COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Jiyai Shin wants to perform for her fans; she wants to deliver a good story to the media; she wants to win for her country.
But most of all, she strives to please dad.
Shin went into the Wegmans LPGA Championship two weeks ago with high expectations after a pair of top-10 finishes in the previous two events. Instead, her ball-striking was the worst it has been in years. She tied for 34th and left depleted.
“I tried to push myself,” said Shin, winless so far in nine events in 2011 and looking for her first U.S. Women’s Open trophy.
Shin said that at the beginning of her career, pressure was a like a friend: “All the time, right next to me.”
Korean fans and media used to impress upon Shin that anything less than first was a failure. Now she gets fan letters and Tweets encouraging her to enjoy life. That has helped put that cute-as-a-button smile back on Shin’s face.
Paula Creamer won the U.S. Women’s Open on July 11.
Betsy King of Reading, Pa. struggles to stand after teeing up her ball on the fifth hole during the third round at the US Women’s Open Saturday July 22, 2000 in Gurnee, Ill. King injured her back on the second tee, but finished the round 10-over-par for the day.
Michael Jordan enjoys a laugh with Michelle McGann during a three hole exhibition at the US Women’s Open Tuesday July 18, 2000 in Libertyville, Ill. McGann and Laura Davies defeated Jordan and Nancy Lopez.
Karrie Webb, of Queensland, Australia, holds the U.S. Women’s Open trophy after winning the event Sunday July 23, 2000 in Gurnee, Ill. Webb finished at 6-under 282, five strokes ahead of everyone else.
Brenda Corrie Kuehn takes a drink as she waits to hit her tee shot on the second hole at Pine Needles Lodge and GC in Southern Pines, N.C., Tuesday May 29, 2001, during practice for the U.S. Women’s Open. Kuehn wore men’s golf shirts and carried 25 extra pounds in the eighth month of her pregnancy. But she expected a normal golf experience for the U.S. Women’s Open.
Morgan Pressel, 13, chips to the third green at Pine Needles Lodge and GCi n Southern Pines, N.C., Thursday, May 31, 2001 during the first round of the U.S. Women’s Open golf championship.
Karrie Webb, of Australia, celebrates her victory at the Pine Needles Lodge and GC in Southern Pines, N.C., Sunday June 3, 2001, on the 18th hole after winning the U.S. Women’s Open.
Karrie Webb, of Australia, holds the trophy at the Pine Needles Lodge and GC in Southern Pines, N.C., Sunday June 3, 2001 after winning the U.S. Women’s Open.
Patty Sheehan, left, puts her arm around Nancy Lopez as Lopez waves to the gallery on the 18th hole of the Prairie Dunes course during the second round of the U.S. Women’s Open, Friday, July 5, 2002, in Hutchinson, Kan.
Karrie Webb throws her club in the air and kicks it on the 14th fairway Friday afternoon, July 5, 2002, during the second round of the U.S. Women’s Open at Prairie Dunes in Hutchinson, Kan. Webb, the two-time defending champion, missed the cut with a two-round total of 12-over-par 152.
Annika Sorenstam celebrates her birdie on the 16th green in the third round of the U.S. Women’s Open on Saturday, July 6, 2002, at Prairie Dunes Country Club in Hutchinson, Kan. Sorenstam shot a 1-under-par 69 and was leading the tournament by two strokes.
Juli Inkster celebrates after making a birdie on the 16th hole of the Prairie Dunes CC course during the final round of the U.S. Women’s Open, Sunday, July 7, 2002, in Hutchinson, Kan. Inkster won the tournament with a four-under-par 276.
Michelle Wie, 13-years-old from Honolulu, Hawaii, watches her tee shot on 16 during the first round of the U.S. Women’s Open at Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club in North Plains, Ore., Thursday, July 3, 2003.
“I’ll probably sleep with an ice bag on. I’m afraid to take the tape off – my thumb is going to explode out of it. But the more I think about making pars, the less the thumb bothers me.”
– Paula Creamer on the pain in her thumb after the third round of the U.S. Women’s Open at Oakmont. She led by 3 strokes heading into the final round. Above, Creamer Creamer hugs her caddie, Colin Cann, after winning the tournament.
Nancy Lopez reacts as she barely misses a birdie putt on the fourth hole during the second round at the US Women’s Open, Friday, July 21, 2000, in Gurnee, Ill.
But while fan support is nice, she said the biggest relief came when her father, Jeseop, echoed that sentiment. A minister by trade, Jeseop has long been the driving force behind Shin’s career. From the time his daughter was young, Jeseop had lofty goals for his oldest child.
When Jiyai’s mother died in a career accident when she was 15 years old, Jeseop used the leftover insurance money to fund her professional career.
“My father sat me down and said, ‘This is what we exchanged for your mother’s life,’ ” Shin said several years ago. “ ‘I’m going to invest this in you, so be successful. Go get it.’ ”
After last month’s LPGA Championship, Jeseop told Jiyai that she already had accomplished 90 percent of those goals, with the only remaining ones being the LPGA Hall of Fame and a long career.
“I want to play good and give good news,” Jiyai said. “I know that when I play bad he feels down, too.”
Shin, 23, said she can look at her career going two ways: Ending in her early 30’s or looking Inkster-like.
She’s been at this game full time since age 11 and wants to learn other things, too.
“I want to make another life,” she said.
But Shin, winner of the 2008 Ricoh Women’s British Open, knows now is not the time for daydreaming. The Broadmoor demands intense concentration. Lose focus for just one second, Shin said, and a bogey or double bogey looms.
Her swing coach, Glen Daugherty, arrived earlier in the week and worked on her tempo. The physical adjustment, along with her father’s blessing, has greatly improved Shin’s outlook from the LPGA Championship.
Because the fairways are more generous than Oakmont and the course is playing over 7,000 yards with altitude, Shin believes The Broadmoor’s East Course favors a longer hitter.