January 20, 2023
Orlando, Florida, USA
Lake Nona Golf & Country Club
Q. Here with Danielle Kang after her second round at the Hilton Grand Vacations Tournament of Champions. Can you walk us through that last hole? We'll start at the end. I call it the party hole. Really good birdie over there. Walk us through that.
DANIELLE KANG: I missed a three-footer couple holes back and it was really, really sad. Brad told me, my caddie, Brad, said he would give me $20 if I made that putt, so I made and looked at him and said, give me my 20.
That was for him because we hit 16 out of 18 greens today. I missed probably almost everything under-10 feet. All the birdies I made were over ten feet, so at one point he was trying to club me one club less so I have 30-, 40-footers, so last hole was pretty planned and it worked out.
Q. You love the environment here obviously. How was your team today, and yesterday, too?
DANIELLE KANG: I love playing this event. I played with Mark Wang today, the CEO of Hilton Grand Vacations. All I can say is thank you. He ups the purse every year. He moved it to a prestigious golf course. Lake Nona is a hard track. It's hard to -- sometimes three-putts are all there, bogeys around the corners. You just have to stay focused.
And playing with celebrities, to be honest, everyone knows that I play with the same people normally Thursday Friday, and we always say it's luck of draw. We're going to go with that.
But I personally would like it to be -- sometimes I envy the Pebble Beach format as well because I want to stick with my friends for the rest of the week. I get to only play with Lee once a year.
I get kind of bummed out that I only get to see him one time. Hopefully I get Alfonso and Lee again the rest of the week, if they're playing well.
Q. Lee withdrew. I was just going to ask.
DANIELLE KANG: Did he withdraw? So his back was hurting. So if he withdrew, I told him he's still not leaving. That means he's around, because we're having dinner and he's going to come out and watch hopefully.
Hopefully I start hunting down the leaderboard and then maybe I'll get to be paired with Alfonso. He sent a really nice message. He said it was one of the best golf days, so that makes me really happy.
I know playing a tournament is important, too, but I told my caddie, I'm normally very intense on the golf course, but this is probably the one event I'm very relaxed and just want to go with the flow and see how the amateurs are doing as well.
Q. What benefit do you think it brings women's golf as a whole having the celebrities out here and the fans out here to watch them and you?
DANIELLE KANG: I really love the support that all the celebrities, other athletes give us. The other day Nelly said it great. There is a lot of great golfers out here. Don't get me wrong, her swing is beautiful. I even watch it on repeat.
With that said, I love it when there are other athletes that support our game and our sport itself. We are still a growing sport and we're not at the destination we want to be. We see the potential, right, especially with the PGA TOUR, and so forth with other tours.
I think we're heading in the right direction. I really appreciate the work that has been done previously in the last ten years to have us be constantly record breaking, but that was has been built over a decade in order for us to be constantly record breaking.
So CEOs like Mark Wang when they jump that purse, especially our Chevron championship this year, they jumped it bu 60%. Same thing with Mike Whan. He made our U.S. Open $10 million. Those things are what's going to help us expedite our process.
I really appreciate those people.
Q. You mentioned the Pebble Beach pro-am. Would you like to see a similar event on the LPGA with a full field and also the celebrity aspect?
DANIELLE KANG: I thought was going to say would you like to play it? I was like, yeah. Can I play as a celebrity?
Yeah, right now any type of exhibition matches would be great for our tour. The more eyes on us the more they understand it's fun out here. It's not just the same as the -- it's just going to take time, but like I said, the CEOs and those guys are helping us jump that process.
If we have an exhibition match where you have the celebrities are playing, like Alfonso is good at golf. Lee was making fun of us that we both can ride the kiddie rides, but then he was out driving Lee by 100, so I know Alfonso can play.
Mardy Fish, these guys got game. It would be really exciting to see if there is another event like that. I wouldn't mind it since I love this kind of vibe.
Q. So how long was the putt at 18?
DANIELLE KANG: Probably about 35 or 40 feet. He knows because he keeps the stats, but honestly we just did not want to hit it close rest of the day. Butch is going to think it's funny, but we just could not make a short putt out there.
I changed to a mallet and it's really large. I don't know. I brought another putter. Might be in play. We'll see. I don't know yet. It's the first week of year. I'm trying to fiddle with things. It's fine. It's fine.
Q. And you mentioned the other day about having to work into a bit of a new swing.
DANIELLE KANG: Oh, I'm hitting it good.
Q. Yeah, but the changes you made, is it pretty significant?
DANIELLE KANG: For a golfer it is significant, yeah. It is. I mean if I wasn't able to get a club in my hand -- Butch calls it shadow boxing. I always make fun of the guys that make good golf swings when there is no golf course and they're like at a restaurant. I was that person, so -- for weeks.
And I just had to keep that in mind and ask anybody and anyone that came near me on how they would change it or what they would feel, because I couldn't figure the feel out for the first like couple months.
I'm starting to get a feel for it where I could hit it where I want to. Yeah, I hit it really well today.
Q. You joked about not trying to hit the ball close because you couldn't make short putts. Is that a bit like last year where you said you were trying to miss greens?
DANIELLE KANG: I'm not actually joking. Like sometimes you just got to go with the flow, right? It was 150. I hit my 8-iron. I'm not getting my 8-iron to that pin at all, but I know I can get it to the middle. But if I tried to run it there is an opportunity to get it close, so I'm not trying to hit it far, but I'm favoring the fatter part of the green more so than trying to knock it stiff.
So there are two types of golf shots. Either you pick 7-iron, punch draw, and get it as close possible; or you hit the 8 and give yourself a putt, and that's what I did on the last hole.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports