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June 20, 2001

Juli Inkster


DEBBIE EARECKSON: I'll let you talk about coming back for your third one.

JULI INKSTER: It's good to be back. The course is playing extremely tough again this year. The rough is up. I feel like I'm starting to play better and starting to putt a little bit better. I'm looking forward to it, and there's some players coming in here that are playing well, but I feel if I can get myself in position come Sunday, I'll have a chance to win.

Q. You won with 3-under last year. Do you think 3-under would --

JULI INKSTER: I think it's going to be a little more this year. I think the greens are just a little softer than they were last year. You know, I think if you just stay patient out there and take your pars when you get them and take your birdies when you can get a short iron in your hand, you can attack the pins. You know, it's a major, and I think the course is playing tough enough; it's going to play like a major.

Q. If you are in position to win on Sunday, do you think there's going to be any, "Oh my God, here she comes again"?

JULI INKSTER: I hope so. I hope there's a lot of that out there. I think I'm close to playing some real good golf, so, yeah, I'm looking forward to this week.

Q. Is there something you've been working on, to prepare for this week or is it just gradual?

JULI INKSTER: It's a gradual thing. I've taken a lot of spotty time off here and there during the spring, and I just feel like right now, it's my time of the year where I'm starting to play a little bit more and get into a little bit more of a rhythm of playing week-in, week-out. I've been struggling a little bit with my putting. I haven't been putting as consistent. It seems like one day I putt well and the next day I don't putt well. That's why my rounds have been kind of even par, 69, 79,63, 76. When I putt well, I play well, just like everybody else. When I get a little more consistent with my putting, I think I'll be okay.

Q. I know you've addressed this before. There's only one American in the Top-10 on the Money List. I know that doesn't really sit well with you and some of the other Americans, but any reason you can put your finger on why that is? Is it cyclical or maybe something to this why we are not seeing the Americans really challenge the top?

JULI INKSTER: I wish I could put my finger on it. I can't. You feel like- - you've got Annika that's won five tournaments and Karrie has won and Se Ri Pak has won two or three. I can't explain it. I think Dottie Pepper has played well this year. She's been close. I don't know. I don't know what the story is. We've got the best players, each country, and they seem to be maybe a little hungry or playing well. I don't know. I wish we could get our 20-something girls -- because they have got the talent. I've played with them all, and they have got the talent to be good players. I just think they need to get some confidence in their games and hopefully from here on out, you know, we can get some Americans to win.

Q. Dottie has certainly played well enough to win.

JULI INKSTER: Oh, yeah. Dottie has played great this year. The hardest part is, it's like May took six weeks off and Dottie took six weeks off and Rosie took six weeks off and maybe we were just a little slower getting going. I'm hoping to play well this summer and get things going. May played well last week which is a good sign. Dottie has played well. Hopefully we can get some things going.

Q. In the modern era, there is no player who has ever won three -- the same major three consecutive times. Would this be another thing that would be special in your portfolio?

JULI INKSTER: Oh, you know what, I don't even really look at my portfolio. (Laughter.) Winning this would be great. It's four long rounds of golf. You know, I feel like when I'm on, I can play with anybody. I just need to eliminate the little things that I've been doing. The right in front of the green and don't get it up-and-down. Or I've got a short iron in my hand and I can bogey. Just little things I've been doing that keeps me from getting up there. If you do that once a round, and that's four shots at the end of the week. So, I think I just need to be a little more consistent with my game.

Q. Do you daydream at all, like at times when you are at home, the chance of winning three in a row?

JULI INKSTER: No. No. I don't. I love what I do and I love playing golf, but I don't really do that. I day dream about making a putt to win the tournament or something like that, with you it's not like I'm daydreaming of winning three in a row here. I just want to play some good, steady golf. I want to have a shot come Sunday because I think it would be exciting.

Q. You obviously have good memories when you come here. Did you have good vibes the first 15 times you came here?

JULI INKSTER: No. (Laughs) In fact, you know what's weird about course, I always thought this course was perfect for my game and I just never seemed to play well here. Then I started playing good, finishing like seventh and ninth, and then all of the sudden I won. You know, this course is a good golf course for me when I'm playing well. It's a good iron golf course; you've got to hit your irons well. You've got to place them on the right side of the greens. When I'm on, I feel like I can do that. I'm glad I finally did win here.

