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November 23, 2003

Meg Mallon


PAUL ROVNAK: Meg, thanks for joining us. Congratulations.

MEG MALLON: Thank you. Thank you, thank you.

PAUL ROVNAK: You said out there you didn't think a lot of people thought your name would be on the check. You tore it up on the back side. Tell us about it and then we'll take some questions.

MEG MALLON: Well, gosh, I started out better than I did yesterday. So I felt a little bit more comfortable. Even though I -- did I bogey the first hole? I think I did. No, I parred the first hole. But I just felt more comfortable on the golf course. And as the day went on, I felt better about my swing, felt better about hitting at flags and started getting good numbers, started swinging. And just the back side was awesome. I felt really, really good over the putter. Then that in turn turned over into my iron play and I felt like I could hit it closer to the hole. It was great fun. I knew Annika was 1-under or so or 2-under. And I knew what I had to do. I thought, well, it would be pretty cool to birdie the last four holes. Which I almost did. Just to play this golf course like that just feels so good. It's not necessarily facing down the No. 1 player, but facing down your own demons on the golf course is pretty difficult. And that part was a lot of fun.

PAUL ROVNAK: Questions?

Q. Does this make up for Ohio State?

MEG MALLON: Well, far beyond. I got my national championship last year. We don't want to be too greedy.

Q. What does a win like this mean to you?

MEG MALLON: I can't put it into words right now because this year has been difficult for a various amounts of reasons. And I just have not been able to pull my game together for four rounds. Like I talked about the other day. I think the even par I had yesterday was, would have been my 74, 75 all year. I think pulling that together helped me go into today. Saying well I didn't shoot myself out of it. I still have a chance. It's just great. It's just absolutely great. You never know when you're going to win another golf tournament. I won last year, I think in August or September. The older you get, I hate to say it, but it just feels so much better to win tournaments.

Q. Can you talk about what was going through your mind when you're sitting in the scoring tent, Annika is lining up her putt?

MEG MALLON: Well, see, I'm Irish so I'm saying she's going to make it. You always say that. You always throw it out there so in case it happens you're not surprised. But I thought she was -- she relishes that moment too. She loves to have a chance to tie or win with a putt. We all do. We all play for that. I'm glad I gave her an opportunity to have to do that on 18. That was pretty cool. I was very much feeling like there was going to be a playoff. Because I felt like that putt was just kind of straight uphill into the grain. I don't know how she missed it. I just know she missed it. I don't know if she missed it left or right. I don't know. I just assumed she was going to make it.

Q. You're obviously very popular out here with the players, how much does it means to you just to kind of have that kind of respect and admiration from your peers?

MEG MALLON: It's great. I think that hopefully you end your career with more friends than you started. And I feel like I can say that. That being said too, I think that the Solheim Cup with that kind of camaraderie and sense that I've gotten from my fellow American players, we kind of have that all in us now. I think we all cheer for each other if we can't win. It's nice to have Lorie Kane and Rosie and those guys come up after a round. I've won a lot of tournaments, so it's not like it's the first win or like it's that excitement. But it's really neat to have your fellow professionals wait -- they could have left, they could have gone home or gone on their trips. And they stayed to do that. I thought that was great.

Q. When Annika is leading and there is this assumption of, "Oh, she's going to win", this feeling, is it irritating to the players or talk about your feelings.

MEG MALLON: I think any player would be irritated by that. That's a good question. I don't know how that's going to come out of my mouth on to the paper, but I know what you mean. It's, it's something -- but also she's setting a standard. I need to play better to beat her. And I did it today. I need to do that more often next year. But I know I can do it. I've done it before and hopefully I'll do it in the future. But, yeah, you get a little bit of a burr in your side. But you also know that you've, there's something you can do about it. Play better.

Q. It looked for awhile like it was going to be Cristie - Annika kind of duelling it out today on the front nine?

MEG MALLON: Yeah, she seemed to hang in there well and played with her well too.

Q. What was going through your mind and what was the key thing that kind of got you going?

MEG MALLON: A little bit of luck on number 10, I think. It held up -- because it didn't hit any rocks. I felt it was enough to carry over there, but the wind came up and knocked it down. Kind of like it did to Beth's ball on 16. It knocked it down instead of carrying it forward. You need those kind of things. And that kind of turned me around a little bit as far as, "Okay, I got my break. So let's go play and go make some swings." My whole key today was to make my teacher proud. Because we had a lesson two weeks ago and I just, it just wasn't clicking in. And I said, "Just go out and play today. Go find it and swing. And every shot make your teacher proud." So I was just trying to do that. And I just started feeling it. I just really started feeling it on the back side. The hole looks like a bucket then and there's nothing like that.

