Na Yeon Choi (Media Center)


By USGA
July 7, 2012

 

THE MODERATOR:  Ladies and gentlemen, Na Yeon Choi with a wonderful round of 65 today.  The low round of the championship.  And she had nine birdies.  Is that right?

NA YEON CHOI:  Eight.

THE MODERATOR:  Eight birdies.  And one bogey.  That's what I'm looking at.  Eight birdies.  You putted very well today.  You only had 26 putts.  That's better than you did in the first two rounds.  And yet your approach shots put you in a position to have shorter putts for birdies.  Would you say that was the key to your round, your approach shots to the greens?

NA YEON CHOI:  I think yesterday I had a 2 bogey on par‑5.  And then after second round yesterday, I talked to my caddie, we need ‑‑ try to get birdie on par‑5.  So like today we ‑‑ it's not like different approaching to the green, but I had more focus on my short game and putting.  So I had a lot of birdies today.  I think that's why I had a good score.

 Twenty-six putts, that was amazing putting stroke during 18 holes.  So I have a good feeling about my putting speed and putting strokes.  So I hope to get good results tomorrow.

THE MODERATOR:  When you came out the wind was blowing pretty hard, when you teed off.  And it would have seemed that a round like this would have been almost impossible.

NA YEON CHOI:  I mean, actually, I had a really good warmup this morning.  But like when I done with my warmup, I talked to my manager, today will be very difficult day.  But my manager said you can do it.  She encouraging me.

And then I had birdie on 1st hole and birdie on 2nd hole.  Then I got some good vibes from there, good confidence from there.

I was really fun out there.  I had fun out there.  And then ‑‑ actually, I couldn't believe how I got eight birdies today.  But I did.  And I'm very happy, and I'm very satisfied and I'm very excited.

 THE MODERATOR:  She is only 24 years old, but in 2010 she was the leading money winner on the tour and she also won the Glenna Collette Vare Trophy for the lowest scoring average.  She's certainly well‑known among her opponents.

Questions?

Q.  Can you remember having played a better round before?  And if so, what was that one like?

 NA YEON CHOI:  Do I have better round before?  I remember I had 9 under par from 2009 Samsung World Championship in third round.  I think 9 under par or 8 under par.  I couldn't remember exactly.  I think that was the lowest score in my life during tournament.

 THE MODERATOR:  Was that as good as this round, though?

NA YEON CHOI:  Yeah.  I mean, when I hit lower than 60 ‑‑ I think all the 60s score is good for all the players.

Q.  There's a lot of talk going into this tournament how Se Ri's victory in 1998 inspired a lot of people.  Were you one of those people?  I think you were around 10 years old at that time.

NA YEON CHOI:  Yeah.

Q.  If so, would winning here be particularly meaningful for you?

NA YEON CHOI:  Yeah.  I think at that moment I was nine or ten years old.  And I was watching on TV.  Because I started golf, and then I think she ‑‑ I think all the Korean people think a Korean couldn't win on the PGA tour.  But she did.  After she won on the PGA tour, I think all the Korean people or even a lot of players has bigger dream than before.  And even me, just dream was professional golfer on KLPGA tour.  Just Korean player.  But after she won and even Grace Park or Mi Hyun Kim, when they did that PGA tour, I changed my goal.  I have to go to the PGA tour and I want to win on the PGA tour.

So they encouraged all the Korean players and we have bigger dream because of them.

THE MODERATOR:  And you have five wins on the LPGA Tour.  When Se Ri won, that was the middle of the night in Korea, wasn't it?

NA YEON CHOI:  Yeah.

THE MODERATOR:  What were you doing up at nine or ten years old that time of night?

 NA YEON CHOI:  I don't think I watched it live on TV.  But I think that was like big for all the Korean people.  Even some people who didn't play golf.  I think we had bad economy in Korea that moment, but she won on the LPGA Tour and that was amazing all the Korean people.

So I think after she won in June or July, even until like December, I watched it on the TV what she playing on U.S. Open.  She kept turning on, turning on.  So I remember everything that feeling, and I really want to continue that feeling to the Korean people.

Q.  Some of the girls seemed bothered by the wind today.  It picked up a little bit from the first two days.  Didn't seem to affect your game.  Can you just comment on that?

NA YEON CHOI:  A lot of wind out there, but right now it's calm out there.  But when I am playing today, there was a lot of wind out there, but I tried just put the ball exactly where I want, and when my caddie gave me number, I just trust that number and swing it.  All my 14 clubs worked very well today.  I think I had a really good patience until the 18th hole.

 THE MODERATOR:  And she hit 15 greens in regulation figures.  That's extraordinary in these conditions.

 Q.  What's your strategy when playing with a really big lead?  And are you comfortable with that?

NA YEON CHOI:  Especially this week I just want to focus on my aim and rhythm about my swing, and then especially putting.  I have to hit good speed, because this course has a really big green.  So even when I hit to the green, I can hit like 40 yard or 60‑yard putt on 9.

