MORE INTERVIEWS: The Greenbrier Classic transcript archive
THE MODERATOR: Anthony Kim joins us after an 8-under 62. Anthony, looked like you were having a lot of fun out there. Just comment on your round.
ANTHONY KIM: I was having a lot fun. I haven't had this much fun playing golf in a long time. Even when I wasn't hitting the ball particularly well yesterday I had a lot of fun.
The last couple weeks have really turned my golf game around, especially starting at the British. So I'm looking forward to pretty good things throughout this year.
THE MODERATOR: A little credit to your mom out there. Talk a little bit about what she's meant to your golf game.
ANTHONY KIM: My parents have meant everything to my golf game. I wouldn't have gotten started in golf without any dad, and I'm lucky to have a full set of clubs because of my mom. I would probably be snapping clubs right and left if she didn't tell me that that wasn't okay when I was little.
She and I had a conversation after I shot 81 at the Canadian Open the second day. It was just about having fun and relaxing and enjoying the position I'm in. Because I'm very fortunate to be playing golf for a living, and sometimes you forget about that.
I was pretty upset about my 81, and she noticed somebody in the gallery who was less fortunate and we talked about that. I came out here ready to play some golf a good time, and 63 shots later I'm sitting here.
THE MODERATOR: Great. We'll go right into questions.
Q. I noticed today the hole locations were favorable, a lot of the tee boxes were up. It seemed like the course played significantly easier to the naked eye than it did in the first two days. Why do you think that is? Why would they set it up like that? To me it looked pretty extreme.
ANTHONY KIM: They did move a lot of tees up, had some accessible pins, but you still had to hit good shots. The pins were in positions where you could roll it off the hill and the ball would come towards the flag.
At the same time, if you short-sided yourself, you're going a 20-footer for par. So you still had to hit the fairways and you still had to hit good iron shots and still make the putts.
With that being said, the course played extremely short. When I tee'd off, there was hardly any wind. So I think the first time we actually started thinking about the wind was on 14. That was late in the round and I already had build some momentum.
So hopefully -- I guess I'm excited that they put the pins and tees where they did, because I did a lot of things right. My caddie and I ran our short game the way we used to.
So hopefully tomorrow they'll have pins that are favorable to me, too.
Q. Talk a little bit about your backside. I think you had five, six birdies coming in. What started going right??
ANTHONY KIM: I was just hitting smart golf shots. I was starting to think my way around the course instead of just get up to a tee and the fairways are 40 yards wide and the rough is not that penal and just try to hit it as hard as I can. That's not how you play golf. Usually it doesn't work out.
But I started hitting some fades off the tee, which this course you need to do, and made a couple putts. Hit the smart shot, even not going at a couple pins, which is hard for me to do. Hit it 15 feet right of the pin and be okay with it.
So I got away with some poor swings because of some good lines. Hopefully I can do that tomorrow.
Q. You talked about your parents. Can you talk about living on your own as a 16 year old and how that helped you grow.
ANTHONY KIM: Well, obviously you have to grow up a lot faster. Granted, I still made some poor decisions and didn't do everything right. I'm not going to lie to you and say I did.
But it made me want to work harder because I didn't have anyone pushing me to get better. My dad had always wanted me to be good or great at golf. But at the same time, when he wasn't around I had to put in the time. I wanted to prove to him that I could do that, and prove to myself that I could do that.
So it was a great time in my life. It was tough on our whole family. But sitting here, my parents are pretty happy every day.
Q. A lot of people forget you're still in your 20s. They talk about Rory McIlroy and stuff. You mentioned the British Open. Do you feel like your game is on an uptick right now??
ANTHONY KIM: It's absolutely on an upside. I can't tell you the last time that I ever played golf where I was not wanting to be on a golf course, but for the last six months before the British Open, I just did not want to be on the golf course.
