A Flash Interview With: Annika Sorenstam

ANNIKA SORENSTAM: Overall I am very happy with my round. I think if somebody would have told me on the first tee, we'll give you level par, I said, I think I would have taken it. Having said that, it's a good start. I was very nervous on the first tee, hit my tee shot on the right, and struggled to get par there.

And then on the second hole I missed my tee shot as well, and I was a little bit out of rhythm first two holes.

Then I hit a good tee shot on 3. After that I calmed down and I found the rhythm. I thought I played pretty good.

Q. What were you nervous about?

ANNIKA SORENSTAM: U.S. Open, a lot of people, tough golf course, a lot on my mind. There's a lot of things. (Laughs).

16, I hit 7-iron to five feet.

18, short of the green, two-putted from 15 feet. Sand wedge to twelve feet.

Q. 7, birdie.

ANNIKA SORENSTAM: Sand wedge to seven feet.

Q. 9.

ANNIKA SORENSTAM: 5-iron over the green, three-putted.

Q. A couple of drops, was it a sprinkler head?

ANNIKA SORENSTAM: Two sprinklers on two holes, yeah.

Q. You didn't look you were not comfortable with obviously being above the hole there, even after the drop, you just kind of looked like you weren't --

ANNIKA SORENSTAM: I dropped it kind of nestled down a little bit. Obviously I wasn't in the thick stuff but it was sitting down. I was trying to figure out what club would be the best one to use; I chose the putter. When I hit it, it kind of jumped up and took off. When you are above the hole there, you have got to be very, very careful. It's very slick. I felt like I hit it. It was way too hard. I don't know if I chose the wrong club or just misread the lie a little bit.

Q. You mentioned the reasons for being nervous, any comparison at all to the Colonial?

ANNIKA SORENSTAM: No, I could breath today. But then again at Colonial, I hit the fairway and I didn't today, so.

But no, I mean the experience I got at Colonial, it's really coming in handy this week. I put a lot of pressure on myself. I really want to do well here. When you stand on the tee, you know you have to hit the fairways. That's double pressure right there. So I am just happy I found the rhythm in the middle. I thought I hit some good shots overall. I am happy with my start.

Q. 5-under early, do you look at the scoreboard?

ANNIKA SORENSTAM: It's a marathon. I do look at leaderboards. I always have. I think it's fun to see what was going on. It wasn't like I was panicking. There's always someone that's playing really well early. Someone's always going to have a good round. You hit your own shot and see where you end up at the end of the day. That's what you can do.

Q. The group in front of you, you were right behind them -- (inaudible)?

ANNIKA SORENSTAM: I wasn't watching them. Actually you can't really watch the group ahead of you because there are so many people. I really didn't see anything.

Q. Morgan posted an early 5-under, now she came back to even. She's only 17. Can you relate to how a 17-year-old might ride that roller coaster after great round early, then --

ANNIKA SORENSTAM: When I was 17, I mean, I wasn't even near playing the U.S. Open, so I think I have seen Morgan play up close. I think she's a great little player and she has got great attitude, and it doesn't surprise me to see her play well. Seems like these types of occasions she rises to the top. It's fun to see.

Q. If you have advice for younger players, would you say, patience, realize you are going to get hot and cold, it's all going to come back together?

ANNIKA SORENSTAM: I would recommend that to anyone. You've just got to be patient in a tournament like this, so many holes, so much out there, so much can happen got to stay in the moment and hit one shot at a time. By the end of the day you add them all up.

Q. The great par saves (inaudible) --

ANNIKA SORENSTAM: I had three good par saves, let's see 11th hole, 12th hole, 13. It's tough to single one of them out. Obviously making the one on 11 after a tough bunker shot kept me going and then made a nice 7-footer for par on 12, and then I thought I had really tricky putt on the par 5 there, made that as well. I think it's just a string of important putts.

If I wouldn't have made any of them then it would be a totally different situation. Now on the other hand I made them all, that just kept me going.

Q. You'd probably like to do a lot better on the par 5s. You were even today.

ANNIKA SORENSTAM: I don't think really my length has an advantage on this golf course. I am hitting 4-iron on 1, there's only one that I can reach in two. So having said that, I mean I think that puts us all in the same position.

Q. (Inaudible)

ANNIKA SORENSTAM: I am trying to keep my head down, yeah. I have been doing that for a few months. Just keeps just a solid roll. I think my stroke is a lot better.

Q. (Inaudible)?

ANNIKA SORENSTAM: I rather hear it go in.

Q. Liselotte winning the Open, did that do anything for you being a young girl from Sweden?

ANNIKA SORENSTAM: Definitely. She's been a role model for many years. I never forget the day she won, she turned the whole country upside-down. She comes from a little town, like I do. When I saw her win, I thought maybe I could do that one day. She's totally paved the way.

Q. Why didn't you driver on 18?

ANNIKA SORENSTAM: Today I think I should have. I am in between clubs there. I think driver is too much, 4-wood is not enough. I am going to have to get a another club. I don't know what to get. I rather hit it in the fairway, have a long club in and go from there.

Q. (Inaudible)?

ANNIKA SORENSTAM: If you hit a little bit too much right, then it kicks straight up on the rough on the right, you are dead right there.

Q. You talked about Sweden and Peter Forsberg was in the gallery watching you today?

ANNIKA SORENSTAM: I was just told from the Swedish media.

Q. He was talking about what a great fan he is of you.

ANNIKA SORENSTAM: He's huge. He's very, very popular at home. Ice hockey is a big sport, everybody loves to watch him. I am a big fan of his. I have never met him personally, but obviously I know who he is because I follow hockey. It's great for him to come out here. I appreciate that.

Q. Your on-course focus is well known. Are you able to sense the energy in the crowd? Is there a feeling that people are wanting to see history?

ANNIKA SORENSTAM: I feel the support, there's no doubt. I think the crowd here this week is incredible. I came out here Tuesday, I have never seen so many people just watching the practice round. Yesterday and today was the same thing. They know a lot about golf. They cheer for good shots and like you said, the energy is out there. The atmosphere is there, everything is. It's fun to play in front of crowds that understand the game.

Q. What kind of score do you think it will take to win?

ANNIKA SORENSTAM: Around par is always good at the Open. It depends a lot on the conditions. I thought for a while we had some wind, it was swirling, it made it difficult. If the greens firm up, who knows, it might be tough to break par here.

End of FastScripts.


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