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August 18, 2004

Meg Mallon


PAUL ROVNAK: Thanks for coming in. Welcome to Ohio where you went to school at Ohio State. You just won in Toledo, and you've won three of the last five tournaments you've played in. You're on quite a roll coming in. Just your thoughts on this week and then we'll take questions.

MEG MALLON: I just got in last night, so my first look at the golf course was today, and definitely needed to come in on Monday because this is quite a golf course, one you need to learn. A lot of numbers out there, so I might have to rely on my caddie a lot the next few days. He's got a tough job to do. We've done this before. I did this in Canada after I won the Open because I knew I needed a couple of days of rest and John did a really good job of getting everything and we worked our way around there quite well.

But this is quite a golf course, it's going to be, especially difficult if it blows like this. It's going to be very difficult to shoot low on it. And you know the facility itself, I'm really impressed with, great facility, great area. I like being in the Muirfield area, and being close to Ohio State, of course. And I haven't seen the new basketball stadium, I've seen the football facility. So I'm going to go over and take a look at those and try and walk down memory lane.

Q. Talk about the confidence you have coming in.

MEG MALLON: It's a whole different level that you feel. Once I won the Open, it just kind of released a lot of pressure, the pressure of winning a tournament in a year, winning another major, which I always[] set my goals for. Everything else, certainly brought a different confidence level to it. I think Toledo was a terrific example of that. I was coming down the stretch and didn't feel like I had to win a golf tournament, but felt like I had a chance to and that's the big difference. You know, I think that's kind of released me to have such a strong finish like that. Even after 18 years, you learn from experiences like that.

Q. What's the best part of your game right now?

MEG MALLON: Well, that's hard to say, you know, I felt like I've hit the ball really well all year and I really struggled with my putting until when I got to the Open and finally found it there which is really nice. It's been good and bad since, good at Canada when I won and shot 18-under par, and so that's been kind of. But the ball-striking has been pretty good this year. I've hit the ball in play. Haven't made the big mistakes. My short game has been there when I needed to, so it's just been a nice combination. It's hard to say that it's been one thing or another. But I think most people point to my putting because it seems like I'm doing that very well.

Q. There are a lot of people who probably look at you and you have it going here -- inaudible

MEG MALLON: Coming to a new course, we've done it before. We do it at major championships where you don't know the golf course. I put a lot of work in today, and we work really well together so it's going to be all about numbers the next few days. The greens, there's a lot of slopes[] -- I'm going to be extra aware of that.

Q. The year you've had, and I apologize, I don't know -- inaudible -- getting into the Hall of Fame and Player of the Year?

MEG MALLON: [] So I know exactly what you need to do, but 27 points, and I have 22 points. I think it's two points for a major and one point for regular tournament and one point for Vare Trophy and Player of the Year. You know, Annika has such a big lead on Player of the Year and Vare Trophy, that I think it's kind of out of the realm. But if I keep winning golf tournaments, you know, I take it one tournament at a time. I don't all of a sudden say, oh, you know, I can be in the Hall of Fame because I know what it takes to do that. And you have to -- if I start thinking about that, I'll be passed by 100 people every week.

Q. On the Tour this year, from what you said, whether you're new here or not, this is the kind of course that might take some time for people to play.

MEG MALLON: Yeah, it does but again, you know, you can play bad golf fast, too. [] And I've seen it. So I think it's just a matter of everyone being quick. I'm a big proponent of playing faster. I do not like slow playing and I think it destroys the rhythm of the game. I think it might be a bit harsh, but if it gets people going, I'm just concerned that it's going to penalize the wrong people because it seems like our players that are slow know how to beat the system. And the officials are trying anything, and I applaud them for that because for most of us, our best player is also our fastest player in Annika. So you can play great golf and play fast.

This golf course, when you're asking a question, yeah, you're going to need some time on some shots. But if you hurry up the clean shots and you're conscientious about playing up to the field, then you can allow yourself that time when you need it.

Q. Are you aware of some of the general feelings of some of the veterans regarding exemptions, and more specifically, some of the feelings regarding Michelle Wie?

MEG MALLON: I'm wondering what direction your question is. You mean, I'm sorry, veteran's feeling about exemptions?

