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May 14, 2017

Si Woo Kim

Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida

ALEX URBAN: We'd like to welcome Si Woo Kim into the interview room. Si Woo, our 2017 winner of THE PLAYERS Championship, the youngest champion in the history of this tournament. You join Tiger Woods, Sergio Garcia, and Jordan Spieth as the only players in the last 25 years to win two tournaments before turning 22. Just talk about how you're feeling right now as the youngest champion in the history of THE PLAYERS.

SI WOO KIM: Today was a very happy day. I didn't expect that I could be the champion of this tournament at this young age. I'm just so honored to become the youngest and the best champion.

Q. With a two-shot lead, what is it like standing on that 17th tee, and were you nervous at all?
SI WOO KIM: I wasn't nervous at all because I was leading that hole, and I just focused on the middle of the green, and I just hit the pitch, and I made it.

Q. When your tee shot on No. 6 hit the tree and went into the fairway, did it cross your mind that maybe I'm supposed to win this?
SI WOO KIM: Not only for the sixth hole, I also had that kind of miracle. It happened a miracle chance more than two or three times for this tournament, so I feel like, yeah, I might win this and have a good feeling of it.

Q. Obviously a lot of accolades for winning this, but what's something you have done is rocketed up the World Rankings and probably secured a place in the Presidents Cup team. Can you talk to being on that team, please?
SI WOO KIM: I'm very excited to play at the Presidents Cup. From the beginning of this year, I really wished I could be top 10 so I could get the ticket to get in, and I'm very proud that I could join this tournament as the representative of Korea and Asia, and I'm very excited for that tournament.

Q. Your caddie talked about you feeling comfortable all day long. Was there any moment today when you didn't feel comfortable over a particular shot?
SI WOO KIM: From yesterday, because I was leading, I was a little nervous before I played the final round. However, I really could feel that my shot feeling was really good, I could just really be myself. That's why I could do well.

Q. If we told you this morning you would miss 10 greens, what score do you think you would shoot, and out of your par saves, which one was the best?
SI WOO KIM: I was nervous at the 14th hole. Actually I missed the second shot, so the distance was pretty far. However, making a par on that hole actually made me win this tournament.

Q. K.J. won here six years ago. What has his mentorship meant to you, and how has it helped you in your career, and what's the best advice that he's given you?
SI WOO KIM: While I was practicing with him, he taught me about the course at the Stadium, and so when I was in position the last round, before he actually explained about his experience of being in the leading position, so that kind of advice actually helped me a lot.

Q. How did your back feel today?
SI WOO KIM: Two and three weeks before, I was doing the treatments and then exercise in order to help boost the wrist, and actually last night I was a little nervous, so when I woke up, I feel like my back is a little hurting. That's why I made two missed shots that goes to the right side of the fairway. However, from now on, I will try to practice and do the treatments and then be ready for the position.

Q. When you first got your PGA TOUR card when you were 17, how did you feel about pretty much losing an entire year the next year and then having to spend two years on the Web.com to get back to the PGA TOUR?
SI WOO KIM: I was a little pressured that I qualified at Q-school when I was 17 years old, so because I was very pressured, I think I didn't do well for two years. However, the Web.com TOUR experience actually really helped me to get more experience, and from that experience, I think that made me to win this tournament.

Q. Do you think that winning a tournament that's often called the fifth major will someday exempt you from military service?
SI WOO KIM: I really wish we could have that benefit. However, regardless of me winning this tournament, I really have to go to the military service, and I've already decided I'm going to go, too, so I'm ready for that.

Q. When will that be?
SI WOO KIM: I haven't decided yet, but I have five years of exemption, so we will see.

Q. You looked so at ease out there. I'm wondering which was more stressful, qualifying school or today?
SI WOO KIM: I think I'm a little bit more nervous at the Stadium Course. I know that Q-school, that course and this course was composed by the same architect, and we have more -- I think here they have more hazards, and the course is a little bit more difficult than the Q-school course, so I think I was a little nervous for this tournament.

Q. Aside from maybe K.J. who were your idols growing up, and what do you remember about them?
SI WOO KIM: When I grow up and when I started playing golf, Tiger and K.J. Choi was my major role model, but I think I would choose K.J. Choi because he's been a great golfer representing Korea, and I always wanted to be like him.

Q. On your dream foursome, among them you list Adam Scott; how come?
SI WOO KIM: Adam Scott is a really great golfer. His swing is really good, and he has a really great personality, but actually Tiger Woods and K.J. Choi motivated me to start play when I start for the first time, so I think they are more meaningful.

Q. How did you feel today when you first got the lead? And secondly, when did you feel you had this tournament won?
SI WOO KIM: I felt really good since last night, and when I started the final round, I was actually very aggressive in order to get more score and beat them, so I could be very aggressive. And then the moment that I was leading, I was very confident. There are some strong winds, and I'm actually enjoying that moment, so I think I was very confident that I could win.

Q. Your dad was the only coach you had before Sean Foley; what is his background in golf? Is he like a teaching pro or did you guys kind of figure out all this together?
SI WOO KIM: My dad enjoys playing golf, so since I was young I was just following him, and that's how I started to play golf. And since that time, my dad just teach me a little bit and a little bit, and I can see that my level is improved, so that's why I could be leading very well, so for a long time I didn't hire any coach. But some moments, I figured out that I might need a pro, a pro teacher, so I hired Sean Foley, and I think we are a really good team.

Q. You were in Korea when K.J. won; what was the reaction like over there from a media and people standpoint, and how do you expect your victory will be received?
SI WOO KIM: When I was watching him win, I really think K.J. Choi is a really awesome player. And since that moment, I really wanted to be a champion some day of THE PLAYERS. He and I and all other Korean players, sometimes we are competing and sometimes we are having a good relationship with each other and just enjoying the time, so that's why I could get this championship title.

Q. When you won the Wyndham, you also won that -- you took the lead and no one caught you, and that was also the case today. When you take the lead late in tournaments, why is it that no one is able to catch you?
SI WOO KIM: While I was a junior player, I've learned that when you focus on the second place, you don't do your play well. So I learned that experience, so I was just trying to focus on my play, so I was kind of feeling better just focusing on myself, and I played very aggressive today to get more points ahead of him, so I think that really helped me.

Q. Touching a little bit on what Tim said, with the turmoil going on back in Korea, do you hope that this lifts everyone's spirits amongst sports fans in Korea?
SI WOO KIM: I really wish I could be a good example of the Korean men's player because, as you know, in Korea, LPGA players, the Korean ladies are dominating the LPGA Tour. So I was kind of jealous seeing that, and I wanted to be a good -- I always wanted to represent Korea very well. I'm just so proud that I won this championship.

Q. I know you played a practice round with Hideki this week, and I have heard that you feel like he's an older brother here and that his recent success here motivated you, if he can do, you can do.
SI WOO KIM: Last year I had a lot of chances to play with Hideki. That's how we became friends. I'm just so proud that he was one of the top Asian players, ranked currently at this moment, and it's been a good challenging -- good motivating from him. We also practiced together. That actually motivated me to do well.

ALEX URBAN: We'd like to congratulate Si Woo on becoming the youngest champion of THE PLAYERS Championship.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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