Shin's dedication has her focused on top ranking
RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. – Jiyai Shin’s “winter training” began Jan. 3 at 6:15 a.m with a workout session. It ended 12 hours later, when she sat down for dinner. The hard work took place here at Mission Hills and lasted 3 1/2 weeks. Shin, 22, rented a three-bedroom condo on property and stayed there with her trainer and swing coach.
When it was over, Shin said to her instructor, Glen Daugherty: “We should’ve taken six weeks.”
“There’s a reason she’s where she is,” said Daugherty, who began working on Shin’s full swing for the first time last winter. Before that, the two had worked briefly on her putting.
Shin comes to the Kraft Nabisco this week for the fifth time in her career as the No. 2 player in the world. Last year’s T-5 finish was her best to date. Shin loves Mission Hills so much she’s looking to purchase a second home here. She already owns a home in Duluth, Ga.
Shin’s two-a-days in the gym were the bookends of long sessions on the range and practice greens. She played the Dinah Shore Tournament Course only one time.
Daugherty took an already efficient, repeatable swing and made it stronger, giving her 15 extra yards off the tee. He strengthened her grip, narrowed her stance and moved her hips forward. They spent a great deal of time working on the way Shin drives her legs through the swing.
“With the way I want her to swing the club, she has to stay in good shape,” said Daugherty, who worked with Yani Tseng for several years. “All players can’t move like that.”
Daugherty also worked to give Shin’s putting stroke a more even tempo. He believes she accelerates too much through the stroke, which is what he saw on Sunday at the Kia Classic, where Shin finished runner-up to Sandra Gal. Daugherty knows it’s especially difficult to ask a player to slow down her stroke when the adrenaline is pumping, but he gives Shin credit for implementing as much as she has into competition so quickly.
Shin took Sunday’s loss in stride, telling the media with that delightful smile: "I did my best. Just waiting for next chance."
She spoke with Daugherty an hour after the tournament and showed “no bitterness or remorse” about the loss. She said she was happy with the way she played but didn’t make any putts Sunday.
“She said ‘Looking forward to next week, major championship Glen’ … which means, Glen better get her putting better,” Daugherty said with a laugh. Daugherty was on site Monday at the Kraft, as was Shin’s caddie, but Shin was having a massage in L.A., leisurely making her way to the desert. She takes Mondays off.
Shin’s sunny disposition can be linked to a perspective few can fathom: Her mother died in a car accident when Shin was 15. Shin once said of the loss: “Time is so valuable to me now.” In other words, no time to waste second-guessing missed putts. She looks ahead.
The woman known in South Korea as the “Final-Round Queen” has eight victories on the LPGA, including the 2008 Ricoh Women’s British Open, and 21 titles on the KLPGA. January’s winter training was nothing new for Shin. Back home in Korea, she worked 15-hour days.
As the daughter of a minister, Shin did take Sundays off during the offseason, and twice went to church with Daugherty in San Diego. They attended The Rock Church, led by one of Daugherty’s students, Miles McPherson, a former San Diego Charger. With Shin, Daugherty already has reached the number of times he typically goes to church in a year.
“Miles sent me a text (on Monday) that said ‘Tell Jiyai I’m praying for her,’ ” Daugherty said. “I texted back ‘Don’t forget me!’ … She’s about as pure as you can get.”