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April 28, 2009
CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA
MARK STEVENS: I'd like to welcome Anthony Kim, defending champion of the Quail Hollow Championship, to the interview room. Anthony, if you'd start off and give some general comments about your thoughts coming back to the site of your first PGA TOUR victory and then we'll take some questions.
ANTHONY KIM: I'm very excited to be back. It feels like home here. I've played well. Every time I've been here, which is all of two years, it really is a nice feeling to get back and get my season started off on the right foot here because I have a six-week stretch coming up. So hopefully I can start playing some good golf and get back into it.
Q. Are you going to play the whole Texas Swing?
ANTHONY KIM: I'm going to play until Memorial and take a week off after that. I've only played six this year, so I figure I might as well start now.
Q. No injuries? No freak accidents or anything?
ANTHONY KIM: No, come on. Would that ever happen to me?
Q. I'm starting to feel obligated at this point to ask.
ANTHONY KIM: No, I'm good, I'm ready to go. I have a new trainer, trying to get back into the shape I was in when I was in college and really playing well. I'm excited about what's to come here in the future.
Q. What kind of shape were you in last year?
ANTHONY KIM: I was dinged up. I was a little overweight, so I'm trying to get back into shape.
Q. You did all right last year, didn't you?
ANTHONY KIM: I did all right, yeah, but we're trying to improve.
Q. Did you play the China event last year, HSBC?
ANTHONY KIM: I did.
Q. What are your thoughts on that and the upgrade it got to the WGC status?
ANTHONY KIM: Oh, it got there? Well, that's great.
Q. They announced it, effective immediately.
ANTHONY KIM: Yeah, it's a great course. It was set up beautifully, and I'm excited to go play four rounds over there, so hopefully I'll be healthy and ready to go.
Q. Where have you played in Asia?
ANTHONY KIM: I've played in Korea, I played in Japan when I was a junior for the America -- was it America's World Cup or something in China, and Malaysia this year.
Q. What do you think something like this will do to sort of feed the growing appetite over there in Asia, having a PGA TOUR-sanctioned event?
ANTHONY KIM: I think it's tremendous. The Asian golf world is so hungry to invite players from the PGA TOUR, any Tour, the European Tour, to come over and showcase their talent. Any time we have the opportunity to go over there and grow the game, it can do nothing but help.
Q. How many Americans do you think will go if you had to guess?
ANTHONY KIM: It depends how many are top 50. 17?
Q. Top 50 is not part of the equation.
ANTHONY KIM: For the World Golf Championships?
Q. It's a little different.
ANTHONY KIM: I don't know the format. I want to say everyone that's eligible would probably want to go. I mean, just depending on the schedule, it's a World Golf Championship. Anything that has that in front of it is pretty prestigious.
Q. There's no official money or official win on the U.S. Tour. There's some provisions.
ANTHONY KIM: Wow, that's weird. Well, I don't know anything about that, but once I figure it out, I'll let you know.
Q. Have you been out on the course today?
ANTHONY KIM: I have. I played nine holes today.
Q. How does it look?
ANTHONY KIM: The course is in great shape. It looks quite a bit different than when I won last year. There's definitely not as much rough. I'm guessing they want to see a lot of birdies and see a shootout. You've got the best players in the world, obviously Tiger being here and some of the other top-ranked players being here. They want to see a lot of birdies, so they cut all the rough down, which is going to be optimum for scoring. Hopefully I can be on the right side of that.
Q. I know you like lots of other sports. What do you know about NASCAR? And playing with Jimmie tomorrow, are you excited about something like that?
ANTHONY KIM: I am. I'm very excited. I actually helped Jimmie with his golf swing yesterday; he needed a little work. He's hitting it a lot better. He's got some new clubs and we'll have a good time out there.
Q. Has he offered to take you around in the car one day?
ANTHONY KIM: He has. We met last year. He came out after I won, and I had a couple people over for dinner and he was one of the people that was nice enough to join me and we had a great time. We've stayed in touch the whole time and actually spent some time together yesterday. We'll have some fun, and hopefully that will bring me good vibes for the week.
Q. So you will get in the car?
ANTHONY KIM: Absolutely. I mean, how am I going to get in a freak accident if I don't do things like that? (Laughter.)
Q. Could you just kind of give us a quick rundown of the injuries you've had the past year and what's caused them?
ANTHONY KIM: We don't have enough time for that. No, it's been everything. My ankle, it's just little lingering injuries, but I'm through with that. I'm healthy. I'm on the right program, so I'm ready to go.
Q. What did you take out of the Masters?
ANTHONY KIM: You know, that second day was going to be -- was very memorable, but I just didn't feel like I played to my strengths on that course. I realized that there's a lot more thinking that goes along to playing that course than most other courses. I think Quail Hollow when the rough is up is set up the same way. I mean, you have to hit to the right part of the green. It doesn't matter if you're on the green or not. I know I still need to be a little bit more patient out there. Even though I'm getting better, it's still not there. Obviously my game is starting to come around.
So there's mixed feelings. I feel like I would have had a better shot to win if I didn't push so hard the third day and try to make so many birdies. But you learn, and I really enjoyed the golf course, so I'll be back next year and give it a better shot.
Q. You said after your win last year you were a little bit numb having it be your first time, and it's been able to sink in a little bit obviously. Talk about your feelings getting back out there today. Does it feel a little different than any of the golf courses and more special in any way?
