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August 6, 2008

Anthony Kim


KELLY ELBIN: Anthony Kim, ladies and gentlemen, joining us at the 90th PGA Championship. This will be Anthony's second PGA Championship, played last year at Southern Hills. Two-time winner on the PGA TOUR this year and fifth on the U.S. Ryder Cup points list as of right now.
Welcome to Oakland Hills and some thoughts on the state of your game right now and the golf course that you've practiced the last few days.
ANTHONY KIM: Well, I've come off three disappointing weeks and I'm really fired up and ready to go. I feel like my game is turning around and hopefully I can go out there and have a good week.

Q. Zinger was just saying that he was asking some guys who were looking like a lock to make the team to play some practice rounds with each other; just wondered if you played any practice rounds with Furyk or whoever.
ANTHONY KIM: I played a practice round a couple weeks ago with Jim and played a practice round with Phil last week, and Justin Leonard was also in our group. I played with a couple of those guys and definitely looking forward to playing some more in the FedExCup with them.

Q. Every week it seems that you're on Swing Vision on CBS and they are always breaking down your swing and just kind of falling in love with it more and more. What is it that Adam has done to help you really get that swing in the groove and why does it work so well? I heard someone, pretty famous golfer, gave you a high compliment about it, too.
ANTHONY KIM: Well, I don't know what he's done, but he's done a lot with my golf swing. When I went to Adam when I was 15 years old, I had some pretty poor mechanics, and I think we went back to the fundamentals and what I was doing wrong and definitely reshaped my whole golf game and my golf swing.
All we are looking for is for it to be repeatable. Whether it looks pretty or not, it doesn't matter, as long as we can make sure that that 7-iron is going 175 and it's going relatively straight, that's all we care about.
So he's definitely done a great job in moving my game forward and I think we obviously work well together.

Q. Speaking of Adam, I was wondering if you were aware of the fact that his boss, Brad Dean, is in the field this week, and is playing in his first PGA TOUR event, and his first major; and if so, what advice might you have for Brad playing this week?
ANTHONY KIM: (Laughing) I don't know if I have any advice. When we tee it up tomorrow, he's going to be one of my competitors and obviously wish him the best of luck. But I might have to try to take him down for Adam this week. (Laughter).

Q. You mentioned that you were coming off three disappointing weeks. I was wondering if you've sort of redefined the word "disappointing" for you; is that any tournament that you don't win now?
ANTHONY KIM: No, not at all. It's just I put myself in some good positions, at the British Open and Canada, and didn't pull through. I definitely learned from those mistakes.
And last week, I made the mistake of not preparing the right way and maybe taking too many swings at Fenway. My body just wasn't right. I guess last week the most disappointing part was not being prepared like I wanted to be for every tournament this year, and that was really disappointing. But I've had a couple good practice sessions and I feel like I know what I'm doing wrong now, and all I've got to do is think positive and go out there and make some birdies.

Q. I have a question about the labeling that athletes get at certain stages of their career, best this, best that, and for you, best American under 30. I wonder what you think about that, and is there any sort of weight or curse that comes with that?
ANTHONY KIM: I've been playing some pretty good golf the last four or five months, but there's other good players out there right now, like Sean O'Hair is playing great, and there's a number of young guys that are talented and that are playing some good golf.
I feel like right now I'm hot and I'm definitely in the eyes of the public. I think people would say that I'm the best or consider me one of the best under 30, and I consider it an honor, but I still have to go out there and work hard and get the job done.
KELLY ELBIN: For the record, Anthony finished tied for seventh at the Open Championship at Royal Birkdale.

Q. Does this course suit your game? Does it suit your style?
ANTHONY KIM: It does suit my game. I feel like last week, the course suited my game, as well. It puts a premium on driving, and that's what one of my strengths are. I feel like I get the ball in play and I can hit it out there a good way. From there, I can attack more than play defensive golf.
Obviously at majors, par is -- you want to make more pars than bogeys, and pars are better than at a normal event. So I'm definitely going to try to pick my spots and play more strategically this week, and hopefully that will get the job done.

Q. Obviously with the two-time defending champion not here, do you believe that this is a tournament that can be won by anybody?
ANTHONY KIM: I do. I feel like it's a pretty open field as far as somebody goes out there and puts himself in a position on Saturday night, and obviously when Tiger is in the field, it's a lot harder to win. There's so many good players out here that I think there's going to be quite a few contenders come Sunday.

