Interview with Sihwan Kim

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July 27, 2008
PGA TOUR staff

MARK WILLIAMS: Looks like you're going to be the lead amateur in the tournament, you have to be happy about that after getting an invite and playing well.

SIHWAN KIM: Yeah, I tried to make as less mistakes as possible, and it just went well out there.

MARK WILLIAMS: What do you think you've learned most from the week?

SIHWAN KIM: Obviously the conditions are way different than amateur tournaments. The greens are a lot firmer and pin placements are more tucked.

So I mean, I just like try to land it just like seven yards before the pin and try to have little uphill putts, and like first day, I just air-mailed the greens like seven times and made a lot of bogeys.

As the week went on, my score got like one shot better each day and I just try to leave it short of the hole and just putt from there and see what happens, and it's probably best thing I ever learned.

MARK WILLIAMS: That was your dad caddying for you; correct?

SIHWAN KIM: Yes.

MARK WILLIAMS: You were born in Seoul. When did you come to the United States?

SIHWAN KIM: In 2000, October. Year 2000 October, so like eight years ago.

MARK WILLIAMS: Do you have any brothers or sisters?

SIHWAN KIM: I two sisters, two older sisters. One she graduated from Parsons in New York City and the other one, she's going to go to USC.

Q. Is one of the reasons your parents moved over here to give you more of an opportunity to advance your golf career?

SIHWAN KIM: When I was young, it actually wasn't that bad. But you know, still it wasn't comparable to the United States. And my parents cared about my education and my sisters' education, also, so we just kind of all moved over here.

Q. What is the reason you think there's such a dominance by female players and not male players from Korea?

SIHWAN KIM: I'm not really sure, but I think females are more -- their physical strength or their fitness is not really a factor. I'm pretty sure it is for like Annika Sorenstam and Lorena Ochoa, but it's not as big of a factor like guys who if they are stronger they might be hitting the ball farther or getting out of the rough easier.

I think that's one of the main reasons. I'm not really sure but I think for the LPGA, Se Ri Pak kind of established the little like all-Korean LPGA, and for males, it's like only K.J. and right now it's Anthony, also, that are doing well on the PGA TOUR.

So I think we'll be seeing a lot more Korean people on the PGA.

Q. Do you back to Korea occasionally?

SIHWAN KIM: I haven't been there in a while. Last time I went was three or four years ago.

Q. When you talk about the strength factor, you're a pretty big guy; how far do you hit it?

SIHWAN KIM: I think my average drive this week was around 310-ish. One hole I hit my drive a little right and hit the tree and then bounced back, and on like 14, I had 270 into the hole. It came out that I hit my thrive 230, so that kind of screwed my thing up, but that's all good.

MARK WILLIAMS: You made eagle on 12. Can you talk through 12?

SIHWAN KIM: Today? Yeah, I kind of -- you know, I want to hit the fairway, but what is it, I kind of hit it like weird and I thought I hit it terribly, but it somehow shaped into the fairway, which was nice, and I had like 246 to the pin, and I knew if I hit it on the green, I won't have to stop it.

But I thought about it, and, you know, the rough and front bunkers are not that bad and right side is not that bad and long is not that bad.

So I thought I would just shoot for the pin and I tried to fade it in there with 3-iron, and I got really lucky. Hit the back of the bunker and it popped up just right next to the fringe and I chipped it in.

Q. From how far?

SIHWAN KIM: I don't know, it's probably like 20, 24 feet-ish; it wasn't that far. It almost jumped off the green, hit it right.

Q. On the Stanford Web site when I was reading up on you before you came in, it mentioned that you are the second freshman First Team All-American from Stanford, and we all know who the other one is. When you made First Team, and obviously thinking about Tiger Woods in the back of your mind, what did that mean to you?

SIHWAN KIM: I mean, it means a lot. I tried really hard because I saw a lot of guys kind of fading away after they get into college, so I tried and practice really hard to prepare for college golf, and it worked out really good, so I'm really happy, and then I got First Team All-American. I was able to get help from, you know, Coach who used to play on the Nationwide and he used to be a pro, so he knew how to manage around the golf course or my mental game, also.

MARK WILLIAMS: What's your intention, are you going to stay in college?

SIHWAN KIM: I'm going to stay in college for sure. Yeah, it's good. It's a good life, college. It's fun. It's fun and I'm not really in a big hurry, so I'll just probably finish college and see what happens after.

Q. Is this your first pro event?

SIHWAN KIM: This is my first pro event.

Q. How much do you play, if at all, with Michelle Wie at school?

SIHWAN KIM: I didn't really play with her but I actually talked to her quite often when we were on the range because we use the same thing. She's really kind and she's really nice.

MARK WILLIAMS: Do you speak English with her or Korean?

SIHWAN KIM: I don't think she's very good at Korean.

MARK WILLIAMS: She's trying to learn.

SIHWAN KIM: Yeah.

Q. Can you have a driving contest with her?

SIHWAN KIM: It's just like, you know, when she's there, like her parents are around her, so there's little like -- I guess you could say like barrier and I don't really get into that barrier because her parents are right there. (Laughter) We can't really talk freely but I talk to her a little bit.

Q. Would you say she's more comfortable when her parents aren't around?

SIHWAN KIM: I would like to think so. That's how all collegiate players are and all like young players are, but as they mature, I'll bet they are as comfortable by themselves or with their parents or anyone else around.

Q. This is your first pro event. What's your schedule like the rest of the summer? Do you have exemptions into any others?

SIHWAN KIM: I don't know. I don't know what's going on, but I'm going to play like amateur tournaments. I have the Western Am next week and I have -- hopefully I'll get into the U.S. Am by qualifying.

Q. Have you played any other amateur events up until now?

SIHWAN KIM: Yeah, I've played I think three or four of them. I can't quite remember.

Q. What did you -- (inaudible).

SIHWAN KIM: Like sixth place at PLAYERS.

Q. Did you play the North South?

SIHWAN KIM: No, I didn't play the North South.

MARK WILLIAMS: Thank you, appreciate it.

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