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April 27, 2011

Noh Seung-Yul


CALVIN KOH: Thanks for coming in, Noh. First, you finished fourth last year in the Ballantine's Championship, and playing again, being at home once again, I'm sure you must be quite happy.
NOH SEUNG-YUL: Last year, one of the days was cancelled so it was disappointing somewhat because I really wanted to give it a try at winning.
So this week, it's a competition being held in Korea. It's also a brand new course, so I hope to write a new record and get a new score.
CALVIN KOH: I know you have been experimenting with a new swing, maybe can you share with us how is your form coming into this week.
NOH SEUNG-YUL: Two months ago, I got a new coach, and we started making tweaks to my swing from address to finish. I was making a lot of effort, but as a result of this, I got a finger injury.
So for a month, I wasn't able to practise, and I wasn't used to or haven't been adopted to the new swing. So I have been practising for the two weeks. However, there have been mistakes and my shot was somewhat unstable. But through continuous practise, I feel that my swing is becoming a little bit more stable.

Q. Just before your media briefing, Dustin Johnson had a media briefing in which he said that for such a small player, that you are a strong, long hitter. So what's your secret?
NOH SEUNG-YUL: Well, first of all, I have a lot of muscle strength that might not strike you on appearance, and personally, I think I'm a long hitter because I have more flexibility.
So, for instance, compared to other players who might not have as much flexibility as I do, I get a lot more spin. I get a lot more angle on my backswing and perhaps that's why I can hit long distances.

Q. I understand your father is no longer acting as your caddie, and you have a new caddie. So how is that going?
NOH SEUNG-YUL: I think I started out with this caddie towards the end of last year, and at the end of last year, he was with me during two competitions, and it was good. And he has been with me from the season.
I think we did about ten competitions together, and we're getting better in terms of accuracy and identifying distances. He's a really nice guy and he's very accommodating to me, and we have a lot of fun.

Q. You mentioned that you have a new coach. Can you be a little bit more specific on what kind of work you've been doing with this coach and how you got your finger injury.
NOH SEUNG-YUL: I think the biggest difficulty was I had a strong grip, but we changed this to a natural grip, which led to a shift in the downswing angle and I needed to get used to this because this led to -- I needed to get used to this new grip, and in the process of getting used to, I felt that my shot became a little more unstable.
But after the Match Play, I trained a lot with this new grip. However, I injured my finger because in the natural grip, my second left hand finger -- the second finger on my left hand started sticking out and I guess this put a strain on it, because I injured my ligament.

Q. The greens on the Blackstone Golf Course have multi-tiered contours. What strategies would you take?
NOH SEUNG-YUL: In the second competition of The European Tour, which would be the Volvo Championship which was held in Bahrain, I would say that the length, width and also the way the greens are formed on that course is similar to the course here; so I do have experience playing in this type of course this year, and I do have experience in playing in tighter courses.
So I don't think that the tee shots would be much of a problem, but I am a little concerned about making mistakes perhaps on the second shot and on the green.
So I think getting accuracy in iron shots would be of paramount importance.

Q. So last year I understand you were sick from shingles, and I want to ask you if you were completely treated, if you're all better. And also, last year, your performance was somewhat inconsistent. Have you been working on anything other than your swing?
NOH SEUNG-YUL: Right after the Ballantine's Championship last year, I got shingles, and at the time I was supposed to go straight to Italy but I cancelled that trip and I was completely recovered in a week.
And also, last year was the first time I went on The European Tour and the Asian Tour, and I had a lot to get used to; the food, the culture, also the golf courses. So I think this may have impacted my play last year.

Q. I understand that last year, you went to the 60th ranking player and in order to qualify for the Masters, you needed to get into the Top 50 so I'm sure there was some disappointment there. I'm curious to know if you are still keeping in mind the official golf ranking and if you are still trying to get within that 50th rank Mark.
NOH SEUNG-YUL: As for my goal, I hope to make it within the Top-30 ranks of the official golf ranking, so I've upgraded my goal.
As for the Masters, I was very disappointed that I couldn't make it, but at the same time, during the Masters, I was actually recuperating from my finger injury. I was resting. So in that sense, it provided somewhat of a -- it was somewhat comforting to know that I could take this time off to take care of my finger injury. Because had I taken part in the Masters, then I wouldn't have been able to recover from my injury.
While I was resting, I watched the games, and it was fun, but I'm not that disappointed right now, because I have next year and I have a whole lifetime ahead of me to take part in the Masters.

Q. You said that you watched the Masters. What did you think about the performance of Rory McIlroy, and also, is there a particular ball number that you prefer?
NOH SEUNG-YUL: I actually don't have a particular golf ball number that I prefer.
And as for the Masters, I did watch the games until the third round, but on the day of the fourth round I had to leave for Malaysia, so I wasn't able to actually see the game. But I did see the results, though and I felt like Rory played -- his play reminded me of somebody I know very well, and all I can say is that it was someone comforting.
CALVIN KOH: Thanks, Noh. Good luck this week.

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