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August 5, 2015

Byeong-Hun An

Matt Kuchar

Henrik Stenson

Ty Votaw


CHRIS REIMER: We want to welcome everyone, and thank you for attending today here at the Bridgestone Invitational. This week marks officially one week from The Opening Ceremonies of the 2016 Olympic games. Sorry, one year. Not one week. With that, we wanted to get some of our players in to address the media. We have Henrik Stenson, Byeong-hun An, and Matt Kuchar, and we have the vice president of the International Golf Federation, Ty Votaw, here today. Ty, if you'd like to start.

TY VOTAW: Thank you, Chris. Good morning, everybody. Thank you for being here. We are one year out from the Opening Ceremony in Rio, in 2016, as of today, August the 5th. It's been a long path for golf's return to the Olympic games. 111 years, if you want to go back to 1904, when it was last played and won by a Canadian by the name of George Lyon. That's the trophy he won in 1904 that's on display here from our friends in the Canada Golf Museum. It's been eight years since we started the process of getting golf back into the Olympics, started in April of 2008, culminated in a vote by the IOC in 2009, in Copenhagen. And we have been spending the last since 2009 working with Rio 2016, the International Golf Federation working with Rio 2016 on all number of things to get golf back in the Olympics in a smooth and a good transition. The most activity has been centered around the building of a golf course in Rio, and we're pleased to report that it had a very good first growing season for that golf course, and we are looking forward to having a test event in the first quarter of 2016 with some top players on both the men's and the women's side of the game. We're excited about the golf course. We're excited about our entry back into the Olympic games because we think golf is good for the Olympics, and we think the Olympics will be a great stage for the top players on both the men's and women's side of the game to compete and bring new eyeballs to our sport from around the world. If the Olympics were held today, there would be approximately 35 countries represented on the men's side, 34 countries represented on the women's side. Interestingly enough, of the 60 players on the men's side who would qualify as of today, 30 of those players are in the field this week at the Bridgestone Invitational. It would be 31 if Rory wasn't injured. So with that, I know you want to hear from the players. Matt Kuchar has had some experience with the Colorado Springs training facility, going out there and working with the USOC. It's safe to say - and, Ben, you can perhaps reference this in your remarks - if it weren't for the Olympics, you wouldn't be here today.


TY VOTAW: And Henrik is involved with us on the International Golf Federation's Athlete Committee, which we appreciate very much, getting the input from Henrik. So with that, I'll turn it over to Matt, Ben and Henrik to say a few words.

MATT KUCHAR: I think everybody's thrilled, excited that golf is back as part of the Olympics. I know myself, as a fan of sports, as a kid that's grown up watching every sort of sport you could imagine, the Olympics is something that I think every kid dreams about doing at one stage. Awfully exciting now that golf is actually part of the Olympics again, that my sport has a chance, that I have a chance to compete in the Olympics. I think that's one of those things that you dream about, that you only wish you could be part of. Now it is possible. So I think I'm excited. I think most guys are very excited. I know we were in Canada two weeks ago for the Canadian Open. The Pan Am Games were going on, and I actually went and watched handball. I thought just something cool to see, see a unique, different sport. I'm a fan of sport. I wanted to go see something different, see some fun games. So it was fun for me to be in Toronto during the Pan Am Games, just knowing that there's some excitement, there's some build-up for the Olympics coming around. I think we're all very excited about it.

BYEONG-HUN AN: Yeah, I agree. It's going to be really fun and exciting. It's one of the biggest sporting events in the world. It's held once every four years, and it will be great to play in the Olympics next year because my parents played in it already. After I heard the announcement that golf will be involved in the Olympics, then I was like, okay, then let's try to make the Korean team. It's great to represent a country to play a sports event and compete with others. I'm really looking forward to next year. It's going to be exciting and fun.

HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, I can't brag the same way that my whole family would compete in the Olympics (laughter), but if I can make it there, which I guess I'm in a good position as of now, yeah, it would be really exciting, like Matt says. I think, as a sports fan in general and growing up watching both the Winter Olympics and the Summer Olympics, I guess Sweden has been probably more successful in the Winter Olympics due to our climate. So, yeah, to compete there and then hopefully have a chance to win a medal for Sweden would be something very special. I think it's going to be something very special for the player who wins the gold medal to be the first one to win the gold medal when golf is back in the Olympics. It's going to be a very strong achievement and something you will certainly be remembered for for the rest of your life. So very much looking forward to it. I think it's been good for the game of golf worldwide. We've seen a lot more support in some emerging markets around the world for golf. With it being an Olympic sport, that really makes a difference in a lot of places. So that's been good. Yeah, one year to go. Can't wait to get there.

CHRIS REIMER: Ben, if you could, for those not interested -- not interested. Those who are not familiar with your background, if you wouldn't mind, just talk a little bit about how your parents both played and how they met.

BYEONG-HUN AN: Yeah, they both played in the table tennis. What I remember is I think they met in the 1986 Asian Games, and then also the 1988 Olympics, they won the medals. My dad won bronze. My mom won silver and bronze. Like he said, I wouldn't be here if there wasn't an Olympics. No, they played table tennis in the Olympics. Hopefully, I'll get one of the medals. It would be nice if it's a gold. It's one better than them. That would be nice.

HENRIK STENSON: That would annoy them a little bit, wouldn't it? (Laughter).

Q. Ben, I just want to follow up on that, were they -- when they got to the Olympics, were they dating already?
BYEONG-HUN AN: I think so. There was something going on between them. I think so, yeah.

