Women’s golf star Hyo-Joo Kim is enjoying her ‘second heyday’ these days. Kim Hyo-joo played on the domestic tour instead of the US LPGA tour, which was the main stage in the aftermath of the Corona 19 last year, and swept the first place in the number of victories, prize money, and average at-bats with two wins. And this year, when she returned to the US stage, she won the LPGA Tour title (HSBC Women’s World Championship in May) for the first time in five years, and participated in the Tokyo Olympics with the Taegeuk mark. Also, following last year, he won two wins on the KLPGA Tour, and what is surprising is that he has participated in only four domestic competitions (including the LPGA Tour BMW Ladies Championship in Busan in October) and won two of them.
“I never thought that I would win twice in Korea this year. In fact, when I won the championship in September (OK Savings Bank Se-ri Pak Invitational), I thought I had achieved my goal. It was really surprising to win the Classic) again.”
“If I were to score the 2021 season, I would like to give it about 80 points. My goal this year was to win once or twice if I really do it a lot, but I think it’s a pretty satisfying season because I did it three times on the LPGA Tour and the KLPGA Tour.”
“Because of Corona 19, I won a championship after a long time last year and showed a good side to my fans, so I thought it was a ‘turning point’ for me, but I did well this year too, so it seems like something I thought, said, and planned. I feel good.”
We also made new memories. After winning the Se-ri Pak Invitational in September, he immediately became a hot topic by taking on the role of caddy for his ‘best friend’ Hyeon-ju Yoo in the next competition.
“(Being a caddy) was a very different experience. I was very grateful that (Hyun Joo Yoo) unnie heard what I wanted to do, and I wanted to help my sister, but I went to help, and I felt a little sorry because it didn’t seem like much help. I think it was a good experience for me as I looked at the game from a slightly different perspective than when I was playing.”
Kim Hyo-joo participated in this year’s Tokyo Olympics along with Park In-bi, Kim Se-young, and Ko Jin-young, and experienced the Olympic stage for the first time.
“When I was an amateur, I went to a lot of foreign competitions as a national team member, but when I became a professional, I went to the national team for the first time. So I think it was a lot of fun even though I was nervous. I was just like an excited kid. There is pressure, but clothes with the Taegeuk mark It was very reassuring to wear the same clothes as coach Se-ri Pak, my sisters, and Jin-young, and I think it was a very good experience.”
However, it is a pity that none of our players won a medal.
“It was very disappointing. Because we all did well, so we had a match like this, but it’s too… all four of us didn’t come in unfortunately, and the feeling was good, but we didn’t.. It’s too bad that we had dinner together. Don’t regret it too much, and next time if you get a chance, if you come out again next time, you can do well.”
So, the 2024 Paris Olympics have become even more desperate.
“I want to go to the Paris Olympics. I really want to go because I do well. The competition is fierce because Korean players play well, but I want to go out because I do well. If I go this time, I have to get a medal.”
He also talked about the goals he wants to achieve on the LPGA Tour along with his next Olympic appearance.
“My goal is to win all major tournaments. It’s a very long-term goal, a big goal.”
Generally, when a player wins all four major tournaments during his active career, it is called a ‘career grand slam’. In the history of LPGA Tour history, seven players have achieved a career grand slam, and Inbee Park, ‘golf empress’ set the first Asian record in 2015.
There are currently five majors on the LPGA Tour, not four. As the Evian Championship was promoted to a major event in 2013, it became one of the five major tournaments along with the ANA Inspiration, US Women’s Open, KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, and AIG Women’s Open. As the number of major tournaments increased to five, the concept of the original ‘career grand slam’ became ambiguous, and the LPGA defines the career grand slam as follows on its official website.
“It is said that winning four different major titles during active service is considered a ‘career grand slam’, and winning five different major titles is considered a ‘super career grand slam’.”
Hyo-Joo Kim has already won majors. At the age of 19, she won the Evian Championship in 2014, marking her first LPGA Tour win as a major. There is still a long way to go to the career grand slam and further to the super career grand slam, but considering the age of Kim Hyo-joo (26 years old) and her advanced skills, who opened the ‘second heyday’, it is a goal that can be challenged enough.
Hyo-Joo Kim will be traveling to the US this weekend to compete in the CME Group Tour Championship, the final match of the LPGA Tour season next week. It is a big competition with only the top 60 players participating in the season, with a total prize money of 5 million dollars and a prize money of 1.5 million dollars (about 1.76 billion won).
“I want to decorate the last tournament of the season in a pleasant way. I want to show my fans a good side until the end, and I also want to finish the season that I am satisfied with myself.”
“Thanks to your constant support, we were able to achieve good results this year as well. Thank you very much, and we will reinforce a little more this winter so that we can show you a better image next year.”
(Photo = KLPGA, Yonhap News, Getty Image Korea)