The LPGA’s Asian swing will be more than celebration of what’s right with women’s golf in the Far East when the tour turns next week to the LPGA KEB-Hana Bank Championship in Incheon, South Korea.
It will mark a special goodbye.
South Korea’s Mi Hyun Kim, 35, considered one of the original “Seoul Sisters,” will play the final LPGA event of her career on a sponsor's invite. She is retiring.
After Se Ri Pak broke through to win majors on American soil, Kim was the next prominent South Korean to follow Pak into the LPGA ranks. Kim was the LPGA Rookie of the Year in ’99. She won eight LPGA titles.
Next week’s event will be an emotional one in South Korea, where Kim is revered. At 5 feet 1, she's known in LPGA circles as “Peanut” and 'Kimmy.' In 2008, she married Won Hee Lee, a former Olympic gold medalist in judo. She played while pregnant in ’09 and gave birth to her first child late in that year.
For most of the last three years, Kim has been plagued by ankle and knee injuries. She underwent surgery earlier this year and reportedly won't be quite at full strength when she plays next week. She told South Korean media she plans to spend the next chapter of her life devoted to her family and running her own golf academy.