Updated: Jan, 2017
The Facts
Name: Jimin Kang
It's pronounced: Jee meen Kahng
English Name: None
Birthday: January 28, 1980
Home City: Seoul, South Korea
American Home City: Scottsdale, AZ (formerly Edmonds, WA)
Rookie Year on LPGA: 2003
LPGA Wins: 2 (2005 Corning Classic, 2010 Sime Darby Malaysia)
LPGA Majors: 0 (Best Finish: T-7, 2010 LPGA Championship)
Rookie of the year finish: Well back
Height: 5' 6"
Family: one brother
Best score: 62 (2005 ShopRite Classic)
Best Scoring Average for a year: 71.81 (2010)
Best Season money total: $500,354 (2010)
Best Season Money Position:
22nd (2010)
Most Top Tens/season: 3 (2008, 2010)

2017 LPGA Status: Category 18
Strong Statistics: Unknown
Nicknames: None I know
Other Sports: Jogging
Hobbies: Playing the flute, playing with her dog
Sponsors: Unknown
How's her English?: Fluent. She's lived here since she was 15.
Best part of her game: Attitude
Needs to work on: More consistency
Cool possible headlines: 'Kang's the Thang!'
Diary
Check out Jimin's diary entries, originally posted on her official website in 2007, and reused with her permission here!
Bio

Jimin Kang started playing golf at the age of 13 (this seems the common age for the Seoul Sisters to take it up!). When she was 15, her parents decided to move to the U.S. to get Jimin a better education. Jimin was glad to come in order to further her golf education. They first moved to California, but then relocated to the Seattle area suburb of Edmonds. The father's reasoning was that she would be able to golf in the summer and concentrate on her studies in the winter. Jimin enrolled in a private Catholic school and promptly became the standout player on their golf team.

Within no time she was racking up awards as a top junior and amateur player. Among the highlights were winning the Washington Women's Amateur Championship and finishing second in the U.S. Women's Amateur Championship, both as a 19 year old in 1999. Still in high school at the time, Jimin no longer met the age qualifications to play at the high school level, but still practiced with the team while she prepared for college.

In 1999, she also played at the final Safeco Classic, the local LPGA event, where she got to know Se Ri Pak among others. Jimin made a lot of friends by making the cut on the number. In so doing, she allowed about a dozen other players to also make the cut, earning paychecks for that week. Of course, as an amateur, Jimin did not make any money, but she did impress those who saw her play, including me!

Jimin then did something few golf prodigies do. She put away her clubs and for five months pursued other interests. When she picked them up again, she was ready to move to the next level.

Jimin enrolled at Arizona State University in 2000, where she made more noise. Perhaps her most notable accomplishment was winning the 2002 PAC-10 Championship, handing Lorena Ochoa her first defeat in eight consecutive tournaments.

Right after the U.S. Women's Open in 2002, Jimin announced her intention to turn pro. She went to the Futures Tour to play a few warmup tournaments in preparation for LPGA Q-School. Imagine her surprise when she won the first Futures Tour event she entered, the M & T Bank Loretto Futures Golf Classic, again beating Ochoa by a stroke! She was leading her second Futures Tour event going into the final round, but had some problems in the last round and had to settle for fourth to Ochoa. Still, a pretty good average for only two events played!

Jimin had high hopes entering Q-School, and indeed, going into the final round she was comfortably in the range of an exempt card. Alas, things went wrong, and after a final round 78, she missed getting her exempt card by one stroke. Thus she went into the 2003 season as a non-exempt player. It proved challenging for her. She had a couple of good finishes, but never contended, and finished well down the money list. Fortunately, she was able to maintain her non-exempt status at Q-School the following October, but it was more of a struggle than it had been in 2002.

Thus, in 2004, Jimin decided to focus on the Futures Tour. It proved to be a wise decision. She managed 8 top tens on the year, including two victories, to top the Futures Tour money list in 2004 and thus earn her LPGA exempt card for the 2005 season. This marked the first time that Jimin had been exempt for the year, a golden opportunity for her to see how she stacked up in the big leagues.

