On the February 8, 2022 episode of the Stick and Hack Show, Adam and Mike talk with LPGA golfer Christina Kim.

This Q&A has been shortened for clarity. Listen to episode 409 of the Stick & Hack Show to hear the full interview. 

SH: Your dad was more than your dad, he was your coach. What is special about that for you? 

Christina Kim: He was my very first caddy for my first three and a half years as a professional. So he was there for my first professional win when I was playing back in the Mesozoic Era on what is now the Symetra Tour. Back then it was the Futures Tour, and it wasn’t even acquired by the LPGA. He was there for my first LPGA Tour start. He was there for my first LPGA Tour win which was the closest that we had gotten all year long to my hometown of San Jose, California…

He is just the goat and he did it, as all parents do, selflessly. Everything that he did, everything that he said, whether it was something that I agreed with or not, was done because he loves me.

The reason why there would ever have been any sort of an argument or any sort of a difference of opinions or anything is because I am my father. And it’s hard to yell at a mirror. 

SH: Do you ever look back and wish you had listened to him more? 

Christina Kim: I am the kind of person that does not dwell on the past. I don’t relish in my past successes. I do not wallow in my past sorrows or failures. Because everything that I’ve done has brought me to this moment here.

SH: you’ve spent most of your life on the golf course, was there ever a moment where you thought you might want to do something else, or is your love of the game so strong that you think you’ll be a golfer for life?

Christina Kim: Oh, I’m going to be a golfer for life. Truth be told, I didn’t even know you could make money playing golf until after I made the cut at the US Women’s Open as a 17-year-old amateur. 

SH: What did you think you were doing out there?

Christina Kim: Your typical 17-year-old freeloader.

Part of the thing is growing up my dad, when I was a junior he would give everything for me to be where I am today. He would traipse about whenever I was in junior tournaments and skulk through the trees, like a freaking Yeti, with a tripod and a 42-pound camcorder. He would record a lot of my golf tournaments. And just like a lot of the greats when coaches would want to go back and relive plays, see where the momentum switched, things like that– my dad would do that with golf. So whenever we caught the LPGA or the PGA Tour on TV, I’d be like, “Dad, we got someone else’s feed. What is going on here?” I had no idea what professional golf was. I just knew I wanted to play golf for the rest of my life. I didn’t even know that you could make money doing it. 

When you’re a kid, you’re so in the moment and you truly live so freely, that you don’t understand that the bills have to get paid. There are things like mortgages, and there is something outside your own universe, your own world. So for me, I was a dumb kid in a lot of ways. I was just so lucky that I was able to be placed on a golf course and just allowed to roam about freely.

SH: You’re known through most parts of the golf community as a trailblazer for your love of the game, your outgoing nature, your style, and your attitude on the course as someone who’s just fun to watch. Is that something you think about as you go out there, or is that all just natural?

Christina Kim: So two things. One, I’m just my authentic self. And two, and I will say this, especially as a person that teeters depending on the week between being a full-time tour player and occasionally doing some golf commentary. I blame the media. And I don’t mean to sound so 2022 in saying I blame the media. The reality is, every single week, there are 144 Amazing Stories on one side of the bag with the players and then oftentimes even more incredible stories on the other side of the bag with the caddies. A lot of times when you have time constraints, or you only have a limited number of cameras, you’re just going to follow around the people that are around the top of the leaderboard. 

It’s just a shame. and I don’t care, I’ll call them out, NBC Universal, whether or not they have been able to provide enough cameras and bodies to capture all of the amazing stories. These are my compatriots. These are my fellow competitors. These are my friends. And these are the people that are shaping the way that people view the professionals when it comes to the game that I love and completely immerse myself in day and night. So I’m a huge advocate for wanting to get more exposure. And part of that exposure is, honest to god, just give us a frickin chance. Give us the same number of cameras as you do on the men’s tour.

Let’s say you lose out on like, $10 million. I’m pretty sure the other 8.9 billion that you guys already have in your coffers is not going anywhere. And you could change the way that society views women in general. It doesn’t necessarily have to be strictly female sports. It doesn’t have to be strictly women’s golf. It’s a societal thing.

SH: So what do you see as the current state of the LPGA, what’s great and what still needs some work?

Christina Kim: If you were to talk to our new commissioner, Mollie Marcoux Samman, if you were to talk to Mike Whan, our most recent Commissioner who’s now in charge of the USGA, neither of them have much of a voice box left, because they are always screaming and shouting about getting our purses to increase. We have got a number of sponsors that have really stepped up to the plate and are starting to take care of that wide divide of the wage gap. 

We’ve done a great job of increasing the schedules on both the LPGA and the Symetra Tour, and now having recently gone into partnership with the Ladies European Tour, they’ve got a very robust schedule in Europe. The LPGA is doing everything that they can in order to provide as many playing opportunities for players of all different levels as is humanly possible. There are a lot of things that are happening behind the scenes, and there are a lot of things that are happening in your face. But we still don’t even hear about it.

SH: Let’s switch gears for a second. Your love for golf is very clear. Where does that come from week after week?

Christina Kim: For me, I think that the love of the game ultimately stems from the fact that you can find so many parallels between golf and, quote-unquote, real life. Every now and again, we all shank the ball. I’ve done it. I mean I do it fairly often. One of my most memorable shanks was actually as a 17-year-old amateur at the US Women’s Open in 2001 at Pine Needles, it was on I think my 63rd hole. Legitimately shanked a five iron. I thought it was going O.B. over the stands, but it hit a rafter and ended up 40 feet from the hole and lipped out for birdie. Anything and everything can happen, nothing is given, nothing is granted. And because of the fact that golf truly encapsulates one moment in time, there are so many amazing parallels between golf and life.