Entering the BMW Ladies Championship, Jin Young Ko had contributed about 5% of the wins on the LPGA Tour by Korean-born players in her four official seasons on Tour. On Sunday afternoon, she earned one more, to make it 200 wins even, following in the footsteps of Ok-Hee ku (the first), Ju Mi Kim (50th), So Yeon Ryu (100th) and Amy Yang (150th).
“This is a tremendous honor. And I think it's very fortunate that I am the player, the 200th win player, and I actually think that it's really fortunate that it was an event held in Korea as well,” said Ko. “Obviously being the player of the 200th win of the Korean player was not a goal that I was working toward, it just happens so that I was really focused and I did my best and this came along.
Though Ko is grateful to have her name etched in history, not forgotten is the work and struggle she’s overcome this season to get to this point. At the Volunteers of America Classic, she dedicated her first victory of 2021 to her grandmother, who had passed away a few months before. After her latest win in Busan, Ko described once again the emotions and hardships she faced while being away from family as her grandmother became ill, as well as getting through swing trouble during the beginning of the year.
“I think the most difficult period this year was early this year. My swing, I wasn't satisfied with my swing. I wasn't making greens. And there was really no flow to my game. And then early this year my grandmother became very ill, and that was a time when I was prepping for majors like ANA and the U.S. Open,” said Ko. “I could not come to Korea because of COVID, and I had these majors, so I still had to prepare and practice, and that situation was very, very difficult.
“During the week of ANA, I think I slept maybe three to four hours a day because I was crying so much, and that was when I was going through what I described as kind of my adolescence or puberty regarding golf because I came to think what's the use of all this? I was very skeptical about why I was playing golf when I couldn't be there for my grandmother. I'm actually the eldest granddaughter, and my family was going through a difficult time. I couldn't be there for my family.
“I really place a high value on happiness. So golf is a means to get there. It's not an end for me. So at the time I became really doubtful about why I was playing golf. But I think time heals everything.”