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December 4, 2010

Cristie Kerr


HEATHER DONOFRIO: Welcome, Cristie. You had your third consecutive 71 today. You are currently two off of the lead. Can you talk a little bit about your round today.
CRISTIE KERR: I played really well. It was very tough out there, U.S. Open-like conditions, really tough pins. These greens, it's hard to find pin positions, and where you have to putt them, you have to go over a lot of humps and bumps to get to the pins.
Really, only one bad swing out there today, maybe two. And that tells you how tough it's playing. Anything under par today is great.

Q. So essentially it comes down to one great round for Player of the Year?
CRISTIE KERR: You know, in my gut I kind of thought it would. But I have to realize all of the golf I've played this week, and I've got to go out there and as simple as it is, I have to take care of my own job. I mean, I have to put the awards and all of those different things away and I just have to win tomorrow. You know, I have to win the day.

Q. You are also the only player in the field to have broken par every day this week.
CRISTIE KERR: It is an accomplishment.

Q. Do you feel being a former U.S. Open Champion and having a great finish in Opens, does that help on a U.S. Open-type course?
CRISTIE KERR: It does. My caddie Jason and I, we think our way around the golf course. And a perfect example of that was the 15th hole, the par 5. Everybody else hit driver and we hit 3-wood off the tee because there's no sense bringing those bunkers off the tee into play and the other girls had kind of had a hard time on that hole and I was able to make birdie.
You have to think your way around the course. Sometimes it's better to be short of a green chipping than it is to be above the hole putting over a ridge. Trying to do the best that you can with that, but it's tough.
This course is tough. The par 3s are kind of awkward. The greens are really skinny and they are angled funny. You know, it's just -- it's a really tough test of golf.

Q. Maybe I'll get to ask you again tomorrow, but what would it mean to you, personally, to be the first American to haul in some of these honors in a very, very long time?
CRISTIE KERR: I mean, obviously everybody can imagine how much it would mean to me and for American golf. But I'm going to try and take more satisfaction in shooting in the 60s tomorrow and that happening to be a result of all of this hard work that I've put in this year.
I'm fortunate to be in the position that one round of golf -- it's just not one round of golf, though. It's however many I've played this year to put me in this position. It is easier said than done sometimes to not just say, well, it's one round of golf left. But you know, I do better when I look at the big picture and just try and play my game.
I know my game is measurable to anybody else's when I'm playing well.

Q. Do you even remember Beth Daniel when she won that award in '94? You were probably, what, 16?
CRISTIE KERR: I was in high school, and yeah, I do remember, because I remember watching her on TV. Again, that's kind of what got me interested in playing golf is watching Nancy Lopez, Beth Daniel, Patty Sheehan, Betsy King, Pat Bradley, all of those golfers, and Rosie Jones, our Solheim Cup captain next year, all of those golfers on TV; I was addicted to golf back then, and I'm addict to golf now. It's a wonderful game. It can be cruel sometimes, but it's a wonderful game.

Q. Heard you yesterday on GOLF CHANNEL, you said something like, "We are rock stars in Asia. We need to be rock stars here." Were you referring to Americans --
CRISTIE KERR: Yes, we need more U.S.-based events and more American companies to step up to the plate and want to invest in the LPGA. We are a great investment, and we can show them that we are a great investment.
We also do need an American to win awards like Player of the Year and really start to bring the LPGA Tour back to the United States.

Q. The Money List is going to be finalized tomorrow, too, the top 80 and all that, and some of these ladies are going to be heading back to Q-School on Wednesday. The number is like 77,000 for No. 80 on that Money List. Can you make a living out here with costs at 77,000, given we are talking about the economy and all those things?
CRISTIE KERR: I'm trying to think how many tournaments those players would play in.
CRISTIE KERR: Not a lot of full fields. But if you are going overseas or in México -- how much is that per event? Paying a caddie, doing all that stuff, I think to just squeak by, they would have to stay in housing and share cars with other players and take the cheapest airfare, which is definitely not always the best way to go, because you have to stop two or three times, and it's hard.
I mean, the top players, we make an amazing living, and the players that squeak by, it's hard. It's a hard economic background, because the companies that do want to invest right now, they want limited-field events. They want the Top-50, and it's hard, because the Top-50 to 70 players on our Tour sell the sponsorships. Those are the players fans want to come out and see.
But at the same time, our tour was founded on principles of, you know, 120 to 140 players every week, and it is a reality that the bottom half doesn't make as much and it's a lot harder. And the top players sell the sponsorships, but we still need to have I think, 15 to 16, maybe even more, full-field events, because those players can't make a living. It's tough, though. Because the economic landscape that we are in right now doesn't allow that to happen. We are not in 1994 anymore where we had like 40 tournaments.
It's hard. The LPGA fights against that almost every day because we want to try and provide more opportunities for those players, but at the same time, those tournament opportunities are not popping up because people want limited sponsors -- people want limited, it's better client entertainment, better players.
But it's hard, maybe if we can go more the limited field for a few more years, to be able to get those companies involved with the LPGA and in bed with us, so to speak, and then start building up more of those full-field events, the economy and real estate, all of that stuff is not coming back for a long time.
So is it better to turn away those sponsors that want to invest and put limited-field events up? I don't think so. I think we should get them excited and invested in the LPGA and then you extend it from there.

Q. For however many months, four, five, six months, every time you tee it up you're either playing for No. 1 or defending No. 1. What's that been like, and does it help you on a day like tomorrow?
CRISTIE KERR: Yeah, I think it's been great because it's been like -- keep the momentum going, play well every week to kind of stay in there.
Tomorrow is what it is, guys. It's the last tournament. It's the last round of the year. I think we are fortunate that we are writing some good stories about it. I'm fortunate to be in the position that I am and God has given me the talent and the heart and the will and the desire, and I'm a grinder and I've got all of the things to make me successful tomorrow. I just have to go out and do it.
HEATHER DONOFRIO: Thanks, Cristie.

End of FastScripts

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