September 23, 2001
NORTH AUGUSTA, SOUTH CAROLINA
MODERATOR: Let's go over your score card.
TINA FISCHER: No. 3, I hit 5-iron to like five yards, made the putt.
MODERATOR: No. 6.
TINA FISCHER: Hit it on the green with a 7-wood and hit like a ten-yard, 30-feet putt for eagle, missed that, tapped in for birdie.
MODERATOR: No. 12.
TINA FISCHER: No. 12 was very exciting. I hit a snap hook into the woods on the left of the tee, tipped out, 7-wood layup, then sand wedge over the green, chip almost in the hole, then tap-in for bogey. 13, 4-wood off the tee, then 8-iron to like 18 feet.
MODERATOR: Is that all of them?
TINA FISCHER: That was it.
Q. Could you talk about what it means to win your first tournament on the LPGA Tour, what it might mean for your career?
TINA FISCHER: Well, obviously I'm very happy because that's what's everybody's trying to, you know, achieve out here: to win. I did it in the last tournament of the season, so that's really wonderful. For me that means, you know, that I have an exemption for a few years now, don't have to worry that much, can go out and play, make a better schedule, not have to wait, you know, to get into the tournaments. And it's wonderful.
Q. Did you have a feeling that this might be your week to kind of put on a good show?
TINA FISCHER: Well, I was very sick actually when I came here because I caught a flu last week in Portland so I didn't think that at all. I was just trying to get through at the beginning of the week. With this heavy course, we didn't have that many rides. Okay, it wasn't that greatt. But it's almost gone now. Golf-wise, you know, I was hitting the ball better every day - and that certainly helps. You know, I just felt pretty good. My putting was going pretty well. Just tried to be boring and put it in the middle on the green and then put some in the holes.
Q. Did you look at the leaderboards at all down the stretch? Did you see the kind of round that Annika was putting together out there?
TINA FISCHER: I always look at everything. See, I see everything on the golf course all the time (laughter). I look on the score boards, too. I say to my caddie, I think on 14 or 15, "I think, Annika is having a great round." At that point I didn't think she would catch me on anything. You know, it's up to me to play better, and I never have a problem with that. When I know somebody is having a good round, that's wonderful. I just have to try and be better. So it doesn't make me nervous or anything.
Q. Before this month you had never had a Top 10 on the LPGA Tour. Did you feel like your game was coming around to this point at any time this year?
TINA FISCHER: Well, I struggled a little bit at the beginning of the year with my ball striking, and then I saw a different coach. He had some really good ideas. That was like seven weeks ago. For some reason it really clicked. I've been trying the same thing for two or three years, but it never really worked. With him, it just had the right words and all of a sudden I understood what I was trying to do. It really helped me.
Q. How tough was it not playing at all last year on the tour, not getting your card?
TINA FISCHER: Well, it was pretty tough because I actually decided to stay in the Futures Tour here, which I hadn't done before. I always went back to Europe and played there. But I wanted to get Top 3 or Top 10 to get an exemption for this tour. Of course, it's a big difference, you know, to go back to a littler tour, when you've been here and you go back to, you know, the Challenge Tour. But sometimes it's good, you know, because you really know the grinding, where you're coming from. You know, those girls, they try hard every week, too. They're great players. Sometimes it brings you a little bit back to the ground. "You know, okay, I've got to get there again." And that's what I did.
Q. You talked about earlier that you're aware of everything, you see everything on the course. On 18, you probably knew that you had the one-shot lead, you had that approach shot to get to the green. What were you feeling like at the moment you made the swing?
TINA FISCHER: I wasn't really sure if I had a one-shoot lead. I saw Tracy. I heard all the clapping. I thought she actually made birdie. I thought I needed a birdie. I had that same shot every day. I hit this little 9-wood. I always wanted to hit 9-wood. I asked my caddie, "Is it 9-wood again?" I tried to make the yardage look like a 9-wood. It was a good swing, then I missed the putt. But then I knew that I didn't need it. But I still tried to make it anyway.
Q. How long was the putt on 18?
TINA FISCHER: Oh, 15 feet.
Q. It looked like you hesitated, thought about marking the ball, tapping in after.
TINA FISCHER: Kris' caddie said, "Mark the ball." Kris said, "Go ahead and putt it in." For her it's always difficult because she needed to make that putt, too, for herself. I mean, it's okay. Anyway, I don't care. It's in the hole, you know (laughter).
Q. And then afterwards, I guess some friends of yours poured a little soda over you, ceremonial soda shower there on 18.
TINA FISCHER: They must have not had any champagne, they attracted all the wasps and the bees. It was fun anyway.
Q. Who was the teacher that you went to that helped straighten out your game? Who were the friends who showered you?
TINA FISCHER: Who was what?
