The last time things fell apart for Christina Kim, she was driving the eight-hour stretch from Prattville, Ala., to her home in Orlando. It was the middle of the night, but she was determined to get there without stopping for a nap. As she got closer to home, the thoughts she had kept at bay since slamming the trunk on her 2012 tour season earlier that evening took over.
During a gas-station pit stop, Kim, 28, saw Halloween decorations in the window. She hadn't celebrated Halloween in more than a decade because the LPGA Tour is usually in Asia that week. But this year Kim hadn't played well enough to qualify for any end-of-season events. Then she realized that for the first time in her life she wouldn't have to fill out an absentee ballot for the presidential election. And in December, the month she had always taken off from golf, the two-time LPGA Tour winner and veteran of three Solheim Cups would have to go to Q school for the first time in her career.
Panic set in as she remembered how much she hates Daytona Beach, Fla., and wondered how she would ever shoot five rounds under par in a qualifying tournament given the way she had been playing. With the emotional snowball in full throttle, Kim drove through tears that turned into sobs, then loud, piercing screams.
It was a pain so deep it felt like a limb had been amputated. She scared herself and pulled off the road. There, on the side of the Interstate at 2 in the morning on Sept. 24, Christina Kim let out two years of despair that she had refused to acknowledge. When she finally got home, she locked herself in her bedroom and remained there for almost three days without turning on a light.