ATLANTA — Players of Asian descent have won eight of the last 10 Women’s PGA Championships, but nothing about the winners is cookie-cutter. They include China’s Shanshan Feng, who wears tailored cow pants to reflect his fun personality, and Sung Hyun Park from South Korea, who had a Korean word on his bag that translates to “I am different.”
More than five dozen Asian American and Pacific Islanders are members of the LPGA, more than any league or tour in North American professional sports. Several other members have Asian roots, and their convergence to the season’s third major at the Atlanta Athletic Club this week brings relief to both their rise and lineage.
The golf course is about 15 minutes from two of the three massage businesses, where eight people, six of whom were Asian women, were fatally shot in March in a crime that killed Asians in the US during the pandemic. Surrounding violence against
The players have been shocked by their silence as anti-Asian hatred and prejudice escalated. Over the years, these women have endured subtle attacks about their name, their appearance, even their success. At a time when Asians have been scapegoated in American communities for the spread of the coronavirus, players of Asian descent who show no fear on the golf course have become uncomfortable and outraged, enough that they I’m speaking about what it means, and how it feels, to be Asian in the United States right now.
“Whenever I see the news that this could happen to me, I get scared,” said Yani Tseng, a two-time women’s PGA champion and the first player from Taiwan to become the world’s No. 1 player.
The 32-year-old Tseng was told by Time’s. was named one of 100 most influential people in the world in 2012, but in 2021 she feels helpless. Tseng, who said he fell in love with America during his first trip in 2007 because everyone was “so nice”, was incredulous when a friend living in Irvine, Calif., recounted a horrifying experience while sitting in his car. relayed. Grocery store parking lot. A group of strangers approached his automobile and attempted to open its locked doors, attacking the car so hard that the vehicle shook. After hearing this, Tseng, who lives in San Diego, about a 90-minute drive south of Irvine, said, “I was really worried about myself.”
His family also frets at home in Taiwan. “Every time they see the news they say, ‘Are you okay there? he said.
Nine-time LPGA Tour winner Na Yeon Choi, one of 25 LPGA members from South Korea, has traveled with her mother to events in the US in the past. But he advised her not to bother coming to the United States for her tournament this year, even if travel restrictions are eased.
“I was thinking that it’s not safe for her to be alone when I’m focusing on exercise,” Choi said. “She can’t speak English, so she’ll be stuck in the hotel because I don’t want her to go out.”
according to a national report Released by Stop AAPI Hate, 6,603 incidents of anti-Asian violence, harassment and discrimination were reported to the organization in the past 12 months ending March 31. Verbal harassment (65.2 percent), sly (18.1 percent) and physical assault (12.6 percent) led to recorded incidents.
After a white male gunman allegedly opened fire at three Atlanta-area spas, the LPGA issued a statement in support of the AAPI community, and Choi received an internal email that he said had been sent to all players. , in which they were advised to be careful. Venture outside the tour bubble at all tournaments.
In March, the late LPGA commissioner, Mike Wan, said that over the years there have been isolated incidents of Asian players staying away from tournament venues, including some that involved tour security details.
During the last one year, the COVID-19 protocol has provided a protective membrane. Players are prohibited from eating or socializing on the tournament grounds or outside their residence. And tournaments have little, if any, spectators. But their environment is not airtight, and pandemic protocols are easing, increasing contact between players and the public.
Players find themselves distracted by concerns about the safety of their loved ones – and of themselves.
Mina Harige, 31, a four-time California Women’s Amateur champion from Monterey, whose parents are Japanese, said: “I’ll be honest. I was so scared that I went online and bought a self-defense wand. “
At the first Women’s Major of the Year held outside Palm Springs, Calif., Michelle V West said she runs an errand at a strip mall near the course, one of thousands of pit stops she’s built for a forgotten item. Or his nearly two decades of competing in LPGA events during another. However, this time was different.
“It was the first time I was really scared,” she said, “we’re a target now, unfortunately.”
With 16 LPGA wins, including two majors, Korean-born New Zealand’s 24-year-old Lydia Ko admitted at a Los Angeles tour stop in April that she’s worried about her mother traveling alone in the United States.
Tiffany Joh, a first generation American, grew up in a nice neighborhood of San Diego. Her parents of South Korean descent still live nearby. “It was a sad day when my mom was like, ‘Should we start carrying pepper spray? Joh said.