Q. Obviously you feel that you can be in that position?
ANTHONY KIM: If I get a couple bounces my way and play some good golf, I don't see why I couldn't.

Q. One of the pros in the field yesterday was talking about you and said, "He has all the potential in the world; still has to grow up a little bit." I know you have said over the season that you've done a lot of that. Could you talk about how much you've grown and things like that, and what you feel about the term, "Potential"?
ANTHONY KIM: Well, whoever said that is probably right. I feel like I have come a long way, but at the same time there's a lot of growing up that I need to do, and I'm working my hardest to get there. I feel like I'm making the right strides in my life on and off the golf course to be the best player and person I can be. At the end of the day, that's all I can ask of myself.
I feel like my golf game has improved, my work ethic has improved, and definitely my attitude towards the game and how I'm approaching being a professional golfer has changed.

Q. We hear players talk about learning from their mistakes; what exactly did you take away from the British and Canadian? What are you taking note of for next time?
ANTHONY KIM: Well, the British and Canada were two totally different situations, even though I was close in both.
I guess from the British, I think I pressed too early, and then on 16 when I didn't get up-and-down -- on 15 when I didn't get up-and-down from the front of the green, I felt like maybe I had lost the tournament and tried to do too much starting on 16, 17, and 18, instead of just letting it come to me.
And in Canada, I feel like I just didn't have it, and so when you don't have it, you have to start aiming more towards the middle of the green and try to catch a rhythm and just get in a flow hopefully by the 10th, 12th, 15th hole you catch something and maybe go on a little birdie run, and I pressed too early and I hit driver on No. 2, when it's a 3-wood hole off the tee, and that cost me.
So definitely two different situations, but I'm going to take away some good things from those tournaments.

Q. You've had a few weeks in a row here now, I don't know if you're playing next week, but after that, the FedExCup and then The Ryder Cup; how do you go about not burning out and not peaking as you get closer to the end of the FedExCup and Ryder Cup and still have something left?
ANTHONY KIM: I think definitely trying to take something away from last year is that if I just focus on golf too much and winning golf tournaments and not enjoying the ride and really getting to smell the roses, I'm enjoying being in this position.
Right now, I might still be in college and still be having to go to class or still be in summer school; and to be playing in a major championship and playing the game I love is the way I have to look at it. When I think about it that way, you know, I'm going to be happy the whole time around.

Q. Because you've played team sports like basketball and football, do you think that might make you -- that experience might carry over to the Ryder Cup, a team event?
ANTHONY KIM: I do. Basketball, obviously, and football and soccer are different from golf; where you have to rely on other people. You have to pull for other people. You never want to wish bad luck upon anybody in golf, but really, you're out there for yourself.
When you tee it up and you lace up your shoes, you're ready to go and you're not rooting for anybody else. You're just worrying about yourself.
And playing on the Walker Cup, I know I'm going to enjoy this format, and having nine other guys on the team.

Q. This is on a little lighter side. Can you just talk a little about the belt buckle, how it came about; is it your own design, or was it like going to a tattoo parlor and picking one out of the book, just how you did all that.
ANTHONY KIM: I would like to tell you something like that, but it's actually something from college where I was just walking around the mall in Norman, Oklahoma and happened to walk by this kiosk and they were not doing very good business and just started checking it out and starting wearing it. I don't know if I didn't have a belt or if I didn't have a white belt, but it fit on the outfit I was wearing and I started wearing it in golf tournaments, and I guess it became a pretty big deal last year.

Q. Talking about how you said that you felt you didn't have it at the Canadian, was there a problem with the swing, and how have you been working on that with Adam this week? What have you been looking at?
ANTHONY KIM: We were just trying to go back to the basics. With the theory that Adam has, I don't think that there's too many things that can go wrong, but there are certain tendencies, and especially playing in the wind, it's easy to get on your left side and so I feel like I was hitting trap shots all week at the British, and when I went over to Canada, I tried to fix it myself and just go to my right side and put all my weight on my right side when I was setting up. I overdid it that way.
So we were just trying to find the right balance, but it shouldn't be too hard to get back. We've been working pretty diligently on the range, and hopefully tomorrow morning, we'll figure a little bit more out and be ready to go.

