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January 28, 2012

John Huh


JOE CHEMYCZ:¬† We welcome John Huh into our interview room.¬† John, with a 4‑under 68 today to move into contention at 13‑under par.¬† This being your rookie season, I know it's probably a little intimidating to deal with this so early in your career.¬† But let's first talk about your round today and the good points of it.
JOHN HUH:  Just putting.  I dropped two big putts over there in the hole, so that really kept my momentum going.  So that was pretty good.

Q.  Where were the big putts?
JOHN HUH:  It was the second hole and I believe it was 15.  The 2nd and 15.
JOE CHEMYCZ:  How far were those?
JOHN HUH:  It was more than 30 feet.
JOE CHEMYCZ:  Seven birdies today.
JOE CHEMYCZ:  You didn't know?
JOHN HUH:  I just know that I made two good putts.
JOE CHEMYCZ:  What else was good today?  You hit 14 greens, 10 fairways.  Pretty solid all the way around.
JOHN HUH:  Yeah, I drove it pretty good, and just trying to play a smart game.  Trying to put the ball on the fairway and green.  Trying to get a par as easy as I can, so I guess that worked out.
JOE CHEMYCZ:  Backtrack a little bit to Thursday's opening round with three eagles and what that was like?
JOHN HUH:  That was my first time making three eagles in one round, and it was awesome, especially while playing a PGA TOUR event.
I just hit it solid and good putts, yeah, I mean, there's nothing I can say about that.  Just hit good putts and good shots.

Q.  Talk about the course, talk about playing here.  How much do you like it?  And going into tomorrow, you're one of the leaders?
JOHN HUH:  Oh, it was my first time playing at Torrey Pines, and I was really looking forward to playing this event because especially they held the U.S. Open here, and I was watching the TV when they were having it over here.  So I was really trying to enjoy this course, and I did pretty well so far.
JOE CHEMYCZ:  Talk about being in contention for tomorrow and what that's going to be like?
JOHN HUH:  I'm pretty sure it will give me a lot of pressure being in contention over there, but I'm trying to learn.  It's my first year, so I'm trying to learn from it and trying not to throw anything out.

Q.  What did you learn today?
JOHN HUH:  I learned you've got to make a lot of putts out there.

Q.  Could you tell us a little bit about your background?  I know you were born in New York City, but you said you went to Chicago and Korea and L.A.  Tell us a little about your background and how you got into golf.
JOHN HUH:  Okay, first of all, my parents moved over there in New York around '85, something like that and stayed there until '90, which is the year I was born.  Then I went back to Korea and grew up until I was 12 years old.  Then went back to Chicago and played golf over there.  Just enjoying with friends.
Turns out this is something I'm going to really enjoy in my life and be part of it.  So I moved to L.A. and played golf.  Didn't really have success in my junior golf, but it was okay, and I had a chance to go to Cal State Northridge a little bit.  Didn't look like what I was looking for, and I just turned pro after a couple weeks.
JOE CHEMYCZ:  Couple weeks?
JOHN HUH:  Yeah, a couple of weeks.

Q.  How old were you starting out?  How long did you stay in Chicago?
JOHN HUH:  I stayed there for three years, I believe.

Q.  So L.A. about 15?
JOHN HUH:¬† L.A. about‑‑
JOE CHEMYCZ:  You were in high school.
JOHN HUH:  Yeah, my high school.

Q.  And you played for Crescenta Valley, right?
JOHN HUH:  I did.

Q.  I read that you weren't even the best player on your high school golf team?
JOHN HUH:  I was decent.  I was really good, but I was okay.

Q.  How does a kid that goes from being decent on his high school team end up on the PGA TOUR not very long after that?
JOHN HUH:  I didn't really have experience playing junior golf because I really financially it was kind of hard for us.  So we didn't really have a chance to play a lot of tournaments.  So I just worked hard and had a chance to go to Korea and play over there on the Korean Tour for three years.  I learned a lot from that and I'm here.

Q.  And the TOUR book says your dad is your swing coach or your coach?
JOHN HUH:  I mean, there are a lot of instructors that are trying to help me out, and my dad is like the big instructor for me.

Q.  So is your dad a golfer as well?
JOHN HUH:  He used to play golf a little bit when he was over in New York, but since he hurt his back and didn't really play golf at all.

Q.  You left college to go play the Korean TOUR, is that why you left the golf team at Cal State Northridge?
JOHN HUH:  No, actually, I couldn't play on the golf team over there because I had something going on with the NCAA.  I couldn't get any scholarships from any universities, so I just went there a couple weeks and turned out pro.

