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July 23, 2000

Meg Mallon


RHONDA GLENN: Meg Mallon, I know you're disappointed, came very close, particularly after the 11th hole today, but just tell us how things went in your mind, and playing with the leader all day.

MEG MALLON: Well, it was an interesting day. You know, we started out and I knew Karrie was not quite on. I've played with Karrie quite a bit and when she's on, she's unbeatable. So, I just felt like, you know, stick to my game plan, make pars, try and make birdies when I get a chance, and I made a really good par on the par 5 to stay in there. So, she wasn't too far away from me, and you don't expect her to make a double-bogey like she did on 7. And then on 8, she made a tremendous par. I think that's what turned her around, as far as the day goes. My birdie on 9 was the longest putt of the week, very happy about that. I don't know what happened from 9 to 10, but I just putted horribly on the back side, more 3-putts -- basically it was a nightmare for me on the back, the way I putted.

Q. That wasn't like how you typically put. Can you explain that?

MEG MALLON: I wish I could. That's why the Golf Channel exists, to explain things like that. You know, I didn't have -- all week, I didn't have the speed of these greens, basically, and I don't know why -- and I don't know why. I felt like I was just getting by on putting this week. I hit the ball so well. I hit it so close when I made my birdies. I hit it so close; I had to make birdie. And then when I got far away on 10, you know, I had a 75-footer and leave it 20 feet short. I could not believe I was that far off on the speed of the green and then I have what I think is a downhill putt on the par 5, just hit something to feed in there and it doesn't even take the roll, and again I'm 15, 16 feet short. So, after a while it gets in your head a little bit and I think that's how I missed the putt, the 3-putt on the next hole on 13. I felt like I made two good strokes there. I don't know, I'll have to look at the video. Maybe I'm looping it. I have no idea what I'm doing. And then I missed that little one and now all of the sudden, I feel like I can't putt at all. It's just amazing mentally what the game does to you in a matter of seconds. But, fortunately, I still went out there and hit the ball well. I didn't want to let it get to me as far as still trying to challenge Karrie and still trying to play. I still hit the shots into the greens; that at least gave me chances coming in. But it just doesn't go in. Even on 18 when I didn't make the putt to finish second alone, I said, okay, I brought John in, I said, "I'm going to let you read your first green of the week and if you're right I'm going to kill you, because I've been missing all week." He said left lip, and I missed it on the left lip and it lipped right out. That was pretty much the epitome of my week right there.

Q. Karrie just mentioned on the TV side she felt like it was a U.S./foreigner thing. Did you feel like the crowd was trying to urge you on?

MEG MALLON: I'm wearing my stripes today. I was trying anything. I'm from the Midwest, too. I kept hearing my high school, my college. I kept hearing lots of things, not just USA. You know, it was really a neat feeling. People were really cheering me on. I think they wanted to see a good golf tournament is what it came down to. I know Karrie was excited when she saw the Australian flag on the 15th hole and that gave her a lift in her spirits a little bit. But I think that the crowd was great here. I thought they reacted great to the golf tournament, came out to watch women's golf and watched a pretty good show and watched the best players in the world win the U.S. Open.

Q. You looked like you were going to make a big move at the turn and then there was a two-stroke swing at 10. What did that do for the outcome of the whole tournament?

MEG MALLON: That's Karrie right there. I wish we had a match play tournament. I mean, when she smells blood, she's like an animal. And she knew I was going to 3-putt that hole and she made a birdie; two-shot swing and she took off there. I think that developed a lot of confidence for her. You know, I'm not sure what she was thinking on her side. I'm sure she was trying to get it back on the center of the club face and get it to the hole like she's used to. And she had such a good day yesterday; it was probably a little hard for her to be off in the beginning, but she settled down and played really well coming in.

Q. You talked all week about chances and wanting to win another Open. How many do you think you'll have after today?

MEG MALLON: I don't know. I'm happy to say that the combined ages of Naree and Aree are at least still older than I am; so at least I've got a couple more years left in me. I don't know, Juli Inkster is an inspiration. She won at 39, and is playing quite well at 40. You know, I love this tournament. I'm always going to give it my all and give it my best. You know, I'm shaking my head right now. I have no idea why after I win two majors in '91, I've had nothing but heartbreaks in majors since. It's God's little sense of humor, I guess. I don't know. But, I like the golf course next year, so, hopefully I can again have another chance and play a little bit better than I did today.

Q. Can you put in context what Karrie has accomplished at such a young age? And the comparisons always seem to be to Tiger. Is that in a way just taking a little bit from her? Shouldn't she be able to stand by herself?

