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June 11, 2000

Meg Mallon


MEG MALLON: Okay, we'll go to No. 2. I hit a 7-iron to about three feet and made that for birdie. And then on No. 3, I think I hit an 8-iron to -- call it 16 feet; made that. And then did I have a bogey on that side? Oh, on 6. 6, I hit a bad second shot. I hit it over the green, left; hit a 5-iron, and then I hit a pitch shot up about 12 feet and I missed that for par. No. 9, I hit a 7-iron to six, seven feet and made that for birdie. No. 11, I hit a sand wedge to three feet and made that. 16, I hit a 7-iron there to three feet. 17, I hit a sand wedge to six feet and made that. I hit it long, left over the green.

Q. Can you talk about your round, and have you ever won a championship under such difficult conditions over four days?

MEG MALLON: Well, there's one thing that's different between this and the other 11 is I've never won when it's under 70 degrees. So for me, I never have. I always want really warm weather, really hot conditions, because I have a hard time swinging in cold weather. I think we went through three seasons today. I haven't played in rain like this in a very long time, and I can't ever remember winning a golf tournament having it this wet outside.

Q. We talked last night about the number of victories that you've had coming from behind. What is there about that in your game, and was there a turning point, do you think, today for you?

MEG MALLON: Well, I don't know if it still counts as coming from behind, because I got the lead kind of early in the back side, and then had to deal with having the lead and trying to build on that. I didn't know what Wendy was at until about the 15th hole, and I asked my caddy, I said, "How do we stand?" I said, "What's going on?" I noticed that's two people at 5-under at that time, and I was at 6-under, and Wendy just kept making birdies; so I had to keep making birdies. And actually I felt like the weather was a bit of a distraction because you had to focus so much, it was raining this hard out there, and you just had to focus on one shot at a time.

Q. (Inaudible.)

MEG MALLON: Well, this is just a soaker. Everything is just so wet. It's such a challenge not only for me, but for the caddie to keep the clubs dry, you know, just to stay focused. It's so easy to hit fat shots out there when it's raining this hard, and, you know you just want to pick them clean, and fortunately, did on the last few holes.

Q. Did you think there was any point they should have stopped it after a while?

MEG MALLON: When we were on 16 green and it welled up -- the pins on 16 and 17 were on the low parts of the green, and that's where the water was accumulating, and I think the whole threesome felt like we wanted to continue playing. And when we found out they could squeegee those two greens, we were fine with it, because once they got the water off, it was fine. So the greens really held up pretty well considering how hard it rained.

Q. Do you think there was some pressure of the tournament, from the officials because of the situation with having to get you out of here and wanting to get it in no matter what happened?

MEG MALLON: I think we were really lucky to get in, and I think they did a good job. They had to pull us out this morning. As a matter of fact, I was part of the Executive Committee meetings on Tuesday to talk about this situation exactly, about what would happen if. And it was unanimous decision that it was more -- most important to finish this event, to have it -- if it went past 9 holes for everybody, then we were going to finish. So we all knew in our heads that we were going to finish this event, whether it took until nine o'clock tonight or the next morning again like we had to do two years ago. So the course may be unplayable now, but the greens, once they squeegeed them were fine. The ball rolled fine and that's really what it comes down to. If the greens go under water and you can't get the water off of them, then you stop play. And fortunately, they didn't have too many groups to deal with to do that. Now, if we were on No. 2 and those holes back there filled, then it would have been called.

Q. Nothing was comprised then by playing in these conditions?

MEG MALLON: No. As a matter of fact they did a great job of getting us off early this morning. Look at it now; there's no way we could have finished now.

Q. (Inaudible.)

MEG MALLON: Well, there was a few scenarios going on because we knew if we finished 9, the tournament's a go. So the whole mindset changes because the whole front side, you don't know whether you're going to, you know, just revert back to 54 holes depending on the weather or if you're continuing to play. You know, when I made that -- I was the last one to putt on 9, when I made that, I knew we got a tournament here; we're finishing it. It was a good feeling. I wanted to play. Obviously, two shots behind, I wanted the tournament to go on today. It was to my advantage to have it finish. So, you know, yeah. The birdie on 9 was great, to tie it up and to go to the back side.

