Ji-yai Shin: South Korea's most adorable sneak attack at U.S. Women's Open
SOUTHERN PINES, N.C. – Ji-yai Shin doesn’t have the look of a would-be U.S. Open champion. In fact, I want to pick her up and take her home with me. She’s adorable.
Compared to most of the other South Koreans, she struggles with English. When you ask questions, she confers with her caddie then gives a brief, polite answer.
“How do you plan to prepare between rounds today?” I asked.
Confers with caddie…"I’m hungry…I want to eat.” smiles.
But don’t let her bashfulness fool you. As an 18-year-old rookie in 2006, she destroyed the field in the KLPGA. She won the Korean Open and broke Korean legend Se Ri Pak’s record for money won. She won every major award on tour last year.
This week, she is averaging 265-yard drives - 9th longest in the field. How is this possible? She can’t be taller than a cuddly 5′1″. If she sold a miniature doll of herself it would sell millions. Maybe you can find one in Korea these days…I’ll check EBay…
There is tragedy in Shin’s life however. When she was an amateur, her mother and sister were in a car accident. Her mother was killed and the sister was in the hospital for a year. She took a long time to recover from injuries and Ji-Yai moved into the hospital with her. Today, she dedicates her career to the memory of her mother.
Many Korean players in the field this week are here with the support of one or more family members. Shin is here alone.
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