June 30, 2013
An Interview With:
CHRISTINA LANCE: I'm very pleased to welcome our 2013 U.S. Women's Open champion, Inbee Park. Inbee has become the 15th multiple Women's Open winner, having previously won in 2008 at Interlachen in Edina, Minnesota. She's also the first player of the modern era to capture three straight major titles to begin a season. Inbee, congratulations, tell us what's going through your mind right now.
INBEE PARK: I just hope this is not a dream. I don't want to wake up tomorrow and play the final round again. Yeah, it feels great. It feels great to put my name on this trophy twice. That just means so much. Yeah, in this kind of great championship, I just feel very honored to, yeah, put my name on this trophy with some people like who are up here. It's just great.
Yeah, it was a tough day out there. The golf course was playing tough out there. I tried to stay calm, and I think I did. I really stayed calm out there, and I just didn't know what I was doing out there. I mean, if I knew what I was doing, I think I wouldn't be able to stand. Yes, it was a very good day and I'm just very glad that I can put my name in history.
CHRISTINA LANCE: A good day indeed, and I promise you, it's not a dream.
Q. Can you talk about what a grand slam would mean to you and your knowledge of the history? Do you know who Pat Bradley is and Babe Zaharias and those type players? Have you studied that through the years?
INBEE PARK: Well, I've just done three majors in a row now. I think it's too early to think about the next one. I think I really want to enjoy the moment as it is in the moment.
I mean, grand slam is very big. I probably wouldn't get this kind of opportunity ever again. I know this year is a good opportunity for me.
But I think one of my goals for one of my goals for my career was the career grand slam, not the grand slam, but I think career grand slam is good enough for me. I mean, I haven't done that yet. It would mean so much if I could do the grand slam. But takes so much hard work, and it takes a lot to do.
Yeah, I mean, I'm just glad that I can give it a try at St. Andrews. That's going to be a great experience. Whether I do it or not, I'm just a very lucky person.
Q. I think I heard you say that if you knew what you were doing, you wouldn't be able to stand out there. Does that mean you weren't paying attention to the leaderboard? Does that mean you weren't thinking at all about winning? What's that mean exactly?
INBEE PARK: Well, today I just thought I was playing with I.K., pretty much. I know the third place was a little bit further back. So I just thought I had to play better than I.K.
I mean, she was playing great golf, especially on the front nine. She really tried to put pressure on me. She holed the putts that were very hard. And, yeah, I had a couple of bogeys on the front nine.
I mean, just if you think about I'm just trying to write history, I'm trying to break some kind of record that hasn't been broken for over 50 years. Yeah, if you think about all of those things on the golf course, you can't concentrate on golf. So, yeah, it's a good thing that I didn't think about it so much.
I looked at the leaderboard, but I pretty much was looking at what I.K. was doing pretty much. Yeah, I mean, I was lucky that I only got to see one player instead of ten players competing. I think I played very good the first three days to put myself in a position like that.
Q. In the past you've said that having your father here would have made you nervous, and sometimes he didn't come. What made you decide to have him here this week, and what did it mean to you to have your father here this week?
INBEE PARK: I think he would have been coming anyway, even if I said he wasn't coming. He was definitely coming this time, and it was planned. He came last week on the weekend, so he saw two weeks in a row that I won. I think it just means a lot that I can show this kind of golf tournament to my parents. Yeah, it just feels great to show them and share the moment like this together.
Q. You mentioned the names on the trophy, what about the name Babe Zaharias who you joined today? How much do you know about her and what she did not only in golf but in all of sports?
INBEE PARK: Yeah, I mean, I think just trying to put my name next to hers means just so much. I would think I would never get there, but it's somewhere that I've never dreamed of, but all of a sudden, I'm there. It's just such an honor to put my name in the history of women's golf.
Q. Inbee, after you got the trophy, you said it's scary to think about what else I can do. Is that your way of saying the best for you, you think is yet to come?
INBEE PARK: I mean, I just said that because I don't know what I can do from now on. I don't know what I'm capable of doing from now on. I didn't expect myself being in this kind of position, breaking some kind of record that hasn't been broken for 50 years. I never dreamed of myself doing that. I mean, not this far, not to this extent. But, yeah, I've done it. I don't know what else I can do.
