Masters Interview - Chang-Woo Lee
THE MODERATOR: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. We are pleased today to have with us a very special 20‑year‑old, Chang‑woo Lee, who's dream of playing in the Masters was fulfilled after winning the fifth annual Asia‑Pacific Amateur Championship in October. His other achievements include tying for second at the 2013 Korean Open with Rory McIlroy. I'd like to begin by asking, would you tell us what it feels like to be competing in your first Masters Tournament.
CHANG‑WOO LEE: First of all, it is a great honor to be here since playing in the Masters is everyone's dream who actually plays golf and being here to actually play as a player, especially as an amateur, it's more than just a great honor. And since I'm representing the Asia‑Pacific region, I'll do my best to make a performance.
Q. Describe the experience of being out and playing this course today. I don't know if it's your first time or not, but you were out there with K.J. Choi, a veteran of Masters play and probably somebody you looked up to, but if you would talk about that experience and describe it?
CHANG‑WOO LEE: The fairways were narrower than I saw on television, and the greens were way faster than I ever imagined. So I had a pretty hard time at first when we came to the course last week.
But today, going out on the course with K.J. Choi, he gave me lots of advice about course management and everything, so I think I'm getting used to the course.
Q. This is a course that obviously rewards experience. It's the only major that's played at the same venue. Just talk about, was K.J. able to give you a lot of pointers and how do you feel about coming here and playing in a field of players that played here so many times; what are your ambitions? Is it to make the cut? Just talk about your ambitions.
CHANG‑WOO LEE: Going out on the round with K.J. Choi today, he gave me lots of advice, especially about how to manage the course. Like on the par 5, just try to make a second shot for the third to get an easier approach shot. And like the directions of the tee shots and where the pin positions might actually be at the real tournament; so it was a lot of practice for me.
My first goal here at the Masters is to make the cut, and after that, after if I make the cut, I wish to play in the low 20s.
Q. When exactly did you get to Augusta and how many practice rounds have you had prior to today? And I assume that was your first time here last week. But when did you come here and how many rounds have you played?
CHANG‑WOO LEE: We arrived at Augusta on the 31st, Monday, and we had 18 holes of practice rounds three times. And besides that, we were always at the driving range or the practice green. There were a few nine holes in the afternoon, but adding all of the official practice rounds, it would probably be about five or six rounds before the tournament.
Q. And how much did you play today? Were you able to get in nine holes today?
CHANG‑WOO LEE: Only five holes today.
Q. After winning in Nanshan last October, what have you been doing competitively in golf since then? Have you been studying and not playing so much? What's your activity been with golf since then?
CHANG‑WOO LEE: After the tournament in Nanshan, I actually focused on balance training and weight training. There weren't so many tournaments, but I went training overseas in good weather. So I was mostly training, focusing on balance training and weight training.
Q. Will you stay at the Crow's Nest this week? Have you checked in already? Do you know the history about that and do you look forward to staying there?
CHANG‑WOO LEE: Well, since I came to Augusta, I didn't really have a chance to sleep at the Crow's Nest, but today after the Amateur dinner, I plan to stay at the Crow's Nest for a night. I've heard that no one, not many people actually have a chance to stay there. I think it's a great honor to have a chance to stay at the Crow's Nest.
Q. Will you play the Par 3 on Wednesday? Who is your caddie, your girlfriend or your family?
CHANG‑WOO LEE: For the Par 3 Contest on Wednesday, we aren't going for the official practice round, we are just going for the Par 3 Contest. The guy on the left from the KJA is going to caddie for me (laughter).
Q. Curious who you came to Augusta with, and also, I should know this, but at 20, I assume you're still in college or are you studying now or not studying?
CHANG‑WOO LEE: I came here with the KJA staff and my parents are coming tomorrow. I'm still in college. I'm studying in physical education at the University of Physical Education of Korea.
Q. Are you missing school now? I know with Hideki Matsuyama from Japan, their schedule is so different from the States, playing in the Masters, it was between semesters. Curious if you're missing school for this.
CHANG‑WOO LEE: It is during the semester, but since I am in the national team of Korea, the Korea Golf Association actually sent letters to my school, so they are letting me play at the Masters.
Q. Is there any specific player you want to meet, maybe your idol in golf, and is he someone you want to play a practice round with?
CHANG‑WOO LEE: There are actually three players: Adam Scott, Angel Cabrera and Brandt Snedeker. Scott, he has the favorite swing, I just love his swing. Snedeker, he has a wonderful routine and I just want to feel it as a player on the same team with him. And Cabrera, since he was so strong in the Masters, I just want to know how he could do it and I just want to learn from him.
Q. There were four amateurs from winning the Asia‑Pacific Amateur Championship, and three of them made the cut. Do you have confidence in making the cut and what do you think is the reason that they are doing so good in the Masters?
CHANG‑WOO LEE: I think that the Asian players are not that strong in distance than the players in the United States or in Europe, but since they have kind of a short distance, they work hard on their short games, and I think working hard on the short games is pretty much important than the distance, especially here in Augusta National.
I was watching a lot of videos of the Masters for the past few months, and I was just image training about which holes I could actually make a birdie and everything. So, yes, I actually do have quite ‑‑ I actually am quite confident in making the cut.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you very much and best of luck this week.