He's also got a very friendly personality.
I personally think he could become huge (he's already quite popular in Korea, because of his heroics in helping Korea win baseball Gold at the Olympics, so he's an OGM as well), but a lot depends, IMO, on how his current season plays out.
Who's deviating? We're just widening the margins a bit.
Since we're talking about it, I just watched the wonderful movie 42, about Jackie Robinson's first year in the major leagues. For those of you not from baseball countries, in 1947 Jackie Robinson was the first black player to be brought into the major leagues of baseball. It was a huge moment. For many people, it sounded the opening chord of the civil rights movement. Anyway, the visionary man who decided it was time to integrate baseball was Branch Rickey, the chief executive of the Dodgers, then located in Brooklyn in New York City. So right now I'm feeling a special warmth for the Dodgers. Go, Dodgers!
Back to YuNa.
This has probably been mentioned before, but beyond the obvious - her looks and accomplishments, her strong English language skills have a LOT to do with helping to push her marketability on a global basis.
Thinspread, I had known about the Pee Wee Reese moment for years, but they did it so effectively in this movie that I started to tremble, and I cried for about five minutes. I felt like a witness to the actual event. And I too love that the film actually showed a bunch of players all wearing the 42 at the end.
There's only one golfer on the list? That's a surprise to me, too. Is it just a disparity in prize money, or is there also a disparity in how many endorsements female golfers get?
KD, I also thought about YuNa's English. It doesn't just help her in places like America, but I imagine it would give her an entree into markets in Hong Kong, Singapore, and the Philippines, where English is widely spoken as a second or third language.
For fun I looked up top 100 highest paid athletes in 2012-2013. Not surprisingly 75% of them come from major league sports like soccer, NBA, NFL and MLB. Some tidbits:
Not one from winter sports made the list: no NHL players, Shaun White or YuNa Kim.
Only 3 female athletes made the list, all from tennis: Sharapova, Serena Williams, and Li Na.
In general, soccer players and NBA stars made far more in endorsements than NFL or MLB players did.
Usain Bolt is the only track and field star in the list and the only one from a sport with no professional tour/circuit or league.
Back to YuNa, I guess a combination of factors made her the most celebrated and financially successful female athlete in Korea. Good looks definitely help, too. She's a special case in the sense that I bet there is a much bigger population in Korea that enjoy golf compared to skating, yet Kyung-Ju Choi, Seri Pak, Jiyai Shin or this year's 3-time major tornament winner Inbee Park can't match YuNa's marketing potential. I wonder how much Mao Asada makes in Japan, compared to their tennis or golf stars like Kimiko Date, Ryo Ishikawa or Ai Miyazato.
That's really interesting, Thinspread.
I suspect that you're right about the audience for golf being mostly men, in the U.S. at least, judging by the kinds of TV commercials they air during golf games. This seems to be one of those times when men would rather look at other men, not at women, because the spokesperson for a golf-related product is someone they wish they were, not someone they want to desire. This is my amateur psychological analysis early in the morning!
(Ah, Ms. Olympia, you missed your calling. You've got me identified as neatly as a bug pinned to a card . The only exception being that I'd let Paula Creamer sell me a new pitching wedge anytime )
I think it is maybe not so much that we want to be like the great golfers that we see on television, but rather that we think we are (or could be) like them. Unlike athletes in other sports, golfers don't look like athletes. They look like us.
Here's John Daly, winner of the 1991 PGA and the 1995 British Open (I better say, the "Open Championship" before Robeye gets on my case. )
When we see a quarterback throw a football 60 yards in the air, or a sprinter run 100 meters in 9.6 seconds, or a figure skater rip off a triple axel,well, all we can do is sit back and watch. But in golf every weekend duffer once in a blue moon gets off a dandy shot and thinks, gosh if I could just do that twice in a row I'd be right up there with these guys.