C.T. Pan, 2019 Emirates Australian Open, Wednesday 4 December
KATHIE SHEARER: I’d like to welcome C.T. Pan here this week. It’s marvellous to have you in the field. You’re here this week and then playing next week.
C.T. PAN: Yes.
KATHIE SHEARER: Tell us, you’ve played today, what’s your thought on the course, on The Australian?
C.T. PAN: So I played this course in 2015, that was my first year as a professional and I played great. I love the course, I love the design and I think the only difference this year is I feel like the condition is more like Royal Melbourne. It’s much firmer greens and fairways. Obviously, greens are still a little bit slow, but I’m sure on the weekend they will get it fast. I think this is perfect preparation for Team International, especially for me.
Q. We first saw you at Royal Melbourne 2014 for the Asian Pacific Amateur Championship, you were a pretty impressive player there. What do you remember from that that you can take to next week, and more importantly, you’ve got to get through this week first. It’s 10 days of high intensity golf. How do you deal with that – lots of concentration, lots of pressure?
C.T. PAN: First of all, Royal Melbourne, you have to keep the ball in play. It’s not a long course but the weather, it’s going to be a big factor, because the wind can change. As you know Melbourne, you can see four seasons in one day or even in five hours, so you have to be well prepared. You just need to adapt very quickly and very well and keep your ball in play. Obviously the approach shot around the green will be very crucial as well. I think that’s our biggest strengths compared to the American players and I think that’s also my strength as well.
For this week, I’m just trying to get my game ready. I took the last two weeks off just to have a nice relaxing time back in the States; so that was good. I feel my game is good. I just need to drain more putts on the greens. That’s something I’ve been always working on and I think hopefully the next two weeks it will pay off.
KATHIE SHEARER: Will you be having dinner with Ernie sometime this week? Have you planned to get together?
C.T. PAN: No, not really, I’m still too shy to ask. He’s like a legendary, a leader to me. I was honoured to get to play with him on Tuesday, nine holes with Abraham Ancer and K.J. Choi and it was really cool for me, just watching him chipping around the green. It just gave me goose bumps because he’s won so many Majors and when I was little I watch him playing, growing up, so that was a really cool experience for me.
Q. Just on the President’s Cup, of course we know it’s not yet as big as the Ryder Cup, most of us would hope that it might one day get there but it’s a difficult thing to do with an International team. For somebody like yourself who’s from a country where the golf culture isn’t particularly strong, how important is that to be able to look to an event like the President’s Cup as a goal to get to? Is it something that helps to inspire players from countries where golf isn’t particularly strong?
C.T. PAN: What was the last part of it?
Q. For someone like yourself who’s from a country where the golf culture is not particularly strong. Here in Australia we have a lot of golfers and a lot of golf courses, golf is very much part of the fabric, but for yourself that’s not the case in Taiwan. Is that something that is important for players to be able to see, that one day they could play the President’s Cup?
C.T. PAN: Yes, absolutely and that’s why, actually, I had a press conference in Taiwan in September, just focusing on the President’s Cup and also we had junior players make it to the Junior President’s Cup, which is also a big thing back in my country. I think Team International, obviously we have a lot of countries are still developing, so golf is not very big in their countries To me that’s a great opportunity and that’s what PGA Tour is trying to do, we want to explore to many other countries and that’s why we have President’s Cup, to hopefully help grow the game. For me, I know a lot of fans in Taiwan, in Chinese Taipei, they are coming down to Melbourne to cheer for me and I think that’s a good sign for it.
Q. Next week you’ve got an international team that’s got a lot of players that are either on for the first time or young or both.
C.T. PAN: Including me.
Q. Yes, that’s right. Is there a sense among you guys who are either young or there for the first time, that this can almost be like a clean slate and you can almost ignore the fact that there’s 20 years of bad record for the International side in this event?
C.T. PAN: You are right in what you say, but I think obviously we are young. But I want to say we are fearless as well, because nowadays on the PGA Tour is no piece of cake. You see these young guys, they are all on the PGA Tour, so they have proved themselves that they can beat anyone on the PGA Tour and they’ve seen those American players every day. So, we are fearless, we have a great opportunity and plus we have a home advantage. Obviously, history tells a lot, but what we are looking at is our future. Today or right now, we are looking at next week especially.
KATHIE SHEARER: That’s wonderful. Thank you and we’d like to thank you for coming in.
C.T. PAN: Thank you guys, appreciate it.