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Golf Talk Live - JoAnne Carner Transcript Segment 1

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GOLF TALK LIVE - JOANNE CARNER
FEB. 5, 2001
 
TEASE
WHEN JOANNE CARNER WAS THE GREAT GUNDY, SHE WAS JOYFULLY BUILDING ONE OF THE BEST RECORDS IN THE HISTORY OF AMATEUR GOLF. WHEN JOANNE BECAME BIG MAMA AS A PROFESSIONAL, HER WINNING RECORD

AS A PLAYER AND AS AN ENTERTAINER WAS EVERY BIT AS BRILLIANT. MEET THE INCREDIBLE LPGA HALL OF FAMER, JOANNE CARNER, NOW, ON GOLF TALK LIVE.

(MUSIC)

LIKE BABE ZAHARIAS BEFORE HER, JOANNE GUNDERSON CARNER LOVED THE SHEER THRILL AND EXCITEMENT OF THE PHYSICAL ACT OF GIVING A GOLF BALL A HEALTHY WALLOP AND A LONG RIDE. SHE DIDN'T USED TO THINK ABOUT HOW TO DO IT. SHE USED TO THINK ABOUT THE

TARGET, AND AT HER BEST, NO ONE WAS MORE CONFIDENT IN THEIR ABILITY TO WIN. NO ONE ENJOYED THE BATTLE OF MATCH PLAY MORE. NO ONE RECEIVED MORE PLEASURE, JUST PLAYING, AND THE KICK WAS JUST AS GREAT PLAYING 18 HOLES ON HER OWN FOR FUN AS IT WAS PLAYING FOR A U.S. OPEN TITLE.

AS AN AMATEUR, JOANNE GUNDERSON, A.K.A. THE GREAT GUNDY OF KIRKLAND, WASHINGTON, WON THE USGA GIRL'S JUNIOR, THE U.S. WOMEN'S AMATEUR 5 TIMES, AND OWNED AN UNBLEMISHED AND UNDEFEATED RECORD ON FOUR

CURTIS CUP TEAMS. SHE WON THE AMATEUR IN 1957,1960, '62, '66 AND '68. SHE WAS THE LAST AMATEUR TO WIN AN LPGA EVENT, THE BURDINES INVITATIONAL, THE RICHEST EVENT ON TOUR IN 1969. JOANNE HAD NO MORE WORLDS TO CONQUER IN AMATEUR GOLF

AND TURNED PRO AT THE AGE OF 30 IN 1970 AND WON HER FIRST PRO EVENT AS A PRO IN HER ROOKIE OF THE YEAR SEASON AT THE WENDELL WEST OPEN OVER MARILYN SMITH IN A PLAYOFF. FROM 1974 THROUGH 1984, THE 43 TIME TOUR WINNER

WAS LEADING MONEY WINNER THREE TIMES, WAS SECOND LEADING MONEY WINNER THREE TIMES AND NEVER WORSE THAN NINTH. JOANNE AND HER HUSBAND DON WERE ALMOST NEVER APART DURING

BOTH PHASES OF HER CAREER. THEY FISHED, THEY RELAXED, AND FOUND SERENITY LIVING OUT OF A TRAILER, WHICH COULD USUALLY BE FOUND PARKED BY A LAKE WITH THE SMELL OF DON'S COOKING PERMEATING THE AIR.

JOANNE HAS FOUND INCREDIBLE SUCCESS AS A PLAYER AND IN HER PERSONAL LIFE. SHE HAS GIVEN JOY TO MILLIONS OF FANS. SHE HAS SET RECORDS FOR OTHERS TO SHOOT AT AND SHE HAS NEVER TIRED OF THE THRILL OF SEEING THE LITTLE WHITE BALL PAINTED AGAINST THE SKY.

WELCOME TO GOLF TALK LIVE. I'M PETER KESSLER. I AM HONORED TO INTRODUCE YOU TO ONE OF THE GAME'S ALL TIME GREAT PLAYERS, ONE OF THE GAME'S ALL TIME GREAT CHARACTERS, JOANNE CARNER. I'M SO HAPPY TO SEE YOU HERE.

JOANNE CARNER
THANK YOU, PETER.

PETER KESSLER
SO TELL ME, HOW COOL WAS IT TO BE THE GREAT GUNDY?

JOANNE CARNER
UM... YOU KNOW THAT WAS PROBABLY WHEN I PLAYED THE BEST, SO I, I HAD NO FEAR... I JUST, IT WAS MATCH PLAY, AMATEUR GOLF THEN, AND THAT WAS, I WAS BETTER AT THAT THAN, THAN I AM AT MEDAL PLAY, BUT, I JUST THOROUGHLY ENJOYED IT AND, AND WAS REALLY GOOD AT IT.

PETER KESSLER
A LOT OF PEOPLE, WHEN THEY BECOME CELEBRITIES, AREN'T AS CRAZY ABOUT BEING A CELEBRITY AS THEY THOUGHT THEY MIGHT BE. YOU LIKED BEING THE GREAT GUNDY, DIDN'T YOU?

