May 28, 1996
SOUTHERN PINES, NORTH CAROLINA
RHONDA GLENN: We're always happy to have Meg Mallon, our 1991 Women's Champion on hand. Meg, you are having a wonderful year, you've had two victories, you were second in the Dinah Shore, off to a great start. You're playing well.
MEG MALLON: Thank you. This is the Solheim Cup year, this is a big year for us, so I wanted to get off to a good start. It's been a great start. I've been excited about it. It certainly helps for the rest of the year, to be a little more relaxed going into tournaments such as this one.
RHONDA GLENN: What's the pressure like at a championship, the U.S. Women's Open Championship?
MEG MALLON: There's nothing like it. It is a pressure cooker, along with the temperature and the meaning of the event, the whole aura around it. It's great. It's a great feeling. We love to come here every year to an Open because we know it's the finest event we have.
RHONDA GLENN: That's quite a nice tribute. How about Pine Needles? You've played a lot of golf here, haven't you?
MEG MALLON: I've never played Pine Needles. When we had a tournament here last year, I stayed at the lodge. Peggy's family was kind enough to put me up at their lodge, and I never got a chance to go over and play it. But I like to come into a week and get to know a golf course. I grew up half a mile from Oakland Hills, which is another Donald Ross golf course. I love these courses. That's where the Men's Open is this year. So I'm very familiar with the terrain of a Donald Ross course. It takes a lot of work around the greens to get to know it, but it is in fantastic shape.
RHONDA GLENN: You draw the ball. How is that going to work on this golf course?
MEG MALLON: Well, actually hitting it solid is going to be the key. This course is really set up for a very good, long driver of the golf ball. On an Open you have to hit it straight. But someone, let's say, like if Laura or Helen Alfredsson or Beth Daniel, players like that who hit the driver so long, if they can keep it in play this week, it's going to be a tremendous advantage for a player like that. What I have to do is just make sure I hit it solid. If I don't hit it solid, I'm going to have a lot of long golf shots in the par 4's this week.
RHONDA GLENN: As a past Women's Open Champion, do you think any past Women's Open Champion has a bit of an edge coming into this championship and playing a golf course with this degree of difficulty.
MEG MALLON: There's two sides to that, I think. I think if you've won and you play well in the opens, there's an advantage to that. But also when you've won, you know how difficult it is. And I think it's even that much more difficult to win your second or third. You look at Hollis Stacy or Susan Berning, players that won like that, when you win your first one, you don't understand the impact of an Open until you win it. And then when you have chances to win again, it really is a lot more pressure than you ever thought it would be.
RHONDA GLENN: And last year was probably a pretty good example of that, because you played beautifully, finished at one under par, but you finished second because of the par 3, 14th hole where you had a triple bogey.
MEG MALLON: Actually, a lot of people say it was that reason. I went on to play even par golf from that point. It's when I won the Open I had two double bogeys, nobody mentioned that. I think if you win, those big holes go away, and the triples or the doubles. But I think what was the most disappointing was not being able to birdie a hole coming in. I felt like I played very well and couldn't get the ball in the hole. But sometimes you become a part of somebody else's destiny.
RHONDA GLENN: Well said. Well, since you've won twice this year and you've been winning a lot of money and certainly playing well, what's the difference in your game as opposed to the beginning of last year?
MEG MALLON: Well, I think this year is just kind of -- I've just played really well the last couple of years. I think the motivation was that I hadn't won in a couple of years. And I felt like I was playing well enough to win, and it wasn't happening. So I came into this year very focused, very prepared. And based on how I was playing last year, I felt like if I just kept getting the opportunity to win that, eventually and hopefully it would happen. And fortunately it has.
RHONDA GLENN: Your family has been on hand for some of your biggest victories. I remember they were there at Colonial certainly, and then again at the Broadmoor, you had a number of family members. What about this week?
MEG MALLON: My parents are flying in this week. They haven't missed an Open since I think I began the Opens. Date on was my first Open. And they've been to every one since. They try not to miss it. I have a sister that lives over in Charlotte, so she and her family are coming over too.
RHONDA GLENN: Do we have any questions from any of our friends?
Q. Are your family coming over to the Solheim Cup?
MEG MALLON: Hopefully my parents will. Hopefully I'm going to the Solheim Cup. But my parents and one of my sisters came over last time, and I imagine they'll do the same this time. So, hopefully.
Q. Meg, Annika has talked about being lost in the aftermath of winning an Open. I guess it can be pretty overwhelming. Can you put that in some kind of perspective; what's that like, the year after?
MEG MALLON: Well, you know, it was funny. I always said I was glad I was 28 years old and handling it. I'm glad I wasn't 19, 20, 21 years old, because I had won the two majors in a three-week period, and that was overwhelming in itself. But the Open seems to linger on longer. It goes through the next year. It goes until you defend again. So it's a great badge to wear throughout the year. But it also is very taxing, too, because it demands a lot more of your time outside of golf.
RHONDA GLENN: You mentioned the pressure of the Women's Open. There's nothing like it. For those of us who have never won, tell us what it feels like, that kind of pressure when you tee up again.
MEG MALLON: I guess it's how you handle pressure. If your patience is there that week, if you're ready for it, if your game is good. At that time when I won I had a lot of confidence coming into the week. Like I said, I had made two double bogeys. It wasn't like a classic, you know, what you'd think would be par golf all the time. And I shot 67 on Sunday, which wasn't a classic final round, either, even par round. So it was very exciting. I had to wait an hour -- over an hour to see if I'd won. I was in the 6th or 7th to the last group. I had gotten my good round in and just waited for people to see if anybody would catch me. That was a pretty neat feeling.
