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April 24, 2004

Kevin Na


CHRIS REIMER: Kevin is at 2 under right now. You came out and birdied the first two holes. Is it tough to wait around, come out, wait around, come out? What was the mind set going into this round.

KEVIN NA: Well, if I start the round I like to get it over with. I don't like to play a few holes, go in, play a few holes. Actually, I think I'm one of the fortunate guys because I finished my second round yesterday, so I didn't have to come out early and wait all the way around.

There was definitely a lot of change in the golf course. The first hole I felt like I killed driver out there, and usually it's 3-wood easily there, but I had no chance, I had to lay up, and the greens are a lot softer. It's playing different.

Q. This year is really going well for you now in the last three starts. Anything you can attribute that to?

KEVIN NA: Well, my first real good finish was at Honda. I had a good caddie with Mitch Knox, who works for David Duval. He started caddying for me. He's been reading the greens real well, and that's been helping me make a lot of putts for birdie, maybe 10, 15-foot-ers.

Q. I know that a lot of people raised eyebrows when you turned pro and you had to go overseas, and I'm wondering how you look at how that's played out for you to this point and what you've learned from having to kind of go all over the world.

KEVIN NA: It's sure looking pretty good right now. I'm really happy where I'm playing, happy to be here, and I've been playing well. A lot of people have been telling me that it was the right thing to do, but I think it was the right thing for me, but I don't know if it would have been for anyone else.

Q. Why do you think it was the right thing for you and maybe not for someone else?

KEVIN NA: Because I think everyone has their own life and their own way of going about it, and I think that you should just go do what you want to do instead of listening to what other people have to say about you.

Obviously advice helps, and people that have gone through the ropes before you, but I think it's best if you do what you want to do.

Q. How much did playing over there and having some success over there help you prepare for this?

KEVIN NA: Well, I played all around the world, so I can kind of adjust to any golf course or any kind of turf, so that's really helped my game, especially in the rain, I've been playing over in Europe, and I learned how to play in the rain. It's a different Tour, but the same thing, four rounds, two-day cut. I'm kind of used to this routine.

Q. What was your feeling at Honda? It sounded like you were in some senses disappointed that you didn't win when a lot of people might have been happy to have been in that position. I was wondering how you kind of view that week.

KEVIN NA: Well, if you gave me a 4th place finish before I teed it up, I would have taken it, but the way I felt Sunday after the front nine, I really felt that I was going to win the tournament. I was so comfortable, hitting it real well. After I made a 20-footer for par on 10, I felt like I was -- I told myself make three more birdies and you're going to win, and it just didn't happen. The putts at the end didn't fall.

Q. You talked about the greens being softer and more receptive to the shots from the fairway. If you lose distance on your shots from the drives after you kill them and they settle up one or two club lengths farther, is it easier to shoot the pins with longer irons and give you some opportunities at birdies that might not be there otherwise?

KEVIN NA: I think it's a little bit of both. I mean, if it's wet it's easier to hit the fairways, and the greens are going to hold better, but you're losing that 20 yards. I think it was more than 20 yards, maybe 30 yards that you're losing, and instead of a hole where you're hitting 7-iron, you're hitting 4-iron.

Even though a 4-iron is going to hit and stop, that's tougher than a 7-iron because 7-iron is going to hold anyway. I think it'll play tougher.

Q. Have the greens been real slow out there?

KEVIN NA: It's not too bad. It's actually rolling pretty good.

Q. In all likelihood, it's going to take some great play and a lot of -- whether you get in 36 holes tomorrow or Monday or close to 36 holes, and I'm just wondering whether you figure that your young legs might give you a little bit of an advantage. I'm sure you keep hearing all the disadvantages you have being young out here, but is this a case where maybe being young gives you sort of an advantage? How do you look at that?

KEVIN NA: I don't know. I don't think there's too many advantages to being too young. Obviously you might be healthier, but experience-wise, I lack so much more than the other guys. Tomorrow, maybe, but everyone out here is pretty fit. I mean, they can play 27 holes, almost 36 holes, no problem. I don't know about the caddies. The caddies are the guys that are going to have a tough time, carrying that 100-pound bag around. I'm glad I'm a player.

Q. When you decided to turn pro, what was the big determining factor? There's two schools of thought, go to college. Did you think that your development would just be quicker playing out here?

KEVIN NA: What was the biggest thing that made me want to turn pro?

Q. Yes.

KEVIN NA: I think it was probably my family, my brother more. Well, he was already in college at the time. I think he might have been a junior or a sophomore going on junior and he would have been a freshman, and he said, Kevin, I don't think you need to go to college. I don't think it's the place for you.

Well, he played golf -- he didn't try to play professionally, but he had a lot of friends that played on the team, and he says, it's really hard to do two things at once. Just go ahead and do one thing. If you really want to go to college, you can always when you're older if you don't want to play golf, you can go to college and do that, but I think right now you're at a point where if you just concentrate on this game, you can accomplish where you want to be real quick.

Q. You made a huge lead your first and second year out there, and I'm just wondering, first of all, during that first year, how low you may have gotten or how much you might have questioned yourself, to what do you attribute the improvement?

KEVIN NA: When I turned pro, when I first went to Q-school, it really hit me. I was shocked how much I needed to step it up to compete with the pros, and I was actually a little depressed, felt like maybe I made the wrong decision, and I just kept working hard. I think all it took was one real good finish. I finished 2nd at an event and it really boosted my confidence and made me work harder, and I think that's what made me keep playing.

CHRIS REIMER: Thanks, Kevin.

End of FastScripts.

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