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February 6, 2005

Kevin Na


JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Kevin Na, congratulations on a great week for you. You fought hard over the weekend, and I think you have a lot of new fans in Scottsdale and the Phoenix area. Maybe we could start with some opening comments on a great week for you here at the FBR Open.

KEVIN NA: I played well this week. I was pretty happy that I played with Phil both rounds. That putt on Saturday to stay in the final group with Phil was pretty big, and playing with my fellow Korean, K.J. was great. He's like a brother to me, and that probably helped me.

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: If you could talk about what you think you can take away from this week. Obviously tied for 2nd with Scott McCarron is going to be a great paycheck, but down the road how do you think that experience will help you?

KEVIN NA: It's going to be a great experience because it is putting myself in contention. It's hard to do it right off the bat. If I keep putting myself in contention I know I'm going to get my share of wins.

Not just that, but playing with Phil in the final two days and fighting for that win, you can't buy that. I mean, it's just a great experience.

Q. Could you tell us, where do you and K.J. rank in the -- what's the pecking order back home?

KEVIN NA: What do you mean?

Q. Well, because he's been around longer, is he --

KEVIN NA: Because he's older. Well, K.J. is like -- this is a joke we say. Shigeki Maruyama is Godzilla in Japan, he's so huge. So we say K.J. is -- never mind (laughter). We've got a cartoon character which is huge. K.J. is a hero in Korea. He's a role model that everyone looks after, and he's an unbelievable player and a very nice guy. He's helped me out a lot. I've been out here just over a year, and I've had a really good time with him, playing practice rounds, going out to dinner with him. We're like brothers.

Q. What are you if he's a hero and a role model? Are you just --

KEVIN NA: I'm just --

Q. The teenage idol?

KEVIN NA: I'm just starting out. I've got a long way to go. I'm trying to keep up with him. He's too good.

Q. Did you seek him out or did he come over when you got out here?

KEVIN NA: I'm sorry?

Q. When you got to the Tour --

KEVIN NA: Well, this is his, what, fifth year on Tour, something like that? It's only my second year.

Q. Did he come seek you out or did you look him up?

KEVIN NA: When I first came on Tour?

Q. Yeah.

KEVIN NA: Oh, yeah. I had met him a few times before I came on Tour, played a few tournaments in Korea with him and actually on Monday before San Diego when I was 17, so we knew each other.

When I first came on Tour, I went up to him -- I called him up, I said, you know, can we get a practice round together at my first event, and his first event was AT&T, so we played three practice rounds together.

Q. This clearly isn't just about the money for you, but to be 21 and to see the type of paychecks you'll get, does it still give you a moment of pause?

KEVIN NA: I don't see that money. It goes in the bank, and I don't know where it goes. I don't touch it. I save it up (laughter).

Q. One little splurge maybe on something after this?

KEVIN NA: Do I spend it?

Q. Well, will you buy something?

KEVIN NA: I'm sure I will. I spend it on the road a lot just traveling, if you count that, but I haven't done anything crazy, go buy a hot rod or anything like that, but it's coming soon.

Q. When Phil goes into the desert on 13 there and you're in the middle of the fairway, did you think here's my chance?

KEVIN NA: I was thinking, here's my chance. I can make a three-shot swing. I make eagle and he makes bogey, which was doable, at least a two-shot swing. It was the other way around (laughter).

Well, I saw his ball where it was, and it looked like he had a clear shot, and I thought, wow, he caught a good break. Right when he hit it on the green or just short of the green, it was like, oh, gosh, come on. Is this guy not going to make a mistake? He caught a very good break here. I hit a 4-iron from 225 and I hit it perfect. I mean, just perfect, three, four yards right of the flag, right where I wanted it, and I couldn't believe how far -- it went like 250. I just couldn't believe how far that 4-iron went.

I mean, I chipped it up there like two feet for par, but that's when I kind of lost that thing, oh, there goes my win, when he made birdie. Knowing that I didn't have a chance to win anymore was kind of a letdown, and that's why I missed that little putt.

Q. Then you came back?

KEVIN NA: I came back, definitely. I was fighting for that 2nd place.

Q. I thought I read somewhere that Phil was one of the guys you kind of looked up to when you were younger. What was it about him?

KEVIN NA: Who doesn't like Phil? I think because he was a lefty, he stands out. He played so well when he was a youngster, when he came out in his early 20s, and all that spin shot out of the bunker he hit was just awesome, and that's what we all try to do out of the bunker when you're a kid. You like to see that ball spin back, and he was the best at it.

Q. Was the wrist at Bob Hope?

KEVIN NA: Yeah, left wrist at the Hope.

Q. And the accident was Thursday?

KEVIN NA: Yeah, it was the second day.

Q. Thursday night?

KEVIN NA: No, Thursday afternoon. It was like 3:00 o'clock.

Q. Everything okay now?


Q. Except the car.

KEVIN NA: Except the car.

Q. Now you can buy a car.

KEVIN NA: I don't need to. I got one. It's my parents' car (laughter). I would have been mad if that was my car getting totaled. I might have been crying because of that.

Q. What's your schedule like?

KEVIN NA: I don't know. I'm definitely playing Nissan. That's the only thing I can -- definitely playing Honda and Bay Hill, Players, and the AT & T next week and Tucson is very shaky.

Q. Can you address Phil's scrambling? There was a time where he missed seven straight fairways and always seemed to get out of it.

KEVIN NA: Well, Phil was hitting it great all week, even yesterday, but he looked like he was hitting a few loose tee shots. Every time -- he did hit a loose tee shot, but his second shot was right in front of the green would he could get up-and-down where he left myself an easy chip. He never made two mistakes in a row where he could make bogey, so I think that was a key for Phil to win this week.

Q. Well, for me I made two mistakes in a row, I'd make bogey. I just think Phil out-putted me, that's all.

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Kevin, congratulations.

KEVIN NA: Thanks.

End of FastScripts.

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