“The Big Apple” Comes to Orlando With a Generous Gift
By Stephanie Wei under LPGA

LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan, Na Yeon Choi, LPGA Foundation President Carol Corcoran

Na Yeon Choi announced on the eve of the season-finale LPGA Tour Championship that she will make a donation of $30,000 to LPGA-USGA Girls Golf, a program of the LPGA Foundation. Choi, perhaps better known as “NYC,” wanted to celebrate the realization of her dream to play on the LPGA Tour by giving bck to the community.

NYC is ranked first on the LPGA official money list as of November 29,2010, with approximately $1,8 million in earnings.

Choi is the second LPGA star in less than a month to make voluntary donations. Three weeks ago, In-Kyung Kim donated her $220,00 first-prize earnings at the Lorena Ochoa Invitational to charity. Kim’s big-hearted gesture,was one of the most inspiring stories of the year (which didn’t garner the coverage it deserved because pure goodwill isn’t sexy enough sometimes).

“If the LPGA wasn’t available to me, then I wouldn’t be here competing all over the globe,” Choi said. “I want to be able to give others the same opportunity.”

NYC started playing golf at age 11. She developed through the junior golf ranks in South Korea before earning her way to the LPGA tour via Q-school in 2008.

“Giving back to the community sits at the core of LPGA and all of our members. Na Yeon is a remarkable individual who not only excels inside-the-ropes, but also outside-the-ropes in the communities where she lives, visits and plays,” LPGA Tour Commissioner Mike Whan said. “Girls throughout the world will be able to benefit from Na Yeon’s donation and perhaps compete on the same greens with her one day.”

NYC is perhaps the most consistent player on the LPGA this season. She is in the running for just about every LPGA end-of-the-year award. NYC carded two wins and eight other top-tens, including three runner-up finishes and two ties for third. She missed the first cut of her LPGA career (seriously?! — that’s gotta be some kind of record, right?) at the LPGA Championship. Going into the LPGA Tour Championship, she is leading both the LPGA official money list and Vare Trophy for the lowest scoring average. Meanwhile, she’s third in the Rolex Player of the Year race.

The LPGA should give NYC a special award — The Most Consistent Player to Have Ever Picked Up a Golf Club.