Michelob ULTRA Open QA - Danielle Amiee

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 4, 2005, 4:00 pm
Q. This is a big week for you. You won the Big Break III and now you finally get the reward of playing here this week. Just your general thoughts so far?
DANIELLE AMIEE: This one is even a bigger week for me. I'm taking a humble attitude out here. I'm looking up at the girls, hoping to learn something. Everyone has given me a warm welcome here. It has been a warm welcome here. It has been a blessing.
Q. What kind of shape is your game in right now?
DANIELLE AMIEE: I was self taught all the way up through the show. Once I figured out that I won, I decided to work with a coach full time mainly on my short game. I am hoping that it will show up at the right time. I have been working hard. I am very confident.
It was just about the nerves and adrenaline rush. If my scores aren't there, it is due to something else other than my swing.
Q. What are your expectations?
DANIELLE AMIEE: My expectation is to make the cut. That is the good goal to set for myself with an added pressure.
Q. I am from Britain we actually saw some it over there. When did it start and finish?
DANIELLE AMIEE: We filmed it within 12 days, and each day was an episode and was edited and put together into an episode a week. Basically it broke down to 11 episodes total.
Q. So who is the coach that you have?
DANIELLE AMIEE: My new coach is Glen Deck at Pelican Hill Golf Club. Ranked top 100.
Q. What is his name?
DANIELLE AMIEE: Glen Deck. Very high regards to him. He put in a lot of extra hours with me.
Q. Have you seen anything out here in terms of the way women physically hit the ball that surprised you?
DANIELLE AMIEE: When I started to drive through, just driving around the golf course, watching other girls play yesterday, I was surprised to see the consistency with their drivers. These girls are long and straight. I think the tee shot is important out here. It sets up for the second shot and their scoring. I was surprised to see that.
Q. What are your long term goals?
DANIELLE AMIEE: My long term is to stay out here on this tour. I hope that the invite is a stepping stone. I hope that the long term goal is to maintain some credibility out here.
Q. Are you going to go to Tour school?
DANIELLE AMIEE: I made it to finals one year. Struggled through it, but I felt the pressure.
I believe that I can compete with these girls.
Q. What year was that?
DANIELLE AMIEE: It was for the 2003 Tour. I think it was 2003.
Q. What has the response been so for from some of the other players?
DANIELLE AMIEE: It has been great. Half of these people I played with on the FUTURES Tour. There are a lot of a familiar faces. They have been really warmly welcoming me here, including old school faces around the Tour. I might have been shunned; I might have been warmly welcomed.
Q. Do you ever watch the show? Were you able to watch?
DANIELLE AMIEE: Oh, did I ever. Yeah.
Q. What did you think of how you were portrayed? You were more controversial than the other women on the show in terms of your competitiveness. Do you feel like that is how you are?
DANIELLE AMIEE: I learned a lot from the show. You don't really realize your emotions you may wear on your sleeves, as they portrayed me. It is clipped and edited to make for good TV. Quote, unquote, it is a good, realistic, entertaining show.
Q. Was the tension real?
DANIELLE AMIEE: I think the tension was real. That wasn't due to the girl conflicts; it was due to the pressure, the environment, wanting to stay, long hours of the sets. Sometimes we were out until 11:30 at night due to interviews.
Q. So the personality clashes were more created by the situation?
DANIELLE AMIEE: I think it enhanced it. Every girl has different personalities. I believe that, sure, you get ten girls picked around the world to put in this show, there will be some conflicts.
Q. Is everyone on the show still on your Christmas card list?
DANIELLE AMIEE: We all still call. It has been very nice. We laugh about it now.
