So Yeon Ryu's remarkable donation to Covid-19 relief charities comes as little surprise from a player well known for her philanthropy
Some time between tapping in her par putt to confirm victory at the Korean Women’s Open Championship and the awards ceremony, So Yeon Ryu phoned her mum.
Nothing too out of the ordinary there. But it was what she told her. Ryu was going to reveal at the presentation dinner that she was giving her entire winners’ cheque to charities fighting Covid-19.
“I called my mum and told her that I was going to make the announcement so don’t be too surprised. She was just as happy as I was,” Ryu told reporters.
Ryu’s victory in her nation’s national championship earned the World No 18 250 million Korean won – around £166,000 – and she knew she was going to donate any prize money well before her slick up and down from a greenside bunker at the 72nd hole confirmed victory.
“Since this tournament has a lot of meaning to me, I thought that I may be able to play better if I had a positive goal,” she explained.
Of course the generosity is nothing new when it comes to Ryu. Before the pandemic struck she competed in the Vic Open and Women’s Australia Open where she finished T2 and T34 respectively. She donated her entire $98,000 – around £79,000 – winnings in that fortnight to relief charities battling the wildfires that were tearing through the country at the time. When she won the Meijer LPGA Classic in 2018, she donated a hefty sum to the Meijer Food Bank.
And these are the ones we know about. Ryu’s incredible generosity is well known in golf circles.
As for the tournament, it is the two-time major champion’s fifth national championship victory, a run that includes the 2009 China Ladies Open, her major breakthrough at the 2011 US Women’s Open, the 2014 CP Women’s Open, and the 2018 Japan Women’s Open.
“I think humans really are greedy creatures because after I won this, I started to think that I want to win the British Open,” she said in her press conference. “Hopefully I can win that one, too.”
Ryu can be forgiven for feeling greedy in this sense. And she’ll certainly have karma on her side at Troon in August.
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