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December 12, 2009

In-Kyung Kim


BETHAN CUTLER: Ladies and gentlemen I would like to welcome tournament champion In-Kyung Kim. Congratulations on your victory today, a three-shot win over Michelle Wie. How does it feel to be the OMEGA Dubai Ladies Masters Champion?
IN-KYUNG KIM: Well, thank you for having me here, and I'm very excited to win this week. I would like to thank all of the sponsors who invited me here to give me this great opportunity.
And yeah, Michelle had a great turn. She had six birdies until 13 and was very impressive. But I tried to keep playing my game, and I think, yeah, I did a good job.
BETHAN CUTLER: You looked very cool, calm and collected out there, but were you nervous at all?
IN-KYUNG KIM: Actually after the tournament, I was more nervous I think than playing the round.
Yeah, I had some moments, but I was okay with my caddie helping me a lot. I forgot to tell thanks at the (ceremony) but yeah, he helped me a lot, just breathe and going for 18-under.
BETHAN CUTLER: How many fairways did you hit today? You were very accurate.
IN-KYUNG KIM: Actually today, I don't know what's going on with my swing. I didn't like it on the front nine. I hit greens but I had a lot of lag putts. The first one, I was kind of short and 3-putted. But other than that, I putted well today, and yeah, that was okay.
BETHAN CUTLER: We know your caddie is very experienced, he's won something like 75 titles with other players. How much did he help you and what did he help you with?
IN-KYUNG KIM: Well, I said that once, but I can't say it in one word. He helped me with the plan on the golf course and you know kind of breathing, and we talked and kind of making me -- putting me into our world, rather than me thinking about other things. We just played our game and we also had some fun. So it was great.

Q. You just said your caddie helped you with the plan; so what was the plan?
IN-KYUNG KIM: Today's plan was get up to 18-under. But it took a while to get there. Yeah, just little by little; try to make birdie on the par 5s.

Q. So you had 18-under in mind as the winning score?
IN-KYUNG KIM: Actually the caddie's mind, and he told me, yeah.

Q. You played amazing golf on the back nine. I think you hit 100 per cent greens in regulation, all nine greens in regulation and no mistakes absolutely. What was going through your mind when you made the turn and you saw that Michelle was just two shots behind you? What were you thinking and how did you do that?
IN-KYUNG KIM: I mean, all I'm thinking was making birdie on the par 5s. I had 1-under through nine holes and I still had a two- or three-shot lead, which wasn't bad. But I did have some work to do on the back nine, and I tried to maybe play a little more defensive. But after a birdie on 10, I had more space to breathe and wasn't nervous and just playing my game and waiting for the par 5s.

Q. You proved yourself as a good front runner and many players can't do that when they it get into the lead and find it difficult. That must be satisfying for you to protect it for the better part of three days, to protect your lead for nearly three days?
IN-KYUNG KIM: A lot of work, actually, on the golf course, and off the golf course. But I tried to enjoy my game all week and I hit made good putts and hit some good shots the last two days. Today was kind of an off-day but I still made putts and I did what needed to be done.

Q. Many players cannot play their proper game when they are in the lead; you proved that you can.
IN-KYUNG KIM: Yes, actually, I wasn't nervous at all actually. I was nervous some moments, but I had a plan and I just stick to the plan and just play my game and try to make some putts.
I know everyone is going to, you know, take me down, but you know, what can I do? Just play my own game.

Q. How did you manage to hook up with your caddie? I'm sure quite a few players must be wanting to have him as their caddie after Annika quit. How and when did you start working with him?
IN-KYUNG KIM: Well, we just were working last week for the Korean event, match play, and he worked for me this week which was a help. Actually my manager is here, and he called him and you know, he accepted. So I was very happy with that. Hopefully we can keep working together.

Q. So is that a plan? Are you going to work with him together for the next year, or is it not yet --
IN-KYUNG KIM: We are going to talk about it today. He is leaving today, so we will chat later.

Q. This is your third professional victory. Is it the biggest in your career?
IN-KYUNG KIM: Well, every time is different. I had a one-shot lead on my first win and this year I was three or five shots behind. And it was the first time I had a three-shot lead. But winning, it just means a lot. I can't say which one is the biggest, but definitely very special.

