The resilience of Danielle Kang — Texas golf culture — Must-click women’s golf links
The IX: Golf Thursday with Addie Parker, Sept. 29, 2022
Welcome back to another Golf Thursday, everyone!
The 2022 season is winding down, and it has been a pretty remarkable one. It’s been a season of revival for players like Brooke Henderson, Minjee Lee, Lexi Thompson, Marina Alex and a few others. We’ve seen these players win before but over the last two years or so it’s been the Jin Young Ko vs. Nelly Korda show.
But even prior to the first event of this year’s schedule, there was a shift in momentum for one player in particular — Danielle Kang. After dealing with the driver yips (which we all know can be brutal) in 2017 and 2018, she found solace in new swing coach Butch Harmon and climbed her way to world No. 2 in 2020.
She’s been a steady contender since, and was back in the winner’s circle at the Hilton Grand Vacations Tournament of Champions, starting off the year on a good note. Just a week later, she battled it out with Lydia Ko at Gainbridge, and was the runner-up.
January was a hot start for Kang, but over the course of the spring, her play became less consistent and she withdrew from the LOTTE Championship, the Palos Verdes Championship, and the Founders Cup.
Just a day over posting the update above, Kang took to Twitter and clapped back at someone for who was accusing her of taking the easy way out by withdrawing , not knowing the extent of her injury:
It wasn’t until the USWO at Pine Needles that we were aware of Danielle’s injury, which turned out to be a tumor on her spine. She played all four rounds of golf in Southern Pines, proving that she is as tough as nails and that if you ever want to send a nasty tweet her way…maybe don’t.
Kang wanted to be at Pine Needles, it was never out of the question, “I have never missed an USGA event that I was qualified for and am incredibly thankful for the team around me that made my participation this year possible.”
But she knew she had to heal and left us one last message before undergoing her treatment:
A couple months went by and Kang was back in the thick of competitive golf at the CP Open in Canada, where she had a top-20 finish.
And in just two starts later, Kang was on the brink of winning for the second time this season.
She showed OUT this past weekend, and reminded us all why we love to watch her play. She’s a competitor, she doesn’t like range finders and thinks green reading is a lost art, but she’ll wear hoodies and joggers because that’s what golf is. It’s embracing modernity while upholding tradition and she gets it.
The teenage sensation Atthaya Thitikul ultimately edged out Kang on second playoff hole to capture the win, and tears were shed, not out of sadness but because resiliency is an art form and Danielle Kang displayed it beautifully.
It is easy to root for someone like DK, and I hope she is able to finish the season strong and healthy. With only six events left, we have entered the final stretch, buckle up golf fans!
This week in women’s golf
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Epson Tour News
Five at The IX: Players talk golf in the Lone Star state
The LPGA is in the city of The Colony (great name), Texas this week for the The Ascendant LPGA benefiting Volunteers of America. Catch up with some of the players in the field on what Texas golf is like!
“I feel like people are really welcoming here and I feel really at home at my home course.” – Celine Boutier, on what she likes about living and practicing in Texas being a French golfer.
“The North Texas PGA, all the junior golf programs in Texas have always been outstanding.” – U.S. Solheim Cup Assistant Captain Angela Stanford spoke about the junior golf culture in Texas and how it is breeding so many more young players now compared to the start of her career.
“Texas is a great place to play competitive golf. You see a lot of PGA Tour and LPGA players living here year-round, so I just feel like it’s a great place to just have all the golf fans and enjoy some of the professional golf.” – Gaby Lopez on why she spends her time off playing in Texas.
“I think that the golf course feels like a Texas golf course, so I think that’s why there’s a lot of success from Texas players out here.” – Kristen Gillman, who qualified on Monday to play this week, discussed the conditions of the golf course ahead of the tournament’s start.
“Having my first win here when I had a lot of family here was really special. They don’t get to see me play that much. They have stuff going on and they can’t travel around the world. It was great that they were here. It was kind of like a Cinderella story in a way.” – Cheyenne Knight talks being from Texas and getting her first tour win in her home state.
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