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October 2, 2018
Incheon, South Korea
CHRISTINA LANCE: We are here with the ladies of the hour, No. 1 seeded players from the Republic of Korea. Start with you Sung Hyun Park, playing in her first UL International Crown. In-Kyung Kim playing in her second with a record of 1, 3, 0.
Next we have So Yeon playing in her third UL International Crown with a record find 6, 2, 0.
And In Gee Chun playing in her second UL International Crown with a record of 2, 2, 0.
I'm going to start right here with Sung Hyun Park. I want to say thank you very much for being our hosts this week.
You just said it was busy, a busy day. What do you expect to see once the competition begins on Thursday?
SUNG HYUN PARK: I said that it was a busy day today because there were a lot of things going on today. I had a lot of interviews. I think once competition starts I'll be able to -- we'll be able to focus more on our game. I think once competition begins we might feel a little less rushed.
CHRISTINA LANCE: In Gee, going to go down to the far end to you. I saw all four of you having dinner last night at the hotel. Was that maybe planning some team strategy, or what is the feeling like among the four members of this team?
IN GEE CHUN: (Through translation.) So Yeon made a win last week so she bought dinner yesterday.
(Through translation.) So we had a lovely dinner that so Yeon bought. It was more of a time for us to encourage each other and support each other going into the competition.
CHRISTINA LANCE: So Yeon, that leads me to my next question, which was first of all congratulations.
SO YEON RYU: Thank you very much.
CHRISTINA LANCE: The win at the Japan Women's Open has to be a great way to lead into this week now. How do you feel?
SO YEON RYU: First of all, the reason I decided to play Japan's Women's Open was I really wanted to make sure I practice as hard as I can. I really wanted to prepare this tournament really well.
So I normally prefer to playing tournament before a major coming up, so it's sort of same feeling. That's why I decided to play that one, and fortunately I was able to won the tournament. So for sure that's going to give me a lot of confidence to playing this tournament.
Hopefully that winning feeling going to smooth into our team and then we can win this tournament together.
CHRISTINA LANCE: I.K., we'll come to you before we open for questions. There has been lots of talk about this week and it's finally here. What are you feeling as a team as we play in Korea, play in front of your home fans for this major title?
IN-KYUNG KIM: (Through translation.) So obviously the UL International Crown being held in Korea I think that the competition got a lot of attention since the beginning of the season, and there was a lot of interest on how the teams will be comprised.
Personally I think it's a great experience being able to be a part of this competition. I think that in terms of preparation, I had to give it a lot of thought and prepare more thoroughly than when I take part in a competition as an individual player.
CHRISTINA LANCE: We'll open it up for questions. Raise your hand. We'll bring a microphone around to you.
Q. I.K., earlier the Americans were in here, and Cristie Kerr was asked about the advantage the Koreans will have with all the support. Her answer was: All the pressure is on them. So my question to you is: Isn't the pressure always on the Koreans? Don't you guys just learn to live with that? Is that something you never get used to?
IN-KYUNG KIM: I'll answer in Korean? (Through translation.) I actually take what Cristie Kerr said as advice. Obviously they have to play in the U.S. all the time, so I think that she also gave us advice, and it makes me feel a little less pressure.
I think there is a reason why she said that. I have to say, however, based on my experience sometimes you win a competition and then a lot of people take interest, and that leads to more pressure. That is true.
But at the same time, I think that the experience itself of going to play under a lot of pressure helps a player to grow.
As for Korea, it's really rare for us to get the opportunity to take part in a team match play competition. I think this will also be an invaluable opportunity for us to grow.
Q. On the front nine this morning there were probably 500 people out here and they were cheering every shot during a practice round. That's going to grow exponentially and get to about 30,000. How have you prepared yourselves for the fact that all the people are going to be out here and living and dying by every shot you hit? Let's go down the list and start with one and go down.
IN GEE CHUN: (Through translation.) Of course having a huge gallery supporting Team Korea will be a huge support for us. I think ultimately you kind of want the reaction and response from the crowd. It helps you focus, and also it makes the game all that more fun.
I think that if we had a crowd that was really unresponsive that would make for really boring golf. I think it's more fun when you have the crowd reaction. We definitely look forward to a large crowd. We expect the crowd to be supporting all the teams out there. I hope the Korean fans can show the world what kind of mature golf watching crowd they are.
SO YEON RYU: I share the sentiment with In Gee. I have to say the gallery that shows up will probably be here to lend their support, and just having them there I think will be a really great source of strength for us.
I think with LPGA events that are held in Korea, and as for KLPGA events, most of the Korean crowd is used to rooting for their favorite players. I think that them having the opportunity to root for a team and root for the four of us, I think that will also be very entertaining for them in a very different way.
For us it will be a new experience that can be very entertaining.