Q. And your ambitions from now on, presumably a major championship?
IN-KYUNG KIM: Yes, I'd love to win the major tournaments. Actually I plan my schedule to be peak 100 per cent on the majors. I did pretty good this year and hopefully next year I do something differently or, you know, I do have a feeling for it. I think I can do it.

Q. Can you tell us how you started playing golf and your early years in golf?
IN-KYUNG KIM: I started golf when I was nine years old. Actually I wanted to start earlier, but my dad didn't let me kind of play, because I was an only child and golf wasn't popular at the time.
But I started and happened to play some tournaments. I was very competitive, so after that, I kind of put all my time except schooling in golf. So, yeah, that's how all that got started.

Q. But having been brought up in South Korea, you weren't outside playing before you turned pro?
IN-KYUNG KIM: I was born and raised in Korea and I came to the U.S. when I was in 16. I played in some USGA events. I won the U.S. Juniors and I happened to try Q-School and be on the Tour and get a card.

Q. Was that a really difficult thing to do? I wanted to ask you about that, winning the Q-School on the LPGA Tour. People say it is the most difficult tournament in the world.
IN-KYUNG KIM: Yes, it's not fun, actually. When you think about it, you put all of the hard work put into one tournament, and there is only one tournament like it. It's nerve-wracking, but I kind of happened to play well in Q-School, or something like that. But you have to prepare yourself for it and that's all I tried. It was great that I won and I'm here now.

Q. You received an invite to play on The Ladies European Tour and this event. How do you feel this tour, The Ladies European Tour, compares to your regular LPGA?
IN-KYUNG KIM: Well, this is great that I got an invitation this week. The tournaments are very organised and the golf course conditions are good, even though the weather is windy or raining, but condition-wise, it is great.
You know, this is such -- for me, I always wanted to come here since they started this tournament. I just enjoy it so much. I'm very pleased to be here and playing. That's why I think I played so well.
The LPGA Tour, well, this was my third year on the Tour and I just learned so much. I improved a since I started on the Tour, and I'm trying to get better. I think that the Tour gets tougher and players get better. So I think it's good for the ladies golf.

Q. And winning here, does it make you more sort of open to playing more often?
IN-KYUNG KIM: Yeah, that's the great part, actually. Now I can choose and come any time I can. Is that right?

Q. The changes in the weather from the first day to the second day, it was hot and sunny, and then the second day it was rain showers and a cold breeze. What do you think of the changing weather?
IN-KYUNG KIM: Well, the weather, I think I had all weather. I had the dust with the wind on the Pro-Am day, and the sunshine and the rain and everything. So it was a great experience in the desert.
The next two or three days, I am going to stay here and look around, so I don't know what I'm going to get the next couple of days. But yeah, the weather was different.

Q. Something about the golf course particularly suited your eyes or that you really liked the golf course? You said you just played nine practise holes before playing the Pro-Am?
IN-KYUNG KIM: But my caddie, Terry, is there, and said, why have a practise round? You guys know better. (Laughter).

Q. And I wanted to ask you, you said in previous interviews that you were taking ballet and playing the guitar. Is that what you like to do?
IN-KYUNG KIM: I don't know about balance a, but I did play guitar it's been a year and a half, but I do enjoy playing the guitar. Hopefully I can sing and play guitar, but it's very tough to play and sing. So trying to get better.

Q. Some people on the LPGA Tour complain that the South Koreans play more slowly and don't speak much. Is it because of the English?
IN-KYUNG KIM: What do you mean?

Q. They don't speak much and don't communicate well.
IN-KYUNG KIM: Well, we have a different culture. Maybe that's why we are not like, you know, friendly than Americans. But we do talk. I do talk. I wish -- I don't really understand a lot of slang or jokes, but I like to talk. I like to talk but I don't know about the other players.
Also, it's so funny -- not funny, but what's kind of great for me this week is everybody knows my name, because on the LPGA Tour, there are so many Kims, so they can't really tell the difference. But this week, I felt so special, you know what I mean. (Laughing).
BETHAN CUTLER: Thank you and good luck next year.

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