Shanshan Feng isn’t just the most underrated player in the LPGA ranks. She may also be the most underrated personality.
Feng had the media at the Evian Championship interview room chuckling Tuesday over stories about how she celebrated winning an Olympic bronze medal upon returning to China three weeks ago. When Feng makes a media room presence, there’s typically more than one humorous exchange.
Feng was among the large Olympic contingent who met Chinese president Xi Jinping at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing upon returning from Rio de Janeiro, but she made her brief introduction stand out among the more than 400 athletes there.
“When it came to my turn, I was like, ‘President, you’re so handsome,’” Feng said. “The others didn’t say anything, but when it came to my turn ... I did say that.”
How did the president react?
“He shook my hand,” Feng said. “He was shocked, and then he shook my hand one more time ... I've only seen our president on TV, but that was in person, real life, and he looked so handsome to me at the moment. He looked really confident.”
Feng said she celebrated upon her return home by going out with friends and singing karaoke. She took her bronze medal with her.
“I was singing, and nobody was really listening to me,” Feng said. “They were all playing with the medal.
“I think I sang too much. I hurt my throat. And I couldn't talk for a couple of days.”
Feng will be seeking to win her second major championship this week. She became the first Chinese player to win a major when she claimed the LPGA Championship in 2012, but she said winning an Olympic bronze medal has brought her far more attention in China.
“Most people didn’t know what winning [a major championship] meant,” Feng said. “Only people who played golf knew what I did ... All the Chinese people were actually watching us in the Olympics.
“Golf is going to become so popular in China.”