An Interview With: Nicole Perrot

RHONDA GLENN: Ladies and gentlemen, Nicole Perrot leads with two rounds of 70, 2-under par.

Nicole, you started on the front nine and first thing you did was bogey the 5th hole. Then it got a little easier after that. Tell us your reflections about the day and about the round.

NICOLE PERROT: I really played good. I think it was a really solid round. Very good the ball. On the first I was like struggling a little bit with the speed of the greens, left a couple of short putts, but I still think that I mean, then after that I make a couple of good birdies and I think that helped me.

But I mean, after the 40 minutes wait, it was tough to get again with my rhythm and everything. So it was a long day, I think.

RHONDA GLENN: In the year 2001 you won the U.S. Junior Girls Championship sponsored by the USGA. Then you played in the final of the U.S. Women's Amateur Championship in the greatest match that I have ever seen, 20 birdies between you and Meredith Duncan. You lost on the 37th hole. You were a great amateur. How has your game changed in the intervening years?

NICOLE PERROT: I think, yeah, I have changed. I think that a lot instead of -- I mean, even like me like a person growing up experience to be in the States, to play every week, I mean, I think, that it's really a long way, but I mean, I have been having fun. I have been working hard with my coach since I turned professional. So I think that helped a lot.

RHONDA GLENN: That's Gary Gilcrest who used to be the coach of Michelle Wie?

NICOLE PERROT: Yes.

RHONDA GLENN: You were a very aggressive player as an amateur, are you still a very aggressive player.

NICOLE PERROT: Yeah, of course. You never lose that. But you know sometimes it's like, I mean, you have to learn -- I think that's the process that you need to learn when to be aggressive or when not or when to play the right shot. I mean, it's all about when to play each shot at the right moment.

I think that you learn and playing, I am still learning. It's my first year on Tour. I have been enjoying so far. It's like great, great to be here and just learning.

RHONDA GLENN: Questions.

Q. Could you just talk about what your feelings and emotions were going back on the Futures Tour last year. Was there one or two kind of low points for you? Could you ever imagine that you'd be back here in this place so soon?

NICOLE PERROT: Well, I mean, I think from where I come from, I mean, sports too small. Took me a little bit more, I think, coming here to the Tour and LPGA, get used to, so I think -- no, I have good memories. I think it was great, you know, the two very good years on the Futures too. I think Futures Tour does a great job for all the players, I mean, that have the opportunity to teach us how to learn about the game and prepare to come to the LPGA, so I think it's great. I have good memories.

Q. Your form wasn't real good coming in here looking at your LPGA record. What did you find and are you surprised to be in this position?

NICOLE PERROT: I have very tough, kind of like, after like, I make a mistake, played too many tournaments when I first started, didn't take a couple of weeks off that I should. I think that affect little bit my game. Then took a good week off and I went back home instead of maybe staying here with my coach, and also I think that affect me. A couple of mistakes you learn the first year, and you know how to -- I mean, you learn how to play and the way that you want to do it.

I think that affect me a little bit, my game, so I stayed last week, I didn't play. I went to Hilton Head, South Carolina to my coach. We worked a little bit on my short game and a couple of things on my swing. I think that really helped me. He was here during the practice rounds. So I also think that's -- I mean, a great support of him being around a lot in the last tournaments. I think that's great, too.

Q. I think I noticed at the beginning of yesterday you were two, three, four over par to start with. Did something click in the middle of that round yesterday or how did it change so quickly?

NICOLE PERROT: I mean, I think golf is spur of the moment. Sometimes during the rounds there are so many things that can happen. I think since -- you keep playing, keep playing shot by shot and be open that anything can happen. You get your moment. Some weeks you play good. Some days are good, some no. You have to accept it. I think that's the key of this sport. It is to learn how to accept whatever can happen.

So I think, yeah, also sometimes it's a little bit tough to start playing and get in a good rhythm, so I think -- I make a really good putt, that started to help me more my confidence, I think.

