K.J. Choi continued his scorching play while Rory Sabbatini cooled off as Choi went into the clubhouse on Friday with the lead at The Barclays. Choi, already a two-time winner on the PGA Tour in 2007, shot a five-under 66 to sit at 12-under heading into the weekend.
Former PGA Championship winner Rich Beem continues his strong play and is two shots off the lead, while Steve Stricker put together his second consecutive 67 to sit four shots off Choi's pace, along with Sabbatini, who shot an even-par 71 after bursting out of the box with a first-round 63 at the first playoff tournament for the FedEx Cup.
Choi, Beem and Sabbatini sat down with the press following their rounds to talk about how the tournament at Westchester Country Club has gone so far and what they expect for the weekend.
Q: Maybe talk about two great days for you, 64-66.
K.J. CHOI: My scores are better than what I expected. I've always played not so well here in the past years, and this course is to me, it's very hard to score under par in the past.
But I'm very happy to have played the way I did this week, the past two days. I figured that 2-under every day would be a good score for the tournament.
But now that I am at 12-under, I'm very excited being in the position that I am right now. I feel like there's a a lot more to go. I'm not going to stop here and I'm going to get some good rest and hopefully get a nice weekend.
Q. Is this golf course just there for the taking all the time?
K.J. CHOI: Yeah, definitely the rain did affect the low scores for me and the other players. It definitely made the greens very soft and I think that's what contributed to the low scores.
I'm hearing that it's going to be very hot over the weekend, and if the greens get harder, it's definitely going to make it more difficult for the players. I think everybody -- I'll try to be very careful over the weekend.
Q. You obviously made headlines for announcing that you were going to donate the $10 million if you won. Just clarify, did you at the time not know that it was deferred money and also can you talk about what your intention would be now, now that you're winning the first event?
K.J. CHOI: Yeah, I didn't really know about the deferred payment back then when I said it.
But, you know, even if I did know, my plan would not have changed. My objectives in life is to help other kids and other people. If I would win this week or if I were to end up winning the FedExCup, I'm still going to donate that money, whether it's in deferred form or whether it's a lump sum; I'm still going to give it out to the charities that need it.
Q. Just to follow up on that, what charities are you involved with and how did that become part of your life, a life of giving?
K.J. CHOI: The two charities that I am officially tied with, they are both in Korea right now. One is the KFHI, Korea Food for Hungry International. What they do is they help kids who are starving around the world, not only in Korea, but it's an international organization based in Korea that helps kids around the world.
And the other organization is called the Leftover Organization. They in the same capacity help families that are less fortunate.
The reason that I think helping -- that I am involved with these charities, I think every kid, whether it's adolescents, teenagers, whether it's young kid, they all need a dream. They all have to have a dream. Without a dream, you can't accomplish anything.
As a professional golfer that can be a role model, I've always thought, how can I help these kids; how can I help them achieve their dreams. Because they may have nothing right now, but with help, if they become someone important, they can help the world become a better place.
Q: You followed up your round of 64 yesterday with a 68 today, playing in your sixth event here at The Barclays and off to a great start, two behind K.J. Choi heading into the weekend. He's trying to run away with it but you're doing a good job catching him.
RICH BEEM: Yeah, right now I am. He's been playing great all year. And I haven't been playing great all year, so it's kind of a nice change of pace for me. For him, he's probably getting used to it.
I've been hitting the ball really well, I think. I've been working hard on my game and it's nice to kind of get in a position where I feel like it's fun.
So, you know, I can't put it any simpler than that. I'm having a lot of fun out there and hopefully it's showing.
Q. Admittedly you've been a streaky guy when it's been going good. It must be kind of fun knowing what's on the table right now knowing you might have something coming with a pile of dough available.
RICH BEEM: Aren't we supposed to talk about the pile of points I'm going to get?
Q. Ultimately, yes. We'll use points as a euphemism.
RICH BEEM: Yeah, I've been streaky in my career, something I'm proud of, but also wish I was a little bit -- that I wasn't proud of. But anyways, I don't mind it. I enjoy it when I get hot. I enjoy it because I play well, I don't think about much and I fire at pins and I'm able to do that.
I've been pretty good today. I hit some wayward iron shots today and some wayward drives, but I got away with it all pretty much. Never got myself into too bad of a position. I had one bad hole on No. 2, which was just being overly aggressive on the green. But other than that, I plodded my way around the golf course, hit some good shots in there but also made some good putts.
Q. Do you feel like it's a case of playing good at the right time; you're getting it together at the right time of the year?
RICH BEEM: Well, playing good any time of the year is always fun. But obviously now where I kind of have to to get into the next event up the road, you know, I know that unless I play well, finish well this week, I've going home. No offense to my wife or kids or anything, but when you're playing well, you want to stay on the road and I want to stay on the road because I'm playing well. (Laughter).
Q: How was today's round as opposed to yesterday's 63?
RORY SABBATINI: Yeah, I didn't hit the ball very well out there today. Left myself a lot of work and never really got the ball in position on the greens and that's pretty key out there. You can't spend all day being defensive with the putter, but that's how it went.
Q. Good news is you're still leading the tournament and had a pretty good round despite all that?
RORY SABBATINI: Yeah, obviously I'm a few back going into the weekend behind K.J.
But this is a golf course, we all see it, just one shot here can be a major downfall. It's just going to be a situation of plodding along on the weekend and making birdies where they come.
Q. Did the rain do anything to this course?
RORY SABBATINI: Yeah, it's drying out pretty well right now. If anything it's a little tougher out there now than it was yesterday. You get a lot of mud balls out there, so that makes it tough for that reason.
Q. How hard is it to follow up a great round like you had yesterday?
RORY SABBATINI: It adds pressure to you because you played well the day before and you come out here when things are not going the same way, you put more pressure on yourself trying to make a score happen and you can't do that. You know, for some reason, I just never put myself in the right places.
Transcripts provided by ASAP Sports.
August 25, 2007
Coming off his thrilling British Open victory over Sergio Garcia in 2007, Padraig Harrington sat down to discuss his game and his chances at the 2008 U.S. Open. "I have spent my last 10 years trying to adapt my swing to play U.S. Open golf," Harrington said. "I'd say the last two years, that and the Masters have attracted my attention more than anything else."
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