It wasn’t so much that she conquered the field at the Lorena Ochoa Invitational for her first LPGA title in nine years. It was all that she conquered to get to that trophy, overcoming injuries and depression and a return to Q-School two years ago. She was greeted with one hug after another upon walking on to the grounds at Tiburon Golf Club.
“The outpouring is overwhelming,” Kim said.
Kim’s learning her story, her struggle with depression, something she shared in her blog and then in an in-depth story with Golf Digest two years ago, has resonated beyond golf.
“It’s pretty remarkable the number of tweets, emails, text messages and voice mails I’ve received from people,” Kim said. “I didn’t realize how much people have been following my story ... I didn’t realize I could make an impact like that.”
Kim, 30, said she doesn’t mind being a face representing the battle with depression.
“There is a reason I put it out there,” Kim said. “The reason is that if I could reach out and help even one person who came across it, my life’s work would be done.”
Michelle Wie, Kim’s close friend, was in tears with Kim hugging her on the 18th green after Kim won Sunday in Mexico City. They hugged again Tuesday when they first saw each other at Tiburon Golf Club.
“I was so happy for her,” Wie said. “When I woke up Sunday, I was so nervous for her. I felt like I had a five-shot lead.
“I was so excited, just knowing what she went through, knowing how much she wanted it ... She stayed for four hours afterward, kissing babies, kissing foreheads, kissing everyone. It was like a kissing booth line. It was just amazing.”
Kim shared much of her personal struggle with depression with Wie, Jane Park and Irene Cho before deciding to go public with it. Kim showed her blog to Wie before publishing it.
“I thought it was one of the bravest things she could ever have done, to share her story, because there aren’t enough people who share their story like that,” Wie said.