Park Inbee pulls race card on grand slam murmuring

August 6, 2015
Park In-bee, the world's top-ranked female golfer, speaks to reporters at a press conference ahead of a Korean LPGA Tour event on Jeju Island on Aug. 6, 2015. (Yonhap)

Park In-bee, the world’s top-ranked female golfer, speaks to reporters at a press conference ahead of a Korean LPGA Tour event on Jeju Island on Aug. 6, 2015. (Yonhap)

JEJU (Yonhap) — Since capturing the Ricoh Women’s British Open for her fourth different LPGA major title, South Korean star Park Inbee has had to defend her belief that her accomplishment qualifies as a career grand slam.

In South Korea for a domestic tour event, Park reiterated at a press conference Thursday that she believes she has completed her slam.

Park’s monumental victory set off debate because the LPGA Tour added a fifth major in 2013 and some think Park must win that new major, the Evian Championship, to truly complete the slam.

The world No. 1 player, who won the Evian the year before it was designated a major, begged to differ.

“When I started out as a pro, there were four majors and then it became five,” she said. “If winning all five constitutes a grand slam, then what about those legends who won four different majors? Would they have to win the Evian Championship, too?”

Only six other players before Park — Louise Suggs, Mickey Wright, Pat Bradley, Juli Inkster, Karrie Webb and Annika Sorenstam, have won four different majors.

For the record, the LPGA Tour has recognized Park’s feat as a career slam. It said if Park captures the Evian Championship next month for her fifth different major, then she will have completed a “super career grand slam.”

“The LPGA did not add a fifth major championship to change history, alter discussion or make the accomplishment of a “grand slam” more difficult,” the tour’s website notes. “We added a fifth major to create an incremental opportunity for the women’s game.”

Not everyone in the media has agreed with the view. And Park said she doesn’t think an American golfer in the same situation — with four different majors and a pre-major Evian title — would have dealt with a similar controversy and that the U.S. media would have hailed it as a career slam.

“If I want to put an end to all this, it’d be nice to win the Evian Championship in September,” she said. “But that’s not my ultimate goal. My biggest objective is to enter the World Golf Hall of Fame. I started playing golf because I wanted to leave my mark in the history of the game. I want to do just that.”

In the 2015 season, Park has four victories, including two majors. Chun In-gee won the U.S. Women’s Open last month, giving South Korea three of the four majors so far.

Overall, South Koreans have combined to claim 12 out of 20 tournaments. It’s not counting two wins by South Korean-born Kiwi Lydia Ko, and one victory by Minjee Lee, who was born in Australia to Korean parents.

Park said she thinks some American players may feel “jealous” of South Koreans’ dominance.

“I think if six or seven out of the 10 best players on the Korean tour were from overseas, we’d feel the same,” she added. “But I think the players should be thankful for the competition, and the real professionals are the ones who beat their rivals.”

At the Women’s British Open, another South Korean, Ko Jin-young, finished alone in second, while Ryu So-yeon, former Rookie of the Year and world No. 4, tied for third.

An American veteran, Cristie Kerr, was compelled to say of South Koreans: “They are machines. They practice 10 hours a day.”

Park responded, “Then they should build better machines.”

2 Comments

  1. thomas

    August 8, 2015 at 9:51 AM

    Se-Ri Pak showed the world and especially to the Korean Nation, what Koreans can achieve with hard work and dedication. Rest of the golfing world is just now beginning to realize the Korean dominance in the LPGA. There will always be those resisting change or passing of the torch. These people will put up barriers to delay the inevitable that is Korean dominance in the LPGA. I believe that Inbee will win!

  2. gees

    September 27, 2017 at 11:27 PM

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