Q. (Inaudible.)

MEG MALLON: That was an interesting scenario. And actually Cindy was playing the best golf out of the threesome for the first 11 holes. She was playing very solid. I kept thinking, "Don't look at Dale because Cindy is playing just as well." And you're right, when it got to be the turn. All of the sudden some names were flashing up shooting under-par rounds. And kind of developed into more of a tournament of, you know, four or five players rather than two or three. So I couldn't just keep an eye on them. I had to see what was going on ahead.

Q. Did you think you would be able to shoot 5-under today?

MEG MALLON: I'm obviously very happy. I could have shot 4-under and still won. It's a beautiful scenario. But I didn't know. I didn't have, you know, to be honest with you, the number I had in mind. If I got to 6-under I felt like that would win the tournament, based on the conditions and what was supposed to happen today. I just didn't think that people would go that far under par. But the greens got soft, and any time the greens get soft, we can really throw it at the pins. So I had to change my mindset as the day went on to keep making birdies.

Q. Were you able to stay relatively dry, your gloves, your shoes?

MEG MALLON: I'll pretty wet. I've got a nine-and-a-half hour flight in these clothes right now. I'm not happy about that, but that's okay, I have a big smile on my face. I had a couple of gloves. I changed gloves on 16. You know, it's tough on the caddy. He did a good job of keeping me dry, and he is soaking wet, poor guy, he just let me have the umbrella and took care of everything else. My bag is a mess. I don't know how it's going to make it overseas. But it's all right. I wound up with the good end of it.

Q. (Inaudible.)

MEG MALLON: Well, this golf course I have -- I have -- I've had a bad history on had course. I mean, I feel like I've kind of grown and matured with this tournament, and this is my 14th year on TOUR, and I remember I made a cut here and I didn't make any money. That was in the day when we made the cut and still didn't make any money, and that was my first year on TOUR. And I thought, "I don't know if I'll ever" -- this golf course has always gotten the better of me throughout the years. So it was just a treat this week to feel like I can play it like a normal human being, and then to have the opportunity to win on it was just a bonus.

Q. (Inaudible.)

MEG MALLON: You know, I don't know. That's a good question. I think it's -- you have to bring a very good golf game to this golf course. And you have to play with a lot of confidence on it. And you also have to be a very patient player on this course, and I've -- Rosie and Patty and Nancy have always of those qualities. And I think you have to be a tournament winner to have the experience to deal with these huge galleries, to say: This is a great thing, this isn't something that makes me nervous. The reception I got walking to the tunnel from 17 to 18, I just had chills going all the way to the 18th tee. I mean, people don't stay out in this weather to watch golf tournaments, and there was hundreds of people out there. It was just great.

Q. Wendy claimed she didn't even know until she putted out at 18 where she stood. Can you imagine playing like that? You said you were aware.

MEG MALLON: Yeah, I have played events like that. And a lot of players play like that, because there's nothing you can do about what everybody else is doing. You still have to play the golf course and you still have to make birdies and do the things that you want to do. And sometimes, if you get stuck just staring at the leaderboard, you forget to go play, you know, what you're supposed to do. So a lot of players don't look at it. I actually -- it was raining so hard, I didn't see some of the boards; so I had to ask my caddy. I said, "How do we stand? What's the deal?" It was kind of changing almost every shot. I said, "What's going on now?" I knew I had Dale and Cindy right there, but I wasn't sure what Wendy was doing the last two holes.

Q. Are you playing the best golf now and what are the reasons?

MEG MALLON: I've been playing very well. And part of it has been frustrating, because I haven't won more, and I feel like I put myself in this position to win a lot of tournaments, which is what you want to do. But I don't feel like I've gotten over that hump to have multiple victories. So it's a good thing/bad thing where I'm playing really well, but I also feel like -- well, it's a fine line between winning a golf tournament obviously. I'd like to win more, but you just take them as they come. They don't happen very often.