Q. (Inaudible.)

MEG MALLON: Yes, exactly. We had lessons and played a round for a couple of days, which is nice that he came down. He'll do that probably two or three times a year and he'll come down here. He's got about eight or nine players he works with on tour.

Q. (Inaudible.)

MEG MALLON: No. No. But I did get to talk to my mom, which is great.

Q. Do you recall the last time you won like this sitting there and somebody finishes with bogey?

MEG MALLON: Usually I'm the one that has to make the putts or the birdies or something to win the tournament. So I kind of like this sitting and waiting for somebody else to. And it was kind of, that was fun, a fun way to do it. My next goal is to win by 10 shots. I really want to know what that feels like.

Q. Do you remember the last time that happened?

MEG MALLON: When I won the U.S. Open I had to wait an hour for everybody to finish, so that one I remember waiting. Every one of my wins I think has been within two or three shots, so it's always been interesting at the end.

Q. How often does that happen in the course of a year where you just start feeling it like you did on the back side? How rare is that for you?

MEG MALLON: Well that's what you look for. They talk about the zone, it really is. I still feel like I'm in it. I still feel like I could go out and play and make 12 more birdies. It's just everything you see clearly, everything, every number is right. The wind is perfect. The shot you're going to -- the swing you're going to make is going to be the right one no matter what you do. It's wonderful. It's what we practice like hours and hours and hours, just to get to that moment to have that chance to do that.

Q. Have you felt that at all this year in any other round?

MEG MALLON: No. I haven't. And the two times that I was tied for the lead going in to Sunday, I was uncomfortable. I didn't swing well, therefore I finished second, I didn't go out and win it. And today I went out and won it.

Q. How tough was the wait on 16?

MEG MALLON: It was tough. Because Beth wasn't deciding what's she was going to do. And it's too bad. But she was playing really well too, which kind of helped. She's such a great ball-striker and such a great playing partner that she was playing well at that time too. And the waits yesterday were far worse than that. I knew that we had a couple holes and we were kind of waiting on the group in front of us. So we kind of let them have a little bit of gap. Plus I also thought on 16 I'm glad I don't have to wait on 17. I can just step up and hit my shot.

Q. Your tee shot on 17, was that exactly what you wanted to do.

MEG MALLON: Well I wanted to let the wind slide it. I wanted to take it at the hole and let the wind slide it. And I pulled it just slightly, but I knew it was fine because of the way I hit it. I knew the wind would just hold it out, so it worked out great. It actually pitched into the hill, it could have rolled over a little closer, but it turned out fine. I knew I didn't have too much club to go through on the left side. I was a little pumped up too.

Q. What did you hit there?

MEG MALLON: I hit a little 6-iron there.

Q. Are you aware of what Annika is doing on the back? Are you trying to catch her or are you just trying to play your game?

MEG MALLON: No, I'm trying to make birdies. I'm aware, yes, I know what the score is, I know what I need to get to, but I'm not saying Annika is at what whatever, I'm saying the winning score is at 6-under, 7-under, that's what I need to get to.

Q. Talk about being in the zone, but it's also been a long year, so are you happy or sad that it's over?

MEG MALLON: That it's over, I know, really. Well, no, I would like to play a couple more tournaments right now, obviously. But also off -season is the off-season. I'm ready to go home and get ready. Go through the holidays and then start January working and working out and practicing and getting ready for the next year.

Q. The tee shot at 5, was that important at all in the sense that the first par-3, you lost it right. You were not happy about that shot?

MEG MALLON: Yeah, and I hit a really good putt there, I lipped out on that. Yeah, that was a bad swing. That was going against my goal for the day. And that kind of made me bear down a little bit. Because then everything was left-to-right for a little while and you really can't lose it on those holes left-to-right. So, yeah, that was, that made me a little upset.

Q. The only bad swing of the day or were there others?

MEG MALLON: Yeah, pretty much. That one -- and I hit a really good recovery shot, because I had a bad lie down there. And to let that out and then not make birdie on the next hole and then I almost made birdie on the next. So things just started to click in after that.

Q. It seemed look you pulled your drive a little bit on that hole?

MEG MALLON: Well, that's the mistake. That's the error. The error to the left instead of error to the right. Yeah, that's my game.

Q. How big of a deal is it to you to have a victory this year? Would it have made that much of a difference in how you feel about yourself and your game if you just had a top-5 finish and gone off into the off-season?

