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June 29, 2007

Inbee Park


RHONDA GLENN: Ladies and gentlemen, In-Bee Park has played 20 holes of golf today. She came out and played the 17th and 18th early this morning, which she parred. She had a round of 2-over par 72. That puts her at even par for 36 holes. So she is the leader in the clubhouse. The score looks good.
In-Bee, earlier I asked you how tired you are, what are you going to do this afternoon?
IN-BEE PARK: Definitely going to get some sleep and a lot of rest today because I played a lot of golf the last two days and it's going to be a lot of tougher days the next two days, so I better get some rest and sleep.
RHONDA GLENN: Are you unaccustomed being in this position in a Major Championship, where you're in the lead or tied for the? Lead.
IN-BEE PARK: In a professional event?
RHONDA GLENN: You played in our U.S. Amateur several times.
IN-BEE PARK: No, those events were a little different because I was in the lead a lot of times in my junior years, but this is definitely the first time in the professional years and this is the best tournament I've ever had yet. I'm really not used to this place right now as a professional, but I've been here before.
RHONDA GLENN: You're going to be 19 years old on July 12th, I believe. How is this different from leading junior tournaments?
IN-BEE PARK: It's really different. There is a lot of competition out here. If you shoot over par here, you're just out of there.
And juniors it's really different. You're playing against friends. It's really friendly and everything. It's really different out here, it's a lot competitive and a lot going on.
RHONDA GLENN: Are you saying it's not so friendly out here?
IN-BEE PARK: Not exactly. But I'm just getting close to people right now. I'm just a rookie on the Tour.

Q. You and your good friend Angela Park were always together, always fighting last year on the Duramed Futures Tour, and here you are again. Last year you were two of the three 17 year old professionals. This year I guess you're all grown up now, you're almost 19. But how is this -- when Angela's name went up, did that automatically click something in you to want to chase her down?
IN-BEE PARK: Of course. That gave me a lot of motivation. She played in the morning yesterday and I played in the afternoon. That really got me going yesterday. I thought if she could play that good out here then I could play good out there, too. It gave me a lot of confidence by her playing good.
RHONDA GLENN: In-Bee, by the way, struggled a little bit with her tee shots today, she hit only 8 fairways as compared to 11 yesterday. She hit 8 greens as compared to 13 yesterday. But she had only 27 putts and that was with one 3-putt. Why is that, were the greens rolling more smoothly, were you adjusting to the greens better?
IN-BEE PARK: Well, the putts were probably shorter, because I wasn't hitting the greens a lot. I've definitely got to work on my driver a little bit for the next few days, and keep the ball in the fairway to play this course. If you're in the rough it's pretty tough to get out of there. So better put the ball in the fairway.
RHONDA GLENN: You were missing some greens, therefore you had lot of chip shots and pitch shots. And your pitch and chip shots were pretty good then?
IN-BEE PARK: My games around the greens today were great today. I put it within a foot, two foot, three foot and just tapped in for pars. And I think that's really good. The pars are really good out here. No matter how you make par, it doesn't matter, you just have to make a par and move on.

Q. Are you and Angela good friends? Do you spend a lot of time together? How long have you known each other?
IN-BEE PARK: We just met about two years ago. We're pretty much there every day, probably except for the time we sleep, we're probably together. Yes, we had a practice round together and practice together and everything like that.

Q. Do you socialize together, do you go out to dinner together?
IN-BEE PARK: Of course. At least once a week we go out to dinner. We play for dinners on the practice rounds.

Q. Who wins?
IN-BEE PARK: It depends.

Q. Do you -- did you play much against her as a junior, did you ever compete against her?
IN-BEE PARK: Not in juniors. We kind of played in a different time area, so I really didn't get to see her a lot in the junior days. But we played a lot in the Futures Tour last year, and the year before that and in professional events.

Q. Could you talk about the Duramed Futures Tour as a preparation for the LPGA and the U.S. Women's Open, what kind of tough things you faced on that Tour?
IN-BEE PARK: Well, they definitely have a competition out there, because I never won (laughter). I think it's really close to LPGA Tour out there. I'm really glad I got a taste of the professional years last year, so I think it really prepare me for this LPGA Tour.

Q. What's the most difficult thing when you're stopping and starting, you don't know what the weather is going to do?
IN-BEE PARK: I think it's the same condition for everybody, half of the field. So I don't think that it's a full disadvantage of me. I just stay patient out there and just have some time with friends.

Q. Does it make it more difficult to prepare or know when to eat, when you don't know what's going to happen?
IN-BEE PARK: No, I think it's okay. I think I just eat when I'm hungry. When they blow the horn you just play golf out there.
RHONDA GLENN: Is it more difficult to remain patient while you're waiting? Are you anxious to get out there or do you think of other things?
IN-BEE PARK: Well, not necessarily. I really enjoy my time off during the rounds and it doesn't really bother me, unless I bogeyed five holes in a row and came in.

Q. You took up the game not long after Se Ri Pak emerged over here. I'm curious, was that a coincidence or did she have a big influence on you, does she still today, have you talked to her or do you ask for advice from her, those sorts of things?
IN-BEE PARK: Well, I'm not quite friends with her, but I say hi. She definitely influenced me picking up the golf clubs. Right when she won the U.S. Women's Open in 1998, I started playing golf, because it got big in Korea, and my parents wanted me to try golf out. She's one of my heroes on the Tour.
RHONDA GLENN: How old were you in '98?

