The skinny on Kerr: She’s ready for Kraft

Cristie Kerr at a morning press conference Wednesday at the Kraft Nabisco Championship.

RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. – Cristie Kerr will never escape her past -- specifically, her former body. Transformation questions follow Kerr wherever she goes, especially now that she dropped 12 pounds during the offseason. Her size was a popular topic on Wednesday in the interview room at the Kraft Nabisco Championship, the LPGA’s first major championship of the season. She looked confident and trim in an orange and white outfit, still wearing sneakers before warming up for a pro-am round.

“I got teased a lot in school,” Kerr said, “so it’s nice to finally maybe turn into a bit of a swan. Who knows?”

Kerr’s original weight loss was triggered by a slew of family health problems. Watching so many loved ones get wheeled away into surgery “scared the crap” out of a young Kerr.

After the Tour Championship in December, Kerr thought she might be living that scenario all over again. Hit with the news that her father had been diagnosed with prostate cancer and her mother, a breast-cancer survivor, needed 10 inches of her colon removed, Kerr felt like a “brick wall” came down on her.

She buckled down even more on her diet, cutting out alcohol for six weeks during the offseason. She got rid of the processed carbohydrates -- “the white bread and flour” -- in her diet and sometimes went to the gym twice a day. She didn’t touch a club until three weeks before the season opener in Thailand.

“I’ve always felt like I was a bit of a chameleon,” Kerr said. “I could morph into whatever I wanted to at times. . . . “It’s nice to be in a different place where you look good in clothing and feel good versus being a sixth-grader where people make fun of you and call you ‘fatso.’ ”

Nowadays, people call Kerr “LPGA champion.” This week, she’s among the favorites at the Kraft, where she has had several close calls. Kerr considers this tournament more of a chess game, with a premium on placement at the Dinah Shore Tournament Course.

“You have to know where to move your pieces around the board,” Kerr said.

Game on.

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