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July 6, 2004

Meg Mallon


THE MODERATOR: Meg, thanks for coming and joining us.

MEG MALLON: You're welcome.

THE MODERATOR: You're coming off a pretty exciting win week with your second U.S. Open victory. It's been 13 years, 1991, and 2004, I imagine last couple of days have been hectic. If you could catch us up what you've been doing and we'll take questions.

MEG MALLON: As most of you saw, most of my family was there with me. So Sunday evening, it was nice to actually be able to celebrate with your family because normally the winner of a tournament is the loneliest person on the planet because everybody is gone and you're usually in your hotel room having room service.

So this was extra special my family was there with me. We had a great time Sunday night and we all parted ways. I maybe slept about two hours that night because I think I went through every entire shot about 5,000 times in my head. So it was lack of sleep but it was well worth it.

Yesterday I got here, probably the hotel about one o'clock or so, and took a long, hot bath and made myself get up and then had a long sleep last night.

So, I'm a little rested but I'm still pretty overwhelmed and exhausted from the whole experience.

Q. Thinking about the way you won that last round, the amount of putts, and Retief two weeks earlier, what a day.

MEG MALLON: Yeah, it was incredible. I had been struggling with my putting all year, and mostly my short putts inside four feet, I just, you know, was missing two to three a round. In the first three rounds of the Open, I had missed eight putts inside four feet, and, you know, I thought, you just can't give the field that amount of shots.

And Sunday, the hole just opened up. I made a 3 footer on the third hole for birdie and I think that just kind of settled me down, like, okay, I made a 3 footer, because it had been my nemesis all week. And then I make a 55 foot bomb on the fourth hole and the hole just opened up like a bucket from that point on. It's a lot of fun when that happens.

You know, as a professional golfer that days like that don't happen very often, but to have it happen Sunday on a U.S. Open was amazing.

Q. Obviously it's very exciting to win a U.S. Open, but do you take a special satisfaction, given all of the talk from us folks about Paula and Michelle Wie and all of the youngsters, at a more experienced age that you are able to go out there and knock the socks off them and win the Open?

MEG MALLON: Well, there's a couple of parts to that because I am so thrilled that our game is in good hands with these great young players. Because there's been actually quite a time period where we have not seen a lot of great young players coming up and that has concerned all of us. The veterans talk about it all the time, that our junior programs are not doing the right things to get the young players exposure and the opportunity to play the game.

So for me to see 16 teenagers at the U.S. Open this year was such a relief because now we know the future of the game is in good hands, and they are also good kids, too. I have a great relationship with Michelle Wie and her parents and they are trying to do all of the right things and the best things for their daughter; and they are with her and they are traveling together and I think that's wonderful they are doing this as a family, because she is 14 years old and she needs her parents there with her.

And Paula Creamer I played a practice round with at the Open last week, and she's got a lot of fire in her belly. And that's going to be quite a competitive duo right there. And I'll be sitting at home on my couch watching the two of them go at it.

So for me, my hopes are that I set a good example for them and that they will then carry on the great traditions of the game and hopefully learn the best things from veterans like myself and Juli Inkster and Beth Daniel and Betsy King and hopefully carry on the great love of the game that we have.

Q. So you're happy to say have your place on the stage, but not just yet?

MEG MALLON: You know what, when it's your time, it's your time. The media was all talking about how I won the Open 13 years ago and how young I was, I said, guys, I was 28 years old. You're calling that old now. I was very mature and started much later in winning in my career. And these guys are coming out, I think Karrie and Annika and Se Ri had 20 wins by the time they were 28 years old. The game has definitely changed since I've come along.

Q. You mentioned Beth Daniel who won last year. From what you've seen of her this year, how is she playing?

MEG MALLON: You know, I play a lot of practice rounds with Beth, and I feel privileged because she's one of the best ball strikers in the game of golf. No one works harder. She and Juli and I take from the same teacher, Mike McGetrick, and those two are the hardest working players out here and just great examples of what their love and passion for the game is. You know, Beth will go down as one of the greatest players in the history of the game.

Q. This tournament, obviously winning a couple of years ago but in a different location, can you talk about what it meant to win and this venue?

