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November 21, 2002

Meg Mallon


MEG MALLON: Started out on the first hole making a very good par. I had about a 16-footer for par and made that putt. I thought, well, maybe that will spark a good round. Fortunately, it did.

A couple of mistakes, just a 3-putt that I had on the sixth hole, I believe. On the sixth hole I was down below that ridge and putted about six feet by and missed that. And then first putt was probably a good 50 feet.

Then on 18, I made a mistake off the tee box. And that's what makes this golf course so good is, you make a mistake, you get penalized if you play well, you hit good shots, you don't.

The greens were very receptive today. The fairways, also, did not run out like they did last year because it was playing very hard and fast last year. With the amount of rain we've gotten in the last week, it was a lot softer. So it just opened up the golf course a lot compared to last year.

Q. Can you talk about what this would mean if you were to win?

MEG MALLON: It would mean a lot of things, I would say: Getting my 15th win, which would be pretty cool, and keeping my career going as I like it, to win golf tournaments. I started out not playing many tournaments this year, and played more towards the end. Started playing a lot better, and then the season was over. I didn't go overseas and play in Japan and Korea.

It's nice to have a tournament to play in because I knew I was playing well and I had won late in the year and played well in the Solheim Cup and felt like just needed a little more golf to play. So I guess I was excited for this to get going, where a lot of players this time of year are worn out, they have been overseas, they are ready for our year to end. I've been in that position before. So I have a little bit different mental framework than a lot of players right now.

Q. Compared to last year, was this just more fun today?

MEG MALLON: Yeah, well, you know what I think I shot like 68 the first round last year, I'm not sure. And I like playing in the wind. I'm a little sick like that. I like the challenge of it. I get very creative in the wind and I love playing in it. I won Montreal this year with 40-mile-an-hour winds on Sunday. So I like the challenge of that.

But it was an exhausting week by the time we were done, because it was just getting beaten up every single day, and on a golf course that just throws a lot of action at you, with so many hazards and so many bunkers and greens that are very undulating; and the greens were a lot grainier this year because it was a new are golf course. They are rolling wonderfully this year and a lot truer. So I think you'll see more putts being made this year than last year.

Q. Inaudible?

MEG MALLON: That's just Annika. There may be a couple other players who step up there and shoot a low round.

Yeah, I'd like to be playing with Annika, though, in the last group that. Would be great.

Q. Do you expect to find her in the top two or three?

MEG MALLON: Absolutely. It's where she expects to be and it's what she's done for the last few years now.

Q. Do you expect to see her more so on a Sunday on the leaderboard or rising on the leaderboard?

MEG MALLON: I don't know, I haven't really been in that position to say that she's been coming from behind because usually she's ahead going into Sundays. Usually you're chasing her.

You've still got to go out and play your game. You've got to go out there and try to make as many birdies as you can. Certainly, you know she's not going to make a mistake. That's why it's hard to play her. She minimizes her mistakes better than any player in golf, all of golf. She hardly makes a mistake. So that means that you need to go out and be mistake-free or make a ton of birdies.

Q. (Inaudible.)

MEG MALLON: Aggressively, maybe, yeah, hitting it. Depends if the golf course dictates that, absolutely. You know she's going to bring her best, which is why she's No. 1, and you would have to go out and play really solid golf. She's had bad days sometimes, but you can't count on that. So your mindset would be to go out and be aggressive and make birdies, definitely.

Q. (Inaudible.)

MEG MALLON: How about her first victory, U.S. Open, yeah. I was five shots ahead of her at the U.S. Open, and -- it's a good memory. I had a putt on the last hole to tie her, but Jerry Potter said I'm the one that kick-started her career. So I guess I'll take credit for that. That's the one that sticks out in my mind.

When I won the du Maurier, our major, she was two groups behind me and I beat her on that one. I played her in match-play about nine times; I could go through that. That's a lot of fun. Beat her bad the first time, but she's hurt me ever since. But I beat her in the Solheim Cup this year.

