Minutes after Jeongeun Lee6 won the US Women’s Open, she was presented with the trophy, the gold medal and was reminded she had just become the first woman to win a $1 million winner’s check in a single tournament.
Absorbing all that, she then had to talk to Fox Sports’ Joel Klatt, who conducted an interview with Lee alongside Lee’s manager and good friend, Jennifer Kim. Klatt asked questions of Lee, who took the English queries and answered in Korean, leaving Kim to communicate the points back into English.
It all was going as well as expected until Klatt got to the final question, asking Lee about what the title, the check and the accolades that come with this win mean.
"Sorry, I'm just really proud of her."
— USGA (@USGA) June 2, 2019
As Lee was choking up in response, Kim struggled herself to keep it together. Klatt looked to Kim for some sense of what Lee said, and Kim herself broke down.
“Sorry,” Kim said, turning away in emotion. “I’m just really proud of her.”
Kim offered a paraphrase of what Lee said, but she got the point across.
“She couldn’t imagine coming this far,” Kim started, “you know, winning the first LPGA tournament, also major championship, and she feels proud of herself, and she worked so hard.”
When she was 4 years old, Lee’s father, Jung Ho Lee, was paralyzed in a terrible car accident after he fell asleep at the wheel during his truck-driving job. The Lees had to make extra accommodations, including paying for more expensive hotel rooms. In her news conference after the trophy ceremony, Lee explained how, from the earliest days of her golf life, she has been dedicated to being able to provide for her family.
“By looking at my family situation back then, I thought about wanting to play golf because I wanted to support my family no matter what,” she said. “And after I became like successful in KLPGA for three years, thinking about that, this makes me want to play more and kind of wanted to play in the tournament enjoyable.”