October 7, 2020
Newtown Square, Pennsylvania, USA
Aronimink Golf Club
THE MODERATOR: We are here with Rolex Rankings No. 9 Inbee Park. Inbee is competing in her 14th KPMG Women's PGA Championship. Of course three straight wins in 2013, 2014 and 2015. She's making her 10th start of the 2020 season with a win back in February at the ISPS Handa Women's Australian Open and four other top-10 finishes. Inbee, that streak of victories in '13, '14 and '15 is just incredible. Do you ever look back on that moment in amazement, of wow, I really accomplished something?
INBEE PARK: Well, I guess especially when I come back to play KPMG Women's PGA, it really reminds me of those years that I had the success in this tournament, and obviously it has been definitely the highlight of my career, and it was a very special moment.
Since the PGA took over this tournament, we have been playing great golf courses, and I have been really, really enjoying every single venue of them. Really happy to be here in Aronimink, and it is a great golf course to play. Really excited to play this week.
THE MODERATOR: Tell us your thoughts on Aronimink. I know you've been out for a practice round already, heading out again this afternoon. This is a course with so much history on the men's side and now we get to build the history on the women's side. What are your thoughts on this course and what scoring might look like the next couple days?
INBEE PARK: Well, I've played this golf course now twice on the front nine, once on the back nine. It is a tough golf course, but it is just really long. I'm sure everybody has been really saying that because I think this tournament was expected to play in summer, which the greens and the fairways would have been a little more harder, but being in the fall it's colder, ball is not going anywhere, fairways are really soft, greens are soft. So the ball is not going anywhere. The I'm hitting a lot of 5-woods and 3-woods into this green, and the greens are big, fairways are big, so I hate to say it, but it is a really big advantage for the long hitters.
I never really used pitching wedge, too maybe 8-iron, 7-iron; everything is above 6-iron and plus. It is just really the long game on this golf course, and the greens are really tough, but these greens are huge, so it's not a problem getting on the green, but it's just you've got to be able to make some great two-putts from the lengthy distances, and obviously being in the cold weather, playing in the morning three times for the week is going to be a little bit challenging because morning temperatures are just a lot colder, so the ball is not going anywhere.
I think it's just fighting with the long clubs, especially for me it's 3-woods and 5-woods, and yeah, try to make some long putts, I guess.
The scoring I don't think is going to be very low unless they move a lot of tees up on the tournament days, which I think they might do. I think maybe every day 2-under par is a really good score.
Q. I'm curious how many 3-woods -- we're talking about hitting into par-4s?
INBEE PARK: Par-4s, yeah. I asked my caddie, because there's only par-5s -- two par-5s on this golf course, so I asked Brad, is this a par-5 because it looks like maybe we're not going to get there in two; especially 1 and 10 when it's into the wind, I can't get there. It's just a really tough way to start the day, but yeah, it's just -- I've gotten probably a little bit shorter over the years, but it is definitely one of the longest golf courses that I've ever played.
Q. What would you say has been the longest track you've played in your career at a major?
INBEE PARK: I think this is definitely the longest. It feels like it. The number might not say it, but because of the temperature, because of the morning times that we're going to play, and obviously the wind -- it's windy, so it's just going to play a lot more than what it says on the scorecard.
Q. If my math is correct you have as many major victories as the rest of the top 10 combined. When you come to an event like this on such a big stage, what's the value of experience?
INBEE PARK: Well, it is always so much excitement for me to play in a major championship, especially on golf courses like this and at venues like this. It's a really, really good way to test your game, kind of see where your game is at, if you're still really able to win. I think it's kind of a good way to test your game, and obviously it tests every part of your game on the major championships. It's just one of those good moments of your career, so it's good to be here.
Q. Beyond the length, the challenge of the length here, what do you see as the biggest challenge of this golf course?
INBEE PARK: I really think it's the length. The fairways are wide, so it's not a problem hitting the fairways or greens. Greens are big. But it's just a matter of getting there, I guess, for me. But yeah, big greens and big fairways. You're probably going to get a lot of balls in the fairway, a lot of hit greens, but greens are big so you're going to have a lot of long putts, and the greens are slopey, so it's just -- you're going to have some lengthy putts that's going to be great two-putts. I think that's kind of the concentration. Try and make a lot of pars -- I think par is going to be a really good score around this golf course because there's only two par-5s that we can kind of have like a short iron in our hands.
