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 14, 2008

Kevin Na


DOUG MILNE: We'd like to welcome Kevin Na to the media center here at the Northern Trust Open. Great playing, round one, bogey-free, 5-under 66. Not a slow start on the back nine which is your front nine, but nine pars and then you made the turn and kind of lit it up. Just some comments on the round.
KEVIN NA: Yeah, 6:55 is kind of early for a first tee time. I did get off to a bit of a slow start. My goal was to get off to a quick start and birdie 10 and 11, which are very doable. I made a bunch of pars and I just said, you know, keep playing for those birdies, because I was hitting good putts and speed was good, just not falling.
And I made the turn and then I started hitting them close and the putts started falling in and I took it low on the front nine.
DOUG MILNE: Great start to the year, you've had two Top-5 finishes so far, one in Hawaii and one in Phoenix. Just comments on the year so far.
KEVIN NA: This year it's been a great start. Last year was a little bit of a struggle for me coming off of an injury. I felt like there was a lot of pressure on me from coming back from trying to make up time and this year, I felt great, besides I couldn't see a thing. So I had to be chauffeured around every year. I had the LASIK surgery in December; it didn't go too well, I was seeing 20/100 until last week, on Tuesday during the week of Pebble I was home and saw my doctor and he okayed me to wear contacts. Last week was the first week I was able to see somewhat decent.
I mean, I'm very excited and happy about my start but just a little unfortunate that my eye sight wasn't good, especially at the FBR Open coming down on Sunday when it was cloudy, I had real difficulty seeing the greens and I think it really cost me the win.

Q. Can you just talk about that a little bit more, what it's like playing golf when you don't feel like you have the full confidence of your eyes to read the breaks on the green; does it hurt you off the tee or any other aspects of your game?
KEVIN NA: It hurts the most when you're chipping and putting. Ten feet and in, I'm not too bad, but when I had long putts, I had real difficulty lagging my putts because I couldn't get the feedback with my eye and feeling the distance and being able to stroke it with confidence.
And with 100 yards and in, those feel shots, you can't really judge the distance with your eyes. So I think my short game was not quite there because of my eyes.
Another thing with hitting balls, it's fine. I just have to ask my caddie, Don, which he's not here this week, but every time I hit it, I go where did he go, I look at his face and he's leaning one wane o the other, okay, this is good, this is good, this is not. It's really frustrating. You're sitting on the range hitting balls and you can't get feedback whether I'm cutting it or drawing it. I hit that one, it's a little cut and next time I hit a little draw and I can't get that practice. So I'm going to have to ask every time, so I was really frustrated.
But right now I can see really well and I'm excited about it. It wasn't anything that the doctor did anything wrong. My eyes were so bad to begin with. It's going to take more than one surgery. That's what he says, so I have to believe him, right. (Laughter).

Q. Will you be wearing the contacts for a long period or until you find out when the other surgery is?
KEVIN NA: Well, I have another doctor's appointment on Tuesday. I'll go see him and he's going to take a look at my contacts, if it's okay to keep continuing wearing contacts and if not I'm going to have to get off it again. I'm crossing my finger on it. But I think -- well, I haven't had any problems last week with my contacts, no irritation, nothing like that. So I think it's okay.
For the re-surgery, if I'm going to do it, I'll probably wait until the off-season. But I don't know if I'm going to do it or not. Might as well get my money back.

Q. I think it's interesting, because you always hear these athletic endorsements of LASIK surgery and people endorsing it all the time and I've always been fascinated by that, wondering, how about the athlete who has the bad surgery or it doesn't work for them, and it's your livelihood obviously.
KEVIN NA: I guess I won't be signing autograph pictures and putting it up on his wall. (Laughter).
You know what, even though it didn't work out for me, I don't blame anybody. I really have belief in my doctor, and that if I redo it, I still have 100% belief, and he's supposed to be the world's greatest doctor. He's done a lot of athletes, world-famous athletes. He's pretty well known. He's in Beverly Hills, and that's as far as I'll tell you. (Laughter).

