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Thanks to scribble notes and Harmon’s help, Danielle Kang closing in on Olympic dream


JOHNS CREEK, Ga. – Want to know the secret to becoming an Olympian? Write your swing notes on your hand.

Of course, it takes more than that – years and years of hard work – but Danielle Kang shared how she retained the information from her swing coach, Butch Harmon, and it’s a unique approach, to say the least.

“It’s not just here,” Kang said, referring to the scribbled pen marks on her hand. “It’s on the glove. It’s on the books. I don’t read it every hole, but I think writing things down for me gives me a reminder on what to do. I wear long sleeves a lot. There’s a lot of notes randomly in there.”

She doesn’t know when or where she may need the notes – so they’re everywhere. This approach may seem scatter-brained, but it’s not uncommon to get clouded in a panic when things start to go haywire on the course. The higher-stakes the tournament, the easier it is for the body to return to old swing habits and forget the critical feels to execute a great shot. This week at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, the stakes are high for many players who are hoping to secure spots into the Olympics. It’s been Kang’s dream since she was a kid.

KPMG Women’s PGA Championship: Full-field tee times | Full coverage

“Ever since I trained tae kwon do to be an Olympian, the Olympics have been my dream,” Kang said. “[The] Olympics has been available to us since 2016, and that’s something I’ve wanted to achieve all my life.”

But when the Olympics qualification got extended an extra 15 months, because of the pandemic, Kang “cried and panicked.”

“I qualified back then, and I felt that, if I didn’t qualify again for some reason, I couldn’t call it an accomplishment,” she said. “To have to re-accomplish something that has been my life goal and dream was really tough on me. I couldn’t stop looking at the Rolex rankings. I couldn’t stop worrying about what other people did up until this week, secured.”

Being the 2017 KPMG champion certainly propelled Kang’s confidence for the week. Her face is on the wall of champions and she earned the right to a front row parking spot.

“That is the best perk of all,” Kang said with a laugh.

Becoming a major champion seemed to be the critical turning point for Kang’s game, but she would trace the clock back further to when she officially changed swing coaches and began to work with Harmon.

“I missed eight out of nine cuts in a row before I went to him. Then I finished third, first, sixth, 12th. Whatever it is that he’s doing has helped me become or magnify what I’m good at, so I do give him a lot of credit for where I am now. If I can just keep my end of the bargain up, I think we can do really great things,” she said.

Keeping up her end of the bargain will mean continuing the epiphany-led notetaking.

Now what are the notes you may ask?

“I’m not going to tell you,” Kang said with a grin.