JOANNE CARNER
OH YES. OH YES. WELL I'VE ALWAYS HAD A NICKNAME ANYWAY, PETER, BUT... GREAT GUNDY WAS, YOU KNOW, ONE OF THE FIRST ONES AND IT JUST STUCK WITH ME AND, AND TO THIS DAY I STILL HAVE PLAYERS WHO, WHO CALL ME GUNDY, YOU KNOW... BACK IN THE AMATEUR

DAYS, YOU KNOW, JUDY BELL, THE USGA WENNA (??) STILL CALLS ME GUNDY, YOU KNOW, SO, MANY, MANY GOOD MEMORIES WITH THAT ONE.

PETER KESSLER
DO YOU FEEL LIKE PART OF THE REASON THAT YOU WERE ALWAYS A FEEL PLAYER IS BECAUSE YOU PLAYED SO MUCH OF YOUR EARLY GOLF AS A KID BY THE LIGHT OF THE MOON?

JOANNE CARNER
(LAUGHS) YEAH, THAT'S EXACTLY RIGHT. WHEN I, WHEN I STARTED WE LIVED NEAR A LITTLE NINE HOLE PUBLIC GOLF COURSE AND WE WERE ALLOWED TO PLAY AFTER THE PAYING CUSTOMER, SO WHEN EVERYBODY WAS HAVING DINNER AT NIGHT THEN WE WOULD PLAY AND, AND

OF COURSE THEN SUNSET WOULD, WOULD COME IN AND WE WOULD PLAY IF IT WAS A MOONLIGHT. REAL GOOD MOONLIGHT. WE WOULD PLAY. YOU KNOW WE'D BE TEN, TWELVE, FOURTEEN KIDS, ALL OUT THERE PLAYING, AND THE ONLY WAY YOU COULD TELL WAS BY THE, THE LIGHT ON

THE BACK OF THE GOLF BALL. THEN YOU COULD TELL. YOU COULD SEE IT, TAKE OFF, BUT OTHER THAN THAT YOU HAD TO GO BY FEEL, WHICH IS EXACTLY WHAT YOU WERE SAYING. SO YOU HAD TO GUESS WHETHER YOU SLICED IT OR HOOKED IT OR WHATEVER, YOU KNOW.

PETER KESSLER
DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU WERE A NATURAL? THAT IT CAME TO YOU EASILY?

JOANNE CARNER
IT CAME VERY EASY. I, I NEVER REALLY PRACTICED BUT I PLAYED, YOU KNOW, AND WE MADE FUN. WE USED TO MAKE UP ALL THESE GAMES, YOU KNOW, OVER, RAISED IN THE SEATTLE AREA YOU HAD ALL THESE HILLS AND EVERYTHING

AROUND THE GREENS, SO WE WOULD, WE WOULD MAKE UP GAMES TO CHIP AND RUN UP AND DOWN THE HILL AND SIDE HILL LIES AND ALL THAT SO I STARTED OUT, YOU KNOW, LEARNING TO BE A SHOT MAKER AND, AND IT WAS ALWAYS FUN AND WE ALWAYS HAD CONTESTS GOING ALL THE TIME.

PETER KESSLER
TELL ME ABOUT THE FIRST TIME THEY TRIED TO RUN YOU OUT OF TOWN WHEN YOU WON THAT FIRST TOURNAMENT WITH A 24 HANDICAP.

JOANNE CARNER
(LAUGHS)

PETER KESSLER
AND SQUEEZED OUT A LITTLE 79 ON THEM.

JOANNE CARNER
WELL I, I WENT INTO AN INNER CLUB MATCH IN TACOMA, WASHINGTON, AND, BEAUTIFUL GOLF COURSE CALLED FIRCREST AND I HAD THIS 24, 25 HANDICAP AND I WENT IN THERE AND I HIT LIKE TWO OR THREE BALLS OUT OF

BOUNDS, TWO OR THREE THREE PUTTS AND, AND STILL SHOT 79. WELL OF COURSE THEN THEY JUST CUT MY HANDICAP, YOU KNOW, RIGHT IN HALF, RIGHT THEN.

PETER KESSLER
DO YOU FEEL LIKE BEING THE YOUNGEST OF FIVE KIDS MADE YOU TOUGHER AND MADE YOU MORE OUTGOING BECAUSE YOU NEEDED TO BE VOCAL TO BE HEARD?

JOANNE CARNER
UM... NO.

PETER KESSLER
WHY NOT?

JOANNE CARNER
UM... I THINK I WAS SPOILED.

PETER KESSLER
REALLY?

JOANNE CARNER
YOU KNOW. YEAH. THE BABY. YOU KNOW, I GOT ALL, I THINK MY OLDER SISTERS, AND UH, MY BROTHER'S THE NEXT CLOSEST TO ME. HE'S 13 MONTHS OLDER THAN I AM, SO WE WERE ALMOST LIKE TWINS GROWING UP BUT, I THINK THEY GOT ALL THE HARD

WORK AND MADE, MADE TO BE MORE RESPONSIBLE AND TO KEEP YOUR EDUCATION GOING AND, AND ALL THIS, MUCH MORE SEVERELY THAN I DID, ALTHOUGH I WAS ONE OF TWO THAT WENT TO COLLEGE BUT WHEN I CAME ALONG, I WAS YOUNG ENOUGH THAT, YOU KNOW,

THEY, THEY SORT OF EASED OFF A LITTLE ON THAT, YOU KNOW. I DID HAVE TO FIGHT FOR MY, MY RIGHTS AND WHAT NOT BUT BASICALLY I THINK I WAS SPOILED. LOVED EVERY MINUTE OF IT THOUGH.

