CME Group Titleholders Final Round Notes and Interviews

Na Yeon Choi
Photo Credit: Scott Halleran/Getty Images

Na Yeon Choi of South Korea kisses the winner's trophy after her two-stroke victory at the CME Group Titleholders at the TwinEagles Club on November 18, 2012 in Naples, Florida.

CME Group Titleholders
The TwinEagles Club, Eagle Course
Naples, Fla.
Final-round Notes and Interviews
November 18, 2012

Na Yeon Choi -14, Rolex Rankings No. 4
So Yeon Ryu, -12, Rolex Rankings No. 9
Inbee Park, -6, Rolex Rankings No. 3 and 2012 Vare Trophy winner

South Korean standout Na Yeon Choi (@nychoi87) managed to hold onto her third-round lead to capture her seventh-career LPGA victory at the season-ending CME Group Titleholders (@CMEGroupLPGA) at The TwinEagles Club in Naples, Fla. Choi takes home the $500,000 first-place check after firing rounds of 67-68-69-70 to finish with a 14-under 274. Finishing two shots behind Choi is fellow Korean and Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year So Yeon Ryu.

The 25-year-old started her round with a double-bogey on the par-4 No. 3 but bounced back with an eagle two holes later, sinking a nine-foot eagle putt. She finished her round with three birdies and one bogey en route to her second title this season.

“Actually I was very nervous even last night.  I told all the people, you know, leading tournament is always like extra pressure.  I think that's why I had pressure from the last night even front nine today, but when I had double bogey.”

Choi admitted to preferring a chasing position than holding the lead and said it suits her game to be able to play more aggressive coming from behind.

“And when I chasing or tied first place with So Yeon, I mean, at that moment I felt more comfortable than leading,” said Choi. “Maybe it sounds a little weird, but I think I like chasing somebody and then I can play more aggressive and I think that's Na Yeon, I think that's me.”

Choi captured her first major title earlier this season at the U.S Women’s Open and pocketed the largest paycheck this season, which was $585,000. With the first-place prize this week being the second-largest, Choi surpassed Stacy Lewis for second on the season-ending money list at 1,981,834 and plans to end the year in a brand new house in Orlando.

Where’s Mom? It had been a year since Na Yeon Choi’s mom had traveled to the United States to watch her in a tournament. But with Choi set to purchase a new home this next week, her mom, Jeong Me Song, flew to Florida to be in attendance for the LPGA’s season-ending CME Group Titleholders and is planning to go looking at houses with Choi on Monday in the Orlando area.

Choi’s mom cooked for her throughout the tournament week, creating a bit of a feeling of home for Choi. While it was unusual to have her mom in attendance while leading a tournament, Choi said she wasn’t nervous about it, although, the 25-year-old wasn’t sure if the same was true of her mom.

“I'm pretty sure my mom was really nervous today, yeah, because I couldn't see my mom on the course,” Choi said. “Maybe she followed the front group, I think.  I couldn't see my mom today.”

Happy House Hunting!  Na Yeon Choi took home the two biggest prize checks of the 2012 season, a $585,000 first-place prize for winning the U.S. Women’s Open and a $500,000 winner’s check at the CME Group Titleholders. Those two big paydays helped Choi to finish second on the 2012 LPGA Official Money List behind Inbee Park and to perhaps increase her price range as she looks to buy a new house in Orlando this next week.

“I think I can buy one more bigger than I thought,” Choi said with a laugh after her victory.

In addition to purchasing a new home, Choi is also switching up her home golf course in Orlando. She is planning to become a member at Isleworth Country Club and said she had a appointment scheduled about it at 11 a.m. on Monday morning. Choi’s reason for making the switch? Her swing coach, Kevin Smeltz, advised her two months ago that he thought Isleworth’s practice facility would help Choi in her goal of improving her short game this offseason.

“He went there for PGA guys and he said, you know, good facility for chipping and putting and always great condition for wintertime,” Choi said. “So actually I spend time in Orlando only like 10 weeks a year, but I think it's good investment in myself for improve my short game.”

