Updated: Jan, 2016
The Facts
Name: Hee-Won Han
It's pronounced: Hee Wahn Hahn
English Name: None
Birthday: June 10, 1978
Home City: Seoul, South Korea (a real Seoul Sister!)

American Home City: San Diego, CA
Rookie Year on LPGA: 2001
LPGA Wins: 6
LPGA Majors: 0 (Best finish: Tied for 3rd at 2009 Ricoh Women's British Open)
Rookie of the year finish: Won!
Height: 5' 7"
Family: Husband Son Hyuk, son Hae-Il/"Dale"
Best score: 61 (2008 State Farm Classic)
Best Scoring Average for a year: 70.78 (2006)
Best Season money total: $1,147,651 (2006)
Best Season Money Position: 4th (2003)
Most Top Tens/Season: 11 (2003, 2005)
2016 LPGA Status: Retired (Category 18)
Post-season awards: 2001 Rookie of the Year
Strong Statistics: Putting
Nicknames: The Golf Bride
Other Sports: None
Hobbies: None I know of!
Sponsors: Fila Korea
Why she is a Seoul Sister: She was one of the original Big Four Korean stars on the LPGA.
How's her English?: Great
Best part of her game: Hee-Won is fairly consistent all around, with a good short game.
Needs to work on: Surprisingly short off the tee.
Cool possible headlines: 'Hee-Won: She Won!'; 'Who won? Hee-Won!'


Hee-Won started playing golf at the age of nine. As an amateur she recorded 48 victories, including the 1996 World Amateur Golf Championship. She turned pro in 1998, choosing to focus on the Japanese LPGA tour rather than the KLPGA (she is fluent in Japanese). There she managed to win the Rookie of the Year award, the same year Se Ri Pak won the Rookie of the Year award on the American LPGA (it was a good year for Korea!). She played on the JLPGA for several more years, in 1999 managing two victories and finishing fifth on the money list.

In 2000, she came over to America to try her luck on the LPGA. She finished 27th at Q-School, only good enough for conditional status on the LPGA. Despite this, she did very well in the Rookie of the Year race, Monday qualifying for tournaments an impressive 7 of 11 attempts in 2001. She ended up with four top twenties and a top ten that year and won the Rookie of the Year award, the only player that I know of to have won the award both on the LPGA and the JLPGA. Her 70th place finish on the money list gave her an exempt card for 2002; no more Monday qualifying!

As good as her rookie year was, though, it was 2002 where Hee-Won really made a name for herself. Her first big success came at the Longs Drugs Challenge, where she was among the top leaders, but still several shots back of Cristie Kerr, until Kerr made a few mistakes and, stunningly, Han suddenly moved into a tie for the lead. Alas, a mishit drive on the 18th hole cost her a bogey and a one shot loss to Kerr, but the second place finish was by far her best on the LPGA. She followed that up with several more top finishes, and at the Big Apple Classic, playing against fellow Korean Gloria Park and World #1 Annika Sorenstam, Hee-Won came from behind to grab a share of the lead with Park and force an all Korean playoff. In fact, Hee-Won even had a short putt to win it outright on 18, but missed it and had to settle for the playoff. Once there, Gloria won, but it was a second second place finish for Hee-Won. Just the next week, Hee-Won found herself again just one shot out of the lead (behind Seoul Sister Mi Hyun) at the Wendy's Championship, after Peanut put her tee shot on 17 into the water, but again, Hee-Won fell just short of catching Mi Hyun, finishing second again. Hee-Won had one more chance to shine, moving her way relentlessly up the ladder at the Cisco World Match Play championship. But in the semifinals she lost to Japanese player Midori Yoneyama, when Yoneyama came from behind, tied her at 18, then beat her in extra holes. Had she won that match she would have played Seoul Sister Grace for yet another chance at her first victory.

