Volume 1, Number 15 October 8, 2003

Christina Kim: The Seoul Sisters Magazine
Exclusive Interview (continued)

Pages 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

SS: Are you going to be going to the (CJ) 9 Bridges tournament in Korea?

CK: I'm going to CJ, yes, and then I'm going to Japan the week after. I think that's it for the rest of the year.

SS: Have you ever played in Korea?

CK: I've played golf in Korea a couple of times.

SS: In a tournament?

CK: Once I played in my father's college alumni tournament... (laughs) Nothing professional! Nothing professional over in Korea. I've played just poke around games over there. I'm really looking forward to it, cause it's going to be very exciting I think to be over there for me.

SS: Yeah, I can imagine! I'd like to go over there, too. I wouldn't be in it, though...

CK: (laughs)

SS: Do you recall the first time somebody asked you for an autograph, and what you thought?

CK: The first time somebody asked me for an autograph I was... fifteen, I guess. It was in February of 1999, I played in the Monday qualifier for I guess it's what's now the Office Depot tournament. My dad just signed me up for it, and I had no idea it was an LPGA event, and this one kid just asked me for my autograph, and then this other guy came by and asked me to sign his ball, and I was like, wow. My 15-year old chicken scratch, I wrote my name down. I was like, 'Why? (laughs) Why? What good is that going to do you?'

SS: (laughs) He probably doesn't realize he has the first ever Christina Kim autograph. Did you ever practice when you were a kid (signing your name)?

CK: I didn't practice until I was 17, then these last three years I've been practicing. 'No, I don't like that one... Mmmm, no I don't like it...' So, I'm still working on it, to be honest with you... I think I've gone through about three or four (signatures) in the last three years.

SS: There's been a lot of talk in the last year on the LPGA about fan friendliness. It seems like you're a natural for that sort of thing, but do you take it into account when you are out there to try to be as fan friendly as you can, or is it something that just happens?

CK: I'm not one to think when I'm on the golf course. I just go with the flow and do what I feel is natural. I try not to... show myself up (I think she means be something she's not) and say 'I'm this' or 'I'm that'... Some people might think I talk too much, I don't know. (laughs) But I go out there and I have a good time. When I have a good time I play well, and when I play well I have a good time; so more than anything, it's probably just natural. I asked a couple of the rules officials, 'Do you think I need (to be) more fan friendly, or this or that?' Cause you're right, it does come up a lot. Not just with the Koreans, but with the players who aren't American. They're like, 'No, you're fine... you're probably one of the better players out here that do that, and we really appreciate it.' So I go, 'oh, OK!'

SS: Do you find that in a pro-am... that you really just try to have fun and not really...

CK: Oh yeah. The pro-ams are so good for de-stressing you right before the event. You go out there with four amateurs, three amateurs, however many, you just go out there and have a blast. And at the end of the round, every pro-am that I've played in, they've said 'I've had such an awesome time'; I think maybe once I've heard, 'we had a good round' (laughs). They're like, 'I've had a lot of fun'. It's very nice to do something like that. Get in a round out on the course you're gonna play, but just know that you can go out there and have fun, and then it sort of helps you out for the next morning.


A colorful outfit from this year's
US Women's Open
SeoulSisters.com photo


SS: I've been kind of curious as to how you, as a Futures Tour player, supported yourself out there. Do you have any sponsorships yet?

CK: No sponsors as of now, no.

SS: Especially the Futures Tour, where the top player only makes something like 30 - 40 thousand dollars.

CK: In a year? In a year it's averaging probably at least 50 (thousand dollars) now (for the top players)..

SS: Is that enough to pay all your travel expenses?

CK: In the beginning, when I was on the Futures Tour, I had some help from my uncle. We drove everywhere, so it cut down a lot on expenses. My uncle helped me out for the first couple weeks until I got my paychecks. He's been out there willing to help me. He and my parents, they've been helping me out and everything. The first couple of weeks he was there, then since then I just went on a roll and just started making my own money. Plus, I mean, I don't live lavishly; nobody on the Futures Tour lives lavishly. We're all just food in our belly, clothes on our backs, roof over our heads, golf club in our hands, and life is good. It was tough, but...

SS: But do you have expenses, like with a coach?

CK: My daddy. He's my CoCaMaDaddy: coach, caddie, manager and dad.

SS: But do you ever think of, at some point - I don't mean to insult your dad - would you ever think at some point of moving on to a more high profile coach or caddie or whatever?

CK: Probably not at least for another year or so. More than anything else at this time... I'm still 19, I'm not old enough to rent a car. There's (also) the security factor.... I'm not really looking forward to doing any of that anytime soon. Which is different from a lot of the other players. A lot of the other players are like, 'I can't believe you have your dad out there. How can you stand it?' I'm just like... I'm just me.

SS: Well, I can certainly understand why you would have your dad out there, being that you're nineteen. But there's a difference between having your dad drive you around, making hotel arrangements, and that sort of thing, and having him actually be your caddie and having him be your coach.

CK: Well, you know, he's the only person I've worked with, so he knows my swing better than I do. He knows my swing better than anybody else in the world. If I want to get a little lesson out there, or (want) someone who knows how to say something in such a way that you can manipulate a shot a certain way.

SS: Do you feel like you can tell him if he's giving you advice and you don't want it on the course, you can just say, 'No, I'm going to do it my way'?

Christina and her 'CoCaMaDaddy' discuss
a putt on Friday
(click to enlarge)
SeoulSisters.com photo

CK: Like I said earlier today, with Koreans... 'Yes, daddy'. No, there's hardly ever a time when I don't want his advice. I don't really say that ('no') to him very often. It's just that if (he) totally misreads the putt or something, and I can't (see) that, I'll stand back and say, 'Are you sure you see that?' We never really...

SS: Have a disagreement?

CK: We have disagreements, but I never really bring it up. We'll have little fits and everything like that, but it's the same with any other caddie-player relationship. I see it out here all the time with everybody. I don't feel special in that way.

Next Page