MEG MALLON: I am excited to see it. I haven't gone out yet. I'm going to play the shootout and get a couple of holes in. The buzz I've been hearing is it's in fantastic condition. They are out there playing a practice round right now.

So I'm going to use my Pro Am as my practice round tomorrow. I'm really looking forward to seeing it. I hear it's a great facility.

Q. What are your thoughts on the field, not as strong as it was in the Open?

MEG MALLON: Every week is strong. It's great. Our game is just getting deeper and stronger. The players, they are ready to win. They don't come out and say, "I'm going to learn how to win." They are ready to win by the time they come out. So it's a great competitive environment out here.

Q. The way you shot on Sunday, you don't need a practice round.

MEG MALLON: That's funny, the one thing you learn throughout the years and being a player out here for a long time is you know my body is going to fall apart; I just know that's going to happen. The U.S. Open itself wears you out.

But going through that experience and everything that goes with it, at some point in time I'm going to have a crash. That's why I'm trying to rest as much as I can going into this tournament, and I think I have an afternoon Pro Am tomorrow which really helps me. So I can sleep in and rest again and know by Thursday that I need to be ready to go.

Q. This is the honeymoon capital of the world and this may be your honeymoon.

MEG MALLON: This is quite a place. I have the greatest room. I overlook the Falls and I just wake up and it's just beautiful out there. All the years I lived in Detroit, we would drive over the bridges, we would just look at the Falls and keep driving. I've never actually sat there and looked at them.

This is a beautiful place. I looked out my window yesterday and there were two brides walking across, and it's blowing 30 miles an hour, I felt so bad for them that their wedding day was on weather like it was yesterday. But I guess every day is a wedding day here in Niagara Falls.

Q. What is it like for you, when you come off a win, you come into this particular week now, what's the difference for you?

MEG MALLON: It's kind of twofold. You have expectations of being the person that just played an Saturday and Sunday and shot 10 under at the U.S. Open, and thinking the hole is going to look this big again. And when you miss that first putt, all of a sudden reality of that great humbling game of golf comes back to you and says, "Oh, that's right, I don't have it, I have to keep working for it."

I know that, it helps to know that and I'll go out expecting to play well, but certainly not feeling like I've got it.

Q. After winning the U.S. Open, had you thought about pulling out of this?

MEG MALLON: No, never. Not in my character, right, Gail?

Q. Is it also because you've won this event; is that a factor?

MEG MALLON: It definitely helps. I love this event. Any event, I wouldn't have pulled out.

Q. Inaudible?

MEG MALLON: Well, Detroit is north of some Canadian cities, right? So practically Canadian is my term.

Q. You said that a few years ago when you won.

MEG MALLON: That's right. (Laughing) Gail has been a great guide for me my entire career. She was one of the first people that called me on Sunday. That was pretty neat.

Q. I think I heard you say, I'm not getting rid of this one

MEG MALLON: I threw it in there (golf ball). Yeah, I made a good toss in there, you bet. I said, "I'm not getting rid of my putter." That wasn't going anywhere. (Laughing).

Q. Will you use it (putter) this week?

MEG MALLON: Yeah. Actually I have to look in my bag and make sure it's there. I was having a panic attack because this morning I was hoping nobody took it. I haven't seen my club since they left me on the 18th green.

Q. On the outside looking in, people are going to say no Annika, no Grace Park, is this tournament maybe a little more wide open with no offense to the other golfers.

MEG MALLON: Annika and Grace are our top two players this year and having fantastic years, so absolutely they would say that. But the state of our game and our tour is the depth is so great that you can come out and see equally as good play from players that are ready to take over their spots.

So, that's the state that our tour is in, that we have great depth.

Q. In '91, winning two majors back to back and very consistent performances over the years, do you wonder, is there a little part of you that wonders, why haven't I won a major every three years or five years?

MEG MALLON: You know, I can't do that to myself because the great part is that I've had actually the opportunity to say that because I've had the opportunities. I've been close in a lot of major championships. I certainly gear up for those tournaments.

