SPORTS

Kim Hyo-joo to focus on improving short game

By Korea Herald
  • Published : Dec 2, 2014 - 20:55
  • Updated : Dec 2, 2014 - 20:55
Kim Hyo-joo, South Korea’s budding golf star, on Tuesday signed a lucrative five-year contract extension with her main corporate sponsor, Lotte Group.

The conglomerate will pay her 1.3 billion won ($1.2 million) per year along with performance-based incentives.

The 19-year-old said she is aware of the pressure and weight of expectations that come with such a momentous windfall. And to make sure she can live up to the big contract, Kim said she will place emphasis on her short game during her offseason training.

“I’d like to improve my wedge shots from 60 yards and in,” Kim said after her signing ceremony with Lotte Group officials in Seoul. 
Korea’s Kim Hyo-joo takes part in a press conference in Seoul on Tuesday. (Yonhap)

“Wedge shots are a lot harder than they seem. I hope to be able to put those shots within 10 feet of the hole on a more consistent basis.”

Kim, who signed her original two-year contract in 2012, is coming off a monumental season on both the LPGA Tour and the Korean LPGA Tour.

At home, Kim captured a tour-high five titles, including three majors, and won the Player of the Year points race while leading the field in money and scoring average.

On the U.S. tour, Kim captured the Evian Championship, one of the five major tournaments, as a non-member.

The victory gave her full-time playing privileges on the LPGA Tour next season, and Kim said she plans to split her time between the domestic tour and the U.S. circuit.

On the KLPGA Tour, Kim was first in greens in regulation and 10th in putts per round. She was around the top 20 in average driving distance and driving accuracy. Statistically, there are very few holes in Kim’s game.

“I want to improve my conditioning and stamina over the winter,” said Kim, who plans to play about seven or eight tournaments in South Korea next year.

“You have to have the strength and endurance, and only then techniques will follow.”

Kim said she is scheduled to depart for Thailand on Jan. 5 to begin her offseason training in earnest, but hasn’t yet decided how long she will stay there.

Kim won the KLPGA Rookie of the Year honors in 2013, and said she wants to win the same award on the LPGA Tour in 2015. (Yonhap)