‘I do not like to play for fun’

Danielle Kang starts on the 3rd hole during the first round of the CME Group Tour Championship on Thursday in Naples, Fla.

Danielle Kang starts on the 3rd hole during the first round of the CME Group Tour Championship on Thursday in Naples, Fla.

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Professional golfers make the game look easy. It’s not – not for them either. The best players in the world sweat and grind and stress over shots and scores just like you do. The only difference is that you get discouraged when you can not make bogey, they get discouraged when they can not make birdie.

Ask Danielle Kang.

In fact, Kang is a good player to ask on just about any topic because you are likely to get a refreshingly honest answer. The world No. 11 and five-time LPGA winner tells it the way it is, or at least her version of how she thinks it is.

The latest reminder of Kang’s honesty came on Wednesday at the LPGA’s season-ending CME Group Tour Championship in Naples, Fla., When Kang was asked how much she loves golf.

“I really love golf,” she said. And then the honesty came here: “I did not care, but I’ve learned to love the game in the last couple of years, and I’m obsessed with it. I’m trying to figure out a way to fail better at this point because I’m failing. “Every day. I try to figure it out and I can not figure out this game. … For me, I think my new goal is to fail better every time I fail.”

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Kang was then asked if she likes to get out on her friuger and just play for fun.

“To be completely honest, I do not enjoy playing recreationally,” she said. “I do not really like to play for fun. I love competition. I like to be able to score what I did, did not do well, and be better and try to work towards a goal. Golf is stressful enough to, “I really do not want to play for fun. It really is not fun when I do bogeys. So I try to stress and try to birdie when I play on a random golf course, do not – it stresses me out.”

Kang is certainly not the first player to admit that she does not like playing golf to giggle. Jack Nicklaus was once asked if he liked playing for fun. He replied – we are paraphrasing here – that yes, he does, but his idea of ​​fun is to go up on the 72nd hole in a major with lead. Recently, Brooks Koepka has referred to golf as “boring,” he says Golf Digest in 2015 that if he could do it all over again, he would have played baseball. In other words, you probably will not catch Koepka flying to Bandon for a long weekend with his boys. The same goes for Kang. Golf – ultra-competitive golf, that is – is her subject, and one to which she has committed her life. There is not room for much else.

“I think sometimes I’m so obsessed with eating right, sleeping right, exercising, living and breathing just to play good golf, that even if I do everything right, my results are not where I want them to be. , “said Kang.

That kind of dedication does not allow for low-key, messy golf. Heck, it hardly allows for downtime, which, Kang said, means she sometimes has to dig deep to enjoy some of life’s other pleasures. “I do not want to miss life sometimes because I am tired. Who is not tired? ” she said. “Everyone is always tired for some reason. I even went to a Tampa game last week and saw a couple of my friends play Tampa Bay Lightning. I just want to be able to live.”

This week, in Naples, she got time to go to the beach with her friend So Yeon.

“It’s literally four miles away, so I went just to watch the sunset,” she said.

Then it was back to the stress of Tour life. Asks the question, does Kang carry too much stress?

No, on the contrary, at least not when she’s at work.

“It’s weird,” she said. “I like stress. I like it because it’s my job and something I do and love to do, but at the same time, when I’m home, I do not want to be even more stressed and put more stress on. myself when I do not. I think that’s why I say I do not really like to play recreationally. or watching my friends play a game, something like that I do not have to be involved in my work, I try to opt out of it. Rather do something other than go and play golf for fun. “

Alan Bastable

Golf.com editor

As GOLF.com’s Executive Editor, Bastable is responsible for the editorial management and voice on one of the game’s most respected and highly trafficked news and service sites. He wears many hats – editing, writing, ideas, developing, daydreaming of one day breaking 80s – and feels privileged to work with such an insanely talented and hard-working group of writers, editors and producers. Before joining GOLF.com, he was a feature editor at GOLF Magazine. He graduated from the University of Richmond and the Columbia School of Journalism and lives in New Jersey with his wife and four children.