You know, I won the du Maurier in 2000, and I thought that would be the last major I would ever win. I was excited about that and then people started talking about the Grand Slam. Well, you have to win Kraft Nabisco, and then we added the British. They threw in all of these things there like it was easy to do. That's why I just put it in perspective about, you know, you win a major, it's your week. And you know, who would have thought I would have won the U.S. Open 13 years after I won my first one?

So, you know, I don't look back at it as a disappointment. I look back at it as pretty incredible and it's been a lot of fun.

Q. Have you had a chance to readjust your goals or your mindset now; with all of the talk of Annika dominating, why not you?

MEG MALLON: Well, I know better than anybody, when you're playing well, you have to ride it and ride it as long as you can. Certainly I'm going to try and do that and take this confidence that certainly the weekend gave me and try and ride that, and hopefully have a great rest of the year.

Q. (Inaudible.)

MEG MALLON: Well, you know, where I was mentally with my putting, in a way. Because I was hitting the ball really well and I was actually getting more frustrated because I wasn't getting anything out of my rounds because I was missing those, you know, two 4 footers a round. And you talk about two shots a round, you're giving some great players a lot of leeway. My teacher had come in last week and he knew I was a mental mess about my putting and we just tried to get something a little bit clearer in my head. Even when I was missing on the first three days, it was just like, okay, hang in there; I missed one less today.

For whatever reason, it was great. It just came together on Sunday and I didn't even come close to missing any of those putts. It was a lot of fun. I'm normally a very, very good putter. So I guess that's why it was even that much more frustrating for me because I could not figure out why I was not putting as well. Hopefully it will take off now.

Q. You've jumped to second on the Money List.

MEG MALLON: That's not bad.

Q. Do you pay attention to that at all? Do you follow the stats or anything like that?

MEG MALLON: No. I'm a stats person, I try to use them to improve my game, what my greens in regulation are. That's really what matters to me are greens regulation and putts per green in regulation are really the two most important stats, maybe birdies per round.

Now, you know, going from, I think it was 20th to second on the Money List is just amazing how one tournament on our schedule affects it. I don't think any tournament on the men's tour affects their Money List like our U.S. Open does. It's huge. You start to think all of the things. I'm going to be still qualified for the U.S. Open when it's at Pebble Beach and I'll be 50 years old, and I'm thinking, "I'm not even going to be playing by then." All of those things go through your head; like I'm exempt now, I don't have to worry about trying to qualify for the U.S. Open or any of that stuff for the rest of my career. Those are the kind of things that are going through my head now which are find of fun to think about.

Q. Has it sunk in yet, how good you played?


Q. It really hasn't. It was an amazing round?

MEG MALLON: It was. Saturday, too. I shot 10 under on the weekend of the U.S. Open. I felt like I was messing with the golf gods of the USGA. I've played in so many Opens and I've seen so many players get to that 10 under plateau and just get murdered and I thought, okay, well, maybe that experience helped me, too. Like all right, don't start messing with me, guys, like it's not a difficult event because it is the most difficult event we play.

But when you have a day like that, you've just got to let it happen and enjoy it. Fortunately, I had known all of those things, and I knew that that was the way to handle it and approach it. It just worked out great.

Q. (Inaudible.)

MEG MALLON: When I'm 50, I can't imagine. Although when I came out here on TOUR and I said, if I'm out here when I'm 30, somebody shoot me, so thank got that didn't happen. You just have this perspective of age and how long you're going to play. I just can't picture myself playing professional golf at 50.

Q. What will you do?

MEG MALLON: Hopefully helping what I was talking about earlier, those younger kids get exposure to the game and I'll still be involved if the game of golf and certainly the growth of it.

Q. The other aspect the international players on the LPGA and the PGA, as far as growth on the LPGA in particular, it will be great for the world inaudible?

MEG MALLON: We are the only tour that guarantees that the best player from every country is playing against each other every week. Not even the PGA TOUR can say that because they have the European Tour playing and they have the Canadian Tour and the Asian Tour that are successful.

Our level of skill and the players from all over the world, this is where they want to be is on the LPGA. And it's a great competitive environment and a great learning experience for us North Americans to learn all of these other cultures that we are not normally exposed to.

Thanks a lot, you guys. Have a fun week.

End of FastScripts.

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