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March 30, 2011

Cristie Kerr


HEATHER DONOFRIO: We are here with Cristie Kerr at the 40th anniversary of the Kraft Nabisco Championship.
Cristie, you've had a good start to the season with three Top-10s, a tie for third last week at the Kia Classic. You've had a chance to play the golf course. Can you talk about your preparation and how the golf course is playing.
CRISTIE KERR: Yeah, I've had a very good start. Yeah I started with a Top-10 in Singapore and I've gotten better every week since then, and I feel ready. I feel like I've done a lot of work with my coach, Brian Lebedevitch. And I've played the course.
The course is in fabulous shape. It's playing kind of soft in the fairways and kind of firm and fast on the greens, which is how a major usually plays. I've always loved this golf course, and I've had a lot of close calls here, so, you know, ready for the challenge to try and play every day the best I can, and hopefully at the end of the week, it will add up to some good things.

Q. Obviously every tournament you play you want to win; is there a natural buildup towards a Major Championship?
CRISTIE KERR: I definitely think so. It's been great to be able to play Founders, and then last week in L.A., and have a little bit of continuity; to be able to be in competition every week getting ready for this week, and yeah, it's definitely a tournament that I've got my sights on.

Q. You've done everything but win here; with all of the top 5s and everything, missing out a couple of years ago, is there anything that you can come here with different, or do you just play the way you've always played it and say, you know, sometimes you win and sometimes you come in second place?
CRISTIE KERR: Well, I think that would be the kind of easy way to look at it, going well, I'll see how I play and how I finish.
For me, as I've progressed in my career, I'm trying to find that one or two shots in nine that I can save that add up to -- I mean, when you look at a tournament and you finish in the top 5, it's rarely more than five shots that you lost out winning the tournament by. So I mean, so if you compute that, that's a shot a day; that's a half a shot a nine.
So if you can save one shot a nine, whether it's hitting one more fairway or making one more put or being mentally in it for one more shot a nine, that's what makes a difference. And that's what Annika did really well for so many years.
She just beat the field by a shot or two a nine, and you look at how many victories she had and how many shots she beat the field by consistently, and that's really where it's at. I mean, it's great to have rivalries and it's great to have different players you play well against, and you know, everything that you guys write about, but you know, if you can really save that one or two shots a nine, that's really kind of been any strategy for this year.

Q. (Looks like you've been working out a lot; can you talk about that)?
CRISTIE KERR: Yeah, it actually started before the Tour Championship last year. We had a couple of weeks' break before December, and I was very good around the holidays. I didn't have any wine or any alcohol for about six weeks in the off-season. I trained a lot of times twice a day. I got all of the processed carbohydrates, white bread and white flower and all that kind of stuff out of my diet, and I've lost about 12, 13 pounds.
Yeah, I feel great. I've been training hard and I feel a lot better. Having to play a lot of golf on the weekend last week, I felt fine. I felt great.

Q. (No mic.)
CRISTIE KERR: Yeah, I feel great, and you know, I just kind of went back to doing the things that I did when I lost all that weight back in the late 90s, early 2000s. I just started doing -- I have to either be really strict, or, you know, not strict at all.
So for a period of time I'm going to do this and see how I -- I wanted to lose about five or seven pounds, and I ended up losing 12 or 13. So that's good.

Q. (Has it affected your swing?).
CRISTIE KERR: No, not really. Everything feels the same.

Q. What do you like about the golf course?
CRISTIE KERR: Just the layout of the holes and the length that it plays. Beautiful shot values into greens and the greens themselves. This is a Major Championship golf course. There's nothing tricky about it. But it's straight ahead of you and it's tough. I like those kinds of courses, just like U.S. Open courses, as well. You have to know if you miss shots where to miss them. You can't -- it's more of a chess game than just playing an every day tournament. You have to kind of know where to move your pieces around the board.

Q. Can you revisit your physical transformation, and looking back now, what it's really meant to your career?
CRISTIE KERR: I mean, I think it's hard to put a value on that, but I think had I stayed the way I was, I wouldn't have the career to date that I have, or be as happy.
I've always done it for health, first and foremost. And I've always felt like I was a bit of a chameleon; I could kind of morph into whatever I wanted to at times. And sometimes that's a skinny person and sometimes that's person that's gained some weight and now I'm back to being a little bit skinnier.
I try to always kind of reinvent myself and have a new look, and kind of always like to surprise people.