Learning rookie: After receiving the Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year award on Friday night, So Yeon Ryu knew she had a lot to be proud of in her first season as a member on Tour. But no sense of complacency set in with the South Korean this week though as she battled eventual winner Na Yeon Choi throughout the final round on Sunday. She said the two stayed chatty during the last 18 holes of the 2012 season, which helped her stay loose and on the same level as the seven-time LPGA winner.

“Well, today we had quite a lot of chat and I think our team is feeling really pretty great,” said Ryu. “We had a lot of chat, we had some fun.  But, you know, it's really hard to compare with the same country player, especially Na Yeon is really, really great player, she is really successful player on the LPGA.”

The two players have known each other since their teenage years playing junior golf in South Korea and Ryu had no hesitation in pointing out Choi’s stellar play this week.

“I'm just rookie and I just started this season in LPGA, so you know it's quite tough,” said Ryu. “But today Na Yeon was playing really good, especially today her putting was really great, so it's really right deserved for her.”

Ryu carded five birdies and three bogeys in the final round en route to a 2-under 70, finishing 12-under 276 for the week. Always anxious to learn more about her game and to make improvements. Ryu said she took away some lessons in the final round.

“First of all, I really proud of myself,” said Ryu. “You know, I'm Rookie of the Year and I think I'm like 14, 15 times finish the Top 10.  You know, I'm playing really consistently, so I'm really proud of myself. Then I have to learning something of this round, it's like the wind affect your ball on the green or I have to control myself when I was lead the tournament, it's like that.  So I really don't care about second, I just really happy to finish this season now.”

Inbee Park secured the 2012 Vare Trophy for low scoring average and the 2012 LPGA Official Money List with a final-round 70 at the season-ending CME Group Titleholders. There were multiple scenarios entering the week – and the final round – where Rolex Player of the Year Stacy Lewis could overtake Park in both races, but after 72 holes at The TwinEagles Club in Naples, Fla., Lewis’ even-par 288 was not enough to challenge Park, who finished the tournament at 6-under-par 282.

“I mean, it means a lot,” said Park. “We had a tight race until the last tournament and the last round.  I had to put a lot of pressure on myself this week and it was really hard.  This week felt like it was longer than the whole season.  I'm really happy that it's finally done and I got the title, really proud of myself, and this is the best year I've had.”

Park becomes the fourth South Korean to earn Vare Torphy honors following LPGA and World Golf Halls of Famer Se Ri Pak (2003), Grace Park (2004) and Na Yeon Choi (2010).

She also claimed the 2012 LPGA Official Money List with a season-ending total of 2,287,080 becoming just the fourth different player to win the title with more than $2 million following Annika Sorenstam (2001-05), Lorena Ochoa (2006-08) and Yani Tseng (2011). She joins Jiyai Shin (2009) as just the second South Korean to win the top money honor.

Lewis was the only player with a shot at overtaking Park’s money list title due to the $500,000 first-place check at the CME Group Titleholders, but following a tie for T29, Lewis completed the year in third place with $1,872,409.

Park’s Vare Trophy and LPGA Official Money List are thanks in large part to 10-consecutive top-10 finishes including two victories, three runner-ups and more than $1.8 million in earnings between June’s Wegmans LPGA Championship and October’s Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia, which was her second victory of the streak following the Evian Masters. She said she’s looking forward to the 2013 season with more high-pressure experience under her belt.

“I led a lot of tournaments this year and I finished a lot in runner‑up finishes this year,” said Park. “Next year when I get the chance of leading, I won't be as nervous as this year.  Experience makes it perfect.”

Heroes for a day: The ISPS Handa Heroes, a nine-hole, made-for-TV charity event honoring golf philanthropist Dr. Haruhis Handa, will be played at The TwinsEagles Club on Monday, following the season-ending CME Group Titleholders.