ANTHONY KIM: Well, I love it here. My rookie season this was one of my -- I think I had three or four Top 5 finishes, and this was one of them. Even though I finished third or second somewhere else, I was happier about this one because of the field, because the golf course was so tough.
I'll tell you, the fans here are so different than most tournaments that we play. They pulled so hard for me last year, and I felt like this was home for me. To get that first win and come back and have an opportunity to win again is amazing, and hopefully I can play some good golf.
Q. Would it be more meaningful to win this year?
ANTHONY KIM: Any year I win it would be meaningful. But I think it's going to be tough to top last year because it was my first, and it's been a dream of mine to play on the PGA TOUR and win out here. It was pretty special. But I'd love to do it again.
Q. You've become pretty good friends with Boo, haven't you?
ANTHONY KIM: Absolutely, yes.
Q. Can you explain what it is that he has that captivates people, and do you have a favorite Boo story?
ANTHONY KIM: The orangutan story. I don't know if you guys have heard it, that's the best story.
Q. But one that you've been involved in.
ANTHONY KIM: That I've been involved in? I can't tell you those. First of all, he speaks a different language, so I think people are around a little bit longer just to figure out what he's saying. Every time he says something, it's just a little bit different than everybody else, so you just sit there and listen and try to soak it in because he's like that 24/7. I thought it was just on the golf course.
I'll give you a good story. We were on 8 of THE PLAYERS Championship, and we're right in it, only a couple back, and I see this turtle, and I start petting it. I don't know if you guys saw it, but he came up and just screamed right behind me, and I didn't know what this turtle could do so it freaked me out a little bit. That's the kind of stuff he does all the time. He's dancing in the locker room and stuff, and there's no music. He's fun to be around.
Q. When you came into this year, what part of your game did you feel like needed to improve the most?
ANTHONY KIM: I felt like if I was more patient out there -- the biggest thing I learned last year was not to push too early, and I did that at the Masters, but I think it was because I was too eager to be in the hunt and to have a chance to win on Sunday. But that's something, that's experience that I'll take away and I'll learn from, and it might help me this week.
I remember a specific tournament in Canada where I feel like I pushed too early. I tried to chase the pins when I still had plenty of golf to play, and I was only two or three back. But I'm learning as I go, and I think if I can just manage my game that way, I'll become a totally different player.
Q. Can you flip the switch that quickly, go from plodding to pin seeking?
ANTHONY KIM: I'd like to think so. The best job I've done hanging in there, hanging in there and then really stepping on the gas was at AT&T when it was back and forth, there was four or five guys, and until hole No. 9, I really didn't have a lead, and I birdied 9, 10 and 15 or something like that and pulled away just a little bit, just enough to give me a comfort, put me in a comfort zone going into 18. I learned how to do that there, and that's why it was a little bit more disappointing for me not to do it in Canada, but I'm learning as I go, and hopefully I'll have a couple more opportunities to do that.
Q. What have you seen from Tiger and Phil in that respect?
ANTHONY KIM: Well, they're great at it. But they put themselves in that position all the time, and last year I didn't do that. I think I will -- my goal is to look back on this year and say I put myself in that position twice as much as I did last year, and if I do that, I think I'm going to win. I just need to get there. I need to be patient. I need to relax and just let my golf clubs work because they're good enough, they just need to work, and I need to give it time.
Q. If we've got this low rough and we get rain like we're supposed to Thursday and Friday, what numbers are we looking at out there?
ANTHONY KIM: I don't know.
Q. Soft greens.
ANTHONY KIM: Well, it depends, because the course -- if it rains the course is going to get longer, so that takes 20, 30 guys who don't hit it very far right out of it, at least out of a good chance of winning I want to say. You can hit it short and still play out here, but it's obviously easier when you get to hit your hybrid instead of hitting your 3-wood into those greens. But for the longer hitters, you're going to be hitting so many wedges and 9-irons, I don't know what you can shoot. But I don't think my score last year will hold up. But if the conditions stay the way they are, it'll still be a tough course even with no rough.
Q. The series of injuries you've had and the new workout plan you're on, is that a result of the injuries or was that always part of the plan this year, to get more intensive in your workout?
ANTHONY KIM: It was definitely to get better in all aspects of my game. But I think towards the end of the year last year, even though I played pretty well, I finished third at BMW and third at the TOUR Championship, I was pretty worn down. I had played quite a few weeks in a row, and I think that just made it official that I was going to have a different workout program and really get after training my body to stay in shape throughout the year and not just for certain weeks and not just for two months at a time but for the whole year and really be able to work out in the off-season, as well.
Q. You mentioned earlier about being patient and trying to put yourself in position to win more than you did last year. Having won here, will that allow you the confidence to do that?
ANTHONY KIM: I have a little bit more confidence when I'm here, definitely. The course, the people, it's all so familiar to me that it feels like I'm at my home course. So if I can just stay on track and hit some quality golf shots, make a couple birdies early and get my confidence back up, I'm looking forward to this week.
Q. What do you consider your home course now? I guess you're in Dallas now mostly, right?
ANTHONY KIM: I'm in Dallas or LaQuinta or LA. Wherever anyone wants to let me come out, I'm there.
Q. Where do you play in Dallas?
ANTHONY KIM: I play -- you know, I more work out in Dallas, but I would say Lakewood Country Club is my home course in Dallas.
MARK STEVENS: Thank you for coming in, Anthony. Good luck this week.
End of FastScripts