Your dream was to play in the NBA. So is the PGA Tour
That's tough to say. The grass is always greener. I wasn't good enough to play pro basketball. I was destined to play golf. It would have been great to play in the NBA, but that was obviously a pipe dream. I love it, though. There's a lot more strategy than guys just running around. It's great that you get to be competitive by mouthing off a little bit to your opponents, too.
Is that why you always seem to get especially
pumped up for match-play events?
Match play is great. You're playing the course, but you're also playing your opponent. It rewards aggression. Sure, you have to play smart, too, but it's usually the guys making birdies who end up winning the holes. But mouthing off is something that fits better in basketball golf is a gentleman's game [laughs].
Do you struggle to rein in your aggression in stroke-play events?
One bad shot used to be the end of the world for me. But I'm getting better at controlling my emotions. I'm learning to be more even-keeled, to tone back a little. You know, don't fire at every pin. But I still get that itch to do it once in a while when I know I shouldn't. And then I'll get away with it one time and say, "Hey, I can do this all the time!"
How do you feel about your reputation as a party animal?
There's a time and a place for everything. My mother's been telling me that since I was 4. I listen to her, because she still scares me [laughs].
Do you feel you can't go out for a drink when you want to?
I'm sure nobody would mind if I was hanging out at a birthday party til late, but nobody wants to hear that somebody is throwing away their potential, which is why I've changed my tune from my rookie year. When I go home I'm with college buddies and friends, and everyone wants to let their hair down once in a while. But I understand that people are going to take pictures and Twitter. So I have to be careful.
So what was all that hassle at the Presidents Cup about? [Robert
Allenby accused Kim of staggering home in the early hours before
their Sunday singles match.]
It was unfortunate that my week had to end that way because I had a good week with my team and what was said was completely false. But that comes with the job. I'm pretty laid back, and if somebody wants to know something, they're probably going to find out. That's a pretty fine line to walk, because people can make up stories and speculate on your life. But at the same time, I'm not like Tiger Woods not every single person in the world wants to know what I'm doing.
Which characteristics do you dislike in others?
Dishonesty, disloyalty and people who are cheap [laughs]. You know, I've got no problem forking out for the bill nine times out of 10. But just once, you gotta shout your round. That's for acquaintances. But for pals, the bill is always on me 100 times out of 100.
What would you change about your own character?
Impatience. It pretty much creates all my problems [smiles].
What are your ambitions?
I was born in the U.S. and I'm an American, but I would still like to help grow the game in Asia. But I just wanna be as good as I can be. It could be No. 1. The problem with my rookie year was that I said I wanted to be No. 1. But I still do. I would love to win majors.
Do you enjoy being the center of attention?
I always wanted to be on TV, have money, and help my friends and family. And I feel like I'm doing all those things. I know I would enjoy all the attention that comes from winning majors, even though I haven't done the best job with that so far. But I'll get better at it.