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July 5, 2011

Cristie Kerr


THE MODERATOR: Ladies and gentlemen, we have a former U.S. Women's Open champion, Cristie Kerr with us. She's consistently a high finisher in the Women's Open championships. She's contended many times.
This is not her first time playing the Broadmoor. She played here in 1995 when she was still an amateur, so she's familiar with this golf course. Cristie, I've wondered, once you've won the Women's Open, does it make it easier to win again?
CRISTIE KERR: I don't know. I think if that were the case I probably would have won another one by now. It's not easy winning. You have to play really well and you have to have things go your way, so it's great whenever you can pick off a win, especially in the Women's Open.
THE MODERATOR: But learning how to deal with the pressure of winning the Women's Open, it would seem to me that that would take some experience. Also in the type of shots that the USGA demands, the type of work around the greens that this championship demands, is it a little bit -- you've been in contention right up close to the top ever since you've won.
In that way is this experience helpful to you?
CRISTIE KERR: Yeah, it is, knowing that I've won one before. You know, if you're in contention with somebody that hasn't won one, certainly could make I think my experience, be a little bit more patient going down the stretch and, you know, kind of try and make just a couple birdies or be patient or whatever, just knowing what it takes.
I think that's a good thing that I've got that under my belt.
THE MODERATOR: How do you like the golf course? You have some experience with it now.
CRISTIE KERR: I think this is a fantastic golf course. The fairways are generous for a U.S. Open. But, you know, if you do miss the fairway, the rough is pretty brutal. I think this is going to be a really good test this week.
The greens, everything is in beautiful shape, and it's a really good layout. I've always really liked this course. I'm used to the altitude now so, I'm feeling pretty good.

Q. About the altitude, Michelle had said that you have to make solid contact with the ball for the altitude to kick in. Do you feel like that's the case, that if you mishit it that you don't get the benefit of having the altitude?
CRISTIE KERR: No, I think for me it's pretty much on every shot that you have the altitude. Certainly if you're in the rough it doesn't matter. You're not going to get air under the ball. If you're in the rough, the rough is pretty bad this week. So I think it's pretty judgeable.
You know, it changes with the temperature. If you're in the morning it doesn't fly quite as far; if you're in the afternoon you have to add that couple extra yards of carry on every iron. We play a lot on tour with altitude in similar conditions, so my caddy and I are pretty good at judging that.

Q. Has the course changed at all since 1995? As you remember it, at least.
CRISTIE KERR: I don't think so. I think it's playing pretty similarly. I was 16 when I was here last time, and I've gotten a lot older and wiser. I have the U.S. Open under my belt, so I kind of look at the course differently and pick it apart a little differently than when I was an amateur I just sort of played. But it's pretty similar.
THE MODERATOR: What sort of things do you look at now at this stage in your career? You say you look at it differently.
CRISTIE KERR: Well, you know, the course is going to play tough. There is a lot of rough. Just going into the greens, you know, where certain pins are, you have to just kind of eliminate half of the golf course and say you can't miss over there no matter what.
Because, you know, if you're in the rough and the pin is, you know, on the right side of the green, you just can't miss right. Especially here if it's down-mountain, it's better to miss it all the way left of the green and have an uphill chip.
So you have to kind of know where you can and can't hit it and where would a good missed shot like out of the rough to an approach for the green where you need to put the ball. So it's a lot of strategy, you know.
A lot of the times -- I mean, you'd love to hit it on the green out of the rough. But if you're trying to grip down on a hybrid because you have a really bad lie, you know, you have to be generous where you're trying to aim.

Q. What do you think of the greens, and what are you doing to prepare for them?
CRISTIE KERR: The greens are awesome here. There's a lot of slope, a lot of mountain-effect. Yesterday I played 18 holes, so yesterday was the day where I really didn't chip much around the greens. I just charted the greens, because -- I think I did that when I was 16, but, you know, that's 20 years ago, so I couldn't - or 18 years ago - I couldn't really find my yardage book from the last time, so I had to redo it.
But, you know, charting the breaks on the greens, finding, you know, where the highest point on the green is, where the lowest point, so I kind of know where the fastest direction on each green is so that I know when I'm putting whether it's super fast or whether it's going to be cross-mountain or slow up the hill.
You know, I'm just kind of planning all that out ahead of time, so that when you're in tournament competition you glance at it and say, Okay, I know what's going on. It's kind of what I've been doing the last day.

Q. We had Yani in here earlier. She's on quite a roll. As a player, do you kind of keep track what she's doing and watch the scoreboard a little bit?
CRISTIE KERR: Yeah, I mean, absolutely I'm a scoreboard watcher. You know, sometimes more than other times. But I like to know where I stand, and, yeah, she's been playing great.
You know, she's won four or five tournaments already this year and another major. I think she has four majors now at her age. Hadn't happened like since the late 1800, so that's pretty impressive.
But even with all that, on a golf course like this with all the rough and the greens and all the different factors, you have to consider the altitude, you know, you just have to judge it as best you can.
You know, you should expect to see some of those top players on the leaderboard.

