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Nah Becomes the Second Korean PGA Member!

Posted December. 09, 2003 22:59,   


The best golf instructor, Butch Harmon (U.S.), is famous for his stubbornness in not teaching amateur players regardless of how much they will pay him.

However, there were two amateur players whom Harmon willingly accepted as students. One was “Golf Emperor” Tiger Woods (28, U.S). The other one was Nah Sang-wook (Kevin Nah, 20, Kolon) who received membership to the U.S PGA tour as the second youngest person. The flag of the 18th hole, which Nah Sang-wook took for his victory in Volvo Masters of the Asia PGA tour last year, is hanged along with other flags in memory of Wood’s major championships at the Butch Harmon Golf School.

Nah has played in the 2004 U.S. PGA Qualifying School (Q school), concluded at the Winter Garden Orange International GC (par 72) in Florida on December 9. Nah Sang-wook qualified to advance to “the dream stage,” tied in 21st place (9-under par, 423 strokes) and proved that Harmon’s insights are excellent.

Nah Sang-wook, succeeding in landing in the U.S. PGA tour following Choi Kyung-joo (Superior, TaylorMade), as the second Korean and has walked in the path of elites, unlike Choi Kyung-joo, who had struggled to become a pro golfer.

Nah has been a skier during his Myung-ji elementary school days and moved to the U.S. at age 8 and became the first ranked among U.S. juniors in 2001 with eight consecutive wins after he learned golf. He started to dream about the conquest of the U.S tour under the intense instruction by Harmon since the age of 16. He became a professional golfer in 2001, giving up a full scholarship from Stanford University in order to achieve his dream.

What is his strength that made him pass the extremely difficult Q school of the U.S. PGA in only two challenges?

Harmon evaluated him, saying, “Nah’s swing is perfect.” His driver shots average 300 yards in addition to his outstanding clean iron shots from his strong physique of 181 cm, 75 kg.

The other factor is his will to win. Manager Cheong Seung-wook of Nah’s main sponsor, Kolon, mentioned, “His play has been aggressive since he was young. He tries to make a birdie at the risk of hitting a bogey. We needed a player who can be a champion so we chose Nah Sang-wook.”

Nah Sang-wook signed a sponsorship contract with Kolon at $700,000 over four years at the beginning of this year. This is not a huge amount considering tour expenses. Nevertheless, he did not select “Titleist” which Harmon had suggested but Kolon which had supported him since he was young.

He is a man of integrity. Now his goal for next year is to become the rookie of the year, which will be the only chance in his career.

Young-Sik Ahn ysahn@donga.com