PLAYING PARTNER DEAN WILSON
I just told her I was just so proud of her ' just the way she handled herself, the way she obviously played with all the attention that shes been getting this week. Its been a circus for her. I knew that once she got inside the ropes, she would be in her element. She could concentrate on her game. I just told her I was proud of her.
She hit the ball a little further than I thought she would. She hit the ball a lot, very accurate. I knew she was accurate, but it was great to see. I just really admired the way she held herself and the way she played the course. She played the course the best way she could.
PLAYING PARTNER AARON BARBER
We talked about it all day (the riotous scene.) We were having a blast out there. We were having a blast with the crowd. I know she enjoyed it. Thats great. She kept saying, I cant believe how far Im hitting the ball. I said, I do, too, but I cant hit it as far as you can right now, so dont ask me about it. She handled it awesome. Shes been there, shes won a lot, and even though she says, I dont belong out here, her game is solid. Shes good.
I gave her a high-five after her first birdie then. Im like, Ive never done that before on the PGA Tour. Yeah, you cant help but root for her. Shes so nice and shes so solid out there. I just expected her to hit good shot after good shot. She didnt come close to missing the fairway. Maybe she missed one. But it was easy to watch.
Look at what shes doing. I cant even imagine what shes got to go through just to be here. The attention she gets, I think she deserves it. If Tiger Woods ' when Tiger Woods goes overseas and plays other tours, you think those guys that play regularly on the tour, do you think everybody is following them? No, theyre following him. Its kind of, its apples and oranges, but its the same kind of thing where if hes playing a different tour, everyone goes to watch him.
I probably met Annika about six years ago. And shes always been very kind, very outgoing. Shes really a nice, very considerate and genuine person. And quite obviously, shes dominated the world of womens golf and I have nothing but support for her, because she's a (University of Arizona) Wildcat and I think shes a good golfer. And I think that in regards to her abilities as a golfer, shes more than capable of competing with anybody.
The shots I saw her hit were great shots ' I watched some of her round on television this morning. Quality golf shots. Right at the pins. Her length ' Corey Pavin won here twice and she probably hits it further than Corey does. So I really didnt think the length issue was any big deal whatsoever. So honestly, I thought that she probably was disappointed with her score. Im sure she said everything was great except for one thing and that was her score ' because Im certain it could have been better. I know she made no putts. I saw her make nothing.
I watched her this morning. I watched her play the front side. It was great. She hit it really, really solid. And I was really interested to see her hit it a lot farther that I thought she would. She hit 6-iron into some par-3s and I dont think the course played all that long to her. She hit it out there a long, long ways, and it looked like the way she was playing, she could easily compete at this level.
It seems like a lot of people think this is a mens and womens issue. I dont. I consider it a competitive issue. And I obviously want to do as well as I can. Ive got to play the golf course and then at the end we add them up and see who has the lowest score.
I could see when she was walking down the fairway, everyone was clapping for her as she went along. Thats cool. Thats really neat. Im impressed. (She had) a lot of people following her. Steve (Elkington) made a comment ' he said, You know, Dan, this gals got a lot of class. And he was talking about her walking down the back nine, how she handled everything. And shes really a sharp gal. He says, I dont know if I could have handled it as well as shes handled it. I said, Yeah, thats a classy lady. And he says, Yeah, shes got class.
NATALIE GULBIS (AT LPGA CORNING CLASSIC)
Im going to go home and eat lunch and watch the end of Annikas play.
KAREN STUPPLES (AT CORNING)
Im rooting for Annika 110 percent. I dont think anybody here in Corning is not rooting for her. Its always in the back of your mind. I was so happy to see that shes playing fantastic. Its going to be such a big part of what we do this week, how shes doing over there.
DENISE KILLEEN (AT CORNING)
I hope shes playing there on the weekend and its a distraction (for us). I think its kind of neat and it is motivating for players to look up there (at the Jumbotron) and see her playing. Its the best players in the world. I think its a great accomplishment.