Kevin Na

Kevin Na was born Na Sang-uk in Seoul, South Korea on September 15, 1983, the second son of successful parents. When Na was 8 years old, he moved with his family to Diamond Bar, California where later he would become a naturalized U.S. citizen. As Na adjusted to his new home, he soon became enamored with golf. By his teens, Na practiced daily and routinely played 2-3 rounds of golf each weekend at La Cañada Flintridge Country Club. It was that obsessive drive that led to Na becoming one of the best youth golfers in America. Kevin’s brother Austin, also a skilled golfer who works as a Golf Channel commentator in Korea, explained to Golf magazine that Na took his cue from their father, who “emphasized that the best talent any athlete can have is perseverance.” Na also credits his father with instilling a tactical side of his game, something that Na continues to use to compensate for his lack of driving distance.

Na continued to win junior tournaments and was soon ranked the top American amateur at 16. Na then began attempting to play professional events through Monday qualifying, with the highlight being qualifying for San Diego Open on the PGA Tour. After this experience, Na began to explore the possibility of turning professional. Finally at 17, Na decided to make the jump to the professional ranks.

In Na’s 211th start, he finally was able to get over the hump and score his first PGA Tour victory. Despite negative attention for his continued balking, Na would finally hold his nerve to claim the 2011 Shriners Hospitals for Children Open. Na continued to play consistently, routinely ranking around the top-25 in money leaders. However, by 2013 old demons seemed to be returning as Na again dealt with increased balking, drawing the ire of Adam Scott’s caddy who once told Na in 2014 that “I never want to see you play again” after Scott was paired with Na.

Injury and mental issues meant Na had to wait nearly 7 years to claim his second win at the 2018 Military Tribute at The Greenbrier. He would then win his 3rd and 4th PGA Tour all in a 15 month span, showing that Na appears to have finally put his problems to bed. His consistency has seen Na rise to number 28 in the Official World Golf Rankings and he is currently number 30 on the PGA Tour’s all-time money list, a remarkable achievement for any golfer. Time will tell if Na will fully achieve his potential and join the pantheon of golf’s greatest players. If recent history is anything to go by, Na should have plenty more victories in store.

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