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January 27, 2011

Sunghoon Kang


MARK STEVENS: Like to welcome Sunghoon Kang, shot an 8 under 64 in the first round. Take us through your round, which included an eagle, a bogey-free round at that, and we'll take some questions.
SUNGHOON KANG: Actually, this course, all the par-5s are reachable, so I really tried to keep to the fairways and it worked really well. And I really had a good chance on par-5s. I made two birdies and 1 eagle. So I think I really have done well on par-5s today. That's why I played very well today.

Q. Could you describe your eagle?
SUNGHOON KANG: It was number 14, par-5. Hit driver down the fairway, and I had 220 to the pin. Tried to hit a little cut shot out with my hybrid, and it just landed right next to the pin and went over the green a little bit, and I just chipped it in from there.

Q. Do you know how far the chip in?
SUNGHOON KANG: It was about 25 feet.

Q. In your mind, what is the difference in difficulty of the two courses, and what are you looking forward to to tomorrow?
SUNGHOON KANG: Actually, I think the South course is way more difficult because the greens are way firmer and the course is a little bit longer. So still the fairways are pretty wide, so I can hit it pretty hard with the driver. I think if I hit my irons pretty good tomorrow, I think I'll still have a good round.
I think I've really got to hit the right spot on the green, because the greens are really hard out there. So I have to use the undulations to get it close to the hole.

Q. Could you talk a little bit about how you learned to play golf and when you thought you were good enough to perhaps make it a career?
SUNGHOON KANG: I studied golf in 1996. My father was really -- my father loved to play a lot in that time, and I just followed him on the golf course. I thought it just looked pretty fun.
I told my dad I want to try golfing, and that's why I started. Actually, I went out to the golf course after six months I studied golf, and I went out to the golf course and it was so beautiful. Everything's really green, and little bit of wind and everything's perfect. So I really felt great on that day, and I told my dad I really want to play golf, and he supports me a lot.

Q. Could you talk about you have your brother as your caddy?

Q. Could you talk about what it's like to have that working relationship with a relative?
SUNGHOON KANG: Actually, I turned pro in 2007, and when I turned pro I started to work with my brother. He's like seven years older than me. Even I kind of get angry or something, and he helps me a lot with that.
He doesn't really want to push me too hard. In whatever I do, he really tries to understand me. I think we have a good relationship because he's my brother.

Q. What did he do for a job before that?
SUNGHOON KANG: Actually, my brother played soccer when he was in high school and middle school and didn't succeed, but.

Q. How'd you learn to speak English so well?
SUNGHOON KANG: Actually, I think first time I started golf my goal was to be on the PGA TOUR and to be the best golfer in the world. My father thought so too.
So my father supported me to get to Dallas to work with Hank Haney since 2002 through 2007 for five years. But I'm not doing it anymore. But I think it's because of my dad. He thought I needed to play on the PGA TOUR and he really supported me a lot.

Q. What did your brother do for a job before becoming your caddy?
SUNGHOON KANG: Just trying to be like announcer in Korea, and he really -- I don't think he didn't like it. It was kind of too tough to get in there because he was kind of old to be in there, so he just quit and he's helping me right now.

Q. As you were growing up, older brothers tend to beat up a lot on younger brothers, did you have that experience?
SUNGHOON KANG: Never. He's seven years older than me. He really understands me whatever I do to him.

Q. Tell us a little bit about your father. Was he a good golfer or just do it as a hobby?
SUNGHOON KANG: Well, I think his best score was 73, and I think it was pretty good. A single handicapper. He really wanted me to practice hard, and I really followed that.
I still really like to work hard because I want to get better every week. Especially I had missed the cut in Sony, I was kind of disappointed really. After that I really tried to work my game, really, really hard.

Q. Can you tell us a little bit about your father. What's his name?
SUNGHOON KANG: My father's name is Heenam Kang.

Q. What did he do for a living? What was his profession?
SUNGHOON KANG: He's got a business, restaurant in kind of motels and construction. Yeah, a lot of businesses right now. He's busy.

Q. There are a lot of great players in this tournament. How awesome is it for you to be on top of those guys after the first round?
SUNGHOON KANG: I don't really think about it. I'm really excited to be playing with them right now. There's Tiger, Phil, and really they are all really my goals. I always was trying to be like them. I'm really just happy with playing with them. I don't really try to beat them or something. I'm trying to learn from them all the time.
I know they are really good, and I'll trying to learn from them for this year especially and really trying to have fun. I don't want to put any pressure on me, so I'm really just trying to have fun.

Q. How did you come to work with Hank Haney?
SUNGHOON KANG: I mean, he was just in Dallas, and I went to Dallas, and I get there and asked him to help me. But then he got Tiger, and he kind of got busy. Yeah, he was kind of busy to watch me, and I just left him. Actually now I work with Don Brown, and he's in California. Now I come to California all the time.

Q. You said that you're trying to learn from these players, not beat them. If you're here in the same position Saturday night, will your attitude change?

Q. Will you become much more competitive in that regard?
SUNGHOON KANG: I don't think so. Even I play with Tiger and Phil, I know they're so much better than me right now, so I'm really trying to learn from them. I really want to learn how they play and how they do around the greens and how they work the ball and how they practice, and how their pre-shot routines are. I really want to learn. Yeah, I just want to learn.

Q. Can you give us an illustration of something you've learned from one of those players, something specific?
SUNGHOON KANG: Even you see like K.J., he's really consistent. I want to be like really a consistent player as like Jim Furyk, K.J. Choi, something like that.

Q. Do you spend a lot of time playing and practicing with K.J., and Y.E. and Charley?
SUNGHOON KANG: Not really. But I'm trying this year.

Q. What do you and your brother do for fun when you're not at the golf course traveling together?
SUNGHOON KANG: He likes to play golf too, so we just play together in Valencia TPC up here. He just started golf, actually. He doesn't really know about golf right now. So he's kind of really having fun playing golf right now.

Q. What is your brother's name?

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