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Monday, 2 November 2015

Sei Young Kim Still Smiling

That was some win by Sei Young Kim at the Blue Bay Resort in China this week.  With her third win of the season, this diminutive Korean rookie is shaping up to be yet another star from a country that seems to be producing the finest women players in the game.  

After hitting it in the hazard on ten, Kim, who seems to have a knack for the dramatic, pitched in to save her par.  It was then that this smiling wee assassin made it emphatically clear that she was not about to go away.  

I thought it was interesting to watch Sei Young smile her way to victory, as she fended off Candie Kung, Kim Kaufman and Stacey Lewis, who early in the round looked to be finally ready to end her winless drought in 2015.  You hear more and more these days how important it is to have fun on the golf course, and it was obvious that, in the final group, Sei Young and Candie were both really enjoying the competition and managing to stay relatively loose out there, despite the pressure.  Stacey, on the other hand, looked to be pressing, and clearly was not having any fun at all.

Suzann Pettersen, who also looked to be a possible winner at the start of the day, played with her usual grim determination and lost her cool when the putts stopped going in.  I must admit I don't envy her caddie, who seems to be regularly on the receiving end of her foul moods on the golf course.  She seems to continue to believe that grinding it out and being miserable on the golf course is the best way to get the job done.  I must say that I had hoped she might have learned something from her Solheim Cup experience, but clearly nothing has changed.  I can't help but think that she might actually play better if she could learn to lighten up and embrace the competition instead of adopting what seems to be a win-at-all-cost mentality.

Golf, at any level, should be fun.  Nobody competed harder than Jack Nicklaus.  While competing, he was always a perfect gentleman who showed grace in victory and defeat.  On the women's side, it seems to me that all the great champions have had a similar attitude.  They didn't feel the need to put on a game face and scowl their way around the golf course.  I simply couldn't imagine Annika, or Nancy Lopez, scowling or having hissy fits on the golf course.  

I didn't see Lydia Ko having temper tantrums out there this week despite a tough start to the tournament.  She kept her composure and finished with her usual style and grace.  I know everyone is different.  But I'm so glad that golf is one of those games where nice guys, or gals, don't finish last.

Congratulations to Sei Young Kim for another great win.  Keep smiling, kiddo.