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April 1, 2014
RANCHO MIRAGE, CALIFORNIA
THE MODERATOR: It is a distinct pleasure to have a two‑time winner this year, one of the best ever to play the game, Karrie Webb. Overall thoughts about playing in this major? Here we go, huh?
KARRIE WEBB: It's great to be here. I'm always excited. I'm always excited in the lead‑up to this event and then obviously getting here. I've always played well here, obviously won a couple of times.
I love this event. I love the history and the tradition. I love that I'm a champion of this event, being a part of that history.
THE MODERATOR: Seven‑time major champion. Obviously in this game you go through ebbs and flows, great play, then sometimes maybe your confidence isn't the best. Obviously it's pretty good right now. Do you feel like you've got many more majors in you?
KARRIE WEBB: I hope so. I feel like my game is as good as it's ever been as far as having the ability to win majors. Obviously starting the year off as well as I have, it gives me that little bit of confidence going into this week that if I get things going, hopefully down the stretch on Sunday I'll have a shot to win it again.
THE MODERATOR: Your wins are impressive, but coming back to win after disappointments is more impressive.
KARRIE WEBB: I didn't get off to a good start. I disqualified myself at the Australian Masters which I love, had lots of family there, so very disappointing. Really made me feel a bit under‑done going into the Australian Open. That was just a lovely surprise, I guess. To start the year having a long off‑season, you don't know what shape your game is in until you start adding them up.
To have a chance on Sunday and to play as well as I did on Sunday at the Australian Open was very special to win at home. It kick‑started a great year.
Obviously Singapore, I had a three‑shot lead with seven to go, didn't get the job done there, which hasn't happened too many times in my career. That one stung quite a bit.
Then to come back and win in Phoenix helps get over that, which was nice.
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. You mentioned you've always played well here. Is that a matter of the golf course, a matter of coming in here maybe more focused than at other times? Why is it that you've won it twice and contended numerous times?
KARRIE WEBB: I like the golf course. I think it sets up well for me. I don't hit it overly long anymore compared to what some of the young girls are doing now, but I feel like I shape the ball well off the tee and generally keep the ball in the fairway, just go from there. Hit some good iron shots out there.
I think this is the 19th time I've played this tournament, so I've had plenty of putts from all different angles on the course. I feel very comfortable on the greens, as well.
THE MODERATOR: Eleven top 10s in those appearances.
Q. Both times you won here you had teenagers on your heels. Seems like the teenagers come and go, but you outlast them. How do you explain that?
KARRIE WEBB: I don't really have any answers to that. Some of these teenagers are still out here. They're not teenagers anymore thankfully.
That's the beauty of golf, I guess, is that you can play at the highest level for a very long time, if you have the desire to do that. That's why I try. Any of the young girls coming out of Australia, I try to tell them there's no need to rush because you can be playing the best golf of your career in your 30s and 40s. That's been proven out here before.
I'm glad that I'm still prepared to put in the hard work and I'm glad that work is paying off.
Q. When you said you feel your game is as good as it's ever been as far as being able to win majors, can you tell us the fine points of that?
KARRIE WEBB: I think I just understand myself a lot more. I understand each and every day what part of my game is there and what's not. If it's all there, I'm pretty happy about that.
But I just manage myself pretty well. Early in my career I was very good mentally, but I didn't know how exactly I was approaching that. I think I've learnt that side of the game a lot in the last 10 years. I feel like I'm as in good a place mentally on the golf course as I ever have been probably because I understand what it takes out there, what it takes for me to play well.
Q. You've spoken in the past about you had so much success right away you exceeded your expectations. This is an Inbee Park question, because she faces that challenge, too. What is the challenge in following up on that?
KARRIE WEBB: I think for Inbee, I mean, she's still got plenty to achieve. She's still got a long career ahead of her.
It's probably hard to set goals for this year saying, What is achieving my goals, when last year I became number one in the world and won three majors. You don't keep raising your expectations higher than that because that's just a career year. To think you're going to top that is setting your sights pretty high.
She's just got to sit down and look at, you know, what she wants to achieve as a player, what else motivates her. I'd be shocked to hear if she's not motivated at all by anything else out there.
Just continuing to be in contention and win golf tournaments every week for me is motivation enough. You just have to set different goals that are setting the bar high, but it's a bar that you can jump over.
Q. The motivations that drive you now, that make you work and grind, how have they evolved or changed from 15 or 20 years ago when you first got here?
KARRIE WEBB: Yeah, I think they've definitely changed. 15 years ago I can honestly tell you I woke up every morning before I went to practice or play a golf tournament and it was, What do I need to do to be the best in the world? That was something that I constantly pushed myself to achieve.
Probably didn't enjoy the challenge I set myself as much as I should have. But now I think I still challenge myself, I still push myself, but I cut myself some slack so I can enjoy life a little bit and enjoy the spoils of good golf. I realize that it doesn't happen all the time. It was happening all the time for me 10, 15 years ago. I think I really did take it for granted.
