Toward the end of Alan Shipnuck’s in-depth Sports Illustrated profile on Kevin Na is a gem of a story that involves Tiger Woods, but I highly recommend giving the entire article a thorough read.
Na is truly one of the good guys on tour. He might not be the most popular, but I think he got a bad rap when he was perhaps young and immature (I mean, remember, the guy left high school at 17 to turn pro), but he’s truly a solid dude with pure intentions. I feel like I’ve even see him “change” or grow as a person since I’ve been on tour (the same could be said for many of us, including yours truly). Na is just a bit tortured and complicated, but aren’t most of us? At least if you’re interesting with a multi-dimensional personality (I guess that’s sort of rare out here). But I digress.
The most intriguing tidbit to come out of the story might be Na’s encounter with getting an autograph for a friend from Woods last August at the PGA Championship. Most people don’t realize that Woods still talks and acts like a “dude” when the cameras and microphones aren’t around.
At last year’s PGA Championship, Na approached Tiger Woods on the practice putting green and asked him to autograph a hat for Nam. Tiger knows Nam from junior golf and is well aware that he is a fixture in Korean tabloids for having romanced a well-known actress and a former Miss Korea, among others.
“Is Nam still getting a lot of ass?” Na recalls Woods asking.
Na replied that the hat was for Nam’s latest girlfriend.
That was an acceptable answer for Woods: “If it will help him get laid, I’ll do it.” The two cracked up, leaving the hundreds of fans surrounding the green to wonder what was so funny.
Hilarious! Right? I can definitely see Tiger saying that.
I ran into Na after he finished his pro-am at the Sony Open just about an hour ago and he was a little embarrassed at how that part of the story was written because I guess it sounds more vulgar than he intended. And he hopes it doesn’t upset anyone, but I can’t imagine Tiger being thrilled with Na sharing that story. Or maybe he’s just at the point where he doesn’t care anymore. Because he shouldn’t.
Turns out Nam is on-site at the Sony this week, as he’s caddying for his pal Hyung-Sung Kim, a South Korean golfer who plays regularly on the Japan Tour.
Na, laughing, says he doesn’t think Nam has seen the story yet because he hasn’t mentioned anything to him yet. I’m sure that won’t last too long!
Go here to read the full story — there’s also an interesting anecdote about Na and Stevie Williams almost coming to blows following a round in 2014. I know there are two sides to everything, but sounds like Williams was way out of line in this case.