Par­ents’ sac­ri­fice leads to women golfers’ reign

The Korea Times - - TEE TIMES - By Baek Byung-yeul

Ever since Pak Se-ri her­alded the pres­ence of Korean women golfers af­ter win­ning the U.S. Women’s Open Cham­pi­onship in 1998, Korean women golfers have been con­sis­tently putting their names at the top of the leader boards at ma­jor cham­pi­onships.

The ten­dency is even more ev­i­dent in this year’s LPGA Tour sea­son as the Korean con­tin­gent has com­bined for 13 wins in 23 LPGA Tour events. Kim In-kyung claimed three wins, fol­lowed by Park Sung-hyun and Ryu So-yeon both win­ning twice, and Jang Ha-na, Amy Yang, Park In-bee, Lee Mi-hyang, Lee Mi-rim and Kim Sei-young each win­ning once. The record for the most wins by Korean golfers is 15 in 2015.

Two Kore­ans vied for this year’s U.S. Women’s Open Cham­pi­onship in the fi­nal round. One is the LPGA Tour rookie Park Sung-hyun and the other is 17-year-old high school stu­dent Choi Hye-jin. Park took the win for her first LPGA Tour win, edg­ing out Choi by two strokes. The event, the old­est ma­jor cham­pi­onship in women’s golf, also con­firmed the dom­i­nance of Korea women golfers as eight Kore­ans were ranked in the fi­nal top 10.

The rookie Park added her sec­ond tour vic­tory on Sun­day af­ter claim­ing the Cana­dian Pa­cific Women’s Open. This was the fifth straight vic­tory for Korean golfers. The teen golf sen­sa­tion Choi is also ready to join the next gen­er­a­tion of golf stars as she turned pro­fes­sional on Aug. 24, a day af­ter her 18th birth­day.

The Korea Times golf colum­nist Kim Jeong-kyoo ex­plained that the cur­rent dom­i­nance of Korean women golfers comes from the prac­tice they ded­i­cate them­selves to and from their par­ents who sup­port them in be­com­ing pro­fes­sional golfers.

“Above all, they prac­tice a lot more than any other play­ers,” Kim said. “And the rea­son why Korean golfers prac­tice a lot is be­cause they have re­li­able back­ers, which are their par­ents.”

“Since Pak Se-ri made her name as one of the world’s top golfers, there has been a golf boom here and par­ents have been rush­ing to en­cour­age and sup­port their chil­dren to learn golf. Once par­ents find out their child has a tal­ent for golf, they do ev­ery­thing they can do so their daugh­ter can have a ca­reer path. To them it doesn’t mat­ter at all in their own lives,” Kim said.

Kim added those ef­forts from many par­ents even­tu­ally put young Korean golfers in more com­pet­i­tive en­vi­ron­ments. “Af­ter Pak in­spired many Kore­ans that their daugh­ters could suc­ceed at golf, many par­ents be­gan try­ing to raise their chil­dren as golf pros. This is why young golfers here are raised in a com­pet­i­tive sit­u­a­tion at a very early age.”


Ryu So-yeon of Korea watches her drive on the 9th hole dur­ing round one of the Cana­dian Pa­cific Women’s Open at the Ot­tawa Hunt & Golf Club in Ot­tawa, Canada, Aug. 24.


Park Sung-hyun of Korea cel­e­brates with the tro­phy af­ter win­ning the Cana­dian Pa­cific Women’s Open fol­low­ing the fi­nal round at the Ot­tawa Hunt & Golf Club in Ot­tawa, Canada, Sun­day.

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