Open, and was there ever a point where you had your doubts about this particular championship?

JULI INKSTER: Yeah, I mean, it was 1992 when Patty birdied the last two holes and beat me in a playoff. You know, I -- you just don't know how many more chances you're going to get. I was struggling -- '92 I had a good year, I was still struggling with my game.

This is one tournament that I always wanted to win. If there is any tournament to play, I would take one U.S. Open over any other tournament. And -- just because it's the U.S. Open, it's our Open, I'm an American. It's always on a great golf course, the pressure, the media hype, everything is there. And if you can accomplish winning a U.S. Open, you've -- you have accomplished a great deal. You can go anywhere in the world and say "I won the U.S. Open," and "Oh, U.S. Open," they know it, they know the U.S. Open.

That's the tournament I always wanted to win, and when I didn't win in '92, I was devastated. I couldn't believe I lost that tournament.

And, you know, that's why '99 was so tough mentally. Even though I had the big lead and I was playing well, I just didn't want to -- didn't want to let that one go.

And so it made this one , even though it was difficult, a lot easier.

Q. Let's do the card now, if we could, please.

JULI INKSTER: Number 2, I hit 7-iron about, you know, 12 feet, made that for birdie.

Let's see, number 6, I chipped in -- you guys all know that -- a 9-iron.

Q. How long was that chip, would you say?

JULI INKSTER: I don't know, probably.

Q. 35, 40 feet?

JULI INKSTER: No, it was probably 60, 50 -- 65 feet.

7, I was just off the fringe, and I putted, so I sunk probably about a 20-footer -- 25-footer there.

11, I hit a 9-iron about 10 feet, made that for birdie. 17, I hit -- i mean 16, I hit a 7-iron about 20 feet, made that for birdie.

17, my wedge spun off the green, chipped up, missed about a 10-footer, made bogey there.

That's it, parred 18.

Q. During the championship, I don't know if I mentioned this, she had the equivalent of 39 one-putt greens. If you figure you have 144 putts, allowing two per hole, she was 39-under. That's not bad.

JULI INKSTER: That's not bad.

MODERATOR: See you at Media Day at Pumpkin Ridge. Congratulations, Juli.

End of FastScripts....

About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297