Q. In this maturing process that you talk about, how much of it was other guys talking to you about changes or needing to be more mature, and how much of it was you coming to realizations on your own about different ways you handle things?
ANTHONY KIM: I think it was a mixture, and I don't think that I could have changed without everyone's help and everyone's support that I have around me. I have a great support team and made some really close friends that I can rely on and feel very fortunate to have that in my life.
I feel like I've pushed away some of the bad influences in my life, as well, and obviously with the help of those people and their words and their constant nagging almost, it's made me want to change and definitely feels good to be winning golf tournaments and have a positive outlook.

Q. When you were younger, what do you think was your biggest issue as far as, was it attitude, ego? What was it that kind of --
ANTHONY KIM: Everything. I guess I had a lot of issues, maybe thought I was too good. I didn't feel like I needed to practice. I didn't think anyone else was good. You know, it was just immature, and I realized how hard these guys work, and the respect I have for them has grown, now that I get to respect my own golf game, and putting in the time obviously makes you feel like you earned something.
With that being said, everyone out here can play, and there's no reason -- I think I quit believing it was all about me and that I needed to work on my game and concentrate on what I need to do and not worry about what everybody else is doing.

Q. You're still 23, though. How much is it a temptation or a draw -- say man, I want to go out to a club; no, I have got to get up at 6:00 AM and go hit balls tomorrow.
ANTHONY KIM: Trust me, it's a temptation, but that's not what I want to do with my life. I want to win golf tournaments and be successful and hopefully one day I can be the best player I can be and fill out my potential, wherever that may be. And maybe if I'm lucky enough, I'll be able to affect young kids that are trying to pick up the game or maybe could be getting into trouble and turn their life around and do what Tiger has done for me.
I feel like there were many times where I didn't have to work hard or I didn't have to feel like I was making the right decisions, but you try to follow somebody like that, follow in their footsteps, and I maybe didn't do it exactly how he did it, but definitely looking at the map he kind of made for all of the young kids on how to work hard and what kind of attitude to have and not feel happy about finishing second. And all of that putt together has made me realize, that's what I'd like to do for the younger generation coming up.

Q. What has Tiger done for you, and is it fair to say that you grew up, as young as you may be, idolizing him?
ANTHONY KIM: Absolutely. I've said it before, the only video I've ever watched is Tiger's Triple, and that was on VHS, obviously a long time ago.
I can't tell you how many times I thought about him winning in '97 at the Masters with the long-sleeve red Nike shirt on and winning by ten or whatever he won by and wishing that was me and going out to the course the next day and thinking I had that same putt, and I was doing it, too.
So he's definitely been an inspiration and a great role model. I'm looking forward to maybe having that opportunity one day.

Q. To follow on a different topic; what role does your heritage play in how you go about your life and how you go about doing things? It's different certainly on this tour than it is on the other tour.
ANTHONY KIM: It is. It's quite different. But I grew up, I was born in Los Angeles, and I really don't know anything else. I feel like I've been around this culture and the lifestyle for so long that I really don't see it any other way.

Q. As a guy who grew up on the munis, do you still go, wow, when you see old places like this with the clubhouse and everything?
ANTHONY KIM: I do. It's awfully special to come to a course like this, and with Ben Hogan saying what he said about this place being a monster and the history it has; it's an honor for us to come out to this golf course and play a major championship here. I think that's why I'm maybe putting a little bit more pressure on myself to play well because I know what this means, and to do it on such a tough, challenging golf course is going to be a true test.

Q. Just having said what you said about Tiger and what he's meant to you, a lot of guys have been asked about Tiger not being here at this major and what it means; in his absence for you, is that disappointing in a way? Would you relish anything more than taking him down on Sunday in the finals of this thing?
ANTHONY KIM: Well, I mean, winning a major is winning a major, whether he's in the field or not.
Obviously you want to feel like you beat everyone when they are at the top of their game and that's just not the way this game works. Whether he's here or not, I'd love to put a major under my belt at any time and if there's that time available, I'd like it. And obviously when he comes back he's going to come back firing on all cylinders, so we'd all better be ready. I'd love to putt on a good show this week.

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