Q. Are you famous back in Chile yet? I know golf is not a real big deal, but are they even going to notice what you are doing up here?

NICOLE PERROT: I look like? (Laughs). Yeah, pretty much, yeah, for sure. Very popular person back home. I think, I mean, getting with the years, growing up more and more, I think we have been working hard on that, too, because the sport is growing. I feel like with a big responsibility of making that little girl opportunity to do what I am doing.

I think I try to go very often to my clinics and for my sponsor to get the thing growing a lot. I think golf, need the chance in my country to keep growing and work hard on that, I will.

Q. Are there a lot of golf courses in Chile?

NICOLE PERROT: We have 58 in the whole country but they are all private golf courses. There the government is working a lot on having the public golf course right now. I think they are really working on that. But we have 58. We have great golf courses, by the way, but I mean the sport is very elite.

Q. When you won the girls Junior in Kansas City in 2001, how much did that mean to you as far as convincing you that maybe you wanted to play golf for a living?

NICOLE PERROT: I think a lot. I think like when you win like amateur, whatever, I mean, you see all the time that you work for that moment, but I think really that really is like aggressive -- great sensation to know that you are doing the right things and I think that's great. Really helped me like, I mean, to finish a process, I think it's great to realize that you have, I mean, the talent and the confidence to keep another step. So I think it was great.

Q. Since you turned professional how many times have you played in the final group on the weekend?

NICOLE PERROT: That's a good question.

This year, like, yeah, in the two last groups like two times, I think.

Q. That's this year?

NICOLE PERROT: This year.

Q. Have you done that often in the Futures?

NICOLE PERROT: Yeah, often, good number.

Q. When you won the Junior girls how many times had you been to the United States to play when you won the Junior girls?

NICOLE PERROT: I mean, a lot. I have been playing junior tournaments since I think 14, 13, even junior girls, Orange Bowls, AJGA tournaments, all kind of junior tournaments. Yeah, pretty used to play junior tournaments, I mean one of my goals was like, I mean, to win the U.S. Junior, I think for that, AJGA is a more important tournament.

RHONDA GLENN: When you are on the Futures Tour, do you travel by yourself? It's hard to rent cars when you are not 25 years old.

NICOLE PERROT: Yeah, yeah, it's tough, especially I mean, rental cars. I mean, I have my brother and the company that they support me in my career, and I think that's great. I mean, for all those moment, especially my brother have been a lot with me around and I mean, I have been support with my family and people, I mean, close friends I think that really helped. Still easier, you learn, I mean, I don't know, it's kind of funny, now you laugh, but I mean in those moments, it's tough, it's tough.

Q. Are you still living in the Tampa area?

NICOLE PERROT: No, my coach, Gary was with David Leadbetter. He's in another academy in South Carolina, Hilton Head. This off-season I was there training with him. If I have one week off I work with him there now where he is, so -- I am like back and forth even with Chile. I try to go often even when I have two weeks off.

Q. Talk about your aggressive style, how aggressive can you be on this course and have you figured out a little bit where you can be aggressive?

NICOLE PERROT: I really believe in teams and I think that I mean, we have been making a great job about that. Like he says, the things -- aggressive, I think that sometimes you can be aggressive. The thing is you have to know when to and when not to. Be really patient. I think that's really important when to not. The rough is also very bad, so, I mean --

Q. Could you have guessed you would be at this position after your first three or four holes on Thursday?

NICOLE PERROT: The way I play and I like to play and I am really focused about my routine, yeah, I never, I am really working hard on that and never focused about, I mean, score, never -- I mean, I really focused -- especially on this golf course, shot by shot, every hole is different. You know, and don't worry about if I bogey or double or whatever because I mean, in this golf course anything can happen. So it's better -- it's so demanding. It's better to be focused on your next shot. One shot at a time I think that's the key.

Q. Are you more surprised that you are playing in the last group with a 15-year-old --

NICOLE PERROT: (Laughs).

