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Five questions with the LPGA's Christina Kim

By Shane Bacon | Blogger
Christina Kim has won twice on the LPGA over her 10-year career. (Getty Images)

There are few people in all of golf who are more entertaining than Christina Kim. Love her or hate her, she never holds back with what she's thinking, on and off the golf course. Recently, Kim has been in the golf news because of what some are calling a Twitter dustup with fellow LPGA-er Brittany Lincicome, and while we did chat with her about that, it was the other stuff that really was interesting.

Read Christina talk about her return to Q-School, her open battle with depression and the strangest thing anyone has ever said to her on a golf course, and follow her on Twitter right here.

Q. You're heading to Q-School this year for the first time in your career. Nobody is going to say they're excited about having to do it, but what is your approach to it? Going to it like a regular LPGA event or something different?

Kim: Well, the last time I faced anything like (what was known back then as the Futures Tour qualifying school, before the LPGA bought it) this was a lot closer to the turn of the century than today. The only thing I really know anymore is either practice mode (where I have the luxury of bringing 50 putters if I wanted to), messing around with friends on the course (usually involves inebriation and me passed out in the cart by the 14th hole), or else tournament mode. That being said, I'm (hopefully) going into Qualifying School in tournament mode. Which reminds me, why is it called Qualifying SCHOOL?! I never understood that. It isn't like we are being forced to wake up by our mothers, getting tips on par 3's from professionals, or have to do with higher math. The only things we write down are 36 numbers (your score and that of whose scorecard you are keeping) and your signature. Twice. Which we do in every other tournament we play in. Unless it's match play, which is another egg entirely. But yeah. School?

Q. If today, Mike Whan came up to you and said you could change two things on the LPGA and they would be in place tomorrow, what would they be?

Kim: That is a hard question. If I had to wheedle it down to two things, I would state that.....

1.) The slow players on tour (YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE, WE KNOW WHO YOU ARE, EVERYONE KNOWS WHO YOU ARE) get assessed two strokes at the beginning of their round, and if they are able to keep up with the group in front of them, the penalty gets lifted. Of course, if there is a wonky ruling or someone falls in a creek, thus falling out of place, I would put that into consideration. But if they just gung-ho play slow (like the rhyming there?), then no. ADD TWO.

2.) I understand that in the end, we are athletes playing golf, and should solely be judged by our performance. But the day and age we are in now makes us much more than athletes. I hate to use the term entertainer, because I think of the things that entertain me, and I cannot find the correlation between a ball of yarn and a professional golfer. That being said, I think that I would enforce that every player undergo mandatory, not psych evals (professional golfers border on the obsessive, what with our odd routines, superstitions and the like), but communication training. This does not mean you have to stand in front of a dozen reporters and have to go over your round in a comical way, but to me, communication includes how you interact with your fellow players, your fans, your sponsors and people you never even speak to. I know I am guilty of being a crabby Abbie (note: ENTIRE 2012 season), but in the end, we are doing what we love for a living. Not many people can say that is the truth. We need to learn to appreciate what we have, be kind and courteous to those around us, and tweet back at our fans. I will not have an English speaking requirement, because one of the things that make the LPGA so special is how diverse we are. We should be celebrating our diversity, because other than being human beings, we are all different from one another.


3.) More ice cream. I know you said two, but if Mike Whan is giving me two, might as well add in another.

Q. You were very open this year about your battles with depression and what you wrote was an incredible look into your life. Why did you decide to write that, and was it the toughest thing you've had to do in your career?

Kim: I had been mulling over bringing my issues to light for quite a while before writing about it. I had a lot of doubts, and a lot of denial for a fairly long time before I allowed myself to think I needed help. But ultimately I decided to write about it because it is a topic that is cast aside, pushed away or otherwise ignored. Case in point, me. I wanted to help myself, as I have always had an affinity for the written word (I must have nearly two dozen journals in my house filled with diary entries, stories I created, and lots of poetry. I mean A LOT of poetry.), and I knew from previous experience that writing was very therapeutic. And spending a few minutes to type up my thoughts was a hell of a lot cheaper than going to some emo freak psychiatrist that would know all my stories, and when I ask what to do, would say "Well, Christina, what do YOU think you should do?" and then proceed to rake in $500 an hour. That is NOT to say I do not appreciate or believe psychiatrists as a whole. I know a lot of people that see them, and have truly benefited from their help, and I have a lot of respect for them because they sit and listen and try to help. However, I know me, and I know my problems and what I should do. Besides, I think I have internal therapy sessions in my head on my own. Whole lotta voices are all up in here. Maybe I have a psychiatrist in among the throng of voices.

I also wanted to help others and show them that every one of us is so much more than what we see on TV, what we do on the course, or what we read in magazines. People are hurting all over the world in ways we can barely fathom, and I thought that if someone was hurting, who followed me on Twitter or whatever, or even someone who mistakenly read my blog and realized either that it's OK to hurt, so long as we try to find a way to heal, or that they weren't alone, my life's work of helping others was on the right path. In this digitized age of every photo we have been in, every text we sent, and every interview we have done being available on the Web, I figured I would bring it out in my voice, without any interference, or any third party. This is a story of my struggles and my path finding, so who better to bring it to light than myself?

Q. This Twitter dustup thing has been fairly overblown by us media folks, but why is it that LPGA players seem more open to chatting/being honest on Twitter than PGA Tour stars?

Kim: Because we are girls.

No, seriously, I don't know. I think the LPGA spends more time on Twitter than the PGA Tour guys, but moreover I think that as a whole, women have a genetic predisposition towards communicating. We go to some of the most amazing places on Earth to play and showcase the game of golf, and we want to share our experiences. Regarding chatting with one another, I don't know. I may make a comment or three regarding another player's post, but I never have a straight-up conversation on Twitter. I always e-mail or text if I think it's something worth discussing, otherwise my tweets are generally just an opinion being stated and that's that. I don't need to be told I am right or wrong in my beliefs, and I try to avoid doing the same.

Q. You travel a lot, you get noticed a lot, you have fans everywhere; what is the strangest thing a fan has ever yelled/said to you, and what was your comeback?

Kim: Youngish guy fan: "Will you marry me?"

Me: "I have a boyfriend, sorry"
Same guy: "I was talking to Natalie"

Nah, I get that so often I don't think it strange anymore. I think honestly, that the strangest thing a fan has ever yelled out to me was at the Kraft Nabisco earlier this year when a youngish gentleman bellowed as if he were merely a vessel for the Dark Lord
"GET IN THE HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOLE!" followed by a proud and quieter "Do you think that was loud enough?"

To which I replied, "NO. Next time yell it louder. Then maybe the ball will listen to you."

 
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