Last year Danielle Kang lifted a trophy on the 18th green at the CME Group Tour Championship, but it wasn’t the CME Globe. With an average score of 70,082 in 2020 at 13 events on a schedule shortened by the COVID-19 pandemic, Kang took home the Vare trophy, which is given annually to the player with the lowest score of the season. This year the 29-year-old is looking for more and is 12th in the Race to the CME Globe.
“I feel like this year has been two years,” said Kang. “It’s endless. I’ve had a really long season. I’ve been on the road for many weeks now, so I think I’m getting a little tired. But I hit everything at the same distance except my driver so I’m trying to figure that out. Try to finish on a high note. I know it was a winless season, so hopefully I can manipulate myself somehow on the golf course. “
Kang’s year was nothing short of successful. She represented Team USA both at the Olympic Games, where she finished 20th with a draw, and at the Solheim Cup, where she got a point for the red-white-blue team. It occupies fourth place in the average putting on the LPGA Tour with 29.05 putts per round and is on the eighth putt per green in the regulation with 1.76 strokes. The five-time Tour winner’s best result at the CME Group Tour Championship was a T3 in 2019, and Kang is keen to emulate that feat this week.
“I’m not feeling very well,” said Kang of her preparation so far. “I usually do, but I played it today and I think the golf course is softer than ever, which means we don’t get a lot of run-off on the fairway. I have longer clubs in there but the greens are a little firmer and then it’s soft and really grainy. Chips around the greens are quite tricky. I’m a little unsure at this point because the exercises I did on the practice facility don’t really match those on the golf course. I don’t know if today was just a weird day. I know Florida weed is different from what I’m usually used to, but because it’s softer, it really picks up on you. I’ve even tried to hit with various shots and clubs, even rescues, which means that it’s really hard for me to get a good shot. “
With only four rounds left in the competitive season, Kang has been thinking about how and where to improve her game, both on and off the golf course. While the big wallet promise is coming up big at CME and her 2022 plans are definitely in the foreground, you can bet that she wants to become the Race to the CME Globe champion along with her 59 other colleagues. But the goals change as the calendars turn, and Kang has some new things to think about next year.
“I have to try to concentrate a little more on everything outside of golf than on the technique. I really focus on tech and mechanics but there is so much I can do and after that it’s sleep, nutrition, health and those things. I need to wake up in the morning and be able to do what I have been practicing. That was not the case. So, I don’t know how to fix this yet, but I’m sure there are experts out there so I’ll have to ask for their help.