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June 4, 2013

Cristie Kerr


Q.  Welcome once again to the media center here at the Wegmans LPGA Championship.  16‑time winner, 11th in the Rolex Rankings and recent winner in Kingsmill, say hello to a past champion in this event as well, Cristie Kerr.  Does it seem like just yesterday that you won this event and you won it in huge, dramatic fashion, too?  You pretty much blew the field away.
CRISTIE KERR:  Yeah, it doesn't seem like so far ago that it happened, for sure.  Especially when you come back and you see the golf course and the condition that it's in.

Q.  You look at this trophy and what does it do to you?
CRISTIE KERR:  I mean, it excites me.  This is one of our majors that we play for, there is so much history, rich history, great past winners.  I actually made a replica of it and it sits in my house so it looks familiar.

Q.  There you go.  That's pretty good.  Then you probably have a lot of replicas in your house, 16 of them.  Let's talk about your play.  Maybe pre‑Kingsmill and then post, because you've been very consistent since.  Was there a light bulb, a switch, something happen?  Did you feel like you were playing well before you won at Kingsmill or has something changed?
CRISTIE KERR:  I did feel like I was playing well before Kingsmill, and I've been able to have some consistent play since, and second round last week played really, really difficult.  You could see by the scores just how difficult it was playing, and then I had a great Sunday last week.  So, yeah, I feel like I'm just kind of plodding along and hopefully I'll get myself in contention again.

Q.  How is Cristie Kerr different today in 2013 than you were, perhaps, five years ago as a player, as a person, et cetera?
CRISTIE KERR:  I think I'm not only older, but I would say wiser and more patient.  It's just as time goes on, you learn a lot about yourself and about the game.  I'm not as‑‑ I think I'm not as bothered by some bad play as I used to be in the past.  I just sort of kind of keep my head down and keep going, and turn it around and play better.

Q.  I want to ask you about the American side, kind of following up what Stacy said about sitting in this chair.  You were No. 1 once upon a time.  So you've been at the top where everybody wanted to knock you off and you were the target.  Not only for Americans but for everybody else on the Tour.  Where's the Tour right now?  Eight consecutive Asian‑born winners of majors, Stacy is No. 1 among Americans, who do you have to beat today on this Tour?
CRISTIE KERR:  Well, you have to beat everybody.  If you want to be number one, you have to beat everybody.  But I said this before, if you look at the number of Americans that have played ten events or more on our Tour ten years ago versus now, you'll see a dramatic difference in statistics.  We do have a lot of great Asians on our Tour and they have the numbers.  So you're seeing‑‑ that's why you're seeing a lot of Asians win majors.  It would be huge for the Americans to be able to pick off a couple of majors for the rest of the year.

Q.  I did see you play the practice round this morning; how difficult is the course, and especially the rough?
CRISTIE KERR:  All you've got to do is go walk around in it, go walk around the tenth hole and the first hole and you'll see.  When I won in 2010, the rough was really, really bad, but you could get lucky and have a lie where you could advance it or get it on the green; not this year.  You're not going to get lucky at all.  The rough is a lot worse than even in 2010 when everybody was talking about it there.  I was putting on the green with Karine Icher and said, What do you think about the rough this weekend?  She said, It's like a water hazard on the side of the fairway, and it really is because you really can't advance more than an 8‑ or a 9‑iron out.
The golf course is playing long and playing tough.  The greens are as perfect as I've ever seen them, And the golf course is in splendid shape.  I think they've brought in some of the fairways even tighter, and they want it to play like a major and it's going to play like a major.

Q.  If you were looking for tough and mental challenges the last couple of weeks would be that.  You should be prepared in that regard?
CRISTIE KERR:  Definitely.

Q.  Does what happened in 2010 in any way help you this week?
CRISTIE KERR:  I think it does.  I played the back today and then I just walked around and chipped and putt the other nine because you don't get to do that so much in the Pro‑Am.  Tomorrow I think that 2010, knowing as difficult as it played and knowing as difficult as it's going to play this time, I think there is no room for mental errors.  I think sometimes that's when I'm at my best when I don't have a choice.  I just have to do it.  I don't get a choice whether to glance off target.  You have to be in your target this week and not see anything else.  For me, if given no choice, I'm better.  I do it better when I'm like that, so I think I like the way it's playing this week.

