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April 07, 2011 - Image 7

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The Michigan Daily, 2011-04-07

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
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Thursday, April 7, 2011- 7A
k.On and o the course,
Km gives Michigan
every reason to be proud

Senior golfer Lion Kim played with Bubba Watson and Aaron Baddeley in the par-three contest on Wednesday.
Ki-m enjoys par-3 contest
with Watson and Baddeley

Daily Sports Writer
AUGUSTA, Ga. - It was some-
thing you'd probably never see at
any golf course, let alone at the
No. 1-ranked course in the world.
Two-time Tour champion
Bubba Watson stood holding the
flag on the first
green during NOTEBOOK
par 3 contest,
preparing to KEVIN
take a golf ball RAFTERY
to the chest
off the club of
friend Ricky At the Masters
Fowler, who
teed off 130 yards away.
"It was really funny to do it,
but then the ball came right at
me and I was like, 'Oh gosh,' "
Watson said. "But I wanted to act
like I was tough, so I just stood
Luckily for Watson, the ball
landed in front of him and settled
about four feet from the hole.
And to his credit, he didn't even
The crowd laughed and
applauded as Watson scampered
back over to the second tee, smil-
ing and waving to the fans.
"Me and Ricky are really good
friends," he said. "It was just
something fun for us to do."
Such was the mood at the
Augusta National Par 3 course on
Wednesday afternoon.
During the nine-hole round,
players stopped to give auto-
graphs, talk with fans and just
have a good time.
Three-time PGA Tour Cham-
pion Aaron Baddeley had his fam-
ily alongside him for the round.
His wife, Richelle, and their two
daughters - both under the age
of three - caddied for him.
"That was awesome," Bad-

deley said. "(My two year old
daugher) Jewell loved it. She did
good. She made a putt on the last
For Michigan senior Lion
Kim, who played with Watson
and Baddeley, it was the perfect
chance to get used to the enor-
mous Augusta crowds - thou-
sands of people hovered around
each green and tee box on
Wednesday - in a competitive,
yet relaxed, atmosphere.
"Bubba and Aaron were great
sports, and we had a lot of fun,"
Kim said. "We were just staying
loose and not taking it too seri-
"I wasn't nervous because in
my mind; (the crowd) came to
watch Bubba and Aaron. I maybe
had 20 percent of the. crowd
cheering for me, so it was fun."
Kim finished the ' contest at
1-over, notching two bogeys
and a birdie. He missed just one
green but couldn't quite get the
mid-range putts to fall.
But for Kim, as it was for all
the players on Wednesday, his
score wasn't a concern.
"I hit the ball great," he said.
"My instructor (Brian Mogg) just
complimented me that I probably
had the best distance control out
of anyone in our group. So that
was great.".
And heading into tomorrow's
first round, Kim will look to play
with confidence and continue to
take in all The Masters has to
"Every moment here is memo-
rable to me," Kim said. "Every
second, every minute is memo-
the second tee in the par three
contest, caddie Louis Lawrence
started taking off his clothes.
But don't panic - he had two
layers on, and he didn't do any-

thing to get himself kicked out of
Augusta National. One of the lay-
ers was his caddie uniform, and
the other wes his normal golf
Lawrence was taking off his
uniform in order to give it to
Michigan assistant coach Chris
Whitten, acting as Kim's honor-
ary caddie for the contest.
"Louis popped out of his
jumpsuit Superman style," Whit-
ten said. "I threw it on, and next
thing I knew, I was taking the pin
out for Bubba Watson and Aaron
Baddeley. It was unbelievable."
But Whitten, a Rockford, Mich.
native, wasn't originally plan-
ning on caddying. Kim's brother
was scheduled . to perform the
duty, but he told Kim right before
the round he couldn't do it.
The fifth-year assistant coach
couldn't say no to the opportu-
nity --literally.
"As we were walking along
(the first hole), Brian Mogg
grabbed me and asked me if I
wanted to caddy," Whitten said.
"I must have looked like a deer
in headlights because a second
later he was like, 'Just say yes.'
"I really just tried to stay out
of the way and get Lion what-
ever he needed. It went by really
fast, but I'll never forget that."
CURVE:Watson commented on
Kim's game, saying that he had
both a good swing and putting
He mentioned, though, that
Kim has some learning to do -
as does everyone in the tourna-
"He's a very good kid," Wat-
son said. "He's young, you know,
he's got to learn the game. But
we all gotta learn the game.
We're still learning. It looked
like he had a good head on his

