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How did you get into golf? I got into the game through my dad. My mom played for exercise. My dad, an amateur, played to get better. I started around the age of seven. For the first few years, I just walked the course with my dad.


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In your rookie season on the LPGA Tour, you won five tournaments in a row. Were you in the zone? I was in the zone for a long time. You are just so focused. Nothing came into my mind except hitting the shot. Once I walked underneath the ropes it was all about golf. In the movie, ‘The Greatest Game Ever Played’, there’s a scene where Francis Ouimet is looking down the fairway and people are there but as he focused the people more and more get out of the picture. That’s how I felt. That scene was a perfect depiction of being in the zone. You didn’t see or hear anything. It was just you and the target.


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You decided to walk away from the game in 2002, and then tried to come back in 2008-2009. What prompted the return? I just wanted to see what it felt like again. I didn’t make cuts, but I played and enjoyed it. It was more of an experiment than anything.


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You make some 30-plus charity appearances each year. Is that your way of giving back? Yes, when other players ask to be a part of an event, it’s impor- tant to help them. I want to support other players and charity. I’ve been involved with the AIM (Adven- tures in Movement for the


Handicapped) tournament since my second year on the tour. My first year, I told the event’s executive director, Jo Geiger, that I don’t want to just put my name on something. I want to be involved. Jo is 77. I’m not sure we’ll find anyone like her. She’s fabulous. I love AIM. I’ve seen miracles happen and there have also been a lot of tears. We help parent and we don’t charge them anything. It’s been a lot of fun.


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What courses are still on your bucket list? The Old Course at St. Andrews. I need to play some courses in England and Scotland. People think that as an LPGA player you’ve played all the great courses. When you do have a week off, you want to take a break.


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What in golf today gets you excited? The PGA Championship was get- ting me pretty excited. You had Phil (Mickelson), Rory (McIlroy), Rickie (Fowler) and Henrik (Stenson). They were all there. I remember those days, when you’re walking up the fairway and fans are rooting for you and the other players. Those are great feelings. I was root- ing for Michelle Wie in the U.S. Women’s Open. She’s a nice young person. She deserved to win. She’s had a lot of ups and downs. It’s nice to see Americans win.


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What’s a tip for amateurs? Get a good lesson before you ever go out. Find a PGA teaching pro and learn the game. It’s bad when husbands try to teach their wives. You want to ingrain the good habits, not the bad ones.


My dad used to tell me if I loved what I was doing, I’d be good at it. Golf is a sport you can enjoy for life.


The California native won the 1972 and 1974 U.S. Girls’ Junior championships.


FALL 2014 / NCGA.ORG / 45


PHOTO: USGA


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