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February 5, 2005

Kevin Na


JOHN BUSH: Kevin Na, thanks for coming by and spend a few minutes with us, 1-under par 70 today. If we can just get you to comment on the round and your emotions throughout the day.

KEVIN NA: It was a long day. It was tough. I felt like I played really well.

I think the only hole I'd want to start replaying is starting on 15. I was playing solid until right up there. I think I was 3-under, you know, got 225 to the hole, and you are thinking birdie, and one more coming in, and get up there in the lead.

But I think from there that things went a little wrong. A bad break going in the water, and I could have covered it up with that short putt, but I don't know how that broke left and I missed it.

From there, that crowd pulling for Phil so much and that little bit of, what do you call it, misstep, kind of shook me up a little bit and affected me on the last couple holes, I think.

Q. From behind it looked like that ball stayed up. Did you get any sign at all from the --

KEVIN NA: No, I didn't see a sign. I wasn't expecting it to go in the water. That sand is -- I guess it took a hard bounce, and the ball was turning over, too, so just an unfortunate break. I had 3-iron out and I was about to hit it, and it's like 205 to fly the water and 225 to the hole, and the wind was right to left, and I thought it was helping for a second, and then as I got up there, I was going against the wind.

So because that front is kind of round, it's actually more than 205. You've got to hit it at least 210. So I felt like if I didn't catch it at all or slightly mis-hit it, it wasn't enough club, but I think it was. So that's where things went wrong.

Q. How did the reality of playing with Phil in the last group at this tournament compare to what you thought it might be coming into today?

KEVIN NA: You know, I was a lot more comfortable than I was thinking. I think I played very well. You know, I was right up there putting pressure on Phil. I was ahead of him. I caught a few bad breaks coming in. I'm very happy that I made that last putt to stay in the last group. I'm still in this tournament. I'm four back. A great round tomorrow can do it, finish it off.

Q. Could you describe the experience on the 16th?

KEVIN NA: Pretty wild (laughter). It's a great feeling, though. I wish more tournaments were like this, this kind of environment where it's just everyone goes crazy. I mean, I think they did a pretty good job with the crowd control where not too many guys were doing anything stupid. There was a few things. I mean, one guy on 18 said go in the water after Bernhard hit it, and one guy did it to me once, too.

We try not to let it affect us, but it doesn't feel good.

Q. Was the problem as far as your game on 16, was it just the putting, or the tough --

KEVIN NA: Well, on 16, first of all, I didn't hit a very good shot. That putt was more downhill than I expected, and the second putt I didn't hit the best putt coming by. It's an easy three-putt.

Q. I would imagine you consider what happened today a pretty good learning experience for you.

KEVIN NA: It was, a learning experience is nice, but I would still like to win. I think winning is a better learning experience (laughter).

Q. Even though the crowd was heavy for Phil, did you enjoy being in that atmosphere of everyone following your group?

KEVIN NA: Yeah. I mean, I think -- I don't know what the number is, but it was crazy. I mean, the number of people following our group was, what is it --

Q. 165,000 out here today.

KEVIN NA: Our group was probably coming down the stretch 20,000 a hole or something. That's a lot of people.

Again, I understand. I mean, I'm not against them pulling for Phil. If I was in the crowd and my hometown player was playing well, I'd be pulling for him, too. No big deal.

Q. Did you happen to notice the guys on 16 that put on the green jackets when Phil came up? They were off to the left. They put on green Masters jackets.

KEVIN NA: Really? Cool. I didn't see it.

Q. What gave you the confidence to do what you did, leave school after your junior year in high school and go pro? Not a lot of 17 year olds would take that step and think, "I can do this."

KEVIN NA: I felt like it was a shortcut. I was hoping to do well right off the bat, but I wasn't expecting anything. Looking at it now, it was a darn good move, right (laughter)?

Q. Having done that, is that what keeps you -- I mean, you seemed awfully calm for the most part all the way through this round, having been here so long?

KEVIN NA: The thing is I've played in contention many times. I've played in contention in Europe, Asia definitely, amateur golf. Last year I was in contention a few times, and I keep learning from those experiences.

Like yesterday some of the times I said I had a chance a few times, I've just got to play. Today I don't think I got out and played. I think coming down the stretch I made a couple errors.

Hopefully tomorrow -- if I'm going to lose, I'd like to lose by -- let me rephrase that (laughter). I'd like to finish -- if I don't win, I would like to not win by playing my best but just being outplayed. It's just a better feeling.

What can you do about it when a guy shoots 60 and you shoot 65? 65 is a darn good round, what I shot yesterday, and Phil just shot 60.

Tomorrow I'm just going to go out there and play my best and try and catch Phil, and I think I can, but if I don't, no big deal. Life goes on and I'm going to get many more chances.

Q. Were your parents really supportive of your decision to leave school that early? I assume you talked about it a lot.

KEVIN NA: They were. My father was on a 100 percent go. Mother was a little more saying, "are you sure?" My brother said go ahead, and I was more maybe 75 percent towards doing it.

Q. If you look at the World Rankings now, there's a lot fewer Americans under 30, I guess, versus international players. I'm wondering with your travels if you have any sense of what's going on?

KEVIN NA: I think that World Ranking points, they need to give the PGA TOUR a little more points.

European Tour has got great players and great competition, but I still think PGA TOUR has proven that it's the No. 1 Tour in the world, and they do give more points, but I think they should give just a little more points to the guys that play on the Tour.

Q. What's been your best moment in golf or the one that has meant the most to you at any level, whether it was junior golf or anywhere? What's your number one highlight?

KEVIN NA: That's got to be Q-school. That was the best feeling tapping in and knowing you were going to play on Tour at age 20. Everyone works hard, watches TV growing up, and this is what it's all about, getting on Tour. Sure it is great, you can do other things besides golf, but growing up, this is all you dream about.

For that to happen, it's become true. It's awesome. But that's the end of that, and the next thing is go out there and win. So what I did was right after I did it, I think I had an interview, and the last thing I said was, "yeah, I accomplished it, but it's another new beginning."

JOHN BUSH: Kevin, let's get you to take us through your card, starting with the birdie on 1.

KEVIN NA: Birdie on 1, three perfect shots. I felt really good. I hit 9-iron, I believe, eight to ten feet.

Bogey on 2, just a bad drive. I think I'm going to hit 3-wood tomorrow. I think I should hit 3-wood off the tee because it's still a 3-wood, 9-iron hole. I'm trying to hit driver, sand wedge, but there's no point.

Birdie on 3, I thought I chipped it in from 60 yards, 55 yards, something like that. It stopped three inches short of the hole, two inches.

Birdie on 8, good drive, pretty good second shot, and I had a tough putt. It was a pretty quick putt, just perfect speed, and it broke in at the last second.

Q. How many feet?


Birdie on 11, off the tee, I mean, I had no shot on the second shot, absolutely no shot. I went under and over a tree and around, and I got there, and I was like, whoa, I didn't think my ball would be there. I chipped it in, like, "take that."

Birdie on 13, par 5, just a routine birdie.

JOHN BUSH: Kevin, good luck come. Thanks for coming by.

KEVIN NA: Thanks. Appreciate it.

End of FastScripts.

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