Q.  Just a couple weeks?
JOHN HUH:  Yeah, I mean, yeah, a couple weeks.

Q.  What happened with the NCAA?  What were they saying?
JOHN HUH:¬† The year that I was going to college, they required 14 core courses, and I had 14, and actually‑‑ oh, sorry.¬† The year that I'm going to college they actually changed their rule to 16 core courses and I only had 14.¬† If I don't get 16, I don't get a scholarship.¬† And I took my summer school and tried to‑‑ everything I could do, and I was one course short so I couldn't get any scholarships.
So it turns out I have to go to Cal State Northridge and trying to play over there, but didn't like the way‑‑

Q.  What was the first college before Northridge?  I must have missed something.
JOHN HUH:¬† I mean, I've been talking to a lot of coaches, but the NCAA brought me‑‑ slowed me down because they couldn't give me a scholarship because I couldn't play on the golf team.

Q.  At what point did you realize that your last name and at least the way it's spelled is used a lot in this country for different things?
JOHN HUH:  I didn't quite hear your question, sorry.

Q.¬† You say H‑U‑H over here it's usually someone asking them to repeat themselves, "Huh."
JOHN HUH:  Yeah.

Q.  At what point did you figure that out?  Has anyone ever given you a hard time about it?
JOHN HUH:¬† Yeah, when I was in high school, it was pretty annoying a little bit.¬† I mean, the bad point was trying to make fun of me a little bit sometimes.¬† But it turns out it's going to be good for‑‑ I know Boo Weekley has like a boo sound.¬† I'm trying to bring that kind of, too.
JOE CHEMYCZ:  He's trying to make it his trademark I guess.
JOHN HUH:  Yeah, kind of, yeah.

Q.  How's it going along?
JOHN HUH:  Yeah, yeah.

Q.  So do you hear people on the course yell your name out?  Do you hear them?
JOHN HUH:¬† Yeah, a little bit.¬† I'm sure‑‑ I'm looking forward to hearing that tomorrow as well as today.

Q.  You want the crowd to be yelling Huh?
JOHN HUH:  Yeah, that should be fine, yeah.

Q.  You practiced at TPC, you practice much with Charlie Wi?  I know he practices there a lot too.
JOHN HUH:  I met him a couple times over there.  Just didn't really quite have time to practice with him.  But I'm really looking forward to playing with Charlie Wi or K.J. or Y.E. Yang or a lot of those Korean players.

Q.  How much of an influence were they on you in terms of seeing what they've done and giving you the confidence to try this?
JOHN HUH:  It's a lot.  Y.E. and K.J. are big golf models over in Korea.  I would love to play with them and see what they did and trying to follow what they have done.

Q.  You sound like a very quick study.  As a rookie out here, what are your expectations and anticipations?
JOHN HUH:¬† It's my rookie year, and I'm trying to make a cut in as many as I can and try to keep my card.¬† That's it.¬† That's my first goal ever since I went through Q‑school.¬† So if I can do that, I'll be pleased with that.

Q.  You were talking about Y.E. and K.J. being idols of yours.  Did you meet K.J. last year and what was that like?
JOHN HUH:  It was 2008, actually.  It was a tournament that he has to play because he's the sponsor and I had a chance to play in that tournament.  He was leading.  But one hole he hit OB and I made par on that one, and it turned out that I won the tournament.

Q.  Did that give you confidence?
JOHN HUH:  Oh, yeah, that tournament actually gave me a lot of confidence, because I didn't really have success over there.  I was just making the cut over there.  But from that tournament, it was pretty big, a big tournament for me to just play there.

Q.  You were 18 when you won that?
JOHN HUH:  I think I was like 20, 19.  19, yeah.

Q.  What has meant more to you, winning on the Korean Tour or coming through qualifying school here?
JOHN HUH:  That's tough.  I don't know if you're going to hear this, but I think winning is pretty tough because you've got to really play well to win one tournament.  So I guess the winning is the hardest part.

Q.¬† Do you consider yourself a Korean, an American, or a Korean‑American?
JOHN HUH:¬† Korean‑American.

Q.  What did your parents do that they were over here in the States?
JOHN HUH:  Oh, they just traveled together.

Q.  What were their jobs and why they were moving?  What was your dad doing?
JOHN HUH:  My dad was just doing everything he can do.  He has two kids, so he has to do everything he can.  Ever since I've turned pro, he didn't really work.  He was just being my manager kind of.

Q.  What were some of the jobs that you remember him having as a kid?
JOHN HUH:  He was doing business work with fabric stuff, little material.  That was like back in the day, yeah, a couple years ago.

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