Culver City Observer -

2017 Genesis Open Pre-Tournament Interview - Kevin Hall

 

February 9, 2017

Fred Altieri

Riviera CC - Tuesday morning on the 2nd Green

Genesis Open Pre-Tournament Complete Interview:

KEVIN HALL

Charlie Sifford Memorial Exemption Recipient

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

JOHN BUSH (PGA Tour Media Official): It's an honor to welcome Kevin Hall into the interview room. He's playing the Genesis Open this week on the Charlie Sifford Memorial exemption. Kevin, making your first start on the PGA Tour since 2006, if we can just get some thoughts on being here at Riviera this week.

KEVIN HALL: (through sign language interpreter) Really it's an honor for me to be here. It's been a long time since I've played on the PGA and I'm really excited to be here this week. I'm a little nervous, but I'm ready to go. I can't wait.

JOHN BUSH: Tell us a little bit about the state of your game coming into the week and what fans can expect to see.

KEVIN HALL: I'm sorry, can you repeat that again?

JOHN BUSH: Yeah. Just talk a little bit about the state of your game, how well you're playing at the current time.

KEVIN HALL: Well, I've been playing good this last year. It's been really my best year since it was my major and I've won two tournaments last year in the state in Atlanta and here in L.A. as well. So I feel like I'm really confident in my game and I've been really improving, you know, one day at a time. So I feel like I'm ready for this week.

Q. Just an idea of where he's been playing, what were the tournaments that you won and what tours have you been playing?

KEVIN HALL: I've played on the Advocate Tour, the Pro Golf Tour, I played four tournaments last year. I played some on the Swing Thought and I've played some qualifiers. So that's been my schedule last year. Oh, also I forgot to mention that I played in the Q School this year.

Q. Just was curious about what kind of inspiration that a guy like Harold Varner, who had a similar exemption, is for him and kind of where he's taken his game on the tour now?

KEVIN HALL: That was a few years ago that he played here and this place, he played the same places that we played together. The same time or the same places. So we played the same places this week. So I feel like I've walked in his shoes as Harold this week and I feel like I've gone through the same experiences in the past few years from then to now, you know. From that time to now there's been a lot of improvement. His playing has been really great and we've gotten more confident and I feel like it's happened with me as well.

Q. How well does he know Harold and what kind of history do they have together?

KEVIN HALL: I don't know him well. I know him, I've seen him around. I say hi, but I don't know him that well.

Q. Kevin, what was your reaction when you found out that you had received the exemption into this tournament?

KEVIN HALL: I almost choked up. I needed to drink some water. I was so surprised but I was really shocked, you know. I read the email from Tiger Woods and I read it and I was like wow, I'm in. The first person I told was my mom. You know, I told her now I've got to go practice. So it was a few days for me to feel that was for it to really sink in, but now I'm here and it's really an honor to have this great experience. It's been a humbling experience and I'm ready to go.

Q. If I can follow up, you've been playing mini tours for a long time now. Is the ultimate goal still to be out here on the PGA Tour?

KEVIN HALL: Of course it is, but sometimes it doesn't work out that way. You know, where you arrive isn't sometimes it doesn't work that way where you want to go quickly. You kind of have to get there one step at a time so that's what I'm going through right now. But one day hopefully I'll get there.

Q. The tournament in L.A. that you won last year, where was it and what was it?

KEVIN HALL: It was the Advocates Tour, pro golf tour. It was here in L.A., Chester Washington Golf Course. It's not far from here.

Q. You're here, you've been to Pebble Beach, you played New Orleans, you've experienced the PGA Tour. During the years has it been hard not to get discouraged that you haven't been back before now as hard as you've been trying.

KEVIN HALL: Every day, every day, but I'm the kind of person that maybe I'll get a little bit frustrated for like a day or two but then I'm ready to get up in the morning and I'm ready to start my day and I'm all better. So I don't allow frustration to keep me down.

Q. You said you got an email from Tiger Woods. What did you write back and have you emailed with him since?

KEVIN HALL: No, I'm sorry, it was Tiger Woods Foundation. I'm not that famous yet.

Q. Kevin, could you talk about how you picked up Neal as your caddie and what does he do for you on the golf course?

KEVIN HALL: I've known Neal for a long time. He's like my best friend. I met him in college and we played golf tournaments together and we really kicked it off. We just stayed in touch over the years. He's been a caddie for me at Q School just last November. He did a great job. He's my best friend. We communicate really well and he knows my moods, he knows my game, so we work really well together as a team. But I'm still the boss.

Q. I just wanted to ask who is your golfing inspiration?

KEVIN HALL: Growing up, naturally I'm going to have to say Tiger Woods. The first time I saw Tiger I was 13 or 14 years old and he kept winning all the U.S. Amateurs and all of his tournaments and I just remember sitting with his dad with my dad in the living room watching him play and winning and I was like, I want to be like him. You know, he works really hard and he works his will to win is strong and he just has such a passion. So that's my golf inspiration, Tiger.

Q. Have you had any funny stories that you're aware of in which you're playing a tournament and someone didn't realize you were deaf?

KEVIN HALL: We can talk about the Windenford (sp), is that what you're talking about? I guess I have two funny stories. The first one was in New York and I was playing in a big golf tournament. I teed off at 10 and the people were behind me, the crowd, they were all sitting down. And there was a famous name, oh, they yelled his name, they yelled my name and I was there on the tee ready to hit the ball but right in the middle of my swing somebody moved behind me and I stopped my movement and the man behind me just kind of stopped, you know, like a deer in headlights, but the man's phone was ringing. People thought, people were like, hey, Kevin stop, but I saw him move.

Another story was I was playing in a pro am. On the first tee, you know how everybody's really quiet and they hold up the signs to be quiet and they announced my name and the man who holds up the signs to tell us quiet and they yell out, hey, and I said, hey, I'm deaf, it doesn't matter. Here he's holding up this sign that's "quiet" and he just like slowly pulled it down. I'm sorry, I didn't mean to embarrass him.

Q. What's your greatest golfing achievement to date, so far?

KEVIN HALL: I won the Big 10 Championship by 11 strokes in 2004. That's my biggest accomplishment.

Q. Who is your coach?

KEVIN HALL: My father, my dad. My dad coaches me and my friend Sonny Rinaldo, he works with me on my swing and on my mental game. He's very positive and he helps me. But 24/7 it's my dad.

Fred Altieri

Tuesday morning at the Riviera CC driving range #1

Q. Going back when you first put a club in your hand, did you know immediately that this was the game for you and what was the appeal of it that day?

KEVIN HALL: Going all the way back to when I was 11? I can't really remember that. But no, I don't think it was that day. I knew that I was hooked, that I was addicted to golf, but I don't think it was until I was 13 or 14 that I really knew that I felt it, like this is the game for me, that I want to play this for live. Oh, for a living. It wasn't until I was 13 or 14 that I knew I wanted to play it for a living.

JOHN BUSH: It was a pleasure to have Kevin with us and we would like to thank Niago for helping us with interpreting. Kevin, best of luck this week this week at the Genesis Open.

KEVIN HALL: Thank you.

 

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