Born in Seoul, South Korea on March 25, 1986, sophomore Jenny Yoo has come a long way and has been through a lot.
On April 18, Yoo and her roommate were driving home after getting a heating pad about 200 feet from their home in a quiet residential neighborhood. After stopping at a stop sign, a red two-door Mustang cut them off.
They turned away and their car was T-boned, with the impact occurring on the passenger side where Yoo was sitting. She sustained a series of serious injuries.
“I have a ruptured disc and I have neck injures,” Yoo said. “I have bruises all over my body. ”
Because of doctors orders, Yoo must remain in the wheelchair for about a month. Despite the difficulties that accompany disabled life, Yoo looks at the situation as a learning experience.
“This is my first time in a wheelchair, so it’s a whole new perspective for me,” she said. “I notice a lot more.”
Yoo came with her parents to the U.S. in search of better opportunities when she was four years old.
Yoo started her golf career at a young age. She began playing golf the summer of her sixth grade year with her dad and her older brother.
“My dad was actually teaching my brother and I was just tagging along,” Yoo said. “We went to the range and did whatever. I loved everything about golf.”
Yoo is the middle child from a family of golfers. Though her older brother, Eric Yoo, still plays golf, she feels that over time, she has become the better golfer in her family, possibly from a sibling rivalry.
“I might not look competitive, but when I’m on the field, I’m such a different person.” Yoo said. “I just show a different side of me. Though I may not look like it, I’m very competitive.”
After joining golf in middle school and high school, she now practices for about eight hours a day.
“I really didn’t get that typical high school life,” she said. “My parents are pleased because they’re not paying a penny for my college.
Though she is undeclared, she is leaning toward broadcast journalism and is optimistic about the big plans she has for her future.
“I want to be a professional golfer.” Yoo said. “My goal is to go out for Futures Golf Tour after I graduate.”
Prior to looking into CSUN, Yoo participated in a recruiting trip to Columbia University, but later decided that the East Coast was not the place to play golf.
“When I came back here, I was interested in Long Beach and UC Riverside,” Yoo said. “I was deciding between those two schools and Northridge.”
When she was a senior at Cerritos High School, she was offered scholarships from all three schools.
Before the CSUN athletic program expressed interest in her, Yoo had never heard of Cal State Northridge. But after looking at the history of the women’s golf team, including the back-to-back Big West Championships in 2002-03 and 2003-04, she decided to go to Northirdge.
After she came here, head coach Bonnie Miller said Yoo was very enthusiastic.
Miller said that Yoo is a natural. She has natural abilities, and loves the game and loves to practice.
“She’s a coach’s dream,” Miller said. “She’s really dedicated and wants to succeed.”
“I think that it’s very important that the coach and the player’s relationship is strong,” Yoo said. “There needs to be a lot of communication and I could really talk to her. I came because of the coach and the opportunities that CSUN allows me.”
Yoo also said she did not regret her decision after she was named to the Big West Conference second team.
Over the last two years, Yoo has racked up quite a few major accomplishments.
“I got second in San Diego State tournament during the fall of 2005,” she said. “I also got second at our home tournament at TPC in Valencia.”
Yoo, however, not only has a good golf game, but also good priorities. She plans on finishing school before she has a major career change.
“I’m not a typical young golfer,” she said. “I really want to get a degree first, with sports something can always come up. “My parents really push me academically and I totally agree with them, school comes before golf.”
Prior to the car accident, Yoo was active, so the obstacles that have become her daily life have restrained her from engaging in her old routines.
“I can’t walk for almost a month and I can’t pick up a golf club for about three months.” Yoo said. “I was so frustrated not being able to walk. I was so mad and angry.”
Members of the women’s golf team hoped that Yoo was going to do well in the conference tournament, and advance to regionals, if she could have played.
Since Yoo has not been back to school since the accident, her academic life is struggling.
“I’m really backed up,” she said. “I have so much to do.”
While hoping for a speedy recovery, Miller remains optimistic.
“She’s taken everything in stride and hopefully she’s going to come back better than ever next year,” Miller said. ” I’ve talked to her doctor and it’s going to be a long haul for us, and we know that the recovery is going to be fine, it’s just going to take a while. We’re just setting some goals for next year.”
Nicole Garcia can be reached at email@example.com.