Q. -- or that Annika is six shots behind?

NICOLE PERROT: I am more surprised that Annika is six shots behind, for sure.

Q. What about the first part, the 15-year-old part?

NICOLE PERROT: I think that's getting very normal here. (Laughs). But I think that's what women's golf needs. I think there's a bunch of young players, I mean, but it's coming and still golf have been changing for men and I think women's have to be growing up to, I think that's great.

Q. You rather play with Lorena?

NICOLE PERROT: Yeah, that's great. We have been playing a couple of times. That's great.

Q. Take us back to Santiago, who first put a golf club in your hands? You mentioned that there's 58 courses, they are all private, how does somebody get started like you in this game?

NICOLE PERROT: The guy that's seated right next to you, the second one, my brother. He used to play, I mean, a lot. Not anymore but...

Q. Until you started beating him?

NICOLE PERROT: Yeah.

Q. Then how did he get started? Were you a member of a club?

NICOLE PERROT: Yes, and like Raul we used to play South American tournaments then play a couple of Junior world, Orange Bowl and just quit playing. He teach me how to play.

Q. How big of a move in your life was it to leave your country come over here at the age of 13 or 14 and give this sport a try over here in the States?

NICOLE PERROT: Very tough. Especially my family, I am the only girl from my mom, wasn't that funny, (laughter) still not. But I think you learn, since like 8. At 8 was the first time that I represent my country in Brazil, I think, for a South American tournament. I think that helped us for a lot like all the South American tournaments that have came in here in PGA -- start playing in South America, each other, like representing countries. Like I am starting over there and then start playing junior tournaments here, but it was tough. It is tough to come to another country, especially that big, like the States, and get used to -- but you learn. That's why it takes a little bit longer, especially like a person --

Q. Your mom is behind you in this whole thing?

NICOLE PERROT: Yeah, yeah, they were. My mom and dad coming with me then they slowly let me go alone, but, not alone, then like when I turned professional I signed with the company that's here today, the three guys there, so then over there is my brother and he -- that helps a lot, work with people that you know that's a lot of confidence for me because of my age.

Q. Didn't you have a Scottish professional who came to Chile and stayed with you for a while about the time just before the girls' Junior?

NICOLE PERROT: Yes.

Q. Tell us about that.

NICOLE PERROT: I used to have another coach that was David Ross. He was Scottish. He went back home when there was the world amateur there. I meet him there. We worked a little bit, like four, five years.

Q. He stayed at your home?

NICOLE PERROT: No, he stayed in Chile working for the federation there, I mean with all the amateurs there and then we keep practicing. We build a good relationship for four years and then me, I was with Argentinian guy one year and then met Gary and started coming here.

Q. The men in South America have a South American tour, if you wanted to play as a professional, is there a professional tour for women in South America or do you have to come here or go to Europe to play?

NICOLE PERROT: No, I mean, all women's like professional is, woosh, South America is very, very small, not even close. A few of us, they are around here, Marisa Baena, Candy Hanneman, Lorena, the other ones are just, I mean, maybe in like not playing like professional. There's a bunch that's coming, they are in college playing, but it's very tiny.

Q. Who was your hero when you started playing?

NICOLE PERROT: Hero?

Q. Favorite player.

NICOLE PERROT: I mean, I really think that, I don't know.

Q. Raul?

NICOLE PERROT: (Laughs) He hit pretty good the driver. (Laughs) No, I mean --

Q. Was it a woman player, male player?

NICOLE PERROT: I never was really a fan of watching golf on TV. That's pretty funny. Like Tiger really showed me all the things that he did for golf and everything, but I mean, woman, yeah, I watch a couple of, I mean, everyone when I was little, but really -- I really liked fun athlete, was not in golf was Marcelo Rios, who was No. 1 in tennis. I really think that at that point when he was -- I think he really inspired me to do what I wanted to do and to play professional golf in my case, but I think that really helped me.

Q. Did he have a good short game?

NICOLE PERROT: He's pretty good actually.

End of FastScripts.


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