March 25, 2001
RANCHO MIRAGE, CALIFORNIA
DOTTIE PEPPER: I have no exciting up-and-downs to share because I hit 17 greens today. I made my first birdie at the fifth. I hit 6-iron in there to 15 feet. Only bogey on the card was at 15, drove it in the left fairway bunker and then drew a horrible stance for a pit shot over the bunker, made bogey there. Came back with 7-iron to 18 feet at 16. Holed it from about five feet for par at 18, the only green I really missed.
Q. Would you like to tell us about your round finishing second here?
DOTTIE PEPPER: Well, I obviously I was the only player in the field four rounds on the board that was under par, and just struck the ball beautifully. It was pretty impressive even in my estimation and left myself -- that was you know, the 5-footer I had there, I had the par for 15, longest I had was a foot for par all day today. So everything was -- speed was perfect. It was around the hole all day and I just never fell. It was just a textbook sort of round that the ball just didn't -- defied gravity a couple of times.
Q. I heard several players say out there that they were close all day and couldn't get anything to drop. Why was it such a tough putting day, any reason?
DOTTIE PEPPER: I don't have any idea. I mean they had some difficult pin placements out there but they weren't off the charts. I thought they were probably more difficult on Friday. I think that was probably the most difficult of the four days pin placement-wise. Your guess is as good as mine. I only would have needed a couple of more and could have been a whole different ballgame.
Q. You were two back to start the day. You shot three straight 71s. Did you think 71 would keep you there?
DOTTIE PEPPER: No, I talked to my teacher last night and 68 was the number we both agreed on that would be that something might get some damage done. As it turns out we were exactly on. That was going into today, I was just every which way if I knew how to put 68 or better on the board. I got the ball-striking part of it down. No question. I hit the ball probably better than anybody on the golf course today. I'd put my stats against anybody. I missed one fairway and one green. It was a really textbook solid round. The ball did everything but go in the hole. Not much you can do about that really.
Q. Granted Annika has won three of the last events and you guys are, what, in your 7th week. Do you feel like the media is picking on the Americans just because --
DOTTIE PEPPER: I am really tired of this question because I am playing the best golf in my career and that is the end of story.
Q. That is a good enough answer.
DOTTIE PEPPER: It is a long year, if you want to end the year at seven weeks, that is fine, we can all go home but I am not going to. I feel the best I have ever felt about my golf game. I have made some swing changes. I have made a teaching change and I am ready to rock. And I am ready to get in this year and finish it.
DOTTIE PEPPER: Physically I am in great shape right now. There is --I have got a little bit of tendinitis rocking in my shoulder right now, but nothing. It is five minutes of ultrasound a day and I am out the door. So there is nothing there, right shoulder.
Q. You have two wins here now and three seconds?
DOTTIE PEPPER: I think that is right.
Q. I think 91 last year and this year?
DOTTIE PEPPER: That is right.
Q. I mean, can you describe how you feel when you walk on here just, I mean --
DOTTIE PEPPER: Well.
Q. Obviously you are comfortable?
DOTTIE PEPPER: Obviously I am comfortable. Obviously I have really good notes from what I have done in years past. I feel like I have a game that is complete enough to win here. This golf course tests every facet mentally and physically and I feel like I have -- I have that. I am just anxious to go home and get my but to L.A..
Q. Can you talk a little bit about what Annika has done shooting a 59 winning three straight tournaments, winning a major championship?
DOTTIE PEPPER: Well, she is obviously you know, done the work in the off-season to prepare herself to do that and she's come out here and I hope the golf world and the sports world in general does give her credit and the LPGA credit for what is happening. She has played really spotless golf for three weeks and nearly spotless golf for the 5 tournaments that she has entered. I just hope it doesn't get bypassed because we are up against the TPC and because Tiger won last week, the week she happened to shoot 59. She is playing great but the year is not over, no.
Q. How does Annika's play for the last three weeks fire up everybody else or does it?
DOTTIE PEPPER: Well, I know I can play better. I know I have the tools to play that just -- and I need to be just a little bit cleaner and that is what I am going to spend these next two weeks doing. I feel like I have -- all the ammo that I need and I need just need to be a little bit cleaner.
Q. Do you feel you are ready to play the best golf this year that you ever have, have you ever done anything different in training or mental adjustment or what has brought you to this point?
DOTTIE PEPPER: Well, physically I have got a little bit different workout regimen than I have used in the past. It is a lot more ab work and a lot less weightlifting. And you know, I feel like I have put the time in and continue to put the time in everyday that it takes for me to play well and be physically ready to play well. I did make a teaching change in the off-season which I think has been -- my golf game has just much simpler right now and I am ready to take it to the next level. Frankly, it is very exciting.
End of FastScripts....