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April 10, 2009

Anthony Kim


CLAUDE NIELSEN: Ladies and gentlemen, it's my pleasure to welcome Anthony Kim. Anthony is in his first Masters appearance this year. He finished the first round of the 2009 Masters with a 75, and today he posted a very impressive 7-under 65.
This also is a thing to note, that he had 11 birdies on the day, which is a Tournament record for the most birdies in a single round. He is therefore, 4-under through the second day of competition in the Tournament.
Anthony if you would give us a few remarks about your round today, and then we'll open it up for questions.
ANTHONY KIM: Okay. Well, very excited, obviously, to make 11 birdies out there. I haven't been making 11 birdies in two days; so to make 11 in one day is pretty special. And obviously to do it at Augusta is amazing. Hopefully I can build off that and if I keep the putter hot, I like my chances here.

Q. With the wind blowing the way it was out there today, where do 11 birdies kind of rack up on a normal day? Is that a 58?
ANTHONY KIM: It feels like a 58 right now. I mean, I just tried to stay steady. Even though I made a bogey on 9 and a double on 10, and I 3-putted early on hole No. 4, I just said, "Stay steady." The first goal is to make the cut, and then make a run on Saturday and Sunday.
The putts kept following so I just kept walking them in and going to the next hole.

Q. At what point during the round did you go, wow, something is going on here, pretty good, and what was your thinking after that to kind of keep you in that?
ANTHONY KIM: Well, I did that after eight holes, and that obviously didn't do very well for me when I made bogey, double.
So I got re focused on 11 tee and said, let's make some good swings. No matter what I shoot, I wanted to put this Tournament round in perspective. I read a great story this morning before I teed off about that baseball player who died two nights ago, and I said, "Look, it's been a dream of mine to be at the Masters my whole life, and there's no reason to pout about a bogey or a 3-putt, but enjoy being out here and enjoy all of the hard work that was put into it by myself and my parents, and go out there and have some fun."
I think that's what made the 11 birdies a lot easier.

Q. Was there a sense of urgency at the start of the round, 3-over par, thinking about the cut?
ANTHONY KIM: There was a sense of urgency last night when I was leaving the golf course. I knew I had to get off to a good start, and with the wind picking up, I didn't know what the score would be. And Chad was not helping with the ten-shot rule, because he was at 11 when I looked up.
So at 3 over par, I knew I needed to get to at least even par, or maybe 1-under, to make the cut. Once I got there, I started moving along.

Q. The three or four holes I walked with you guys, you and Rory sort of had a nonstop dialogue. Can you give us a sense of what you talked about and why you seemed to click so well?
ANTHONY KIM: I think Rory is a great guy. He's 19 years old but he carries himself like a veteran and so does Ryo. I want to say that we have been put in a position where we need to act accordingly, and I think we have all done a pretty good job of representing ourselves and our families.
So we talked about all kind of stuff, just travelling, what tournaments we are going to play, why we are scheduling the way we are and just some other little stuff.

Q. Can you talk about what you thought about his game? Obviously he made a pretty big run and fell back at the end.
ANTHONY KIM: He's got a lot of game. He hits it far. Putts it pretty well. Really has no weaknesses.
So I was very impressed. This is my first time playing with him, but he was very impressive.

Q. Was there any signs this was coming, or is this just a matter of -- you talked earlier in the week about being 100% healthy, was that more the issue?
ANTHONY KIM: Last week, I thought I played as good as I played all year, and the scores didn't show it. That was because I didn't get anything out of my game.
Yesterday I hit six greens. Three of them were par 5s. I felt like my game was close, even though I shot 75. I felt like something was coming on. My mom told me I'm close, so she's usually right.

Q. Could you expand on talking about the baseball player. Young people tend to think they are going to live forever. Did it put in perspective about living in the moment?
ANTHONY KIM: Absolutely. The last line in the story was: "You never know what can happen, even at 22. You have to live every moment of every day like it's your last."
I don't want to go out whining about a 3-putt. I want to be happy and I want to enjoy everything that the hard work as gotten me.

Q. I count six U.S. Ryder Cup players in the Top-10 on the leaderboard right now. Kenny Perry said that changed him as a player. First of all, how much have you guys stayed in -- not in touch, but sort of bonded? And how much has that changed you as a player, going through that experience?
ANTHONY KIM: Well, we definitely see each other pretty often. So I want to say we stay in contact.
But as a player, I feel like it gave me the confidence to know I can play in front of as many people that will come to a golf tournament. I don't think the galleries here are any bigger than at The Ryder Cup.
So it was very -- it improved my confidence, for sure, to play in that atmosphere, and just to reassure me that I can play on any level.

Q. What's the coolest thing about being here, when you're out there? What's the coolest thing?
ANTHONY KIM: No cell phones. (Laughter).
No, I don't -- everything. Everything.

Q. Is there anything that struck you -- of course you're concentrating on your golf game, but was there anything that struck you at all?
ANTHONY KIM: Well, just -- I can't -- I would name you a hundred things. I see my parents outside the ropes, even though I'm focused my ADD kicks in every once in awhile, and a couple of my close friends who still are here.
The greens rolling at 14 and 15, everything is memorable, and I'm just very excited to be here.