Q. In this championship you guys have had a chance to play a lot of great golf courses. How does Aronimink rate with those courses?
INBEE PARK: Well, the golf course is in really, really good shape, and this is definitely one of the best golf courses that I've played. I mean, I've heard a lot about this golf course, so I was really excited to come here and play. Yeah, the golf course is in really pristine condition, so it is definitely the best course to have a major championship. Yeah, really happy to get to experience this golf course.
Q. Are you a person who like researches places you've never been before before you actually get there?
INBEE PARK: No, not really. You know, I try to explore when I come.
Q. Quite a few of your compatriots haven't played over here at all since the restart. What went into your decision to come to America to play again?
INBEE PARK: Well, I think it's just I really trust the LPGA Tour and everybody who's running the Tour over here. I thought they would definitely run this association really safe and traveling really safe. I think it was just -- the most important for me was at the tournament site we're not meeting a lot of people or we're just in this bubble, but it was just a matter of going to airports and moving to places. I thought if I be careful and just not to go out anywhere and just stay in the room a lot, I thought it would be possible to do.
That really made my decision, and plus I really wanted to compete and really wanted to come out and play again. It's just I missed competition and being out here.
Q. You got off to a nice start this year before the break; do you feel you've recaptured your form and momentum and everything?
INBEE PARK: Yeah, I feel like I've played really good early in the year, and when I came back I feel like I played quite consistently. Yeah, I feel like -- yeah, probably similar to what I have done in February and now. Some golf courses really suit me and some golf courses now don't, so I think it really -- the type of golf course comes into play more than I have been in maybe 2013, 2016-17 because of my distance a little bit. But yeah, I think it's just trying to adapt to new things.
Q. Even this late in the year do you feel like now you kind of are in a rhythm? When you have this big a venue, the U.S. Open around the corner, it's a good time to kind of build something?
INBEE PARK: I mean, it is really awkward to play in fall and winter in the States because it's usually the summertime that we play the big events here in the U.S., so it's definitely a different atmosphere and obviously different weather. Yeah, a lot of things to kind of adapt.
This is the time of the year that I really enjoy, so yeah, plus golf I think is a good match.
Q. You mentioned you like this time of year. As you said, we were supposed to be here in June. What does that say to you, to KPMG and the PGA of America for fighting to keep us on the schedule and giving us this opportunity to play?
INBEE PARK: Yeah, I mean, I thought a lot of tournaments this year was going to be canceled, and plus this KPMG Women's PGA Championship was definitely one of the tournaments that might get canceled. I'm really happy and really thankful to the KPMG and the Women's PGA for the opportunity that they have given us because we really didn't want to miss this tournament, and really happy to be here. Yeah, one more thanks to them for having this kind of opportunity.
Q. When we chatted back in June and February at Diamond Resorts and then when you won in Australia, you said one of your big goals you said was the Olympics. The Olympics now pushed back a year, is that still on your radar?
INBEE PARK: Well, I've got to say it's definitely a little bit less than what I have in my mind earlier in the year because nothing is really certain at the moment, and we just don't know what's going to happen next year. We don't know what's going to happen next week. I think it's just probably a lot less pressure now than before, but yeah, if it goes and happens, I guess it definitely could be a good goal for me.
Q. When you found a track that you said it's an advantage you said to the longer hitters, how do you mentally recalibrate since that doesn't exactly fit your profile?
INBEE PARK: Well, I think the course like this, I kind of wish that the fairways were a little bit narrower and the rough was a lot more thicker. But yeah, I go to golf courses thinking, oh, please don't rain and have firm fairways and firm greens. But yeah, sometimes that doesn't happen. It's definitely a little bit of a disappointment; I can't really deny that. But you kind of get used to it. Every golf course the longer hitters definitely have an advantage. Doesn't matter whether it's this one or that one. It's just every single one of them.
It's just getting used to it. I mean, I was never really a short hitter so I didn't really feel this kind of feeling before, maybe a couple years, three years, but yeah, it's just different things that I have to get used to. I mean, it's never a good feeling, but yeah, I guess you've got to get used to it.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you so much, Inbee. Good luck this week.
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