Category Archives: Know Your Asians

Jul
18
2013
Holy Shiv!!!

Holy Shiv!!!

Playing in the final three-ball on Friday afternoon, Shiv Kapur is golfing his face off and he has nine holes to play, but he’s your current first-round leader at the Open Championship .

While just about everyone else playing in the afternoon wave at Muirfield is scrambling for pars — and breaking clubs, Kapur fired a sizzling six-under 30 on the front nine, birdieing six of the first seven holes. He even had an impressive up-and-down on no. 8, which Ian Poulter called “a joke” on Twitter.

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Jul
11
2011
By Stephanie Wei under Know Your Asians

Kiss the trophy

Plagued by delays and inclement weather, the US Women’s Open wrapped up on Monday afternoon in Colorado Springs. Finally.

So Yeon Ryu defeated fellow South Korean rival Hee Kyung Seo in a three-hole playoff to capture the major championship. Ryu had three holes in regulation left to play and needed to birdie one of them to force a playoff. She rolled in a six-fotter for birdie on the 18th, and then started the playoff just a half-hour later.

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Nov
4
2010
By Stephanie Wei under Know Your Asians

Be generous. Future billions lie East.

With the most intriguing golf tournament ever in the history of Asia underway, it’s hard to look too far past the tight race for No. 1 and the action at Shenshan International, but some of the games biggest names believe China has the potential to yield more than just land for the growing upper class. The Palm Beach Post’s Edgar Thompson reports that Jack Nicklaus and Greg Norman, who (among other Westerners), both have offices and multiple ongoing projects in China, predict the men’s golf world order to sound a lot more similar to the women’s rankings in the foreseeable future.

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Aug
15
2010
By Stephanie Wei under General

My mom always told me that speaking Chinese would be a valuable skill to have. At least once a month, she’ll suggest I move to Shanghai for a year to hone my now very rusty Mandarin Chinese. “Speak to me in Chinese,” she often says to me while we talk on the phone. “You need to practice.” Yeah, yeah, a minute later, I revert back to Chinglish.

Well, she’ll be happy to hear me say that she was right (as moms usually are), and oddly, being able to speak Mandarin was somewhat useful at the PGA Championship on Saturday.

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May
23
2010
By Stephanie Wei under General

There’s an influx of Asians on the LPGA. And they’re really good. In fact, they win a lot. But many fans find it difficult to keep track of who is who because, you know, all Asians look alike and their names sound the same. So, let’s get to know them better.

Looks like Amy Yang is going to lose to Angela Stanford, who is 2-up with four to play in the semifinals of the Sybase Match Play Championship, but let’s get to know Amy better, anyway. Who knows, she could hit the shots of her life in those closing holes. Either way, she’s proved to be a force to be reckoned with.

*Update: Winning two of the final four holes, Amy forced the match to playoff and lost in the first extra hole to Stanford. I couldn’t see very well, but I believe she missed a relatively short par putt.

  • Born in South Korea, she moved to Australia at age 15 to pursue golf more seriously.
  • She’s 20 years old.
  • Her given name is Hee-Young Yang, but she probably wanted to make it easier for non-Asians to pronounce her name, so she chose an Anglo one. (Balding, middle-aged white dudes in media rooms across the world are very grateful!)
  • As an amateur in 2006, she won the Ladies European Tour’s ANZ Ladies Masters, becoming the youngest winner ever on the LET at 16 years, 192 days.
  • The LET granted her a special three-year membership exemption as a 17-year-old.
  • In 2007 she placed in the top-20 four times while still attending high school.
  • Amy claimed her second LET win with a four-shot win at the Ladies German Open in June 2008.
  • When she accepted the trophy, she announced that she was donating her entire prize of $61,260 to victims of a recent earthquake in China.
  • At LPGA Q-School in December 2008, she placed second to earn full playing status for the 2009 season.
  • Amy lives with her father, Joon Mo (James), mother, Sun Hee (Sunny), and younger brother, Steven, in Orlando, FL.
  • The 30th seeded Yang beat Michele Redman, Juli Inkster, Morgan Pressel and Haeji Kang to reach the semifinals.
  • After beating Kang in the quarterfinals, she told the Golf Channel that match play makes her nervous.
  • Interestingly enough, she also said she’s been playing conservatively, rather than aggressively (the typical match play strategy), to put pressure on her opponent by staying in the match for every hole.
  • Obviously, this rarely-practiced strategy worked for most of the week — until she cowered (kinda) at Angela Stanford’s aggressive game.
  • Oh, I almost forgot, she’s almost fluent in English. (Surprise!)