Q. Has momentum kind of returned to this golf course? We have not seen players make the types of runs that Chad did yesterday or you did today, twice. What was the sense of momentum when you got it going today?
ANTHONY KIM: Well, I didn't think too much about what I was shooting or how many birdies I had made. I was just trying to -- like I said, stay on that cut line and make sure I'm making good golf swings and making putts.
But this is my first year out here, and I don't know what it was like last year where 1-over won the golf tournament. But there are some opportunities, if you put the ball in the right spot and make a couple of putts.

Q. Take us through that stretch, 5 through 8. That's where you gained your momentum. And at that point, you were not thinking about the cut anymore, I guess?
ANTHONY KIM: I was. 5, I had just come off a 3-putt on 4, so a little disappointed. Just felt like I got my round going at 2-under par, and to 3-putt there is pretty disappointing.
Hit a pretty good drive. Made a 15, 20-footer.
Next hole, I hit it right in the middle of the green towards the back portion. The pin was back left and made a 15-footer there.
The next hole, I hit a great drive, 9-iron into a pretty big breeze, and that was to three feet.
The next hole, I hit a great drive. I didn't clear the bunker and I saw Jeev's ball over the bunker. At this point I'm just thinking, get it over this bunker; it's pretty deep in there. I hit it to about 80 yards and from there hit it to ten feet and made birdie there.
So I felt like if I could just keep going forward, I would have a chance to maybe get closer to the lead. Obviously a bogey and a double-bogey don't help that cause.

Q. What's the key to playing in the wind and battling it out here, especially? Obviously it did not affect you much but it did other players. Can you tell it was that special of a round, and what were you doing that allows you to do this?
ANTHONY KIM: I have no idea. Like I said, that story really helped my golf game today, just to put everything into perspective and enjoy walking down these fairways, making a couple of putts, hearing some cheers now and again.
This has been my dream for a long time. So to be out here, actually doing it, have my parents with me, I can't ask for more.

Q. Was this the one you wanted to win growing up? Some guys want to win the Open. Some guys want to win the British.
ANTHONY KIM: This is it. I saw Tiger make that putt in '97, and that was pretty special for me. I think that inspired me to actually start working hard.

Q. Is that your first memory?

Q. Him making the putt?

Q. Sort of unsolicited, you made a number of references to your folks, as did Kenny Perry. Can you talk about their influence and how they created the person that you are and the golfer that you are?
ANTHONY KIM: They created this monster. But I can't thank them enough. Obviously nothing's perfect. No relationship is ever perfect.
But I had great parents and I feel like that's the reason I'm here. My dad was tough, but he always wanted me to win and my mom always wanted me to stay patient, work hard in school, which I slacked off a little bit. I think having those two types of personalities together made me the player that I am and maybe it doesn't relate to golf. But for some reason, it works in my golf game, and I can't thank them enough for sticking with me for so long.

Q. Tiger is seven back and he said he's not really concerned about that at this point. I guess can you understand that?
ANTHONY KIM: I wouldn't be too concerned if I was Tiger, either. (Laughter) He's come back from some pretty big deficits. At Bay Hill there, he played wonderful.
I have to worry about my game. I have to worry about staying on track, making some birdies and keeping the ball in the fairway.

Q. Nice round of golf.

Q. We are in a world where you have to do it almost every week or people start to scratch their heads; what happened to him, what's wrong. You came on so quickly late last year that the expectations were very high at the start of this year. Do you sense at all people sort of looking for a place to jump off your bandwagon coming into this tournament, and if so, did that motivate you in any way?
ANTHONY KIM: Besides my parents and a couple of my friends, I don't know who is on that bandwagon anymore, everyone has jumped off so fast.
I'm not too concerned about what everybody else is thinking. That has nothing to do with me. Obviously I play golf for myself. I play to win. I play for my family to just show that the hard work has paid off.
But of course, I hear or I'll be reading the paper and say, what happened to him; I'm still here. I'm still making golf swings. I haven't played as much in the U.S., but at the same time, I've been dealing with injuries and different circumstances that I've never had to deal with in my life.
So I'm very positive about where my career is headed. I'm very happy with the progression in my golf game and I look forward to big things. I'm not concerned about a two-month stretch where maybe I'm not playing my best golf. But I am a better player now than I was last year, and I'll be a better player in two months than I am today.

Q. Just the birdies and bogeys?
ANTHONY KIM: 1, I hit my drive in the right bunker there to -- I hit 9-iron to about 15 feet and made that putt.
No. 3, I hit a driver to about 50 yards and chipped up to two feet and made that one.
3-putt on the next hole.

Q. How far?
ANTHONY KIM: Seemed like 30 feet, 40 feet over the green, so just on the fringe there.
9, hit it just over the green and didn't get it up-and-down.
10, driver 4-iron. Ball actually hung up about an inch out of the bunker on the right side and made double-bogey there.
12, I hit 8-iron to about 15 feet, straight up the hill and made that one.
Next hole, par 5, I hit driver, 8-iron. Hit a good chip but it rolled out to about 15 feet and made that one.
Next hole, hit driver, pitching wedge, to eight inches.
The next hole after that, driver, 4-iron to 20 feet and 2-putted there.
And 18, driver, 8-iron to ten, 12 feet and made that one.

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