Now my off time away from the course, I think I allow myself to pat myself on the back if I played well and enjoy that.
THE MODERATOR: Did you cut yourself some slack after Singapore or did you beat yourself up?
KARRIE WEBB: It was hard not to think about it. You have a 30‑hour flight back to the United States. It was pretty hard not to think about it all the way back.
Fortunately I'd won a couple weeks before. If I hadn't have won a couple weeks before, I think that would have lingered on a lot longer.
I think it was more really trying to, without dwelling on it for too long, work out what I did wrong so that next time it won't happen.
Q. You've talked about how much you love this event, the traditions. With this being Kraft's last year, what would you like to see happen to this event and do you think it needs to stay here?
KARRIE WEBB: It definitely needs to stay here. There's too much history and too much tradition here. If the LPGA lacks anything, in any other events, it's that. I definitely think we need to stay here at Mission Hills.
My opinion, I have voiced it a few times in the last year or so, is that I think Dinah Shore's name should come back onto the event just to keep that identity. Whoever comes onboard as a sponsor, you know, it shouldn't just be the sponsor's name because I don't think the tournament will have‑‑ Kraft and Nabisco have been a part of this event for so many years, even when we took Dinah's name off the event, people knew what event it was because they'd been a part of it for so long.
A new sponsor coming in, I just feel like to keep the identity of this event, when people tune in to watch, they're going to know, That's the Dinah Shore, the LPGA's first major of the year. That's what I'd really like to see for 2015 and beyond.
Q. Is there a place you stay every year? 19 years, you must have some traditions yourself.
KARRIE WEBB: We're actually going to LG's Steakhouse tonight. I always take whoever I have in town, so Mikey, my caddie, comes. Adam, my physio. My whole team, I take them out, we have a nice steak dinner and a nice bottle of wine. That's happening tonight.
Q. (No microphone.)
KARRIE WEBB: I wouldn't be out here. If I didn't learn to let go a little bit and not have my life totally revolve around golf, I think, yeah, you wouldn't have seen me for probably five years.
I think that's kept me out here. Even though I am still hard on myself, it's not to the extent that it was 10, 15 years ago.
Q. I believe the same year you were inducted into the Hall of Fame, your ranking fell pretty low, like to 27. At that point did you wonder if you were closer to the end than not? What kept you going? What other goal is out there for you?
KARRIE WEBB: Yeah, I think one of the changes World Golf Hall of Fame recently made is that you have to be over 40 to get in. I was just short of my 31st birthday. I didn't think it was near the end obviously because I still hadn't even turned 31.
But obviously reaching such a pinnacle in my career so early on, it was hard to set goals. I guess I meandered there for a little while.
But winning here early in 2006, in the fashion that I won, I think really turned everything around for me.
Q. Given your history here, as well as you've played to start the year, if somebody tells you you're the favorite this week, do you pay much attention to that?
KARRIE WEBB: No, I don't pay much attention to that. There's just so many great players playing well, they've won, they're on the cusp of playing really well, I don't really take much notice of that.
It doesn't matter who the favorite is, you still got to get the ball in the hole, and hopefully you're doing it the best on Sunday afternoon.
Q. How often when you play 18 do you think about the shot? Is it every time?
THE MODERATOR: The shot.
KARRIE WEBB: Well, it was cute yesterday because I played the back nine with Minjee Lee and Su Oh, both my scholarship winners last year. It was fun because it's obviously their first major they played in. They asked me when we were on 18 where I made the shot from. Mikey looked in his yardage book, he said, Right where your mum is standing, to Minjee. I was standing pretty much on the spot.
THE MODERATOR: I think you have a perspective that not every other player has because you sit on the LPGA board. I think the beauty in watching you sit on the board is you don't always agree with every single thing, you have an opinion. What is your take on the state of where the tour is and what you've seen over the last five years or so?
KARRIE WEBB: Well, when I first came on the board we had 24 events. So that was probably the worst point at that point to come onto the board because things weren't great.
In that three and a half years, it's just been remarkable to be on the other side, and behind closed doors to see what Mike and Jon and the team have done to get us back to 32 events, plus the International Crown this year, 33 events.
I think the tour is very, very healthy. I think we just had the International Crown press conference. I think it's great that the United States' team is the number one ranked team. We've needed to have that strength from the U.S. players for many years just for the growth of the LPGA again in the United States.
Obviously the Asian players continue to play well, and growth of golf in Asia is booming. Obviously we're doing very well there.
I think we're just looking up and up from here. I don't think as a schedule we need to have too many more events. I just think the strength of those tournaments needs to grow and improve, and I'm pretty sure that's going to happen.
THE MODERATOR: Not too many stronger than the one you'll play in this week. Thank you very much for being here, have a great week.
KARRIE WEBB: Thanks, everyone.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports