Danielle Kang hasn’t been herself over the past few months of the 2022 LPGA season. Since reeling off three top 10s to start the season, including a win at the season opener, Kang has struggled badly. Early reports had her dealing with some kind of back pain.
This week at the U.S. Women’s Open in Southern Pines, North Carolina, Kang revealed that the pain is related to a tumor on her spine.
Asked if the tumor was cancerous, Kang told a group of reporters, “I really don’t have the answers now.”
Kang learned about the tumor following a first-round withdrawal from the LOTTE Championship in late April.
“Right now, it’s not as simple as blaming the tumor to be the problem,” said Kang, the former Olympic teammate of Nelly Korda.
“It’s not just that I have an issue with my back, there is more to it. The scary part is that, I understand, and I didn’t want to publicize it, but I know it got out. There’s more to it. I just don’t want to really discuss the details of what’s going on in my back.”
Kang shot a 3-over 74 in the second round of the season’s second major and is expected to miss the cut.
“I’m not feeling fantastic but I’m playing golf, which is good,” continued Kang, when asked if she was playing in pain.
“I’m good enough to kind of play. All I wanted to do was compete. I feel like I can, just got a little unlucky out there today, made a crazy triple. Other than that, I actually played really solid.”
Kang said she’s withdrawn from the next two LPGA events, and is unsure when she will return.
“It could be a week, it could be months,” she said, “I don’t have the answer.”
The sad news comes on the heels of Kang’s U.S. Olympic teammate, Nelly Korda, finally returning to the game after a battling a life-threatening blood clot.
Both Kang and Korda competed in last summer’s Tokyo Olympics.
Exit question: what are the odds of America’s two best female tour pros, both under the age of 30, coming down with life-threatening injuries – a blood clot and spinal tumor – amid the prime of their careers… in the same season?