Women’s British Open champion Jang Jeong retires

November 3, 2014
South Korean golfer Jang Jeong formally announces her retirement on Nov. 3, 2014, in Seoul. (Yonhap)

South Korean golfer Jang Jeong formally announces her retirement on Nov. 3, 2014, in Seoul. (Yonhap)

SEOUL (Yonhap) — South Korean LPGA Tour veteran Jang Jeong formally announced her retirement on Monday, saying she wants to enjoy life away from golf for the time being.

Jang, 34, played her final LPGA event in September at the Portland Classic, ending her 14-year LPGA career that included two victories, including her lone major at the 2005 Women’s British Open.

At her retirement ceremony in Seoul, Jang said she’s been “happy” playing competitive golf, but she felt it was time to tackle something new in her life.

She said problems with her surgically repaired right wrist contributed to her decision to retire.

“I reached a point where I couldn’t practice as much as I wanted, and I gradually lost confidence,” said Jang, who underwent three surgeries on her right wrist. “I became more and more disappointed in myself and I decided it was time to leave. I think I would have been better off if I had quit earlier.”

Asked to rate her career, Jang gave herself only 30 points out of 100, saying she failed to take good care of her body.

“I realized that as a professional golfer, taking care of yourself is the most important thing,” she said. “I had surgery on the same hand three times and I think I made a foolish mistake.”

Jang first picked up a golf club at age 13 and rose to stardom by taking the 1997 Korea Women’s Open as an amateur. Jang made the national team for the 1998 Bangkok Asian Games, where she took the silver medal in the team event and the bronze in the individual competition.

She made her LPGA Tour debut in 2000, and captured the 2005 Women’s British Open for her first LPGA win. She added her second win at the 2006 Wegmans LPGA.

Overall, she posted 71 top-10s and earned more than US$6.6 million over her LPGA career.

She said the 2005 season was the highlight of her career.

“I can never forget the moment I earned my first victory,” Jang said. “I felt a great sense of accomplishment and I had fun playing golf.”

Jang, who’s married with a daughter, said she has no immediate plan for the future and that she wants to spend more time with her family.

“I haven’t decided on anything about the future,” she said. “I just want to enjoy my life as a mother, a wife and a daughter. I’ve been playing golf for more than 20 years and I suppose I may end up doing something related to golf.”