May 30, 2001
SOUTHERN PINES, NORTH CAROLINA
RHONDA GLENN: Ladies and gentlemen, we have the winner of last week's LPGA event, the LPGA Corning Classic, where she was 18 under par, Carin Koch. Carin, we were talking about the state of your game, and also the difference in last week's course, as opposed to last week's course. You're to be complemented on winning on a course where you had a lot of hilly, sort of iffy lies. And this is different.
CARIN KOCH: Here you seem to have perfect lies everywhere, because the greens are in such good condition. You don't have really hilly lies, this week's just a beautiful course.
RHONDA GLENN: Does this give you a big boost of confidence? I know it must. And does this help you feel confident you might be able to win this championship?
CARIN KOCH: Well, this week all the best players are here, and they are all going to be in their top form, I'm sure. It's a tough one. But if I play like I did last week and keep making some putts, I think I'll definitely have a good tournament.
Q. What credence do you put on the fact that I think it's only -- it's 1965, is it, since somebody won the tournament before the Open, and then the Open, itself? It's a very fair feat?
CARIN KOCH: I try not to listen to that that much. I saw the fact on TV, that it was only twice since 1950 or something. But I just go into this week, like any other week, just trying to play good. And like I said, it's going to be -- it's going to take perfect golf for four days to win here, because there's so many good players, and they're going to be in such good form. I try not to put too much pressure on myself, because I won last week. It's a new week, and I want to try to do good again.
Q. Were you entered before last week's victory?
CARIN KOCH: Yeah, I was exempt from last year.
Q. Were you here in '96?
CARIN KOCH: Yeah, for a couple of days.
Q. Well, how has it changed?
CARIN KOCH: Well, I think my game is a lot better than it was last time I was here. This course, the way it played -- I played bad when I was here. And on this course you can't play bad golf. You can't get away with much here. It's such a tough and good course. And I wasn't able to reach all the par-5s last time I was here. I remember that. I hit it too short to even reach a few of them. So now I can reach all of them. It's still a long course, but I think my short game is much better than it was, too. I have a lot more confidence in my short game, and many more shots have worked with -- I've worked with my coach for the last four years in getting a better short game. And that's really made the difference in my game.
Q. Some of the par-3s have been changed in length. I don't know if you've noticed that. And if you did, what's your reaction to the 3 par-3s or whatever it is now?
CARIN KOCH: Yeah, I think it's -- definitely I think, what is it No. 5, I think, it played really long. I remember hitting the driver there a few times -- a couple of times -- I only played it twice in the tournament. But I know I hit 3-woods or drivers there. And that's quite a bit shorter now. And I think it's probably a better hole now. I think they've done a really good job on the course. There's some really long par-4s. I hit two 3-woods and a couple of 5-woods. I carry a 9-wood and 11-wood, which is really good on a course like this, because the ball comes in higher and lands soft. So I think I've got good clubs in my bag for this week.
Q. How far do you hit the 11-wood?
CARIN KOCH: I hit my 11-wood about 170 yards.
RHONDA GLENN: When you were referring to the par-5s not being able to reach them, were you talking about in two shots?
CARIN KOCH: No, those were the par-4s I was talking about.
RHONDA GLENN: You said par-5s.
CARIN KOCH: There was a couple of par-4s a couple of times here I couldn't reach in two. Sorry. Thank you.
RHONDA GLENN: Who is your coach?
CARIN KOCH: Chuck Cook out of Austin, Texas,.
Q. Has Annika's play this season, the last couple of seasons, has this elevated the Swedish contingent's play a little bit?
CARIN KOCH: I think it really should -- it should make everyone play better. It's kind of like Tiger on the Men's Tour. You get to where what can I do to beat these people that are playing so good? And I think it definitely -- it inspires you to play better, because you know that they can do it and you want to try to catch up or keep up with her, I guess. But I don't know if it does more for the Swedish than anyone else. I think it should do the same thing for everyone.
Q. Have you guys figured out the mathematics of this whole thing of how many victories the Swedish players are coming off with; in all these hundreds of thousands of golfers in the States, you've got most of the 11 or 12, whatever?
CARIN KOCH: That's pretty neat, isn't it? I don't know how to figure that out, but I hope it continues. And I think it's a lot of fun.
Q. How long have you known Annika?
CARIN KOCH: I think we played golf together the first time maybe in '85 or so -- yeah, something like that.
Q. 15 years, half her life. She's 30, half her life.
CARIN KOCH: Yeah.
Q. There's a lot of people who are trying to figure out why she's playing so much better. There are theories that she's much stronger, whatever else. Can you give us your opinion as to why she is so successful this year?
CARIN KOCH: Well, I think there's -- there's a lot of different things that make the difference. I think her physical work that she's put in has definitely made a change in her golf game to where she's hitting it further. But I also think it's made her feel more confident. She feels strong and she's healthy and strong and I think that's really important in this game. I feel much better when I'm fit and when I've worked out than I do when I'm not in shape. And I just think her mental -- when she putts her mind to something, she does it 200 percent. And I think that's when she works out, she's worked out twice a day, not just once a day a lot of times. And the same with the golf. If there's one shot that she doesn't perfect, then she's going to do 200 percent on that. I just think her mental game is just so good. And I don't know why it's better this year than it has been before, but I think she just probably got a confidence boost from being so strong. And I think that's where the physical fitness comes in, maybe more than just hitting it further.