Q. Well, at 14 and 15, Michelle Wie, being exempt for this tournaments.

MEG MALLON: Well, I'm a big proponent of Michelle Wie. I have been a big fan of hers ever since I met her. We played golf last fall together and I think she adds a lot to an event. She's a huge draw, which is great for our tour. She's got a game that's just unbelievable that I enjoy watching.

I played with her competitively, in France and I think she's so far ahead of Tiger at the age that she's at because she has so much more game as far as control of her wedges. I remember Tiger had such a hard time controlling his wedges. You know, keeping the ball on the golf course, basically, he was pretty wild at that age. She is so controlled and[] has control of her whole game right now that that it's such a mature game. She's ready to play out here. I like it. I can't wait till I retire and sit home and watch her on TV and see, watch her successes in the years to come because she's the real deal.

I've always felt the tournament sponsor's exemptions, whatever they want to do. It's their two exemptions. It's their party; they can invite whoever they want to. If they feel like players are going to bring something to their event, then I have no problem with that.

Q. What were you doing at 14? Can you imagine trying to do this and at that age like she is and what potential downfalls?

MEG MALLON: Well, I think you guys all forgot what 14 was like. It sucked. Do you remember? (Laughing). I mean, 14, we were doing nothing but getting in trouble, we were bored. We were telling our parents we didn't like them. What she is getting to do is unbelievable.

You know, I think this whole thing about 14 and missing your childhood, she's getting more life experiences I think to help her more than any 14-year-old sitting around on a computer doing things they probably shouldn't be doing. So I think this whole thing about missing being 14 is out the window because that age is a terrible age.

Q. I would agree with that, but there are women on TOUR who are saying that also they are concerned about that. Do you think that's a little dangerous for the Tour because of the draw she gets?

MEG MALLON: No, no. I think the concern is that veterans like Juli Inkster and Beth Daniel and even Nancy Lopez are saying, you need to get her, just like Tiger did, where you need to get her to where she learns how to win golf tournaments. I think that's some of the experience they have is putting her in a position, like she did playing the Amateur last week. She needs to learn what losing is like and want to get that hunger to learn how to win. And she needs to do it at the level of the players that she's going to playing with for the rest of her career, because she puts that in their head that she can beat them, which is very important.

Going through the Amateur, even playing the Junior girls, she should be playing events like that to learn how to win and learn how to play match-play.

I think that's where you're confusing where the players are concerned. I think they are concerned about her golfing career and her golfing life and the direction, rather than being someone you are just showcasing. She also needs to learn how to win and there's a certain process you go through in doing that, and that's what all of the veterans were talking about. It's not necessarily helping -- it's a great experience to go play in a Nationwide Tour event. It's not necessarily helping her learn how to win a golf tournament.

Q. What type of work do you need to do to prepare for this course?

MEG MALLON: There's a lot of green work that you need, there are lot of undulations, the different short game shots, you have a lot of run-offs where you would think anywhere from a 5-wood to gap wedge situation. So it's a lot of golf out there and I'm going to hopefully learn hard and fast in the next two days.

Q. Some of the players in your generation, Rosie Jones, Dottie Pepper, are talking about hanging them up. Can you comment about that and react to that?

MEG MALLON: Well, I know from their perspective, this injury-phase is it for them. I had a shoulder injury in 1997 and it's miserable. I couldn't swing a golf club like I wanted to. The golf club was going all over the place and I was miserable every week. I was in pain and I said after that year -- I got myself healthy, I had Dr. Andrews in Birmingham, he said, "I'll give you eight weeks to do rehab and if it's not any better, I'm going in." So that was the biggest thing for me. And ever since then, I've said, you know, I can't play golf injured and unhealthy. And both Rosie and Dottie, I completely understand where they want to call it quits. Now, I would bet anybody in this room that if she's feeling good, she won't retire.

Q. You haven't played here -- have you seen the frosty machines in the locker room?

MEG MALLON: Yeah, I saw that this morning at breakfast. I played with Tom Wheeler today and we had a spicy chicken on the 12th hole. So I'm going to roll right over to that FROSTY machine this afternoon. But it was a lot of fun. I really enjoyed it. The Wendy's people have been wonderful to me and the Three Tour Challenge, I'm really thrilled about that, too. Hopefully they will have a frosty machine over there. Great facility here.

PAUL ROVNAK: Thank you.

End of FastScripts.

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