Q. Since the show was filmed here, is that going to give you some comfort, just the surroundings? You know some of the courses outside, where there you do all those funky drills in competition.
DANIELLE AMIEE: I feel like I haven't left since October. I resaw the whole show; I relived the steps until Tuesday. My plane ticket here was Wednesday. I feel like I have been here, yes.
Q. Could I just ask what made you enter in the first place?
DANIELLE AMIEE: A twist of fate actually got me in to the show. My club maker in Orange County told me he saw something about the Big Break III and I should research the audition spot in California. By the luck of a draw, I was sent on a golf tournament.
I went to Decatur, Illinois to play on a FUTURES Tour. I pulled up to the site. There was an audition for the Big Break III. That event was my first event of the year for the FUTURES Tour and I pulled up right into it.
Q. When did you start playing golf and what is your home course in California?
DANIELLE AMIEE: I was second year in college I was in dental hygiene school, working three jobs, I just decided on the sport of golf, picked up a golf club, hit balls ten hours a day in the summer and got a full scholarship in three weeks. It was to a lesser university but we still competed with bigger schools, like USC. I got to compete. I was very lucky.
Q. What school was that?
DANIELLE AMIEE: Long Beach State.
Q. You picked the game up and within three weeks you had a scholarship?
DANIELLE AMIEE: Yes. An instructor had seen me there on the driving range. They offered me to come in and get some status at the college to see if I had playing time on my clock. I was a full time student in dental hygiene school.
Q. How old were you then?
DANIELLE AMIEE: I was gosh, that is a good question. Time flies so much. I graduated college in '97. That was my senior year. I was 1994, '95. I am 29 now, which is all the controversy I have birth certificates.
Q. There is no age requirement here. Did you play other sports in high school?
DANIELLE AMIEE: In high school it was soccer, I was a softball pitcher for nine years. I was really into softball and gymnastics. That is where I got my timing, flexibility and strength. I moseyed my own way through in college. I graduated high school in three years.
I dated a paraplegic at the time. I had to skip a year of high school to take care of him. It was academically compressed in my scheduling. I went to college at an early age.
Q. When did you turn pro?
DANIELLE AMIEE: You are asking me hard questions. I turned pro, I believe it was the year 2000. '99 or 2000 is when I went to the FUTURES school. Somebody gave me information about Q School. I didn't know what that was. I placed 38. I thought, 'Whoa, I am going to make money at this sport.' 20 missed cuts later...
Q. Did you ever do your dental hygiene?
DANIELLE AMIEE: I worked in dental orthodontics but they didn't offer that at my university.
Q. What were you shooting after three weeks?
DANIELLE AMIEE: 82, about. I was a ball beater, as they consider it. I was a driving range guru; I didn't know much about chipping or putting or scoring.
Q. You haven't played FUTURES event in two years?
DANIELLE AMIEE: Since Decatur, Illinois I tried to play. I played only two last year for the FUTURES Tour. I got the opportunity for the Big Break. I was focusing on getting my game ready.
Q. How weird will it be in competition?
DANIELLE AMIEE: One of my strategies, I didn't want to play on the FUTURES Tour this year. I just picked up a golf course. I didn't want to put my expectation too high or too low. Work on my game, build up some confidence. I wanted to just come out here and just play some golf and see what happens.
Q. How have they been?
DANIELLE AMIEE: They have been nice. I played with Natalie Gulbis yesterday. Her reality show. It was really nice to get that pressure starting to feel what it is like to be here with the big names in golf. Her approach shots are phenomenal.
This girl is beautiful and has a great game to back it up.
Q. How different is your game now before meeting your instructor?
