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Rookie Golfer has Earned Celebrity Status and Promises to Win More

Rookie Golfer has Earned Celebrity Status and Promises to Win More

Posted July. 21, 2007 03:03,   


Seeing his hand held out to shake hands with others, I could notice calluses on every finger of his hand.

Touching his hand, “Must have practiced a lot,” I said. “Actually, I have not practiced much. I took a rest for the past four days,” he replied.

Watching his bright smile, I doubt why he was nicknamed Monster Rookie on the field. Kim Gyeong-tae has overcome intense pressure at every tournament.

I noticed his persistence and strong power wrapped in his smile. His character has sustained, I believe, Kim through crises. These days, Kim is enjoying his “summer vacation.” His first semester resulted in a mark of “A+.” Leaving his colorful amateur career behind, he made his pro debut this year. He has won three out of eight championships. Setting a new Korean record, he has earned $320,000 so far.

“I felt burdened. But that helped me, I guess. Then, I won titles two weeks in a row. Then, I felt confident,” said Kim. Kim won the season’s first tournament, the SBS Tomato Open, and beat a veteran Chinese golfer in the final of the 26th GS Caltex Maekyung Open.

Four Years on the National Team Helped His Agility-

Kim has become a shooting star in the Korean pro golf community. Originally a sub golfer on the national team, he had not qualified for participation in the major Korean tournaments. Authorities, however, modified the rules to give him eligibility. Then, he won sponsorship from Shinhan Bank.

Key to Success -

“As an amateur player, I played in 25 pro tournaments. Then, I served on the national team, and participated in many international tournaments. This was why I could easily overcome the long rough in a tournament held in China,” explained Kim.

More Savviness Needed in Short-Range Play

He, however, still has a long way to go.

“I rarely used to shoot out of bounds. This year, I have seven times already. I lost my swing confidence and lost my balance entirely,” confesses Kim.

What he indicates is that he must improve his skills in short-range strokes and on the green.

Employees and customers of Namseoul Country Club greeted him, where I met Kim for the interview.

Kim told me, “More and more people recognize me and ask for my autograph. It’s one of the changes I feel to the bone. I once spent a whole week doing interviews and attending functions.”

He has gained celebrity status. But it is an obstacle he has to overcome.

“I Wish to be the Best Rookie and Earn the Most”-

An upcoming tournament is one month away. Kim is already on the run again. He’s building up his muscles and honing his skills. He has joined the Korean national team members. He seems to not forget his resolution from the old days.

“I had a goal. I wanted to become rookie of the year, and earn the most. I think I’m on the right track. We have a number of upcoming major tournaments. I think I have to win at least one championship,” Kim stated as he envisioned his future.