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January 11, 2003

K.J. Choi


TODD BUDNICK: We welcome K.J. Choi who broke the tournament course record today with an 11-under par 62. Nine birdies, one eagle on the day. 45 holes without a bogey. I'd say those are some pretty good numbers there.

K.J. CHOI: Thanks.

TODD BUDNICK: Tell us about your course record today.

K.J. CHOI: He started out really well today. He felt very good coming into the round. As the round progressed, he just felt, you know, better and better and more comfortable.

Regarding the course record, he had no idea that he was, you know, on a run for a course record. He's just very happy that he's able to have such a round, especially at this course, being his first tournament. He's not going to think too much about that. He's just going to keep on playing hole by hole tomorrow, try to put out his best round.

TODD BUDNICK: We can take some questions.

Q. Were you watching the leaderboard, seeing what Ernie was doing? Were you concerned when Ernie kept getting lower and lower and lower?

K.J. CHOI: He remembers just looking at it once, at the leaderboard. I think he says Els was around 25-under at that time. He just thought there was still a bit of gap between him and Els, he just said to himself, "Just try my best today, try my best tomorrow, and we'll see where that takes me."

Q. Does this beat your previous best score?

K.J. CHOI: Yes.

Q. What do you attribute the low score to?

K.J. CHOI: There's a couple things that he can, you know, contribute the low score to. First of all, the swing that he has right now, he just feels he's very confident about his swing. The type of swing that he's showing, you can't really miss a lot of fairways or a -- you can't have a lot of miss shots with the way his swing is.

He tries to just think about the wind. He doesn't try to really hit the ball high. He hits it low enough to break through the wind. He lives at The Woodlands. The course there is Bermuda grass. He's confident about playing such courses. The last thing is being on the TOUR for four years now, he feels comfortable with the whole atmosphere in a tournament.

Q. Are you surprised at how little wind there has been the first three days?

K.J. CHOI: Yeah, he is kind of surprised about not having as much wind as he thought. He actually came to Honolulu the Thursday before this tournament. In Honolulu, there was a lot of wind, like 40 miles per hour. He actually practiced in those windy conditions in Honolulu for two days.

Coming here, he was just very surprised not to see any wind. He felt very comfortable. Maybe that's one of the reasons he's playing so well this week.

Q. What do you think about playing with Ernie tomorrow?

K.J. CHOI: Yeah, he feels very happy to be playing with Ernie because Ernie is one of the players that he's really looked up to. He's never played with him before. Instead of just thinking about, you know, scores or anything like that, he's just going to take it very easy. He's going to try to learn a lot from Ernie's game, just not be very -- not be too confident, you know. So he's just -- he's going to take the learner's position. That's what he said, as a student would.

Q. If the wind does come back tomorrow, are you comfortable playing in the wind?

K.J. CHOI: Yeah, I mean, it will probably change his game a little. He won't be the only player playing in the wind, so it will be the same for all the others. He's just going to take it hole by hole. He just feels whether it's windy or not windy, he feels very confident this week.

Q. Is it going to be a matchplay kind of situation with you and Ernie, being such a big gap back to third place?

K.J. CHOI: You know, whenever he plays in tournaments, he never really thinks about the other player. It's really about, you know, himself. I mean, it's inside, how confident he is, how comfortable he is. He doesn't really think other players really have any effect in the way that he plays.

Q. How do you feel in relation to your comfort level after the third round in New Orleans this year?

K.J. CHOI: You know what? He's not really thinking about win at this point. He's thinking more about just giving his best, just playing a good round. He doesn't want to really get in to being pressured, thinking, "I have to win tomorrow." He just wants to take it very comfortably. If he just has a good round tomorrow, you know, who knows? A win will come his way. So he's not really trying to win. That's really not on his mind right now.

TODD BUDNICK: Thank you, K.J.

K.J. CHOI: Thank you.

End of FastScripts....

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