home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


August 2, 2020

Danielle Kang

Toledo, Ohio, USA

Press Conference

THE MODERATOR: Thank you so much for joining us here inside the virtual media center at the LPGA Drive On Championship.

What we're going to do for this is we will start out with some questions, and if you have any that you would like to ask when you open it up, please let me know in the group chat function. Just say that you have a question, and we'll unmute you when the time comes. Until that happens, please make sure to keep yourself muted.

With that, I am so happy to be joined by winner, Danielle Kang. Your fourth one on the LPGA tour. You've had a few minutes, a few moments to take it in and breathe.

What's it like to walk away here with the trophy?

DANIELLE KANG: It feels really cool. It hasn't -- I'm really, really happy that I got to pull it off after leading the first day and second day.

Yeah, after leading after the first day definitely gave my some hope, and I wanted it close it out. It came down to the last hole, last putt, but it was a really good battle out there, and it's pretty cool.

THE MODERATOR: You were telling me as we walked up the stairs that this course completely changed every single day. What was that like, just trying to prepare for the weather and what this course brings?

DANIELLE KANG: Yeah, Inverness Golf Club is definitely a chameleon. That's what I kept calling it. Depending on the weather, depending on the time, it change how it how it plays, how receptive it can be, defense. It's just so different.

I think the best way I can put it is you have to respect the golf course. The golf course changes so often, and you can't take little shots for granted. I just try and keep as much focus as possible and not let the golf course get to me and try and play the course instead of fighting it.

THE MODERATOR: With rain in the forecast, obviously all three of you in the final group were prepared for that today, but what was the mindset going into this final round knowing that all three of you in your group were tied for the lead?

DANIELLE KANG: I definitely knew that I was going to be thinking about how they were going to be playing. There aren't scoreboards out here, but I knew exactly where they were at the entire time. The only time I wanted to double check was after the 15th hole. I wanted to know exactly where I stand in the field for the final stretch.

I saw that Celine and I were tied, and I knew that already, but just wanted to see if there was anyone else that was up there close by. It was a really cool 16, 17, 18. Even 17 was a short putt, but I knew that it was 3-puttable.

Yeah, it was pretty cool.

THE MODERATOR: When you were thinking about the last couple holes there, once you knew the scores, what were you telling yourself to go out and close it out and finish strong?

DANIELLE KANG: I kept telling myself, Stick to the game plan. The game plan was to play aggressive and play my game, and no matter what anybody else did it didn't really matter. It does but it doesn't, because I still have to hit the shots.

So I stayed really aggressive on 16, 17, and 18; 18 I pulled it a little bit. It's only three off the left.

So I wanted to make sure that I gave myself birdie opportunities, and that's what I did the final stretch coming in.

THE MODERATOR: You've given plenty of praises to your coach, Butch Harmon, throughout the week here. How satisfying is it knowing all the work you put in since working with him and through the entire break that the LPGA Tour was on would lead to a moment like this?

DANIELLE KANG: I really appreciate everything that he does for me on and off the golf course, as a person, as a coach, mentor, and everything that he is. I'm really thankful that he's in my life and I'm grateful.

His time is so valuable, but he spends a lot of time with me working on a lot of different things. You never stop learning from him, and I think that's what's the greatest thing about Butch Harmon. He's so knowledgeable on things that you don't even think that you know.

And I learned so much from him in general on how to think, how to think on the golf course, off the golf course, how to approach when you're behind, how to approach when you're ahead.

And I know that I still have a long ways to go with him, but I know that he's proud because he told me to close it out today.

THE MODERATOR: You've said that you felt like you really didn't take a break during the break here, that you kept going, you kept working.


THE MODERATOR: So how special is it that since you were able to do that, you're able to leave here with the trophy?

DANIELLE KANG: I'm really proud that I did take advantage of the time. During the time off I got a lot of questions as to if I was upset because I was playing so good and you're not playing anymore.

But I made sure that I played golf as much as I did normally, not because I had to, but because I wanted to. I really took advantage of the time that I had, and I was so thankful for the time, and I know it's is difficult time.

But I try and make the best of it, and now I have all the time in the world and golf courses are open, luckily, in Nevada, and I didn't have to rush and cram in for a test kind of thing. I had months of just practicing.

There were definitely times throughout the break where I didn't play well, but it's the ups and downs, and I just kept on working on things that I really wanted to work on and focus on.

We don't really -- the off-season wasn't enough, so this I really -- I'm proud of the work that we were able to do.

THE MODERATOR: Being able to pull it out on a course like Inverness, a major championship-style course for you --

DANIELLE KANG: Which is common.

THE MODERATOR: Oh. Being able to close it out on a course like this, what does it say about the confidence you have in your game, and how would you assess the state of your game after what you've been able to pull out in the last three rounds?

DANIELLE KANG: I think the state that I'm in with my game is I'm approaching in the right direction. Before I wanted to finish top 10 consistently, and last year my goal was to contend and give myself chances. Towards the end of last year I wanted to not be so far behind on the weekends and things that I work on progressively are headed in the right direction.

Right now the state of the game that I'm in, I believe that I don't have to worry about so many little things that I used to worry about so I could trust my game and kind of just get to know the golf course.

And it's a little easier that way, because now it's about how the golf course is playing and how I can play it instead of adjusting because I'm playing in a certain way. So it's interesting, but I really like the direction that I'm headed in with the golf game.

THE MODERATOR: All right. If you have a question for Danielle, please -- as Randall says, he has a couple. If you would like to put that you have a question, I'll get to you in just a second.

One last question from me: Being out there against Jodi and Celine, did it feel like a match play Solheim Cup scenario there?

DANIELLE KANG: I didn't actually think about that. Oh, yeah -- I didn't think about it. I really -- I just -- I was more focused on -- I was focused on them as stroke play players and I wanted to know exactly where they were at, but I didn't look at it as a match play type, because I still need to play the course and I need to -- it's honestly, Inverness Club, I'm a huge fan.

It's me against the golf course. If I let the golf course get to me, I will give a shot away and things like that. So I was aware, but is it wasn't rally -- I wasn't really looking at it as like a one-on-one.

THE MODERATOR: Focused on your own game I guess.

DANIELLE KANG: I really was, and I'm really proud of it. It's hard to do.

THE MODERATOR: All right. We will start with Randall.

Q. Congratulations.


Q. Question with COVID and the tour being out for five months. Can you give us a sense of just how meaningful this was not just for you, but everyone there this week, that you're finally back and trying to find some normalcy?

DANIELLE KANG: You're right. I haven't played since January at a tournament, and I even said after I won in the winning speech that I'm so thankful for our commissioner and the entire LPGA staff, because I love the decisions that they made, and I am so thankful in how safe they made it for us.

It's normal -- feels a little bit more normal to be back, and I know that the staff and everyone and the diligence that it takes for all the COVID protocols. I know it's an extra many steps that they have to take, but I'm so thankful that they're going out of their way to make sure that we can play.

All in all in that sense, I'm really happy and excited even for the LPGA and for the fans that are at home that could be watching and that we're doing the best we can to put on entertainment and to be on TV.

I'm so thankful for the LPGA Drive On Championship. It's an inaugural tournament, and at Inverness Club that's brand new. Well, brand new on our schedule. Yeah, it's just -- I know that a lot of people have gone through a lot of tough things in the last many, many months and this year in 2020 has not an easy year for a lot of people, so I'm just thankful to be where I am.

During the COVID, all the time off, I made sure to try and be thankful every day for what I had. I think that really paid off, and I'm just in such a grateful position where I'm trying to do my best to be able to give back, whether it's excitement or entertainment or happiness or joy, whatever I can.

Q. And just another one about where you are in your career. When you broke through to win at the Women's PGA, you talked about your frustration and not being able to build on your back-to-back U.S. Women's Amateurs. Now you've won each of the last four years; you're No.4 in the world and climbing.

Can you speak to this journey?

DANIELLE KANG: I fully trust my team and how they're guiding me towards my goals. For the last couple years we worked on a lot of different things, and my game definitely changed when I started working with Butch Harmon.

I'm thankful for my caddie. Him and I have a lot of trust going on and off the golf course where we know exactly what each other needs. I know exactly how he looks at the golf course; he knows what I want on the golf course. He's been with longer than Butch has been with me.

How my teams have been set, I think we're all heading towards the right direction. The journey has been -- it's not easy, but definitely hard work, and that's all I can do is give it all I've got so I don't have any regrets.

