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June 17, 2010

Cristie Kerr


MODERATOR: Cristie Kerr, welcome. Coming off a win last week. Obviously had a little bit of overtime golf.
MODERATOR: But you got it done. Just tell us a little bit about the win and what that does for you mentally coming into this week.
CRISTIE KERR: Yeah, it always feels great to win. I was in contention earlier in the year and, you know, kind of came up short. To finally get first win this early in the season feels good.
It was a hard week from a lot standpoints for me - other than winning, obviously. I was fighting the flu, and, you know, it could have been rain-shortened on Sunday and went to Monday, which I thought was a good decision, especially with a tournament that is looking to be back on the schedule.
So felt good to earn it.
MODERATOR: How do you feel now?
CRISTIE KERR: I feel good. It's nice to get congratulations from all your fellow golfers and people wishing you well. But it's time to refocus. We got a lot of golf this week.
MODERATOR: There was a lot of talk coming into last week about Americans being shut out this year. Obviously that's not true anymore since you got the first win. Does it feel better not to have to answer those questions anymore?
CRISTIE KERR: Yeah, for sure. There's a lot of talent on our tour, a lot of depth and a lot of international players. The Americans just have to work hard to get it done. I'm glad we cracked the seal early.

Q. You obviously have won here before. Just feelings on this tournament being back on the schedule. A little bit about when you found out that it was going, that it had folded and now that it's back, just your reactions to what's happened here the past couple years.
CRISTIE KERR: For sure, I mean, it's great to be back in Atlantic City. I've always loved Seaview Golf Course. Just have really good memories here.
When we found out it was going off the schedule I was pretty sad. You never want to lose tournaments, especially the ones that you love. I was really happy to see it back.

Q. The course this week, what kind of shape is it in? How is it playing? Is it playing shorter than it has in the past? I mean, just the course in general.
CRISTIE KERR: I think it's playing -- from the fairway standpoint, it's not super firm and fast yet. It's still got a little bit of moisture in the fairways, and the greens are starting to firm up and get fast.
So I think the course is in exceptionally good shape. I think better than I remember. The greens are not bumpy. Although in the afternoon tomorrow that could change. They're really smooth.
With the wind today, they were getting faster on the golf course. So the little green things - we're not gonna mention their names - they're not quite out yet, so hopefully they'll stay away. That's a bonus.

Q. Is the wind the great equalizer on this course?
CRISTIE KERR: Yeah, I think for the course to play tough it definitely needs to have the kind of wind that it had today. If there are benign conditions, you're gonna see a lot of birdies.
I think course might be playing a slight bit longer than it had in the past. I know they moved a couple tees back on some of the par-3s.
But over all the course is in great shape. So if there is some wind, it definitely makes it tougher.

Q. Getting back to one the initial questions, when we talked about you winning and becoming the first American, I was talking to a guy in the office and he said, You're kidding me. No Americans have won? It was almost like a thought that it should've happened already. Is the tour that well-rounded that the Americans cannot dominate anymore, that...
CRISTIE KERR: Yes. To answer your question. I mean, yes. I think that there's a couple of us Americans that can challenge for Rolex Player of the Year and top of the Money List, but we're outnumbered.
We need to continue to build LPGA girls' golf programs in the States and get as many girls playing in the States as possible.
When you go overseas, there's are so many -- in Sweden they have programs for the juniors to go out and it's funded. Here it's like you need to be somewhat middle class to upper class to be able to afford to play golf. It's an expensive sport in the United States. There are a lot of other things that kids do. Girls do soccer now and softball.
In Korea, golf is it. So we need to get girls focused on playing golf in the States.

Q. Do you think this tournament coming back is a good sign that maybe there will be more tournaments in the U.S. now?
CRISTIE KERR: I hope so. Definitely happy to have this tournament back on the schedule. It was my first professional tournament ever. I got a sponsor's exemption into this tournament in 1996 or 1997 right after I played the Curtis Cup, kind of much like Alexis Thompson has done. Although I was older than her.
You know, we have so many global opportunities now that I hope we continue to seek opportunities on home soil. Because we're still an American-based tour.

Q. Since you touched on that, 15 years old. Can you imagine playing at 15, or is that too young for a professional athlete?
CRISTIE KERR: I think you need to kind of exam it on a case-by-case basis. Obviously it's none of my business what they do. But I know having come out when I was 17 -- when I first tee'd it up in my first LPGA as an LPGA pro I was 18, and that was pretty young.
You know, to be 15, in my opinion, I think that's a little too young. I mean, you're gonna have to ask her parents and her why they decided to do that and wanted do it. But obviously they felt like that was the right decision for them.
She could be out here five years and go back to college and she'll only be 20 and she'll barely be older than the kids that are freshman there now. So I guess they feel like they had nothing to lose.
But 15 is young. It's definitely young. I've known Alexis for a long time. She works with Jim McLean, who is my long-time mentor. She's definitely got game; there's no doubt about it.
It's not just about playing golf out here. It's about handling media. It's about playing against the best players in the world. It's about handling the travel, the daily ins and outs of life on the tour.
It's great that she has her parents with her, but are they prepared? I don't know. I mean, I guess only time will tell.

Q. What advice would you give her?
CRISTIE KERR: I wouldn't even begin to touch that one. I think as long as they feel like they're making the right decision, that's all that they can do for themselves. I mean, I'm not really in a position to -- I'm not her parents.
Because I would say when you're 14 or 15 you really need to take direction from your parents. So my advice would be to the parents. Just make sure you're doing what's best for her, because she's got plenty of game and plenty of time to play golf.
So see how it goes in the first however long. I mean, she pro now. She can't really go back. So just do what's in the best interest of your daughter. It's hard to see that sometimes as a parent when you have the tour standing in front of you and you have money opportunities and all these things, but do what's best for your daughter.

Q. What does this tournament mean to you personally?
CRISTIE KERR: I love this tournament. Like I said, it was my first professional tournament ever coming right off the Curtis Cup. Past champion. Great memories and lots of friends in the area that come to watch me play. I love everything about the event.
ShopRite is an amazing sponsor. We're happy to have them back.

Q. You know, the tour in general seems to have a lot of storylines going on: Your win last week, Paula coming back this week, Alexis turning pro. Do you think the LPGA is on the verge of maybe even breaking through a little bit more and getting even more attention with all these storylines that are kind of developing? And is it frustrating that maybe more people aren't noticing the stuff that's going on out here?
CRISTIE KERR: I think there definitely are a lot of great storylines. On this question, I have to put that back on you guys. I think that you help us and lift us up with the articles that you write.
And if there are interesting storylines, go after 'em. Don't be afraid to write 'em. The are so many great things about our tour that people need to know that.
The more we can get that out there from our side and from your side, the better we're gonna be able to transcend the sport and get girls playing golf and more media attention.
It's just kind of a snowball effect. Michelle Wie is out here now. So are many great things to write about. I mean, Paula Creamer being very heroic to come back probably too soon from her thumb injury. I mean, she's in pain on every shot that she hits. But she's got the guts and she knows how important she is for this tour, so they comes back.
Same thing with me. Whatever I can do to help, you know, we got to write about that stuff.
MODERATOR: All right. Thanks, Cristie.
CRISTIE KERR: Thank you.

End of FastScripts

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