May 31, 2001
SOUTHERN PINES, NORTH CAROLINA
RHONDA GLENN: Juli Inkster is here without her children this week, we'll get that straight. And Juli, just give us your overall impressions of your round.
JULI INKSTER: Well, I played -- I thought I played very conservative today. I didn't really feel that overly confident with my swing. I've had my teacher in the last few days and we've been working on some things. This is the type of golf course you just don't want to short side yourself. So I gave myself a lot of opportunities of on the green. And then I tried to take advantage when I had a short iron in my hand, being a little more aggressive. So I started off with a birdie on 1, and came around and doubled 2. I wasn't off to the start I wanted. I hung in there and made some birdies on the front side and then made a couple on the backside. So I'm happy with where I'm at. If you could have said I would have shot 2-under at the start of the day, I probably would be taking a nap right now.
RHONDA GLENN: Mike McGetrick is still your teacher?
JULI INKSTER: Yes.
Q. You said you played conservative today. Was that because of the swing? If your swing was good, do you think you would have played --
JULI INKSTER: Yeah, I'm an aggressive player by nature. But I just didn't feel that comfortable. I just didn't want to throw a high number in there or -- I played very smart today. And I played with a lot of patience, because I wasn't really driving the ball well. And I hit my irons solid, but I just wasn't hitting them right at the flag. I was probably five to six yards, seven yards right -- or left of every pin.
Q. Juli, are you surprised -- as hard as the golf course is, are you surprised that there are so many players that are not established major winners at the top of the leaderboard?
JULI INKSTER: Well, not really. Most of those players have a lot of experience and are good players. Four rounds, it's a lot of golf. And it's a marathon. And you've just got to put yourself in position. First round lead or whatever really doesn't mean anything, 54 more holes on this golf course is a lot of golf. I just feel that I need to just each day try to get a little more confidence with my swing and my putting and play smart, because on some of these holes when you have 4-iron and 5-iron in your hand you just can't really go at the pins, because you don't know how it's going to bite. Like the holes coming in, they weren't -- because we had some rain out there today, you have to play it a little smart, a little conservative.
Q. Juli, how about your putting today, how did you putt?
JULI INKSTER: Well, I missed a couple of short putts, which I've kind of been struggling with. I thought my speed was good today. So I'd give my putting a B minus.
Q. Juli, can you shed some light, did you have any explanation of why you play so well in majors?
JULI INKSTER: I don't know, I just -- I like how tough the golf courses play. I think you've really got to use all the clubs in your bags with majors. I don't know, I don't think it really becomes a putting contest. I think it's more of a ball-striking, and brings almost all aspects of the game and your imagination as far as around the greens, especially on this golf course. On your chip shots you can play really all different types of shots. It's just what you feel comfortable with. So I don't know why, I think maybe I focus better or something.
Q. Juli, there's a 13-year-old who qualified for this event as a 12-year-old. You've got an 11-year-old. I wonder what your thoughts are on Morgan?
JULI INKSTER: It's phenomenal. I have an 11-year-old. And Hayley plays a little bit, but it's probably 65 for 9 holes. I think it's great. And I think the grandfather is out there coaching her. The only thing I worry about is when she's 16, 17, 18, if she's gotten burned out with golf. But some people don't. I didn't start until I was 15, so she's a lot further along than I've ever dreamed of. It seems like she's got a good head on her shoulders. It seems like she doesn't have any expectations. She's going out and having fun, and I think that's a great approach to have.
Q. Are you glad to see a lot of Americans near the top of the leaderboard today? Are you getting into the whole U.S. versus international rivalry thing?
JULI INKSTER: I don't really get into it. I can only control what Juli Inkster does. And Annika is having a fabulous year, and so -- she's already won five tournaments. She doesn't leave much leeway for us. But I just have control over what I do. I'd love to see some good, young Americans come up and play well and play well consistently. But right now it's not happening. I think they have the talent out there, they just need to keep playing until they get their confidence going.
Q. Juli, there's a lot of players who are going to walk out of here with 78 or 80 or 28, which is a tough thing to go home to on the first night. You shot 80 a couple of times in the Open. What does that do to your mindset?
JULI INKSTER: Well, when you shoot that number, you pretty much better have a low number on your next one or you're going to get the weekend off. That's the thing with the Open, I don't try to make it too high or too low. I just try to say it's another golf tournament. Granted there's more emphasis, more media and stuff like that. But you've still got to hit golf shots. And the first day you just want to get yourself in position, so you don't shoot yourself in the foot like that. But you've got to manage your game around here. And it's tough. If you're not hitting the ball well, believe me, a course like this will show it real quick.
Q. Karrie said she was real pleased with the pace of play. I wonder how you felt about that?
JULI INKSTER: It was sweet. Last time I played -- I think I had like the 3:10 TV pairing, and I was finishing in the dark. It was like five-and-a-half hours last time.
RHONDA GLENN: Last time here?
JULI INKSTER: Yeah. Split tees. It's the new millennium, you've got to split tees. You've got to send them out there and do it. Send everybody off the first tee. It's too much for -- it's not fair to the end of the field.
Q. There's been some talk this week about changing the qualifying to instead of 18 holes at one shot, to make it at least 36. What are your thoughts on that? Because there seems to be a lot of people that play one great round of golf, they're in the U.S. Open. And the next thing --
JULI INKSTER: I agree. I think 36 holes you get the better players and more consistent players. And I don't know if the qualifiers want to play 36 holes, that's the same. I think I'd just like to play 18 and go. But I do think in 36 holes you'll get the better players to come out of that.
RHONDA GLENN: Good round, Juli. Thank you so much.
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