Q. Was there any concern on your part to have it done in the first place? Did you have any qualms about it at the beginning?
KEVIN NA: Yes, and he did hint to me on -- he didn't exactly say it might take more than one. He said, "I'm pretty confident that we can do it in one." He threw it out to me, he says, "There is a chance you might not see 20/20 after the first surgery." He said, "With your eyes, you can do it twice in your life probably."
And I guess the other option was the PRK where you put the lens in your eye. That was kind of scary for me because you have to cut open, and they put a lens in your eye, and I didn't want that at all.
The positive thing is, at least when I wake up in the morning, I can somewhat see the alarm clock. Before I had to putt it right in front of my face to see any of it. But I can see a little bit without my contacts.

Q. Did you wear glasses?
KEVIN NA: I do need to get glasses. I used to wear glasses after a round when I would go out or something, but right now I don't have a pair of glasses. I try to wear contacts the least amount of time I can.

Q. What was your eyesight before the surgery?
KEVIN NA: Negative, like, nine.

Q. Whenever tournaments are on the West Coast, people are curious about the greens and putting on poa, how are these greens running so far for you so far?
KEVIN NA: Well, Hawaii is always really good, hope is good, San Diego was not the best. Pebble, as you know -- Spyglass was great, but people was okay, but Poppy was very bumpy.
These greens are really good right now, I think; part of it because I was first one off. But it's pretty good. Poa is very difficult to keep it perfect. But this is pretty darn close to perfect for poa.

Q. Overall, what are your expectations for your golf and where are you at right now career-wise?
KEVIN NA: I think I'm due. (Smiling).

Q. You're playing that well; feeling like you're going to play that well?
KEVIN NA: Yes, I'm playing very well. I keep putting myself in contention, and I think that's what it's all about. Phil and I talked about it a few years ago, playing Sunday at Phoenix. He says, "Kev, all you can do is put yourself in contention and try your best and you'll get your share of wins."
I says, "I sure haven't got my share yet."
I'm not going to put any pressure and say you have to win, I'm trying to win. Obviously you're trying to win every time you tee it up, but just my coach keeps telling me, just keep putting yourself in contention and just it will happen. Zinger says, "Yeah, someone might throw it to you, you might steal it off somebody; it will happen."

Q. Talk about that process from a few years ago, and when you first came out on TOUR and you were young, and now you're kind of adjusting to life on TOUR, injury, the LASIKs and all that stuff is part of being a professional. Talk about how you handle that.
KEVIN NA: I think I handled my first year great. I was 20 years old and had no clue what was going on. Just to come out at that young age and looking back -- I'm still young now, but it was very hard, to adjust to this travel and all this, it's a lot of pressure. It's very difficult, something to handle at age 20. I think I did very well. Second year I did very well again.
The only thing I really regret is -- I can't do anything about it, but the fact I was injured and lost almost a year; that really set me back from as my career was, you know, going up, it really set me back a step or two, but I was real positive and kept my head straight and worked really hard. Because I was able to fight through that and overcome it, I think I'm a stronger player now.

Q. You've got the confidence from that win on the Nationwide Tour, as well, too.
KEVIN NA: I've won on the Nationwide Tour and I won an Asian Tour event when I was 19, just not here. I lost in a playoff. I've been right there all the time. But I don't think -- I don't think I was quite ready as I am now.
DOUG MILNE: Kevin, if we could just run through your birdies real quick, 1, 2, 3, 7 and 9.
KEVIN NA: Just on the fringe on the first hole, ShotLink said I think 19 feet and I 2-putted.
The hole after that I was about eight feet down the hill and I made it.
3, I was in-between clubs, 9-iron and pitching wedge, looked like a little bit of a flyer, hit pitching wedge 20 feet short and it was a really quick putt and I hit it perfect and just fell in.
Then I think the biggest putt I made was on 4. I was just short right, putted it through the fringe, and I think I was about seven feet short and that par putt I made was I think the most important one of the day.
Then, what was it, 7, five feet, and then 9, I was three feet. 9 was a great shot. It was 200 yards, eight yards uphill, 208 and just deaded it into the wind. I hit 2-iron and as soon as it came off the clubface, I was thinking, this is going to be good. It looked like it had a chance of going in. It was three feet, so I'll talk it.
DOUG MILNE: Kevin, thank you for coming in, and best of luck tomorrow and the rest of the week.

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