An Interview With: Kimberly Kim
Q. Let's get it straight. Everybody has been calling me all day. You're 14 years old and going to be 15 on the 23rd?
KIMBERLY KIM: Yep. I think there's 12 days left.
Q. Okay. We had two other 14 year oldin the semifinals. They were a little bit younger than you. Aree Song and Roberta Albers many years ago. Congratulations for that. How do you feel about the match today? How did it go from your perspective?
KIMBERLY KIM: In the beginning I was just like tired and I wasn't playing good, and like I just didn't want to play anymore. I felt like so bad. And then my caddie just like basically fought with me to make me like start playing well again. And then I started hitting some good shots. And then on the 12th I hit in the water but then like at that time I was already like, I just wanted to beat her.
And then I came back, like she messed up the next hole, but then the next hole we were chipping from like about a yard away and I almost chipped it in. She didn't get up and down. And the next two I birdied the next two I stuck it. The next two I stuck it.
Q. So something made you decide start trying?
KIMBERLY KIM: Yes.
Q. Was it strictly your caddie?
KIMBERLY KIM: Pretty much.
Q. What's your caddie's name?
KIMBERLY KIM: Frank Nau. It's like Frank and Nau.
Q. Is he from Portland?
KIMBERLY KIM: Yes.
Q. What did he say?
KIMBERLY KIM: I don't know. He was just like telling me not to give up, and like on the ninth hole like I snap hooked the drive into the trees. I didn't practice swing or anything on the drive. I snap hooked it and so there's a lot of trees in the way of the green. I was just like hit it through the trees or something but he like forced me to hit a wedge and punch out and I got up and down. We halved the hole. Or I would have lost the hole.
Q. You said you weren't too enthusiastic starting out but you started with a birdie. You started with two 3s.
KIMBERLY KIM: I was enthusiastic until like about like the par 5 or the eighth hole, the par 5 I made a nice 10-footer to half the hole and then 8. I had the easiest putt ever. I saw her line. She was like right here and I was here. And I just didn't putt it. I choked or something. It was a bad putt.
Q. So you got, what, down in the dumps or how did you?
KIMBERLY KIM: I got really upset about the putt. He just helped me get over it.
Q. Okay. Well, you'd think, you said you were tired. You're the youngest one in the field. Maybe you'd have more energy than anybody else?
KIMBERLY KIM: Sleeping is my hobby. I'm kind of disappointed tee times are like 10 tomorrow.
Q. What time would you rather them be at?
KIMBERLY KIM: Like 3. This morning I woke up like at 11:40 and I didn't want to wake up.
Q. Do you stay up late at night watching TV?
KIMBERLY KIM: No, I sleep a lot.
Q. What time did you go to bed last night?
KIMBERLY KIM: Well, by the time all the matches were finished and we ate dinner and stuff it was like past 11, I think, yeah.
Q. It's a good 12 and a half hours of sleep?
KIMBERLY KIM: Yeah.
Q. What explains all the success this summer. Obviously you played well at the Pub Links. What's going right?
KIMBERLY KIM: I don't know. Well, this summer like my parents have kind of been more supportive and my sister, because we live separate, we lived separate for about two months when I moved to California. So then after that like the family just got a little closer and stuff. And I guess my sister has been supporting me a lot now.
Q. How old is your sister?
KIMBERLY KIM: She's going to go to college. She just made 18 last month.
Q. And where were you? You moved to California from where?
KIMBERLY KIM: From Hawaii, for two months. Then from California I moved to Arizona with my sister.
Q. And meanwhile where have your parents been living?
KIMBERLY KIM: My mom's always with me. My dad is like making the money at home in Hawaii.
Q. So did the whole family move over here?
KIMBERLY KIM: No, just ... my dad still like maintains the farm in Hawaii.
Q. The farm?
KIMBERLY KIM: Yeah.
Q. What does he grow?
KIMBERLY KIM: He grows orchids.
Q. So your sister or mom came with you?
KIMBERLY KIM: My mom did for two months in California then my sister came as well because she wanted to practice and stuff before college started.
Q. And when was that? When did you move to California?
KIMBERLY KIM: I moved to California, I kind of forget already. I think it was pretty much like February, at the end, all the way at the end of February. And we lived there for like two months, I think. Then we moved again. Then I lived in Arizona for like a month and then all the tournaments started. So I haven't been home for a while.
Q. And that was all for golf?
KIMBERLY KIM: Yeah.
Q. The moving to California and the moving to Arizona was for golf?
KIMBERLY KIM: Yeah. But in California I think I got worse. It was always freezing cold, like the golf courses were so expensive. They weren't like supporting juniors that much. And Arizona, they're very, they're like supporting juniors. They're like you can play just $5 and go play.
