Go to contents

[Opinion] New Golf Empress Shin Ji-yai

Posted November. 25, 2008 03:07,   


The ADT Championship is a golf competition that wraps up the LPGA season. The winner of the hefty prize money of one million dollars can greatly change player rankings. Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach, Florida, was originally designed to be a tough course with a fast green. On top of it, a strong wind blew throughout the 18-hole event to worsen the already unfavorable conditions. Shin Ji-yai, however, missed the fairway on her tee shots just once in the final round. The 20-year-old golfer also had a 90 percent accuracy in reaching the green.

Karrie Webb of Australia, who finished second by one stroke and received only 100,000 dollars in prize money, described Shin as having the most potential among Koreans in the LPGA. "She hit it at the pin 16th, 17th and 18th (the three most difficult halls)," Webb said, adding Shin putts well and is a great player.

Third-place Paula Creamer also praised Shin, saying "She`s got a great imagination, too. She hits it very straight. I think when she comes over to the LPGA, she`s going to be a great player, a great addition to women`s golf. I like how she`s very, very humble."

Golf empress Annika Sorenstam, 38, retired from the LPGA after the ADT Championship. Sorenstam has 72 tour victories and eight Player of the Year awards. Pak Seri kept losing to Sorenstam in close tournaments. In an interview after the competition, Shin said without hesitation that her dream is gaining respect from other players by becoming the world number one. Perhaps, it is possible for Shin to overcome the barriers Pak couldn`t and emerge as the new empress of golf.

Shin was an avid fan of Pak. She dreamed of becoming a greater golfer while watching Pak play at major LPGA competitions without shoes at age 10 in 1998. Pak gave a ray of hope to Koreans, who were reeling from the Asian financial crisis back then. Shin is also hoped to give strength to Koreans, who again face a financial crisis. She seems to have the guts to push ahead even in the midst of extreme situations thanks to the courage and imagination she has acquired through relentless practice. She says she plans to use the prize money to lend a helping hand to those in need in Korea this winter and buy a house in the United States.

Chief Editorial Writer Hwang Ho-taek (hthwang@donga.com)