Posted by: happyfan08 | December 8, 2011

2011 KLPGA Awards Show

On Tuesday, December 6th, the KLPGA held its annual Award Show at the Lotte Hotel’s Crystal Ballroom in Seoul.  For at least the past several years, the tour has made this event into a real gala, and a great opportunity for the golfers to dress to the nines and celebrate the season just passed.  Traditionally, it has been held the week after the Japan-Korea team event, the Pinx Cup (sometimes also known as the Kyoraku Cup).  But this event has not been held the past two seasons: in 2010, it was canceled due to the concurrent staging of the LPGA’s tour championship the same weekend.  This year, it was on the schedule for most of the year, but for some reason did not end up happening.

Ha Neul Kim at the Awards Show

But though the team event has gone missing, the Awards show went on as normal.  The LPGA and other tours could take a page from the Koreans here.  The event is televised and has become quite popular.  It’s a chance for the fans to see their heroines in a very different light than the golf course provides.  The players not only receive awards they have earned during the year; they also get two awards chosen by the fans.  KLPGA Golfers even co-host the event and participate in the entertainment!  This results in a fun time for players, sponsors, and fans, and a fantastic marketing platform for the tour as well.

Jung Eun Lee and HJ Choi have fun with their awards

The tradition the past few years has been to have one of the more attractive lady golfers act as co-host for the festivities.  In the past we’ve seen Young Kim, Kyeong Bae, Jin Joo Hong and Hee Kyung Seo take this role.  This year, the honor fell to Ran Hong.  Hong is a top ten KLPGA player who may be best known to non-Korean fans for her heroics at this year’s Evian Masters, where she played herself into the final group on Sunday and ended up tied for 6th

Ran Hong: The Hostess in Red

Ran, who is known for her stylishness, was right at home as hostess.

Ran Hong also wore a black dress during the show

The big star of the night was Ha Neul Kim.  2011 has been a comeback year for her.  She was Rookie of the Year in 2007, and won three times in 2008 to establish herself as a top star.  She did not win in 2009 or 2010, but started a massive comeback with a win early this year.  However, it was really starting at the Hite Cup, the year’s third Major, where she emerged as this season’s top player.  At that point she was well behind So Yeon Ryu, the 2011 US Women’s Open champ, in most of the big season races.  But from that point on, she seized the initiative, winning that Major, finishing second in the final one, winning a third time, and barely losing the season ending ADT-CAPS in a seven hole playoff. 

Ha Neul receiving the plaudits of her peers (plus a bunch of flowers!)

Ha Neul took home four awards at this year’s show: Money List winner, Player of the Year, Most Wins and Most Popular (one of the two awards chosen by fans).

Ha Neul contemplates her collection of trophies

Ha Neul intends to remain on the KLPGA tour in 2012.  She has admitted to the press that she hates the idea of going to LPGA Qualifying School.  She intends to use her KLPGA standing to qualify for six LPGA events next year, including the US Women’s Open, Kraft Nabisco Championship and the Evian Masters.  She hopes to get a win at one of these events to earn her tour card, much as her rivals Ryu, Hee Kyung Seo and Jiyai Shin did before her.  But if she cannot manage that, she might hold her nose and try for Q-School a year from now.

It was a very happy night for Ha Neul Kim

Ha Neul has quickly become very popular in Korea, and has been appearing with increasing regularity in the popular press.  She recently posed for a series of photos with top pool player Yoo Ram Cha.

Ha Neul Kim poses with pool star Yu Ram Cha

She has an interesting dilemma in Korea: her name is the same as a well known TV and film actress, which makes finding information about Kim the golfer more challenging.  But the ways things are going, her popularity is actually starting to reach the level of the actress.  With her style, looks, great talent and personality, the KLPGA is probably counting its blessings that Ha Neul Kim will be around for at least one more season.

One of the many recent interviews with Ha Neul featured this candid shot

Super Woman brought her own cape to the awards show.  It caused her a bit of trouble walking, though!