Especially this week I tried to focus on my putting speed and just good rhythm with my swing and just good aim.  If I hit one bad shot, I don't want to judge from that one shot.  Because this is a very difficult course, and then sometimes we can't judge ‑‑ I mean compare this week and regular tournament week.  This is a lot harder than regular weeks.

So I don't judge or compare with the other week.  I just do my best and then I just want to hit without regret.

THE MODERATOR:  Why do you think this is harder than a regular tournament week?

NA YEON CHOI:  I think the length is almost 7,000 yards.  I think the USGA set up a difficult course ‑‑ I mean green speed is very fast.  If I compare last year and this year, I think last year was more narrow fairway and very longer rough.  But this week I think it's more like the fairway and green has a lot of big undulations.  So we have to hit exactly where I want.  And then we have to get a lot of long putts.

Q.  Obviously it was sort of a rough finish for you at the LPGA Championship.  Can you maybe talk about did that motivate you more to play very well in this tournament?

NA YEON CHOI:  I'm sorry.  I couldn't understand.  Yeah, I had the miscue from the LPGA championship.  But I think humans can have mistakes.  I think I tried to don't think about that.  I mean, I had the miscue, but after that happened, I can't control this.  I wasn't mad maybe after 10 or 15 minutes.  But after that I talked to mom and dad and ‑‑ it's already happened, finished.  So I tried to accept that happened, and I just tried to do my best next tournament.

 THE MODERATOR:  You said earlier that doing interviews made you more nervous than playing golf today.

NA YEON CHOI:  Yeah.  I do study my English last two or three years.  But right now I'm more nervous than out there.  I don't want to mistake in front of a lot of people.  But I tried to improve my English because I want to connect with all the American fans and media.  So I just do my best every day, learn a lot of vocabulary.  Right now I'm more nervous than out there.

THE MODERATOR:  You do very well with English.  If you're nervous about this, how do you think you'll feel tonight?  Are you going to be nervous having a big lead?  Are you going to be nervous on the first tee?  What will that be like?

NA YEON CHOI:  I'm pretty sure I'll be nervous tomorrow, but I think I won't miss that feeling.  I think it's time to back on track.  I have confidence and this is a good opportunity to be winning U.S. Open.  So I just hope to get ‑‑ I hope to get good warmup tomorrow morning and just go out there with my caddie and have fun.

THE MODERATOR:  All right, that was an absolutely fantastic round of golf.  I need to ask you about the length of your birdie putts and what clubs you hit into the greens.  So we'll start with No. 1.  What club did you hit to the green there?

NA YEON CHOI:  Can I look at this?

 THE MODERATOR:  Yes, you may.

NA YEON CHOI:  I hit 3‑hybrid for tee shot.  Then I hit 100 yard with a 48 degree wedge.

THE MODERATOR:  How long was your putt?

 NA YEON CHOI:  Maybe three feet.

THE MODERATOR:  And No. 2, just what club you hit into the green?

NA YEON CHOI:  58 degree.

 THE MODERATOR:  And how long was your putt?

NA YEON CHOI:  Putter was 15 feet.

 THE MODERATOR:  And then we go to No. 7 and the club that you hit to the green?

NA YEON CHOI:  I hit 8‑iron.

THE MODERATOR:  And how long was that putt?

NA YEON CHOI:  Almost like 20 feet.

 THE MODERATOR:  So that was a long one.

 NA YEON CHOI:  Yeah.

THE MODERATOR:  No. 8.

 NA YEON CHOI:  I hit 8‑iron for tee shot.  And putt was like 15 feet.

THE MODERATOR:  And then No. 10?

NA YEON CHOI:  I hit 58 for 30 shot.

  THE MODERATOR:  How long was the putt?

NA YEON CHOI:  Maybe two feet.

THE MODERATOR:  Those are fun.

NA YEON CHOI:  Yeah.

THE MODERATOR:  No. 11.  What club?

NA YEON CHOI:  Second shot ‑‑ I was 48 degree.

 THE MODERATOR:  And the putt was ‑‑

NA YEON CHOI:  The putt was I think three or four feet.  Like four feet.

THE MODERATOR:  And No. 12?

NA YEON CHOI:  I hit 8‑iron.  And then I think another four feet.

THE MODERATOR:  140 feet?

NA YEON CHOI:  No, 8‑iron for second shot.  And then four feet.

THE MODERATOR:  And then the bogey on 13.

NA YEON CHOI:  I hit the 3‑putt.

 THE MODERATOR:  From what distance to start?

NA YEON CHOI:  The first putt was almost like 50 feet.  Like 17 yards, I think.

THE MODERATOR:  And then you had that nice birdie, your last one on No. 17.  What club did you hit?

NA YEON CHOI:  I hit 7‑iron for tee shot.  My putt was 15 feet.

  THE MODERATOR:  Very well.  Thank you so much for joining us.

  NA YEON CHOI:  Thank you.

 THE MODERATOR:  Rest well.  Good luck tomorrow.

NA YEON CHOI:  Thank you very much.

 

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