'We're Trying To Figure Out What's Happening' - Rose Zhang Reveals Mystery Health Issue Ahead Of New Season

Rose Zhang has a lot of plates spinning on and off the golf course as she kicks off the new LPGA season

Rose Zhang of the United States plays his shot from the third tee during the second round of the Grant Thornton Invitational at Tiburon Golf Club on December 09, 2023
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Rose Zhang revealed she is dealing with a mystery health condition as she attempts to also juggle new clubs, college homework and moving homes ahead of the new LPGA Tour season.

The American, who enjoyed a stellar amateur career at Stanford, made waves in her maiden year on Tour when she became the first player since 1951 to win on her professional debut at the Mizuho Americas Open in June. Zhang went on to record three top-10s in the remaining four Majors before making her maiden appearance in the Solheim Cup later in the year. 

It's been far from a restful off-season for the 20-year-old, though, who arrives in Florida for the Hilton Grand Vacations Tournament of Champions with an unenviable to-do list.

Despite turning pro last summer, Zhang has remained in college, intent on finishing out the last two years of her communications degree. This week will be her only start until the Fir Hills Seri Pak Championship in late March to allow her to get ahead with schoolwork, but the American is already feeling the effects of her hectic schedule.

Having stayed up until 1am to do homework for a college stats class, Zhang spoke to the media after a 7.30am tee time for her pro-am. 

She is also grappling with a stomach issue brought on by the demands of the last few months which also includes moving house three times and trying to bed in new Callaway clubs. "There has been a lot of moving parts. It's been fun," she joked.

When asked specifically about her health issues, the World No.24 said: "I think with the travel and all the unintended stress on my body, my nutrition and the overall feelings of eating has been quite different.

"My body has not been processing things as well, so I'm working with a nutritionist to help me see how I react to foods. I would eat vegetables and be bloated, which is not necessarily too normal.

"These are not crazy health concerns. It's more so how am I able to optimize my performance in-season and travelling everywhere with the time differences and time zones, what would make me perform well. As of the moment, we're trying to figure out what's happening.

"It should be [sorted] probably in the next month or two. It's mostly just kind of reintroducing different food categories and seeing how my body processes it. From there, I'm doing some labs to really get down to the nit and grit of what's happening."

Rose Zhang with the Mizuho Americas Open trophy

Rose Zhang won in her maiden pro start on the LPGA Tour

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Having moved to Las Vegas after turning pro, Zhang has now returned to Stanford for her next few months of studies. Amidst the chaos and attention brought on by her meteoric rise, the American is grateful for the sense of perspective that university life brings her. 

"You're kind of just a fish in the sea where you can do whatever you want and you prioritize your own kind of needs and responsibilities," she explained.

"So being able to do so, being able to find discipline in my own schedule and myself, it kind of will help me later on in the season to prep me for whatever is to come.

"At the same time, everyone around me is doing such crazy things. Some friends are doing start-ups already. Some people are entering the internship business and have already gotten into very top, top companies. So everyone in their own right is grinding, and it's a really good environment for me to also do the same."

Returning to college doesn't come without its risks, however. Missing the opening months of the calendar year could jeopardise her place in this fall's Solheim Cup, while she will almost certainly need to reach the top 15 in the world ranking to stand a chance of securing a place at the Paris Olympics.

Rose Zhang with the trophy after her win in the 2023 NCAA Women’s Golf Championships in Scottsdale

The American turned pro halfway through her Stanford education 

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Zhang, though, is keen to look at the bigger picture, maintaining full confidence that her game will allow her to still achieve plenty on the course this year.

"Being at school is already a huge opportunity. I don't think a lot of people have that opportunity to be able to go back and pursue their education while they're playing a sport or doing their own thing," she ended.

"So being able to be there, I think I will do better through this period of time of just learning and learning from people who are just such intelligent in their own minds and fields.

"There are a lot of big-time events coming up with the Olympics, Solheim, but in my own mind, if I play well in the events that I have, then naturally I'll have the opportunity to play those events."

Ben Fleming

Ben joined Golf Monthly having completed his NCTJ in multimedia sports journalism at News Associates, London. He is now a freelance journalist who also works for The Independent, Metro, UEFA and Stats Perform.