Breakaway excursions, first-time main winners, the return of Tiger Woods; 2022 was a seismic yr 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Come April although, she had withdrawn from a number of occasions citing again ache.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 taking part in the event with a tumor on her backbone and can 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 number 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 comfortable to maintain it that manner.
“That was sort of the final yr of the twenties and I’m actually, actually glad to depart it behind,” Kang advised CNN. “I really feel that I’m going to be taught new issues and uncover myself once more within the thirties.
“Final yr was an enormous momentum change for me and I’m really sort of glad every thing that’s occurred occurred – the way in which I received at the start of the yr, the way in which I completed out the yr, the way in which I contended, coming again stronger than I assumed I might.
“It was a really fascinating yr, very up and down, however I sort of desire a bit extra consistency this yr 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. Contemporary off his sixth PGA Tour victory on the Farmers Insurance coverage Open in January, the lads’s World No.8 took intention at Kang, having simply drawn degree together with her on titles.
“Shoutout to Danielle Kang … she mentioned I must catch as much as her,” Homa advised reporters.
“She’s bought six (wins) and a significant. I bought six now, so I’m coming DK.”
However beneath the jabs, it’s all love between the 2 mates.
“He’s a fantastic dude … it’s a pleasant rivalry,” Kang mentioned.
“I need him to play the most effective that he can play. He’s at all times been very supportive of ladies’s golf and I actually recognize that.”
Homa stars in Netflix’s “Full Swing,” a brand new fly-on-the-wall fashion docuseries that follows lots of the high gamers on the PGA Tour. Detached to actuality exhibits, Kang is just not significantly jealous of her pal’s new-found TV stardom, however understands the recognition of comparable collection which have boomed within the wake of Netflix’s Method One targeted “Drive to Survive.”
“I feel it’s at all times intriguing to see behind the scenes, particularly the place you’re simply curious … the fact present works for a purpose,” Kang mentioned.
“I’m not an enormous fan, however I’m certain the followers get to see behind the scenes a variety of issues that they don’t (usually) get to see. So I feel it’ll be well-liked for a sure demographic, however I’m sort of simply, ‘no matter floats your boat.’”
LPGA Danielle Kang on the dying of her father and Tokyo 2020
Contending on the 5 majors is a key objective for Kang this season, because the World No.17 appears to be like 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 top of the ladies’s recreation.
And Kang has each intention of constructing the roster of US captain Stacy Lewis, looking for to avenge European victory in Ohio two years in the past.
“I at all times say good golf takes care of every thing, and for proper now I feel I’m fairly protected,” Kang mentioned.
“So with that mentioned, 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.”