KOWALSKI: U.S. Amateur Champion, Gunn Yang of Korea, played college golf at San
Diego State; Mr. Gunn Yang. Gunn, you've got this beautiful trophy here that is
some day soon here going to have your name on it and it is a great achievement
obviously, but tell us what this means to you.
GUNN YANG: Well, first of all, I mean, I haven't
won a tournament for a long time, like maybe five or six years, and I was going
through injury, also. So I was just trying to play my game again today.
Obviously it just popped in my head like if I beat Corey, then I win the
trophy. But I was just trying to concentrate and just trying to hit balls and
just put it next to the hole and make the putt. That's what the process was out
PETE KOWALSKI: Now that you've done that, and
you've accomplished it, what is your feeling now?
GUNN YANG: Well, obviously I want to, I'm doing
the interview right now, I can't, you know, just go crazy here (laughter).
Well, I'm really happy about it for sure.
Q. You told
Roger Maltbie earlier this was a dream come true. Was it even a dream at the
start of the week and were you even thinking you could win this, given where
you'd been and how recently you'd had surgery?
GUNN YANG: Well, I dreamed that like four years
ago, but I was just trying to make it to the match-play portion, really. That
was the goal, first of all. And then when I make it to the match play, I was
like maybe I can do this. You know, maybe I can do this. I was just trying to
go through by every single match, just trying to play my game and trying to see
how it goes, and I got the trophy. So I'm really excited and really happy about
Q. When you
look at the week as a whole, what was the one thing maybe that you did really
well or better maybe than you ever have done before in your game?
GUNN YANG: I would say putting. Putting was the
key. Out here it's all about putting I think because the greens are rolling so
quick. Especially today, it was rolling maybe 14 I think. I've never played on
those kind of greens before, so I had some trouble with like distance control
out there. So I had a couple 3-putts. Yeah, that was the key.
PETE KOWALSKI: And you keep referring to your
game. Could you explain what your game is? Describe it to us.
GUNN YANG: Well, I don't like look at the yardage
and go through all the things, statistics. I don't like that. I just like to go
out and feel what it feels like to me and then just point it out and then just
pull the trigger. That's what I normally do.
Q. The USGA is
always going to have difficult tournaments, we had two bouts of rain this
morning and a 90-minute weather delay, but can you attest to or speak on how
you addressed the situation and how you handled to win the championship?
GUNN YANG: Well, I knew it was -- I mean, I knew it
was going to rain, but I was like, I told my caddie that you don't need to
carry all my rain gear. We just need an umbrella but it rained quite heavily
the first time, like I think it was after 18 holes. And then the second time
when it rained, it was a lot worse. So luckily we got into the car and then I
took a nap for 30 minutes and then I was refreshed because I was so tired after
playing 18 holes. I mean, it was hot, also, today. I was physically tired but
mentally I was so stressed out. It definitely helped.
Q. On the
telecast, you told a funny story about how you didn't really pack enough
clothes for this week. Curious how many shirts and shorts you did pack.
GUNN YANG: I took three shorts and four shirts.
That was it. And two belts.
Q. So needless
to say, you didn't think you would be sticking around for all nine days here?
GUNN YANG: Well, I'd say I just wanted to wash it
off because I don't want to make my luggage too heavy (laughing). Yeah, that
afternoon component on the 16th when you pushed the ball right, they often say
in these championship matches, there's critical stages where you think back and
say, that was it. Was that it or was there some other aspect of the match you
thought got the momentum going for you?
GUNN YANG: Well, I would say that was a dream, the
18 holes, the first 18 holes that I played, that was a crucial one, also,
because I made an up-and-down and I halved the hole. The most important thing I
think throughout the match play was the 11th hole, the par putt, right after
the rain delay, I just came back and hit a poor pitching wedge to about like
140 yards out. Then it went into the bunker and it was -- we got like a 15-,
16-footer. Luckily I made a putt. So I was able to, you know, go through the
next hole with 1-up. So that was pretty cool.