Q. I'm going to put words in her mouth here, but Karrie was saying maybe she didn't respect this course enough or this major enough; thinking that if you didn't make birdies you were giving back strokes and not being as patient as maybe you should be at a U.S. Open.

JULI INKSTER: Yeah, I do. I think it's like the first year, I think I won at 15-under or whatever. The rough was down, it was hard, it was running fast. Now I think it's softer. The fairways are softer. The rough is up. I think it's playing more like a major. I think this is a golf course that you do have to play like the U.S. Open. I think the U.S. Open, it's the mystique of every year, the venue changes, it's a new golf course and you've got to learn it. I think sometimes you get here, you know the golf course, you play a nine-hole practice round, you do the Pro-Am. You don't feel like you have to cram everything into one week. I think sometimes that's why you kind of maybe take it for -- take advantage of that.

Q. Also, I wonder if you could go back. Karrie is kind of in the same position you were two years ago, coming off a U.S. Open and all of the sudden the possibility of a Grand Slam is right in front of you. Could you speak to what advantage you had?

JULI INKSTER: I think right now, winning the U.S. Open for Karrie was huge. I think everybody is asking: "What's wrong with Karrie's game, what's wrong with Karrie's game?" And I think the players felt like Karrie was playing just fine. I think it was the media, because Annika was playing so good. You know, Karrie went to Japan and she went to Australia and she did some things overseas. I think that really took a lot of pressure off of Karrie's game. I think she feels more settled and relaxed and I look for her to have a good week.

Q. Obviously, two weeks, not bad to go from an Open, either?

JULI INKSTER: Oh, yeah. I think she's playing with a lot of confidence. She works hard at her game. She doesn't take anything for granted. She goes out there and does her work and feels like she has to prepare to be able to play well. I think this will be a good week for her.

Q. Looking back when you came here in '99, was the Grand Slam --

JULI INKSTER: I was so relieved that I had finally won the U.S. Open that anything else I did was gravy train. You know, I just played really relaxed. I played it with a lot of confidence and I played very aggressive. I wasn't really worried about the outcome. I could have finished last place and I still won the U.S. Open. I think that's the kind of attitude you have to have. It's like, I can't go in here and say, "Oh, gosh, the pressure is on me." I think the pressure is on everybody else. I've won this thing twice. You know, I've done it. (Laughs). I'm going out there, I want to play good golf and I want to play well, but it's not the end of the world one way or the other.

Q. There's a lot of women, Laura, for one, at du Maurier and I'm leaving somebody out -- Nabisco, where it's the last leg of the Slam for them. Were you aware of it?

JULI INKSTER: I was aware of it. I think for me, it was so out there, that -- "come on, I can't win the Grand Slam." And then all of the sudden, you know, I get a great Saturday to put me right in there and it's like, "Well, gees, maybe I can." Once something is dangled in front of me, you can do it, I'm a little more determined and a little more focused on doing that. But, you know, I can't think about that on Wednesday night, winning three in a row. I've got to think of that. I've got to get myself in position on Sunday and then I can think about it and say, "This is going to be great," and be able to go for it.

Q. You were the defending champion when the tournament moved from White Manor to here. When you got here the first time, was it kind of like, what the heck are we doing here? And what have you seen the course, how far have you seen the course come?

JULI INKSTER: I have always thought this was a good golf course. I thought it was a championship golf course. White Manor was a good golf course, but I think this is a better golf course. I think it's a tougher golf course. The only thing I was worried about was driving that 202 every day to get here. I think this is a good golf course. I think it's very well run. I think every year, I think their No. 1 priority is get this golf course in shape for us, and you can see that.

Q. Since you are in the Hall of Fame now, does that change your game at all, your attitude?


Q. Is it more relaxed?

JULI INKSTER: Well, it's still hard for me to imagine that I am in there. I'm very, very satisfied with where I am in my golf and my family life and my life in general. So I think it is a great honor and I never thought I would be in the Hall of Fame, so I'm -- when I say a member of the Hall of Fame, it still gives me goose bumps.

End of FastScripts....

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