DANIELLE AMIEE: I think the difference between now and then is I understand where the swing is developing from. If I get in some trouble on the days I am off, I can find my way back. We have been working on wedge play. My other part of my swing takes on its on course. I got a lot of more control now then I had.
Q. What are the expectations for you?
DANIELLE AMIEE: My realistic expectations are to make the cut. I think it is a good goal. I think it is suitable to believe that that is possible for me.
Q. You received a car for winning too?
DANIELLE AMIEE: I gave the car away. Somebody has been helping me out, been supportive of me financially and positive in a way that you can't compete out here if you don't have your personal life in order with the right support. You can't compete out here. It was a gift of gratitude, to say 'thank you'.
Q. Was there a course you played in California?
DANIELLE AMIEE: Costa Mesa, a golf club. Tiger Woods used to play out there as well. The staff there is the most generous I have ever met. They gave me course time and balls at no expense. They have been helping me get to this point right now. If it wasn't for them I might not be here.
Q. Are there any other benefits that the Golf Channel gave you?
DANIELLE AMIEE: That is really hard because Big Break III finale confidentiality ended on Tuesday the 26th. I had a plane ticket on the 27th.
You know, I am taking it in a low level. If something happens, I would be gracious and excited to accept it.
Q. Has the stretch from October to now been difficult, the pressure of having to keep quiet?
DANIELLE AMIEE: It was very difficult, and then to see how sound bites were edited, things taken out of context, you kind of mentally question yourself.
The best part is that everybody out there is supportive of me.
Q. Has the pressure been building that this day is coming?
DANIELLE AMIEE: I think today is probably the most pressure, and tomorrow morning my heart will be racing. I hope I can get that under control.
Q. Are you going to look for other exemptions on tour this year as well?
DANIELLE AMIEE: Yeah, absolutely. I would be honored to fill that spot. If not, I understand.
I am here through a television show and some celebrities that brought me here. I am under a humble statement and appreciate being here. I tell every girl here, 'Thank you for welcoming me here.'
Q. When the show started I believe there were four exemptions, when you won they said it was two.
DANIELLE AMIEE: We were all told that it was exemptions in the LPGA, including one at Kingsmill. That was the way it was stated in the contracts. We were left in the dark when we were filling in here. We didn't know what event we would be playing. I am doing Kingsmill, Corning Classic, and a celebrity event in Reno Tahoe so far. Depending on how I play, I am sure other sponsors may ask me to come in and fill some spots this year.
Q. If not, what is the plan?
DANIELLE AMIEE: The plan is to work with the coach. My goal would be Q School at the end of the year. A good strategic plan of how to get my game from a B-plus to an A-minus.
Q. But no more FUTURES Tour?
DANIELLE AMIEE: The FUTURES Tour was a great developmental tour. It keeps you skilled if you are not in between events. Unfortunately the expense is more incoming than outgoing. It was not a long term goal. There is not much return in the FUTURES Tour unfortunately. Those girls are shooting 14 under in three rounds of golf. The courses are not in any good a shape as the LPGA or PGA Tour. That is a strong field on the FUTURES Tour.
Q. Have you ever played here while you were filming the show?
DANIELLE AMIEE: We played on the river course due to weather. The course was dormant.
We played 16 and 17. Hole 16, we did long drive and we did breaking of the glasses.
The rest of it was shot between the Plantation and the Woods. The Woods course is where the match play was, where I won.
Related links:
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    Woods' final round is highest-rated FEC telecast ever

