Golfer Pak Se-ri
By Do Je-hae
Golfer Pak Se-ri will receive the country's highest sports honor on Sports Day, which falls on Friday.
She will be awarded the Blue Dragon of the Order of Sports Merit, Korea's highest order for athletes with exceptional contribution to nation.
The announcement was made Tuesday after a cabinet meeting presided by President Lee Myung-bak.
"I am honored by this distinction and will continue, with modesty, to exert myself as an athlete," Pak said in a statement from her agency.
Pak is in Korea starting Thursday to play at a tournament in Gyeonggi Province, her first local appearance in two years.
One of the most respected golfers of her generation, the 33-year-old was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2007.
Pak has garnered 25 LPGA wins, the latest of which occurred at the Bell Micro LPGA Classic, ending an almost three-year winless stretch.
In 2008, Golf World magazine lauded her as a "pioneer who changed the face of golf even more than Tiger Woods."
She is an icon among a new generation of Korean women golfers who have emerged since her phenomenal LPGA debut in 1998, when she won two majors at the McDonald's LPGA Championship and U.S. Women's Open.