MEG MALLON: You know, personally, I needed it. I needed to see myself perform well on Sunday. Because it had been awhile. I usually relish Sundays and really like to go out there and have good finishes. So I needed that for me personally, definitely.

Q. That you can still do it or what?

MEG MALLON: Yeah, to do it on Sunday. I know I can still do it. I just didn't do it this year. And that was disappointing in itself.

PAUL ROVNAK: Meg, take us over your scorecard. Start with the bogey.

MEG MALLON: That was the blemish of the day. That turned me around, that first bogey there.

I hit a 4-iron, flaring it up to the right and hit it in the rough. I hit a pitch shot up to probably I had, let's say 10 feet and 2-putted for bogey.

Then number 8, I hit an 8-iron to 12 feet. Made that for birdie.

No. 11, the par-3, I hit a 7-iron to 15 feet and made that.

13, I hit a 7-wood to probably about 16 or 17 feet there. Made that.

15, I hit a sand wedge to probably about 8 feet.

16, I hit a 7-iron to a foot and a half.

17, I hit a 6-iron to we'll call that 15 feet. And that is it. That was it. 5-under.

PAUL ROVNAK: 2-under on the last three holes for the week.

MEG MALLON: I may have been.

Q. (Inaudible.)

MEG MALLON: Yeah, it is. Playing those last three holes, I saw a lot of train wrecks for four days on those holes. I played them very solidly. And 13 I think I might have played 2-under even. Which is another good hole.

Q. Was that driver off of 10 that you caught the break with?

MEG MALLON: Well, no, the break was my second shot. I hit it into the hazard, but I had a shot there.

Q. How far was that chip?

MEG MALLON: Gosh, I was probably about 10 to 12 yards away from the pin.

Q. What do you do tomorrow or tonight for celebrating?

MEG MALLON: Well, ask my sister. Yeah, we will, we'll go home and have a nice dinner and celebrate. I'm the youngest of six kids, so I'll probably spend most of the night on the phone.

Q. As successful as your career has been do you feel a little bit at all under- appreciated or wish you had been a star more?

MEG MALLON: No, that's not my style. I've not -- I'm not a seeker of that. And half of me is, I never expected to win a golf tournament on the LPGA Tour and then when I did I expected to win more. So I don't have any sense of feeling that I need to be a poster child.

Q. Annika was in here saying that her coach was watching you on the range today, talking about how every one knows how good you are. And his comment to her was he couldn't understand why you don't win out here more, because he was watching your swing.

MEG MALLON: Yeah, because she's winning so much. Yeah, I hear that a lot. "You got such a good swing, a good putting stroke." But so many factors are involved in winning as you know, and only one person can do it. And certainly I would like to do it 10 times a year. It's just it doesn't happen. But I'm glad I did today.

Q. Are you too unselfish to win more? You seem like you're that you don't have that tunnel vision, take no prisoners?

MEG MALLON: I know, but I still think you can win with that mentality. This a selfish game. I don't know, you know, what too unselfish to win means. Because I know that that's my goal week in and week out is to do it. But the things that I need to do, I have to work hard at it. Sometimes it doesn't all come together. So, I don't know how to answer that question. Am I too unselfish? I don't know.

Q. When people say that you, they're surprised you haven't won more, do you take that as a compliment or does it feel almost like a judgment?

MEG MALLON: Kind of like that irritating little burr in the side thing again. Because it is a compliment, yes. But then again it's sort of a sense of disappointment. But not, certainly not coming from me. I enjoy the wins and know that how difficult it is to win.

Q. In that regard, if you don't win, it's not the end of the world for you, because some people if they don't win they think about it forever?

MEG MALLON: That's not the way it is with me. I didn't grow up that way. I grew up with perspective. So I play golf for a living. Winning a golf tournament, yes, I work hard for that, that's what I want to do. But I can walk away from it and not beat myself up, no.

Q. How long have you lived in the area?

MEG MALLON: Let's see, three years now, I guess. Yeah. I moved here from Scottsdale. I lived in Scottsdale for almost 13 years. And then moved to Florida. I built this big house in Scottsdale, my family never came to see me. I got a condo on the beach and they all come to see me in Florida, so.

Q. Do you think by beating Annika you might have struck a blow for every one whose played against her?

MEG MALLON: You guys act like it's the first time. I've beaten her before. You know what, I'm sure they're saying, "Geez, if Meg can do it, anybody can do it." Right? Open that door wide open. Yeah.

PAUL ROVNAK: All set? All right. Thank you, Meg.

MEG MALLON: Thank you, a lot, guys, it's been a great week. Thanks very much.

End of FastScripts.

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