MEG MALLON: I think it's kind of cool to be compared to Tiger Woods especially after what he's been doing. Karrie has been fabulous. I don't think people talk about her like they talk about Tiger. You know they talk about Tiger like he's a God and nobody can catch him and this and that. And I feel like Karrie has played the same way. She's played so well. She's proven herself every time. You guys say, well, she hasn't done this. Well, she comes out and wins the U.S. Open. I hope you all give her the credit she deserves. Sometimes when a player makes it look as easy as she does, it's hard to appreciate how great she is. She's only 25 years old, and she's just hitting -- she has not even gotten mature yet. So, I don't know. I this she's not going to go away for a long time. You guys are going to finally give her her credit and due that she deserves.

Q. Do you think she's clearly the No. 1 player, or do you think Inkster has got three of the last six; Karrie has won three of the last six; Sorenstam has always won a lot this year. Is it a three-way fight for No. 1?

MEG MALLON: Yeah, I mean, how good is that? I mean, what's great about our tour right now is that we do have some players that are at least fighting for the No. 1 spot. I think Karrie has proven that she's the No. 1 player this week, hands down. Winning the U.S. Open -- she did win Nabisco, didn't she? I think I finished second to her there, too. (Laughter.) So, maybe I'm the second best player in the world. (Laughter.) But what Juli has been doing, she's a great player. You've seen her through her career and when she's on her streaks she's unbeatable and she's played awesome throughout her career that way. Annika is one of the most difficult people to beat when she's on, and Karrie is probably the most talented player out here. So, it's a great combination of three people that are on their games right now.

Q. Considering the scores that have won the last couple of Opens, how would you rate this golf course and where would you rank it in terms of being host of an Open in the future?

MEG MALLON: Well, it's pretty good when only three people finish under par. I think the USGA is happy about that. I think last year it got way from them a little bit so they tightened the fairways and raised the rough a little bit. I still haven't figured these greens out so, I don't know. But I thought this played as difficult as any open course, and it was probably in its most benign conditions, because it didn't blow like it usually did. Apparently it blows about 25 out here, and it could have been 95 degrees. So considering that did not happen, thank goodness for us, the scores were pretty good, considering. I think they did a good job of determining the best player and that's what you want to do in a U.S. Open.

Q. What does it say to you that Karrie was able to do what she did today when she was not playing her best game? Obviously, she had problems on the front nine.

MEG MALLON: And that's a tribute to a great player, knowing how to handle it. She has been used to hitting it so well and everything going the right way, and today she started out with a little adversity, and handled it quite well, which I'm happy for her. I know that was a great surprise for her to be able to do that. That's bad for the rest of us, but probably another hump that she's gotten over.

RHONDA GLENN: Meg, there's something I want to ask you about. It's been a very dramatic week in, my mind. You started the beginning of the week, LPGA founders were here, Patty Berg who won the first Women's Open in 1946, at the age of 82 gave a golf clinic; Kathy Whitworth, the all-time winner was here; Pat Bradley announced that it was her last Women's Open; Nancy Lopez appears to certainly beyond her peak with her injuries; and then with what happened to Betsy King yesterday. We may be seeing a whole demise of great generation of players.

MEG MALLON: Demise? (Laughter.)

RHONDA GLENN: They are clearly past their peak and age factor and injuries are coming into it. You've been around this tour for a while. Would you just kind of reflect on the week, and is there truly a changing of the guard?

MEG MALLON: I feel very fortunate to be in a place of the Tour that I am right now. Because I came out when, again like I said yesterday, Lopez, Daniel, Bradley, Sheehan, Alcott, were at their peak of their career, and they were unbelievable. I mean, the fact that they won all of those tournaments competing against each other was incredible. And then, you know, seeing Laura, Charlotte, Karrie, Annika come through, the next general race of players that have taken over the torch, it's pretty cool to be in the middle of that and play against both general races. It's also very difficult to win when you are going against those great players. But I feel fortunate that I have 12 victories in there and feel fortunate that I was able to play with both generations of players. And I did get to play with Kathy Whitworth, which was truly a treat, before she retired, and a woman that has 88 victories. I love the history of our tour and I love the way the USGA brought in our founding mothers. And they was bouncing around here and having a great time, and that was a treat for me to be able to be around them.

Q. At this point in your career, finishing second, do you get any satisfaction out of that?

MEG MALLON: Sucks. It just sucks (Laughter.) It doesn't feel good. I'm disappointed. It hurts like nothing else. It's being brought to the dance and your date leaving you is basically how it feels. (Laughs).

Q. That's sort of the question I was going to ask when you got to the locker room --

MEG MALLON: A little more eloquent answer than that.

