Full of personality, first-year pro Joh living it up on Tour
BY NEAL REID
Rookies in every sport often make a name for themselves in their first seasons.
Some do it by amazing performances, others by making controversial remarks and a few even by a dubious event. For Tiffany Joh, it was her YouTube videos.
The personality-rich Californian first garnered attention from her video parody of Michael Jackson’s “Beat It,” which featured her playing the song on piano and served as a tribute to the Tour’s longer hitters. That video, which has received more than 10,000 views, was a big hit, so Joh followed it with another.
“Grip It” is a parody of Freak Nasty’s 1996 hit song “Da’ Dip” and shows various LPGA Tour pros dancing on the golf course as Joh sings about how to grip the club while hitting different types of golf shots. That video has gone even bigger, receiving more than 64,000 views on YouTube.
“I was like, ‘Great, 2,000 people out there know I’m a weirdo,’” said Joh, who is also writing rookie blogs for LPGA.com this season.
The UCLA grad has also made waves inside the ropes in her first season on Tour, making eight of 10 cuts and banking more than $200,000. Joh’s performance has exceeded her hopes for her rookie season.
“I’m thrilled, honestly,” she said. “I came into this year and didn’t have any expectations or goals for myself, because I wanted to survive. So, to be doing as well as I’m doing right now really exceeds everything. I’m thrilled, because I really didn’t expect any of it.”
Joh has enjoyed just learning how to be a full-time pro and deal with the grind that the Tour can be, saying that the Futures Tour played a crucial role in preparing her for the LPGA.
“I think, coming straight out of college, you’re just not used to playing consecutive tournaments,” Joh said. “In college, you play a week and then go back to school and get to take your mind off golf. It was tough my first year to transition to the process of playing a week and then getting ready to play the week after that and the week after that.
“The Futures Tour was a really good way for me to make that transition, because a lot of tournaments are drivable. It’s almost like a glorified summer camp, because you’re caravanning with all these other girls. It’s really a comfortable and healthy way to make your transition into pro golf.”
Success on the golf course is nothing new for the spunky and witty Joh.
She won the ING New England Golf Classic on the Futures Tour last season, was a two-time collegiate tournament winner and was a member of the U.S. Curtis Cup Team in 2008. She also won two U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links Championships (2006, 2008) and has been a force since taking up the game at age 12.
Joh’s gravitation to golf may have come later than some other pros, and it was a special initiative that ended up getting her hooked on the game.
“I grew up in San Diego, so we have golf courses everywhere,” Joh said. “If you don’t live on a golf course, you live within walking distance of one. What really got me serious about golf was The First Tee San Diego program. My dad is a professor at San Diego State, and The First Tee program is on the outskirts of campus. My dad would drop me off there, and that’s where I would actually start to play with other kids my age.”
Now as an LPGA Tour rookie, Joh is enjoying every minute of her life as a touring pro.
“I’m having a blast,” she said. “I came in as a rookie and was really intimidated by a lot of the players. I wasn’t sure how I was going to fit in, because I’m kind of a little different. I’ve been really blown away with how nice the veterans are and how nice everyone is. I think that’s been the most pleasant surprise out here. One of the greatest things about this year has been making the leap from LPGA fan to player.”