I started playing golf when I was 14, but it was three years later when I saw my future. That was when I saw Nancy Lopez on TV. I didn't know she was a great golfer. All I knew was that she always smiled. My goal was to be that way, too. I am getting closer, but it hasn't been easy.
Like lots of 20-year-olds, I love video games (Tetris is my favorite), movies and just having fun. But because I'm a Korean, I usually look very serious. This comes from studying Confucianism at home and in school. Confucianism, the philosophy we live by in Korea, teaches a person to be solemn and respectful, and not to show how she is feeling inside. That's why I don't laugh and smile much on the course. But here in the U.S. everybody seems to show emotions. Now that I am here, I'm trying to be a little more like you. When I won the LPGA Championship in May—my first major—it felt wonderful, but I didn't cry. When I won the U.S. Open this month and saw how happy it made my mom and dad, though, I cried for the first time in my life.
It has been such an emotional year, with so many new things, that I sometimes feel like I'm dreaming. One of the hardest new things is English, but I think I'm improving there. I like talking to my golf ball in English. I'll say, "Get up" or "Kick left" or "Get in the hole." Do you think I have found a language the ball understands?
What I like most about golf in the U.S. is the big, loud galleries. Many of the people want my autograph, and that's O.K. with me. I must be good, or they wouldn't ask. When I sign, I always put a smile and a flag with the number 18 by my name. The flag is for golf, the smile is because I still want to be like Nancy. Even if I don't win, I want to give people a smile.