“Never give up”… Choi Hye-jin, who smells of Jordan
Choi Hye-jin enjoyed jumping rope in high school. At first, she set a goal of 1000, but later she reached 3000 without a break. She even jumps 2 steps and she does up to 200 in a row. Perhaps thanks to that, he has a strong lower body that is recognized even among tour players. His dynamic swing is his trademark, and it has become a force that conquers the amateur and professional stages. In 2019, she swept the grand prize, prize money, and average at bats on the Korean Women’s Professional Golf (KLPGA) tour, and won the grand prize for three consecutive years from 2018 to 2020.
Choi Hye-jin, who achieved 10 victories in her career on the KLPGA tour, moved her activities to the United States last year. He finished 6th in the money list with 10 top 10 finishes in 27 events. His debut season is satisfactory, but there are also regrets. Because he didn’t have a championship trophy.
Choi Hye-jin, her 1999 year of the rabbit, is preparing a new jump for her own year. He is jumping towards a new 10 wins. Choi Hye-jin, who realized the importance of her stamina even more after experiencing the LPGA tour last year, was sweating at ‘Team Glory Earth’, a training center specializing in golf, prior to her battery training.
Choi Hye-jin, who has nurtured her dream by watching Pak Se-ri, Park In-bi, Kim Hyo-joo, and Park Seong-hyeon, has become a role model for juniors. When he asked her advice for her juniors, she said, “If you give up once, the next one is easier. Even if it’s hard, you have to be patient as much as possible. She has to push her limits so she can grow,” she said. ‘Basketball Emperor’ Michael Jordan’s saying, “If you quit once, it becomes a habit,” goes hand in hand. Choi Hye-jin also said that she still applies to herself now.
- A new season is coming. how are you preparing
“Right now, I am focusing on sports rather than golf. I am working on strengthening my basic stamina by resting a little before the season begins.”
- How are you doing your physical training?
“If I don’t have a special schedule, I come to the fitness center 4-5 days a week. It lasts from 1 hour and 30 minutes to 2 hours, and I do various exercises such as strengthening my muscles and improving my balance. Recently, Pilates has been said to help correct posture, so I am doing it as well.”
- In the last 2-3 years, ‘bulking up’ has become popular. Are you strengthening your muscles in that way?
“not. Rather, in my case, I gained weight last season and felt that my body was a bit dull. Right now, I am also focusing on improving my agility and endurance while controlling my weight.”
- Last year, you played on the LPGA Tour. how was it
“It was a very satisfying season. I went to America for the first time after playing on a domestic tour for 4-5 years, and I really enjoyed it. Of course, there were some uncomfortable and difficult parts because I was away from home, but overall I was satisfied. The course conditions and practice environment were very good. It was also new to live a tour life by moving from place to place. I am satisfied with the overall performance, but it is unfortunate that we did not win.”
- Did you go on a short trip after the tournament?
“In the beginning, I tried a lot to do that. My favorite place is New York. Coincidentally, his maternal uncle lives there, so we went to see him together. Previously, I always participated in competitions and came back, but last year I went touring for the first time. I saw Central Park and the Empire State Building, and also saw Broadway and Times Square. I remember eating a lot of delicious food in Las Vegas. Other than that, I went to see the sea and it seems like we had a lot of fun. But since the season is over, resting after the tournament is the first priority. haha.”
- Were there any difficulties in your American tour life?
“It was difficult to move. In Korea, you can practice while resting on Monday or Tuesday after the tournament, but in the US, you have to get on a plane on Sunday or Monday to move right away, and there is a time difference depending on the region, so that part was burdensome.”
- Didn’t you think of home food?
“I tend to eat pretty much any food, so it wasn’t a big problem. Rather, I ate too much. haha. I ate a lot of Korean food with my manager sister, so there was no longing for Korean food.”
- Meeting new people is also important. Do you have any new foreign players?
“Since I was an amateur, I have friends my age that I’ve gotten to know while occasionally attending overseas games, and it was nice to play on the same tour as such friends. Since childhood, he has often faced off against Nasa Hataoka and Saso Yuka of Japan, and Patty Tawatanagit of Thailand in national competitions. Although not a foreign player, I often hung out with Annarin unnie and Hong Yeeun, who were also rookies. To be honest, in Korea, we didn’t have many opportunities to get along with each other, and we just said hello while playing, but going to the LPGA tour became an opportunity for us to get along better. I think I was able to live a practice round together, eat delicious food, and share information without being lonely.”
“ He said he had to quit taekwondo to play golf, so he said he would stop playing golf. ”
Do you remember winning that time?
“I remember. My peers competed in competitions from 3rd or 4th grade and won many championships, but I first entered the competition in 5th grade. Certainly, my skills improved a lot as I entered the competition. However, due to a lack of experience, there were many cases where I could not seize the opportunity when it came. Se-Ri Pak was the last tournament of the season, and Pro Se-Ri Pak came to the venue. So I got an autograph and I was so happy to even win there. I still have vivid memories.”
- How was your childhood?
“It was very active. I like to run and I like to play football. Taekwondo did the same. Golf started naturally when I went to the practice range with my father and my family.”
- What was your favorite sport before playing golf?
“It was Taekwondo. He told me that I had to quit taekwondo to play golf, so I said I would stop playing golf.”
- When was the first time you beat your father in golf?
