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Wednesday, April 3, 2013
I.K. Kim's disappointment becomes life lesson

By Melissa Isaacson

I.K. Kim
I.K. Kim missed a 1-foot putt that would have won last year's Kraft Nabisco; she says what matters more is what she does the next time.

RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. -- A year later, and I.K. Kim still gets the questions. More astonishing, she doesn't seem to mind.

As Kim correctly points out, everyone who has ever golfed has missed the easy putt. Few, however, have done it on a bigger stage and with more at stake than Kim, who lipped out a 1-footer that would have given her the 2012 Kraft Nabisco Championship.

The miss forced her into a tie with Sun Young Yoo, who eventually won in a playoff.

"I think last year was a big turning point of my life of learning and what's really important," Kim said this week as she prepared to take on the Mission Hills Country Club course. "It just gave me a different view of it. Looking back, it was tough to handle at first, but I think it's important not only to the viewers and the people but to . . . the younger generation, to know that it's not always going to be glorious and like victory."

Kim knows about victory, having won three LPGA events. But she also knows close, having finished in the top 10 at 51 events, including 10 majors. And at 24, she sounds like she has it all figured out.

"Life is not about winning or losing," she said. "When you're 80 and look back, you're not going to remember, 'Oh, I should have made that putt.' I mean, when you're 80, it's more about how much you have fun and enjoy your life.

"I just think that this game really teaches a lot, you know. I'm sure there are people struggling right now. Some people are dying from hunger. . . . So some people think it's really tough and feel sorry for what happened. I just think that it doesn't matter what happens. What matters is what you do after, how you're going to come back, and what you're going to do the next time."

Kim, 16th in the world rankings, finished second in a playoff at the Kia Classic, her last tournament, and also tied for 10th at the Honda LPGA Thailand this year. But she is recognized just as much for her willingness to talk to the media and fans about both her good and bad results, and to impart what she has learned.

"I think what I'm saying is sometimes you got to just pick yourself up and be tough and just move on," Kim said. "Don't really feel sorry for yourself because it's life. You have to be happy and enjoy what you have is I think what I've learned.

"A lot of times that I look and think about results and I want to win this and that and be better, that's great, but I think you either live life happy or unhappy."