s I walked up to the fifth
hole of the par 3 contest
n Wednesday, I heard a
whisper from a nearby fan.
"Who is
that guy?"
the fan asked
as Michi-
gan senior
Lion Kim
from the
fourth h KEVIN
green. The RAFTERY
fan's friend
shrugged his
and took a sip of beer.
"No idea," he responded.
But then the man noticed
Kim's Michigan hat and shirt.
"Oh, he must be a Michigan
man," the fan said.
It was a small moment that
probably didn't mean much
to the two fans, but it was a
moment that spoke volumes to
what Kim has already accom-
plished - before the bright
lights of the tournament even
turn on.
Kim has given every Michi-
gan graduate, every Michigan
fan and anyone who has ever
been associated with the Uni-
versity a reason to be proud.
Throughout the week, he has
conducted himself in a way
that would bring any mother
to tears.
In fact, I hope my mom
hasn't been watching for a
couple reasons. One, because
she cries a lot. And two, if she
compared Kim to me, she may
want to adopt him and send me

Any time someone has asked
Kim for an autograph, he has.
at least acknowledged the
request, even if he didn't have
the time or permission to sign
As he walked up to the first
tee for Wednesday's par 3 con-
test, a young fan asked him for
his signature.
Kim looked the boy in the
eye and apologized: "I'm sorry,
I have to go tee off."
I'd say that's a pretty valid
excuse as Bubba Watson and
Aaron Baddeley were standing
on the tee, waiting for Kim to
He's been more than will-
ing to give an interview to
any media member, and he's
treated me like he's known me
for years, always greeting me
by name.
When the par 3 contest
ended, fans swarmed Kim,
asking for pictures and auto-
Many media members would
have tried to jump in there and
get an interview when they
knew they had a chance to talk
with the player before he drove
off and left for the day.
Instead, I waited - I knew
I'd get my chance. I stood at the
top of the hill behind the ninth
green, and when he emerged
out of the horde of people, I
gave him a wave. He saw me
and let me know exactly where
he was going so I could talk to
Minutes later, I met him at
the range and interviewed him
and he gladly answered any

questions I had.
I realize Lion Kim isn't Tiger
Woods or Phil Mickelson. I
realize there's not as many
members of the media covering
him as there are for the other
tour players. .
But I can guarantee there
are only a select few players on
tour who have been as accom-
modating as Kim.
Woods has been nowhere to
be found for the most part - he
didn't even play in today's par 3
contest. Mickelson did show his
face today for the contest, but
other than that has been hard
to find.
Don't get me wrong, there
are good guys on tour - Wat-
son, Baddeley, KJ Choi and
Zach Johnson were all more
than willing to give an inter-
view when I asked them.
And I'm not suggesting that
Woods and Mickelson are bad
But Kim realizes it's a privi-
lege to be at The Masters, and
his actions support that in
every way.
So when you turn on ESPN
or CBS to watch The Masters
this weekend and you see the
block 'M', feel proud - not just
because one of your own is
playing at Augusta, but because
the man wearing the Michigan
gear is representing the Uni-
versity in the best way possible,
on the biggest stage in golf.
Just do your best to hold
back the tears, Mom.
-Raftery will be at the
Masters all week. He can be
reached at kraftery@umich.edu.


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