Q. (Is it more physical -- no mic).
CRISTIE KERR: I think it's both physical and psychological. It's nice to be in a different place where you can look good in clothing and feel good versus being a sixth grader where people make fun of you and call you fatso. I would rather be on the other end of that. I got teased a lot in school; so it's nice to finally maybe turn into a bit of a swan, who knows.

Q. Curious when you're out with Brian, is there any hole in particular that you spend a lot of time on or greens?
CRISTIE KERR: No, just we take, I would say -- what do we do every day and make it better, especially for the majors. We work on a ton of short game. You just kind of know around -- each hole has its own unique qualities. Like if you miss the fairway, where are you going to put it around the green.
And so we spend time going to those places that we would like to miss it if we are not hitting the green and go to a bunch of different pins; so that I'm mentally prepared that you don't try and be a hero on the shots that are buried a foot under the rough. You just try and get them to the spot that you practice; that you know, hey, this is okay to be over here even if I miss the green.
So it's kind of some strategy but it's also getting mentally prepared to know that you are not going to hit perfect shots out there all the time, so when you don't, you know what, do you do to be able to save that one shot a nine; to have it add up at the end of the week.

Q. Was fatso an actual name you were called?
CRISTIE KERR: Oh, are you kidding? Absolutely. Kids in high school and middle school are not very nice if you are not one of the in, popular kids. I wore these big thick glasses, I'm sure you've all seen the pictures.
I'm not that person anymore so it feels really good that I've conquered that.

Q. I was to going to say, two major championships now, what is it that you know about winning majors that players don't know that haven't won a major, is it that golf courses are tougher and you have to be smarter?
CRISTIE KERR: It's a thing you can't quite explain to somebody. They are not regular golf tournaments. But I think that when you've won a couple and you are comfortable playing in this stage in this arena that you kind of make it less of a big deal.
I mean, it is a big deal but you make it less of a big deal to be able to go out ask do your job every day; versus somebody that's like, oh, my God, I want to win this tournament; oh, my God; oh, my God. And the morning comes of the final round and they are leading by a shot and they don't know how to -- they let all of that other stuff take over instead of just playing golf.

Q. Was there kind of a final straw or turning moment for you?
CRISTIE KERR: You mean last year?

Q. When you originally made the transformation.
CRISTIE KERR: Well, I mean, a lot of my family members were getting sick. Both my grandparents on my father's side had triple quadruple bypass surgery and I'm watching them, and you've taken them as far as you can in the hospital. You know, they are on the bed and they are saying, you know, good-bye and hope I see you again. And it scares the crap out of you.
My mom had a heart attack when I was in ninth grade. I've been to the Mayo Clinic probably for a young person more than most people. I just like to be proactive with my health. I get all my stuff every year done, blood work, annual physical and I've had the arteries in my heart checked out. I tell you, I'm healthy, because I'm proactive with my health. Mammograms, all that.
So being exposed to those things as a young person really -- and not being in good physical condition, I saw that that's the road I was going down, and I guess when I was in high school, never felt really good about myself, either, as far as physically.
So I just decided to do it. I'm the kind of person when I decide to do it, it's done.

Q. And I see where your father had some issues; anything you can update us on there?
CRISTIE KERR: My mother and father both had issues in the off-season. My mom had ten inches of her colon taken out and resectioned due to severe a diverticulitis infection. And I was with her in Miami for two weeks.
And then my father, same period of time, he had prostate cancer. So he had those radon seeds injected into his prostate, and he's doing fine now, so everything has kind of calmed down for me.
Even my dog in the off-season, the poor guy, he can see very little out of one eye now. He has some glaucoma issues out of one eye, at a very young age. So it's kind of diet, exercise, but stress probably helped me lose that extra five pounds. So everything's all right now.

Q. What's your dog's name and what kind of dog is it?
CRISTIE KERR: Bailey, and he's a mini-Chinese Shar-Pei, apricot color.

Q. And he's okay?

Q. Yani Tseng is the defending champ; your sense of how she's evolved and gotten to where she is now?
CRISTIE KERR: I think she's always been really good. I played -- I think maybe when she was 16 I played with her in the Korean Open over in Seoul. I don't know how many years ago that was, maybe five years ago, six years ago. And she was -- you could see that she was really good. So I think that she's developed over there and she's come over here and she's done some amazing things at a very young age.
HEATHER DONOFRIO: Thank you, Cristie.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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