Q. Where in California and where in Arizona?
KIMBERLY KIM: I moved to Murietta. It's like Temecula. Queen Creek, like king‑queen.
Q. Where is your sister going to school?
KIMBERLY KIM: Colorado.
Q. Is the idea of moving over here makes the travel easier or?
KIMBERLY KIM: It was like traveling like, I don't know, well, in Hawaii it rains like every day where I live. So to actually get someplace to practice we have to drive like two hours on the weekends and my home course, it was basically falling apart. They like shut down the driving range for like safety issues. And like the grass is so much different. Like the greens you chip off of basically. It's like so thick. And the course just wasn't good in Hawaii. And it's just easier to travel and practice. Everything is better.
Q. Will you stay in Arizona in the fall then or will you go back to Hawaii?
KIMBERLY KIM: I don't know when I'm going to go back to Hawaii. We're actually trying to buy a house. Right now we're renting, but we, my mom's still looking for a house.
Q. In Arizona?
KIMBERLY KIM: Yeah.
Q. Are you going to start high school there in Arizona this fall?
KIMBERLY KIM: I went to high school for two weeks in Arizona. At the end. But then, I don't know, I'm not sure about school yet. I didn't enroll yet.
Q. You like school?
KIMBERLY KIM: Yeah, I do. But it's just that in Arizona they have this law that if you miss ten days of school then you're like automatically not in their school anymore. So they said just not to enroll until I get back from tournaments.
Q. What are you going to try to do tomorrow? Got any goals?
KIMBERLY KIM: Well, I don't know.
Q. Sleep? Wake up on time?
KIMBERLY KIM: Just do my best, I guess. Making it this far is pretty good to me.
Q. What was the name of the course that was falling apart?
KIMBERLY KIM: Hilo Banyan.
Q. Like the Banyan tree. Hilo?
Q. Public or private course?
KIMBERLY KIM: It's public.
Q. What's your father's name?
KIMBERLY KIM: Young Soo Kim.
Q. Thank you.
Q. Who is your instructor now?
KIMBERLY KIM: Well, I don't really have one right now. Like my coach, King Benso. He went to Washington, and I think he's back in Arizona already. But I haven't seen him for a while. I think we might change coaches again. It's been months since I saw him.
Q. So when I saw you on the range this morning or this afternoon you didn't really look all that enthused. Were you hitting it poorly or were you just not excited to be here?
KIMBERLY KIM: I was hitting it so bad. I couldn't hit it straight. It was like hooking everything. And my grip didn't feel good either. So, yeah.
Q. How about toward the end of the round how did it feel?
KIMBERLY KIM: Well, I don't know. I just stopped thinking about mechanics and just swung it.
Q. Well, so far you had the best stroke play round. You were even par, which is better than the others have been like 2 over that sort of thing?
KIMBERLY KIM: I think my total was like 4 over.
Q. She might mean for today actually. Just for today?
KIMBERLY KIM: 2 over par. Cool. I didn't know that.
Q. What did you think of Eileen?
KIMBERLY KIM: Was that the girl I played against? I just know her last name. Vargas.
Q. Yes, that's the girl you played.
You obviously didn't talk a lot?
KIMBERLY KIM: We didn't talk that much. She seemed all right. She gave me - she conceded putts that should have been conceded. She was nice all the way. Like other people they don't concede the putts like you're not going to miss them. But she was nice the whole way.
Q. How much do you think your experience in the Pub Links might help you this week or might help you continuing on?
KIMBERLY KIM: Just makes me realize that every match I play is the same. So I don't get that nervous.
Q. When you say the same, it's just the same in terms of import or ...
KIMBERLY KIM: Just if you're going to play against someone else, the same thing. You're just playing your game.
Q. So do you get intimidated at all by anyone here?
KIMBERLY KIM: No. Well, I would have been intimidated by Amanda Blumenherst, but she was out like in the first round.
Q. She's the only one?
KIMBERLY KIM: Yeah.
Q. Why Amanda only?
KIMBERLY KIM: I don't know. Because like when I didn't make the cut at the USGA Junior, my first time when I was 11 or 12, I played with her in the practice round and she was just so good.
Q. In your first junior?
KIMBERLY KIM: Yeah, she was just about to go to Duke, and I played with her in the practice round, and she was really good. And then I watched her in match play and stuff. She was good.
Q. What did you hit 15, par 3?
KIMBERLY KIM: 15 is a par 3? 8.
Q. And how long was your putt?
KIMBERLY KIM: It was about 15 feet, 17 feet.
Q. Well, that really closed the door for you. I mean all you had to do was halve the 16th hole.
KIMBERLY KIM: Yeah. It took a lot of pressure off.
Q. Any other questions?
OK. Kimberly, thanks so much. Good luck tomorrow.