2003 proved to be an even better year for Han. After finishing third at the Safeway Ping, she seized an early lead at the LPGA Championship, but faltered on the weekend. Then, she returned to the Sybase Big Apple Classic, and this time squeezed out the win, her first on the LPGA. This started a string of great performances, which included another win at the Wendy's, a second place at the Jamie Farr, and another second place at the Evian Masters. All of this resulted in her career best finish on the money list, 4th, and her first time breaking a million dollars in earnings for a single season.

Hee-Won finished the year by marrying her beau, pro baseball pitcher Hyuk Son. The marriage of two famous athletes was a first for Korea, and it greatly raised Hee-Won's profile in the Korean press.

2004 got off to a slow start for Hee-Won. In fact, it was not until mid-season that she started to pick up good finishes. But as usually happens with her, she got on a roll in late summer, and won her only event of the year in September at the Safeway Classic. She once again finished the year in the top ten, this time 8th on the money list. The 2005 season was much the same: she collected another win, had a few more good chances to win, and ended up tying her career best of 11 top tens on the year.

Hee-Won continued her excellent play in the 2006 season. As usual, she had a nice streak where she put together five consecutive top five finishes, including two seconds and a win. The win came at the Corning Classic in a playoff, beating fellow Korean Meena Lee. With this victory, she has notched a win in every season since 2003. She also had her first ever top ten at a Major when she finished 6th at the Nabisco. She added a second win at the Honda Thailand tournament in October, and finished 2006 with more than a million in earnings. In the last four years, she is the only Korean golfer to finish in the top ten on the money list all four years.

As the year ended, she made a surprising announcement: she was expecting her first child! In 2007, she only played a few tournaments before taking an extended maternity leave following the Nabisco Championship. In late June, she gave birth to a son by Cesarean section. They named the little boy Hae-Il (English name: Dale). Hee-Won returned to action in time to defend her title at the Honda Thailand tournament in October. She played two events at the end of the season, finishing 11th and 10th at them.

Hee-Won returned to action full time in 2008. She did not play at the top level she was formerly at, but still managed to have a fair amount of success right away. She just missed a top ten in her first event of the year, and finished 7th at the second. She tied her best ever Major finish with a 6th at the Nabisco, and began her year with top 20s in all but one of her first 8 events (and she finished 22nd at that one). But she was not really putting herself in contention to win.

Her consistency decreased later in the season, although she still was capable of amazing rounds of golf. She finished tied for third in Rochester, producing a 64 in round three. She then shattered her best ever round with a 61 at the State Farm; with just three holes to go, she had a three foot putt to move to 12 under, but just missed it. She had a weak Evian Masters, but shot a 65 in the final round to vault up the standings.

She did all of this while leaving her son with relatives back in Korea. The separation was tough, but she did manage to go back home to visit him from time to time when the schedule allowed.

In 2009, she was still looking for her first win since Dale's birth. She didn't manage that, and it was a bit of an off year, but she did achieve a couple of memorable highlights. Her best moment came at the year's final Major, the British Women's Open, where she finished tied for third, her best ever Major performance. She wound up 29th on that year's money list.

2010 was her weakest season since her rookie year, but she still finished 43rd on the money list, easily maintaining full status for 2011. She had only one top ten all year, a tie for 4th at the ShopRite Classic. In 2011, she had 2 top tens, her best finish a tie for 6th at the Canadian Women's Open. She finished 40th on the year's money list.

2012 was another decent but unspectacular season for Han. Her best finish came at the ShopRite Classic, where she scored a tie for 5th. She made over $250,000 and finished 46th on the money list. Her biggest highlight of 2012 might have been serving as the Captain of the victorious Korean team at the Korea-Japan Team Championship.

Han finished 71st on the LPGA money list in 2013 with no top tens, her best finish being a tie for 17th at the Mizuno Classic. Han finished 108th on the money list in 2014, with her best finish coming at the Founders Cup near the start of the year (a tie for 15th).

Hee-Won officially retired from the game in 2014, playing her last round at the Portland Classic in September. Interestingly, Jeong Jang also played her final LPGA round the same day. Congratulations to Hee-Won Han on a great career, and best of luck to her and her family in the future!