The LPGA Tour opens its season this week with the Honda-PTT LPGA Thailand 2010, held at the Siam Country Club, near Bangkok. To get the lowdown on the upcoming season, I reached out to the tour’s clown princess, Christina Kim, who is in Thailand to play in the tournament. Kim, who sends hundreds of text messages and tweets a day, insisted that we do the interview through Blackberry Messenger, where her moniker is “Cotton Candy.” It was 6:25 a.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 16, in Thailand when we started our chat.
Have you adjusted to the 12-hour time difference?
Pretty much. I’m a rock star in that way. I know all the tricks of the trade.
What have you been up to in the offseason?
Everything from working hard on my short game, trying new clubs, partying with friends, traveling to places, and playing around with social media.
What’s wrong with your short game?
I don’t see anything as ever “being wrong” with it. I just wanted to enhance and hone in on my skills, especially with the new groove regulations.
You partied a lot. Clubs? House parties?
I didn’t go mad crazy partying all the time. Hahaha!!! Clubs, house parties, a lot of just chillin’ at friends’ places — that’s more accurate.
You don’t seem like a typical golf nerd. Are your friends big golf fans?
Almost ALL of my friends are either golf players or I know them through fellow players! My life is always about golf, it’s a small intimate world out there and I don’t much deal with the general population.
This helps you focus by staying close to other players?
Well that’s the thing. It helps me focus to keep my world fairly tight to the vest, but 90% of my friends are guys. The only girls that are staples in my life are Jane Park and Jeehae Lee, with Suzann Pettersen making occasional appearances. I hang with girls all the time in work, I wouldn’t want them to get sick of me or vice versa, and besides — bottom line I’m just one of the boys!!!
Let’s talk about the LPGA Tour. What do you see happening this year out there for yourself and the tour?
I see both myself and the LPGA Tour taking over by storm. I’m so stoked for the new season. The LPGA is rising again after a brief lull, and the world is ready for something new to stumble upon.
What’s been missing from the tour?
The personalities have been hard to showcase in the past because TV coverage was so brief and placed everywhere. The Golf Channel is now our home, where people know we will be, and stories are going to be made and told regarding the amazing people on our tour.
Your book, Swinging from my Heels: Confessions of an LPGA Star, written with my colleague Alan Shipnuck, is due out in April. What are we going to learn about Christina Kim?
The book is basically a memoir of the entire 2009 season, and I divulge everything — sexuality, body image, and the struggles of being a woman growing up. Every tournament was logged, and you’ll be able to feel my adrenaline pumping, the beads of sweat, the tragedy and triumph. And you’ll laugh your ass off the whole time.
Sexuality? Is this a tell-all?
No it’s more about sexuality in the sense of touching up on preconceived notions about the girls. It does bare all, but not in a crude way. My humor is crude but not nasty!!!!
What kind of social media are you into?
Primarily Twitter. I’ve met some great contacts and made a couple new friends via Twitter/Facebook and it really is amazing how much your fan base can expand because of it. Look at Stewart Cink, the dude has like 1 million followers! I’ve got only like 7,100 twitter followers but they are fiercely loyal and I love how I can interact with them and not feel like I’m clueless to who they are.
You’ve competed in a virtual golf match?
Yes. I had actually (what I believe) the first ever golf match against my friend John Raser via UStream (a site that you can broadcast live from your webcam/iPhone/whatnot) onto Twitter. Yahoo Sports did a blog on it, TGC knew about it. It was awesome because the fans interacted with us and it was so much fun!
How tough will it be for anybody to unseat Lorena Ochoa as the No. 1 player in women’s golf?
Anything can happen. I have my eyes on the prize, and there are so many factors that go into success. Players change over the offseason.
Tell me about the course you’re playing this week in Thailand, the Old Course at Siam Country Club?
We played this course in 2007. It’s a beautiful track. Lush, green, thick Bermuda rough. Sloping greens. It’s a paradise of a golf course. It’s a great one to start the season out right.
Who do you play practice rounds with?
I love playing solo because my caddy, Andy Dearden is a dear friend of mine, but anyone really. Meaghan Francella, Jane Park, on occasion Suzann Pettersen, but I don’t really have a weekly partner or group I play with like some girls on tour.
What’s the funniest thing to happen to you recently?
Sitting at a bar and having some drunk guy remember where on TV he saw me. (He ended up screaming, “OMG, you got your ass slapped by Michelle Wie at the Ryder Cup!” I corrected him by saying, “Solheim, but yes, that’s me.”)
What’s the last book you read?
I always read Body Mind Mastery: Creating Success in Sport and Life by Dan Millman before the start of the season and like five times during. But this time, I read it earlier and I read my advanced reader’s copy of my book!
Do you set goals for the season?
Always — to make every putt I look at, to win everything, you know, the usual. But to also live a full and thrilling life and to never have regrets.