Ha Neul Kim and her cape

The last few years, KLPGA golfers have not just sat in the audience watching the awards get doled out.  They have been part of the show as well, doing dance numbers or singing.  And it’s not just the lesser known players participating: some of the biggest stars on tour have put their time in on stage.  In 2008, for instance, five top stars performed a dance number to the popular hit ‘Nobody’.  Among those who danced were 2011 LPGA Rookie of the Year Hee Kyung Seo, this year’s US Women’s Open winner Ryu, this year’s Award Show co-host Ran Hong and this year’s Player of the Year Kim. 

It's true! Five big KLPGA stars danced at the 2008 KLPGA Awards Show

This year, six winners on tour in 2011 danced to two numbers by popular Korean pop acts.  The songs they performed to  were T-Ara’s ‘Roly Poly’ and Sistar’s ‘So Cool’.  The golfers were: Hye Youn Kim, Hyun Hwa Shim, Sul Ah Yoon, Mi Rim Lee, Hyun Min Pyun and Rookie of the Year Yeon Ju Jung.

KLPGAers shake their groove thing (or whatever the kids call it these days!)

Another angle

Another look

Hyun Hwa Shim, second on this year’s money list

Another closer look

Hye Youn Kim became a minor internet sensation following this number, with several photos of her dancing and at the awards show featuring prominently in most-searched lists following the show.

Hye Youn Kim dances

Want to see them in action?  The dance number is on Youtube!

Another of this year’s dancers, 19 year old Yeon Ju Jung, was this year’s Rookie of the Year.  Her biggest accomplishment in 2011 was winning the year’s first Major, the Korean Women’s Open.  That was a fantastic achievement for the teenager, but she was far from a one hit wonder.  She wound up finishing fifth on the year’s money list, notching seven top tens in total. 

Yeon Ju Jung, 2011 KLPGA Rookie of the Year

She also cut a mean rug!

Yeon Ju Jung also danced!

Here the two big winners of the night pose together:

Yeon Ju Jung and Ha Neul Kim

There were two other KLPGA players who won awards on the night, but neither was at the show.  Bo Mee Lee achieved the lowest scoring average on tour in 2011.  She got a bit lucky: she did not play the final event, where scoring was very tough.  All the players ahead of her in scoring average going into that week were at the tournament and saw their averages balloon due to the tough conditions, handing Lee the trophy.  So Yeon Ryu, who wound up not winning any awards in 2011, was hardest hit.  She finished second in scoring, just .04 strokes behind Lee (Ha Neul Kim, by the way, was third, .07 behind Lee).  Had Lee played the tournament, Ryu probably would have held her off and collected that crown.

Bo Mee Lee in a glamor shot from this April

The other award winner not present was Shin Ae Ahn, who collected the other trophy given by the fans, the Best Dresser.  Ahn is famous for her fashion sense, so it’s not surprise she collected this honor.  Too bad she couldn’t make it; it would have been great to see what she came up with to wear to the Awards!

Shin Ae Ahn during a recent tournament

So Yeon Ryu, Na Yeon Choi and Hee Young Park were honored for their LPGA wins, with Na Yeon named as the best Korean golfer on the LPGA.  Na Yeon didn’t attend, but the other two did:

Hee Young

Hee Young won her first LPGA event after four years on tour

So Yeon

So Yeon was the first Korean to win a Major in two years

Both of them

So Yeon Ryu and Hee Young Park

Sun Ju Ahn received the award as the best Korean golfer on the JLPGA tour; she led that tour’s money list for the second straight year, with four wins in 2011. 

Sun Ju Ahn is the second highest ranked Korean player in the world right now!

Some of the other guests:

Hyun Hee Moon

Soo Jin Yang

Soo Jin Yang had a fantastic year, finishing 4th on the money list

Yang, Ha Neul and Ryu

Ha Neul, So Yeon and Soo Jin

Congratulations to Ha Neul Kim and all the ladies of the KLPGA for another fantastic, exciting season.  Get your rest, because the 2012 season starts next week in China!



  1. […] Go here to see the original: 2011 KLPGA Awards Show « SeoulSisters […]

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