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July 22, 2000

Meg Mallon


RHONDA GLENN: Meg Mallon at 3-under par. The problem with Betsy King's back happened on the 2nd hole. Meg, obviously, you all are friends, but along with that, having the kind of delays and the sort of things that happened out there, it must have been hard on you as a friend and as a player. How did it affect you?

MEG MALLON: I just was sick for Betsy. I didn't know it until the 3rd green. She came out and said, "My back went out." And I thought she did it in the rough, and then she told me she did it on the second tee shot, which I didn't realize. I was standing right there. I didn't hear her make a sound or anything. Only thing I noticed was it took her a long time to walk from 2nd green to tee off on the 3rd tee. You know, one of the bravest rounds I've ever seen anybody play. I'm not sure why she stayed out there. I don't know if it was for me or for her or why she did. She said it felt like it was a knife going through her back every time she swung through it. I felt terrible for her. She is one of the best competitors I've ever played with, and I knew how well she was playing, and I know that she feels like she's not going to have many opportunities like that in her career like this. So, I was sick for her. I give the USGA a lot of credit. They gave her about 10 minutes to get worked on, I think on the 6th tee, to try and work it out a little bit. And she was pumping Advil and her father was giving her Tylenol. Her father was a doctor and he was giving her Tylenol and she was calling me by another name out there and I said, "Betsy, I think you need to stop taking the drugs." And that had to affect her game, too, being heavily medicated. But, it was just unfortunate. I felt terrible for her, and I think three holes behind the deal. And again, I give the USGA credit because they didn't get on her for being behind and being in a situation, and we were almost caught up by 17, which was amazing, too. It was one of the most interesting days I've ever been through. I've been through a lot of interesting days in USGA events, but this was definitely one of them.

RHONDA GLENN: When you fell behind, for instance, besides the fact that you're her good friend and she has a lot of friends who care about her, but you're a player and you're trying to win the Women's Open, too, and you fell behind. Did you get concerned about that? Did you try to rush a little bit in? How did affect your game.

MEG MALLON: I don't really want to blame anything on this or that. It was just an unusual circumstance. Again, by them not saying: "Okay, now you're behind" to us was great, because they knew that we knew we had to catch up. And we're both professional veterans out there and we know what's going on, and they let us alone and let us do that. So, from that aspect, I didn't feel rushed or I didn't feel like they were putting pressure on us or timing us for any reason. I think they understood the unusual circumstances and you know, kind of let us go. I really appreciated that. And with all that in mind, we knew we had to catch up. You know, you play five five-hour rounds the first two days and now all of the sudden you're running around the golf course trying to catch up. So far as having that nice tempo, timing, even-keel kind of day, it was hard keeping up.

Q. How much leaderboard watching were you doing today, and how concerned were you getting about Karrie who seemed to be taking off there for a while?

MEG MALLON: We were playing one hole to every four holes of her, it seemed like. It seemed like she was getting farther, farther and I wasn't even playing a hole yet. I expected that out of her, as we all expected her to play great today. You know, I didn't want her to get too far away, I guess, and the double-bogey on 17 obviously created more of a gap than I wanted to have. But then again, I've seen a lot of funny things happen on Sunday. I don't expect that out of Karrie. She's got one of the strongest heads out here, but I'm going to show up tomorrow and play my heart out, and hopefully, catch her and get close to her.

Q. Was 8 the first leaderboard that you saw? Was that the first time you got an indication of what Karrie was doing?

MEG MALLON: No. I think I saw probably around 4. We have a leaderboard around there somewhere, and I knew she had gotten a couple under already. I think I saw her around 3 or 4.

Q. Can you talk about 14?

MEG MALLON: 14, the pin was back left. So, to me, that's the right play to go over to the right side. The only thing was, I hit my driver just a little too far left; so the big tree came into play a little bit more. I don't know what happened to my second shot. I felt like it was enough to get on the green. The only thing I saw was when it kicked, it kicked in left. I don't know where it hit. I meant to ask Roger where it had hit, but I felt like if it could have kicked forward it would have been okay, at least on the front of the green, but I had to take one less club because I was closer to the tree. Otherwise, it would have been fine. And that's why I go over there, because I feel like bogey is the worst thing I'm going to make from over there, where going the other way, you can have all sorts of numbers, especially with the pin on the left side, I hit an 8-iron. Of course, Betsy proved me wrong and birdied the hole from the conventional way.

Q. Are you surprised there's only two people under par at this point in the tournament? And if so why, and if not, why not?

