Breakaway excursions, first-time main winners, the return of Tiger Woods; 2022 was a seismic 12 months for a lot of golfers.
However few golfers had a season as life-altering life as Danielle Kang’s.
The American couldn’t have had a greater begin, clinching her sixth LPGA Tour title on the first occasion on the calendar, the Hilton Grand Holidays Match of Champions. Days later, she completed only one stroke behind winner Lydia Ko on the Gainbridge LPGA.
Come April although, she had withdrawn from a number of occasions citing again ache. On the US Girls’s Open in June, deeper causes emerged: Kang revealed she had been enjoying the event with a tumor on her backbone and could be taking a break from the game.
It was a analysis she had recognized since withdrawing from the LOTTE Championship in Hawaii earlier, however she had not wished to publicize it.
The one-time main winner made her aggressive return in late August, shaking off the rust to earn a decent tied-Seventeenth end on the CP Girls’s Open in Canada. Since then, Kang has eight extra occasions and a bunch of spectacular shows – together with three top-10 finishes – beneath her belt.
A “monumental” 2022 appears a very long time in the past now, and the 30-year-old is completely satisfied to maintain it that means.
“That was form of the final 12 months of the twenties and I’m actually, actually glad to depart it behind,” Kang instructed CNN. “I really feel that I’m going to be taught new issues and uncover myself once more within the thirties.
“Final 12 months was an enormous momentum swap for me and I’m really form of glad the whole lot that’s occurred occurred – the best way I received initially of the 12 months, the best way I completed out the 12 months, the best way I contended, coming again stronger than I assumed I might.
“It was a really fascinating 12 months, very up and down, however I form of desire a bit extra consistency this 12 months and I feel that’s what I’m striving for. I’m feeling nice.”
In 2023, Kang is again firing on all cylinders – simply ask Max Homa. Recent off his sixth PGA Tour victory on the Farmers Insurance coverage Open in January, the lads’s World No.8 took purpose at Kang, having simply drawn degree together with her on titles.
“Shoutout to Danielle Kang … she stated I must catch as much as her,” Homa instructed reporters.
“She’s bought six (wins) and a significant. I bought six now, so I’m coming DK.”
Obtained a bit of warning ⚠️ Max in mirror is nearer than he seems @maxhoma23 💪 https://t.co/eqWS84UquD— Danielle Kang (@daniellekang) January 30, 2023
However beneath the jabs, it’s all love between the 2 pals.
“He’s an important dude … it’s a pleasant rivalry,” Kang stated.
“I would like him to play one of the best that he can play. He’s all the time been very supportive of ladies’s golf and I actually admire that.”
Homa stars in Netflix’s “Full Swing,” a brand new fly-on-the-wall fashion docuseries that follows most of the high gamers on the PGA Tour. Detached to actuality reveals, Kang will not be notably jealous of her good friend’s new-found TV stardom, however understands the recognition of comparable sequence which have boomed within the wake of Netflix’s Method One centered “Drive to Survive.”
“I feel it’s all the time intriguing to see behind the scenes, particularly the place you’re simply curious … the truth present works for a purpose,” Kang stated.
“I’m not an enormous fan, however I’m positive the followers get to see behind the scenes quite a lot of issues that they don’t (usually) get to see. So I feel it’ll be in style for a sure demographic, however I’m form of simply, ‘no matter floats your boat.’”
LPGA Danielle Kang on the demise of her father and Tokyo 2020
Contending on the 5 majors is a key objective for Kang this season, because the World No.17 seems to be so as to add to her PGA Championship victory in 2017.
A one-shot victory over Brooke Henderson in Illinois secured the then-24-year-old a significant title and her first skilled win on her 144th LPGA begin. Kang has since added 5 additional LPGA titles but regardless of 4 top-six finishes, one other main triumph has to date proved elusive.
However there may be additionally the added pleasure of a looming Solheim Cup. Teeing off at Finca Cortesin in Spain in September, the 18th version of the biennial group occasion represents – like the lads’s Ryder Cup counterpart – the head of the ladies’s sport.
And Kang has each intention of creating the roster of US captain Stacy Lewis, in search of to avenge European victory in Ohio two years in the past.
“I all the time say good golf takes care of the whole lot, and for proper now I feel I’m fairly secure,” Kang stated.
“So with that stated, I can’t wait to play for Captain Lewis and I’m excited. I’ve by no means been to Spain, in order that’ll be cool.”