The team scramble event will feature four teams of two players, consisting of one current LPGA star and one LPGA Legend. The teams scheduled to take part are Brittany Lincicome & Jan Stephenson, Stacy Lewis & Betsy King, Paula Creamer & Nancy Lopez, and Lexi Thompson & Pat Bradley. The event will air on Golf Channel on Wednesday, Nov. 21 from 8 to 10 p.m. Eastern and will feature live interviews and sound throughout the competition.

Quote of the Day: Goes to the 2012 CME Group Titleholders champion Na Yeon Choi on where her caddie Jason Hamilton thought she was getting all of her power from this week.

“I had Korean barbecue, Galbi.  When I hit far from driver, always my caddie say that's the kimchi power because I had kimchi this week every day, so it might be healthy or I think I had a good meal every day.”

 

NA YEON CHOI, Rolex Rankings No. 4

MODERATOR:  We'd like to welcome the 2012 CME Group Titleholders champion, Na Yeon Choi, into the interview room. 

Congratulations, what a victory today.  Now your second win of the season and both some pretty big prize checks to go along with them, the two biggest of the year.  Just give me some thoughts on winning and being able to cap off this season with another victory.

NA YEON CHOI:  I feel really great and I really satisfied how I played, not just this week, this season.  And my mom's here just for this week and she just saw first time I won the tournament overseas.  This is the first time she watched real on the golf course.  So I really ‑‑ actually like even U.S. Open, when I won the U.S. Open, I was really missing my parents.  But, you know, this week my mom's here, so I don't know, I feel like I think she proud of me, so I really happy.  And I mention I'm going to buy a house in Orlando, so I think I can buy more bigger than I thought.

MODERATOR:  A little bit of extra money will come in handy when you're looking at those houses tomorrow, right?

NA YEON CHOI:  Yeah.

MODERATOR:  Take me through, started off the round a little shaky when you had the double bogey.  Take me through that hole and how did you bounce back two holes later to be able to eagle?

NA YEON CHOI:  Actually I was very nervous even last night.  I told all the people, you know, leading tournament is always like extra pressure.  I think that's why I had pressure from the last night even front nine today, but when I had double bogey.  And when I chasing or tied first place with So Yeon, I mean, at that moment I felt more comfortable than leading.  Maybe it sounds a little weird, but I think I like to chasing somebody and then I can play more aggressive and I think that's Na Yeon, I think that's me.

MODERATOR:  In your other victory this season at the U.S. Women's Open, it got tight for you in the final day as well and you were able to kind of hold yourself together and put together a really solid round. 

What did you learn from that experience on that final day when it looked like things got a little shaky and you were able to kind of steady yourself that you used today?

NA YEON CHOI:  I mean, not just for the tournament, all the tournament I learned, you know, putting is important and also I can't give up until last hole.  So even today I had a great shot on 16, but I mean, after the 16th I got some momentum, but before that hole my shot wasn't great if I compared to last couple days, but I think I didn't give up until last hole, yeah.

Q.  Could you go over the eagle, what club you hit, and then also how you made the double bogey, too?

NA YEON CHOI:  Okay.  Can I go double bogey first?

Okay, hole No. 3 I had ‑‑ I hit driver left side of the fairway and then I got like 180 or 185 shot to the pin.  I hit 4‑rescue and I pulled left, and my third shot was like, I missed it just a little bit, but it kicked all the way left, so my third shot was a 35 yards to the pin but I couldn't get on from there.  So I had 4 on and two putts, so easy double bogey there.

MODERATOR:  And then the eagle?

NA YEON CHOI:  Hole 5 I hit driver very well, drove the fairway, and I hit 3‑wood for second shot.  I think the distance was like 240 to the pin.  Then ball landed just like 20 yards short of the pin and then it rolled to the pin and my eagle putt was like nine feet, nine feet.

Q.  On your wedge on 16, what kind of wedge was that?

NA YEON CHOI:  I used a 52‑degree.

Q.  How big of a landing area do you think it was because of the way the green goes up like that to be able to land that shot, very small?