    By Golf Channel DigitalSeptember 24, 2018, 9:05 pm

    We've heard it a million times: Tiger Woods doesn't just move the needle, he IS the needle.

    Here's more proof.

    NBC Sports Group's final-round coverage of Woods claiming his 80th career victory in the Tour Championship earned a 5.21 overnight rating, making it the highest-rated telecast in the history of the FedExCup Playoffs and the highest-rated PGA Tour telecast in 2018 (excluding majors).

    The rating was up 206 percent over 2017's Tour Championship.

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    Coverage peaked from 5:30-6PM ET (7.19) as Woods finished his round and as Justin Rose was being crowned the FedExCup champion. That number trailed only the 2018 peaks for the Masters (11.03) and PGA Championship (8.28). The extended coverage window (1:30-6:15 PM ET) posted a 4.35 overnight rating, which is the highest-rated Tour Championship telecast on record.

    Sunday’s final round also saw 18.4 million minutes streamed across NBC Sports Digital platforms (up 561 percent year-over-year), and becomes the most-streamed NBC Sports Sunday round (excluding majors) on record.

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    Randall's Rant: Woods' comeback story ranks No. 1

    By Randall MellSeptember 24, 2018, 8:40 pm

    We’re marveling again.

    This time over the essence of the man as much as the athlete, over what Tiger Woods summoned to repair, rebuild and redeem himself, after scandal and injury so ruinously rocked his career.

    We watched in wonder Sunday as Woods completed the greatest comeback in the history of sport.

    That’s how we’re ranking this reconstruction of a champion. (See the rankings below.)

    We marveled over the admiration that flooded into the final scene of his victory at the Tour Championship, over the wave of adoring fans who enveloped him as he marched up the 18th fairway.

    This celebration was different from his coronation, when he won the Masters by 12 shots in 1997, or his masterpiece, when he won the U.S. Open by 15 shots in 2000, or his epic sweep, when he won at Augusta National in ’01 to claim his fourth consecutive major championship title.

    The awe back then was over how invincible Woods could seem in a sport where losing is the week-to-week norm, over how he could decimate the competition as no other player ever has.

    The awe today is as much over the transformed nature of the rebuilt man.

    It’s about what he has overcome since his aura of invincibility was decimated in the disgrace of a sex scandal, in the humiliation of a videotape of a DUI arrest, in the pain of four back surgeries and four knee surgeries and in the maddening affliction of chipping yips and driving and putting woes.

    The wonder is also in imagining the fierce inventory of self-examination that must have been grueling, and in the mustering of inner strength required to overcome foes more formidable than Dustin Johnson, Justin Rose, Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth and today’s other stars.

    It’s in Woods overcoming shame, ridicule, doubt and probably some despair to rebuild his life outside the game before he could rebuild his life in the game.

    Woods may never let us know the detail or depth of those inner challenges, of what helped him prevail in his more spiritual battles, because he’s still fiercely private. He may never share the keys to rebuilding his sense of himself, but he’s more open than he has ever been. He shares more than he ever has.

    As a father of two children, as a mentor to so many of today’s young players, there’s more depth to the picture of this champion today. There also is more for fans to relate to in his struggles than his success. There’s more of the larger man to marvel over.

    The greatest comebacks in the history of sports:

    1. Tiger Woods

    Four back surgeries and four knee surgeries are just part of the story. It’s why Woods ranks ahead of Ben Hogan. Woods’ comeback was complicated by so many psychological challenges, by the demon doubts created in his sex scandal and DUI arrest. There was shame and ridicule to overcome on a public stage. And then there were the chipping yips, and the driving and putting woes.

    2. Ben Hogan

    On Feb. 2, 1949, a Greyhound bus attempting to pass a truck slammed head on into Hogan’s Cadillac on a Texas highway. Hogan probably saved his life throwing himself over the passenger side to protect his wife, Valerie. He suffered a double fracture of the pelvis, a cracked rib, a fractured collarbone and a broken ankle, but it was a blood clot that nearly killed him a few weeks later. Hogan needed 16 months to recover but would return triumphantly to win the 1950 U.S. Open and five more majors after that.

    3. Niki Lauda

    In the bravest sporting comeback ever, Lauda returned to grand prix racing 38 days after his Ferrari burst into flames in a crash in a race in Germany in 1976. Disfigured from severe burns, the reigning Formula One world champion was back behind the wheel at the Italian Grand Prix, finishing fourth. He won the world championship again in ’77 and ’84.

    4. Greg LeMond

    In 1987, LeMond was shot and nearly killed in a hunting accident. Two years later, he won his second Tour de France title. A year after that, he won it again.

    5. Babe Zaharias

    In 1953, Babe Zaharias underwent surgery for colon cancer. A year later, she won the U.S. Women’s Open wearing a colostomy bag. She also went on to win the Vare Trophy for low scoring average that year.

    6. Monica Seles

    Away from tennis for two years after being stabbed with a knife between the shoulder blades during a match in Germany, Seles won in her return to competition at the 1995 Canadian Open. She was the highest ranked women’s tennis player in the world at the time of the attack.

