Who are Cristie Kerr’s biggest influences?

From the women’s side, I’ve always grown up kind of idolizing Juli Inkster. To still be able to play with her in tournaments to this day, there are really no words for that. All the great American women golfers, from Patty Sheehan to Betsy King to Beth Daniel and Meg Mallon [were influential]. That’s how I grew to want to play professional golf. I saw them on TV and said that’s what I want to do. On the men’s side, Arnold Palmer is the king. Arnie, having his own army of fans, was pretty special to me. I’m a student of the game. Jim McLean has always been my mentor in golf. I’ve been working with an instructor of his who’s no longer with him now for the past 15 years. I grew up at Doral [golf course; now Trump National Doral Miami]. I was there all of the time because that’s where I grew up. Jim would always say, “If you want to be great, you have to know your history. If you want to be great, you have to know yourself, technique and cause and effect to be able to fix things yourself.” I’d watch him teach, watch the tournaments and watch the players. Just being around tournaments and professional golfers is kind of how I grew up. It’s what I wanted to do, so I invested everything in that. I got to watch Tom Kite, Brad Faxon, Peter Jacobsen and Greg Norman. Anybody and everybody, I got to watch them hit balls or play. You learn a lot. Payne Stewart used to be one of my favorites. When I was a kid, I used to make these brownies with a hot fudge center and you’d break them open and they were kind of gooey. I would walk up and down the range at the tournament and hand them out to people. Payne was always like, “Hey, give me a second one.” It really killed me when his plane went down and he passed away. He was such a kind man. I had my own experiences as a kid with him, just watching him play. Him winning the [1999] U.S. Open at Pinehurst, making that putt against Phil [Mickelson] was one of those moments that I’ll never forget in my life. That may be one of the reasons I’m so excited to go and play [The U.S. Open] this year at Pinehurst. I won my Open at Pine Needles, just a couple of miles from there. There are moments in golf that really defy logic and that was one.

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