There’s technique. There’s focus. There’s athleticism. But for Pearl Sinn-Bonanni, succeeding in an individual sport like golf comes down to one ingredient. “You literally have to just outwork somebody,” she said. “That’s the bottom line. No excuses. And if you don’t work at it, then it shows in your scores. You can’t hide it.”
“My parents were immigrants, and they had to work very hard to put food on the table. They sacrificed a lot. So it wasn’t so much that they were telling me to work hard, but it was how they worked that really inspired me.”
She applied those principles to golf, spending hours developing her swing with her sister. She was one of the few Asian athletes competing as a junior golfer. Once she told her dad that a rules official gave her a bad ruling because she was Korean. Her dad told her no, she received the ruling because it’s the rule.
“My dad was really adamant that we never used our ethnicity or our minority status as a crutch. I never let myself think I was different. And my parents didn’t let me think that I was different. They said, ‘Work harder. Win more tournaments.’”
Sinn-Bonanni played in more than 100 LPGA events, competing as recently as 2005. She won the State Farm LPGA Classic and the Seoul Ladies Open and has been a player board member and consultant to the LPGA. She also served as an on-course commentator for ESPN’s coverage of the LPGA Tour. She was the United States Women’s Amateur Champion (1988) and a two-time (1988-89) winner of the U.S. Public Links Championship, making her the first golfer – male or female – to win both titles in the same year.
Her Pearl Sinn-Bonanni Foundation raises funds for various children’s organizations in Southern California. She’s also on the boards of Urban Youth Junior Golf and Los Angeles Junior Golf.
--Adapted from ocregister.com & fullertontitans.com
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