I've played her a lot, actually, head-to-head golf, and it's fun, because you know if you have beaten her, you've played pretty darned good, and that's a really gratifying feeling, just to be one of the best that's ever played.

Q. That putt at the U.S. Open, was it for birdie?

MEG MALLON: On 18, yeah. It was for birdie. Probably about 22 feet. I think I missed it to the left.

Q. Playing at home, is that a good thing or is it more stressful?

MEG MALLON: That's a good question because it has been stressful this week. It's been action-packed, just getting tickets and everything. It's been so busy. But once today started, I was able to relax, which is usually the case for us. As soon as you get inside the ropes, the tournament starts and you relax and things are where they are supposed to be.

But preparation coming into this was hard because I was taken away a lot from not being able to practice that much and that was very frustrating.

Q. What time of day --

MEG MALLON: This morning it was 20 minutes and yesterday it was 40 minutes. Depends on I-95 and if I have to get off on Congress or Federal or whatever.

Q. (Inaudible.)

MEG MALLON: No. My sister is coming in tomorrow.

Q. After the year Annika had last year, if someone had told you she was going to top it this year, would that have surprised you?

MEG MALLON: No, probably not. I wouldn't have said ten wins -- and she won in Australia and in Sweden, so what does she have, 12 win this is year? That's incredible. You wouldn't say that about Tiger. It's just -- golf doesn't allow that anymore. What she has done is incredible.

You know, people go out and set goals to be No. 1. She is, I think, gone beyond her expectations. It's pretty exciting to see in this era. I've studied our history and know what Mickey Wright did and what Kathy Whitworth did, and those years where they won, 10,11, 13 times in a year, but they were playing against 20, 30 people. That's pretty impressive, what she's doing.

Q. (Inaudible.)

MEG MALLON: Yeah, and worldwide. That was really exclusively American tour. So it's pretty good stuff.

You know, she was a good collegiate player. She kind of went through the same way I did because I was a conditional player my first couple of years, too. I talked to her when she first came on TOUR, I said you can make it as a conditional player, don't worry about it, you'll get in tournaments. She just had a great work ethic then. I also know Pia Nilsson pretty well, and the mentality and mental strength that they were building along the way there, and I knew that was a great combination. What she is doing now, I never would have predicted that, but certainly I knew she would be a very good player out here.

Q. You were talking earlier and you said to get your career back to where you wanted it to be heading, and you've been one of the top players out here but now it's been Karrie and Annika and Se Ri and you have gone down a little bit. Have you taken a step back and looked at your career, and said, "What did I need to do to get back up there," and just evaluated what it takes?

MEG MALLON: You never, I never really approached it that way. It's always been, how am I going to get my golf game to win a golf tournament. I don't look at other players to see how can I be like them, because I'm not going to be.

And when I get myself where I'm comfortable with my golf swing and my putting is on, I play really good golf, and. I've worked with the same teacher for 16 years and we've had the same routine. You know, I try and make myself a better player every year, and we're on the same wavelength with that.

So as long as I'm winning -- I won again this year. I won a couple of times in 2000. Last year I came close. That's what I want to do. I want to compete and I want to win golf tournaments. If it's multiple events, that's great. But it's getting more and more difficult to do that out here because of the Karries and Annikas and Se Ris, to win multiple events.

3, I hit a sand wedge to four feet.

Then 4, I hit a 9-iron to three feet.

12, I laid up perfectly on a sand divot on 12 and I had 89 yards to the pin. I took a little pitching wedge and hit a punch shot out there of and it spun nicely into the hole and made that.

Then 14, I hit a 5-iron to six feet. Made that.

15, I hit over in the Woody chips on the left in two, pin-high in two, and I hit a little, whatever you want to call it, it was like a bunker shot out of it, to about six feet and made that.

Then 16, I hit it to five feet and I missed it there on 16.

17, I hit a 4-iron pin-high left about 30,33 feet, I guess it was, and knocked that in.

Then 18, I hit sand wedge. Unfortunately, I hit the pin and knocked it about 12 feet away and missed that for bogey.

End of FastScripts....

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