Posted by: happyfan08 | January 19, 2011

2010 Awards (7 of 10): Most Touching Moment

Most Touching Moment

And the Winner Is: In-Kyung Kim donates entire first place check to charity.

In-Kyung Kim in November

This moment came almost entirely out of left field.  In-Kyung Kim played brilliantly in the final round of the Lorena Ochoa Invitational, defeating top player Suzann Pettersen in a memorable duel.  While being interviewed following her victory, she made the stunning announcement that she would be donating her entire $200,000+ first place check to charity; half to a charity in the US to be named later, and half to Ochoa’s charity.  It was a wonderful, beautiful gesture by the young lady.

In-Kyung plays guitar on the beach near her hometown of San Diego

Almost immediately, a few bitter souls suggested that she had made the donation with ulterior motives: free publicity, perhaps?  Tax write off?  Well, if you want publicity, you can get plenty donating $50,000.  You don’t need to give away an amount totaling nearly 20% of your total income for the year!  And the tax savings would also not equal what she was giving away, either.  Sheesh, some people…

Inky’s donation was one of a number of high profile donations made by Korean golfers in 2010.  Jiyai Shin also donated her entire winner’s check for the KLPGA Championship, about $130K, to a charity in Korea.  Na Yeon Choi gave away her third place prize money at the same event.  Jennifer Song, meanwhile, gave away 30% of EVERY check she earned in 2010 to charity, and vowed to continue to do so throughout the rest of her career.   Choi also gave away $30,000 to US Girls Golf at the year’s final event.  All this charity is a wonderful rebuke to the harsh reception Korean golfers sometimes get in this country.

Jiyai Shin, In-Kyung Kim and Hee Young Park present a donation to Birdies for Love charity in December

(Apropos of nothing, there was an interesting trend that happened this year: a Korean was profiled on the first day of a tournament and wound up being in the hunt on Sunday.  In-Kyung Kim received a nice profile from the Golf Channel at the beginning of the week she won, and Amy Yang also was profiled the week she came just a shot away from winning the LPGA Tour Championship.  Here’s hoping they have that Se Ri Pak profile all warmed up the week of the 2011 Kraft Nabisco!).

Honorable Mention:

Se Ri and Se Ri’s Kids at the Bell Micro

Se Ri's Kids soak Se Ri Pak after her win at the Bell Micro

Se Ri became uncharacteristically emotional following her long awaited win at last year’s Bell Micro Classic.  Jiyai Shin, Amy Yang and Chella Choi sat by the green watching Pak play.  It was endearing to see just how nervously these stars watched their hero battle for the win.  At one point, Shin even clasped her hands in prayer before a Se Ri putt.  After she made the putt, the TV cameras cut back to show the three golfers cheering ecstatically.  The reminder of just how much Pak means to these players, especially superstar Shin, was very touching to see.  (Yet another bit of nonsense: the commentators suggested Shin was there because she was hoping Pettersen would lose so Shin could stay #1 in the world.  Hogwash.  It only took five seconds of watching Shin to see how much Pak’s win meant to her on a personal level; whom Se Ri happened to beat was irrelevant).

Best Teen

And the Winner Is: Soo Jin Yang

Soo Jin Yang in an ad for her sponsor Nefs

It’s hard to remember that Soo Jin Yang, who this year was the second ranked player on the KLPGA tour, is still only 19 years old.  Yang had a breakthrough season in 2010, winning the Korean Women’s Open and one other event, notching 13 top tens, and winning the tour’s Most Popular award at the year ending KLPGA Awards Show.

Yang won the award as the Most Popular Player on the KLPGA tour last year

Honorable Mentions:

Kristen Park

Kristen Park

18 year old Kristen Park won the AJGA’s Player of the Year award in 2010.  The winner a few years ago of the US Girls Junior (when she was just 14), Park is one of the most promising of the young teen Korean Americans coming up in the ranks.

Danielle Kang

Danielle Kang

All 17 year old Korean American Danielle Kang did this year is win the US Women’s Amateur.  Well, and some other stuff, but it doesn’t get much bigger than winning the most important women’s amateur event in the country and possibly the world.

Jung Eun Han

Jung Eun Han with her Asian Games team gold medal

Teenage Korean golfer Jung Eun Han has been a mainstay the past couple of years on the Korean National team.  This year she helped power that team to multiple great finishes in important team events (see Most Dominating Performance for more details!).  She also managed a top three finish in a KLPGA event as well as several other near misses, including a great run at the Korean Women’s Open that came up just short.

Julie Yang

Julie Yang

15 year old Julie Yang has been quietly building a name for herself in Europe, where she has been based after moving there from Arizona.  She also achieved a top ten in a KLPGA/LET event in 2010, beating all the European tour players in the field with her 6th place result.

Best Hot Streak

And the Winner Is: Song Hee Kim, 10 straight top tens

Song Hee Kim

Song Hee Kim’s amazing 10 straight top tens included the final two events of 2009 and 8 straight to start the year in 2010.  But despite all her success, which included leading the tour in scoring average much of the year, she still has yet to win an event on the LPGA.

Honorable Mentions:

Sun Ju Ahn’s 10 straight top five finishes

Sun Ju Ahn had an incredible year in Japan, highlighted by a stretch where she achieved three wins and ten straight top five finishes.

Inbee Park’s amazing start on the JLPGA tour

See Best Start to the Season for more details!

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