NA YEON CHOI:  Actually, I was thinking driver from tee shot, but my caddie said just hit the fairway first, and left side of the fairway is a better angle to the second shot, so I used the 3‑wood for the tee shot.  Actually, the second shot my ball was better than So Yeon's angle, I think.  I think pin was at 79 ‑‑ 79 yards to the pin, but I just landed it almost at the pin.  I tried to land it almost pin.  I mean, there's not a lot of room than I think.

Q.  I know you've wanted some independence over the years to kind of do things on your own.  How much have your parents been out with you over the last few years like total in terms of the number of tournaments, and is your mom here this week to help you house hunt?

NA YEON CHOI:  Yeah, my mom just came here for buying house.  I think she's better than me.  Actually, this is the first time my parents, my mom, come to watch tournament.  They come to Hana Bank, but I think that's the only one they come to watch my game in tournament this year.

Q. Did your mom come to any last year?

NA YEON CHOI:  My mom?  Yeah, my mom came here for only last tournament, the CME Titleholder, just for one tournament, yeah.

Q.  Were you nervous to be leading the tournament with your mom here?

NA YEON CHOI:  No, not really, but I'm pretty sure my mom was really nervous today, yeah, because I couldn't see my mom on the course.  I think she just ‑‑ I don't know, maybe she followed the front group, I think.  I couldn't see my mom today.

Q.  (inaudible)

NA YEON CHOI:  I mean, not really.  I don't think I really nervous if I see my parents because they never, you know, tell me about how you play today, never, you know, tell me.  So I think we both don't care how we play, they just support me.  My mom cooked for all meal this week, so I mean, they don't really care about my golf.

Q.  I think you mentioned yesterday that when you won the U.S. Women's Open, that it helped you as far as dealing with being ahead.  Was there anything with this tournament where that tournament helped you at all?

NA YEON CHOI:  Actually, after the U.S. Open, I think I had extra pressure than before.  Lot of people expect me to win again or play well like U.S. Open.  They always tell me, like, you played well on Saturday, so just play like that.  I mean, I think that was the great round I had ever, so sometimes I had more pressure than before. 

But I think I had lot of experience from U.S. Open.  So, I mean, I think that really big to me.  You know, on Sunday I had a triple bogey on 10th hole but I didn't give up.  And then I tried to talk with my caddie when I had mad, so even like today I just tried to talk with my caddie all the time, even So Yeon and I, I think that made me more relaxed on the course.

Q.  What was it like to get sprayed with champagne by Inbee?

NA YEON CHOI:  I didn't expect that she was waiting for me, but after ‑‑ when I had ceremony, she was waiting for her ceremony, not for me.  But I talked to Inbee and she said like congratulations.  And, I mean, we really good friends to each other and I think we proud of each other.

Q.  Your mom's name?

NA YEON CHOI:  My mom's name?  Jeong Me Song.  

Q.  Spelling, please?

NA YEON CHOI:  J‑E‑O‑N‑G, M‑E, last name S‑O‑N‑G.

Q.  Before the year started, Yani had such a monster lead in the world rankings No. 1.  Now it's a lot tighter.  Is that on your mind?  Will that be on your mind going into next year?

NA YEON CHOI:  It should be my goal for next year, but I don't really think about world ranking, you know.  If I play well every tournament or improve my game every year, I think I can be closer.  But I can't control that, so I don't want to think about world ranking or money list or that kind of thing.  I just want to play my game and just go out ‑‑ I think my job is just go out there and have fun and play golf and make lower score, yeah.

Q.  What did your mom cook for you last night?

NA YEON CHOI:  Last night?  I had Korean barbecue, Galbi.  When I hit far from driver, always my caddie say that's the kimchi power because I had kimchi this week every day, so it might be healthy or I think I had a good meal every day.

Q.  What is kimchi?

NA YEON CHOI:  Kimchi is a Korean food.

MODERATOR:  It's like a cabbage.

NA YEON CHOI:  Yeah.

Q.  Just curious, on the 15th hole, why did you have Ai mark her ball?  You were still out in the fairway about 140 or so yards away.