Asian-ness Scale (1-10, 1: Michelle Wie, totally Americanized; 5: Se Ri Pak, somewhat assimilated; 10: Eun-Hee Ji, 한국말): Amy = 5.2

Apr
5
2010
By Stephanie Wei under General

There’s an influx of Asians on the LPGA. And they’re really good. In fact, they win a lot. But many fans find it difficult to keep track of who is who because, you know, all Asians look alike and their names sound the same. So, let’s get to know them better.

Because everyone loves a winner, Yani Tseng is this week’s featured Asian. She won the the LPGA’s first major of the season, the Kraft Nabisco Championship, by one stroke over Suzann Pettersen on Sunday. Amidst a star-studded leaderboard that also included Lorena Ochoa, Jiyai Shin and Cristie Kerr, Tseng fired a four-day total of 13-under to capture her career second major victory.

If you know anything at all about Yani, you know it’s impossible not to love her.

  • Born in Taiwan, she’s 21 years old.
  • Her English fluency? Pretty good — she gives interviews and press conferences interpreter-free. She even tweets!
  • She has a great sense of humor, making fun jokes on this past Sunday’s pre-game show.
  • She enjoys working out, playing Ping-Pong, and is an avid billiards player (I’ve also heard she’s a badass dancer).
  • After a successful amateur career (four big amateur wins, including the 2004 US Women’s Amateur Public Links Championship where she beat defending champion Michelle Wie), she turned professional in 2007.
  • Finishing sixth at LPGA Q-school, she earned her card for 2008.
  • During her rookie year, she captured her first LPGA victory in June 2008 at the LPGA Championship and became the first player from Taiwan to win a major championship.
  • On March 29, 2009, she became the fastest player in LPGA history to reach $2 million in career earnings in a span of one year, one month and thirteen days.
  • She hits the ball a mile, averaging 262 yards off the tee this season.
  • Before the third round of the Kraft Nabisco, she called friend and playing partner Suzann Pettersen to suggest they wear matching outfits — purple shirts and white shorts.
  • Yani lives in Lake Nona Golf & Country club in Orlando, Florida, in a house previously owned by her idol, Annika Sorenstam, who paid her a visit in January for a pep talk.
  • One of her goals off the course is to learn how to swim in her new pool.
  • After signing her scorecard at the Kraft, she took a celebratory plunge into the pond on the 18th, momentarily forgetting she can’t swim — “It’s kind of my dream to jump in the water,” Tseng said. She added: “I told my caddie: ‘Wait! I don’t know how to swim. Can you let me get out here?’ because it was a little scary.”
  • Yani’s press conference was interrupted by an earthquake, which was the first she’d experienced in the US: “We have a lot in Taiwan, but this was big. I like it. Cool. It’s like my big week. I hope nobody gets hurt.”

Asian-ness Scale (1-10, 1: Michelle Wie, totally Americanized; 5: Se Ri Pak, somewhat assimilated; 10: Eun-Hee Ji, 한국말): Yani = 5

Mar
27
2010

There’s an influx of Asians on the LPGA. And they’re really good. In fact, they win a lot. But many fans find it difficult to keep track of who is who because, you know, all Asians look alike and their names sound the same. So, let’s get to know them better.