    7. Lance Armstrong

    After undergoing chemotherapy treatment in a battle with potentially fatal metastatic testicular cancer in 1996, Armstrong recovered and went on to win seven Tour de France titles. Of course, the comeback wasn’t viewed in the same light after he was stripped of all those titles after being implicated in a doping conspiracy.

    8. Mario Lemieux

    In the middle of the 1992-93 season, the Pittsburgh Penguins star underwent radiation treatment for Hodgkin disease and missed 20 games. Making a start the same day as his last treatment, Lemieux scored a goal and assist. The Penguins would go on a 17-game winning streak after his return and Lemieux would lead the league in scoring and win the Hart Trophy as league MVP.

    9. Peyton Manning

    Multiple neck surgeries and a spinal fusion kept Manning from playing with the Indianapolis Colts for the entire 2011 season. He was released before the 2012 season and signed with the Denver Broncos. He won his fifth NFL MVP Award in ’13 and helped the Broncos win the Super Bowl in the ’15 season.

    10. Bethany Hamilton

    A competitive surfer at 13, Hamilton lost her left arm in a shark attack in Hawaii. A month later, she was surfing again. Less than two years later, she was a national champion.

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    Woods' win makes us wonder, what's next?

    By Ryan LavnerSeptember 24, 2018, 6:35 pm

    The red shirt and ground-shaking roars.

    The steely glare and sweet swings.

    The tactical precision and ruthless efficiency.

    If not for the iPhone-wielding mob following his every move, you’d swear that golf had been transported to the halcyon days of the early 2000s.

    The Tiger Time Machine kicked into overdrive at East Lake, where Woods won for the first time in 1,876 days and suddenly put two of the sport’s most hallowed numbers – 82 and 18 – back in play.

    “I didn’t understand how people could say he lost this and lost that,” said Hank Haney, Woods’ former swing coach. “He is so good. He’s Tiger Woods. He’s won 79 times. If he can swing, he can win again.”

    The only disappointing part of win No. 80 is that Woods will have to wait four months for another meaningful chance to build upon it. That’s a shame, because all of the pieces are in place for him to make a sustained run, and the Tour Championship might just be the start of an unimaginable final act.

    A season that began with questions about whether a 42-year-old Woods could survive a full schedule with no setbacks ended with him saving his best for last, when his younger, healthier peers seemed to be gassed. Taking his recovery week by week, Woods ended up making 18 starts – his second-heaviest workload since 2005 – and never publicly complained of any discomfort, only the occasional stiffness that comes with having a fused lower spine.

    Remember when Woods’ tanking world ranking was punch-line material? Now he’s all the way up to No. 13 – not bad for a guy who was 1,199th when he returned to competition last December at the Hero World Challenge. Nowhere close to reaching his 40-event minimum divisor, he’ll continue to accrue points and charge up the rankings, putting the game’s top players on notice.

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    The victory at East Lake moves Woods only two shy of Sam Snead’s all-time PGA Tour wins record (82), a goal that seemed unthinkable a year and a half ago, when he was bedridden following the Hail Mary fusion surgery. And for those wondering whether he’s capable of chasing down Big Jack, remember that Woods almost picked off two majors this summer, at Carnoustie and Bellerive, with a body and swing that was constantly evolving. 

    Indeed, in an era of TrackMans and coaching stables designed to maximize a player’s performance, Woods has refreshingly gone back to his roots. It always seemed incongruous, watching the game’s most brilliant golf mind scrutinize down-the-line swing video, and so this year he has been a solo act, relying on old feels to guide his new move. The credit for this resurgence is his alone. 

    Sure, there were growing pains, lots of them, and for months each tournament turned into golf’s version of Whack-a-Mole, as yet another issue arose. The two clubs that most consistently held Woods back were his driver and putter, but recent improvements portend well for the future.

