What they said: Anthony Kim

December 03, 2009
PGA TOUR staff

MORE INTERVIEWS: Chevron World Challenge transcript archive

DOUG MILNE: We'd like to welcome Anthony Kim to the interview room here at the 2009 Chevron World Challenge. Thanks for taking a few minutes to chat with us. 2009, we'll start, if we could just kind of get a retrospective on your year. Overall a solid year, eight top-25s, three of which were top-10s. Just kind of assess the state of your game as you look back on 2009 and maybe some of the things you're looking to build on as you move forward into 2010.

ANTHONY KIM: Well, it was a very disappointing year for me, but I've got to put it in perspective, and I suppose that I wasn't healthy. And not making excuses, but it's hard to play and compete against the best players in the world week to week if you're not healthy. I think that's why I put so much effort into training and getting into good shape, so I wouldn't get injured as much and maybe cut out some of those activities that I was doing.

Once I figured that part out, the golf game has started to come back. My confidence is back. And I know it wasn't a great year for me, but the last month has been very successful in my eyes, and I've worked a lot harder. I've trained, ate right, I've done all the right things, and fortunately I won at New Zealand. It's a lot easier when there's only four players, but it was still a win, and it was nice to get that under my belt.

I'm looking forward to a great week this week. This is the best I've hit it and the farthest I've hit it since turning professional, and I can't wait for this week to get started.

DOUG MILNE: You obviously played in the pro-am today. You finished, I think, third here last year. Maybe just talk a little about the course, the condition it's in and how it kind of sets up for your game.

ANTHONY KIM: I lived about 45 minutes from here, so I got to watch it on TV, and I always wanted to play here. It's such a special event. When Tiger puts his name on anything, you want to be a part of it. I feel lucky to be here, and I was a sponsor's invite because as the World Rankings shook out I was the odd guy out.

But I feel very happy to be here, and the course is in great shape. Hopefully the birdies will start falling.

Q. Obviously we've been discussing Tiger a lot. I'm just wondering, in playing the pro-am, did the amateurs ask you much about it, or did they ignore it??

ANTHONY KIM: Ignore what? You get Tiger questions every single time you play; how much do you get to play with Tiger, and what does he do that's so good from other people. Obviously there's things going on right now that other people are speculating about, but nobody has the facts but Tiger and his family, and that's a personal issue for them.

I try to stay out of it. He's been great to me. He's a great guy, and he's running a world-class event here, so I'm very happy to be a part of it.

Q. But that said, how surprised were you by the statement that he released last night or this morning saying what he said??

ANTHONY KIM: Well, that's just not something I want to get into. Like I said, I know Tiger personally. He's done so much for the game of golf, so much for other people. His charities are tremendous and support so many kids and their futures. He's obviously done a world of good for the PGA TOUR and all the other golfers out here. So I feel very fortunate to be here.

I'm sure he'll come back a better man out of all this.

Q. What do you think about his ability to bounce back from this??

ANTHONY KIM: If you know Tiger, you know that the guy does some pretty amazing things. You never know. He could very well come out of this a better golfer and a better man.

Q. Have you been in touch with him??

ANTHONY KIM: You know, I haven't. Like I said, this is a personal issue. I'm sure there's been millions and millions of people trying to get a hold of him. Like I said, it's his personal life, and he's obviously -- whatever the problems may be and all the speculation is, you wish the best for him. I know he's done so much for me personally as I've grown up throughout the years and even when I've been on TOUR that I'm just hoping and wishing the best for him. Like I said, I know he's going to come out a better man out of this.

Q. How difficult is it as a professional athlete these days to kind of get out in front of rumors and innuendo and kind of stop it before everything snowballs??

ANTHONY KIM: I'm trying to stop it personally all the time, so I'll let you know when I figure it out.

Q. I was just wondering, as someone in the public eye, how do you balance the privacy versus being in the public eye balance??

ANTHONY KIM: It's different for different people. I'm pretty open, I'm pretty laid back, and if somebody wants to know something, they're probably going to find out. I think that's a pretty fine line to walk because then people can make up stories and speculate on what's going on in your life. But at the same time, I'm not like Tiger Woods in that not every single person in the world wants to know what I'm doing.

Unfortunately he's in that position. He's under that microscope, which he's handled beautifully throughout the years. It's unfortunate the situation that's come up for him. But personally I let people what they're going to say and move on and go on about my business.