Q. Do you think that mental aspect is what really makes Annika Annika?
CARIN KOCH: Definitely. I remember when we had some training camps when we were younger, and just the -- the way she was thinking was always just a little different than everyone else. She just -- someone would say, well, I'm scared of winning or I'm a little scared of this. And she's like -- she was just kind of looking at them, what do you mean scared? It just seemed she was always one step -- she didn't really -- I don't know how to explain it, but she didn't -- a lot of thoughts that all golfers always have, that normal professionals have, I don't think she has them. Like the fear of missing a shot. She's so focused, and I think she was ahead from a long time ago.
Q. When you saw her the first time swing, you didn't -- it wasn't that she stood out that much above someone else?
CARIN KOCH: She's got a great golf swing and a great golf game. But there's a lot of people that do that. And I don't think that's where the big difference is. Yeah, she has definitely one of the best golf swings and one of the best golf games, if not the best. But I don't think that's where -- that's not the main thing in golf, really.
Q. I don't know if you know, it's been 25 years since somebody's won the week before the Open. And it's probably because it's so mentally tiring just to win. How do you feel coming into this after winning, and do you feel fresh?
CARIN KOCH: I feel pretty good. I got a good night's sleep last night. The two nights before I didn't get enough sleep and I was tired. But I feel really good today. And I had a week off before Corning, and I have a week off next week. So it's really, really good timing. I am glad that it is the U.S. Open this week, because I think it would have been a little different if I had gone to just a regular tournament. I think it would have been a little lazier and let myself be a little more tired. But I feel really good.
Q. Why didn't you sleep? Were you thinking that -- just holding that trophy for the first time?
CARIN KOCH: On Sunday we traveled. So we didn't get here to our house until about 1:00 or 1:30 in the morning. Monday night I just kind of -- I laid there for a while and was just kind of thinking. And it took me a little while to go to sleep. Plus I played the practice round at 7:30 on Tuesday.
Q. The thing with Annika about shooting 54, is that part of all the Swedish program; do you subscribe to that?
CARIN KOCH: It's something that came up pretty -- a few years ago and something that's been in our head. And that's one of the things with Annika, she probably kind of put her mind to it that she could do that. I think a few others of us have been more like, yeah, that's a good idea. But I haven't really thought that I could shoot -- I know I can birdie every hole in a golf course, but to do it on the same day just feels kind of out of reach. With Annika shooting 59 it's definitely a little closer. You start thinking about that and it can be done.
Q. Who's caddying for you this week?
CARIN KOCH: My regular caddy, Neal Carter, is caddying for me this week. I called him up the week before Corning and said I wanted my husband to work one of the two weeks, the coming two weeks, and I said I figure you probably want to work the Open, and he said yes. So I kind of left it up to him. I didn't think it was fair for my husband to come in and just work the biggest tournament of the year. So he's working.
RHONDA GLENN: Is your husband here?
CARIN KOCH: Yeah, he's here. He's playing Pinehurst right now. He's got more important things to do than caddy.
Q. After struggling on some of your earlier tournaments, what did you do to put it all together last week, was there something special?
CARIN KOCH: Yeah, I've been playing really solid and really good for a while. I've been finishing around 20th in a few tournaments. I've been putting really bad. I haven't made many birdies, and I've missed a lot of important putts for par and I just haven't really gotten it going. And that's part of the reason why I wanted my husband to caddy one week, because he can help me a lot and just make sure that I was doing everything right and read the greens. And he really helped me get my confidence back in my putting. So that's really the big difference last week from the last couple of months is that I made some good putts finally.
Q. That's what I was going to ask. You said you'd been putting badly. Did you find out you weren't putting badly, you were reading the greens wrong?
CARIN KOCH: My alignment was really off. I started putting the text on the ball, I started putting a line. So I made sure I was aligned right. And that kind of put everything together. My stroke wasn't that far off, I was a lining it wrong. And because of that I was putting the worst stroke on it, and my speed was off on the greens. With good alignment my speed came back and my confidence came back. So that was a big part of it. Plus it's nice when you read it together and just kind of get someone else to tell you that you're doing it right.
Q. Do you think things would be different now because of Oliver and now -- it's just not you and him, it's that you guys have a family. So things on the golf course aren't as cut throat?
CARIN KOCH: Yeah, he used to caddy for me, and it wasn't always that fun. But we just had a great time last week. He was really a perfect caddy. He's watched me so much from outside the ropes now that I think he knows a lot more how important it is that the caddy is there for you and that they're positive. And he's seen so many things now with caddying for other people and just watching from outside that he knew -- he just knows what I need and he just did it all last week. He was really, just really good mentally and everything last week.
RHONDA GLENN: Carin, thank you so much for coming. Good luck this week.
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