Q. The teacher.
TINA FISCHER: It was Jonathan Yarwood (phonetic) in Bradenton, Florida.
Q. And the friends who put the soda on you?
TINA FISCHER: I think it was my caddie and Marnie McGuire and Theresa Durand, some players and caddies and naughty people standing in the back there (laughter).
Q. Your caddie was saying she thought the key moment was after you bogeyed 12 and played 13.
TINA FISCHER: I really didn't know what was going on when I was hitting the tee shot there on 12. I had hit the tee shots perfect all week long, then I hit this really crooked golf shot. I got away with it because I thought it was going to be all the way down the hill. I made a struggle to make a bogey, you know. Then I made the birdie right away. And that helps you to get the momentum back and not to keep making bogeys. So that was really good. Yeah, it was very important.
Q. If I'm not mistaken, I guess your birthday is next week. What is next for you in the off-season? What will you go back and do? Will you go back to Germany?
TINA FISCHER: Yeah. I actually was planning to go back to Germany on Saturday, one day after my birthday, my 22nd birthday, by the way (laughter). Then I was going to see my family for a little while, come back to Florida, work with my coach. I mean, we have a pretty long off-season, so I don't really know what I'm going to do yet. I definitely want to spend some time with my family back home because I haven't seen them in a long time, then practice in Florida the rest of the year.
Q. Could you tell us a little bit about your career before turning pro, how you got to this point, playing in Germany?
TINA FISCHER: Well, I had a pretty long amateur career in Germany. We don't really have college golf over there, not like here. We play a lot on national teams, play like European team championships, all that stuff. I did that until I was 24. At the same time I went to University over there, graduated in landscape architecture. I got my major in landscape architecture. When I was 25, I turned pro because I still wanted to play golf, wanted to do it professionally. I had played on the national team for ten years. I started out in Europe in '95, played over there for two or three years, then came over here for one year, then went back to the Futures Tour, then came back to LPGA.
Q. How did you first get interested in golf?
TINA FISCHER: Well, my parents, my whole family, plays a lot of golf. They always took me to the golf course when I was really little. I had no choice really. They put the golf clubs in my hand. When I was ten, I started.
Q. You said you see everything on the golf course. I was noticing that the photographers were bothering you. Being in contention, that had to be a distraction.
TINA FISCHER: He's not here, right (laughter)? No, normally that doesn't bother me at all. He was the only person over there on that side. Normally you have like a hundred people, and it doesn't bother me at all when somebody is moving. When one person is standing right behind your line, I definitely blame it on him that I made that putt so badly (laughter). No, it really was not his fault. It's always nice to have an excuse (laughter).
Q. You sort of mentioned this. The last two years, were they a grind? Did it seem tough? Were there times when you doubted yourself and thought about, "This is not the way to go, I'm going back to Europe and play there"?
TINA FISCHER: Well, I actually thought of not playing at all anymore. I mean, when you go out there, and I did really well in Europe, I won a few tournaments over there, then I went back to the Futures Tour here. I didn't really play very well at the beginning of last year. It was just like, "I don't know if I can make it." Then I thought, "I'm better than that. " I really grinded it out the end of the season. I played really well. That gave me a little bit of hope. Well, I'm glad I went through it. I went to Q School, played a good Q School. Lost in a playoff for an exempt spot. That was a little bit of a bummer. From then on, it went pretty well.
Q. You talked about giving it up. Was there a specific turning point for you?
TINA FISCHER: I think, you know, everybody, they go through ups and downs in the golf career. You get to a point where you've played for a few years, so many years, and haven't really achieved what I wanted to achieve. We all have great expectations. That's what I had at the beginning of last year. Then I sat down and wrote down all the things that I thought. I figured out, "Okay, you're not done yet." I'm not that old yet. If you give it a try, give it a good try. I did everything I could, and it worked.
Q. Did you set a specific goal for yourself when you did that?
TINA FISCHER: Yeah. I mean, it was swing related, physical workout related, mentally. I did the things that I hadn't done before, a little bit more organized. That's what was different. It changed, you know, a lot in the approach. It worked, obviously.
Q. This puts you in the tournament in Mobile next week.
MODERATOR: Qualifies for after lack AFLAC.
Q. What had you planned this week?
TINA FISCHER: Well, actually I was supposed to fly tonight at, whatever, 9:30 to Chicago because I was going to play a ProAm in Peoria for the next two days. I don't know if the tournament organizer over there is very happy with me if I'm not going. I don't know. Then I was flying home on Saturday, like I said before, home to Germany. I don't know. I haven't really thought about it, what I'm going to do now.
Q. You will play in the AFLAC tournament?
TINA FISCHER: I don't know yet. I'll have to see what my plans are.
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