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July 11, 2011

Hee Kyung Seo


PETE KOWALSKI: We'd like to welcome the runner-up at the 2011 U.S. Women's Open Championship, Hee Kyung Seo. We'd like to just get a quick comment from you. Very unusual circumstances for you. You finished your round yesterday, and now you have to come back, are uncertain of what's going to happen, and then she makes some birdies and catches you.
Just walk us through that time frame. You were on the practice range, et cetera.
HEE KYUNG SEO: Um, I woke up early this morning, and I just did my routine things and came here like 8:00.
It was little nervous during the waiting, and I went to NBC booth and was more nervous to be on live on TV.
When I got started practice, the nervous was gone and I could concentrate on practice. And when I hit like 5-irons I heard the clapping and shouting and yelling on 18th green, so at the time I was thinking about, Oh, the time is now.
I remember yesterday the caddie of So Yeon said, We're gonna be chasing you. And then the result is they were chasing me, and unfortunately I couldn't win this time.
I learned lots of things from this tournament, and I'm looking forward next great events in Europe and Asia. So I keep working on my things.
PETE KOWALSKI: For the record, could you take us through the playoff? What you hit on the tee, what you hit into the green, et cetera, how long the putts were, et cetera, so we have that.
HEE KYUNG SEO: I hit 7-iron on 16; it was 156 yards. The ball was like six feet on left. It was downhill, super down slope, and I made great two-putt.
Then on 17 I missed tee shot to the right bunker. I had 7-iron from there, and then the third shot was 250 to the pin; I had 3-wood. And the fourth shot was 46 to the hole. The putting was like 12 feet, 13 feet. I made two-putt also.
PETE KOWALSKI: What was your club on the tee on 17? Did you hit driver?
HEE KYUNG SEO: Yeah, driver. And I hit driver on 18th tee, and it was perfect on the fairway. I had 186 yards to the pin, and hit 3-hybrid. It went to left back of the green. It was also super downslope, but I made a really good two-putt from there. So it wasn't too bad.
So I did two birdies in three holes. That's amazing, yeah.

Q. I know there are a lot of people who are going to view today as a victory for South Korea, and that's nice and easy for everyone to say. But right now, when you thought you might win this and you didn't, do you feel like that?
PETE KOWALSKI: Do you feel it's still a victory for South Korea despite the fact you finished second?
HEE KYUNG SEO: Yeah, lots of Korean fans waiting for our winning this year, but it's like already July but we didn't won any of them.
So like both me or So Yeon, I think they were cheer both of us. So, yeah, I feel very happy for South Korea player won this great, big tournament.

Q. I heard you mention earlier that you thought the tournament was decided on the 17th yesterday.

Q. Could you talk about that. It's late, it's getting dark, the wind is coming up. The 17th and the 18th, what were they like for you yesterday?
HEE KYUNG SEO: Yeah, the 17 and 18 was really tough to play because of the wind. Wind blow super hard. We were rushing. Jiyai was running from tee. I didn't know what happened that time. I think I feel little rushing running and wind, and I concerned about that on the green the ball was trying to move from the wind.
I think I was a little fast at that time so I couldn't keep my rhythm on my putting, so I missed that short putt. Unfortunately I missed one short putt during the full fourth round, and that was 17.

Q. Talk about the contrast, the disappointment of losing the playoff versus how well you played all week and what you accomplished, especially yesterday, to get into this position.
PETE KOWALSKI: If you could repeat the question just with more clarity, please.

Q. The difference between your disappointment of losing but you played so well this week just to get to this point.
HEE KYUNG SEO: Actually, I didn't think about the result before starting the game. I just wanted to trust myself and be confident and be patient. I think I made my goal.
And the second place is amazing. But, you know, sports is always winning game, so that's little bad. But I'm happy for the result. I learned many things from this week, so I'm very happy.

Q. Just to clarify, so on 17 you were running to your ball because you wanted to get done before darkness or rain?

Q. You weren't playing slow and had been told...

Q. Did you consider yourself a patient person before this week, or have you realized you have more patience than you thought you did?
HEE KYUNG SEO: Well, I won 12 times in Korea -- actually 11 times Korea. When I played very well that time, I was really be patient people. But I think since last year my expectation was little high, and that makes the disappointing many things.
I couldn't be patient on the course, so my coach told me always, Please be patient. So I was trying to be patient this week, and I made it this time.

Q. Was it harder to be patient when you have the fans back home in Korea saying, When is someone going to win out here?
HEE KYUNG SEO: Well, not really. They gave me lots of confidence and power, so, yeah.

Q. With you and Yeon being the two top players in Korea, have you battled like this a lot before?
HEE KYUNG SEO: Yes, I played with So Yeon lots of times. I can't count it. I played another playoff before with So Yeon in China 2009, and she won that time.

Q. What event was that?
HEE KYUNG SEO: That's China Open.

Q. What tour was that?
HEE KYUNG SEO: I don't remember. It was in KLPG tour, but the event was in China 2009.
PETE KOWALSKI: We'll research that for you.

Q. As a follow-up, did you notice Se Ri Pak following you guys? What has she meant to you guys?
HEE KYUNG SEO: Well, we finished last hole and she came to me to pour champagne on me, and I was running from that. She said to me, You did really great job. I'm very proud of you two guys.
She is legend for us, yeah, obviously.
PETE KOWALSKI: The fact that you had to come here and warm up and she was on the golf course and already warmed up and playing, do you feel she had an advantage going into the playoff because of that?
HEE KYUNG SEO: A little bit, because she played 16, 17, 18, same hole location, so she knew more about the course conditions and green conditions. A little bit, I think.

Q. On the playoff in the bunker on 17, were you in the middle of the bunker or up towards the front where you had a difficult shot?
HEE KYUNG SEO: Yeah, it was difficult. It was stuck onto the hill, downslope.

Q. Will you play full-time here, or how will you divide your time moving forward?
HEE KYUNG SEO: Well, I got to tour card last year from Kia, but I didn't play here, so I decide to play here since this year. As possible I could play here, I will play here, yeah. I hope the events getting more, we can get more events future.

Q. Could you just discuss generally the effect of the weather on this tournament for you? Obviously it had a big effect last night. But overall, how much do you think it affected the outcome?
HEE KYUNG SEO: Well, I haven't experienced like this weather during my life. I think everyone had very tough and long week. It was little hard to waiting and waiting, but I enjoyed everything. I enjoyed on the course and I enjoyed during the waiting with friends, talking and eating.
So it was fun, but I think I will be exhausted when I get home. (Smiling).

Q. How much of a help was it to you to be able to play those two rounds yesterday with Jiyai? I understand you two are very good friends.
HEE KYUNG SEO: Oh, I only remember is we were rush all day and we were running all day. So we couldn't have -- we didn't have much time to talk with, so...
But it was really comfortable to play with her, because we have really good relationship. So it was comfortable. I didn't feel like tight and pressure in two rounds.
PETE KOWALSKI: Congratulations on a great championship. Thank you so much.
HEE KYUNG SEO: Thank you. Thank you very much.

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