Q. You were talking about some of these activities and earlier in your career, maybe you did some of that, and you mentioned then you got back to concentrating on golf and maybe got away from that a little bit again. Did you get to a place where you just felt like your game -- that maybe you could sort of slip back into that a little bit and maybe it wouldn't affect your game??

ANTHONY KIM: No, it wasn't so much that. It was a couple weird injuries. I never went horseback riding before, and here I was on the back of a horse just hanging on for dear life in New Zealand, and I thought, what a great opportunity to try horseback riding for the first time. And then I end up with a little fracture in my jaw because the horse won that battle.

But there's little things that I've done, and I really didn't think it would affect my golf game, but those injuries happen, and I just have to be more aware and prepared for those things.

Q. Talk about your maturing process. I mean, it sounds like you almost turned over a few new leaves to get to where you want to get in golf; is that correct??

ANTHONY KIM: I really feel a big difference in the way I feel when I come to a golf course or when I do wake up every morning. I have a purpose, and I haven't had that since I've turned professional. I've had it in spurts, and I don't know if it was for the right reason. I think I got tired of people beating me and finishing 20th and going to dinner with my parents after a 74, and that left a real bitter taste in my mouth.

But for the first time I can say that I want to win golf tournaments, and that's my priority. I want to do it. I'm going to do whatever it takes to get there, and there's no better time than now to get started.

Q. Can you talk about what you've done or what you will do to conform with the new grooves coming in for next year, and how much of a different will the new grooves make??

ANTHONY KIM: Well, I'm playing the new grooves right now. The lob and sand wedge I haven't changed to but I've practiced with a little bit. It's obviously going to be different. But everyone is playing the same grooves.

I'm sure there's going to be times where we hit fliers and we're going to complain about the grooves. You've just got to understand everyone is going to go through those things, so just don't hit it in the rough. That's why I've got my coach in town and I'm going to see him a little bit more, so I keep the ball in the fairway and quit worrying about those grooves and fliers.

Q. All the golfers that we have talked to have all supported Tiger and said things in his favor. Would it surprise you to hear that Jesper Parnevik went the other way today? Jesper said next time maybe she should use a driver instead of a 3-iron.

ANTHONY KIM: Wow. I don't know. I mean, look, Tiger has been great for the game of golf. He's been great for other people's futures. He's supported so many charities and supports all his friends. I'm not saying he did or didn't do anything, but everyone makes mistakes, and he's human like everyone else.

If somebody does so many other things for charities and other people, you've got to understand he has a huge heart, and when people go through tough times, you want them to bounce back, you want the best for them. And like I said, he's going to come back and be better than ever I'm sure.

Q. Is there any concern whatsoever, though, that this will affect the game of golf and how people look at it, because Tiger is such a face of the game??

ANTHONY KIM: You know, I don't know how people are going to take it. Inside the ropes, he's still the same guy. He's still the guy who's won I don't know how many majors, but he's won a lot of majors, right, and a lot of PGA TOUR events.

But he's that guy. And every time I lace up my shoes and when I get out there, I want to beat him.

But off the golf course he's just like everyone else. He's a human being. He endures a lot throughout the year and throughout every day. He comes in here and -- not everyone has their best days and comes and puts a smile on his face and is professional. Like I said, he's a great guy. My support goes out to him, and I wish him the best.

Q. Have you thought about how you or anyone else will greet him next time you see him? It's kind of weird with just all the stuff going around. Does it become awkward at all?

ANTHONY KIM: No, I don't think so, just a regular -- it's the same guy to me. I think everyone that watches TV or reads the newspaper or listens to somebody talk, everyone goes through the same things. Everyone has their bad days, and everyone struggles sometimes. Everyone makes mistakes. You have to understand that if he did or didn't make a mistake that he's a human being and he should be treated like one.

Q. As somebody who watched the tournament growing up, are you disappointed that for the second straight year you won't have a chance to at least play him head-to-head??

ANTHONY KIM: It's always a disappointment when Tiger is not at an event. Look, you want to play against the best. I have a goal. I want to improve. I want to get better, and every time I get to tee it up against him, I know I'm going to be getting better. Whether I beat him or not, I'm prepared to put in the work now, and it's for me. I want to grind. I want to get out there and mix it up with everybody, and I know I'm capable of it. I just need to go out there and start doing it. At 24 years old I feel like I've been out here for 15 years. But I'm ready to go, and I'll be ready next year.

DOUG MILNE: Anthony, as always, we appreciate your time. Best of luck this week.