Breakaway tours, first-time major winners, the return of Tiger Woods; 2022 was a seismic year for many golfers.
But few golfers had a season as life-altering life as Danielle Kang’s.
It was a diagnosis she had known since withdrawing from the LOTTE Championship in Hawaii earlier, but she had not wished to publicize it.
The one-time major winner made her competitive return in late August, shaking off the rust to earn a respectable tied-17th finish at the CP Women’s Open in Canada. Since then, Kang has eight more events and a host of impressive displays – including three top-10 finishes – under her belt.
“That was kind of the last year of the twenties and I’m really, really glad to leave it behind,” Kang told CNN. “I feel that I’m going to learn new things and discover myself again in the thirties.
“Last year was a big momentum switch for me and I’m actually kind of glad everything that’s happened happened – the way I won at the beginning of the year, the way I finished out the year, the way I contended, coming back stronger than I thought I would.
“Shoutout to Danielle Kang … she said I need to catch up to her,” Homa told reporters.
“She’s got six (wins) and a major. I got six now, so I’m coming DK.”
But beneath the jabs, it’s all love between the two friends.
“He’s a great dude … it’s a friendly rivalry,” Kang said.
“I want him to play the best that he can play. He’s always been very supportive of women’s golf and I really appreciate that.”
“I think it’s always intriguing to see behind the scenes, especially where you’re just curious … the reality show works for a reason,” Kang said.
“I’m not a huge fan, but I’m sure the fans get to see behind the scenes a lot of things that they don’t (normally) get to see. So I think it’ll be popular for a certain demographic, but I’m kind of just, ‘whatever floats your boat.’”
A one-shot victory over Brooke Henderson in Illinois secured the then-24-year-old a major title and her first professional win on her 144th LPGA start. Kang has since added five further LPGA titles yet despite four top-six finishes, another major triumph has so far proved elusive.
But there is also the added excitement of a looming Solheim Cup. Teeing off at Finca Cortesin in Spain in September, the 18th edition of the biennial team event represents – like the men’s Ryder Cup counterpart – the pinnacle of the women’s game.
“I always say good golf takes care of everything, and for right now I think I’m pretty safe,” Kang said.
“So with that said, I can’t wait to play for Captain Lewis and I’m excited. I’ve never been to Spain, so that’ll be cool.”