Alex Kang takes two minutes
November 16, 2016
By Laury Livsey, PGATOUR.COM
- Alex Kang currently sits No. 3 on the Order of Merit. (Liu Zhuang)
Alex Kang is in his second season playing on the Ping An Bank China Tour – PGA TOUR China Series. Kang wasn’t able to keep his card following the 2015 season, but he did regain his membership via the Global Qualifying Tournament in March. He made the most of his second go-round on this circuit by winning the Cadillac Championship in Chengdu in June and then coming close to winning again in Hong Kong two weeks ago, losing to Daniel Nisbet in a playoff at the Clearwater Bay Open. The Californian of Korean descent has lived all over the world and continues to closely follow the career of his younger sister, the LPGA’s Danielle Kang while playing in China, where he is currently No. 3 on the Order of Merit. Danielle of course, is interested in her brother’s play, as well.
I mainly spoke English when I was little. Then I learned Korean, and we spoke both Korean and English at home. I don’t even remember how hard it was to learn Korean. It’s just something I’ve almost always spoken.
I was born in San Francisco. We moved to Korea when I was five, and I lived there until I was 10. I don’t really have many memories of living in San Francisco. In Korea, we lived in Busan.
When I was 12, I lived in Brazil for a year. I got picked up by a soccer team there, a junior club. I lived in the dorms, and that was my life, trying to develop my skills. I was a fullback and a right-side striker. It was fun. Really fun. But I realized quickly that no matter how hard I tried, I wasn’t going to be good enough. Golf is an individual sport. I realized that if I put in the time, and if I have the talent, I could do something with golf.
With soccer, I just knew I wasn’t going to be good enough. To make money at soccer, you have to be pretty good. And then how long is your career going to be? Ten years? So golf was my fallback if I was going to play sports for a living. I felt like I was always good enough to play golf professionally.
After a year of living in Sao Paulo, I could communicate in Portuguese. But today? My Portuguese is non-existent. I haven’t used it in years.
I spent one year in Brazil, and then I returned to L.A., the Thousand Oaks-Westlake area.
Golf in California always appealed to me, and I really wanted to focus on my golf. I was actually about to go to USC for college. But knowing L.A., and the L.A. traffic, I decided on San Diego State. Had I put more of a focus on business, I would have gone to USC. But I wanted to really concentrate on this game.
We had a really good team at San Diego State. We tied for fourth at the NCAAs my junior year. We lost to California in the quarterfinals. Todd Baek who played on this Tour and J.J. Spaun, who just got his (PGA TOUR) card, were on the team, along with me and Johan Carlsson.
My sister had been talking about moving to Las Vegas for a while. There’s no income tax there and a lot of good practice facilities. One day, a guy we know moved out there and found a place for us. Danielle has her place, and I have mine.
Growing up, Danielle was the best. She always won tournaments. Golf came easy to her. Success came easy to her, and she never had to grind. But that’s me, her big brother, saying that. She’s disappointed she hasn’t won yet. She’s won on a lot of different levels. She just hasn’t won on the LPGA. I’m super proud of my sister, and I know she’ll get that first win.
Whenever we’re home, we’re practicing together. When we were kids, we did a lot of karate competitions. I wasn’t exactly the protective older brother because she’s a second-degree black belt.
I listen to all kinds of music; actually, everything but metal. I don’t know why people have to scream and bang their heads against a wall, and why people like to listen to that stuff. Kanye West was the last concert I went to. In Los Angeles.
In Vegas, I actually do the same thing the tourists do. I like to go to shows on The Strip. The last one I saw was the Michael Jackson tribute show. It was pretty good.
The thing I like the best about playing on PGA TOUR China are the hotels. I really like my caddies, but it can be really challenging because you’re changing caddies every week, and you can’t always communicate. Some, though, are really good and helpful.
I voted before I left to come over here. I mailed in my vote for president. I’m not saying who I voted for.