Golf: Lee Jeong-eun now called No. 5 and No. 6

Lee Jeong Eun waiting to tee off on hole 9 during the HSBC Women's World Championship Round 2.
Lee Jeong Eun waiting to tee off on hole 9 during the HSBC Women's World Championship Round 2.ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

SINGAPORE - There are two well-known Michael Jordans (actor and basketballer), two Michelle Williams (actress and singer) and three Randy Jacksons (television personality, singer and baseball player) but that's really small-fry.

From a single sport, in a single country, there are eight people with the exact same name - talk about confusion.

In South Korea, at one time, there were eight women golfers with the name Lee Jeong-eun and all of them have been part of the Korean Ladies Professional Golf Association (KLPGA).

The KLPGA first had only one Lee Jeong-eun but then another qualified, so they creatively added an "A" behind the first Lee Jeong-eun's name and a "B" behind the second's came to differentiate them. Easy? Not quite.

More and more Lee Jeong-euns began to qualify for the KLPGA, so the association had to be inventive. How do you separate them? Simple. Give every Lee Jeong-eun a number.

And so the KLPGA now has Lee Jeong-eun 1 through to Lee Jeong-eun 6, in addition to Lee Jeong-eun A and B - which is how their bags are labelled and on the leaderboard, Lee Jeong-eun 6 has the number to her name.

While Lee Jeong-eun 5 and Lee Jeong-eun 6 are the only two Lee Jeong-euns in the KLPGA, they still face a lot of mix-ups at sport events outside of South Korea.

Lee Jeong-eun 5, who goes by the name Five, described painful instances when she was mistaken for rookie Lee Jeong-eun 6.

"There have been so many times where they forget the number. They'll switch names on our lockers or, if I'm expecting a product, I'll be wondering why I didn't get it and it ended up being sent to Jeong-eun 6 instead. There have been a ton of instances in the United States," said Five through a translator.

"There have also been a lot of mix ups on the caddie bibs where they got the numbers wrong."

People are getting so confused between the two Lee Jeong-euns that some have even turned to other Korean golfers for help.

"Someone had even asked Ji Eun-hee how to differentiate between the two of us and she said just remember that Five has short hair and Six has long hair," added Five.

While some might find it uncomfortable to be known by a number, both Five and Six have already grown used to their new names.

"In Korea, I'm known as Five. All the caddies and even some of the other Korean players know me as Five so it doesn't really bother me. Ever since I started golf I've always been known as Five," said the 30-year-old, who has been in the KLPGA since 2006.

Six agreed. The youngest Lee Jeong-eun said: "We both have the same first and last name so I would like people to call me Six because it's just easier for everyone. A lot of people also struggle with pronouncing my name."

The 22-year-old, who joined the KLGPA in 2016 and impressively led the KLGPA money list last year, also has a fan club called Lucky Six.

Previously, the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) informed Five that they do not usually add numbers to names. Then, it did not matter to Five since she was the only golfer with that name.

But, now that Six has also joined the LGPA, the numbers matter.

"They really have to be careful about putting the numbers now. This week at the pro-am, there were some mix-ups too so, while it didn't matter before, it really makes a difference now," said Five.

Besides the Lee Jeong-eun golfers, there is also Korean professional race walker with this name.

"Jeong-eun is a popular name in Korea because there are only a few last names and Jeong-eun is a good name," said Five.