On Wednesday night, Tiffany Joh established a GoFundMe for best friend and fellow LPGA Tour player Jane Park, her husband Pete Godfrey and their 10-month-old daughter Grace. Grace has been hospitalized since last Friday with undiagnosed seizures and brain swelling, and Joh was wracking her brain for ways to help the family. After editing a video together featuring a personal rendition of the song ‘Amazing Grace,’ Joh reached out to a few friends on Tour and planned for an 8 a.m. release. And before her eyes, the campaign became a fever storm of support.
The original goal of $10,000 was quickly surpassed. By 6 p.m. on Thursday, the GoFundMe had reached over $37,500 from over 220 different donors. As Joh walked off the 18th green at the Marathon LPGA Classic after recording a first-round 73, she immediately grabbed her phone, anxious to see the amount raised. Her eyes in total amazement, she scrolled through the notifications, almost bewildered by the incredulous number of contributions.
“It's been so cool and just like right – even walking up 18 today I was like, I can't wait to turn on my phone and see how the GoFundMe is doing. I definitely didn't imagine that – I mean, I did imagine it because everyone loves Jane and Pete and Grace. At the same time, I didn't realize that the support would be so overwhelming,” said Joh. “I'm not surprised because this LPGA family… I've been on Tour for 10 years and this LPGA family has been so good to me. But I think just like seeing it in action and seeing like just the outpouring of support for Jane and Pete and Grace has been, it's just been so cool. I mean, Jane has been my best friend since I was 13, so it's been really hard to see her go through this.”
And on top of her organization efforts, Joh is currently one round into her swan song, after admitting earlier this week she planned to retire after this week’s event, a choice that seemed out of the blue to fans, friends and media alike. “I totally thought it would come out next week and then by then I would be like, Ha, see you later. I'm out,” said Joh. “But, yeah, I think at the beginning I was like, Man, I really want to just like float on out of here and not tell anyone. It's been really cool having people come up.”
Joh said she’ll continue to try and qualify for the U.S. Women’s Open until “I’m like, 145 years old,” but will be assuming a coaching role, still to be announced. With Friday looming, Joh said she’ll hope for more birdies, but is ready to enjoy the last ride.
“I felt like this was time for my career to come full circle and really pay forward everything that golf has given me. So I think I was telling Ben (Harpring, who broke the story for womensgolf.com) that at the end of the day like playing tournaments and playing major championships is such a cool experience, but I think like forming these, just making these lasting relationships and growing the game has just become like more and more important to me, and it's been something I've been really holding onto in my heart,” said Joh. “I'm really excited for the next step at the same time.”