Q.  You've never shied away from any kind of competition.  So we hear Stacy talk about being that No. 1 player.  How do you look at that in terms of competitiveness, demeanor on the course?  You play together in Solheim Cup, especially with the American players, do you deal with it just your own way?  Do you see the way other players deal with it?  The way people would maybe act on a course.
CRISTIE KERR:  I'm not really sure what you're asking me.

Q.  I guess how do you differentiate between friendliness like you have there and then competitiveness once you get on the course to win?
CRISTIE KERR:  When it's on the course, it's all business.  Doesn't matter how friendly you are with the person that's next to you, in my opinion.  You're definitely obviously cordial, but I get into my own game.  I do my own thing, and I always have.  I just love competition.  I always have.  I'm a terrible social golfer.  I am.  I'm horrible.  This is the kind of stuff that I strive for.  I live for this kind of competition.

Q.  Let's talk about the social golf.  You can't go play with your husband, don't like playing with friends?  Do you get too competitive out there?
CRISTIE KERR:  No, I just can't focus.  I'm kind of one of those people that are built for competition.  I need the nerves.  I need the butterflies in your stomach.  I need that look in my eye to play well.  I'm terrible when I have to go and just practice or even practice rounds.

Q.  So what are you going to do when you hang it up some day?
CRISTIE KERR:  I won't play.

Q.  Really?
CRISTIE KERR:  No, I won't.  I'm not the kind that would play.  You see it with Annika.  Annika doesn't play that much anymore.  I saw her down in the Bahamas and just enjoying her kids and all that stuff.  She doesn't play.  I don't think that I would play either, not unless I had a couple of drinks on the course or something.

Q.  We'll get to that in just a second.  Can you size up how you think you're playing, and do you feel you're prepared to tackle what you saw out there today?
CRISTIE KERR:  I think I am.  I think I'm putting in the work.  Mentally I feel like I'm in a good place, and that's all you can really hope for when you tee it up.  Then the rest is up to you to really do what you're trained to do.  So I feel like I'm ready.

Q.  Do you ever forget what happened here a couple years ago, the way you won that golf tournament?

Q.  Was that maybe the highlight of your career the way you won that tournament?
CRISTIE KERR:  I think so.  But I've always said I wanted to win a tournament by 15, so that goal is still out there.  You can't put limits on yourself if you want to be at the highest level of your sport.  That's what Tiger would say if he was sitting here.

Q.  When Stacy was in here a little earlier, she said she doesn't have those goals like I want to win this number of majors or I want to do this.  She tends to take it more day by day, but other golfers are very different.  They have those hard number goals.  Are you more the hard‑number goal type person?
CRISTIE KERR:  I mean, I would say rough estimate goal because you never know what's going to happen.  But, yeah.  If you had asked Tiger before he ever won an Open if he was going to win an open, he would have told you he would have won by at least ten shots.  It's not cocky to say that if you have the talent to be able to back it up.
I mean, why not set those goals for yourself?  It's better than saying I want to be a horrible golfer the rest of my life and I never want to accomplish anything (laughing).

Q.  Follow up on your whole competitiveness; when did you first see that in yourself?  How does it evolve, and where does this come from that you wanted to do this?  You wanted to be like this and do this for the rest of your life?
CRISTIE KERR:  Honestly, I've had it as long as I can remember.  I mean, I knew I didn't want to be a‑‑ what is it?  A ballet star, a ballerina.  I couldn't get the tutu on.  But when it came to golf, I picked it up and I just had that thing, that thing that you can't describe to people.
And people always ask me, and my husband asked me many years ago, how did you know you wanted to do this?  And I said I've always just known.  I mean, you're called to things sometimes, and definitely with me, I have been.

Q.  Are you motivated by the younger generation coming out here to try to take down somebody that's been out here for longer periods of time?  I remember seeing you at the Kraft this year and I joked with you about going to the whip on yourself and hitting yourself saying, let's go, let's get this thing going.  Are you motivated by the young generation?
CRISTIE KERR:  I wouldn't say it's the younger generation.  I would say I'm motivated by winning.  I love to win.  Getting a win in the beginning of this year has been so huge for me because it had been a couple of years since I had gotten a win in the beginning of the year.  That opens up a whole lot of possibilities for the rest of the year and for the confidence level too.  So I think it's going to be pretty fun.
I love to win, and I think I'm motivated by winning.  I wish I was motivated by the younger players, but from where I sit, I like the things that I've accomplished, and I've got many more years left, hopefully.

