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April 16, 2004

Kevin Na


LAURY LIVSEY: Kevin Na here in the interview room. A bit of an up and down round. Why don't we talk about your round a little bit.

KEVIN NA: Got off to a good start today the first hole, I think I had like a 7 footer for par and I made that. And second hole, got off to a good start with my putter. The next three holes, I had an average of 15 feet for birdie, and made all three of them in a row. Got off to a good start. And somewhere close to I think I was tied for the lead at that point. And just kept making birdies. But on 16 I was just on the fringe, and just kind of chilly, dipped it a little bit, missed it. But I parred the last two holes, pretty happy. Everything was going real well, 6 under, and the par 3. 16, I hit it in the left bunker, and had no shot. My feet were outside the bunker, I couldn't even reach it. Left it in the bunker. I thought I had a good putt and 360. But I was pretty happy with the last two holes. I stayed calm and parred 8th, 9th hole, chipped it a little long, but I chipped it in.

LAURY LIVSEY: Getting more comfortable playing out here?

KEVIN NA: More and more. Especially at that fourth place finish. I got more relaxed, wasn't rushing anything. So I think that was a very big turnaround for me.

Q. How long have you been in the states, and can you sort of go over your background in golf as far as turning professional?

KEVIN NA: I think our family moved over here in '91. And I started playing golf in maybe '92 '93, maybe. I started playing junior golf. I was number one ranked junior golfer in the United States. I played a lot of golf. I turned pro when I was 17. I missed Q School over here, went to Asia, got through. And I finished fourth in the money in my first year, Rookie of the Year. I actually had low scoring average for the year. And that got me into I won our Tour our last tournament, THE TOUR Championship. And that got me into opened a lot of doors in Europe, and got a lot of sponsored events over there. Last year I played about 13 events over there, maybe 14. And I played NEC, because I won that tournament, which was great. But got a lot of experience from playing the European Tour. Learned how to play in the rain. The weather is pretty bad over there. I had a lot of good times. Got to see different parts of the world. I got through Q School this year, last year.

Q. Did you consider college or why did you decide to turn professional at age 17?

KEVIN NA: I did. I thought about going to UCLA, somewhere real close to my house. My brother went to LA. I knew the head coach very well. The other choice was ASU. I knew some guys that went over there. And Head Coach Randy Lyon was really nice, I liked him. I think he's still the head coach over there. But I felt like that if I turned pro instead of I wanted to just play golf instead of trying to do two things at once. If I concentrated on golf, in four years, instead of going through school and trying to play golf four years, I thought I'd come out ahead of the guy that went through college, and hopefully in that four years I'd be on the Tour.

Q. Do you feel like you have now?

KEVIN NA: Yeah, I've definitely got ahead, hopefully I'll stay ahead.

Q. You travel with your family, they're here this week?


Q. How is that, a guy your age out here, is that I imagine somebody to bounce things out of?

KEVIN NA: My parents travel with me, mother and father, brother I have an older brother, he stays home. He graduated, he's working. And he's on the West Coast, he'll come out. My father, he's my coach, mental coach, and he's taught me how to play golf. And when I'm on the road my dad is watching my swing. My mom is she takes care of me, makes sure what I eat, I eat right and sleep on time, keeps me focused and keeps me to be a good boy.

Q. Is there a certain amount of pressure on you in that respect, since they are making the commitment to your skipping college and going pro and they're on the road with you?

KEVIN NA: No, I don't think it's any pressure. I think it's just I look at it as support. I don't look at it as they're out here, so I'd better perform. They've always been traveling with me, I'm kind of used to it. Actually, if they're not with me, I don't feel right. I play tournaments, plenty of tournaments where I travel by myself, but I think I play better when my parents are out. All I have to do is play golf. Like if I have laundry, my mom does it for me and stuff like that. Little things like that add up and helps you focus on golf.

Q. Do you feel like you're going to break through and win this season over here?

KEVIN NA: I sure hope so. No matter how well you play, in order to win, a lot of luck needs to be involved, I think. I don't know if that's true for guys like Tiger or Ernie, but especially I think for the first win, guys just breaking through, obviously you need to play well, but you need some luck going your way. And yes, I do think I can win.

Q. Not that you think you can win, but do you think you can win this year?

KEVIN NA: Yes, I think so. But they just have to go my way in the end the last few holes.

Q. What are your strengths and weaknesses?

KEVIN NA: I'm a very straight ball hitter. This golf course fits my game. Sure it wasn't on the front nine the first day. And I've been putting pretty well this week.

Weaknesses, I think it's probably got to be experience, because I'm so young. These guys on this course probably ten years or so, know the course very well and know how to handle themselves. I've had three years of professional golf and I feel like I'm experienced because I've played all around the world, but I feel like I still lack in that category.

Q. How have the other pros handled you being here, has it have they been pretty helpful, have they been good to talk to, do you get to bounce ideas off of them?

KEVIN NA: Everyone has been really nice. They've been a lot of guys had nice things to say with me. When I played with Ben Curtis in the practice round, he had nice things to say to me. And I actually had some like Jay Haas, I played golf with Billy, Billy Haas, and he actually watched us play. I remember what tournament it was, it was in South Carolina at Daufuskie Island. Billy and I played all three rounds together. I got to know him. John Cook, his son plays, what was his name I played junior golf with him. Played competition with my son, and I'm out here competing with you.

Q. The tournament, do you remember when that was?

KEVIN NA: I think I was 16 years old.

Q. What is it that your father brings as your mental coach, what is it that's unique?

KEVIN NA: Oh, he's got something, I can't even think of. I don't know, I think the most I don't know if some people really believe in this, but I think in golf well, he says in any sport there is there's a turning point, and there's your when things are going well there's always that little bumps in the way, and if you know if you can get over those things it's hard to really explain, but if you can get over things, he says you'll have a smooth round. But at those little points where your round turns, if you focus a little more and know what's going on, let's say, for instance, I've got a 15 foot putt for birdie, I'm going to try to make it, but it's during that point in the round there's a time when you shouldn't be aggressive, maybe you've hit it in the trees the last couple of holes, you're not really settled down or something like that. And he says don't try you're going to obviously try to make it, but make sure you hit it within six inches so you tap it in for par, that way you keep the pressure on it. Instead of hitting it two or three feet by. Things like that. And I believe in it. And I really I feel like as I keep playing better and better and I feel like I get over those bumps a lot more smoother and I know when these things are coming. Obviously when things are not going your way, nothing works. But to know when that is, I think it really helps me.

Q. Have you got a regular caddy out here?

KEVIN NA: Yeah, I've got a guy, he's been caddying for me, Mitch Knox, David Duval's caddy. David Duval is home sick. He's caddied for me.

End of FastScripts.

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