Cognizant Classic in The Palm Beaches

PGA National (Champion Course)

The Loop

Na seeks victory for his ailing father

February 19, 2011

PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif. -- Kevin Na, 27, first came to this tournament as a 10-year-old, brought by his father, Yong. He watched Fred Couples play, secured an autograph from a mustachioed Corey Pavin. Still has it.

Now he has a chance to win the same tournament, starting play in the final round of the Northern Trust Open a stroke behind leader Aaron Baddeley and tied with the very same Couples. The only piece missing is his father, Yong, who is in Korea, battling leukemia. He was diagnosed with the disease at the end of 2010.

"When we first found it was really hard," Na said. "But I want to stay positive. I just try to think of him that he's healthy. They really don't know what's going to happen because the next year is very important for him. He needs to take medication exactly on the dot when he needs to, and if that works out, he might extend his life. But who knows. I really don't want to go any further than that."

Na said that his father will be monitoring Na's progress in the final round via computer and television in Korea.

"I'd really like to send that trophy over to him," Na said. "He taught me how to play golf, and he's caddied for me before. We won a tournament together on the Asian Tour when he was carrying the bag. He's pretty involved with my golf game."

-- John Strege