It’s easy to spot at the 34-year-old Joh Golf Course. Just follow the laughter. With one-liners as her iron shots, she spent two years at what is now the Symetra circuit, where she frequented families to save money, before joining the LPGA Tour in 2011.
At one stop, Joh recalled, her hosts commented on her height, which is 5 feet 6 inches, and asked: “Are both your parents Oriental? Because you’re tall enough and made for an Oriental “
“I said, ‘No, I’m not rugby and I’m not chicken salad, so no, I’m not Oriental,'” Joh said. “And then I was joking because for me, when I have restlessness, my defense mechanism is humor. So I said, ‘You know, nobody ever told me that my parents are my real parents. Maybe I have to talk to the milkman.’ And he said: ‘Oh, no, sweetie. He will be a man with soy milk.’ They were trying to be cute. “
Joh continued, “It was an example of how you can educate someone without being a jerk.”
A stream of hatred and violence against people of Asian descent around the United States began last spring, in the early days of the coronavirus pandemic.
- Background: Community leaders say bigotry has been denounced by President Donald J. Trump, who often used racist language such as the “Chinese virus” to refer to the coronavirus.
- Data: The New York Times, using media reports from across the country to capture the spirit of the rising tide of anti-Asian bias, found more than 110 episodes from March 2020 with clear evidence of race-based hatred.
- underreported hate crimes: The tally may only be a tally of violence and harassment given the general count of hate crimes, but the broader survey captures episodes of violence across the country that have increased in number amid Trump’s comments.
- in New York: The economic fallout of the pandemic, fueled by a wave of xenophobia and violence, has dealt a severe blow to New York’s Asian-American communities. Many community leaders say the racist attacks are being overlooked by the authorities.
- what happened in atlanta: Eight people, including six women of Asian descent, were killed in a shooting at a massage parlor in Atlanta on March 16. A Georgia prosecutor said the shootings at the Atlanta-area spa were a hate crime, and she would pursue the death penalty against the suspect, who has been charged with murder.
Jane Park has also used humor to divert attention from uncomfortable situations. Park, an American of Korean descent, despite winning the US Women’s Amateur in high school and being on the LPGA Tour since 2007, can tell from her amateur sporting partners’ initial lack of enthusiasm that she thought she was another indistinguishable one – in their eyes – A pro Asian player in Arizona several years ago.
So he decided to play a prank on them. On the first tee, she bowed formally and greeted him in Korean, then said nothing more for the rest of the hole. On the second hole, he asked in English if they were ready for a beer, and his playing mates laughed and were animated for the rest of the round.
But not every outrage can be dismissed with laughter. Park, 34, lives with her husband and 11-month-old daughter about five miles from one of the three massage businesses she targeted. She described the spa shooting as “shaking”.
She erased a memory from a few years ago, when she was waiting to pay for a pair of shoes at a nearby shop. A woman behind him in the line stage uttered an anti-Asian slur directed at him. “My whole body started sweating,” said Park, who turned around and told the woman, “I understand English.”
The shooting in Atlanta shocked South Korea’s Inby Park, a three-time women’s PGA champion and former world No. 1, whose aunt operates a dry-cleaning business from where she originated. “I called him straight to make sure he was okay,” she said, adding, “It’s really unfortunate what’s going on.”
The rise in anti-Asian sentiment in American society has caused players to view their experiences on the golf course in a different light. Park wondered why broadcasters were mispronouncing the names of Asian players when he corrected them on social media. Or why she was asked if she belonged to “all the other parks” on tour.
Korean-born Christina Kim of California is tired of hearing that Asians “talk funny” and is actually tired of the added pressure that Asian-born players on tour experience the Queen’s English speaking in order to avoid mockery or criticism. We do. She is tired of people commenting about “kung flu” on social media.
Players of Asian descent are tired of the many subtle attacks they must remove, ignore or swallow because competitive golf at the highest level presents enough obstacles without interfering even around race and gender hazards.
2014 US Women’s Open champion Y West said: “I look back and see a lot of questions that journalists ask me. ‘Why are South Koreans so good?’ This question always bothered me, but I answered it. I would say, ‘Oh, because they practice really hard’ and by saying that I was playing in micro-attack. I never really tried two and two. Didn’t put together why that question and some of the other comments bothered me until this year.”
The next person who asks Wie West a question will get a different answer. “I would say it’s a really unfair question,” she said.