Park delays KLPGA debut
Grace Park, a six-time LPGA Tour winner, has postponed her debut on the Korean Tour until August, her agency said Friday.
According to Sportizen, the 33-year-old, who was supposed to make her first official appearance on the KLPGA Tour at last week’s Lotte Mart Open on Jeju Island, changed her plans and will compete instead on the U.S. women’s professional golf circuit in the first half of this year.
In November, Park, one of only two Korean golfers to triumph at the Kraft Nabisco Championship — one of the four majors on the LPGA Tour — booked her place on the local tour for this year.
“I am in good shape now after recovering from a hip injury,” Park said through her agency.
“I am working on a new swing with a new coach. Ahead of a full season in Korea, I will try to get fully match-fit.
“After obtaining satisfactory results, I want to make my KLPGA Tour debut.”
Park’s full-time status on the LPGA Tour will expire this season.
“The next two to three years are really important for Park’s career, so we have decided to fully respect her decision,” said Kim Pyeong-ki, vice president of Sportizen.
“As her full-time status on the U.S. Tour is only effective until the end of this season, I am confident that she will be able to conclude her U.S. career well.”
According to the KLPGA’s 20-event schedule, six tournaments will take place in the first six months and 13, including high-stakes tournaments like the Hanwha Finance Classic and KLPGA Championship will be held from August.
Park, who had an impressive amateur career, named Junior Player of the Year in 1994 and 1996, turned pro in 1999. She claimed the title in the U.S. Women’s Amateur Championships in 1998, as well.
Amoung the nation’s first generation of successful female golfers, including World Golf Hall of Famer Pak Se-ri, to open the door to the LPGA Tour to younger Koreans, she won at least one title each year from 2000 to 2004 but she has recently made fewer headlines due to injuries.