Michael Kim Saturday (Third Round)

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Q.        It was even more impressive than what that leaderboard shows, because Michael was at even par after four birdies in a six hole stretch after 15 holes of play today.  Was at even par and only two off the pace until bogey, double, bogey, kind of set you back a little bit.  But still you're five shots clear of the next best amateur, you're doing extremely well.

MICHAEL KIM:  It was a great day and it's been a great week and just looking forward to tomorrow.

Q.  How did it feel for a long time to see your name in close proximity to Phil Mickelson, to Charl Schwartzel, to Luke Donald, to Ian Poulter on that leaderboard?

MICHAEL KIM:  I kept looking at the leaderboard, not because I wanted to know how I was doing in the tournament, but it was so cool to see my name next to those names like Mickelson, Donald, Schwartzel, it was just an incredible feeling.

Q.  You won the Jack Nicklaus Award, you're only 19 years old, turn 20 in a month, but then you'll be a grizzled veteran.  Won the Jack Nicklaus Award as the nation's top college golfer as a sophomore this past year at Cal.  Now that's terrific, but this is the U.S. Open.

MICHAEL KIM:  Right.  It's just, didn't really know what to expect coming in, honestly, just wanted to make the cut.  I thought that would be a pretty good week.  And did that this morning and it feels great.

Q.  First off, did nerves play a part in those last three holes?

MICHAEL KIM:  Yeah definitely.  I didn't feel that nervous, but I definitely think I was, looking back on it.  And just a few loose swings and just a couple bad putts and it is what it is.

Q.  We were talking to your caddie and you came here without one.

MICHAEL KIM:  Yeah, yeah.

Q.  How has he done for you?

MICHAEL KIM:  He's been great.  Just Mike over here, from the pro shop helped me out with a caddie, said he was one of the best ones here.  And it's been great so far.

Q.  What has he helped you with most?

MICHAEL KIM:  Just the lines on this golf course.  For example, second shot on 4 it's that layup, first time playing I probably would have hit it 20 yards in the right rough.  And if I hit it where I was aiming.

And just the lines and just on the greens also.  The greens get really tricky out here and he's been a great help.

Q.  Were you surprised when you were walking around how everybody seemed to know him?

MICHAEL KIM:  Yeah, for probably the first 12 holes today he was getting more cheers than I was.  Everybody was going LaRue, LaRue, you know, it was cool though.

Q.  How different did it feel today on a weekend at the U.S. Open as opposed to yesterday?

MICHAEL KIM:  Honestly it felt about the same.  Obviously we're still at the U.S. Open, it was probably until 16 then obviously I made that bad stretch, but it still feels good though.

Q.  On 15 green, you look up at the scoreboard there, see you're tied for third, two strokes back, you smiled.  What goes through your mind?

MICHAEL KIM:  The leaderboard, I wasn't really looking at it just because I wanted to know what place I was in or how many shots I was back.  I just thought it was super cool to see my name on that big leaderboard next to the leaders like Schwartzel, Mickelson, Donald, all those guys.  It was a cool feeling.

Q.  Does it take a little bit of pressure off heading into tomorrow knowing obviously after the last three holes that you're not going to be in the top‑5?

MICHAEL KIM:  Maybe, probably.  It's just I come in here with not too much expectations and just trying to keep it that way.

Q.  At 15 did you allow yourself to think that I'm in contention?

MICHAEL KIM:  Yeah, kind of went through that what if situation in my head.  What if I won or what if I did this.

But it was cool and I tried to snap back out of it, but I hit an awful tee shot on the next hole.

Q.  What has this week been like for you?

MICHAEL KIM:  It's been pretty special.  I've been pretty excited ever since I qualified, and it's standing here where Phil was yesterday, it's been a great week.

Q.  Do you have one of those memorable moments that you can take home to California?

MICHAEL KIM:  Yeah.  I think that just every hole on the back nine almost, other than the last three holes.  It's been definitely a memorable week and one that I'll probably never forget.

Q.  You have this kind of running bet with the coach about Tiger winning this tournament?


Q.  Now you may finish in front of him.  What would it be like to finish in front of him and how much bragging rights would you have for the next year?

MICHAEL KIM:  I don't know.  Tiger's been an idol of mine since I basically started golf, and if I do finish in front of him, great.  If I finish behind him, that's fine.  Hopefully Tiger can win the British or something, because I don't really want to hear what coach has to say after.

Q.  Were you at Torrey Pines at 2008?

MICHAEL KIM:  I wasn't.  I was actually at a tournament somewhere, but I definitely saw all the highlights and stuff.

Q.  Do you know who Jim Simons is, do you know his name?


Q.  He was the amateur who led here after in '71 after 54 holes?

MICHAEL KIM:  Oh, okay.

Q.  What did you learn playing with Geoff Ogilvy and Bo Van Pelt and any other professionals?

MICHAEL KIM:  It was cool.  They're obviously big name guys and they were super nice.  Just kind of kept me relaxed out there.  And it was fun.  It was fun.

Q.  Any particular jokes you guys shared out there?

MICHAEL KIM:  Not really.  We kind of, on 14, we kind of got ‑‑ me and Geoff or Geoff and I got into a conversation about kind of like U.S. Open sites and stuff like that.  That was cool what he thought about the courses that where he played.

Q.  You looked calm but you were churning inside, is that a fair assessment?

MICHAEL KIM:  I guess.  I was pretty calm the entire day.  Probably on 16 I got a little nervous, a little too excited.  But I was pretty calm the entire day.

Q.  There's been an amateur finish inside the top 21 each of the past three years.  Why do you think that is?

MICHAEL KIM:  I don't know.  On this course, definitely it's ‑‑ anybody who putts it in the fairway has a good chance out here, and I've done a pretty good job of that.  But I'm not really too sure.

Q.  (No Microphone.)

MICHAEL KIM:  It's definitely gone better and better each and every year and these guys in college are pretty good, and I think it's great that we get a chance out here to prove it.

Q.  What happened to your tee shot on 16?

MICHAEL KIM:  Just snap hooked it left.  I was kind of thinking it in my head it's probably so far left that the USGA probably doesn't think that I was going to hit or anybody was going to hit it over there.  So I actually had a pretty good lie and was able to get it near the green.

Q.  What did you hit from there?

MICHAEL KIM:  I hit 3‑wood off the tee and 7‑iron with my second shot.

Q.  How much did you lean on LaRue's advise, he's been out here 16 years?

MICHAEL KIM:  Definitely in the practice rounds and the first couple rounds, but today I got ‑‑ I still, I have a good feel about the golf course and I know what to do.

Q.  You had to play how many holes this morning?  You had a long day.

MICHAEL KIM:  I had a chip and a putt on 4 this morning and then played the rest until 9.  And then 18 this afternoon.

Q.  How much easier are you making Coach Desimone's job by the presence this is giving Cal golf.  A lot of people were asking about Cal?

MICHAEL KIM:  There's a lot of Go Bears! out there.  It was awesome to hear.  And it's just doing my best, I guess, to try and make his job a little easier.

Q.  Have you had a cheesesteak yet?

MICHAEL KIM:  No, I have not.  I guess the ones they're giving out here, but probably not the best ones in Philly, I'm guessing, I'm not sure.

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