HP Byron Nelson interview: Sang-Moon Bae

May 19, 2013

HP Byron Nelson transcripts

We would like to welcome 2013 HP Byron Nelson Championship winner, Sang‑Moon Bae into the interview room. Sang‑Moon becomes the fifth player of Korean descent to win on the TOUR with a two‑shot lead over Keegan Bradley. Congratulations on the win, if we could get your comments.

SANG‑MOON BAE: I had a great time today. The course was really tough out there. Actually the winds were really strong, but I told myself, hang in there and just keep trying, keep trying, focus on my game.

That's it. That's what I did.

THE MODERATOR: Probably the key hole, hole 16, talk about your birdie there and then the putt that Keegan missed.

SANG‑MOON BAE: Actually 15 is the hole was like a key hole, because he made a big putt and I missed the short putt. Like that's kind of medicine, it warmed me up, so I could focus on my game, and I made easy putt on 16, not easy, actually, yeah, but I didn't think he missed that putt, but it was a pretty shock, so I was a little lucky today.

THE MODERATOR: Congratulations.

SANG‑MOON BAE: Thank you.

Q. Were you nervous out there, not having won before? How was your nerves in the last four or five holes?

Actually I play very well last three holes. But 15 was‑‑ yeah, I had a problem from the second. I hit a good driver on 15 but second shot was really bad. The 6‑iron, push, but I think I was focus from the second, but I made bogey.

Q. Can you describe what you were thinking after you hit your shot on 17? It looked like you were intently looking at that. Were you worried that it might fall short into the water?

(Speaking Korean) ordinarily my iron play is one of my strengths, and during the course of the round I‑‑ as it turns out, I have some hot spots and cold spots. But when my iron play came back in the latter part of the round, I had confidence. So on that shot on 17, I knew it was short, and the wind pushed it over to the right, and I was happy and relieved that it turned out okay.

Q. On 16 did you see Keegan miss the putt? It looked like you were walking off. I didn't know if you saw the putt.

I saw that, after one I made.

Q. What happened on No. 9? Did you see the ball, where it went, or did anybody see the ball where it went? What happened from when you hit that approach?

I didn't see where it was carried but ball was way over the green. Ball was only 10 yards to the green, but I tried a little hook from the second shot. I think I hit it too solid so‑‑ I don't know where is it, but, yeah, I lost focus on 9th hole.

Q. Talk about receiving the congratulatory hug from Peggy as you walked off the 18 and what that meant to you.

(Speaking in Korean) it's like a dream. It's something I've always dreamed of, winning on the PGA TOUR. I've won 11 times abroad, so it was surreal to have Mrs.Nelson there and with all the history, it was kind of‑‑ I was in awe, actually, so almost I didn't know how to react. It was awkward because, you know, it's such a special moment.

Q. Can you talk about the first eight holes? You go from 1 down to 4 up, all of the sudden, it seems like. How important was it to grab the lead and put Keegan on his heels?

I made that really big putt on third hole. He got bogey. It was a really big putt. So I was really excited.

Third, 5th, I made a bunch of good putts, long putt, I mean. I don't know, condition was really tough out there, but I played really well first eight holes. I made a double bogey on 9. That's my plan! (Laughter.)

Q. Congratulations. Remember when we had interview on Tuesday, you said you were thinking about moving to Dallas. Now you win this tournament. What do you think about that now?

Definitely! I love this place! (Laughter.) I would move to Dallas tomorrow! (Laughter.)

Q. Did you get a chance to visit Korea Town at all? Did you visit with K.J.?

Yeah. I'm very friendly with K.J., yes. Actually, I learn from him a lot of time. I learn from him a lot of golf, a lot of kind of golf. I respect him. Then, yeah. Is it K.J.'s birthday today?

THE MODERATOR: Yes, it is. My wife's birthday is today and they have the same birthday.

SANG‑MOON BAE: Happy birthday, K.J.! (Laughter.)

Q. Did you go to his house this week at all?

Actually I have apartment in LA, so I will move to Dallas. Easy traveling everywhere.

Q. Before you came to PGA TOUR you were on the Japanese Tour, in your second season. This is also your second season on the PGA TOUR. Why can you adapt so easily to the new stations? What is your secret?

(Speaking in Korean) The way I find success in the second year is the first year I'm learning the courses, the conditions, sort of just the environment, getting used to living in a new country.

The second year, that's what I have confidence to, okay, now I play well, now I know the courses, I'm more accustomed, more comfortable. Probably a lot of people don't realize it about international players, that they need that adjustment period before they can really feel comfortable and play well.

Q. Starting with the 9th hole you seemed to find a few swing issues for a few holes but you were able to correct them. Is that right? What kind of issues did you have with your swing during that four or five‑hole stretch?

Actually 9th hole was a little problem and body feel, like more heavier. I don't know why. Just one shot I think 9th hole, second shot, it went in the water, and then I got double bogey. Also I had bogey on 10th, and 11, way right from the tee, but I got the hang of my swing quickly after 13, maybe.

But, yeah, I hit really good‑‑ I hit a bunch of good shots today but couple shots was bad. But weather was not good. So everybody has that happen, I think.

Q. Your English is coming along very well. I heard that you also learned how to speak Japanese when you were playing over there. Is that true? How difficult is it to learn two or three different languages?

(Speaking in Korean) (Laughter.) I still think I have a long way to go on both languages. Japanese was easier to learn, but I can't read and write in Japanese, I can just speak.
I have confidence that my English will get better and the more confidence I get then I like speaking!

THE MODERATOR: Once again, congratulations to 2013 HP Byron Nelson Champion, Sang‑Moon Bae.

SANG‑MOON BAE: Thank you.