Q. How did the
weather conditions affect the greens after it rained? I notice you had a lot of
missed putts, especially down the stretch, a lot of lip-outs and you kind of
burned the edges on a few. Did that change your strategy at all?
GUNN YANG: A little bit because I mean, the greens
got slow, so I had to hit it harder and read it a little less. So the important
thing is I got to start with the good line and good pace of the ball roll. So
it didn't work out on the -- which hole was it, 16th hole, and 17th hole, I
also lipped-out. I wanted that, yeah.
Q. They were
saying a couple things on the telecast, trying to illustrate how far you've
come very quickly and I wanted to double-check it with you. At one point very
recently did a coach threaten to take your scholarship away?
GUNN YANG: Oh, yeah. I was mad. I was so mad
Q. When was
GUNN YANG: That was actually right after the
spring. He took my scholarship away and now I'm going to fall season without a
Q. You think
you might get one back?
GUNN YANG: Better. Or else I'm going to transfer
Q. And there
was another anecdote, three weeks ago, California --
GUNN YANG: Southern California.
Q. Did you
withdraw after like nine holes because you were playing so poorly?
GUNN YANG: California State Open, yeah, that was
my first pro event -- I mean, pro event as an amateur. I was playing so bad. I
mean, that was like two weeks before the U.S. Amateur and I was like, I don't
know what to do. I mean, I was working on the things that I've been working on
for like a couple months and it didn't work out. So I thought I had to
withdraw, and I had no chance. I had to withdraw and work on my game again.
Actually four days after, that was the Southern California Match Play
Championship before the U.S. Amateur, so I thought, it would be better to play
that one because you know, the U.S. Amateur, if you make it to the match play,
then you're going to play six more matches is it -- yeah, six more matches.
Q. How did you
do in that?
GUNN YANG: I lost in the quarterfinal.
Q. Do you have
any explanation, kind of touching on this, where all of a sudden you found your
game in such a short period of time?
GUNN YANG: The funny thing is often like the last
couple months, I've just been working on my tempo and the downswing part
really. And then when I was just practicing my by myself, it's hard to get my
tempo correct, tempo to be in the right spot. I talked with my coach on the
phone throughout the week, also, and then he was like, just got to slow it
down, just before the transition on the downswing, and it worked out. I was
happy with it.
GUNN YANG: I'll discuss about that later but we'll
see. We'll see.
Q. Was there
any one thing after you struggled in that tournament that you and your coach
worked on that made a big difference this week?
GUNN YANG: Well, Coach Donovan wasn't really happy
with me because he's a guy that wasn't want me to quit during the round or
something like that. He hates that. Even if I don't play well, he wants me to
finish it out and just take a lesson from it. But I was -- I mean, at that
time, I was also into the World Amateur golf ranking because I want to play in the
Asia-Pacific Amateur in middle of October I think, and I was just on the sixth
place, and they only take six people from each country, so I was sixth, and
they are like -- I was like, I need to withdraw this because it's going to
affect my ranking again. That was one of the reasons and the other reason was
just for the U.S. Amateur.
Q. Was there
anything that you and Coach Doherty (ph) worked on?
GUNN YANG: Coach Doherty, had we just worked on
the same thing really. We didn't change any like swing because I was swinging
well throughout the summer, so we just worked on the same thing, just tempo,
tempo on downswing and that was it really.
Q. You come out
this morning and win the first two holes. How determined are you -- there's a
lot to play, but how determined are you at this point to say, I'm not going to
lose this week?
GUNN YANG: Well, I wasn't really thinking about it
because it's the first two holes. There's another 34 holes to go and why should
I worry about that, you know, because the game can change at any time after 18.
I was just trying to play my game and Corey played his game and just, you know,
I think that was it really.
Q. Have you
given any thought to what you're going to do with this trophy for the next year?
GUNN YANG: I don't know where to put it actually.
That's the thing. There isn't much room in my room at home but I'll just put it
in the living room or somewhere.
PETE KOWALSKI: Congratulations, USGA National
Champion, and we'll see you at Chambers Bay next year.
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