PETER KESSLER
WHEN YOU MADE IT TO THE FINALS OF YOUR FIRST NATIONAL JUNIOR AND DIDN'T WIN

JOANNE CARNER
RIGHT

PETER KESSLER
WERE YOU HAPPY ABOUT HAVING GOTTEN THAT FAR, OR WERE YOU ANGRY THAT YOU DIDN'T MAKE IT ALL THE WAY?

JOANNE CARNER
WELL I LOST TO A GOOD FRIEND OF MINE, SO I WASN'T THAT DISAPPOINTED BUT I WAS DISAPPOINTED, YOU KNOW, I DON'T KNOW WHY, PETER, BUT I, I JUST GREW UP BELIEVING I COULD BEAT ANYBODY. I REALLY HAD NO FEAR AGAINST ANYBODY MALE OR FEMALE.

PETER KESSLER
WHERE DO YOU SUPPOSE THAT CAME FROM

THAT CONFIDENCE?

JOANNE CARNER
I HAVE, I HAVE NO IDEA. YOU KNOW I'VE HAD, I'VE HAD SEVERAL PEOPLE WORKING ON THEIR DOCTORATES COME AND TALK TO ME ABOUT MENTAL ATTITUDE OF THE GAME AND WHAT MADE YOU SUCCESSFUL AND SO ON AND, AND I SAID IF I KNEW I'D WRITE A BOOK, YOU KNOW, BUT UH IT'S

JUST INSTILLED IN ME, AND WHEN I TALK TO MY BROTHER, HE SAYS, YOU KNOW, YOU WERE JUST A BORN COMPETITOR RIGHT FROM THE EARLIEST DAYS I REMEMBER, YOU KNOW.

PETER KESSLER
DID YOU EVER HAVE TO, IN THOSE DAYS, THINK ABOUT HOW TO MAKE YOUR GOLF SWING OR DID YOU JUST, DID YOU JUST DECIDE WHERE YOU WANTED THE BALL TO GO?

JOANNE CARNER
UH.... WELL I THINK YOU HAVE TO THINK ABOUT IT, BUT I LEARNED BY SAM SNEAD'S ORIGINAL BOOK. MAY, MAYBE NOT HIS ORIGINAL BUT IT'S ONE OF THOSE REAL THIN OLD ONES.

PETER KESSLER
THE EDUCATION OF A GOLFER?

JOANNE CARNER
UM.... I'M, I'M NOT SURE OF THE TITLE OR NOT, BUT ANYWAY, IN THERE WAS JUST PHOTOGRAPHS AND, AND IT SAID, YOU KNOW, THE LEFT HAND GOES LIKE THIS, THE CLUB LAYS RIGHT ACROSS HERE, YOU KNOW, SO, I PUT MY PALM UP, LOOK AT THE PICTURE, AND THEN, PUT MY HAND

ON THERE AND THEN THE RIGHT HAND GOES LIKE THIS AND THEN, THEN YOU PUT YOUR HANDS TOGETHER AND I'D GET IT IN FRONT OF A MIRROR AND SEE IF IT LOOKED LIKE THE PICTURE, AND WHAT NOT, SO, I STARTED WITH A REALLY GOOD GRIP WHICH IS OFF SAM SNEAD'S BOOK, AND THEN FROM THERE, I COULD LEARN

TO WORK THE BALL AND WHAT NOT, BUT I HAD TO GO TO A LITTLE FINER PRO TO LEARN TO, TO WORK IT A LITTLE MORE AND, AND LEARN SOME OF THE WEDGE SHOTS, LIKE, IN THE SEATTLE AREA YOU NEVER HIT THE, THE BALL FIRST. YOU
ALWAYS HIT A HALF AN INCH BEHIND A WEDGE.

PETER KESSLER
WHY'S THAT?

JOANNE CARNER
AND, AND IT JUST STOPS DEAD. STOPS DEAD, YOU KNOW. IT WON'T SPIN BACK OFF THE GREEN, IT WON'T BOUNCE FORWARD YOU KNOW, AND YOU CAN HIT IT VERY, VERY AGGRESSIVE, BUT MOST PEOPLE TRIED NOT TO HIT BEHIND THE WEDGE.

PETER KESSLER
I'LL TELL YOU WHAT, DURING THIS BREAK, WE'LL JUST RUN OVER AND YOU SHOW ME HOW TO HIT THAT

SHOT REALLY QUICK

JOANNE CARNER
(LAUGHS)

PETER KESSLER
WE'LL BE RIGHT BACK. DON'T GO AWAY.

(MUSIC)

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