The LPGA kicked off its first tournament on US soil this week with the KIA Classic at La Costa Resort & Spa. After two rounds, you’ll never believe this, but there are seven Korean players in the top-10. (Shocking, I know!) In the spirit of “Know Your Asians,” I thought I’d feature the 36-hole leader, Hee Kyung Seo, who carded seven-under to hold a one-stroke advantage over fellow countrywoman In-Kyung Kim. Pardon my ignorance, but I’d never heard of Seo until this week. (Chances are that most of you hadn’t either.) And you’ll never believe this either, but there’s not a ton about her online, so thank you to Seoul Sisters for the background info.

  • Born in South Korea, she’s 23 years old.
  • Nickname: Supermodel of the Fairways (I can see how she got that one judging from the pic above!).
  • Her English fluency? She’s still learning.
  • She joined the KLPGA in 2006 and is currently still a full-time player on that tour.
  • After the 2007 season, she practiced with LPGA star Jiyai Shin, who inspired Seo to work harder on her short game.
  • In 2008 she won three KLPGA tournaments in a row, a feat few have achieved.
  • At the KLPGA Awards Show in both 2008 and 2009, she took the stage with other KLPGA players to perform a dance number (she’s multi-talented!).
  • Seo won three out of four KLPGA majors and placed second in the other during the 2009 season.
  • In five starts on the LPGA last year, her best finishes were T15 at both the Kolon-Hana Bank Championship and SBS Open.
  • She hopes she can win on the LPGA so she can get her card.
  • She says she feels comfortable at the KIA Classic this week and it feels “like Korea.”
  • Playing at La Costa, she has her eye on one of the beautiful houses, which she joked she’d like to buy if she “gets a lot of money.”
  • Juli Inkster is her role model on the LPGA because “I think she’s enjoying golf, and I think she’s a good mother.”
  • Seo also points out, “Some of the Korean players not getting married and don’t have babies because of golf, but I want to be like Juli.” (Got that, guys?)

Asian-ness Scale (1-10, 1: Michelle Wie, totally Americanized; 5: Se Ri Pak, somewhat assimilated; 10: Eun-Hee Ji, 한국말): Hee Kyung = 8.5

Mar
9
2010
By Stephanie Wei under General

There’s an influx of Asians on the LPGA. And they’re really good. In fact, they win a lot. But many fans find it difficult to keep track of who is who because, you know, all Asians look alike and their names sound the same. So, let’s get to know them better.

  • Born in Kumamoto Prefecture, Japan, she’s 23 years old.
  • She started playing golf at age 9.
  • She turned professional in 2005, and in 2007 she became the youngest player in the history of the JLPGA to finish first on the money list.
  • After winning the LPGA Mizuno Classic in November 2007, she became the first Japanese player to win an LPGA event in nine years and secured her LPGA tour card.
  • This season she’s placed T6 at the Honda PTT LPGA Thailand and T15 at the HSBC Women’s Champions.
  • She has a very bright website.
  • Her name means “Peach” in Japanese.
  • If she wasn’t playing golf, she would be a fashion designer, and sponsored by Pearly Gates, she dresses very stylishly (even when she’s playing ping pong!).
  • If she could be anyone for a day, she would be Victoria Beckham so she could be married to David Beckham.
  • She enjoys music, shopping, karaoke, pool, collecting earrings, soccer and swimming.
  • Her favorite colors are navy blue, pink and white.
  • She keeps a blog, but unfortunately for us English-speaking people, it’s in Japanese (but I’m told she speaks so-so English).
  • She appears to have a very comfortable bed, too.

    Asian-ness Scale (1-10, 1: Michelle Wie, totally Americanized; 5: Se Ri Pak, somewhat assimilated; 10: Eun-Hee Ji, 한국말): Momoko = 5

    Feb
    13
    2010
    By Stephanie Wei under General

    There’s an influx of Asians on the LPGA. And they’re really good. In fact, they win a lot. But many fans find it difficult to keep track of who is who because, you know, all Asians look alike and their names sound the same. So, let’s get to know them better.

