Parents’ sacrifice leads to women golfers’ reign
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.