Nothing about playing golf is easy for Danielle Kang right now


SOUTHERN PINES, N.C. — Danielle Kang shouldn’t be a morning particular person. The 2017 KPMG Ladies’s PGA Championship winner actually would not like having to get up early. Recently, although, she has been left with no different alternative.

Simply over a month in the past, Kang was identified with a tumor on her backbone, which she revealed after her second spherical Friday on the U.S. Ladies’s Open at Pine Needles Lodge & Golf Membership. Kang mentioned that she had been having again ache for some time however that she by no means anticipated a tumor to be the issue.

“I do not need it to come back throughout bizarre,” Kang instructed ESPN after her third-round 73 on Saturday. “However I wasn’t petrified of the end result. I used to be extra petrified of not having the ability to play.”

On Saturday, the 29-year-old teed off at 7:52 a.m., so the wake-up name for her new pre-round routine was even sooner than typical. She and her physiotherapist, Aaron Bond, undergo warm-up and pull-down workout routines to activate her again. They add kinesio tape in an effort to “raise the fascia tissue,” they usually use cupping remedy. After her spherical, they do it over again.

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“There’s a lot to do for me to get going,” mentioned Kang, who received the 2017 Ladies’s PGA Championship. “And that is simply to play the U.S. Open.”

Kang is blunt about it: She wasn’t presupposed to play final week on the Financial institution of Hope LPGA Match-Play in Las Vegas. She wasn’t presupposed to play this week within the U.S. Open. The previous occurred due to her relationship along with her sponsor — MGM Resorts. The latter occurred as a result of, as Kang will inform you, she wasn’t going to overlook the U.S. Open, even when she and her workforce did take into consideration skipping.

“I’ve by no means missed it. I performed right here once I was 14, I got here right here with my dad 15 years in the past,” Kang mentioned. “So long as I can roll on the market … I did not wish to miss one other main, so I’ve simply saved pushing by way of it. That is the form of participant I’m, however I believe we’re at a restrict.”

Kang says she would not have many solutions concerning the tumor. For the reason that analysis, there hasn’t been a lot readability. The ache, although, is unquestionable. You’ll be able to see it when she grimaces after a troublesome strategy shot, or when she walks gingerly after an extended drive. And you can too see it in her eyes, when she is aware of all of the prep work she does earlier than the spherical can solely assist the discomfort a lot whereas additionally stopping her from working extra on her sport.

“I did not really feel excellent [Saturday]; I believe I am very fatigued,” Kang mentioned. “So I could not get by way of the ball. I used to be hitting it left and proper far and wide … did not give myself many birdie alternatives.”

Her workforce and her household have inspired Kang to not fear about her rating, however Kang can not help it. She was upset with how she performed Saturday.

“I am by no means going to say I am on the market simply to attempt to have enjoyable. I am a competitor,” she mentioned. “For the previous couple of holes, whether or not it damage or not, I simply wanted to get by way of the ball. It was inflicting some form of discomfort, however I hit some good pictures coming by way of.”

Kang birdied two of her final 4 holes. On the seventeenth, she was simply off the inexperienced and determined to name her shot. The ball caught the slope and trickled in. Kang’s face lit up, she raised her fingers, celebrated along with her caddie and thanked the group, which, as she put it, was a reasonably good one for having teed off early. The second was a salve.

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“The rounds have been actually tough the final couple of days, and that was simply actually enjoyable,” Kang mentioned of the chip-in. “I do not know, there is not a variety of confidence in my sport proper now, so simply executing the shot, it made me completely satisfied.”

The bodily toll is one factor, however Kang has additionally needed to alter to the psychological toll this has taken on her. Seeing the repeated unhealthy pictures, she says, will get to her. However she has to remind herself that she’s not dropping her talent, that this may be short-term.

“I’ve to say, ‘I’ll,'” Kang mentioned. “So I’ve needed to inform myself like, no, ‘I will hit punch cuts. I will hit management attracts.’ As a result of I’ve to inform myself that I am gonna come again and play like I did earlier than.”

Kang mentioned that she is hoping to only get by way of Sunday’s last spherical. Then she could have some extra physician’s appointments to attempt to get extra solutions concerning the tumor, in addition to about what her strategy to golf ought to be going ahead.

“It is the unknown that I am most petrified of,” Kang mentioned.

When requested how she processed the information when the tumor was first found, she thought for a second earlier than selecting a solution.

“Nonetheless processing,” she mentioned.

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