“It was in the 6th grade of elementary school. I definitely improved my skills at that time. Before that, if I hit about 10 times, my dad looked at me and I thought I would win two or three times, but since 6th grade, I won a lot more.”
- If you hadn’t played golf, what do you think you would be doing right now?
“I can’t imagine, but I still like sports so much that I wonder if I would have become a player in another sport.”
- When did the nickname penguin come about?
“It was around the first year of middle school. People I know said one day that I look like a penguin, and it naturally became my nickname.”
- Who was your role model as a child?
“I haven’t decided on just one person. I wanted to emulate the strengths of various players. For example, in the case of Park In-bi, she is very good at putting and is famous, so I tried to imitate that part, and I wanted to have all of her strengths, such as Kim Hyo-joo’s iron and Park Seong-hyun’s long hit. Se-Ri Pak paved the way for Korean players to enter the LPGA Tour. Watching him try to help his juniors a lot, I thought that I would like to be of help to my juniors when my career builds up.”
- Now, in reverse, you have become a role model for your juniors. What advice would you give to young players?
“If you give up once, it seems to be easier to give up the next time. It is important to persevere as much as possible even if it is difficult. You have to push your limits. I felt it while playing games and training, but it still applies to me now.”
“ If I go back to my junior days, I want to be more faithful to the basics. ”
- If you go back to your junior days, what part would you like to focus on?
“I want to focus more on the most basic part and learn well. I feel the importance of the foundation even more now. There must be a stronger foundation for technological advancement.” 안전놀이터
- I know you used to jump rope a lot when you were in school.
“It’s a style that only sticks with it once. When I was in my second year of high school, I fell in love with jumping rope and did it every day. At first, I aimed to do 1,000 at a time, and then I increased it to 1,500, 2,000, and 2,500.”
- How many times did you do the most in a row?
“I am really confident in the light single jump. It’s hard to count honestly. I didn’t count it accurately, but I think I did about 3,000.”
Park Sol-bin (32), a trainer helping Choi Hye-jin with her workouts, said, “Hye-jin has a natural lower body.” Among golf players, she has the best lower body strength.” “Choi Hye-jin is good at making strong movements at once. That advantage is a big help in her long hitting.” In addition to strengthening her strength this season, she is also focusing on increasing her range of motion, she said. Choi Hye-jin, who has her steel stamina, also realized the importance of her stamina at the end of the season while playing on the LPGA tour last year. Choi Hye-jin said, “Before her battery training, she should build up her stamina one by one so that she can last well for a year.”
- I’ve been running all along. If you were given a year of sabbatical, what would you like to do?
“I really don’t want to do anything. I’m just going to play with the dog.”
- Don’t you want to do things you haven’t normally done?
“I want to play other sports such as soccer or tennis, but I don’t think it will be easy to challenge because of the risk of injury. I want to learn cooking, piano, guitar, drums, and other musical instruments.”
- I also made a lot of money from prize money. What is the most expensive gift you have ever given yourself?
“There is nothing special about the material side. I just like to go out to eat delicious food. Since I am an athlete, I often eat meat on purpose, but I do not choose any kind. I also like Japanese food, so I go to omakase (chef’s recommended dishes) restaurants.”
- It is also important to get a good rest. how do you get rid of stress
“When I’m not playing golf, I don’t think about golf. It’s not that I don’t do it on purpose, but when I go home, I don’t think about golf. Now, I play with my dog every day, listen to songs and watch dramas while watching my phone.”
Choi Hye-jin brought her dog to her interview. The name ‘Mocha’ is a Bichon Frize breed with fluffy fur and doll-like eyes, nose and mouth. Choi Hye-jin, who had Mocha’s face engraved on her wedge, said she missed Mocha so much that she wanted to come to Korea while she was playing on the LPGA tour. She carries a picture of Mocha and she often video calls too, she said. Choi Hye-jin chose Jeju Lotte Sky Hill as the golf course she wants to go on a golf trip in Korea, and the reason is “because I can take my dog for a round.”
“ Mental strength is important to win… Looking forward to the US Women’s Open at Pebble Beach ”
- What is your goal for this season?
“I really want to win the championship soon. I haven’t decided how many tournaments I’ll be playing in yet, but I want to get consistent results as much as possible. There were many times when I had good results last year, but there were times when my results were really bad when the game didn’t work out. Even if my condition is not good, I want to be able to consistently produce results.”
- Is it better to win even if there are ups and downs, or is it better to play without ups and downs even if there is no championship?
“I like winning, but I don’t like having ups and downs. I want to consistently deliver results.”
- What do you think is required to win?
“It is mental strength. There is really no difference in the skill level of the players. Depending on how you lead your play, I think it is divided into whether you can laugh or not. You have to be mentally strong to overcome crises well and seize opportunities when they come.”
- If so, what kind of competition would you like to win?
“This year, the US Women’s Open will be held at Pebble Beach. I heard that the course is really pretty, but I’m looking forward to it because I’ve never been to it. If I win there, I will be very happy.”
- What is the ultimate goal of golf life?
“It has been a long time since I was inducted into the Hall of Fame. Major championships and grand slams are also important, but you have to achieve all of them to enter the Hall of Fame, so I set that as a goal.”
Choi Hye-jin, who left for Thailand on the 24th, will start the 2023 season at Honda LPGA Thailand, which will be held in Thailand for four days from February 23rd.