Posted by: happyfan08 | January 20, 2010

2009 Awards (8 of 12): Happiest News

Happiest News

And the Winner Is: Kimmie is a mommy! 

Mi Hyun Kim

Mi Hyun Kim married her sweetheart, Won Hee Lee, the gold medalist judo champion from the Athens Olympics, at the end of last year.  It didn’t take them long to start a family!  In early 2009, they announced that Kimmie was pregnant with their first child.  She played on tour until early summer, then stopped playing to have the baby.  In November, they had a bouncing young baby boy.  Congratulations to the couple, and here’s hoping we’ll be seeing more of Peanut and Peanut Jr. soon on tour!

Other Nominees:

Amy Yang escapes serious injury from fire at Evian

There was a seriously scary moment at this year’s Evian Masters.  Several players and their families were staying at a small hotel not far from the course.  At 10 PM, a fire broke out, and the building filled with smoke.  Among the players still in the building were Amy Yang and Catriona Matthew.  Fortunately, everyone escaped with at worst minor injuries.

Amy was staying on the second floor with her father when there were strange popping noises in the hall.  Her dad was awake and heard this and went to investigate.  By then, there was already too much smoke for them to go out through the hallways.  Amy’s dad threw a mattress out the window, and the two jumped moments later, landing on the mattress to break their falls.  Amy’s father singed the hair on his arm, but Amy was unhurt and was able to play the event without trouble.

Most Touching Moment

And the Winner Is: Shin gives great Rookie of the Year acceptance speech

Jiyai Shin faced one of the toughest rookie classes in some time; three of her fellow rookies accumulated four wins, including a Major, between them.  Despite this fact, Shin easily won the Rookie of the Year in 2009, and came close to claiming the Player of the Year as well.

Jiyai Shin with Louise Suggs and her Rookie of the Year award

At the final event of the year, Shin’s Rookie award was one of the few that was not still in doubt.  She gave a wonderful acceptance speech in English, thanking the founders of the tour for all they did to make the LPGA possible.  She dedicated the award to her late mother, who was killed in a car crash in 2003, and talked about how the insurance money from her mother’s death was at least partially used to help her continue her golf career.  She credited her dad for all she has achieved.  And perhaps admitting that she was far from a glamor girl, she wrapped up with this wonderful passage:

“Some of us play for quiet, shy girls with little glasses who have a song in their hearts.  To those girls I say, ‘Do not be afraid. Dream big.’ “

What a classy addition to the LPGA tour Jiyai Shin has been!

Other Nominees:

Americans douse Shin after winning P&G

Jiyai wins in Arkansas

Angela Stanford’s Solheim team members were eagerly waiting by the green to douse her in champagne should she win the playoff at the P & G Northwest Arkansas Championship.  When Jiyai Shin won instead, the players graciously went out and gave Shin a champagne bath instead.  That’s what you call a nice gesture!

Se Ri congrats In Kyung Kim after State Farm

Se Ri Pak has not won an event in more than 2 years, but she came achingly close to doing so at this year’s State Farm Classic.  However, In Kyung Kim ripped off two clutch birdies late to take the trophy by a stroke.  Se Ri, who had not really talked with Kim before, graciously visited her in the scoring tent to offer her congratulations to the young and doubtless awed star.

Jeong Jang meets vets again

Jeong Jang has been injured much of 2009, and her presence has been missed.  But she made sure to come back from her wrist operation in time to play at the Wegman’s LPGA in Rochester.  It was at this event in 2006 that she started a relationship with a group of American Korean War vets that has quietly continued year after year.  Each year, she visits a Korean War shrine in Rochester to commemorate the anniversary of the start of the Korean War, meeting with a group of American vets there.  Afterwards, she presents them with a check to help them maintain the shrine.  This year, ESPN, who was covering the event, presented a story about this annual ritual, and it was a touching as ever.

