In the fall of 2018, Danielle Kang’s playing saw the most inconsistent phase of her career. After becoming Major Champion at the 2017 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, a year later, from June to September, she missed seven out of nine cuts. With a month-long break between events, then 24-year-old Kang Butch Harmon called for help.
“I think she was in bad shape mentally, with fear and things that didn’t allow her to be herself,” Harmon said at the Bank of Hope LPGA match game. “I really just want to bring out her own personality and just let her be herself.”
The decision had more impact on her career than her win at Olympia Fields in 2017. Kang ventured across the Pacific Ocean, refreshed herself with a new mindset, and finished T-3 at the LPGA Hana Bank Championship, followed by her second career win pro Week later at the Buick LPGA Shanghai.
“He just focuses on a lot of positive aspects,” said Kang. “It’s really difficult as a golfer. So I give him a lot of credit for where I am now and I think he made my journey faster. “
Since becoming Harmon Kang’s coach, they have won four times together, including a three-win-in-seven runway from late 2019 in their successful Buick LPGA Shanghai title defense to back-to-back wins when the LPGA returned from the pandemic last August -Stop back. In 51 starts since Butch joined in October 2018, Kang was in the top 10 25 times, a nearly 50 percent clip. She only missed five cuts. Harmon credits her Energizer bunny level engine for her success since they teamed up.
“She works as hard or harder than any of the male players I’ve ever had success with,” said Harmon. “She always strives to get better. We’re talking about weaknesses in her game that used to be a weakness, now she’s turned them into strengths, so it was fun. “
Kang reciprocates the efforts of the people around her and responds to their energy to get more out of themselves. “Having a caddy that gives me over 110 percent,” Kang said, “Having a trainer who gives 150 percent makes me work harder, makes me get better, and it drives me in better golfer to be a better role model. better player. “
The two of them are still going full throttle to work today. After Kang played self-described “Wi-Fi” golf, which was wildly absent either way in San Francisco, but with her short game leading her to a T-5 finish at the LPGA Mediheal Championship, she and Harmon turned on again the work. Frustrated as she worked to get her swing back into neutral, Kang eventually threw her club. In response, Harmon threw one himself.
“He said it is [her club throw] pathetic, ”said Kang. “He says, ‘Let me show you how to do it.'”
Harmon’s reply reinforced the most important lesson he had taught her, which first came to Kang’s mind on Tuesday. “That’s the only lesson he put in my head that everything is fine,” said Kang. “You just have to keep working hard and be positive. Just believe in yourself and do what you have to do and just trust yourself. “
The trust they have keeps them in step with their mission to gain more. Harmon envisions that one of his hardest working players will make this dream come true with her consistency that will bring her to 6th place in the world and a place on the US Olympic team.
“It was fun,” said Harmon. “We have a few more [wins] to have.”