Posted by: happyfan08 | December 10, 2009

The 2009 KLPGA Awards Show

Every year in December, the KLPGA throws a big bash to celebrate the year just completed.  They hand out awards for the top players on tour as well as the best of the international Koreans.  It gives the ladies a chance to get dressed up and enjoy themselves.  The award show is well covered in the press, a nice advertisement for the tour (the LPGA might take some notes!).  The show also gives some of the players a chance to play entertainer for a day!

Yes, one of the new traditions of this award show is that some of the top names on tour get a chance to perform in a dance number for the assembled crowd.  Last year, five of the top players on tour did a dance number modeled on the K Pop sensations the Wonder Girls doing their top hit ‘Nobody’.

The KLPGA's Wonder Girls in action.

That went over so well that this year the Awards Show featured two different dance numbers.  The first allowed the young guns of the tour, including top rookies Soo Jin Yang and Rookie of the Year Shin Ae Ahn, to tackle another K Pop hit, the song ‘Mister’ by the group Kara.  The second number roped in four of the top players on tour: Hee Kyung Seo (the Player of the Year), So Yeon Ryu (the tour’s #2), as well as top six players Ji Na Lim and Bo Mi Lee.  They were to do a salsa number with professional male partners.  To this end, they convened at a dance studio to practice their moves and get their choreography down:

Hee Kyung Seo and partner

The Salsa Four: So Yeon Ryu, Bo Mi Lee, Hee Kyung Seo and Ji Na Lim

After the Koreans won the Kyoraku Cup, the four ladies returned to the studio to polish their act some more:

Hee Kyung practices

Lim, Seo and Lee

The HiMart 2009 KLPGA Awards Show took place in Seoul on the afternoon of December 9th.

There’s a tradition at this show to pick an LPGA golfer to co-host the festivities. Young Kim and Jin Joo Hong have been tapped for this duty in the past. This year the KLPGA chose Kyeong Bae to do the honors.

Kyeong Bae co-hosted the program

The five young golfers performed their version of ‘Mister’ for the crowd.  This song is performed by pop group Kara with a lightly suggestive dance that involves shaking their butts at the crowd.  The Korean press has called this the ‘butt dance’, and it is considered mildly controversial.  But the five young golfers, all in their teens, tackled the dance anyway, and seemed to have a great time doing it.

The 'Mister' performance

The five golfers were rookies Soo Jin Yang, Shin Ae Ahn and Da Som Lee and developmental tour stars Soo Ji Lee and Yoon Ji Jo. Here you can see Soo Jin working it.

Soo Jin Yang

Next, the Salsa Four took the stage.  They did the dance with their four partners, and finished it with a cute synchronized golf swing from the four stars.

The Salsa number

Seo and Ryu at the end of the number

Do you trust your partner?

Next came the awards.  It was Hee Kyung Seo’s night all around. In addition to being featured in the dance number, she also picked up four awards: low scoring average, money list leader, Player of the Year and most wins.

Hee Kyung Seo

Hee Kyung Seo

Hee Kyung Seo

One of the few awards not won by Seo was Rookie of the Year. This was captured by 19 year old Shin Ae Ahn. Here she poses with last year’s winner He Yong Choi.

Rookie of the Year Shin Ae Ahn (with last year's winner He Yong Choi)

Jiyai Shin won the award for Best Korean player playing in America.  Considering she won three times and became the first Korean player to lead the LPGA money list, I’d say it was an award well deserved!  Mi Jeong Jeon won the award as the best Korean playing in Japan full time.

Seo and Shin pose with their awards

So Yeon Ryu fought long and hard with Hee Kyung Seo all season for the top spot on tour. In the end, Seo won all the top awards, with Ryu finishing second in most categories.  But Ryu didn’t walk away emptyhanded from the awards show: she was voted ‘Most Popular’ by the KLPGA’s fans. Here she is with Seo, the previous year’s winner, receiving her award.  Interestingly, Seo was in much the same position last year: she won 6 times, but still was shut out of the awards by Shin, and had to settle for the Most Popular Award as her sole honor.

So Yeon Ryu accepts her Most Popular Player Award (with Seo at right)

The top players on tour in 2009 (minus Sun Ju Ahn, who was not at the show) posed on stage towards the end of the festivities.  It was a great year on tour, and 2010 promises to be even better!  Left to Right: Jung Eun Lee, winner of the KLPGA Championship; one time winner Bo Mi Lee; 4 time winner So Yeon Ryu; the KLPGA’s president; World #2 Jiyai Shin, and five time KLPGA winner (with three Majors) Hee Kyung Seo.

The top KLPGA players of 2009

Bonus: here are a few links on YouTube showing some of the fun.  Here is the salsa dance:

And here is another view of the salsa dance, with some of the red carpet action as well:

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