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Less than twelve months ago, 21-year-old South Korean Jeung-hun Wang was plying his trade on the Asian Tour, having picked up just one career professional victory, at the 2014 PGA Tour China Haiko Open. What a year it has been since then for the Seoul native. Three European Tour victories, including the historic back-to-back, representing Korea at the Rio Olympics, winning the 2016 European Tour Rookie of the Year award, and currently lying 43rd in the world rankings.
Wang has been on the radar in Asia for a number of years, ever since he made every cut from 24 professional tournaments in 2014, at the age of 18. He has the potential to go a long way in the game and seems to possess the talent and temperament to do so. In a recent interview, Wang expressed his desire to make this year's Presidents Cup team, among other things:
KQ: It's been quite an incredible twelve months for you, have you had time to reflect on your success?
JW: It all happened so fast that it didn't hit me until I had couple of weeks off over the Christmas holidays. It’s certainly been a very satisfying 12 months.
What has been the highlight of the past year?
I have to say my first win on the European Tour at the Trophée Hassan II in Morocco, because without that breakthrough win, I don't think I would be in the position I am currently in.
How excited are you about the possibility of making your Masters debut this year?
I’m very excited. As a kid, the Masters was always the one tournament I loved to watch and ever since I started playing golf, it has always been a dream of mine to compete against the best players in the world, especially at the notorious Augusta.
With all due respect, you are not a household name in America as of yet, can you tell us more about your background and how you got into golf?
Well I was introduced to the game of golf by my father. He was a professional golfer, so he taught me about various aspects of the game. It was because of him that I began to love the game. My parents and I went to the Philippines to focus on my golf career, as South Korea gets too cold during the winter time and the cost to practice and play there is extremely high. I turned professional at the age of 16 and played on the Asian Tour and PGA TOUR China. I knew that I had to remain patient and humble to be successful. I believe because of this, I am where I am today. My father is still my coach and he has been a great help throughout my fledgling career.
You are still only 21, so I'm assuming the players you looked up to as a kid are still on Tour?
Yes they are! My main idol was of course Tiger Woods, but I also looked up to Ernie Els, KJ Choi, Y.E Yang, and Phil Mickelson. They all have their own unique characteristics that I admire.
How were your experiences at the EurAsia Cup and Olympics last year?
The EurAsia Cup taught me a lot about myself. It taught me that I was capable of playing against world class players. It gave me a lot of confidence. The Olympics was a different type of excitement and pressure. To represent my country on the highest stage in sports seemed very surreal. I was very honoured to be a part of both of these events.
Have you thought about making the Presidents Cup team this year?
I have thought that maybe I could have a chance to be a part of an amazing team. To make the team means that I need to maintain my early season form for the rest of the year.
Do you believe that you can challenge for a Major title this year?
If I continue to play golf as I am now, I would like to think that I can be in contention at a Major.
There seems to be a strong crop of young talented players coming from Asia over the past few years. Why do you think this is the case?
I believe that we put in a lot of hard work and dedication into golf. Also, we have great passion for golf and that’s a great combination for success.
You seem to have a great relationship with your caddie, how important do you think this is to your success?
I think it is very important since we are a team and he is the one person that’s beside me on the course from start to finish, week in week out.
Let’s fast forward the clock one year from now, what do you hope to have achieved?
I hope to have won more tournaments, been in contention at majors, and continued to play at a high level against the best golfers in the world.
Even though you are still only 21, you have matured a lot in the past year. What advice would you offer up to kids hoping to follow suit?
Being humble is very important I think. Also, being confident in your own abilities and dedicated to achieving your goals.
Finally, how good would it feel to win the Presidents Cup, against all odds, in New York?
It would feel so good to win the Presidents Cup in New York, but first I must try my best to make it into the team!
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