Q. You've had kind of a rock and roll year with your rookie season, can you talk a little bit about the peaks and valleys this season and why you think maybe it's been a little slower getting off?
IN-BEE PARK: I really had a hard time really starting off the season. Early in the season. I think I'm getting used to the Tour. And I just have to be patient out there. There's a lot of golf to play out there. I'm just not going to do this for one year and quit, so there's a lot of time left for me. So I'll just keep playing my golf.

Q. You took up the game when you were still in South Korea. Did you come to the States to pursue golf, is that why you moved here? Can you talk about that and the culture and maybe how difficult that might have been?
IN-BEE PARK: Yeah, that's definitely the reason I came to the United States. There is not many golf courses in Korea, as in the United States. It was more expensive to play out there than here. I wanted to play in competition, more in the competition out here. I really wanted to get on the LPGA Tour. So it's closer for I come here.

Q. This is your golf bag, correct?
IN-BEE PARK: Yes, that's my golf bag.

Q. I understand the bumble bee. Can you talk about when you got it and who gave it to you?
IN-BEE PARK: I just got it this year. I actually got it two years ago. My mom just gave it to me. She picked it up in some golf shop and she thought that's a bee and your first name is Bee, so I think you should carry it. She just gave it to me. It's not for a birthday or anything, she just randomly gave it to me.

Q. I wonder if you could talk about your lifestyle on the Tour. Do you travel by yourself? Are your parents with you? Do you and Angela travel together at all?
IN-BEE PARK: I travel with my parents, at least one of my parents, because I have my younger sister, who they have to take care of, too. But definitely one parent, but sometimes -- well, this tournament I have mom, dad, grandfather and sister, everybody, it's really special.

Q. Do you live in -- have a place in the States or do you still live in Korea?
IN-BEE PARK: I live in Las Vegas.

Q. Just a follow-up. There's so many Koreans in the tournament this time. Was Pak's win in '98, was that what started this or why did Korea suddenly become so strong in women's golf?
IN-BEE PARK: I think Se Ri really influenced a lot of golfers in Korea, especially in our age group. I'm not sure that the older age group picked up the golf club because of her. Definitely our age group a lot of girls picked up the golf clubs because of her. I know a lot of friends did.
RHONDA GLENN: Why are the Korean players so good?
IN-BEE PARK: I'm really getting tired of that question, because everybody asks me that question. I don't know. I guess they work really hard. I don't know, maybe it's in their blood.
RHONDA GLENN: Is there a stronger work ethic? Do your parents help you to -- teach you to work hard at whatever you do?
IN-BEE PARK: Yeah, I think the parents really try to help you out. A lot of parents want to be in that golf whatever -- I think they support really good. So I think that's more -- I'm not saying the American parents doesn't, but --

Q. How hard is it for you to remain focused with all the weather delays and having to start your round and then stop and then start it again?
IN-BEE PARK: Like I said, I enjoy time off and just have some lunch and have some talk with friends and just go out there and play again.

Q. The success we see comes from the Korean women. We don't see a similar kind of success from the Korean men. If we throw in parental influence, work ethic, love of the game, all those kind of things, why is it so different for the women to be so successful in professional ranks and not the men?
IN-BEE PARK: Good question. I think it's really like a lot tougher to get on the PGA TOUR than LPGA Tour, for men, because there's just a lot of men playing golf out here. I think strength-wise the American men are stronger.

Q. Is the interest level for men in golf in Korea and professional golf the same as it is for the women?
IN-BEE PARK: I think they have more interest in women because there are definitely a lot of Korean golfers playing out here. I know whenever I turn on the TV the LPGA was on. More LPGA than PGA TOUR in Korea.

Q. I was just wondering about your first name. You were talking about there was a bee in it. How did your name come about? Is there a family association with In-Bee?
IN-BEE PARK: With my name?

Q. Yes.
IN-BEE PARK: Well, it means "good queen" in Korea, "queen of virtue" -- something queen.
RHONDA GLENN: Do you know anybody else named In-Bee?
IN-BEE PARK: No, it's really a rare name in Korea and a rare name here, too.

Q. You're even par, can you see even par winning on this golf course the way it's playing?
IN-BEE PARK: I think it's possible because it's getting tougher and tougher out there and even par could be the really good score out there.

Q. You and Angela, like I said, have been very competitive and she always talked about you being the one to beat. What is your opinion of Angela and how her game has developed this year and what kind of success she's had?
IN-BEE PARK: She is definitely playing very, very solid golf out there. She has her concentration on and if -- she can focus out there and she can play golf. So I really take her as a really good competitor, as I said last year, too. She's a good player.

Q. Another question about the Korean women and the Korean men. Do you think the Korean women golfers work harder than the Korean men golfers?
IN-BEE PARK: I don't think so. I think they work about the same. I don't know why the men -- I think it's just tougher to get in, I guess.

Q. I was curious if you could kind of compare and contrast your game with Angela's game? Do you have some similarities off the tee or around the green, just talk about your games?
IN-BEE PARK: Well, we hit about the same distance off the tee and pretty much the same distance with irons. It's similar type of distance-wise and everything.

Q. I was wondering, had you practiced on this course any before this week? Had you even seen it?
IN-BEE PARK: No, Sunday was the first time I played this course.
RHONDA GLENN: How many practice rounds did you play?
IN-BEE PARK: I had three, three practice rounds.
RHONDA GLENN: Fine playing. Thank you so much for being with us, wish you good luck tomorrow.

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