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


February 4, 2005

Kevin Na


JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Kevin Na, thank you for joining us this afternoon. Great round today, 65, and you're right there in contention, tied right now with Phil Mickelson for the lead at 9-under, right ahead of another Masters champion Bernhard Langer, so you're in good company through two rounds, a good couple days for you.

KEVIN NA: Played solid, hit it real well, coming down the stretch missed a few, but you can't make every one of them. I think I got a real good draw on tee times that helped out a lot. I don't know if you guys know, but last week I withdrew with a wrist injury, and then on the way home I got in a car accident, and I was actually luckily -- I mean, the car was totaled, but I was fine.

My manager was driving, he was fine. My father was sitting behind me, he's fine, but my mother fractured her vertebrae, so she's going to be in bed for about three months.

My parents are at home, so that's kind of -- that's the first time I'm on the Tour where one of my parents is not here. I'm sitting in the hotel room kind of bored.

Anyway, so I think that kind of woke me up a little bit, got me out of hibernation.

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: You played in the Tommy Bahama challenge. Did you learn anything about the course playing it?

KEVIN NA: Tommy Bahama was in Grayhawk. I did come out here and play two practice rounds with my father, and I think that helped a lot.

Q. You mentioned it brought you out of hibernation. Could you elaborate on that a little bit?

KEVIN NA: I think in December, late December, southern California has been getting so much rain, I wasn't able to practice. I wanted to go out and hit balls, chip, putt, whatever, and I couldn't. The first week of Sony, I wasn't ready. My short game was to rusty. I mean, I was flying greens from 50 yards and I couldn't do anything about it because I just wasn't ready.

Buick got a little better, still wasn't ready. Last week I felt I was ready, but unfortunately I had to pull out, went home, relaxed a little bit, and I think a lot of -- in the beginning I was kind of putting a lot of pressure on myself, wanted to play so well, and after that car accident, the only thing I was thinking about was how my mother was doing, and I think that put a lot of -- just too much thinking about golf, kind of got rid of it a little bit, so I think that helped, too.

Q. Where was that car accident?

KEVIN NA: It was in -- what freeway? The 10 freeway off Date Palm, that exit. We were getting gas. We were making a left turn and the truck in front of us let us go , and on the right of that lane there was a right-turn only into the gas station. We were making a left turn, and a guy came about 30 miles an hour straight and hit us. We got hit in the front right. If we got hit a split second later, I was sitting in the front, so I would have got hit in the leg, and I would have at least broke a leg, so I got lucky.

Q. You were driving?

KEVIN NA: No, he was.

Q. You were in the passenger seat and your parents were in the back. And which wrist?

KEVIN NA: The left.

Q. Was it the family car?

KEVIN NA: Family car.

Q. What kind of car?

KEVIN NA: Family car (laughter). We're kind of happy we're getting rid of it.

Q. When is the last time you talked to your mother, and how is she doing?

KEVIN NA: I talk to her every day and make sure -- I call her and see how she's doing. She sounds like she's doing a lot better.

Q. Did you say she's still in the hospital?

KEVIN NA: No, she's at home probably watching TV.

Q. What's her prognosis? Does she have to do some therapy, or rehab, or what's the plan?

KEVIN NA: Some rehab, and then she needs to go -- when she gets a little better she'll keep going to the chiropractor and get it lined up.

Q. Will she be 100 percent again?

KEVIN NA: Yeah, she'll be all right in three, four months.

Q. What's her name?

KEVIN NA: Annie.

Q. Were you keeping an eye on the board with Phil Mickelson's round today?

KEVIN NA: Yeah, I was definitely looking. Well, I saw Phil, he was 3-under -- he was 5-under on the front nine or something, and I was like, "oh," and then the next thing he's 7-under. He just kept moving up. I thought, "is this guy going to shoot 59 again?"

I saw that round. It's unbelievable. It must have been the sunblock he was wearing (laughter).

Q. Your 31 on the front nine, is that the best nine you've had on the PGA TOUR?

KEVIN NA: I don't know. I think I've had 31.

Q. You had a 64, that was your best 18, I think.

KEVIN NA: Uh-huh, at Avonale.

Q. How would you say your first nine was compared to past rounds?

KEVIN NA: Everything went in. Everything I hit went in. 10th hole I made par.

11th hole was where things kind of changed around. I hit my second shot in the front bunker and hit it out, I think it was at least 12 feet, maybe 15 feet, and lipped in for par, and that got my round kind of turned around.

Then I parred the next hole.

I birdied five of the last six, something like that.

Q. Did you go a couple days without playing golf after the accident to rest the wrist? Can you run us through that?

KEVIN NA: I got in the car accident, and my knees weren't very good, my neck and shoulder were stiff. I took one day off and started hitting balls again.

Q. What was the day of the accident, do you know?

KEVIN NA: It was Thursday, so I took -- well, Thursday, the day of the accident, I didn't do anything, then Friday I took off, then Saturday I practiced and Sunday I flew in.

Q. Phil is a very popular player around this course. If you end up being paired with him tomorrow in the final group, what do you think that?

KEVIN NA: I'm his fan, too (laughter). I watched him play a lot growing up, and I admired how he played. I was rooting for him when he won The Masters.