MEG MALLON: I am, in a way. I'm thankful in a way. But I'm not surprised Karrie played as well as she did, but I am surprised that more players did not shoot under par. It kind of made me feel a little bit better about shooting 1-over, the fact that nobody else really did anything today. But, you know, I can't go out and make double-bogey and make mistakes like I did today and expect to win a golf tournament.

Q. Could you talk about the two lies that you had in the rough on 17? And also, how you hit it into the rough from the fairway?

MEG MALLON: My third shot, yeah, probably my only bad drive of the day on 17. It played into the wind. There's so much strategy on this golf course, because every day it has changed. The wind has been completely different every day. The only direction it has not been is the south, and so we'll expect that tomorrow. It came out of the east today and switched from the north; probably why it is so cold. So, we hit driver there. I've hit 4-woods there the last two days. We hit driver -- maybe I felt like that was a little too much club. It wouldn't have been; I just slowed down a little bit on the swing and turned it over. And I did have the crummiest lie I've seen all week; it looked like someone stepped on it twice and covered it with grass, and it was really bad. I took a big old hearty swing at it, and my club barely got through the grass there. But two mistakes on the same hole, just no excuse. I came off my 7-iron just a little bit and the wind was blowing hard left-to-right. And I'm trying to go for the center of the green, you know, possibly make par or bogey, at worst, and I end up making two mistakes. You know, just that really hurt to do that.

Q. Were you aware at all of your standing at that point? You had gotten it down to two after being down by five. Were you thinking at all by getting it to one by the end of the round?

MEG MALLON: I didn't know Karrie was at 7 until I got to 18. Roger even told me. He said that they changed the board after I left the green on 16. So I thought I was still three back at that point. But, you know, I'm still trying to just make the shots and try to come back a little bit, and that was just a total momentum-buster on 17.

Q. The first fairway you missed was 6, after the delay for Betsy's back, you went over and checked on her in the van. Did you get out of rhythm or anything at 6? You got a ruling there, but you made bogey. Did that delay take you out of any rhythm?

MEG MALLON: I can't say that necessarily, because I did the same thing yesterday, and we were, you know, didn't have any problems. I hit it left there yesterday. I should have made par there. I hit a good shot out of the rough there, and I got a good break by getting a drop where I did. And, that's just what's been missing for me this week is not knocking down those putts that are over five feet. And that's the difference between me not being farther under par. I have not made one putt, I can honestly say, that's been in the 30, 40 range, even 25 range, this week. And boy, if I'm saving them up, boy, I hope they will come tomorrow.

Q. Are you going to come out and attack the course tomorrow, or do you plan on waiting to see how Karrie plays the first few holes, and can you talk about the dynamic of playing head-to-head with her?

MEG MALLON: Yeah, it will be interesting. We've done it before. Although, I don't think I've spotted her that many shots when we've done it before, so it's going to be difficult. I will be aggressive, but not stupid. I did two or three stupid things today that cost me a bogey or a double. I'm going to try to avoid that tomorrow, and just keep giving myself some opportunities. You know, when I hit it well, I hit it really close today. That's what I need to do tomorrow, to try and catch her and be aggressive when I should be, be conservative when the pins are a little tricky.

Q. Do you consider one of those stupid things the way you played 14, or would you have done it again?

MEG MALLON: Oh, no. Like I said, I feel like the worst score I can make is bogey going that way. It was the smartest play for me, the way the wind was blowing and where the pin was. The only thing was, was I just hit it a little too far left. So, I had to hit one shorter club, but I had plenty to get it over the tree and make it over the green. I don't think I got a very good break by the way it bounced.

Q. You said Betsy was calling you by another name? What was she calling you?

MEG MALLON: What did she call me? She said -- it may have been her caddy's name. It may have been Dennis. She said, "Dennis, I'm going to mark." I said, "Okay, Betsy." She said, "I can't believe I just called you that."

Q. I asked Karrie the question about winning the Slam all in one year and she sort of dismissed it as never crossing her mind. One, would you think that she is a player that is capable of doing that; and two, in the time that you've been on Tour, how many other names would you put on the list where you would not dismiss the possibility of a player having done something like that?