NA YEON CHOI:  I tried to pitch it around her ball and then eventually my ball landed just one ‑‑ no, three feet right of her ball, so almost close to her ball.

Q.  You talked about not hitting your irons good all the time, not a very good shot on 13 and 14.  What gave you the confidence to hit the shot you did on 16?

NA YEON CHOI:  Well, actually today my shot wasn't great, and if I compare last couple of days, my shot was great first and second day.  I think I was a little nervous on the course and then I think I hold too much grip, so sometimes pull, sometimes push.  But I tried to just simple think, I just tried to think of just one thing for good rhythm.  I mean, I hit a little bad shot 13 and 14, but I don't know, I still had a good confidence until 18th hole.

Q.  Do you feel like you've kept improving the last two or three years, and is there any particular part of your game that you want to work on or improve on going into next season?

NA YEON CHOI:  Yeah, almost like every year beginning of every year my goal is improve every part, even driving distance or putting average, everything. 

The reason I want to buy a house in Orlando, I have a house in Orlando, but I want to move golf course to Isleworth.  You know, that's I think an investment in myself.  I want a better practice facility than improve my short game.  I think putting is very important than iron shot, so I heard that Isleworth has a good facility for short game, that's why I want to move to house and golf course, too.

Q.  What is the name of your English tutor?

NA YEON CHOI:  Greg Morrison.

Q.  Can you spell it?

NA YEON CHOI:  G‑R‑E‑G.

Q.  Got that.

NA YEON CHOI:  Morrison, M‑O‑R‑R‑I‑S‑O‑N.

Q.  Why was it important, so important for you to learn English so well?  And Se Ri, when she first came over, talked about the importance of learning English because it made her comfortable off the course and made her golf better.  Do you understand what she meant by that?

NA YEON CHOI:  I mean, first year when I was here I couldn't speak English well and then very hard to tell my feeling to people, even media or fans or even swing coach.  When I learned English and when I tell my feelings to people, I feel way more comfortable than before.  I think that made it good golfer, too.  And on the golf course I can relax and I can talk with the other players.  So, I mean, my English tutor couldn't travel with me this year, only last year, but I'm talking with him travel with me for next year again.  So I want to improve my English for media and fans, I want to tell my feelings in more detail.

Q.  How much did you study last year?  Every day?

NA YEON CHOI:  Every day, one hour class, and rest of day I just talking with him in English, so I think that's more make me better English.

MODERATOR:  How often did you guys ‑‑ did you guys Skype this year, or how did you kind of do your lessons throughout this year in terms of trying to keep it up?

NA YEON CHOI:  Actually, this year I couldn't much with him, but when I go back to Korea, I always met him and we had dinner and I talk about everything to him.  Then even today, this week, I had one‑hour class with him on Skype.  So we didn't talk about golf, not only golf, we talk about anything.  Like I said I'm going to looking for a new house and he tried to help me which house is better for me.  He's more like not just English tutor, he's more like manager or assistant to me.

Q.  Do you ever talk baseball with him?

NA YEON CHOI:  Not really.  I think he's a hockey fan.

Q.  Na Yeon, who recommended Isleworth as being such a great place for you?

NA YEON CHOI:  My swing coach, Kevin Smeltz.  He went there for PGA guys and he said, you know, good facility for chipping and putting and always great condition for wintertime.  So actually I spend time in Orlando only like 10 weeks a year, but I think it's good investment in myself for improve my short game.

Q.  How long have you been thinking about finding a different practice facility?

NA YEON CHOI:  Just maybe two months ago.  When he came to Hana Bank, he came to Hana Bank and he said you need to practice more for short game.  Then I know I want a better facility for winter training and then he say, I went to Isleworth before, but it's in really good condition every day, so I think you can get membership from there.

Q.  Do you have the membership yet?

NA YEON CHOI:  Not yet, I'm going to tomorrow, I have appointment 11:00.

Q.  At this time, at this moment, who do you think is the best South Korean player on this Tour?

NA YEON CHOI:  Except me?

