U.S. Amateur Championship Match: Gunn Yang Transcript


By USGA
August 17, 2014

PETE 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 there really.


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 it.


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 was it.


Q. The 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 (chuckling).


Q. When was that?
GUNN YANG: That was actually right after the spring. He took my scholarship away and now I'm going to fall season without a scholarship.


Q. You think you might get one back?
GUNN YANG: Better. Or else I'm going to transfer (laughter).


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.


Q. (Inaudible.)
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.


FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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