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An Interview with ANTHONY KIM
KELLY ELBIN: U.S. Ryder Cup Team member, Anthony Kim, ladies and gentlemen, joining us at the 37th Ryder Cup at Valhalla Golf Club. This is Anthony's first Ryder Cup appearance. He finished fifth on the U.S. points list to earn his way to Valhalla Golf Club.
Welcome to the Ryder Cup. Initial impressions on being part of the week.
ANTHONY KIM: It's been crazy. I'm enjoying every moment of it. I'm trying to soak it all in and definitely trying to have a good time with it.
KELLY ELBIN: Having had some experience being on a victorious U.S. Team in the Walker Cup team in 2005 at Chicago Golf Club, give us a sense of how that might translate to this week.
ANTHONY KIM: It was definitely the most exciting rounds of golf I've played in my life, and I'll always remember it more than winning a golf tournament, more than anything else. I feel very honored to be here and represent my country and hopefully we can make the Americans proud.
Q. Describe the last 12 months. They've kind of been a whirlwind for you, success on the U.S. PGA TOUR, Ryder Cup appearance. Tell us what it all means to you. How excited are you?
ANTHONY KIM: I'm very excited. I'm more excited about being here and playing in the Ryder Cup, being a part of this team, than all the success, because this is what I've worked towards.
I feel like this is a huge accomplishment in my life, something I'll never forget, and looking forward to having a great week.
Q. Just very quickly on the course, and what you've seen, describe the layout. What out there intimidates you or really gets your golfing juices flowing?
ANTHONY KIM: Well, I played seven holes yesterday, and I wanted to be fresh coming into this week. Our week starts on Friday, so I wanted to make sure I didn't burn out before the week started. I had heard from the veterans it was going to be an emotional week, to take your time.
So I took last week off and was just trying to get my feet under me again playing golf. Wasn't too worried about the course. I'll know more after today.
Q. You were talking about your match play experience. Can you draw off of that at all in this kind of situation? It's a different arena obviously, but can you draw off the experience you got in 2005?
ANTHONY KIM: Definitely. It was the most pressure I've put on myself, playing in that Walker Cup, and I know there's going to be more pressure this year, and this event, just because of the stage, like you said.
But I feel like I'm a more accomplished player, a more mature person on and off the golf course, and that's going to help me get through this week.
Q. You also had J.B. as a teammate there. Have you guys known each other? Kind of talk about his game and his abilities.
ANTHONY KIM: Well, J.B. and I were teammates. We had a great time. I've known him since college. We've played a lot of golf together. He's a very good player. I don't know anybody that plays professional golf that hits it farther than him. I know Bubba is the longest guy on our TOUR, but I think if J.B. wants to, he could be. That's exciting to watch.
Playing with him at AT&T this year, he had a drive that went about 380 in the air. The ball didn't seem like it was ever going to come back. It's exciting to watch. He makes a lot of birdies. It's going to help our team, like he did the Walker Cup, and hopefully the U.S. will bring the Cup back home.
Q. With six rookies on the team, does that make the mood looser because it's a bunch of young guys with fire in their bellies and all that, or tighter because none of you guys have been thrown into a boiling pot of water like this before?
ANTHONY KIM: I don't see anybody being tight. I'm sure as the tournament nears, there's definitely a little bit more added pressure.
But we're out here to have a good time. This is an accomplishment to get here, and we have nothing to lose. Like Paul said, we're the underdogs this week. We're going to go out there and free wheel it and make a lot of birdies and have some fun and definitely have some fun with the fans.
Q. Earlier Justin Leonard was in here and was talking about first tee pressure, the jitters that sort of come along with the first tee shot of a Ryder Cup. How much have you thought about that coming into this week, and what have you done to prepare yourself or get ready for that moment?
ANTHONY KIM: You know, there's nothing you really can do to prepare for something you've never experienced. I'm just going to go out there, do what I normally do, have fun, try and not swing out of my shoes and just get it down the fairway and start rolling.
Q. Justin talked about going to the Muhammad Ali Museum last night, said that was inspirational for him. I didn't get the vibe that it meant as much to Hunter. What did that trip mean for you guys?
ANTHONY KIM: I think for Hunter and I, and I'm not speaking for Hunter, but we didn't get to see Muhammad Ali fight. He wasn't part of our generation, and so but it was inspirational. Watching the video that we watched for 20 minutes or 25 minutes was very inspirational. I took a lot away from it, and I'm going to use some of it this week.
Q. This week the Ryder Cup, there's a lot of talk about what players bring as far as intangibles to a Ryder Cup team. What do you feel like you bring as far as an intangible to this team?
ANTHONY KIM: I don't know what I bring, but hopefully I want to bring some birdies, to be honest with you. I'm going to bring a good attitude every day and my hardhat. I'm out here to work. I'm out here to do my job as a member of this team and whatever Captain Azinger needs of me, I'll be there and do my best.
Q. Have you talked or sought out any advice from any veterans, talked to any veterans about this week, just the pressures and how to kind of pace yourself?
ANTHONY KIM: I have. I talked to Jim Furyk; he and I had breakfast together at the BMW Championship. I talked to Phil quite a bit. We've been playing some golf together, and Justin Leonard and Chris DiMarco.
I'm sure I'm leaving some people out, but they've all told me the same thing. It's an emotional week, just try to relax, have fun, and I'm pretty good and doing both those things. So I wasn't too worried about it.
Q. You seem to really relish the atmosphere playing at our Open back in July. Do you feel the bigger the occasion the better you play, and will you be looking to feed off the atmosphere of the fans here to help you play even better this weekend?
ANTHONY KIM: Well, I think everyone wants to think that the bigger the situation, the bigger they can come out and perform. I'd like to think that. It's something that I've dreamt about my whole life. There's no reason to be tight and nervous about things that haven't even happened yet. I'm looking forward to the opportunity to succeed, and that's all I'm going to think about, just playing good golf, having fun and really enjoying this week.
Q. You talked about playing seven holes yesterday. Can you give us an idea of your workload, what you plan to do Tuesday, Wednesday and then Thursday, and especially Thursday night right before it all starts?
ANTHONY KIM: Well, my coach flew in last night. He knew I was taking last week off, so we were going to meet up this week, and whatever he has me doing, I'm doing. I'm good at following directions.
So if I can just start getting my feet under me, start doing a little chipping and putting today and play nine, I think we're supposed to play 18 holes, but just kind of take it easy and not worry about where the ball is going, just worry about what I need to do to prepare for Friday.
Q. When it comes to the alternate shot format, do you have much experience with that? And what are some of the challenges of playing and strategizing? I would think it would be kind of crucial to have the right guy paired with you. Maybe if you were a fade guy, a draw guy, something like that. I'm trying to figure out why over the past few matches the U.S. has been such a disadvantage and been such a huge hole right out of the chute in that format.
ANTHONY KIM: I don't even know about the past and about the U.S. getting off to a slow start.
This is a brand new team. Like you said, we've got six rookies. We're going to go out there, not worry about if a guy is hitting a draw or a fade. The only goal is to get the ball in the hole faster than the other guys, and I think we've got a pretty good shot at doing that.
KELLY ELBIN: Anthony had one win and one tie in foursomes play at the Walker Cup. Anthony Kim, thanks very much.
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