Q.  Well, that's what I want to hear.  Is that hard for you to say, that you're the best?

NA YEON CHOI:  I think it seems that Inbee playing really well this year.  I think she had a lot of confidence from this year and I think she can play really well next year, too.

Q.  But is it hard for you to say yourself that you are the best South Korean player?

NA YEON CHOI:  I think it's not difficult, but I don't want to say.  I think she plays really well.  I talk to Inbee a lot of time and when we talk about golf, she has a lot of confidence and I play with her at Sime Darby and she had a lot of confidence I can see, I could tell.

Q.  This was a great year for South Korean golf, almost as great as 1998.  Any thoughts on that?  You win the U.S. Open, second on the money list, Inbee wins the scoring title.  What does that mean to your country?

NA YEON CHOI:  I think I'm pretty proud from all the South Korea players and I know a lot of junior golfers playing well from Korea and almost every day they watch on TV for us.  Like same as me, when I was young I watched it on TV and I had dream from Se Ri or Kimme or Grace Park.  And when I met them, when I met all the junior players in Korea, they told me like I'm Na Yeon kid like I'm Se Ri kid?  I'm Na Yeon kid, I always watching your golf game on TV.  I mean, that makes me really happy, yeah.

MODERATOR:  Any other questions for Na Yeon?  All right.  Well, thank you very much.  Congratulations, a great way to finish the year.


SO YEON RYU, Rolex Rankings No. 9

MODERATOR:  All right.  We'd like to welcome So Yeon Ryu into the interview room.

SO YEON RYU:  Thank you.

Q.  Congratulations on your finish this week.  I know not quite the win that you were hoping for, but just take me through this final round and kind of how your day went out there.

SO YEON RYU:  I think today my shot was pretty great, but is really sadly my putting wasn't really great.  I missed so much really short putts like two foot, three foot par putt so that's why I just finished like second.  But yesterday I finished third, but I finished second anyways, improved.

When I started this tournament, my condition was really, really bad, especially like I couldn't feel like my swinging feel and my (indiscernible.)  But I really happy with my (indiscernible) absolutely if I win this tournament it's a bit more happy and I really, really ‑‑ how can I say, it's a really fun tournament, but it's still not really bad.

MODERATOR:  It was a good battle out there between you and Na Yeon.  I know you two have known each other a long time.  What was it like being out there and kind of head to head with her?

SO YEON RYU:  Well, today we had quite a lot of chat and I think our team is feeling really pretty great.  We had a lot of chat, we had some fun.  But, you know, it's really hard to compare with the same country player, especially Na Yeon is really, really great player, she is really successful player on the LPGA and I'm just rookie and I just started this season in LPGA, so you know it's quite tough.  But today Na Yeon was playing really good, especially today her putting was really great, so it's really right deserved for her.

Q.  Talk about the 3‑putt on 14.  On the first putt, what happened?  Did you just lose track of the speed?

SO YEON RYU:  Well, that moment the wind was helping me and I mean, helping teeing ground to green.  So yeah, I couldn't expect that much strong wind and I couldn't expect wind is quite big effect to ball speed.  But anyway, it did, so that's why my ball is just coming through.  Anyway, today my shot, I mean, the short putt wasn't really great.  I mean, today my putting wasn't really great, so that's all, yeah.  I learn one more thing, I have to thinking about the wind strength at the green.

Q.  Na Yeon double bogeyed the 3rd, right?  That could have been something that would cause her to unravel.  What did you see in her after that?

SO YEON RYU:  I think, you know, Na Yeon already won quite a lot of tournament, it's like seven in LPGA, so she have a lot of experience.  So I think she did make up pretty well after double bogey.  Especially at the final round, everybody couldn't (indiscernible) what's going on, and after 3rd hole she still make up pretty well, especially she made an eagle on 5th, so that's pretty great career for her so that's why she could be more trust herself, that's what I think.  So anyway, I already finished this year and I learned a lot of things, so maybe I can do that great make up after that.

