Kim Sei-young shares her story as part of LPGA Drive On series
Korean golfer Kim Sei-young shared her story in a autobiographical article titled "Run Toward Your Fears" published by the LPGA on Tuesday as part of the Tour's Drive On program to celebrate hard work and tenacity and create greater opportunities for women.
In the article and an accompanying video, Kim discusses her childhood spent learning taekwondo and how the skills she learned from the martial art have translated to golf.
"By age 12, I was a third-degree black belt," Kim wrote. "Martial arts taught me many things that made me a better golfer. The physicality of taekwondo translated well into the motions of the golf swing. Flexibility, leverage, balance, speed in the right spot, and controlling yourself as you strike an object: these are all crossover disciplines."
Kim says that the greatest gift that her father, a taekwondo instructor, taught her was to face your fears.
My father taught me that the biggest opponent I would ever face, in sports and in life, was fear," Kim wrote. "In martial arts, the person attacking you is your foe. But your enemy is fear. "
Dad would always say, 'Despite your instincts, you have to run toward that which you fear the most. You must face your opponent. You might lose a fight, just as you might lose a golf tournament. But you must never lose to fear.'"
Kim — currently the world No. 4 with 12 LPGA wins, one major, the 2015 Rookie of the Year award and the 2020 Player of the Year award to her name — said that advice was crucial when she arrived on the LPGA in 2015 and couldn't speak enough English to order food or communicate with match officials.
"I phoned my dad and said, 'I think this was a mistake. Everything here is so hard. I can’t understand anything going on around me. Maybe I should come home and make a career on the KLPGA,' Kim wrote. "To his credit, Dad listened without interrupting me. Then he said, 'Are you afraid?' I didn’t answer at first. I knew what he meant. Then he said, 'Why don’t you give it one more week. See how you do. Then we’ll talk again.'"
One week later, Kim won her first LPGA tournament, and the rest was history.
Kim ends the article with one last quote from her father: "Run toward your fear, knowing that you will never catch it. Because fear always vanishes in the face of the bold."
The LPGA's Drive On program "celebrates the hard work, focus, and tenacity that it takes to achieve our goals," according to the LPGA website. The program hopes to inspire the next generation by "crushing it everyday so that today’s youth can crush it for the next generation."
BY JIM BULLEY [email@example.com]