Q. So do you think that -- do they say that cemented their relationship or anything?
BYEONG-HUN AN: Yeah, I think so too. It's been -- like I said, I think it started in 1986 or a little before that in a table tennis event. I think that's when -- because 1988, the Olympics was held in Korea, and I think it was an issue, I guess, between China and Korean player dating. So I think that's when everyone got to know in public, I think. That's where they sealed it.

Q. So which parent is Chinese?
BYEONG-HUN AN: My mom's Chinese. My dad's Korean, yeah.

Q. When they found out that golf was coming back, were they excited too, just for maybe you making it? You know what I mean?
BYEONG-HUN AN: I think they never mentioned it to me, but I'm sure they were excited, yeah.

Q. Matt, what kind of training did you do at Colorado Springs, and when was that kind of made available to golfers to go there?
MATT KUCHAR: I went out -- this was last year. We were on the West Coast traveling back home, and I'd always wanted to go see the Broadmoor. So the trip was really to go to the Broadmoor. And while I was out there, I knew the Olympic training center was there and just wanted a tour, wanted to see what it was they did, what sort of facilities they had, just as a fan. I was always interested to see what sort of facilities they had, the methods, the training techniques. I got to tour, very impressive campus. They said, Matt, you know that golf is in the Olympics, and you're actually a player that would qualify to come be able to train here. So I set up a return visit a month or so later and trained there. It was really cool to see the athletes training from the idea that everybody in there is trying to be the best of the best, but also to see the paralympic athletes is the most amazing thing to see. So you're in a fitness facility training and working out, and you see people missing limbs doing exercises that you couldn't do. It's just quite incredible to see the effort that's gone in by everybody, but the most impressive to me was watching the paralympic athletes. It was a fun environment to be in. You've got kind of the top coaching, top training all centered there, and it's a great environment.

Q. What kind of stuff do you do?
MATT KUCHAR: It's funny. They talked about it, and they said, listen, there's no secret maneuver, no secret exercise. It's all the same stuff you've probably done before, and it was. They said one of the unique things about the culture here is people push themselves and push themselves harder. There's just not any sort of secret training. They don't have any unique apparatus or anything that's different. It's the basic gym that you walk into. It's just very nice. It's been well done, and it was redone a couple of years ago. But you could walk into a Lifetime Fitness and see all the same stuff.

Q. For Matt and for Henrik, do you recall what your first-ever memories were of the Olympics? Either watching as a kid on TV or reading about them in a newspaper.
HENRIK STENSON: Apparently, I was watching a lot of boxing at the 1976 Olympics in Montreal because I was an infant, and my dad was up in the middle of the night holding me when I wouldn't sleep. I don't remember too much of that since I was only a few months old. But the one thing that stands out for me was Rocketman at the '84 Olympics in Los Angeles. Maybe not so much a sporting memory, but I thought it was so cool when he came flying in there.

MATT KUCHAR: I certainly remember the Dream Team. I remember that just being so captivating, so cool. I was a big basketball fan at the time. Watching those guys all together was just amazing to see the team they put together. So that clearly stands out. But I'm a fan of all the unique sports. Love table tennis, love the kind of different, unique sports that you just don't see with regularity here in the U.S. So if I get a chance -- like I said, we were in Toronto and went and watched a handball competition. I think those are great fun. The swimming we see once every four years. We just don't see swimming competition, even in the States. It's just not something you turn on the TV and see. So swimming gets exciting. These are sports, the ones in four years that come around, that to me are fun to watch.

Q. Ben, this is for you. Just to follow up on Matt's comments about training at the U.S. Olympic facility. Your father works at the Korean Olympic facility in Seoul. Is there any programs that the Seoul -- I mean, that the facility in Seoul are working towards for golfers?
BYEONG-HUN AN: I'm not sure because I haven't been there yet, and I would love to go one day. I've been there when I was young, but what I noticed was that they all work hard, obviously. They grind themselves. And then the facilities are quite nice too, I think. There's all the athletes from the sports, from wrestling, even golf. But I haven't been there yet at the newer version. I think, when I went, it was pretty old. Yeah, hopefully, this winter I'll be there.

Q. Is this what you win if you win the Olympics?
TY VOTAW: No. 1904 was the first year they awarded medals is my understanding. But the Lyon family, for some reason, has never been able to locate the gold medal that George Lyon won in 1904, but they did present this to him, and they went away from trophies and went exclusively with medals after that.

Q. Ben, did your parents have medals displayed in your home somewhere growing up?
BYEONG-HUN AN: No, never seen it personally. Never seen it. Only saw it in pictures. They never showed me, and I think I asked them a couple times, but they said, it's not at our house. It's somewhere, like a safe.

Q. Would you want to see that before -- if you make the team, would you want to?
BYEONG-HUN AN: I'd love to get one. I'd like to get one for myself.

Q. Do you want to try to twist their arm to go see it wherever it is?
BYEONG-HUN AN: Definitely, I'd love to. I'll probably ask them again, and hopefully they'll show it to me this time.

MATT KUCHAR: How are your table tennis skills?

BYEONG-HUN AN: Not very good. That's why I'm still playing golf. I haven't played for five years now, I think. My parents don't play usually at home, so didn't really have a chance to play much.

HENRIK STENSON: Ben lives at Lake Nona and practices at Lake Nona. So that was the first think I asked him as well. I didn't want to have a proper beating, so I had to do my research as well.

CHRIS REIMER: I think we need to have a match. Thank you all for joining us. We appreciate your time and your thoughts. Best of luck in your efforts to make it to Rio in 2016. If we could, we'd love to get a photo of your guys with the trophy if that's possible. Thanks again.
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