Wednesday, August 1
Q&A: Cristie Kerr
TOMORROW THE WOMEN will make history when they tee it up at the Old Course in St. Andrews, Scotland, for the Women’s British Open.
The site of 27 men’s British Opens, it will be the first time the storied links course hosts a women’s tournament.
Reigning U.S. Women’s Open champion Cristie Kerr, who made some history of her own by winning her first major a month ago at Pine Needles Lodge & Golf Club, is looking forward to the opportunity – both personally and for women’s golf.
On Monday Cristie reflected on her recent Open victory and shared her thoughts on playing at St. Andrews.
ARMCHAIR GOLF: Has your U.S. Women’s Open victory completely sunk in, or do you still pinch yourself sometimes?
CRISTIE KERR: I was fortunate there was an off week after Pine Needles which allowed me to celebrate with friends. It’s very different than my other tour wins because the Open is what I’ve dreamed about since I started competing. I think it will take a while to sink in.
ARMCHAIR GOLF: Have you located that “very, very special place” in your house for the trophy? Any special lighting effects yet?
CRISTIE KERR: It’s funny but we just shipped the trophy back and my husband and I just bought a home in Scottsdale and we haven’t even been there to think about that. It will undoubtedly have a special place for this year. Then we get a replica.
ARMCHAIR GOLF: Everyone talked about the putter you bought in South Korea. But your long game also had to hold up well on an Open course. What made the difference for you?
CRISTIE KERR:I worked very hard on my short game leading up to the Open. I made a lot of great pars the last two days. I think I only had two bogeys over the past 45 holes. I think grinding out the pars was important for me. The closing holes were tough and I played them well, especially 17. I think I was 1 under for the week. My putting has always been my strength, which was quite good that week.
ARMCHAIR GOLF: What is most exciting to you about being the U.S. Women’s Open champion?
CRISTIE KERR: I think it’s a personal validation for me that I can win at every level. I think it has put me at another level amongst my peers, in a way. I got a lot of calls and sincere congratulations from some very special people, which shows how special the Open is. It’s historic.
ARMCHAIR GOLF: You’ve had high finishes in the last two Women’s British Opens. How do you feel about your game as you head into the year’s last major?
CRISTIE KERR: I really enjoy links golf and obviously St. Andrews is another one of those historic golf places. I am looking forward to the whole experience. I am hitting the ball better than I did at the Open funny enough, but not scoring as well. I am very hopeful of a good week.
ARMCHAIR GOLF: Do you think your game is especially well suited for links golf?
CRISTIE KERR: Links golf forces you to be creative and to think your way around. Good putting, staying out of trouble, and a bit of links luck are important to be successful. I have done well in those conditions.
ARMCHAIR GOLF: What do you think about playing at St. Andrews?
CRISTIE KERR: It’s been highlighted on my calendar since the announcement. It’s arguably one of the best things to happen for the women’s game for some time. We are all looking forward to playing the course and seeing all of the rich history – and making some history of our own.
ARMCHAIR GOLF: How many more events do you plan to play this year?
CRISTIE KERR: I am actually playing all events except two in the states and two Asia events. I am looking forward to my defense of the Canadian Open after the British and playing in the Three-Tour Challenge with the men in Las Vegas and then the ADT Championship.
ARMCHAIR GOLF: How is your work for Birdies for Breast Cancer going?
CRISTIE KERR: Very well. We are raising awareness and money and we have met terrific people along the way. We just dedicated $100,000 to the Mayo Clinic in Arizona for their research work.
ARMCHAIR GOLF: Any final comments?
CRISTIE KERR: I am looking forward to seeing everyone out on tour!
−The Armchair Golfer