Q. You said you were nervous last night, but you were not nervous. You were calm on the golf course today. Did you talk to your mental coach last night or this morning? What was the key for you being really calm today?
INBEE PARK: I think it's because I feel the happiest when I'm at the golf course. And I feel calm when I'm on the golf course. I think I'm just a much better person when I'm on the golf course.
Yeah, outside the golf course, I feel the pressure and I feel what everybody else is feeling. But on the golf course, it's just the golf ball and clubs. And when I have that, it just puts a lot of pressure off of me. It just makes me very calm looking at it, yeah.
Q. Just to follow up on the previous question. You just seem so unflappable out there. Your mental approach to the game, what is your secret to your mental approach?
INBEE PARK: I think it's just I'm getting a lot more mature person. I'm getting a lot of experience. Talking to my mental coach definitely helps. I talk to her every week. Yeah, I mean, she's been helping me a lot too. I'm just getting a lot more experience.
I mean, if you've seen this kind of been in this kind of situation before and you're there the second time, it just helps you. I mean, you've been there and you know, you've done that, so I think it's just that kind of thing.
I think because like Yani, Annika, Lorena, what they were doing because they were experienced and they've been in that position so many times that they don't feel that much pressure when they're there, not as much as what other players would feel. I think I'm taking like one step towards them.
I know I have a long ways to go to go somewhere like what Yani or what Annika and what Lorena have achieved. I still have a long ways to go. Yeah, I still have a lot of things to learn. Yeah, I'm still in the learning process.
Q. Can you share anything that your mental coach coaches you on?
INBEE PARK: Yeah, just every week she gives me one thing to concentrate for, and we talk about what we should be working on this week and what I should be thinking about on the golf course.
Q. Can you talk a little bit about what your win means for the popularity of women's golf and perhaps other young girls who are watching you back in Korea and who are looking up to you and possibly wanting to be in your shoes one day?
INBEE PARK: Yeah, I mean, it's just great to give somebody an inspiration. As a person, to inspire some young girls and give them something to look at and give them something to play for, I think is such a great position to be in. I'm glad that I can follow all of the great Korean players' footsteps.
Q. When you won in 2008, you were obviously 19. Do you have a greater appreciation of what it takes to win this championship now?
INBEE PARK: I think so, yeah. This is probably my ninth time playing in the Women's Open. Yeah, I mean, I didn't know what was going on at that time. I played very good golf then, but I didn't know what I was playing for, and that was just my first win. It was a great championship then, but now I think I'm I think I really appreciate more and I really know what this means. Yeah, I think it just means a lot more now to me.
Q. Are you going to play in the two events before the British Open or what is your schedule going to be like until then?
INBEE PARK: I play two before British Open, take a week off, and then I go to British, yes.
Q. Will you have a chance to go home at all to Korea?
INBEE PARK: I go home before the British Open, yes.
Q. What do you think that's going to be like to be home having won three majors, just the welcome you'll receive?
INBEE PARK: Yeah, it will be big back in Korea. Yeah, I mean, it might mean that I might get not much time to myself. But I don't go back to Korea that often, so when I'm there, I want to enjoy my time with all of the people in Korea and all of the fans that were rooting for me all year. It's always very early in the morning in Korea to watch golf, and they always wake up very early in the morning and root for me. So I should be very thankful for that.
Q. Some of the opponents are now saying they really don't know how they're going to beat you. How much of an advantage is that?
INBEE PARK: They can beat me, I think. There are so many players who are playing such good golf out here on the LPGA Tour. Yeah, I have been through situations where I thought I wouldn't beat this person, but just keep working hard and keep looking at your chances and I think you'll get there.
Q. Historically speaking, winning the grand slam means you win four major championships. In your mind when you're going to St. Andrews, if you were to win there, would that be the grand slam or do you think you need to win all five to achieve that?
INBEE PARK: Well, I think I won Evian last year. It wasn't a major, but I won Evian. So I think the British Open is one I have to win. So it would be great if I could win five, but I still think four means a grand slam. I think four out of five is very big (laughing).
CHRISTINA LANCE: Congratulations, Inbee, 2013 U.S. Women's Open champion. Enjoy.
INBEE PARK: Thank you.
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