Kumiko Kaneda Special Interview “11 years and 189 days of frustration and anguish
Her father's ultra-sparringer, the slander she received on SNS after her first win, and a major slump that resulted in a series of driver chippings: ...... What did the heroine, who sticks to her "blonde mini-skirt" style, overcome to reach her second win?
I was surprised to see so many galleries cheering for my every stroke. I am always the heel, so I was more than happy. That made me more than happy.
Kumiko Kaneda, 33, a professional women’s golf player known by her nickname “Kinkumi,” reflected on her victory at the Mitsubishi Electric Ladies.
This was her second win in 11 years and 189 days, the longest blank under the current system since her first win in 2011 at the age of 21. After making the winning putt, she sobbed in public. That is how much frustration and anguish he went through behind this one victory.
Influenced by his father, Hirokichi, he started playing golf at the age of three and won the World Junior Championship when he was in the third grade of elementary school. Her accomplishment at the age of eight, the same age as Tiger Woods (46), earned Kinkumi the nickname “the girl prodigy. On the other hand, in her personal life, her parents divorced when she was in the fifth grade of elementary school. Since then, she has been raised by a single parent.
Kinkumi was so immersed in golf every day that she rarely played with her school friends. I was not allowed to participate in school events, and as soon as I got home, I was taken to the driving range, and on Saturdays and Sundays, we always played a round of golf. I hated it so much that I even ran away from home when I was in junior high school.
I clashed with my father many times. However, he says that his father’s presence was the driving force for him to continue playing golf.
When I was in the third year of junior high school, my father collapsed and was hospitalized. When I went to the hospital, I was surprised when he asked me, ‘Are you practicing properly? I was surprised. But I thought that if I kept worrying about him, he would really die, so I started to take it seriously.
Even behind the scenes of the Fuji-sankey Ladies Classic, where she won her first championship in her third year as a professional, there was a big father-son fight going on.
On the day before the final day of the tournament, when I was crying because I couldn’t get a good 50-yard approach shot, he told me, ‘If you’re going to be sulking, don’t practice. If you’re going to cry, stop! I was so angry with him. I became determined and practiced hard in the pouring rain. The next day, I was able to hit the distance perfectly, and I was so proud of myself to my father (laughs).
After his first win, everyone expected him to win a second one soon. But the professional world was not so easy. Some fans were not happy with the blonde, mini-skirted “former prodigy girl” who was having trouble winning.
When I didn’t get any results, I was criticized on social networking sites,” she said. When I didn’t get results, I was criticized on social networking sites.
From ’11 to ’13 and from ’15 to ’16, she finished in the top 50 in the money ranking and earned seeding rights. But then he fell into a slump.
Five or six years ago was the hardest time,” he said. There were times when I couldn’t make putts of 50 cm. Just going to the golf course made me cry, throw up, and break out in hives, so it was difficult to maintain my mental health. I thought it would be better to quit if I had to play golf in such an embarrassing way, and I even considered retirement.
Nevertheless, he never stopped because of his father.
My father’s health deteriorated a few years ago, and he couldn’t come to my tournaments anymore. I wanted to show him one more victory while he was still alive. With that one thought in mind, I started practicing again.
I am often asked this question, but I don’t have a specific turning point. I just kept going and kept at it without giving up, and it finally bore fruit. Through trial and error, I developed a style of playing with a relaxed half-swing and with an emphasis on control. I got my confidence back at the Earth Mondamin Cup in June this year when I tied for 7th place.
Kinkumi has come out of a long tunnel. When asked about her goals for the future, she replied with a smile, “I will continue to work on my ideal until I am satisfied with my performance.
I want to keep playing until I am satisfied with my performance, until I get closer to my ideal. My first goal is not to win a major title, but to win the third one. I may be a veteran, but I’m still as good as the younger ones!
She also plans to continue wearing her trademark blonde hair and mini-skirts. She will continue to fight in her own way.
From the November 25, 2022 issue of FRIDAY
Interview and text： Myung-Woo Kim PHOTO： Masahiro Kawayanagi (1st photo) Tomoyasu Kanazawa (2nd photo) Takahiro Kagawa (3rd photo) Photography cooperation： New Capital Golf Club [PGM