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February 23, 2011

Cristie Kerr


MIKE SCANLAN: We had would like to welcome Cristie Kerr. Cristie, you started off last week in decent fashion, but I know you're looking to win here and specifically to join the club of winners at the HSBC; all of them have been No. 1 at some point in their career, as have you. Just talk about winning this week's HSBC Women's Champions.
CRISTIE KERR: Yeah, last week was a bit rough for me. I only had about three weeks to prepare for the season due to some family issues, and everybody is okay, you know. But didn't have a great ball-striking week last week, and that was a course that played a lot more difficult than in years past.
So, you know, the up-and-downs were tough and having to hole 10-, 12-foot par putts all week was tough. Finishing 15th, 18th, whatever I finished, I kind of used it as an indicator of what I needed to work on for this week, and I played beautifully today.
I shot 5-under in the Pro-Am and I'm playing my own ball, so hopefully get going into the week and I know what I have to work on.
It would be amazing to win here at the HSBC. Came close last year. Was disappointing. But you know, here we are a year later.

Q. Looked like --
CRISTIE KERR: I think so. The greens are rolling a little bit faster today than on Monday and Tuesday, so the course is in good shape; forbearing a lot of rainstorms that they can get in Singapore, I think the course will play very similarly. There's a lot of tough pins out there and you have to kind of play very strategically around this course and take your chances for birdie when you can get them.
You know, just kind of pick the course apart as best you can.

Q. Why is it that there is so much excitement for this tournament?
CRISTIE KERR: I think there's a lot of excitement around the HSBC tournament. The golf course certainly lends itself to the top players wanting to play well. This is a course that -- I think everybody likes the golf course very much. Everybody loves Singapore. It's a great week. Everybody loves to be here.

Q. What do you learn from a week finishing second -- how would it help --
CRISTIE KERR: Sure. I think I was actually tied for the lead. I don't think I ever led outright last year. Yeah, it was disappointing. I kind of hooked my drive on 17, got a great drop, and actually was kind of dropped in somewhat of a bad lie and actually hit an amazing shot out and got in a really tough spot over the green, and made bogey. And then tried to be a little too aggressive on the 18th hole and should have hit 3-wood off the tee.
The bogey on 17 was kind of warranted but you can't be overly aggressive on certain shots out here. So I'll take that into this year's tournament, and make sure if I'm leading or close to the lead, that I play strategically and stick to my game plan.

Q. It's been a long golf course; do you find -- which holes do you find a lot more challenging?
CRISTIE KERR: I think the course is playing, not overly long, but long enough. Again, if it rains, it will play a lot longer. There's a lot of tough holes out here. It just depends on the pin positions. 10 is a very challenging hole. 17, as well. It's windy and playing a little bit softer and with the greens firm up, it plays like a Major.

Q. What is the No. 1 --
CRISTIE KERR: The score.

Q. The World Ranking?

Q. For anyone.
CRISTIE KERR: I can't predict that. I'm not a fortune teller, I'm sorry.

Q. What's your target?
CRISTIE KERR: Well, of course I want to be No. 1, but it's the second tournament of the year. I don't know whether I would be No. 1 if I won this week or not. I'm not sure, sorry.

Q. You mentioned the flags -- being close, is that the key to this course?
CRISTIE KERR: It is. You know, it's a course, if you get an a roll, you can start making a lot of birdies. But there are a lot of tough holes. Like 14, the par 3, hitting the green -- doing a good job hitting the green there, so you have to kind of know where you can be aggressive and where you just try to hit greens. You have to be strategic in any place you play, but especially here where there are some small sections to the greens where you're shooting to.

Q. Do you think that the --
CRISTIE KERR: Well, I think all of that experience counts. This is my 15th year on Tour, and I've had a lot of second place finishes that I've drawn from, and a lot of wins, and won a few Majors. I draw from all my experience; not just what happened last year.

Q. Do you have any plans to play in Asia more?
CRISTIE KERR: Well, we have more tournaments in Asia on the LPGA, so I plan to play most of them, if not all of them. If there are other tournaments where there are opportunities for us to play, we are certainly open to that. We have a lot of holes in our schedule, and Asia is definitely a place where we can come over and try to make more of a living.

Q. Do you feel the reception you get here, are you received as athletes or as stars?
CRISTIE KERR: I think we are very well received here in Singapore, and in Asia, where I think right now, we are more stars over here than we are in the United States.
Golf is the primary sport over in Asia for most people, and you know, people in Asia are crazy for golf. I think we definitely have a warm welcome here, and we feel I think a little bit more -- not appreciated is not the right word, but we feel maybe more special here. You know, I don't know, that's hard to say, because we have great sponsors in the U.S., too. But the people are very warm to us here.

Q. How does it feel --
CRISTIE KERR: It feels great. We are the best women golfers in the world and we deserve and want to feel special.

Q. Last year, do you think that women's golf, it is better for there to be a dominant No. 1, or that the No. 1 is changing?
CRISTIE KERR: Well, I think it depends on who it is, frankly. I've been asked that question probably a hundred times, is it better for women's golf one way or the other. I don't know what to tell you.
I think it's good to have the rivalry and the competition, but it's also good to have one dominant player up there, and as long as they are doing everything they can to make the Tour a better place; because there's more to golf than just being No. 1. You have to support your tour and you have to do everything you can to make the game of golf better.

Q. Since Tiger has not been as dominant, do you think that the competition --
CRISTIE KERR: I think that would be an interesting story to write. She has definitely been playing great. But as we know in, golf, you fail more than you win. And you know, she won her first LPGA tournament last week, four in a row, so who knows? Stay tuned.
MIKE SCANLAN: Thanks so much, Cristie.

End of FastScripts

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