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November 17, 2020

Jin Young Ko

Belleair, Florida, USA

Pelican Golf Club

Press Conference

THE MODERATOR: Thank you everyone for joining us the Pelican Women's Championship virtual media center.

With that, I am so happy to be joined by world No. 1 Jin Young Ko. It's been so long. So happy to have you back. How are you doing today?

JIN YOUNG KO: I'm good. I'm doing great. And then I have been maybe eight or nine months in Korea, so I had a lot of things, cooking class or practice, everything.

THE MODERATOR: I love that. We'll get into what you were able to do over there in Korea, but let's go back a little bit to earlier this year. What went through your mind when the LPGA Tour took their break because of the COVID pandemic?

JIN YOUNG KO: I was shock. Also it was great decision, but it was tough time. But also, everybody is healthy right now, so I hope American or in the world is getting better.

THE MODERATOR: That's good. What went into your decision to stay at home, and did you expect to be at home in Korea for as long as you were?

JIN YOUNG KO: Because last year I finished maybe December, my season, so if start maybe in January or February I felt it's too early, so I needed to rest, resting.

But it was too little right now. I miss the tour, the LPGA Tour as well. So I'm happy to be back here.

THE MODERATOR: That's good. There was a break in golf all around for a couple months. You took a break before going on the KLPGA and competing there, just a little one. You talk about cooking classes. What did you do with some of your time off and did you learn any new hobbies?

JIN YOUNG KO: Yeah, I do. I had been cooking class and meditation, work out, practice a lot. Just I was -- I travel a lot last two years or three years, so I think I needed -- I have to cook more Korean food in U.S., so I went to the cooking class, and then I got a lot of things like menus, Korean menus, so I did this morning, last night too. Yeah.

THE MODERATOR: So you've been cooking in Korean food for yourself?


THE MODERATOR: That's so cool. Do you love to cook now?

JIN YOUNG KO: It's tough because I need Korean food like garlic or ginger or something like that. In the U.S. it's too tough to find of them, so I needed always where is the Korean market.

THE MODERATOR: So you're on the lookout for Korean markets. I love that. So when you did go back to playing competitively? You played in six events on the KLPGA. Three Top 10s, including a runner-up finish. How was it playing over there amid the pandemic, and how comfortable were you feeling in the way that you played?

JIN YOUNG KO: Yeah, I had good tournament in Korea, maybe five or six events. Also I finished good also, maybe five top 10. I don't know, but it was good.

And then my caddie came to Korea and then he did quarantine two weeks in Korea. Just hotel, one bedroom, small room, but it was really thanks for today. And then we had three events together and I finished top 10 every -- like three events, maybe top two, finished top two and then top three and top seven. So it was good time.

And then Korea is like right now is so chilly right now, so we had tough time to play golf. But was good.

THE MODERATOR: So David came over to Korea?


THE MODERATOR: When did he come over?

JIN YOUNG KO: Maybe last Sunday.

THE MODERATOR: What was it like seeing him again?

JIN YOUNG KO: He's like family right now because he stayed my home for two weeks. Then my mom always cooked for him. Every meal, three meals a day. So he said, he told me he like gained weight.

THE MODERATOR: Gained a couple pounds in that two weeks. Love to hear it.

So you're back here on the LPGA Tour. How does it feel to be back?

JIN YOUNG KO: It's good. I miss the tour. Also I miss like competitive. I want to win again, yeah.

THE MODERATOR: I was going to say, now that you're back on tour there is a couple events left this season. What are some of the goals until possibly getting into CME?

JIN YOUNG KO: That's my goal, because I can't play right now at the CME. So if play to CME is good goal to me right now.

So I will do -- I want to do my best two weeks, yeah, this week and then -- Dallas and then until the U.S. Open.

THE MODERATOR: Yes. Have you been out here yet? Have you practiced?

JIN YOUNG KO: Yeah, I did.

THE MODERATOR: What did you think of the course?

JIN YOUNG KO: Condition of greens are good, really good. And then great views. But it's tough to wind to play golf.

But we'll see.