Best Victory Celebration

And the Winner Is: MJ Hur, Safeway Classic

Mi Jung Hur

Korean golfers have a tradition on tour, where they make sure to give every Korean winner a bath in beer or champagne after they win.  When MJ Hur sunk her winning putt at this year’s Safeway Classic, she could see her pal Haeji Kang coming at her with a beer to give her that ritual bath.  Hur wasn’t about to get wet, though, and took off down the fairway to avoid her friend.  Kang gave chase while the watching crowd laughed and cheered.  Kang eventually caught her and gave her a good drenching.

Other Nominees:

Stanford’s American pals soak Shin after Shin beats Stanford at P & G

See ‘Most Touching Moment’ for details.

Favorite Photo Op

And the Winner Is: Koreans at Ronald McDonald House

One of the knocks about the Korean golfers is that they do not give back to charities in America.  But this is far from true.  In fact, the Koreans had been looking for an American charity they could directly support to show their gratitude for their opportunities in the US.  At this year’s Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic in Toledo, Ohio, Se Ri Pak suggested that the Sisters should adopt the local Ronald McDonald House, one of the charities that benefits from the tournament.  She went around recruiting golfers to help, and managed to get thirty of them to come with her to the house.  Once there, they did chores to help keep the house clean and operational. 

Jiyai Shin, Ji Young Oh and Eun Hee Ji lend a hand

The whole lot of them later posed for a wacky picture with Ronald McDonald himself. 

The Sisters at the Ronald McDonald House


Then the players made a special donation of more than $13,000 to the House.  The photos of so many of the Korean stars, both young and old, working together on this charity project were both fun and moving.

Se Ri and friends present a check to Ronald McDonald House


Other Nominees:

Shin serenades home owner

During the Michelob Ultra Open in May, several LPGA golfers worked to help build a house for the charity Habitat for Humanity.  Among them were Koreans Hee Young Park and Jiyai Shin.  Shin even gave the home owner-to-be a special treat: she sang a verse of her hit single ‘Don’t Say Goodbye’ during a break in the work.  Don’t think I’ve ever seen Phil Michelson do that!

Jiyai Shin sings!

Several golfers participated in a kimchi making demo before Hana Bank

Not just Korean golfers but also Westerners got a chance to make some kimchi before this year’s Korean stop on the LPGA tour.

Kimchi demo

Golfers donate hair to women who have cancer

Chella Choi gives up her hair for a good cause

Before this year’s P & G Beauty Northwest Arkansas Championship, a group of tour golfers agreed to get their hair cut for charity.  The hair was donated to make wigs for women who have lost their hair due to cancer.  Among the Sisters who participated were Koreans Jee Hae Lee and Chella Choi and Korean Americans Christina Kim and Vicky Hurst.  Despite losing 8 inches of hair each, the ladies seemed to take it rather well!

Jiyai and Lorena share the POY trophy at award show… sort of

Lorena and Jiyai with the Player of the Year trophy

Normally, the awards for the season are given out during the final event of the LPGA season.  But this year, both the Vare Trophy for low scoring average and Player of the Year were still up in the air when the event happened.  So Lorena Ochoa and Jiyai Shin, the only two players with a reasonable shot of being Player of the Year, posed for a photo where they shared the trophy.  OK, Lorena held it and Jiyai touched it, but that’s sharing, isn’t it?

Favorite Tradition

And the Winner Is: KLPGA golfers doing dance numbers for KLPGA Awards Show

I couldn’t let this Seoulie Awards go by without having a little entertainment, could I?  The KLPGA has had a fun tradition the last two years of having their top golfers participate in a dance number at their annual Awards Show.  Last year there was one number, but it went over so well, this year they had two of them.  The first number featured five of the teenage up and coming stars on tour doing a version of the number ‘Mister’ from the K-Pop group Kara.  The second number was a salsa dance featuring four KLPGA stars: Hee Kyung Seo, So Yeon Ryu, Bo Mi Lee and Ji Na Lim.  I for one am looking forward to how they will top this in 2010!

The Kara number

The salsa number


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