Last year, the 21-year-old won the first professional event she entered (the Futures Tour's Tate & Lyle Players Championship). The win wasn't surprising, considering her stellar amateur career: in 2007, she tied for low amateur at the U.S. Women's Open; she was named Freshman of the Year in 2008 at the University of Southern California; she finished low amateur at the 2009 U.S. Women's Open; she won both the 2009 U.S. Women's Amateur Public Links and the 2009 U.S. Women's Amateur; and she became a two-time All-American golfer in 2009 after tying for fifth place at the NCAA Championship.
The Orlando resident will play in the first LPGA Tour event of the 2011 season (the Honda LPGA Thailand, from Feb. 17-20), and she answered our 18 questions about golf, her personal life and the things that make her happy.
Golf Digest Woman: You were born in Michigan, then moved to South Korea when you were 2 years old. You moved back to Michigan for three years, but returned to South Korea until returning to the U.S. for college. How did you become interested in golf?
Jennifer Song: I liked every sport I played, but I really followed my dad. I picked up his clubs and I really enjoyed it. I went out to play in a local tournament when I was 10, and I won. That's when I got hooked. I got serious about golf in eighth grade.
GDW: What other sports did you play? Do you think they helped your golf game, or did they get in the way?
JS: I played volleyball, basketball and soccer. Actually, in the tenth grade I played some varsity soccer. All these sports really helped my golf game. Since the golf ball doesn't move, we tend to get too analytical about everything. But since I've played a lot of fast sports, I've tried to hit golf shots more instinctively than analytically.
Golf Digest Woman: What exactly is coconut water, and how many nutrients and calories does it have?
Cate Munroe: Coconut water is the milky liquid inside of a young coconut. (Don't confuse this fluid with coconut milk, which is a man made product from the meat of an older coconut.) Coconut water is 95 percent water and contains five essential electrolytes: sodium, magnesium, calcium, potassium, and phosphorous. A low calorie beverage, with only 45 calories per eight-ounce serving, coconut water contains zero fat and cholesterol. But beware, it is naturally high in sugar, about 10-25 grams per serving!
GDW: When we play golf, why should we replace sports drinks with coconut water?
CM: Coconut water has 15 times the electrolytes found in most sports drinks. And it's a natural food, not a manmade product like a sports drink. Most sports drinks have a lot of added sugars like high fructose corn syrup, preservatives and artificial coloring. But plain coconut water contains naturally occurring sugar and minimal (if any) other ingredients. It's also much lower in calories.
GDW: Should we even replace water during our rounds with coconut water?
CM: The best fluid you can drink during your round is plain cool water.
GDW: Are there different types of coconut water? If so, which ones should we drink?
CM: Select one with the least amount of ingredients and sugar content. Coconuts from various parts of the world also differ in taste. For example, Brazilian coconuts tend to be sweeter, while Indian coconuts tend to be saltier.
GDW: Is it most effective to drink coconut water before, during or after our rounds?
CM: It's best to stick with water most of the time. Most people don't exercise heavily enough to need a sports drink. You'll need an electrolyte replacement, such as coconut water, if you sweat excessively for more than an hour, and sodium replacement if you're active and sweating for more than three hours. Because of its high sugar content, I don't recommend consuming more than one serving of coconut water a day.
GDW: If coconut water is so healthy, why does coconut meat get such a bad rap?
CM: Coconut oil got the bad rap from researchers who were testing hydrogenated coconut oil. But as we're well aware now, all hydrogenated oils are unhealthy. Coconut meat is actually extremely healthful, containing medium-chain fatty acids to boost your metabolism and Lauric acid to strengthen your immune system.
GDW: I've seen different flavors of coconut water. Are they artificially flavored, or do they naturally come in various flavors?
CM: It really depends on the brand. Good brands with natural ingredients include: Vita Coco, Zico, O.N.E., and Harvest Bay.
GDW: Coconut water has a distinct tang that isn't automatically pleasant. How could someone acquire a taste for it?
CM: Although I recommend plain coconut water first, if you don't like the taste, you can try different flavors. Or flavor it yourself with Stevia, an all-natural sweetener with zero calories and zero grams of sugar. But it's best to avoid drinking sweetened beverages, because it'll likely increase your sugar cravings.
And remember, coconut water tastes best cold or at room temperature. So keep it in the insulated hydration pocket of your golf bag. If you don't like any kind of coconut water, but you still want a better alternative to sugary sports drinks, then consider diluting fruit juice with 50 percent water and add a pinch of salt.
"After careful consideration of Alexis (Lexi) Thompson's petition requesting 'limited membership' and doubled sponsor exemptions, from six to 12, I have decided to deny that request for 2011," Commissioner Mike Whan said in a released statement.
"Lexi has remarkable skills for a 15-year-old, and if she continues to grow and develop, I believe that she should have a great future both on and off the golf course. This season, Lexi still will be able to secure up to six sponsor exemptions for LPGA sanctioned events, and also may choose to pursue additional playing opportunities through our 'open' Monday qualifier format."
But it's not all bad news for Lexi. In the same statement released on Friday (albeit buried in the middle), the LPGA also opened its Monday qualifiers to nonmembers (previously reserved for members), meaning Thompson could qualify for the U.S. Open and the Ricoh British Open and Monday-qualify for seven domestic events. Was this change the tour's way to please Thompson's petition? Perhaps, but Whan says he's been thinking about opening the qualifiers for quite some time.
Thompson, who will turn 16 on February 10th, is home-schooled and could potentially compete in a fairly full schedule this season by combining her six sponsor's exemptions and Monday qualifiers. Her 2011 debut, however, will occur on the Ladies European Tour at the Women's Australian Open (Feb. 3-6).
(Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
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Curiously, she did it not against other women. Lincicome, one of the longest hitters on the LPGA Tour, finished third on the men's Moonlight Golf Tour, scoring a 1-under-par 71 at Windermere Country Club to finish five shots behind winner David Ziglar. (Lincicome played on the Moonlight Tour last April and finished 18th.)
As for when Lincicome can return to her regular job, the answer will come Thursday afternoon, when the LPGA announces it's schedule for 2011.
EA Sports has announced that the latest version of Tiger Woods PGA Tour 12: The Masters, available in stores on March 29, will include Augusta National Golf Club for the first time (along with 15 other courses). To ensure authenticity, EA Sports used a new art laser scanning technology to provide a more accurate digital representation of every hole. Just take a look at how real the 12th hole appears (above).
So go ahead, Green-Jacket dreamers. Start revving up your engines. To enhance the experience of playing against the game's best at the game's best, I suggest wearing this Adidas skort (similar to the ones Creamer and Gulbis wear), appointing an honorary starter to hit the first tee shot (perhaps your mother or grandfather), and selling pimento cheese sandwiches to patrons for $1.50.
(Photo provided by EA Sports)