So, yeah.

Q. Couple golf things. On the back nine specifically when it got down between and you Celine, the only bogey you make coming on the back nine with that chip. Does that unsettle you at all just given the timing of where you are in in the tournament, and how do you regroup and give yourself birdie chances like you wanted to do?

DANIELLE KANG: You're right. It threw me off a little bit. 13th hole I bogeyed it yesterday as well. It's not fun to bogey a par-5, and I think it threw my caddie off more than me it threw me off.

But because it bothered him so much he went out of his way to get us back on track. I try and tell him, It's okay. I know we lost shots on this hole, but we've got plenty of holes left. I've got 14 through 18 and three birdies are out there.

So our new goal was to get to 10, honestly. Whether we did it or not that's beside the point. But we set on a goal and we tried to put it behind us. Kept a positive attitude, and I got a huge mud ball on 14, but I played it. I actually aimed left of the bunker of the green and ended up being okay, and things like that.

So we just kept a really good positive attitude no matter what things were getting thrown at us.

And it is possible to make a bogey, so...

Q. It is. And to finish at 10, does that not speak a little bit to kind of the aggressive way of thinking you have out there?

DANIELLE KANG: Yeah. It's a goal that we make that's a little bit hard to reach, but it keeps me pushing and it keeps me to stay aggressive with the golf course so that I don't get too cautious. Like on 17 I would've normally hit an 8-iron if I wasn't told a thousand times to stay aggressive.

So I took a 7 and try and punch it into the wind and I went, I think that's over the green, and that's the one place you don't want to be.

We stuck to our game plan and totally paid off.

Q. Lastly, I saw something somewhere today, you wrote on the umbrella, Butch you owe me 100 bucks. What was that about?

DANIELLE KANG: He doesn't owe me 100 bucks, he owes my caddies 100 bucks, so my caddie wrote that, Ollie wrote that. It says hashtag Butch and bun or something.

I think they had a little bet. Butch wanted a Titleist umbrella today and he told my caddie, Ollie, that if he went and found a Titleist umbrella he would give him $100. Then he decided to write, You owe me 100 bucks.

But it broke, so Callaway back in the bag on the bag nine. So it doesn't really matter what umbrella I use, to be honest, but Butch wanted that specific umbrella, and Ollie's job was to go find it, and he made $100.

Q. He made more than that.


Q. Hey Danielle, how are you?


Q. Congratulations.


Q. I was wondering if you could talk a little bit about you were saying the original off-season was too short and then this time off with COVID like gave you the real opportunity to work on your game. What kinds of things were you able to accomplish during this break that were not accomplishable during the off-season?

DANIELLE KANG: I was able to work on my fitness, little injuries I had, there are -- uncomfortableness I had in the end of last year. My body was definitely easier without the traveling. It was less toll. But things that I worked on were I really -- I'm not a huge fan of 3-woods, but I really worked on 3-wood a lot. I just kept on hitting 3-woods until Butch and I got it right.

Eventually, he said his goal was to make 3-wood my best club in the bag, and it was a highlight of this entire week. I hit a lot of 3-woods. We worked on a lot of wedges. I think that was one part of my game Butch wanted to work on.

To be honest, Butch was the mastermind behind it. He knew exactly what I needed to accomplish and work on, and I had the time. It's hard to cram a lot of practice into your routine at a golf tournament or three, four weeks sometimes isn't enough. And the consistency of that time from months after months is what kind of helped me. I was at home. Got to spend time with my mom, my brother. I got to walk my dog. It was nice for me to be home. I've never been home that long since maybe high school, so it was pretty cool.

Q. That is cool. I had one other question. You had said that after your rounds you and Maverick like to talk about the highlights. What couple shots do you think you're going to highlight from today with him?

DANIELLE KANG: I haven't thought about it. Oh, no I did hit some amazing shots on the front nine. I hit some -- I hit this punch draw on No. 3 with a 6-iron. It was so good. No, No. 3 was a hybrid. I hit a punch draw with a hybrid to six feet. I missed it, but it was such a good shot.

Things like that I'll definitely tell him. Irons were really good today. It was on today. I'll tell him about my No. 7 mud ball hole. I have mud ball there every day. I don't know why. Huge mud on my ball and I aimed it at another hole and sliced it onto the green with a 5-wood.