THE MODERATOR: All right. With that, thank you, we'll open it up to some questions.

Q. Wanted to ask how difficult is it for you to be returning to the tour at a brand new tournament on a redesigned course? I saw you out there on the practice green I think on Saturday. I assume you've been trying to get your feel for the course. How difficult is it to return to a brand new tournament like this and an unfamiliar course?

JIN YOUNG KO: Yeah, it is tough, but it is same condition to every player. So it's tough, but I think I will enjoy it. Yeah.

Q. What do you think of the course? I know you said the greens are nice and great views. Do you think it's easy? What's your judgment of how difficult the course is?

JIN YOUNG KO: Greens are like ruffly, up and down like this, so...

THE MODERATOR: A little bumpy?

JIN YOUNG KO: No, not bumpy. Just like narrow, and then if miss one yard to right it goes to maybe 20 yards. So like undulation. So I think we will need 58 wedges.

Q. While the LPGA was competing were you following along with the scores? Did you watch any of the tournament coverage as majors were going on without you?

JIN YOUNG KO: Not really because it's difficult time, because in U.S. afternoon is in Korea. So I need sleep, so I couldn't watch it all the time.

But I check some sometimes, like KPMG or British. It was good. I missed this tour.

Q. Was it hard for you especially with the major championships to miss them, and what ultimately made you decide to come back now?

JIN YOUNG KO: Of course because I miss the defend. (Audio cut out.)

Q. What made you decide to come back now?

JIN YOUNG KO: Because I change a little my swing, so I want to check how to play at the course in the LPGA Tour. So it was good this season I think.

Q. What did you change in your swing?

JIN YOUNG KO: Consistency and small things. Not big things.

Q. Welcome back.

JIN YOUNG KO: Thank you.

Q. When we saw you play at the CME your ankle was hurt and then you said you didn't take much time off. I was wondering how the ankle is feeling?

JIN YOUNG KO: My ankle is getting better. It's not painful right now. So I had many times massage, workouts, so it's feel better.

Q. Awesome. Was the U.S. Open a big reason why you came back when you did? Did you not want to miss the U.S. Open?

JIN YOUNG KO: Yes, of course.

THE MODERATOR: I also want to ask, you've been seeing so many people you haven't seen in a while. What did you miss most about being out here, and have you seen anyone that you haven't seen in a very long time?

JIN YOUNG KO: Everybody. I want to meet everybody. LPGA staff, LPGA players as well, Brooke Henderson. But I miss to meet her a lot -- I couldn't see her yesterday, so I want to see her. But I can't hug. It's sad. But it's like...

THE MODERATOR: I know and you Brooke are really good friends. How cool is that that you will get to see her again for a couple weeks?

JIN YOUNG KO: It's just amazing. She's No. 1. (Thumbs up).

Q. Could you just tell us how you're playing right now? How would you sum up your game and how you played in Korea especially?

JIN YOUNG KO: It's so much different as last year, because last year I had a lot of tournament, maybe over 20 events, but this year I had just five events.

So I need find feeling like on the course. So it's tough, but it's getting better, better and better.

And then I want to do more consistency under 100 meters. I play 17 years, over 17 years, so it's tough to change the swing. It's easy to change small amounts, but changing in a big amount can be difficult.

So I trying to be better under 100 meters, short game.

Q. Did you change swing instructors?

JIN YOUNG KO: Yeah, I change.

Q. And how long did you have the previous one?

JIN YOUNG KO: Ex coach we had been two or threes years. And right now new coach maybe we have been five months.

Q. What's your new coach's name?

JIN YOUNG KO: Hyung, P-u-y-u(indiscernible).

Q. Okay. Thank you.

JIN YOUNG KO: Thank you.

Q. It's been so long since you played an LPGA Tour event. Are you nervous at all? Do you just feel like you're getting right back into the groove?

JIN YOUNG KO: Yeah, little nervous because I don't know what happen. I don't know what will happen. But I have to accept that feeling, so I will enjoy, look at these views. Amazing.

THE MODERATOR: With that, I think we are good. Thank you Jin Young.

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