RHONDA GLENN: That was kind of an advantage, because --
MEG MALLON: Right. I posted it, got in and watched everyone else. It was fun.
RHONDA GLENN: I remember at Colonial, I was counting the clubs you hit, the number of shots you hit with each club, and you hit a lot of 4-irons and 3-irons.
MEG MALLON: Yeah.
RHONDA GLENN: This course will seem to demand that also, does that give you an advantage?
MEG MALLON: If you're hitting them well and solid. I would say today I probably hit 9 to 10, 11 4-irons today. That's a pretty long club to have to carry around all the way around. So you just have to hit it solid. With Donald Ross courses you can't be trying to out trick the golf course. You have to play it middle of the fairway, middle of the green and then take whatever it gives you from that point. But you can't play with these greens out here. So it will be fun, fun golf.
RHONDA GLENN: Are you going to try to putt conservatively?
MEG MALLON: Well, I'm not an aggressive putter, I'm a feel putter, I like to feel the ball around the hole. I like how these greens are rolling right now. I think the rain helped it a little bit last night. We'll see what the weather does to the course the next couple of days. If it dries out there's going to be some spots where you really have to be careful in putting.
RHONDA GLENN: You mentioned also in 1991 when you were 28 years old you came into the Women's Open with a lot of confidence. Of course you had won the LPGA Championship. How would you rank your confidence level this year?
MEG MALLON: Well, I've played well this year. I've taken the last two weeks off, so I'm mentally fresh coming into this week. I'm a little bit shaky on my tournament toughness, but I feel it's more important to be mentally fresh going into a four-day Open. And my teacher's here this week, so we're working on getting the other part of my game sharp.
Q. Meg, what does being tournament tough mean?
MEG MALLON: Well, playing last week, just having -- playing in tournaments, playing for scores, playing for shots, hitting different shots. I've had two weeks off, it doesn't seem like that long, but some people from last week are going to be sharp, but they're also going to be mentally a little more tired as the weekend comes on. So you understand what I mean by tournament tough? They played last week, and they played shots, they played for scores in tournament conditions. So they're going to be a little sharper that way. But fresh-wise, you know --
Q. Do you think it's better to be fresh than to have played?
MEG MALLON: I've taken it both ways. I normally like to play the tournament before an Open if it's a golf course I really like to play with the same type of conditions, only for that reason, but otherwise it's such a mentally taxing week that you'd really like to come in with a good, fresh frame of mind into the event. So we'll see if that works. Hopefully it will.
RHONDA GLENN: In 1991 had you played the week before with the LPGA Championship?
MEG MALLON: Actually it was Toledo -- LPGA Championship, Toledo and then the Open. I was pretty tired actually coming to the Open.
RHONDA GLENN: Your other best Open was last year. Did you play the week before the Broadmoor?
MEG MALLON: Yes, I played Toledo that week, also, which was the week before the Open. I played that. I finished 4th in Oakmont and I don't think I played the week before then. But, I don't know, you kind of play with it and see. But I felt like this year, since I won, there was a lot going on and I felt like I needed a little bit of break coming into this week just to get ready for it.
RHONDA GLENN: I'm sure whatever you do is right, because you finished among the top ten for the last six years in the Women's Open and that's quite a record.
Q. Is this the best conditioned golf course you've played this year?
MEG MALLON: Yes. I think Mission Hills was in great condition this year. But this is in super condition. It's beautiful.
Q. Having grown up near Oakland Hills do you have maybe a special appreciation for Donald Ross courses?
MEG MALLON: He's my favorite architect, he and Alaister Mackenzie are my favorite architects. But Donald Ross is such a wonderful golf course designer. And it's just great to see someone who can build golf courses that it gives you a break, but you have to play good shots. And you don't get penalized so severely. It's not goofy golf, it's pure, hard golf. And Oakland Hills is the same way. You don't need all these extra things to make it difficult. The golf course itself is difficult in its own right, just being grass and bunkers.
RHONDA GLENN: You mentioned you took two weeks off, what did you do? What's a typical week off for you?
MEG MALLON: Well, actually I'm building a house. So I have a lot -- and didn't realize how much work that is. But it's a nice distraction, it's been a lot of fun. It's out in Scottsdale. And I've really enjoyed that. And it's gone a lot quicker than I thought it would. And I'm closing in less than a month on the house. So that's been a lot of fun.
RHONDA GLENN: Practice much or --
MEG MALLON: Yes, I went to Denver -- actually what we did we set up a deal with I saw him last week, I worked on my game with Mike and he'd come out this week and kind of tweak things a little bit and make sure everything is okay, and it's worked out really well.
RHONDA GLENN: That's Mike McGetrick, your coach?
MEG MALLON: Yes.
Q. What's his best quality as a teacher?
MEG MALLON: Well, we've worked together for almost ten years. I think basically our lessons are a series of over corrections. I go to see him and work on something and I'll come back a month later and I've over corrected it and we need to correct it back. He has a very good eye for my putting. He's so familiar with it and he's the reason why I'm a much better putter than I was when I came to him. And so I have a lot of confidence and trust in his teaching of me. So we just have a very good communication. He has great patience with me, which is nice and he works with four other players, too, so he's actually pretty active this week with everybody. But we spent a lot of time together, so it's been a good week.
RHONDA GLENN: Which other players?
MEG MALLON: Juli Inkster, Dana Dormann, Kristi Albers and Lauri Merten.
RHONDA GLENN: Thank you very much, Meg, our 1991 Champion. Good luck this week.
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