Danielle Kang won’t be hushing anyone up at the Solheim Cup, because she wants a hostile atmosphere and even the boos if they come.
The 26-year-old was one of Juli Inkster’s big rookie successes in the USA’s Solheim victory in Iowa two years ago, revelling in the supportive and loud crowds at Des Moines, but she thinks she’ll find every bit as much inspiration from crowds that will be largely against her.
“I hear we’ll be booed at one point, so bring it on,” she said. “I love rowdy crowds. I had an amazing time is Des Moines, the fact that we were on US soil made it better and I heard all the “USA” chants.
“This is different because we’re in Scotland, but I’ll still have them cheer as loud as they can, whoever they want to cheer for but I still want to hear them.
“I’m loud whether I’m in Nevada or in Scotland. I don’t think I change no matter where I am. I’m definitely going to embrace the first tee, I’m going to embrace whenever I get a chance to hit it, I’m going to embrace the fans out there for the entire golf course, whenever I get to play.”
Kang thought someone was trying to wind her up when she was told she’d be booed, but she’s excited for “the different vibe” in Scotland to the USA.
“Scottish people are very respectful and honourable, and this is where the home of golf is, it’s where golf started,” she said. “I’m excited to see what the fans are going to be like, and I know I’m going to hear that “Ole” song as well.”
She won’t be responding with Patrick Reed’s famous “shush” gesture from the men’s Ryder Cup here at Gleneagles five years ago because…she likes to hear and be heard.
“He shushed the crowd?” she said. “I can’t do that. I like noise and I can’t be shushed. I like the noise, so you’ll see me doing waving to the crowd to get louder.”
Kang, who won two US Women’s Amateur titles before turning professional, raised more than a few eyebrows in a recent podcast when she said she wanted “to take souls” in match-play competition, adding “you’re going there to make people cry, just crush the other team. That’s the fun of it.”
“Regular golf’s okay, but I love match play golf,” she said yesterday, using far less emotive terms. “Whether it’s team game or singles, I like playing against another person. I like to have a win or a loss instead of playing the entire field.
“I like to get some kind of feedback. In golf, we lose most of the time, and it’s hard to win. But match-play it’s just one person.
“I love the team environment when you have a teammate, and you get to play for them as well as with them and it’s kind of like a sisterhood. I love somebody having my back and I love having their back.
“That psychological part of just going after one person is what’s fun for me. You don’t have to worry about the other 155 players out there. You’re not watching the leaderboard but you’re watching (your opponent). So I think that’s the fun of it for me.”
Kang doesn’t much like links golf – “you can see my stats” – so she’s happy to be inland, but if the weather forecast is to believed there’s going to be some strong winds and the greens are likely to be slower than the US would prefer.
“The Europeans, a lot of them play on the LPGA Tour and we all usually play the same golf courses,” she pointed out. “I don’t believe the greens are more undulating than the anywhere else. I don’t think that either team has an advantage over the other because of the golf course.”
For one of the six US debutants, Megan Khang, the first tee on Friday can’t come quick enough, after she had a quick rehearsal on Monday.
“I walked through the little tunnel (the walkway under the A823 has been redone in a Solheim Cup tableau of portraits, replacing the Ryder Cup one dating from 2014) to get to the first tee and the first thing I thought of was, `wow, I can’t wait until these stands are filled’,” she said.
“I literally practiced that opening tee shot, I just can’t wait for the crowd. My parents will be sitting up there and all the veterans tell us that it’ll be like nothing we’ve ever felt before.
“So I’m both nervous, excited and I’m really looking forward to it.”