by JAMIE McWILLIAMS
TAMPA, Florida – The LPGA has made a steady climb up the event and financial ladder the past ten years. Next year prize money for the season ending CME Championship will top $4 million, and ten regular events will offer at least $3 million in prize money.
One of the hardest things in golf and life is maintaining a balance. Some players blaze onto the sports scene at an early age, but the media spotlight can quickly flicker if the unexpected high level of play doesn’t sustain.
Golf fans with a keen interest in women’s professional golf are familiar with Megan Khang and her remarkable career on the LPGA. Megan’s game has improved slowly and steadily over her eight years on tour, and she’s close to being a top ten player in the world rankings
Leaving the amateur ranks at 18, Megan resisted some changes most players make to maintain her balance on and off the course. That’s why she still calls the Boston area her home. She was born and bred in Rockland (MA) and long-time member at Thorny Lea GC in Brockton.
“I’ve grown up playing golf with the four seasons. I love the four seasons, and living up in the Boston area almost forces you to take some time off,” she said before teeing up at the ANNIKA driven by Gainbridge at Pelican Golf Club near Tampa. “I came out at 18 and you don’t realize at that age how taxing it is on your body. I love the winter and like to snowboard sometimes. It’s hard for me to think about moving away, because my heart is always up there.”
This decision may have been prescient for Megan, because next year some of the big money is coming to her. The FM Global Championship at the TPC Boston will premier the last days of August through the first day of September, with a purse of 3.5 million dollars. “For me it’s a big deal, because it’s been a long time coming, wondering when are we going to get an event, and I’m thrilled to be back in Massachusetts and at home for this.”
Having won her first LPGA event this year also gives Megan the confidence of knowing her methodology works. She started playing golf at the age 5 and credits her dad as having most influence on her career.
“Honestly, each year I was able to look back and reflect on what was good and what needs to improve, and that comes with maturity,” she added. “It’s a continuation of feeling comfortable out here on tour and being patient, looking ahead each year to the opportunities to keep knocking on the door and feel sure enough that you can push through. Getting my first win this year was hard, and I’m grateful I made it.”
Megan is eager to keep looking ahead to see how far she can go as a player.
“I like to set five goals for myself at the beginning of the year. I have long term and short-term goals. World number one is definitely a long term goal, but I also have to focus on not getting ahead of myself. That’s a big mistake I made in the past.
One goal already achieved has been competing in the Solheim Cup.
“My first Solheim Cup wasn’t fun for me. I think I lost two of my matches and halved one, leaving me feeling I truly didn’t contribute to the team. At the same time, I was 22, but again, the time taken to figure out my game, and this year, being one of the older players who had been there before, I took it head on and tried to set an example and have fun. So rather than thinking ‘what do I do,’ you take on kind of a leadership role, and that was super cool. I fully embrace it now. It‘s unlike any other week on tour, a fun week where you can go ‘hoorahing’ each other on the golf course.”
That’s just another reason why it’s easy to cheer for Megan Khang, a true New England and American golf success story produced by hard-work and setting goals.
(Jamie McWilliams is President of VideoStream Productions http://videostreamproductions.com
and Producer/Director The Traveling Golfer Television Show and Co-Host/Director The Senior Delinquents Television Podcast
seniordelinquents.com His email is firstname.lastname@example.org.)
PHOTO CREDIT: Pat Eastman