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July 11, 2004

Meg Mallon


PAUL ROVNAK: Just a couple of housekeeping items before we begin. Meg, the first player to win the U.S. Open and the Canadian Women's Open in the same year; the fourth player to win the U.S. Open and the event immediately following, the first since 1998 when Se Ri Pak; joins Pat Bradley as the only three time winner of this tournament; won this tournament three of the last five years; and this marks the second time Meg has crossed the million dollar earnings mark in here career.

Champion, put that all into perspective for us, please.

MEG MALLON: I can't, I can't. You know, this is my 18th year on TOUR, and it's been such a rewarding career, but I've never had two weeks like this. The experience, it's going to take a while to absorb. It's just been incredible. I don't know what to say.

I didn't have my finest game today, but John and I just put together a smart round of golf and made key putts early on. And, you know, Beth played great, she hit some great golf shots, and if only she had knocked a few more putts down, too, and tightened that up on me a little bit. It was hard for me today. I've never had a four shot lead going into a last round. I'm much more of a player that likes to come from behind and charge and go get 'em. So I had to figure out how mentally I was going to approach the day today. It was quite a challenge inside this little head of mine all day to stay focused like that, and it was revery rewarding to come through and play this well.

Q. You're running out of National Championships to win. What's next?

MEG MALLON: England next, right? We're changing the environment every week.

Q. How do you put into perspective what this roll has been like, what do you do for the next two weeks?

MEG MALLON: Well, actually it's going to be good, because I just have five days off and then I head to France. Then we have another major championship.

So this is the heart of our schedule here, these six, seven weeks in a row here, big tournaments, strong fields and so there's no letdown. Certainly I know better than anyone, when you're playing well, you have to ride it as long as you can. Hopefully I'll bring a lot of confidence in those events just coming up and keep playing some good golf because it's certainly a lot of fun.

Q. I talked to John, right after you guys finished Rochester, hanging around and I saw him I said, "How did she play"? He said you were "close, you were close at getting it."

MEG MALLON: What does Tiger say, "this close?" (Laughing).

Q. When you went to Orchards, did you bring that, from Rochester to Orchards, did you feel you were close and were you capable of doing what you have done after Rochester?

MEG MALLON: Rochester was a great preparation because it's so tight and small greens, and the Orchards were exactly like that. It helped for a visual going into the U.S. Open that things didn't seem so narrow, because we just came from Rochester and that's one of the tightest courses we play.

I was very, very frustrated all year with how my putting was. I was giving two to three shots away a day inside three feet, and you can't do that out here. You're going to just finish 20th and 30th or whatever doing that and that's what I had been doing. So I had stayed patient because I knew we had the open coming up. And my teacher came in, Mike McGetrick, came in for the Open and we worked hard on my putting. It was a putter change at McDonald's, a little tip here or there, and I felt like my swing was there.

You know, as soon as my putting came through, I could get some confidence at seeing the ball go in the hole. It came through on the weekend at the Open, and I just carried it right through into this week. And on these greens that just seems like inside 20 feet, you can roll in every putt. It was a lot of fun to come to this week and have greens like this that were so great.

Q. Have you experienced a stretch where you had '95, '97 was the last time without a bogey, do you recall any stretch ?

MEG MALLON: I'm not so sure. I was thinking about that today. I didn't have a bogey again today. My short game was terrific at the times that I needed it. I never really stretched myself, except for on the third hole where I made about an 18 footer for par, and that's really the longest par putt I've had to make all week.

So I just managed my game really well this week.

Q. Coming down the end, not including 18, but I think you got into the rough a couple of times there, just nerves or what?

MEG MALLON: Slight pulls. I just get so mad because I hit my driver so straight, and we get to 16 and decide not to hit driver. I hit it for three straight days perfectly down the middle and the course is playing harder and faster and I understood why John wanted me to hit my 4 wood. I just get so mad when I hit when I go to lay up and I lay up into the rough like that.

So, I was fuming through the whole hole, which is probably good because it kept me more focused than getting nervous because that didn't happen at all. I just got mad instead, making an error like that, but I made par.

Q. Start of the round, you're four shots up, at what point through the course of that do you start watching how Beth is doing and realizing

MEG MALLON: She's played really well. She hit so many good shots in there today and like I said, if she'd made three or four more putts and made it close.

You know, you can't ever let your guard down. There's so much water and sand out here that you can have a disaster, which was good for me. Those finishing holes are tough, 16 and 17, good, solid holes, you have to hit solid shots and not get away with it. So, I didn't really relax until I hit my second shot over on 18, and I figured I could get down in 6 from there. (Laughing).