MEG MALLON: Yes, I would think Karrie would do that. I also believe Annika could do that. I'm surprised Annika actually this week isn't right there, because this is her style of course and her style of tournament. But, you know, those are the two that stick out in my mind. The ones have done it in the past, obviously, Juli Inkster has done it Pat Bradley. That whole group that came out in the early 70s and 80s that were fabulous players: Patty Sheehan, Amy Alcott, Pat Bradley, Nancy Lopez, they all had the game to do that and the mind to do it. As far as this group goes, probably Laura Davies, Dottie Pepper, Annika, and Karrie sticks out the most for me, who have the mind and the game to adjust to the different -- different ways our majors play.

Q. But all within the same year? In other words, win all four within the same year?

MEG MALLON: Yeah, sure. Absolutely. You know, golf is a momentum game. Look at Juli Inkster. She's just playing on great momentum, and won the last -- two of three majors she's won in a year and a half. Yeah, I think it can be done.

RHONDA GLENN: We have to go over the card, Meg, please. Birdies and bogeys, bogey on No. 6.

MEG MALLON: Well, we talked about 6 a little bit. I just hit -- I hit a 6-iron out of the rough, and it just went down just short of the hazard greenside. I got a drop from an animal hole down there and hit a pitch shot up to probably six feet, and I missed that for bogey. And then No. 9 --

RHONDA GLENN: That was a great club shot.

MEG MALLON: A great club shot, and again missed the putt. You know, you're only as good as the putt you make on those shots. I hit that flop shot to probably good -- about, again, six feet away and I missed that. Then I come back on 10 and I hit it a foot and a half, and I made that one. And then 12, I hit -- oh, I hit a little pitch-and-run with a 9-iron to about a foot and a half and made that for birdie. And then 14, the bogey, I didn't hit a very good pitch shot out of the rough there. I left myself 25 feet and 2-putted for bogey there. And then came back on 15 and hit a 5-iron to what was probably five feet, which was probably about the longest putt I made for birdie this week. And then 16, I hit another 5-iron to two feet and made that for birdie. And then 17, my third shot in was with a 7-iron. Tried to hit some sort of flop and caught a lot of ball and hit it about 30 feet away and 2-putted for double-bogey there. And that's it.

Q. On 6, did you feel you got a break with that ruling there, because that looked as if it had double-bogey written all over it?

MEG MALLON: I don't know if I had double-bogey written all over it. I had a shot, but I was just down in a little area and there's animal holes over there, and that's what the Rules of Golf are for. They are there to protect you, not to hurt you. I had a shot from there. It was just sitting down; there was a series of animal holes, and mine just happened to not be in one, but then when I went to take my stance, I was in one. So John was the star in not letting the ball not go in the water because he had to sit on the rocks to catch it. That was a big opportunity to save par and move on, and unfortunately, I didn't make the putt.

Q. Can you talk about how this might compare to your 1991 experience when with you were almost down I think by -- two shots?

MEG MALLON: It's a little different, because I never had the lead at Colonial. I just kind of crawled my way back into it. I literally woke up Sunday morning and looked at the paper and said, "My gosh, I'm two shots out of the lead" and I just had a lift and a spark and I went out and shot 67 on Sunday. And I had to wait an hour for the leaders to finish. That was awesome. '95 was a totally different experience. I think I had a two- or three-shot lead going into the last round, and, you know, I had a disaster on the 4th hole and tried to fight my way back into the tournament, and did, and almost had a chance to win again. So, I've seen it all. I played with Patty Sheehan when she gave eight shots away to Betsy King to win, and I was playing with her on that 36-hole day. I've seen everything happen in the Open. So, it does a lot of things to you.

Q. Karrie is trying to win her first Open, and this would be your second. How much would you like having another Open title?

MEG MALLON: Well, it just would mean a lot to me, just because -- ever since '91, I have played so well in the majors, and I feel like I've had all of these opportunities to win them, and I've done great to finish in the Top-10, but just for whatever reason have not won. I've either come from behind and come close; I've had the lead and lost the lead. So, I guess in a personal way, I guess I'd like to prove something to myself, that, you know, I'm a person that can win major championships, and a good player, to establish myself out here as a good player, and I think that does that when you win majors.

RHONDA GLENN: Will you be trying to play just one shot at a time, or will you be really watching Karrie and trying to catch up with her?

MEG MALLON: I'm going to play the golf course, as I've done all week. I'm going to see what it gives me, see what pins are difficult, which ones I can go after and be aggressive and ones that I just need to hit it in the center of the green. I want to go out and play my smartest round of golf tomorrow and take advantage of every opportunity that I have, and I know that's the only way that I can catch Karrie and beat her.

End of FastScripts....

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