CHASKA, Minn. – Maverick McNealy surprised girlfriend Danielle Kang this week when he showed up at Hazeltine National. The KPMG ambassador and Web.com Tour player competed in the pro-am alongside Kang at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship. (No surprise, they won.)
“We joke around that he dates me for my ball-striking, and I date him for around the greens,” said Kang.
The couple met at The Summit Club in Las Vegas, where they both live. McNealy ranks 23rd on the Web.com Tour money list and heads back to Vegas this week after a long stretch on the road.
“I’m such a baby in professional golf compared to her,” said McNealy, who won 11 times in his four-year career at Stanford, tying the record of Tiger Woods and Patrick Rodgers.
McNealy said dating someone who understands the lifestyle and stresses that professional golfers face is both helpful and grounding.
“I’m the luckiest guy ever,” he gushed.
Kang, a two-time U.S. Women’s Amateur champ who played for Pepperdine, won the the 2017 KPMG Women’s PGA at Olympia Fields and said she can remember the back nine on Sunday like it was yesterday.
“I could replay that in my head anytime I would like,” she said. “It’s something that no one can take away from me.”
Kang revels in drama, and that includes the kind that takes place inside the ropes. The tougher the better.
“I want it to be absolutely demoralizing, penalizing,” said Kang of her ideal major setup. “I don’t want anyone to be OK if they miss the fairway. I will take that chance and I will also miss a fairway, but I would – there’s so much more that comes with golf when things go wrong. So I like it when things go wrong.”
And when things do go wrong, Kang said it’s nice to have someone who understands how she feels on the other end of the phone. Both know there’s not much the other person can do.
It’s just nice to vent.
As for their opposites-attract personalities, McNealy said their relationship especially works because they have the same values and see so many things the same way.
“She pulls me out of my comfort zone and a little bit out of my shell,” he said. “Honestly, it makes me more confident and comfortable. I’ve done a lot of things and tried a lot of foods in particular that I never would’ve tried. I went to Singapore and I tried string ray and I loved it. I think that’s kind of the perfect metaphor for why it works for us.”