Q.  The history of majors in the women's game, it's not as longstanding as the men's game.  The two majors, the names of them have changed overtime.  Can you give us some perspective of how that's changed since you've joined the Tour?  How important majors are now especially with five of them this year?
CRISTIE KERR:  Well, I think especially from a prestige standpoint and money standpoint, it's a dramatic difference from our everyday, average tournament.  So you want to win the majors, because if you win the major, it's almost like winning two tournaments on our Tour from a prestige and money standpoint and for what it does for your career.  So it's a huge discrepancy versus the men's TOUR.
We have changed our numbers of majors to five, but I think that our landscape is so different from the men's Tour because we need our sponsors to keep going.  We need the Evians of the world, we need the Wegmans of the world to really lift our Tour up, and they've done a very good job at that.
I think that we want to be different.  So adding a fifth major this year is going to be a very good thing for us.

Q.  The future of this major here remains in doubt, just like it was last year.  Any thoughts on moving forward?  And if this thing does not come back here, obviously you've got great memories here.  Just talk about the possibility of this major not being here in the future?
CRISTIE KERR:  Wow, I wouldn't even want to think about it.  The LPGA Championship has got such great history.  The tournament here of over 35 years with the Wegmans family has had such great history as well.  So I don't really know what would happen in the future.  I try not to think about that because my job is to play golf and perform and try to help our Tour as best as I can and in my own way, but it would be a shame.

Q.  Let me get back to the topic of beverages that you brought up, and I bring that up from the aspect of you being a business woman and having the interests in wine and Curvature being the company that is yours and also the off‑course stuff.  We talked to Stacy about it.  She said she's evolving and things are coming her way.  How have you balanced that?  Because you are not just a great golfer, one of the best in the world, but you are a business woman and you are a philanthropist and you do great things for people, charities, et cetera?  How do you balance that?  Has that become more difficult as you've been on Tour longer or is it a positive distraction for you?
CRISTIE KERR:  I think it's a positive distraction for me, and thank you for bringing it up.  Golf can be all‑consuming.  I do my best when I'm at the course, I focus on my golf, and then I have other things to focus on.  When golf becomes your world off of the golf course, the thing for me that becomes a problem, so these for me have been great distractions for me.
It's fun.  I do love business.  I love starting new things.  My husband and I love the companies that we're involved in.  We also own part of a vodka company, which is called Doublecross Vodka, which is winning all the taste test awards around the world, and our wine company, Curvature, which we don't make any profit on.  So that and the philanthropic things that we do are great distractions.
They can be a little overwhelming at times, but my husband's company, Madison Green, is growing as well.  There are a number of different people that work for us now, and we're growing.  So also setting up things for after golf so that the golf doesn't become such a pressure center.  It becomes this is what I love to do.  I do it.  There is no pressure to make a certain amount of money because we have other business interests, so it helps each other like that.

Q.  Meg Mallon's going to be in here later this week.  You talked about the competitive nature and wanting to win.  Solheim Cup, you're right there at the top of the points with Stacy Lewis, and I know you mean a lot to the American side.  Where's your mindset?
CRISTIE KERR:  (Indiscernible).

Q.  I just thought I'd ask you about the photo you posted yesterday where you said finally I'm as big as Michelle.  The picture of you on the side of the Hampton Jitney bus, have you seen that photo?  What's that feel like?
CRISTIE KERR:  Oh, it has to do with the U.S. Open.  It was more like a joke, kind of said in jest because she's such a media sensation and she's a star on our Tour.  I've always kind of‑‑ what is the word?  Been in this‑‑ not in the shadows, but not so like in the limelight like maybe she's been, but that's not my personality either.  So it's great.  It was kind of said in jest.

Q.  Well, what's it feel like to have yourself and see yourself as half of a bus, your picture much larger than life?
CRISTIE KERR:  Yeah, as long as it's not my previous pictures, then I'm fine with it, of my heavier days.  No, it's all fun.  Michelle even came up to me and said that was a nice picture, good going.  It was funny.  It was just a funny thing.

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