Very rarely is Danielle Kang satisfied. She’s a player that likes to challenge herself, to test her limits, to push until she’s as close as possible to perfection, mentally, physically, and emotionally. She grinds and she chases and is relentless in her pursuit of excellence. It’s no surprise that ahead of this week’s Chevron Championship and the season’s first major, Kang doesn’t feel like her game is as good as it could be.
“My game is still not exactly where I want it to be, and I was testing a lot of stuff that I wanted to test last week to be ready for this week,” said the major champion, who won the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship in 2017. “I’ve been playing pretty solid wherever we are, but it's hard. I know I'm finishing in the top 10 and winning and finishing second, but it's more than that. It's about how I feel when I approach a shot and about how I want to execute it. I understand if it goes to two feet it goes to two feet, but it's how I got there, how the golf ball leaves the face. All that is something I want to narrow down and compact and feel better about for the longevity of the game and my career. I'm still not that comfortable.”
On paper, the 29-year-old American is having one of the hottest starts to a season in her career, winning the Hilton Grand Vacations Tournament of Champions in January, coming in second at the Gainbridge LPGA at Boca Rio in February and carding T9 and T8 finishes in Singapore and Thailand, respectively, during the Asian swing. Kang has only notched one top-10 finish in her 10 career starts though in the desert — a solo sixth in 2019. She’s looking to buck that trend this week in the 51st playing of The Chevron Championship and with ample practice at last week’s JTBC Classic honing her short game and focusing on the details, Kang hopes to make the final leap come Sunday.
“I've been chipping kind of weird, so I missed a couple of greens on purpose last week, and I was talking about it with my coach and they thought it was the most absurd thing they had ever heard,” Kang said of her T42 finish in Carlsbad. “My friend David Lipsky was like, ‘You did what?’ I said, ‘You've never done that?’ Nobody does that. You can't really recreate what you feel in a competition unless you're in competition. It's always a work in progress. That's the beauty of golf.”