So that was pretty cool. I trusted the mud. So things like that we'll talk about. I hope he plays well for the rest of the day.

Q. Another Maverick question. Were you guys able to speak last night or this morning, and can you share the conversation and what might have been helpful?

DANIELLE KANG: Yeah. I talked to him last night and this morning. What do we talk about? I don't know. I told him that I watched him on TV yesterday. That was pretty cool. I got home and I watched him for the next couple hours.

I don't know. Basically we just told each other that it was a really cool opportunity for the both of us today. We have the opportunity to win, and we're going to capitalize on it the best we can and just have the good day. That's about it.

Other than that, I just talked to my brother today, too. He just told me, Just play your game and everything will be set in place. Talked to Butch, Annika. Just everything is very consistent and I got a good team.

Got Lizette right there. All good.

Q. And then one more. Will you be able to watch Maverick tonight, and would you be more nervous watching him than you were today?

DANIELLE KANG: Maybe. (Laughter.) I'll let you know.

Q. Maybe watch or maybe nervous?

DANIELLE KANG: Maybe nervous. I'll let you know. He can putt. I really enjoy watching him putt. It'll be really cool to watch him on TV.

Can't control anything on TV so I just start yelling at it. I don't know if that's how other people feel, but I hope that I get to watch. He's only on No. 8 I think, so I'll be able to watch later.

Q. Curious about one thing on kind of your down time during the pandemic. There is a difference between competing and place golf. How did you know you were doing any good playing golf and working without really competing? How did you know it was translating?

DANIELLE KANG: I played with my brother a lot and I played with Maverick a lot, and both of them are great competition. I played from their tees, I played from my tees, I played different golf courses, I played Shadow Creek from all from all different tees. I played TPC Summerlin from front tees to back tees.

The boys that I get to play with are so good that I try and keep up or try and -- we always have a competition, and I think that keeps me focused and up-to-date.

Q. What was your best day?

DANIELLE KANG: What do you mean? During the off time?

Q. Yeah.

DANIELLE KANG: I don't know actually. I had a lot of games. I love it when my brother is my team, though. Yeah, I never have to stress because he'll make the putt.

And then he actually kind of caddies for me when we're playing. I ask him to read my putts. Same thing with Maverick. We walk the golf course and they're really attentive to my game, which I appreciate.

Yeah, the competition that I get to have with my brother and Maverick and other friends that are in Las Vegas keeps me up-to-date.

Q. Are you playing next week, by the way?


Q. And then off to Scotland?


Q. Okay.

DANIELLE KANG: Felt like it was Scotland today. I thought I was in Ohio.

THE MODERATOR: I have one before we wrap it up here. You mentioned outside how you've been able to talk with Annika Sorenstam to get some advice during not only this tournament, but just through the break as well.

How special is that to be able to reach out to your childhood idol and get some words of encouragement?

DANIELLE KANG: It's really special. She is my idol, and a couple of the things -- if you get to pick their brains and learn, and I really appreciate the opportunity that she gives me to learn. And then the fact that she listens to things that I have questions with.

I know her time is super valuable, and I really appreciate how -- it's still out of her way to help me out, and I really like her demeanor. I like how she approached golf games and I watched her play. She had some advices on how to approach three-day events versus four-day events, and she said -- one of the quotes was, You better be ready if they cut the tournament to 36. You need to be up there.


DANIELLE KANG: Yeah. It's not about the chase. It's about being up there and being able to compete, shaving shots down and being aggressive and trusting your game on what to work on.

I spoke to her last year in March -- like I been speaking to quite a bit, but even with wedges, she tells me how to work on wedges. Little tips here and there I really, really take it to another milestone and I really work on it and I check in with her.

Yeah, so I really appreciate it.

THE MODERATOR: I think you mentioned earlier, but were you able to speak with her this morning?

DANIELLE KANG: Oh, no. She sent me a text last night saying, Exactly where you need to be. Go get them tomorrow. Stay aggressive and stick to your game plan. That was pretty cool.

THE MODERATOR: With that, we'll wrap it up. Thank you, Danielle, for joining us today, and congratulations.


FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

ASAP sports

tech 129
About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297