And she took advantage of it! In 2005, Jimin was having a decent season early on, even notching her first ever top 20 with a 19th place finish at the Michelob Ultra. But nothing prepared the LPGA for what happened at the Corning Classic. Despite the presence of Annika Sorenstam in the field at a time when she had only lost one event all year, it was Jimin who came out on top. And she did it in spectacular fashion, by making a hole in one to take the lead with just a few holes to go. Her thrilled reaction was one of the best in the history of the league. She went on to just hold off rookie Meena Lee for her first top ten AND first LPGA win. The next week, she set her best ever score by shooting a 62 in the final round of the ShopRite Classic. She also set an LPGA record by shooting a 27 on the back nine in that round, the first LPGA golfer to ever do so.

The rest of her season did not live up to the heights of that two week stretch, but she still finished the year in the top forty on the money list with a two year exemption. She has plenty of time to see where her talents will take her in the future.

Jimin's 2006 season was decent, but was severely truncated due to a foot injury she suffered during the LPGA Championship midyear. She missed most of the rest of the year after that. Fortunately, her 2007 season was injury free and a return to form. Although she did not claim a win, she had good finishes in all four Majors, highlighted by a tie for 16th at the US Women's Open, and finished the year with a top ten at the Tournament of Champions. She just missed out on finishing in the top forty on the money list.

2008 was another decent season for Jimin. She finished 51st on the money list, with three top tens and over $300,000 in earnings. She did a little worse overall in 2009, but had her first top ten in a Major when she finished tied for 8th at the Kraft Nabisco.

2010 was a fantastic year for Jimin, highlighted by her second career win at the Sime Darby Malaysia. At that tournament, she was unstoppable in the final round, making birdies on 3 of her final 4 holes to shoot a 65. The entire back nine she was in a fierce battle with American star Juli Inkster, who was trying to become the oldest player to ever win on tour. Inkster had a one shot lead over Kang when Jimin birdied the 18th hole to move into a tie for the lead while Juli waited in the fairway for her turn. Inkster then hit her approach into a bunker and could not get it up and down, thus giving the win to Jimin.

Among Jimin's other highlights of 2010 was her best ever Major, a tie for 7th, at the LPGA Championship, and a tie for 8th at the Mizuno Classic. Kang also had her most lucrative year on tour, earning over $500,000, recorded her best scoring average by far with a 71.81 (28th in the league), and achieved her best money list finish, 22nd.

2011 was not as good a season for Kang as 2010 had been, but she still finished in the top 40 on the money list and had one great tournament. At the Hana Bank Championship in Korea, she finished tied for third. That was her sole top ten of the year. In 2012, she made a little more than $100,000, with one top ten at the Honda LPGA event in Thailand. She finished 69th on the money list.

In 2013, Jimin only played four full events before an undisclosed medical problem sidelined her for the rest of the season. Her best finish out of those four events was a tie for 13th at the RR Donnelly Founders Cup in March. Jimin played more events in 2014, but only made $41,000. Her best finish that season was a tie for 32nd.

Unknown to most, Jimin was suffering from longstanding medical issues that threatened her career. In 2010, her allergies became worse, causing her to take at times a dozen pills a day to control them. By 2013, things got so bad, she checked herself into the Mayo Clinic for testing. Their diagnosis: she was overmedicated for her allergies. Though they completely purged the medication from her system, they warned her it might take years to fully recover.

She took most of 2013 off, not even swinging a golf club until late in the year. She tried playing a casual round of golf late that year, but even with a cart, she didn't have the energy to finish.

In 2014, she tried to push through it, but overexerted herself. By September of that year, she was prepared to quit golf entirely. But by the end of the year, she started to feel better, and in 2015 decided to play on the Symetra Tour. Despite being rusty, she finished 4th in her first start on that tour, and won the fourth tournament she played.

Jimin did not play at all on either the LPGA or Symetra Tour in 2016. She may have retired, but she still has status on those tours if she wants to try again.