Danielle Kang caddied on Monday, then made a deal with her own caddie
The last few months haven’t been easy for Danielle Kang. In June, Kang announced she’s been playing with a spinal tumor, which was causing considerable back pain. After a last-ditch effort allowed her to start at the U.S. Women’s Open, she took nearly three months off for treatment.
She returned at the CP Women’s Open in August and tied for 17th, but her proudest moment didn’t come until two starts later, when she lost in playoff at the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship on Sept. 25.
“Sometimes you have that fear of like, am I going to play as good again, or can I play again, or is this — are we at the end?” Kang said after her runner-up finish. “All those thoughts crept into my mind. We had to work different ways to hit the shots. It was wild. So what I did to get here to finish, to even contend is a win for me.”
Fast forward to this week, and Kang is tired. She’s playing this week’s LPGA Mediheal Championship, which is basically a home game for her in California’s Bay Area. But it’s also her third straight week of competitive golf. Speaking to the media on Wednesday, she said her schedule going forward is one-on, one-off. That’s easier on her body. It also would have been ideal to take it slow on Monday to rest, but that wasn’t in the cards either. Instead, she fielded a request from her brother Alex, who had a spot in the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open Monday qualifier.
“So as I’m flying home [from Texas],” said Kang, who lives in Las Vegas. “My brother goes, ‘Can you caddie for me?’ The one person I never say no to is my brother. I can’t carry it, so I said, ‘Can you get me a push cart? It has to have three wheels minimum because I can’t do the two wheels.’ He goes, ‘Yeah, yeah, no problem.'”
So Kang woke up at 4 a.m. on Monday, warmed up, met with her swing coach Butch Harmon at 6:30 a.m., then left to go pick up her brother a few hours later to caddie the 18-hole qualifier.
“It was a wild day,” she said.
The last time Kang caddied for Alex, back in 2019, he won a U.S. Open local qualifier. This time wasn’t quite as successful, as he shot a three-under 69 and finished four strokes out of a playoff for the last spot in the Shriners field.
Given her health battles, it turned out to be a difficult day for Danielle Kang.
“I was actually tired. I never realized how hard it was because I wanted to complain that I was so tired,” she said. “I couldn’t say it out loud to the player. I just couldn’t. He kept handing me the ball on the green and I go, ‘What do you want me to do with this?’ Oh, he wanted me to clean it, but I kept forgetting the towel, so I was very absent-minded.”
Ironically, her day on the bag made her think of her own caddie, Oliver Brett.
“Before I was really on top of things, but this time I just wanted to just sit down after 5 and I thought to myself, ‘My God, my caddie must have days where he just doesn’t want to work,'” Kang said. “So I created a three-day-pass thing where he can tell me three days out of the entire year where he just says, ‘D, I don’t want to work today.’ So I said, okay. So I gave him a three-day pass. I don’t know if he’s ever going to use it, but I had to create that.”
Kang and Brett have worked together since 2017 and won five times together.
“He works the hardest out there, so that’s all I can ask for,” Kang said.