    After wayward tee shots cost him the PGA, Woods changed the loft and shaft on his TaylorMade driver. For years, even while injured, he violently attacked the ball in a vain attempt to hang with the big hitters. But these tweaks to his gamer (resulting in lower swing speed and carry distance) were a concession that accuracy was more vital to his success than power. His newfound discipline was rewarded: He ended the season with four consecutive weeks of positive strokes gained: off the tee statistics, and on Sunday he put on a clinic while Rory McIlroy, one of the game’s preeminent drivers, thrashed around in the trees. Woods is still plenty long, closing out his victory with a 348-yard rocket on 18, and from the middle of the fairway he can rely on his vintage iron play. 

    His troubles with the putter weren’t as quick of a fix. Frustrated with his inconsistent performance on the greens, Woods briefly flirted with other models before rekindling his love affair with his old Scotty Cameron, the trusty putter with which he’s won 13 of his 14 majors. It’s exceedingly rare for a player to overcome the frayed nerve endings and putt better in his 40s than his 30s, but Woods was downright masterful on East Lake’s greens.

    “It’s more satisfaction than anything,” said Woods’ caddie, Joe LaCava. “People have no idea how much work he put into this.”

    By almost any statistical measure, Woods’ season-long numbers suggest that he’s already back among the game’s elite – even after struggling to walk and swing for the past four years. He’s the best iron player in the game. He finished the season ranked seventh in strokes gained: tee to green. And after his normally stellar short game went MIA for a few years, his play around the greens appeared as sharp as ever.

    And so on Sunday, while watching Woods school the top 30 players on Tour, even Johnny Miller got caught up in the latest edition of Tigermania.

    “He’s not looking like he could win a couple more,” Miller said. “He’s looking like he could win A LOT more.”

    Where Woods’ story is headed – to No. 1 in the world, to the top of Mt. Nicklaus, to the operating table – is anyone’s guess, because this comeback has already defied any reasonable logic or expectation.

    He’s come back from confidence-shattering performances at Phoenix (chip yips) and Memorial (85) and even his own media-day event where he humiliatingly rinsed a series of wedge shots.

    He’s come back from four back surgeries and pain so debilitating that his kids once found him face down in the backyard; pain so unbearable that he used to keep a urine bucket next to his bed, because he couldn’t schlep his battered body to the bathroom.

    He’s come back from an addiction so deep that in May 2017 police found him slumped over the steering wheel of his Mercedes, five drugs coursing through his system, a shocking and sad DUI arrest that was the catalyst for this clear-eyed comeback.

    All of the months of unhappiness and uncertainty nearly came pouring out afterward – the culmination of a remarkable journey from turmoil to redemption that ranks among the most unlikely in sports history. Woods fought back tears as thousands formed a big green mosh pit and chanted his name, a surreal scene even for this larger-than-life legend. Hugging LaCava, Woods said into his caddie’s ear, over and over: “We did it! We did it! We did it!” 

    “He’s pumped up,” LaCava said later. “I’ve never seen him this excited.”

    And not just for this moment, but for the future.

    The prospects are as tantalizing as ever. 

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    DJ may keep cross-handed grip for Ryder Cup

    By Rex HoggardSeptember 24, 2018, 4:29 pm

    SAINT-QUENTIN-EN-YVELINES, France – As he’s proven in the past Dustin Johnson isn’t averse to switching things up when it comes to his putting, but this was extreme even for him.

    Johnson switched to a cross-handed grip on the sixth hole during Saturday’s third round at the Tour Championship and continued to use the same grip through the final round.

    It was the first time he’d putted cross-handed in competition and the first time he switched his grip mid-round.

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    “I did it a few times on the putting green. Sometimes I do it on the putting green just to get my setup a little bit better because it just levels out my shoulders,” said Johnson, who closed his week at East Lake with a 67 and finished alone in third place. “I was putting well. I hit some bad putts for the first five holes, so after I hit a really bad putt for eagle on 6, the next one I tried it, I made it, so I kept it going.”

    Johnson, who moved back into the top spot in the World Golf Ranking thanks to his third-place finish, was encouraged by his putting on the weekend but he was vague when asked if he planned to putt cross-handed this week at the Ryder Cup.

    “We're going to stick with it for now. We'll try it,” he said.