Q. You were able to sit and think for a moment. Do you feel like this is one that got away from you?

MEG MALLON: Not necessarily. Not the same feeling I had in 1995. I was fortunate to be against the greatest player in our tour right now, which is a pretty big hole to be in. I think the disappointment yesterday was making the double-bogey on 17 and getting that far back from her. But then again, I get a new life at the turn and, you know, game on, tie game. But, unfortunately it just didn't happen for me on the back nine. I can't explain it. Maybe I need to go into therapy, I have no idea. But sometimes I'm a great back nine player and other times, I just can't get it going. I've gone head-to-head with Karrie probably four or five times, and we're even. So, I've got to do it on a more dramatic stage, I guess.

Q. I know you don't want to, but could you tell us how far your first putt was on your 3-putt greens?

MEG MALLON: First putt on 10 was 75 feet. The pin was 25 yards back. Then, No. 12, I had -- I think I had 18 paces back, so, what, 54 feet. And then I had a 30-footer on 13. Oh, yeah, 14. A 30-footer again there on 14.

Q. What was the longest putt you made?

MEG MALLON: The long putt that I made was a 30-footer.

Q. Your ball at 10 was not on the green?


Q. Knowing that you had not been comfortable with getting the speed of the greens all week, did you think about using something other than the putter?

MEG MALLON: I did. But the grass was growing the right direction, so it was -- I feel like it's always better to use a flat stick in a situation where you can, and I felt like that was the best play. I thought it would roll smoothly, which it did; it rolled smoothly right through that grass. You always go to the club you're most comfortable with, and that's what I was most comfortable with.

Q. Before the back nine even started, you made up four shots to the greater player in the world. Tell me your emotions; when you hit the putt and the crowd went nuts, what were you thinking?

MEG MALLON: I got chills because I had not heard that all week because I had not made a long putt all week. It was really cool. Roger Maltbie came up to me afterwards and he said, "Maybe you can get it rolling now." But it was so good to just feel -- you know, I hit my line, I hit my spot, and it actually went in the hole. And that was what was happening to me this week: I was either not reading them correctly or I was getting the speed wrong. And it just felt so good to have it all come together on a decently-sized putt, a 30-footer, and have it go in?

Q. At that point what were you thinking for the rest of the round? Were you thinking, "I've got her and I'm going for it"?

MEG MALLON: No, I wasn't thinking "I've got her." I was thinking, "This is where I want to be. This is where I want to be." Obviously, I've got nine holes and we're all even. My mindset was good. The only thing that was hard was we were being timed from the 8th hole on. So I felt like I didn't want to get two shots, being slow. And the only thing I felt was I rushed my tee shot on 10; and I blocked it right, so, I felt like I got out of sync there a little bit, trying not to take too much time. I mean, not that it's an excuse, but it's a little disconcerting to know that we were on the clock. We were on the clock I think until the 16th hole. So, just having that in the back of your mind doesn't help. I'm not using it as an excuse, but it didn't help.

RHONDA GLENN: Okay. Let's go over the birdie on 9. The putt was 30 feet long.

MEG MALLON: Yeah, I had hit a 7-wood in there. That hole was playing really long today. I hit it 30 feet. 11, I really miss-hit this 4-iron. (Laughs.) It landed about 10 yards short of the green and rolled up about three feet short of the hole and I made that for birdie. And then we talked about all of the 3-putts. The next three holes 12, 13, 14, I 3-putt, and then I managed to 2-putt my way in. You know, just one disappointment after another, not being able to give Karrie a good run at it on the back side and not being able to make the putt on 18, to at least finish second, one disappointing thing after another.

Q. How long was your putt on 18?

MEG MALLON: It was 10 feet on 18.

Q. How will you swallow this? How do you get over this?

MEG MALLON: You know, I think I beat myself up too much after 1995. I'm not going to do that again. I've got to take the positives out of this and say, okay, you know, I'm four or five shots away from beating the best player in the world in the National Championship. Hopefully, I'll use it in a good direction and win the next tournament I play in and win the next major I play in and use it as a positive, to say I did a lot of good things to get to this position. Just didn't happen for me, and hopefully the mature Meg Mallon will do that.

Q. How do you feel about being timed in the last group playing for the U.S. Open Championship?

MEG MALLON: Well, I knew we were going to we got behind. We got out of position, and that's their job to keep everything flowing in the field, not only for the field, but for television and everything else, so that we're not getting too far behind. It's a little tough. You know, I complemented them yesterday on not doing that to Betsy and I because of the unusual circumstances that we had, and they were great in not doing that. But, they were in every -- they had every right to do that to us today. I wish we had caught up a little bit sooner, so that I didn't feel like I was on the clock on every shot.

RHONDA GLENN: Meg, thank you very much.

MEG MALLON: Thanks a lot you guys.

End of FastScripts....

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