Q. Your putting, it was strong today on 2 and 3.

MEG MALLON: 2 I made about an 8 footer there.

Q. What were you thinking; "at least I had my putter," that nothing would go wrong?

MEG MALLON: Well, that was nice to make that one on three. That was a bonus. I figured, okay, you can make bogey here. And I did that the second day, too and came back and shot 4 under. I wasn't too rattled by having that, whatever, 18 footer for par.

But to not get in, that probably was really tough on Beth, too, because at that point she's probably thinking, "Okay, there's a little opening going on and I start making these par putts."

It was sloppy today. It definitely was not a pure round of golf. The putter was just outstanding.

Q. Now are you tired?

MEG MALLON: No. (Laughing). I would be if I didn't win. I would be exhausted.

Q. How many putts did you have?

MEG MALLON: I think I had 29 putts today.

Q. You played with Jennifer Rosales in the U.S. Open and I think you played neck and neck there, how do you describe playing with her?

MEG MALLON: I love Jen, the way she plays, she doesn't hold back. These young players really are aggressive, solid players. And I actually played with Jen when she won in Atlanta and shot 7 under on that Sunday. I was pulling her along because she was getting nervous there for a while. I was helping her out coming in, and I really enjoy how she plays and attacks pins all the time.

She's going to be a great player out here for a long time.

Q. It's only been an hour since you've won, but would your intention be to defend next year in Halifax?

MEG MALLON: Absolutely. You won't have to worry about that with me.

Q. I think you've been in the Top 20 in the Money List 13 of the last 14 years, incredibly steady, do you think your putting and your accurate driving really been the hallmarks of your career? Have they ever gone long stretches where you lost them or not really?

MEG MALLON: You know, it's funny, I'm a great mid iron player. I love hitting iron shots and certainly when I'm putting well, I get into the Top 10 or Top 5. It definitely makes a difference in my putting. I go on stretches where I lose it like I did the first ten tournaments this year, and, I mean, it was bad. I was just really losing my confidence over it, but it's just great to turn it around like this and have the feeling of seeing the ball go in the hole again because it seemed like it was smaller than the ball for quite a while.

Q. Crossing the million dollar mark here for the second time, and we're only two weeks into July, do you start to go into the rest of the season now just totally relaxed and totally at peace with what you've accomplished already this year?

MEG MALLON: You know, I don't think I'll do that. I think because we have so many good tournaments coming up, I just won't do that. I'll be pretty focused and know that I'm playing well, and I know to take advantage of that as long as you can, because I know how fleeting it is. I've been out here 18 years and I've seen it come and go like that. I've had great stretches like this, and certainly know that you need to ride it as long as you can.

Q. Before this year, you had kind of struggled, I think you won two tournaments in your previous three years and now you have two this year. What resurgence

MEG MALLON: I'm not sure what kind of struggle because I've been Top 12 on the Money List (laughing). You've got to retract that from your question.

Q. The breakthrough

MEG MALLON: I'm not sure. I mean, last year I finished first and had two seconds last year. I've had a second and two firsts this year. I've played good, solid golf. And having a wonderful career and there's no looking back at anything with regret whatsoever.

Q. Talk about Annika and inaudible?

MEG MALLON: Oh, yeah, absolutely. And, you know, she's not going to go away. As a matter of fact, I know this is going to fire her up a little bit. She's going to come out full guns the next couple of weeks.

So, you know, I'm really looking forward to going to the British Open and playing Sunningdale again, because I missed the cut by one there the last time I was there and very disappointed with that. I'm looking forward to going back to play that style of golf, and, you know, hopefully have a really good British Open.

Q. You mentioned out on the 18th green about the condition of the Battlefield Course and how you said it surpassed all of the others. Yet, you were still 18 under par, is there anything the next time hopefully the ladies come back here that you might change? I know you don't want to change it because you won it, but are there some things they might do to toughen it up or do they need to?

MEG MALLON: You know, the reason why it's that way is because the putting was so great. Like I said, you felt like we could make anything inside 20 feet and there's nothing wrong with that. That's a great conditioned golf course.

If you want to make a golf course tougher, you do what the U.S. Open does and you bring the fairways in to about 20 yards wide and make the rough grow high or whatever. You can do anything to toughen it up, but that doesn't necessarily make it a better golf course.

I think this is a fantastic design. You have to carry over bunkers off the tee shots and carry over bunkers off your approach shots, and there's a lot of water that comes into play. It was just good golf this week.

Q. The wind didn't really pick up this week

MEG MALLON: I'm glad, because I bet it blows like crazy out here, right? And that could get really interesting. That definitely makes any golf course tougher when the wind kicks up.

End of FastScripts.

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