Sunday, May 23, 2010

Fascinating article about LPGA star Christina Kim on the Wall Street Journal. An excerpt:

It's worth noting, as always with Ms. Kim, what she was wearing Monday night: a low-cut black sheath dress, spectacular jewelry and lacy, high-strapped, 4-inch René Caovilla heels which must have cost at least $1,000 when she bought them in Dubai last December. "They've even got sparklies on the bottom," she told an admiring cluster while demurely balancing on one shoe to show off the sole of the other. A few minutes earlier she had smashed a few 250-yard drives on the range at Chelsea Piers, just behind the party room, wearing said impossible shoes.


Ms. Kim was a straight-A student growing up in San Jose, Calif., but decided at 16 to drop out of high school to devote herself to golf. Her father, a South Korean immigrant, first put a golf club in her hands when she was 11 and directed her to swing as hard as she could 500 times a day. Dutifully she did so, in the backyard. After several weeks of this she was finally allowed to hit an actual golf ball at a range. At 17 she shot 62 in qualifying for the U.S. Girls' Junior Championship. At 18 she turned pro and has since won $3.5 million on the Tour.


The hardest part of the book to write, she told me, was the section about Koreans. "It's such a weighted topic," she said, referring to whispered insinuations about whether players from South Korea, few of whom speak fluent English, are hurting the LPGA Tour's marketing efforts. Since Ms. Kim understands Korean fairly well and speaks a little, some U.S. players consider her a liaison to the 45-woman South Korean contingent. "But the Koreans, they don't really know what to make of me," she said. "I'm loud, I'm not thin and I say what I think. I've got a bunch of good friends among the Koreans, but it's complicated."

Ms. Kim became a divisive figure in South Korea after praising the sex appeal of U.S. speed skater Apolo Ohno. Mr. Ohno is persona non grata there because his gold medal at the 2002 Olympics was awarded only after the South Korean skater who crossed the finish line in front of him was disqualified—unfairly and because of Mr. Ohno, most South Koreans think. The negative press about Ms. Kim in South Korea has, if anything, increased in recent years, she said. Last year she sued a South Korean newspaper for libel, charging it characterized her as a traitor.

None of which helps in finding her place in the world. She remains close to her parents. Last year she bought them a shiny new Mercedes-Benz, and she shares a house with them in Orlando. Her father remains her only golf coach.

"My parents came to this country because they wanted the best possible life for me and my siblings. They want me to be who I am, and that's why I speak out. Writing the book, getting my life down on paper, that's the American side of the Korean-American thing. It has been incredibly liberating," she said. (She admits, however, that she's glad her mother had to read her book with the help of a dictionary and might not get every reference.)
Christina Kim's Wild World [Wall Street Journal]

Click the link for a picture of Kim crushing a driver shot with her heels on.

1 comment:

  1. More power to the 2세's of the world!


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