Q.  In the next few days, are you going to say to yourself, man, I had a great rookie year, or are you going to say, man, if I would have made a couple more of those putts, I could have had another title?

SO YEON RYU:  First of all, I really proud of myself.  You know, I'm Rookie of the Year and I think I'm like 14, 15 times finish the Top 10.  You know, I'm playing really consistently, so I'm really proud of myself, first of all.

Then I have to learning something of this round, it's like the wind affect your ball on the green or I have to control myself when I was lead the tournament, it's like that.  So I really don't care about (indiscernible,) I just really happy to finish this season now.

Q.  I think you were tied with her a couple of times but I don't think you took the lead today.  Do you think if you had taken the lead that could have changed things a little bit?

SO YEON RYU:  Yes, maybe, but the big more big thing is today I couldn't trust myself on the green, so that's why I couldn't win this tournament.  I really couldn't feel my stroke today, so if I ‑‑ I think I took a couple mistakes like a really huge mistake like a 3‑putt, I just missed an easy par putt like that.  So if I made it, maybe I could chance to win this tournament.  But anyway, it's already passed, so I just want to accept it and learning something today.

Q.  I'm just curious if out of all the Korean players on Tour, if there's anyone that you went to earlier in the year for advice or any kind of mentor out here, close friend?

SO YEON RYU:  You mean mentor?  Well, Se Ri's pretty good mentor.  She said, you know, she had a quite difficult time during the Tour three years, you know, after she entered the Hall of Fame, her really struggle with playing golf.  She said at that moment she really don't like playing golf, she just don't like golf.  So she only told me you have to enjoy your golf, you have to traveling with awesome players, you have to enjoy the tournament with really awesome fans like that.  And especially she said don't forget the really great sponsor, the great supporter, the great LPGA staff or something, so she is really great mentor.

Sometimes her father teach me something.  Sometime I play in KLPGA tournament, also Se Ri play in couple KLPGA tournament.  When she was playing the KLPGA tournament, her parents also came to the golf course.  Se Ri's father, Joon Chul, he said I'm quite really similar Se Ri, so sometimes he teach me like golf skill, you have to stroke a bit more smoother or you have to relax your body when you are swinging like that.  So Se Ri and Se Ri's parents also really great mentor for me.

Q.  Did they ever have you walk through a graveyard or anything?

SO YEON RYU:  Hmm?  I'm sorry, I couldn't understand you.

Q.  That's okay.  Two questions.  One, of all the things that Se Ri taught you, did she ever talk to you ‑‑ I mean, you speak very good English.

SO YEON RYU:  Thank you.

Q.  Better than Beth Ann, if I might say.  Did she ever talk to you about how much easier life would be if you learned to speak English and how that would make you more comfortable on the golf course?

SO YEON RYU:  Actually, she never spoke for me, but when she won the U.S. Opens and she had a lot of interview, and you know I'm like a Se Ri kid, especially I watched a lot of her interview and a lot of her game and she always talking about learning English is a really important part.  Maybe that's why I was a bit more try to learn English.  I think it's definitely helped me a lot here on the LPGA and especially the LPGA player helped me some grammar and words something, especially Katie Futcher is really my great English teacher, she taught me a couple of things.

Q.  Do you have to pay her for the lessons?

SO YEON RYU:  Nope, but I have to buy dinner.

Q.  Easy question:  What club did you hit into the green on the 13th?

SO YEON RYU:  3‑wood.  Par 5, right?

Q.  Yes.

SO YEON RYU:  Yes, yes.

 

INBEE PARK, Rolex Rankings No. 3

Q.  What does it mean for you to win the Vare Trophy and the money title?

INBEE PARK:  I mean, it means a lot.  We had a tight race until the last tournament and the last round.  I had to put a lot of pressure on myself this week and it was really hard.  This week felt like it was longer than the whole season.  I'm really happy that it's finally done and I got the title, really proud of myself, and this is the best year I've had, so yeah.