I didn't know where the ball was going, and I was just hoping it would bounce out of the trees. It wasn't a matter of it going in the rough, it was a matter of it bouncing in or out of bounds. People may think I'm exaggerating, but this is how tough this game got for me.
Going back to the basics is really what helped my game. Without that, I would still be struggling.
Q. I know you don't want to get ahead of yourself, but can you talk about what possibly winning tomorrow would mean to you.
ANTHONY KIM: It would mean a lot to me. I think it would actually mean more than any of the other wins I've had just because of the fact that I've come back from something. I didn't know where my golf game was going. I always had belief in my ability and confidence that I would keep trying, no matter how many times I would fail.
But you never know with this game. You never know if you're going to come back and not be able to hit a fade, not be able to hit the bunker shots like you're used to hitting.
So, you know, even up to this point, I'm excited about the rest of the year, the FedExCup playoffs, and the chance to win a golf tournament.
Q. All eight birdies inside ten feet. Have you had a better golf-striking round this year than this??
ANTHONY KIM: I can't say that I have. The first day I think I hit the ball a little bit better; yesterday was horrendous. To shoot 69 yesterday was a very good number. I was hitting out of a lot of trees. Even though I hit it to 10 feet, I was hitting out of the trees and the bunkers.
I had a very great practice session yesterday, and was excited to tee it up today.
Q. Going back to what you were saying about having fun, I had an e-mail from a reader saying that the other day out at the practice tee you were trying some clubs out and you ended up with a 3-wood evidently weren't gonna use and you signed it and had your caddie give it to someone in the stands. Is that when instead of snapping it you went ahead and just gave to it to somebody else??
ANTHONY KIM: No. My mom is a great golf psychologist. I don't even think about snapping clubs anymore. I was on 17 yesterday hitting my second shot from about 250 to the front, 275 to the hole, and it was a perfect club. We wanted it to actually be past the hole. It was downwind, so I was going to hit it with all I had, and that would easily get to the pin or the back of the green.
I hit it and it sounded real funny. I looked at it and it cracked the face. I was short of the green, so at that point I was thinking about it a little bit, because that's pretty unlucky.
But I figured rather than throw it in the trash I'd give it to a little kid.
Q. You were talking about yesterday being horrendous, yet you still shot a 69 with tough lies and everything. In your mind, does that show you where you are now and how far you've come, to have a bad day and still come in 1-under??
ANTHONY KIM: Absolutely. I don't think that a month ago I could possibly think I was going to shoot 69 on a bad round. I thought if I played bad, to shoot anything around par, 72, 73 - obviously par is 70 here - but a couple over, I would take that just because I wasn't trying to get everything back in one shot.
I was just trying to get a little bit better every round I played. It seems to be working like that right now.
Q. Have you made any adjustments since you started to play??
ANTHONY KIM: I actually have. My mind. I've tried to simplify things a little bit more and not get so caught up in how far I've got to hit this ball. If I have to hit it 170 yards, I just hit my 8-iron and don't think about anything else.
It's been a lot easier to hit golf shots that way.
THE MODERATOR: Let's go through the birdies, starting on No. 2.
ANTHONY KIM: 2, I hit a hybrid drive, wedge from a 130 yards to seven feet and made that.
4, hit driver, lob wedge to eight feet and made that one.
6, hit driver, sand wedge to nine feet; made that.
THE MODERATOR: 11?
ANTHONY KIM: 10?
THE MODERATOR: No, 11.
ANTHONY KIM: What did I do on 10? I made birdie on 10, didn't I?
THE MODERATOR: Okay.
ANTHONY KIM: 10, I hit drive, flip wedge to six feet.
11, driver, wedge, to 10 feet; made that one.
12, I hit driver, hybrid just over the green; just missed the eagle; had two feet for a birdie.
14, hit driver, lob wedge to four or five inches and made that.
17, 3-wood, 3-iron, chipped up to three feet and made that one.
THE MODERATOR: Anthony, great show today. Play well tomorrow.
ANTHONY KIM: Thanks.
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