Q. You have 12 wins now, an amazing career, what does that number mean to you?

MEG MALLON: It means a lot. You know, people always say, you know, you've only got so many points to the Hall of Fame. I've got so many points to the Hall of Fame, and feel like I need to do so much more to get myself in that upper echelon of players that we have out here. In 1991 where I won those two majors and everything, it was like expectations got so high, no matter what I've done since then, it seems to pale in comparison. So I've kind of had to go back to just saying, go out and try to win tournaments, and take advantage of the opportunities, just like today. So I totally lost your question -- I went on -- (laughs).

Q. (Inaudible)?

MEG MALLON: Well, I've had the same teacher for 14 years and I really think that it makes a huge difference, because I don't make a lot of changes in my golf swing and we have developed a very good, effective golf swing together. I think, obviously, that helps. It seems when I play well, my iron game seems to be very good. And then when the putter works, it's a beautiful thing.

Q. The back-to-back birdies, what did that do for the rest of your round?

MEG MALLON: It was great to get started that way, especially with the pin placement on 2. I just threw a great shot back there, and actually gave myself a tough putt. I had to play about a foot-and-a-half break on a 3-foot putt. But I think making that putt was the difference in gaining my confidence for the rest of the day on putter.

Q. How about the par save on 10?

MEG MALLON: Yeah, that was kind of nice.

Q. What happened?

MEG MALLON: Well, I hit it in the right rough on 10, and that's when it started raining and I had a horrible lie, and I just tried to open up a 7-iron and just try and pop it out by the front of the green. And it -- you know, it just turned the club over and I went in that bunker that's 50 yards short of the green, and just hit, you know, hit a really good 60-degree wedge out about 15 feet below the hole and made it. So that was a huge par putt.

Q. Can you talk about Dale's play today, just talk about her game real quick, what you saw out there?

MEG MALLON: Well, you know I played with her for two days, and Dale is playing really well. It was -- this is what this golf course can do to you. If you just make a mistake here or there, you can bogey yourself to death out here. Dale just kind of lost a little momentum where I think Cindy and I were starting to gain some momentum. I mean, she putted exceptionally well. She really played really good golf under these conditions, just -- I think she just made two bogeys on the back side and Wendy and I were making birdies. Usually, that doesn't happen here. I mean, usually she can stay with the crowd, but we seemed to separate ourselves and kind of run away with it.

Q. Is it easier or harder to putt when the greens are soaked?

MEG MALLON: Well, it was better when they squeegeed it, because, you know, you're starting to get the feel of the speed of the greens all day, and then all of the sudden there's puddles out there. So, you know, I'm glad we had them squeegee both holes. It ended up being my last two birdies; so that helped a lot. But, you know, it's wet out there. A lot of rain.

Q. (Inaudible.)

MEG MALLON: Yes, they are.

Q. (Inaudible.)

MEG MALLON: Well, I have to tell you, the Sara Lee Classic in Nashville, it scared me to death, because it was in rain like this and the ride in, I had to duck down in the back seat. It scared me to death.

Q. (Inaudible.)

MEG MALLON: I know. We had three seasons this week. It was like a U.S. Open grind. You know, it was long days. Fortunately, I stay in housing here. I stay a great house where I stay which is only five minutes away. Like last night, I get home at 8:00 at night, I have to pack for France, do my laundry, have some dinner, try and go to bed and wake up at 6:15 in the morning. That just makes for a really long turnaround in 24 hours. I'm going to be pretty tired next week, but it's okay.

Q. (Inaudible.)

MEG MALLON: Yeah, a lot of factors, for sponsorship, for the response of the community. I think that a lot of changes would have to happen to the golf course in order to get to that USGA standards of -- whatever that means, for a tournament. But as far as difficulty goes, obviously with the scoring, it would be right up there with U.S. Open quality.

Q. (Inaudible.)

MEG MALLON: I'm never going to say that. I haven't even gotten the hang of the golf game yet. You can't ever say that.

Q. What's your favorite part of the game in hitting a long drive, a 3-iron, a putt?

MEG MALLON: Definitely a long shot in there really close. That's a blast.

End of FastScripts…

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