Q.  Does one mean more than the other to you?

INBEE PARK:  I think they both mean a lot to me.  I think it is tough to win the money list and it's also tough to win the Vare Trophy.  I think it's a little bit tougher to win the Vare Trophy because the scoring average means how consistent you played all year and one bad round can put your average down, so I think it is tough.

Q.  It will be a big day for South Korea with you wrapping up this and the leaderboard looks like ‑‑

INBEE PARK:  Yeah.

Q.  Can you just tell us the state of the game right now among South Koreans, how competitive it is?

INBEE PARK:  I think South Koreans been playing really good on the Tour about last seven, eight years, and you know, Se Ri, Grace, they all started the ‑‑ they were the first generations out here and they led us to have like a good Tour out here.  I really want to take this opportunity to say thank you to the ones that, you know, was able to make it, you know, possible, yeah.  For sure they're playing really good.

Q.  The finish to the season that you've had, what kind of springboard does that give you looking ahead to next year, what kind of momentum do you have?

INBEE PARK:  I wasn't used to this place until this year.  I led a lot of tournaments this year and I finished a lot in runner‑up finishes this year.  Next year when I get the chance of leading, I won't be as nervous as this year.  Experience makes it perfect.

Q.  Is this the type of year that maybe you kind of expected after you won the Open in '08?

INBEE PARK:  Yeah, not as good as this one, but I was thinking about something like this, you know, being in contention almost every week and try to compete against the best players out here.  Didn't really (indiscernible) and it took me about four years to do that, so I think I really proud of myself that I actually ‑‑ I was actually patient with it.

Q.  Looking back now now that it's the end of the year, can you appreciate, I mean, that streak you went on?  I mean, 10 consecutive Top 10 finishes, that's not something you see very often players are able to put together streaks like that.

INBEE PARK:  I know, I mean, especially after like disappointing season, disappointing tournaments earlier in the season, it is kind of tough to get the rhythm going after that.  I don't know exactly what tournament it was, but it just started to ‑‑ things started to go right and I really ‑‑ I think I was really in a good rhythm and good momentum that was going on, so yeah.  It is not usual that I can do really good on this half end of the season, so maybe next year I'll be a little more consistent.

Q.  The thing do you find striking is that here you get the Vare Trophy, here you get all these Top 10 finishes and you're not Top 10 Player of the Year.  Does that just go to show how strong, you know, the top three, four players are?

INBEE PARK:  Yeah, I mean, this year I think it wasn't like a dominant year by one player this year.  I think there was about three, four players out here that played really great this year.  That's why I think it's been like spreaded this year.  Yeah, it's always been like Yani winning everything and Lorena winning everything, so I think it gets more exciting when actually a lot of players play well and try to compete each other and try to, you know, inspire each other.

Q.  Can you tell us just a little something about Na Yeon and So Yeon Ryu what stands out about each one of their games?

INBEE PARK:  They're both very good ball striker and I think So Yeon might be a little bit longer off the tee and I think Na Yeon might be a little bit better iron player.  I think it all depends on their putting, whoever the best putter on that day is going to win.

Q.  You mean like in the next hour?

INBEE PARK:  Yeah, it looks pretty close.

Q.  You said you finally got used to here.  Are you saying the United States?

INBEE PARK:  Um‑hmm.

Q.  Examples?  Anything that took you a while to get used to?  Was it travel, hotels, food?

INBEE PARK:  Well, it was mostly like traveling alone was toughest part for me because I just felt really lonely out here traveling every week.  This year I have my fiance traveling with me and that's been helping me a lot that somebody's on my side totally.  It's been a great year.

Q.  Anything in particular, though, that you finally got used to, maybe showing up at the same golf courses?

INBEE PARK:  Well, I've lived in America a while, I've lived here about 12 years, so I'm pretty used to everything.  I think it was just the travel part.

Q.  Is there a wedding date set?

INBEE PARK:  Not yet.

 

 

 

Topics: Notes and Interviews, Choi, Na Yeon, CME Group Tour Championship, Ryu, So Yeon, Park, Inbee [+]

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