IN KYUNG KIM: (Through translation.) Having to prepare for a team competition like the UL International Crown, while I was taking a break I watched baseball. If you look at the baseball games, it's a very, very large crowd and it's very noisy. It seems that the players, the baseball players can really focus. Watching them I kind of wondered what their secret was.
I guess I took more interest in that because we had this competition coming up. I think that if they can do it, if they can focus with the pressure and the crowd, I think we can do it. In a sense I'm really grateful that we can take part in a team event like baseball and soccer.
Maybe it was the chewing gum. I don't know. Taking the nerve out.
SUNG HYUN PARK: (Through translation.) So I think for me and perhaps some other players, I actually play better and I have more power in my game when there is a large crowd. So sometimes when you hit a really nice shot they'll cheer for you. When you mess up, sometimes you'll hear some booing. I feel like in that case the crowd is kind of saying out loud what I want to say inside.
So I think that having a large gallery out there is definitely an excitement to the game.
Q. (Through translation.) I have a question for Park Sung Hyun. Recently you've changed your putter. It's worked for and you it kind of hasn't. Your putting is kind of shaky, if you will. So I would like to ask what's different with your putting now that you changed your putter? Why are you sticking with the change? My second question is if you had to pick one team that was a contender to Team Korea, the most promising contender, which team would it be?
SUNG HYUN PARK: (Through translation.) First of all, I don't think that I've been experiencing some up and downs of my game because of the putter.
I'm using the mallet right now because it feels right, it's comfortable. I'm getting the distance I want and I am getting the strokes that I want as well, so I am planning to use the mallet putter from now on.
As for the teams that are most likely to contend with us if we were to make it to the final round, I would pick Team USA, Thailand, and the U.K. we have a field of really strong players out there, so we have to see.
Q. (Through translation.) My first question goes to Park Sung Hyun. I think it's the first time I'm seeing you play golf with the Korean national flag on your arm. What does it feel like to represent Korea? Second question is to Ryu So Yeon. You have a lot of experience having taken part in all of the UL International Crown events. I'm thinking that with no wins you're probably very thirsty for a win this year. Do you have any specific goals or strategies going into the event this year?
SUNG HYUN PARK: (Through translation.) So just to correct you, I took part representing Korea in the Queen's Cup, so I just wanted to correct that.
But it is my first time at the UL International Crown. It is a big event. As much as I'm looking forward to it, I'm kind of nervous. I think the sort of nervousness and excitement began about two months ago.
SO YEON RYU: (Through translation.) So as you mentioned, this is my third time taking part in the event.
At the first UL International Crown event Korea placed third; the following year or actually in the following event we placed second. So I've been kind of telling our teammates that since we've gone from third to second, maybe this time we'll be lucky and we'll be able to win.
When we didn't win the previous two events, of course all of us were quite disappointed. I have to say though, having gone through UL International Crown the first and second events, with Korean players we really don't have the opportunity even when we're amateurs or junior players to take part in match play events compared to some other countries.
I think the lack of experience of the match play was a factor in how we attack the course. You need some information and experience and know-how on how to do the pairings and the strategy. So I think there was a lack of experience in the previous two events.
And also I want to add that with this event being held in Korea this year and with the enormous attention that women's golf gets in Korea, I know there will be a lot of people rooting for us and there will also a lot of the pressure.
This was the case in the previous two events. I think that we also felt a lot of pressure to win. The fact that we were top seed for the first event and we were picked as most likely to win there was enormous pressure that we put on ourselves. I think perhaps we've learned how to deal with that sort of pressure.
If there was one favor I could ask to the gallery or the crowds that will be showing up, I think that if they could refrain from very, very sharp criticism that would help as well. With the game of golf you never know who is going to win until you take off the gloves.
Of course we need to take advice, but really painful, sharp criticism can actually erode our confidence. I think that if we were given a lot of support during the event then we would definitely be able to win this time.
Q. (Through translation.) My two questions go to Park Sung Hyun. I understand that in the past you said that you wanted to take part in the Olympics. My question is: What kind of different mindset do you have when you go into a competition representing your country or if there is a difference? The second question is that before you started with the LPGA, of course playing in front of the Korean crowd was an everyday thing. Now that you tour with the LPGA, maybe it's become somewhat of a rare experience. Has playing in front of a Korean crowd become a special event for you, or do you feel right at home?
SUNG HYUN PARK: (Through translation.) As for the first question, I think there definitely is a different mindset going into an event where I'm representing my country. I feel more responsibility. There is also kind of that pressure to achieve a goal with my teammates.
But I really want to overcome this pressure or sense of responsibility and win. That's part of the reason I wanted to take part in the Olympics as well.
As for the second question, like you mentioned, after joining the LPGA I think I've rarely played in Korea. A lot of the Korean fans were waiting for the UL International Crown to open, and so I think I am feeling slight pressure to really bring my A Game.
Q. (Through translation.) My question is for In-Gee. I understand that after receiving the invitational request to take part in this event that you kind of dwelled on it for a while. I'm sure going into this event you might come from a different place compared to the other players. What are you feeling right now? What's your mindset going into the event?
IN GEE CHUN: (Through translation.) So before taking part with the event slated on the agenda, I thought perhaps with my rankings I might not have an opportunity to play. I was going to take part in the Hite Jinro competition being held the same week. I had already expressed my intention to play in that competition.
But this good opportunity came my way, and actually thankful to my former sponsors for being gracious and understanding to allow me to take part in UL International Crown.
I think definitely playing, as a player representing your country, there is a little bit more pressure, although it would be really fun. So after deciding to join the event I had moments of self-doubt. I think for the past week we prepared really thoroughly, and I'm really prepared to give it my best.
I had in my mind what a special opportunity it is to represent your country. Being the youngest player, I wanted to really help the other players as well and play a role. So we've prepared quite thoroughly, and we will do our best to win.
CHRISTINA LANCE: We have time for two more questions.
Q. (Through translation.) I have a question for In-Kyung Kim. After last season you sustained an injury, and it seems the number of events that you took part in is less than last year. Going into this season, how are you feeling?
IN-KYUNG KIM: (Through translation.) Basically I tried to prepare based on what I can do. I think if this had been an individual competition I would've kind of delayed taking part, but this is a team play.
The injury that I got was unexpected, and I've never been injured during the season. So it was a good opportunity for me to understand what other players who sustain injuries during the season would feel like.
It was an opportunity for me to overcome that challenge. In my mind I really wanted to be in the best condition I can be coming into this event. If I had to put a number on it, I think I will be at around 70% of what I would call my best or good condition.
So there may be a miracle. Hoping for a miracle. If we don't see a miracle, I think that working with what I have going for me now is going to be key.
Q. So Yeon and I.K., I'll ask you this as the two oldest members of the team. You all spend a lot time in the United States. We have a big discussion constantly about how to grow the game among women with viewers, with people on the golf course. For those of us, including me, who are experiencing this in Korea, women's golf, for the very first time, how would you explain the difference between the popularity of women's golf here versus the United States and other parts of the world?
SO YEON RYU: I will speaking English. First of all, I think I'm very fortunate to being Korean ladies professional golfer. Supporting in Korea just incredible. I really cannot thank you enough to all the sponsors to how they been supporting all the women's golf in Korea. Without them help I don't think it's not going to be really easy to dreaming about to becoming LPGA players.
That's just life different. Living in Korea and living in America, traveling all around the world is really, really tough. But because we have really good support in Korea we were able to dream about it.
And then I think one of the reason why the women's golf is really popular in Korea is because I think a lot of Korean players dominating on the LPGA Tour comparing to the PGA Tour.
So when you're seeing your girls just competing in the world you're just automatically having more intention. So I think that's why women's golf is little stronger than men's golf.
I think the other thing is we always had really, really good role model, like starting with Se Ri Pak, Na Yeon Choi, Grace Park, Inbee Park. We had so many great golfers, and then we had like five previous -- four or five previous Korean No. 1 player in the world.
So that's definitely affect it too the Korea, to having a more interested to watching LPGA. You definitely see a lot of crowds going to be out here, and then I think we are little -- probably little different than the American tournament. I would say I think Korean fan could be more aggressive than American golf fans.
I think also for growing the women's golf in U.S. I guess we just really need -- we just keep continuing to have great star. We already have so many great players; not just even great players, really great person as well.
I think all the LPGA players really love to connecting with the fans, connecting with the sponsors, and we know -- we always know how appreciate to all the sponsor to make us become a world star.
I think as long as we having a really good attitude too as professional golfer, I think LPGA's future going to be really bright.
IN-KYUNG KIM: So Yeon have answered you very well. I am very fortunate to experience both culture growing up in Korea and then I went to America and I played some junior golf before I turned pro.
I think that America so big. You know, there is USGA tournaments and AJGA tournaments, and I think their children have more opportunities to compete in many different levels.
Korea we just have one country that we compete in, yeah, since we were ten and nine. Inbee, So Yeon, everyone. So I think that we been trained really well here.
And then having -- maybe we don't have as much pressure when we are in U.S. I think that's the difference in between Korean Tour and U.S., and even Japan Tour is doing very well.
But LPGA, there is how many countries that are competing, you know, every week? It's very global tour, and I'm very proud to represent and being part of LPGA Tour.
CHRISTINA LANCE: Thank you very much, ladies. Enjoy your evenings.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports