|Volume 1, Number 16 October 22, 2003|
Minny Yeo: The Seoul Sisters Magazine
|Pages 1, 2, 3, 4, 5|
Minny Yeo is a fourth year pro on the LPGA tour. Minny came over to the States about nine years ago from Korea; she graduated from a Professional Golf school in Southern California. She is still trying to find her way on tour, but things are definitely looking up, and she is not about to give up. 2003 has proved to be her best year, with more than $30,000 in earnings and a ranking of 137th on the money list, just outside what would have been necessary to maintain non-exempt status on tour. Minny managed to gain exempt status in 2002 Q-School, though, and will certainly try to do that again.
Meanwhile, as one of the older Korean players on tour (and one of the few married ones), she has taken a proactive stance in representing the Korean players to the LPGA, organizing meetings to deal with Korean issues on tour, and helping the younger players to get acclimated to playing in America. In an exclusive interview with Seoul Sisters Magazine conducted at the Safeway Classic in September, Minny talked about her life, her career and some of the issues the Korean players are dealing with on tour.
Minny Yeo and a friend
Minny Yeo: (Sits down) So what's going on?
Seoul Sisters: I do the Seoul Sisters.com website. I've actually had some correspondence with your husband, Ted.
MY: Really? He mentioned to me 'Seoul Sisters', and I was like, 'Seoul Sisters?' I didn't know about that, actually.
SS: He e-mailed me to say I got some stuff (in your bio) wrong.
SS: Yeah, I had the wrong Korean name for you...
MY: (smiling) Really? What did you put?
SS: Uh... I put 'Min-Ho' for some reason (Minny's real Korean name is 'Min-Son').
MY: Min-Ho? Who is Min-Ho? It's Min-Son! (Minny's really enjoying raking me over the coals)
SS: Yeah, I know... (laughs) Anyway... I don't know a lot about you, because they haven't written a lot about you in the States, so some of these questions might be pretty basic... When did you first decide to become a professional golfer?
MY: When I was a senior in middle school.
SS: Senior in middle school? Were you still in Korea at that point?
MY: Uh huh, yes.
SS: And did you decide at that point you needed to come over to the United States?
MY: Well, when I was in high school, my brother, he went to San Diego Golf School. He was the first Korean man to go to the United States to learn about golf. He's the first one. So, when I see him getting better, I could tell he was learning a lot. So I liked to learn about real golf. Maybe (I'll go to) England or America, because they are much bigger (than Korea). And (I have an) older sister here, so I liked to learn something.
SS: Did you have a real hard time learning in Korea? Was it hard to get on courses?
MY: Well... first, there was the weather. The summer time is the rainy month.
SS: Well, England is like that, too...
MY: (laughs) England?
Minny drives the ball on Friday
Minny shows off the colorful golf bag
SS: I lived in Scotland for six months.
MY: Ah, OK!SS: You made the right choice going to (southern) California (as opposed to England).
MY: Oh yeah, definitely! The winter (in Korea) is really cold, and the driving ranges are kinda small, you have to hit off mats. When I saw (California) on TV, or my brother told me about it, it just sounded really great, I just had to go. It sounded kinda dreamy.
SS: Yeah! Can you answer a question for me that keeps coming up? People keep telling me there's a Korean National Junior program. I've never seen any evidence that that's the case.
MY: What do you mean?
SS: That they (the government) pay to help get young kids started in golf...
MY: In Korea?
SS: Yes, do they do anything like that in Korea?
MY: There are a lot of tournaments going on, especially in high school and college.
SS: But you don't get a chance to get onto a good course (over there) just because you're a good player?
MY: Well, I played in Korea in middle school, high school, college... It's the same thing as here basically. (I think what Minny means is that there is no National Program, just like in the States). But there are a lot of sponsorships going on, with Se Ri and Grace (when you are a professional). So a lot of companies are looking at the junior people to become LPGA pros or something.