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August 6, 2009

Prayad Marksaeng


JOHN BUSH: We'd like to welcome Prayad Marksaeng into the Bridgestone Invitational after a 4-under par 66. That was nice playing out there today. If we can get your comments on the round.
PRAYAD MARKSAENG: I enjoyed starting in the morning, especially the second group, because conditions were very nice in the morning. And also, I'm very comfortable with playing together with Henrik Stenson. I studied the game of both of them, also Justin Leonard, and the problem is on the back nine, when I came from first hole, a lot of spike marks that make my ball off the line, and I missed around four birdies from that side.
JOHN BUSH: Earlier this year you finished tied for 13th at the CA Championship. You're making your second start here at the Bridgestone, actually got off to a great start with three consecutive birdies. Just comment about your thoughts on the golf course and how it fits your eye.
PRAYAD MARKSAENG: When I came here last year, I felt really comfortable with the course. I liked the golf course. It's very similar to the Japanese golf courses that I played on the Japan Tour. Because the tee shots were good, I can really use short irons. Even though the greens are small, it's not a problem.
And also the fast greens are the ones that I like, so not a problem.

Q. I understand that being born in Thailand -- where did you learn to play golf, and how old were you when you first learned?
PRAYAD MARKSAENG: My house was nearby the golf course, and at that time I was around 12 years old. I walked around the golf course and I saw people playing golf and I was very interested to play, also. My family was very poor, so to think about making it to play golf is unbelievable. I could not think about that.
I started real golf when I was 14 years old. I grabbed a little club. I got on the national team when I was 19 years old.

Q. On which golf course did you grow up?

Q. You said you came from a poor family. How big is your family? Would I be right to assume that you're golfing now, do you take care of your family, the ones you grew up with?
PRAYAD MARKSAENG: I have 12 sisters and brothers together, and the family right now, I'm the only one that makes more than others, and I have to come back to support my parents.

Q. Do you speak English, and if you don't, how does that make the game more difficult when you're over here?
PRAYAD MARKSAENG: I can speak English to make communication, but I didn't study high -- I finished like high school, fourth high school, I think. A problem is sometimes I'm not confident if anything happens in the game, so I have to rely on referees.

Q. Will this be big news back in Thailand?
PRAYAD MARKSAENG: Everyone will think that, especially my two sons.

Q. Can we get their ages?

Q. It sounds like you had a really hard life as a kid. I just wondered if you can share a story about maybe one of the tough times.
PRAYAD MARKSAENG: When I was young, my family had no money, so my parents worked hard. So I looked at them and I felt like I had to help. So I did that. I was a boxer, also. I went to the train station to sell food and I went to like a jungle or something like that with my mom to find wood to make a lot of things at that time.
JOHN BUSH: Did you personally make your first golf club, as well?
PRAYAD MARKSAENG: I walked to the golf course, I saw the people play golf, but at that time I felt that only rich people can play golf. But for myself I would like to get something. So I just think that if I can make the same kind of wood, so I can hit that. So I made that from wood, like this, made the same driver and made a bamboo stick to put as a shaft, bicycle tire to make the head. At that time I hit only one club for the bunker, putting, everything. Every week it was broken.

Q. Where did you get the golf balls? You can't make those.
PRAYAD MARKSAENG: At the Royal Mua Min, a lot of Japanese amateurs played that course, and I'd always climb up on the tree and I'd always watch the ball. When the Japanese would hit the ball into the jungle, they didn't want to find the ball because of snakes, so after they passed that hole I would jump in to find the ball.
I cannot play at the golf course like a junior or something like that because no one knew that I played golf. I had to climb over the fence in the evening time. I'd come maybe hole No. 4, No. 5, just play, and then when the guests come, run away, like that.

Q. Your story, very similar to many, many professional golfers in Asia. When you think about where you started, what will it feel like when you go to Shanghai in November and you play in the first real world-class Asian golf tournament? What are your feelings?
PRAYAD MARKSAENG: I'm proud of myself that one day I'll become in the same group of the star players. One time that I felt I was in the top 15 in the world, I never thought this could happen to my life.

Q. To be playing WGC in Asia, will that be a very special moment?
PRAYAD MARKSAENG: I came to America. Everything is difficult in my feeling. When I go back home, I feel easy. Everything should be like home.

Q. Did you ever have lessons, and was there ever a point where you thought you could play out here? What age were you when you thought you were good enough to do this professionally?
PRAYAD MARKSAENG: I never took a lesson. No one taught me actually. So I just made a copy, just so if I have a problem with some technique. On the national team I got a coach for the team that helped me at that time. And also when I was professional I got Supphaphorn Maphungphong, he's -- I'm the one that brought him to Japan.
My first one is on the national team.

Q. When you were getting those balls that the Japanese didn't want, did you ever get bit by a snake?
PRAYAD MARKSAENG: It's my home course. I've got a stick, and I'd just check first if snakes were over there.

Q. Could we get some kind of description of your first three holes shot-wise? Did you make any long putts?
PRAYAD MARKSAENG: First three-hole tee shot were very, very good. I only hit one driver for three holes. But I made the putts because I saw the line. Lines were very clear because the greens were very smooth in the morning.

Q. How far do you hit a golf ball?
PRAYAD MARKSAENG: Average is 300.

Q. Are you sponsored by any other corporations besides Callaway, and how hard was it for you to initially get a sponsor?
PRAYAD MARKSAENG: I've also got the Singha Corporation as a sponsor when I was young. When I started playing golf the first day, Singha gave the first club to me.
JOHN BUSH: How did you make the two bogeys on the last two holes?
PRAYAD MARKSAENG: Let me talk about No. 8 first. Tee shot very bad down the right, and the second shot is okay in the bunker, but it's not difficult to shape. My chipping was nice, too. The problem was on the putting, two feet on that. There was a spike mark on the line, and I had to go that line, so the spike mark made the ball out.
No. 9, tee shot very good on No. 9. The problem is back is tight and I put all the weight on the right leg too much and the ball hooked to the left. The chip was not so good, not on the green. So I made another bogey.
JOHN BUSH: Prayad, nice start today, and thank you for coming by.

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