Q. Thinking back on Michelle Wie, what were your thoughts on her the first time you saw her play when she was, you know, obviously very young teenage phenom?
CRISTIE KERR: Well, I've been friends with Michelle for a long time. You know, when she was qualifying and getting exemptions into tournaments when she was 12 and 13, I was very impressed with her.
We have grown to be pretty good friends. You know, she's a great talent. You know, I just hope she doesn't get too technical with her game. You know, I know she's doing that aim-point stuff on the greens, and that is not going to help you this week.
So I think she should stick to her natural talent and then she she'll be good.

Q. I think last year at Oakmont, if I remember, you achieved the No. 1 world ranking and things were pretty tight among four or five golfers. Now those standings have stretched out a little bit with Yani. I'm not a math whiz, but how hard do you need to work to close that gap as is stands now and catch her?
CRISTIE KERR: Well, I think the bottom line is I'm working as hard as I can work. I've just got to take care of myself. Obviously the obvious answer to your question is you have to win. I would have to win a couple of tournaments to overtake her for the No. 1.
You know, I'm finishing second or third every week, but that's not quite getting it done for the ranking. But that's pretty good. I have been happy with that. I've been close and been in contention, and I've just got to keep doing and I'm doing.
THE MODERATOR: Any new programs in order to be fit? You're talking about you're working a bit on that. Any new approaches to conditioning?
CRISTIE KERR: Yeah, I mean, in the offseason I kinda -- actually it started before the end of the year. We had such a break before the Tour Championship last year. I just decided to just completely go dry. I mean, I like to have my wine at night, okay?
I went dry from like October to basically until we got to Thailand. I didn't have one glass of wine, not one sip of alcohol. I took bread pretty much completely out of my diet. I started eating a lot better and doing what I did to lose all the weight a long time ago.
So I got back into my working out, you know, four to six days a week, and just really just dedicated that I wanted to get back in shape. I wanted to look better, feel better, and it would help my game.
So I lost about, you know, 12, 13 pounds, you know, starting from October. Took me about almost six months to do it, but I got that extra little weight off. But it's a struggle every day.
I mean, as a woman, I'm sure you can relate.
THE MODERATOR: Yes, I can relate, certainly.
CRISTIE KERR: It's hard when they have these chocolate chip cookies sitting around here.
THE MODERATOR: And how has that affected you on the golf course? Have you felt more energetic? Is your endurance better?
CRISTIE KERR: I think it is. I got here on Sunday midday and I felt the altitude a little bit then. But I actually feel great now. I don't really feel it. Walking around the course, I just don't feel like I have those extra, you know, 13 pounds on me. I feel better.
I feel better about myself, and, you know, if I see myself on camera I'm not really critiquing myself as much. So that's all positive.
THE MODERATOR: Good for you.

Q. As you look at it, what makes a good putter? Is it as much vision as it is possibly skill?
CRISTIE KERR: I mean, you obviously have to have good, sound skill. But I think the best putters are very artistic on the greens instead of very technical. You have to be able to feel the slope and kind of visualize and feel within your body like how the ball is gonna roll on the green, where is it gonna end, where is the high point.
You kind of hit it at a high point and it breaks. For me I have always been very artistic with it. I have a very good technical putting stroke, but, you know, it's really just focusing on line and speed and knowing that that's gonna take care of everything, being very artistic instead of it's going, It's right edge; I need to hit it this hard.
I don't think that technical putters are very good putters day in and day out.

Q. It's unfair to compare men's and women's game, but on the green, muscle is not a factor. Do you think women putt as well as male pros?
CRISTIE KERR: Oh, yeah, no doubt about it.

Q. Have you ever had a competition with any?
CRISTIE KERR: No, not that I know of. But if you ask Rory McIlroy what he thinks of my putting game, he'll tell you. So I think that, yeah, I mean, there definitely shouldn't be sexes involved in that.
We are as good as good a putters as the men, if not better.

Q. Is there contrast in styles from women to men, or is that just too vague and ambiguous?
CRISTIE KERR: I think everybody is individual, everybody is different. I don't think it has to do with men and women. Everybody's got their own putting stroke and their own rhythm to their putting stroke, how they putt. Everybody does it differently.
THE MODERATOR: How do you know Rory McIlroy?
CRISTIE KERR: Chubby Chandler is a good friend of my husband, Erik, and myself. I've just met Rory briefly, but, you know, Erik went to dinner with him and Chubby in New York and they were talking about it. He's like, I really like the way Cristie putts.
That was a big compliment coming from Rory, obviously a U.S. Open champion now. So it's always good to hear the guys say positive things about you. I got to meet him at an outing in Boston where a lot of the PGA Tour guys were. He was exhausted that day. It was the day after the Open. But he's a really nice guy.

Q. You got the early season and the late season, but you're in a stretch right now with like three majors in a short span of time. When you looked at the schedule, did you kind of focus in on that and try to hone your game or try to peak as far as what you're doing right for this stretch right here?
CRISTIE KERR: Absolutely. I mean, that's the only answer I can give you: Yeah. (Laughter.)
THE MODERATOR: Thanks so much for coming in. Good luck.
CRISTIE KERR: Thank you.

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