    Today, we have a special treat for “Know Your Asians.” Thanks to Ali Naqvi of Pure Golf Training and Bann Lynch Golf, we have a video interview with Hee Young (yes, she speaks pretty good English), where she chats about her training secrets, why Korea produces so many good golfers (spoiler: they practice a lot and they’re flexible!), the defunct “English-only” rule, and how she relaxes off the course. But first, here’s some background info on her:

    • Born in South Korea, she’s 22 years old.
    • After winning the Hite Cup on the KLPGA, she turned professional in 2004.
    • In 2005 she won three KLPGA tournaments and was named KLPGA Rookie of the Year.
    • She placed third at LPGA Q-school in 2007 to earn her 2008 tour card.
    • In 2009 she had six top-10 finishes, including runner-up twice.
    • She enjoys shopping and fishing.
    • She listens to pop music; her favorite is Korean pop.

    Now watch her talk:

    For more info, check out Pure Golf Training’s Korean Golf Secrets.

    Asian-ness Scale (1-10, 1: Michelle Wie, totally Americanized; 5: Se Ri Pak, somewhat assimilated; 10: Eun-Hee Ji, 한국말): Hee Young = 5

    [Photo by Chumsak Kanoknan/Getty Images AsiaPac]

    Nov
    19
    2009
    By Stephanie Wei under General

    There’s an influx of Asians on the LPGA. And they’re really good. In fact, they win a lot. But many fans find it difficult to keep track of who is who because, you know, all Asians look alike and their names sound the same. So, let’s get to know them better.


    • Born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii, Michelle is 20 years old.
    • Her given name is Sung-Mi, which means “Holy Beauty” in Korean.
    • She started playing golf when she was 4. At age 5 she hit it 100
      yards. At 13, she drove it 300 yards.
    • When she was 10, she professed, “My favorite golfer is Tiger Woods. I think I can beat him in the near future. Like when I’m 15.”
    • At 16, she was named one of Time magazine’s “The Time 100, The People Who Shape Our World.”
    • She speaks “Konglish.” That’s what she calls the mix of Korean and English she learned from her parents.
    • She got her nickname “The Big Wiesy” when she played with Tom Lehman at the 2002 Pro-Junior the week of the PGA Tour’s Sony Open — her swing reminded him of Ernie Els’, aka “The Big Easy.”
    • “Youngest player” achievements include: Won 2003 US Women’s Public Links Championship; made the cut at an LPGA major championship (13); played in a PGA Tour event (14); played in Curtis Cup (14)
    • In 2004 she was given a sponsor’s exemption to play at the Sony Open and despite missing the cut by one measly stroke, her second-round score of 68 was the lowest ever by a woman in a PGA Tour event.
    • She turned professional in 2005 after her 16th birthday and immediately signed contracts with Nike and Sony that were reportedly worth more than $10 million.
    • That same year she played a round with President Bill Clinton, who said this: “She’s a brilliant athlete, and a beautiful young woman. She’s a nice person. She’s a great golfer, and she puts her talents to good use, something not always done by teenagers with her gifts. Plus, pretty soon she could be winning tournaments against men.”
    • “88 Gate”: Citing a wrist injury, she withdrew from the ‘07 Ginn Tribute, where she was 14-over through 16 holes and sparked controversy because of the “Rule of 88” that states a nonmember who shoots 88 is banned from playing in LPGA events for the remainder of the calendar season.
    • After injuring her wrist in early 2007, she continued to compete (rather poorly) despite the pain and didn’t discover until months later that she had three broken bones in her hand.
    • Her parents have been hugely criticized for the mismanagement of their daughter and inappropriate behavior on the golf course.
    • She’s a junior communications major at Stanford University. GPA? 3.4.
    • She enjoys painting, drawing, etc., and DIY fashion and showcases her creative work on her blog, Black Flamingo.

    Asian-ness Scale (1-10, 1: Michelle Wie, totally Americanized; 5: Se Ri Pak, somewhat assimilated; 10: Eun-Hee Ji, 한국말): Michelle = 1

    [**To learn more about Michelle, check out Eric Adelson’s book THE SURE THING: The Making and Unmaking of Golf Phenom Michelle Wie — actually, the Armchair Golfer is having a free drawing for an autographed copy. Go HERE for a chance to win.]