Another name for Inji Jeon is ‘Dumbo’. Dumbo is a baby elephant from Disney cartoons. It flies in the sky with its big ears flapping, and if it has a question, it can’t control its curiosity. From the angle of her wrists to the way she looks, the way she asks questions during lessons is just like Dumbo. Her ’10-year mentor’ coach Park Won-play gave her the nickname she has now. The name of her fan club is ‘Flying Dumbo’. Established in 2013, this fan cafe has exceeded 10,000 members as of the 25th. Among the women’s professional golf fan clubs, it is one of the five largest. It has been exactly 10 years since this year that fans who want her full of curiosity to fly high have gathered.
Flying Dumbo is famous for its fandom with a particularly high percentage of male fans. Her feminine appearance is also her appearance, but she has won many fans with her relaxed and inclusive personality. At the 2019 BMW Ladies Championship, when Marshall Caddy tried to stop the gallery that made the camera shutter sound, the anecdote that he approached and allowed the photo to be taken is famous. In addition, at the KB Financial Star Championship held last year, the image of him handing a putter to his caddy with both hands was captured on camera and became a hot topic. The photo titled ‘A shot explaining Jeon In-ji’ recorded a high number of views on the Internet for a while.
Flying Dumbo fan club manager Kim Eun-jung met with Asia Economic Daily on the 26th and said, “Jeon In-ji is a player that fans who have seen her once will not forget.” Regardless of age or gender, everyone greeted with a smile and asked how they were doing when they met again. Manager Kim said, “I once attended a year-end party wearing a hat when my health was not good, and I was moved by the way he didn’t forget this and looked after me next time by asking, ‘Is your health okay? It was the moment I fell in love with the caring side of ‘Dumbo’,” he recalled.
When it was difficult, they came together even more with their love for the players. Despite his brilliant career, Jeon In-ji went through a terrible slump for a while. She won four career victories, including three major victories, including the 2015 US Women’s Open and the 2016 Evian Championship, on the LPGA Tour, but has not been announced for a while. In October 2018, she did not lift the trophy for 3 years and 8 months after the LPGA Tour KEB Hana Bank Championship. 스포츠토토
In June of last year, she finally had a chance to win at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship. At that time, Jeon In-ji took a step closer to winning the championship by keeping the lead in the first and second rounds. However, he lost 3 strokes in the 3rd round and had a fierce battle with the 2nd place until the end. On an ambitious night past 3:00 a.m. Korean time, fans forgot to sleep at night and held a cheering match by sharing the leaderboard in real time and leaving comments in the cafe ‘Cheering Room’. Foreign fans in the country helped by announcing the situation through ‘text relay’. Manager Kim said, “I watched the game with a heart-rending feeling until the end of the match.”
There was also regret. Driven by momentum, she challenged the “Career Grand Slam” at the AIG Women’s Open in August, but was frustrated on the threshold of winning and tied for second place. Career Grand Slam means winning four of the five major tournaments: Chevron Championship, US Women’s Open, KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, Evian Championship, and AIG Women’s Open. It is considered the best career for a golfer. If Inge Jeon succeeds in her career grand slam, she will become the second Asian player to be named after Inbee Park.
The desire for grades and the burden were contained in the works of ‘painter Jeon In-ji’. Last month, Jeon In-ji held an exhibition titled ‘The Parrot Meets Dumbo’ with artist Seon-mi Park and showcased her work. Her explanation is that she relieved her psychological anxiety, such as her impatience about winning, her desire for an unfulfilled dream, and her worries about her life in golf, through her paintings.
She even held a so-called ‘Dumbo Day’ for her fans. She transformed herself into a docent and explained the meaning of her work to her fans. Manager Kim emphasized, “It felt like the worries I felt as a golfer were melted into the picture, so it was heartbreaking and sad at the same time.”
This year, Inji Jeon continues her quest for the Career Grand Slam. But her fans’ goals are different. She likes the Grand Slam, but more than anything, she wants Jeon to play ‘happy golf’. Manager Kim said, “If the conflict about her goal is deep, her retirement period may be accelerated,” and she said, “I hope Dumbo will truly enjoy golf for a long time.”