Jiyai Shin emerged as a star in the mid-to-late 2000-oughts, first in Korea and then on the US LPGA Tour. She is noted for her accuracy off the tee and with woods and hybrids.
Date of birth: April 28, 1988
Place of birth: Seoul, South Korea
Nickname: Early in her career, Shin showed a knack for coming from behind in the final round. So she was sometimes referred to as the "Final Round Queen" by Korean media and her fellow golfers. Shin has also been called "Chalk Line" because of her propensity for hitting drives straight down the middle of the fairway.
(Also note that the English transliteration of Shin's name was often spelled "Ji Yai" or "Ji-Yai" earlier in her career.)
LPGA Tour: 11
Shin has more than 30 victories around the world, including more than 20 on the Korean LPGA, plus wins on the LPGA of Japan, Ladies European Tour and the Ladies Asian Golf Tour.
Women's British Open: 2008, 2012
Awards and Honors:
• LPGA Tour Rookie of the Year, 2009
• LPGA money leader, 2009
- In 2008, Jiyai Shin became the first non-member to win three LPGA Tour tournaments in a year.
- In 2006, Shin became the first golfer in KLPGA history with a season scoring average below 70.
- Shin is just the third golfer selected for the KLPGA Hall of Fame, after KLPGA pioneer Ok-Hee Ku and Se Ri Pak.
- At the 2012 LPGA Kingsmill Championship, Shin defeated Paula Creamer in a sudden-death playoff that lasted nine holes - the second-longest overall in tour history, and the longest between two golfers. (See Longest LPGA Playoffs for rankings.)
Jiyai Shin Biography:
Jiyai Shin quickly made a name for herself in the world of golf - not just for her winning ways and the oustanding control she showed over long shots with woods and hybrids, but also for her almost-always present smile and winning personality. Shin became a very popular player on the LPGA among her fellow golfers almost as soon as she showed up as an LPGA member.
But Shin had already established herself as one of the world's best before she even joined the LPGA.
Shin took up golf at age 11 in her native South Korea. A player of small stature (she topped out at 5-foot-1), over time Shin developed a smooth swing with a focus on control and accuracy. Her hero was Jack Nicklaus and Nicklaus' instructional books helped Shin develop her game. (Later, as a professional golfer, Shin wore caps and apparel emblazoned with the "Golden Bear" logo as a tribute to Nicklaus, even though she was not a paid endorser.)
Her life was interrupted in tragic way when Shin was 16. Shin's mother was killed in an auto accident that also left her brother and sister seriously injured. Dealing with her grief through golf helped spur Shin's development. She told the Australian newspaper The Age in 2008: "I'm stronger now that happened ... I turned professional, so I play golf and I'm happy."
Shin first won on the KLPGA Tour in 2005, at age 17, as an amateur. She turned pro at the end of the year. And over the next three years Shin dominated the KLPGA, first winning rookie of the year (2006) and then back-to-back Player of the Year honors.
She won three times on the KLPGA in 2006. In 2007, Shin played 19 KLPGA tournaments and won 10 of them. She also played in LPGA events for the first time in 2007, with three Top 6 finishes in eight starts. But she continued to focus on KLPGA membership in 2008, during which she won another 7 times in 15 starts.
However, 2008 was Shin's breakout year at the international level. As a non-member, she won three LPGA Tour events, starting with a major championship - the 2008 Women's British Open. Shin also won the LPGA co-sponsored Mizuno Classic in Japan, plus the ADT Championship.
Those wins gave Shin the option to accept LPGA membership, which she decided to do for the 2009 LPGA season. And she kept winning, with three more victories. Shin was in the unique position of winning LPGA Rookie of the Year a year after she had won an LPGA major and two other LPGA tournaments.
From 2006 and into 2012, Shin won nearly 40 tournaments around the world, and she wasn't even 25 years old yet.
Shin has also had some injury issues in her short career to date, including an emergency appendectomy. She had a nearly 2-year gap in wins from late 2010 into mid-2012, but that ended with a victory at the LPGA Kingsmill Championship in 2012 after a sudden-death playoff against Paula Creamer that lasted nine holes.
And just a week after that long playoff victory, Shin earned her second major championship win at the 2012 Women's British Open. But in 2014, expressing a desire to be closer to her family in Korea, Shin quit the LPGA Tour to play instead on the Japan LPGA.