Golf legend Pak Se-ri wants to keep personal, professional matters separate in seeking charges vs. father

June 19, 2024

Overcome with emotions while discussing an ongoing legal situation involving her father, South Korean golf legend Pak Se-ri said Tuesday she will try to keep her professional work and private matters separate.

Pak, a World Golf Hall of Famer, held a press conference in Seoul in her capacity as director of the Seri Pak Hope Foundation to discuss a recent revelation that her namesake foundation had filed a complaint against Pak’s father, Pak Joon-chul, over charges of forging a private document.

The foundation, which helps junior golfers and hosts amateur competitions, announced last Tuesday that the former golfer reported her father to police in September last year, accusing him of forging a document to set up an international golf school under the foundation’s name. Police recently referred the case to the prosecution for possible indictment, the foundation said.

The ex-LPGA star is claiming that her father had used a forged stamp bearing the foundation’s name when submitting an application for the golf school project. The foundation has announced on its website that Pak has no plans to open any golf school anywhere in the country.

Asked if the legal situation had strained her relationship with her father, Pak said, “I can’t say it won’t have any effect. But problems such as this have been festering for a long time.”

The 46-year-old was referring to her father’s debt, which she has previously said she had covered with her winnings or corporate endorsement deals.

“Because we are family, I’ve tried to do the best I can. But with my father’s debt, whenever I took care of one problem, something else always popped up. It’s been a constant cycle,” Pak said. “Problems kept growing bigger until they’ve reached this point. And I have not spoken to him since this incident first surfaced. I don’t know why he wanted to get into this project, or if there is any other legal issue.”

Fighting back tears, Pak said, “I didn’t think I would cry here.”

“Although the foundation filed the complaint, I am the director of the foundation,” Pak continued. “This is not in the realm of my private life. I thought I had to keep my private life and professional matters separated, and that’s why I went ahead with the legal proceedings.”

Staying on the same theme, Pak added, “This foundation has to keep identifying and helping young talent who can lead this country. And I didn’t want to waste any time with such personal issues.”

Pak declined to discuss exactly how much debt her father had run up and how much she had paid off.

“Things have crossed the line and I can no longer take on his problems,” Pak said. “I will not be responsible for any of his financial problems from now on.”

The senior Pak has been credited with launching her daughter’s trailblazing career with his early training based on discipline and hard work.

Pak Se-ri retired in 2016 after notching 25 LPGA wins, including five majors. She inspired a whole generation of South Korean golfers with her historic rookie season in 1998, in which she captured two majors and won the LPGA Rookie of the Year award.

In 2007, Pak became the youngest player ever to qualify for the World Golf Hall of Fame at age 29.