Remember, folks, Rose Zhang is still only 20 years old despite playing golf like a seasoned LPGA Tour professional.
Had she remained at Stanford University, she would be in the midst of her junior year, attending class, studying, hanging out with friends, and competing for the golf team—like millions of other student-athletes her age.
But Zhang is unlike any other 20-year-old in professional golf—both male and female.
In her LPGA Tour debut, at the Mizhuo Americas Open, she won.
Since then, she has notched four top-10 finishes, three of which came at major championships.
Needless to say, it has been a busy season for Zhang.
So after a bit of a much-needed hiatus following this week’s CME Group Tour Championship, the Stanford Cardinal will return to school in January.
“Stanford is a quarter system; a quarter is ten weeks,” Zhang explained Wednesday.
“You know, school starts in the winter quarter—January to March, to close to the end of March—and that includes finals weeks and whatnot. So, I’ll take that time to go back and study in person. And we have the Asia swing and Florida swing, so it’s to be determined whether or not I’m playing those yet.”
Zhang turned professional after her sophomore year at Stanford. Considering this university’s high level of prestige, finishing her degree will be no easy task.
“I’m taking five classes [during the winter quarter], 22 units potentially. If I’m slacking off a little bit, 20,” Zhang said with a smile, which also drew laughs from those within the media center.
“I am 55% done with my graduation, so I have 90 units, or 85, which means I will have to work a little harder in the next couple of years if I want to play golf and study simultaneously.”
Zhang then revealed that she will likely play in only one or two events between January and late March 2024. Her studies will prevent her from playing a more consistent schedule on the tour.
And that is understandable.
Frankly, it is more admirable than anything.
But what is most impressive about this 20-year-old superstar is that she has learned so much more than what can be found on a golf course or in a textbook.
“I think the biggest lesson is that it’s okay to say no,” Zhang said.
“Yes, you have your responsibilities and obligations for media and sponsor outings, but ultimately, you have to learn how to take care of yourself and your work, your craft, and that’s to be playing at your best on the golf course.
“So for me, I’ve heard that from so many veterans, but I haven’t experienced it for myself, where sometimes it is a requirement for you to say no just so that you can make sure you’re 100% every time you’re out there. Whether you are competing on the golf course or even doing media, you want to ensure you are full of energy and ready to go.”
Come late March, Zhang should be full of energy and ready for what is forecasted to be an exciting 2024 season on the LPGA Tour.
She should have more Stanford credits under her belt, too.