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July 18, 2008

K.J. Choi


MALCOLM BOOTH: Ladies and gentlemen, we're joined by K.J. Choi. K.J., thanks for joining us. K.J. shot 67 today for a 36-hole total of 139 to lead the Open Championship. K.J., the only player in the field under par. Take us through your thoughts on what it's like to lead the Open at the halfway stage.
K.J. Choi: I think today was probably my best round I've ever played at the British Open. Today all my shots, the swing, putting, everything worked the way I wanted it to.
I think the key thing right now is to maintain my body condition and try to finish it out. The fan support today was wonderful. I got a lot of motivation out of that.

Q. Just one bogey at the first hole and then birdies at 3, 13, 17 and 18. Could you just take us through what clubs you played at those?
K.J. Choi: No. 3, tee shot with a 3-wood, and the second shot is 156 yards, 9-iron to one foot and make a birdie.
No. 13, I can't remember the hole (laughter). Every one difficult holes. 13, I hit a 3-wood, and the second shot was 187 yards with a 7-iron to 20 feet, then slice line, make it, putt.
17, hit a drive, and the second shot is 256 yards with a 5-wood, 25, 30 feet and two-putt and birdie.
The last hole I hit a drive, and second shot 163 yards and pitching wedge to 20 feet, 25 feet, and make the birdie.
No. 1, the bogey, I hit a 3-wood to the first cut, 187-yard 5-iron, the left-side bunker, very close to the wall, then chip out and two-putt, 20 feet. Two-putt and a bogey.

Q. You did well last year, as well, at Carnoustie and I think finished eighth and were in the hunt for most of the week. What is it about links golf that suits your game? And can I ask you what would the impact be in Korea if you were to go on and win this tournament?
K.J. Choi: First of all, if I were to win this, the reaction back in Korea would be tremendous. I know just because it's a major tournament. I know there's a lot of people that are praying for me back home.
With regards to the links course, the reason I like to play the links course is because I feel like when I stand on the tee box, you know, I can see everything. It just comes well into my eye. It's very easy for me to set a target and just go with it.
So I feel very comfortable playing on the links courses. I think my swing is very good this week, very powerful, simple, so I feel very good this week.

Q. Would you prefer if the wind continues to blow hard over the weekend? And secondly, have you ever played with Greg Norman before?
K.J. Choi: Whether it's windy or not over the weekend, I don't think it's going to matter, because this course is difficult as it is. I just have to just try my best until the end. I don't think I've ever actually played with Greg before. We know each other, I've said hi, but I don't think I've ever played a round together.

Q. You used to live in Jacksonville, Florida, then you moved to Houston, Texas, because there was a larger Korean community there. How supportive has the Korean community in Houston been to you?
K.J. Choi: The reason I moved to Houston was because there are doctors that I knew very well, a family doctor. They've helped me out a lot. And the other reason was there was a good Korean church. The education for the kids was wonderful. Travel-wise it made sense being in the middle of the U.S.
The only thing about Texas, Houston, is it's very hot, but I normally practise in the morning and evening, and I guess now I'm really accustomed to the hot weather. Houston is very comfortable now. It's like my second home.

Q. Have you led at the halfway stage of a major previously? And second question is, what are the experiences from previous major tournaments that you can draw upon which you think can help you this weekend?
K.J. Choi: I don't think I've ever led in a major. I think this is probably my first time. With the experiences of playing in numerous other majors before, I think the key thing that I've learned is to stay patient. And the other thing is try to get as much rest as you can and not be too aggressive out there. I'm just going to take the approach of being a learner and not get too confident but just take every day as a learning experience.

Q. Could you give your thoughts on your caddie, Andy Prodger, how his major experience will help you over the weekend, and has he taught you any interesting English phrases?
K.J. Choi: Andy is like my big brother. He's like an uncle at times. He just makes me feel very relaxed and comfortable out there. We make very good teamwork.
At times during pressure situations, he'll say something like really just out there that makes me laugh, and it's things like that. He has a lot of experience. He knows how to make me feel comfortable, and that's why I think we make a good team.
When I'm too -- when my tempo is too fast, he relaxes me. So those are the things that are very good about Andy.

Q. We've just spoken to Andy, and he's very happy with the way you're playing. He also says he thinks you can win the British Open Monday. Do you think he's right? Do you think it's this week?
K.J. Choi: You know, I think the important thing, the key thing is just trying your best. I know that sounds very ordinary, but that's all you can do. In major tournaments you have to be patient. You have to just not take things for granted, just take it day by day.
You know, there are so many good players out here playing this week, especially at majors, and I watch every one of them and I learn something from them. I think the important thing is just seeing, observing, staying patient and getting a lot of rest.
MALCOLM BOOTH: K.J., thank you very much.

End of FastScripts

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