HER HEART IS IN L.A.
Danielle Kang has strong roots in the Los Angeles area. The 25-year-old grew up in Southern California and lived in the Ventura County area until she moved to Las Vegas a couple years ago. She has many friends who still reside in the area, including some well-known ones like the Gretzkys who will be playing in Kang’s pro-am group on Wednesday.
“I feel like I’m back at home,” Kang said.
Although Kang doesn’t live in the L.A. area anymore, she said on Tuesday that she still visits frequently. But those trips are often very short ones and not many people even know that she makes them. That’s because she has only one special person to visit – her father.
Kang’s father, K.S., passed away in 2013 following a short battle with brain and lung cancer. K.S. and his daughter were very close. He caddied for her in both of her U.S. Women’s Amateur wins in 2010 and 2011 and she speaks often of how she still carries his spirit with her wherever she goes. Last year after she won her first major, Danielle celebrated with her dad by adorning his grave with her caddie bib and flowers, posting a tribute on Instagram that read “We did it.” Those visits to his grave are important to her, even if it involves just a few hours on the ground.
“I fly out here for one day a lot, just like a day trip to see my dad,” Danielle said.
“I come here like literally on a 5:30 a.m. flight, rent a car, go there, get on like an 11:00 a.m. flight (back).”
This week she will have even more chances to visit her father as his grave is just 10 minutes from Wilshire Country Club.
“Now I can just drive after golf, which is great,” she said.
NEW WINNER, WHO DIS?
Last week, Brooke Henderson became the eighth different winner of 2018 on the LPGA Tour in as many events. In 2017, the Meijer LPGA Classic for Simply Give (which Henderson won) marked the 15th event of the season with 15 different winners, matching 1991 for the longest the Tour has gone without having a repeat champion. Rolex Co-Player of the Year So Yeon Ryu would then become the first repeat winner of the season the next week at the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship presented by P&G.
Henderson knows it would be a huge achievement to become the first repeat winner of the season coming off of her win in Hawaii.
“I think it’s a little bit difficult once the adrenaline wears off,” Henderson said. “You have to rest a little bit more and just get back the mental strength you have lost. I think that’ll be a big key in the next couple days just preparing for this event. Just try to take it a little bit easy, try to rest up, and then start fast.”
Overall last season, there were 22 different winners from eight different countries in 33 events. Four countries (USA (3), Republic of Korea (3), Sweden (1) and Canada (1)) have been represented in the winner’s circle this year so far.
THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE K-TOWN
Inbee Park, who is current leader of the 2018 Rolex Player of the Year rankings with 63 points, enjoys stopping in Los Angeles during the West Coast Swing because it reminds her of home.
“We have been having Asian sponsors for the six events, and the area that we were playing in is a big Asian and Korean communities that we play in,” the South Korean added, “I feel like we’re playing at home.”
Park may feel relaxed off the course but on the course, it’s a different story.
“I mean, around the greens approaching is really hard. I think one of the key this week is just hitting a lot of greens. Even though they’re going in with a short iron, you have to kind of aim for the big part of the green,” Park explained.
Park, who also leads the Race to CME Globe with 63 points, feels like her bags are a little lighter this week.
“This week is pretty much the week where we don’t have to carry our Korean food. You can just go out and go to a Korean place anywhere you want.” She exclaimed, “It’s great!”
LOS ANGELES IS LAP SIX IN RACE TO THE CME GLOBE
This week’s HUGEL-JTBC LA Open marks the ninth lap of the 2018 Race to the CME Globe. With her win at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup and two additional top-three finishes in her last two starts, Inbee Park has the taken the lead in the Race to CME Globe with 1,158 points. LOTTE Championship winner Brooke Henderson is close behind Park with 1,048 points, followed by Ariya Jutanugarn, who has five top-seven finishes in eight starts this season, with 963 points.
Throughout the season’s 33 official events, LPGA Members will battle for position, with the top 12 players after the Blue Bay LPGA heading into the season-ending CME Group Tour Championship with the opportunity to take home a $1 million bonus, the biggest prize in women’s golf.
All tournaments have the same point values except for the five major championships, which carry 25 percent
more value. For all events with a cut, points are awarded to members who make the cut, while for events without a cut, points are awarded to members who finish in the top 40 and ties.
Points will be reset for the CME Group Tour Championship following the Blue Bay LPGA, with the top 72 LPGA Members, as well as any non-Member winners and alternates, seeded into the championship field. For the top five players, it’s easy – win the CME Group Tour Championship and take home $1 million. However, the top 12 in the points race all have a mathematical chance to take the title of Race to the CME Globe Champion and win the coveted check.
In 2017, Lexi Thompson became the first American winner of the Race to the CME Globe and the accompanying $1 million prize. She joined Lydia Ko (2014, 2015) and Ariya Jutanugarn (2016) as the only players to hoist the crystal trophy.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE INAUGURAL HUGEL-JTBC LA OPEN
One of three new events on the LPGA schedule in 2018
One of four LPGA tournaments in California in 2018
LPGA returns to downtown Los Angeles for the first time since 2001
Wilshire C.C. has a rich professional golf history having also hosted the PGA TOUR’s LA Open (now the Genesis Open) four times (1928, 1931, 1933, 1944) and the Champions Tour’s Senior Classic (now the AT&T Champions Classic) from 1995-2000
Nearing its 100th anniversary in 2019, the Club has played a prominent role in the development of the prestigious Hancock Park neighborhood where it proudly originated in 1919
TV TIMES – SHOWTIME IN PRIMETIME
With the addition of the HUGEL-JTBC LA Open in Los Angeles and the LPGA MEDIHEAL Championship in San Francisco, the LPGA Tour now boasts a true West-Coast swing, starting in Phoenix and making six stops before heading east to Texas for the Volunteers of America LPGA Texas Classic in May. Golf Channel will air the six LPGA tournaments LIVE in primetime, dubbing the LPGA’s West-Coast swing the #ShowtimeInPrimetime.
Thursday, April 19: 6:30-9:30 p.m. ET, Golf Channel
Friday, April 20: 6:30-9:30 p.m. ET, Golf Channel
Saturday, April 21: 6-9 p.m. ET, Golf Channel
Sunday, April 22: 6-9 p.m. ET, Golf Channel