Fourth of eight children and the son of vegetable farmers.
Once aspired to be a bodybuilder and own his own gym. A knee injury in his late teens ended that dream.
Never knew there was a sport called golf until the age of 19, when he started going to a small, local driving range in South Korea on a friend's advice and learned the swing by watching instructional videos. Worked picking up practice balls and would work on his game before the facility opened and late at night after visitors went home. The range had facilities where you could sleep and eat.
As required, spent almost two years in the South Korean military, stationed at his home at Jeju Island, south of South Korea, beginning at age 21. Guarded naval port.
Traveled to New Zealand after his military duty to pursue a golf career. Practiced and played intensely there over a three-month period.