When he made that putt on the last hole, I started jumping up-and-down, too. It'll be a lot of fun playing with him. I know him a little bit, and I think we'll have a good time.

Q. What's it like for you? You've pretty much established yourself on this Tour now. Is that a relief, and how much more fun is it now that you're fully exempt and you can plan things?

KEVIN NA: Well, I just keep trying and try to get better. I don't know if everything is so much easier because I can play all the tournaments and I know where to go and stuff.

I mean, that part is easier, but competition is still tough out here, and if you don't -- I feel that if I don't work at it, just if I start my practice -- if I start not going through my practice routine every day, maybe slack off a little bit, I don't think I'll perform to the level I need to.

Q. But you're certainly getting more comfortable with the lifestyle?

KEVIN NA: Yeah, and I know everyone here. It's not like I have to introduce myself, "hi, I'm Kevin Na, and I'm a rookie." I did that last year.

Q. So without your parents here, parties every night in your hotel room (laughter)?

KEVIN NA: No. I've been hanging out with my friend here, Jinn Park, he went to ASU. He actually got in a car accident and his manager was in the same car. He wasn't driving, though. He totaled the car and he fractured his neck and he was out for four months, so I've been hanging out at his house watching TV and just talking about golf.

Q. Can you talk a little bit about playing in the final group with Phil, and if there's a chance of that, Justin Leonard had a few years ago in sudden death and said he felt like he's a fan favorite here, went to school here. Are you prepared for that? He's easily getting the biggest galleries out there? And after he putts, fans will get up and leave, that kind of thing.

KEVIN NA: Well, it's the same kind of thing as when I go back home, I'll get that, too. It was like when I play Shinhan in Korea, when I was playing, and I was in contention for the win, and everyone was just pulling for me. It's exciting, nice, but when you go to some other cities and you're playing with a guy from that hometown, you can't do anything about it but cheer for the guy.

Q. What kind of reception did you get at 16 today, any interesting remarks or anything crazy?

KEVIN NA: Yeah, actually a few of the guys were saying, "Na-Na-Na-Na." Instead of saying "good putt," they said "I'll see you tomorrow". One of the guys yelled out my high school, "Diamond Bar, Go Brahmas."

Q. Are you happy with the shot there?

KEVIN NA: I pushed it right of the green. It wasn't too bad. They didn't boo me.

Q. They must like you.

KEVIN NA: Hopefully.

Q. If we could touch on your round, we'll take one or two final questions. You started out on No. 10 and as you mentioned, birdie 13, 14, 15?

KEVIN NA: Yeah, 13, par 5, you have to birdie that hole. I hit a good drive, and I made a nice birdie.

Then the hole after that, 14 was a great birdie. I hit, I believe, driver and then 200 yards slightly downwind, hit 5-iron and hit it perfect. Then had a ten-footer downhill, a perfect putt and it went in, and I felt like I really picked up a shot to the field there.

Then the hole after that, par 5 again, that hole you need to birdie, also. We didn't have much wind. I hit driver, 3-iron on the green in two, just lagged it up there nicely and made birdie.

17, I hit great drive, just short of the green, chipped it -- I didn't hit a very good chip. It went about seven, eight feet by the hole, and I felt like that was a must-make putt, and I made it.

18, I got lucky there on 18, hit it in the right bunker, hit a great shot, maybe 15 to 20 feet, something like that.

Q. What club did you hit out of the bunker?

KEVIN NA: 6-iron. It was a fast putt. I had the perfect line. I was just trying to get a perfect speed where even though I missed it, it was going to be within a foot, and it went in.

Q. On the front side the only birdie was the par 5?

KEVIN NA: Yeah, driver, 3-wood, just missed the green left and chipped it to about three and a half feet.

Q. Any other good par saves?

KEVIN NA: Yeah, there was one on 5, left bunker, hit it out to about three feet.

Q. Left bunker after your approach shot?


Q. Are you pleased with the progress your career has made so far? You've steadily been improving, and are you happy with where you're at right now?

KEVIN NA: I think I've been making a lot of quick steps but no big jumps I don't think. I took a step going to the Asian Tour, playing the European Tour, playing the PGA TOUR, and nothing -- I don't think it was nothing fancy, though, nothing crazy. It was nice.

I mean, I was pretty happy with the way I played last year. There was a few tournaments that I think I had a chance to win. I think I got outplayed. I think I played well.

And I think this year I've improved a lot, and I'll get those little more chances, and hopefully one time it'll be my time to win.

Q. What are the main two, three, four things you learned as a rookie out here?

KEVIN NA: Number one thing is don't short-side yourself. That's the number one thing. We do it all the time. We're not trying to do it. I mean, I do it, too, I'm going away from flags, but you just hit a bad shot, you can't do anything about it, but when you're playing well and you play away three, four yards from the pin and that starts clicking, then you're not going to make any bogeys.

I mean, today I did short-side myself a few times but nothing too bad, and I think that's why I had a bogey-free round.

I think the second most important thing is to get plenty of rest and don't force yourself to play every week. I still do, though.

Q. You said earlier Jinn Park broke his neck in the car accident? Where is he living?

KEVIN NA: Two miles from here.

Q. So he's living up in Scottsdale?


End of FastScripts.

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