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April 7, 2019

Jin Young Ko

Rancho Mirage, California

THE MODERATOR: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the media center. Our 2019 ANA Inspiration champion, Jin Young Ko. (Applause.)

JIN YOUNG KO: Thank you.

THE MODERATOR: Congratulations. I know it's only been 20 minutes. Has it sunk in yet you are a major champion?

JIN YOUNG KO: I'm still can't believe. Also, I had really great round for today or just this week. I'm really happy. I don't know how can I did, but all the people say congratulations. Yeah, I won. I can believe now.

THE MODERATOR: You absolutely did win. Go to that putt on 18, that birdie putt. What was going through your mind as you wind up the putt?

JIN YOUNG KO: To my grandfather. I miss my grandfather. He will be like this moment; also he will crying I think. So I'm always think to my grandfather. My grand father dies one year ago since April, so three days later. I couldn't believe my grandfather dead, so I miss him. Yeah.

THE MODERATOR: So do you dedicate this win to your grandfather maybe?

JIN YOUNG KO: For sure.

THE MODERATOR: That's wonderful. Congratulations on that. You are the fifth Korean player to win here. You join some amazing names, including I know one of your idols, Grace Park. What does it mean to you to join that group of players that you have looked up to?

JIN YOUNG KO: It is really great honor to me. Also my caddie three times go in the pond, so he knows already this course. He help me all the time on the course, on the fairway or putting green or the green. So I'm really say thank you for my caddie.

And then Soo.

THE MODERATOR: Always Soo. I wanted to ask you very quickly, you had a five-stroke lead at one point yesterday. You had the difficulty with the double bogey and the bogey, and then two bogeys on your back nine today. Were you ever getting worried about the outcome?

JIN YOUNG KO: I would say yesterday was a little bit hard to me. Also No. 14 or 15 I had couple miss shot, so but I I think it will be fine. Sometimes happen on the course. I'm not robot. We are human. So all the people can do miss on the course.

I'm really don't think about, yeah.

THE MODERATOR: You told us in Australia you wanted to be the happiest golfer on the golf course. Did you achieve that today?

JIN YOUNG KO: I tried happiest golfer on the course, but if ball goes right or left it doesn't make me happy. But I'm still try happy. Also I really try don't think about future, anywhere, doesn't matter.

Just focus on my swing, on the putting. That's why I win this week.

THE MODERATOR: We'll open it up for questions.

Q. You said yesterday that you practiced here in January in the desert, and then your two victories this year came in the desert Phoenix and here. What do you like about desert golf?
JIN YOUNG KO: I think I practice in Palm Springs in January, so I know I like desert course because all the time ball goes far. Also like really hard to fairway, so this will be help me a little bit.

Q. You're playing so well -- two wins, two seconds.
JIN YOUNG KO: Thank you.

Q. Are you surprising yourself how well you're playing?
JIN YOUNG KO: No, no, no. I had really hard practice in winter training, off-season in the Palm Springs, so my coach, my manager, my trainer, like just really hard to practice, and then body trainer, work out, so I'm not surprised.

Q. When you say Palm Springs, were you working out here at Mission Hills?
JIN YOUNG KO: No. I practice in Monterey ten minutes from here, but I played couple times here. That was really big windy, so I don't know. I don't know. Actually, I had not good score last year, two years ago. I finished 71 last year and then two years ago I finished 64, so I think this course is really hard to me.

But my caddie always say me, You will like this course. I thought, How? I finish 64, 71 last couple years. Now I'm really like this course. (Laughter.)

THE MODERATOR: It's amazing how that'll work.

Q. The projected rankings just came out and you are projected to move up to world No. 1 tomorrow. What does that mean to you?
JIN YOUNG KO: I don't know. I'm just try focus on my game on the course. I'm really doesn't matter about Rolex World Ranking. I don't know. I don't like. I don't like numbers like No. 1 or No. 2. I'm just playing on the course. Yeah, I don't like too much.

THE MODERATOR: You just want to focus on your game?


Q. You already won two titles this season and what's your goal this year?
JIN YOUNG KO: Honestly, happiest golfer. That's it. This win is just bonus to me. I'm just try hard on the course, and then, yeah, I don't like -- I don't like thinking about position, No. 1, No. 2. I really try don't think about ranking. Just playing.

Q. You have spoken about your parents quite a bit. You thanked them and given them a lot of praise. Can you tell us about them? What does your dad do? That sort of thing.
JIN YOUNG KO: My parents just cheer up to me. They stay in Jeju Island in Korea. They are retired, so just watching on TV. Sometimes come to States, but not this week. They will happy, yeah.

THE MODERATOR: What did your father retire from, and your mother?

JIN YOUNG KO: Yeah, he was boxer. My father was boxer, yeah.

THE MODERATOR: Did he teach you how to box?

JIN YOUNG KO: Yeah. Every time jumping ropes, yeah.

THE MODERATOR: Was he a good boxer?

JIN YOUNG KO: I don't know, but my grandfather say to me, no, not good. (Laughter.)

THE MODERATOR: Oh, families. Families are always fun, right? Hug here for the caddie. Congratulations, David.

Further questions for our winner? Was the water cold? Yes? Had you thought about your jump at all? Did you know how you wanted to jump?

JIN YOUNG KO: No, never know. Just playing, focused.

THE MODERATOR: What was it like as you walked down with the champions with the plaques and high fiving? What was that experience like?

JIN YOUNG KO: When I was ten years old, so 15 years ago, I watched on TV like this tournament. All the players like high five all the fans. I thought that memory, so it's a really -- I had little bit cried on the bridge. I can't still believe.

THE MODERATOR: We're so excited for you. Congratulations. So happy to have you as a major champion. Ladies and gentlemen, Jin Young Ko. (Applause.)

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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