As Hall of Fame door opens up, so does Park

By Randall MellJune 9, 2016, 12:36 am

SAMMAMISH, Wash. – Inbee Park says her final putt to complete Thursday’s first round of the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship may be the most thrilling of her career.

When that last putt drops, she will officially become a member of the most difficult Hall of Fame to qualify for in sports.

She will be an LPGA Hall of Famer.

“I really can’t imagine myself walking up to 18 and just actually waiting for that last putt,” Park said. “It’s going to feel so much better than maybe a championship putt.”

The big question is whether Park can play through the pain in her left thumb to get to that last putt and actually qualify for the Hall of Fame. While she met the 27-point requirement for induction late last year, she still has to meet the tour’s 10-year membership requirement. She needs to make her 10th start this year to do so and she must finish the round to do that on Thursday.

“I always believe in myself, that I can overcome all these kinds of injuries, all the tests,” Park said. “I've overcome so many other obstacles in my golfing life. And I really believe that I can overcome this.”

Park has exemplified class in her 10-year career, and qualifying for induction ought to be a glorious affair. She deserves that.

That’s the potentially difficult deal with the way Thursday is setting up, because nobody should want to see Park struggling to reach the finish line. Leave it to Park, though, to put everyone’s mind at ease with her sophisticated perspective. Even if Thursday’s tough, even if the thumb makes her march to the finish line agonizing, she says there will be something fitting in that. She says there will be poetry even in that, because if we’re going to celebrate the entire scope of her career, we’ll see there was a lot of pain and heartache that had to be overcome to get to the Hall of Fame’s front door. In fact, there’s probably been more pain than glory in every Hall of Famer’s career.


KPMG Women’s PGA Championship: Articles, photos and videos


“Playing good golf is Inbee Park, and playing bad golf is also me,” Park said. “I'm thankful for every moment that I had the last 10 years, whether it's a struggle, whether it's successful moments. And that's why I'm here. Maybe this is happening for a reason. I really do believe that everything happens for a reason.

“If I was just successful all the way through from the start of my career, and if I didn't have any obstacles or hard tests, I probably wouldn't appreciate where I am right now.”

Park, 27, knows all the questions swirling about her won’t end even after she makes that last putt Thursday and becomes just the 24th player to make it into the LPGA Hall of Fame.

Where does she go next? Will the inflammation in the ligament and tendon of her left thumb allow her to compete for a gold medal in this summer’s Olympics? Or will the injury force her to shut down her game and get the rest she needs, or the medical treatment she needs? Will her desire to start a family lead her to leave the game entirely?

Park addressed all of that in the best way she could, with the class she has always exhibited in the face of the hardest questions.

About retirement . . .

“If knew right now how long I'm going to play, I'd tell you,” Park said. “Unfortunately, there is no surprise announcement right now, whether I'm going to quit after this week or I'm going to retire after this year. I really don't have the answer for you right now.”

Park said she will play as long she’s happy doing so.

“I am happy right now that I'm here, so I am playing,” she said. “But [the end] can be tomorrow. It can be three years. It can be five years. It can change overnight.”

About wanting to start a family . . .

“Obviously, I'd like to have a family, probably within three years or so,” she said. “And after that, I'm not sure if I'm going to play professionally, or whether I'm going to just retire. That, I don't know.”

About how her thumb is holding up after causing her to withdraw after posting a career-high 84 in her last start two weeks ago . . .

“Over the last week or last 10 days, I definitely felt some improvement,” Park said. “I don't feel as much pain as before. I can see improvement and that’s really important.”

On whether she can make a run at becoming the first woman to win the same major championship four consecutive years . . .

“I wasn't going to miss this opportunity, no matter what,” Park said. “It's hard, because I've seen my scores, and I've seen where my balls were going the last month or two. I know there is pain, and I know it's not easy, but you've just got to overcome that challenge. I'm not going to die because of the thumb pain. That's the good news.”

On whether she thinks she can recover from the injury and compete in the Olympics in August . . .

“If it was, like, two weeks ago, I would say I probably can't play,” Park said. “But right now, I think I definitely have a chance to play . . . , It's just hard, because it's still two months away and I just don't know what my thumb is going to do until then. It's hard because it's for the country. It's not for individual, same as UL International Crown that we're going to have next month. If I'm not at my full condition, I kind of feel like I need to give a chance to somebody else who can perform so much better than me at the moment.”

It’s human nature to wonder where Park goes next, but that really shouldn’t be what Thursday’s about. It isn’t about the questions that will linger. It’s about celebrating the answers she has already so magnificently provided in earning her way into the LPGA Hall of Fame.

When Park’s last putt drops Thursday, she’ll join Babe Zaharias, Louise Suggs, Patty Berg, Betsy Rawls, Mickey Wright, Kathy Whitworth, Annika Sorenstam and 16 other greats in the most select Hall of Fame in sport.

“It just feels surreal,” Park said. “I really, truly, feel honored that I get to put my name among the greatest players in the world.”

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Rose leads halted Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters when bad weather stopped play Friday during the second round.

The Englishman, who shot a 10-under 62 on Thursday, had completed 13 holes and was 5 under on the day at the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat (64) was in second place.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew wit on the 11th hole at 2 under for the day after shooting an opening 72.

There was no reason given for his withdrawal, but the American has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 1:00 pm

Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.

Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.

None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.


Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year


Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.

An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.

Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.


Playing with the pros

Tiger, DJ and Faxon

Article: Video, images from Tiger, DJ's round with Trump

Article: After DJ and Tiger, Trump plays golf with Jack

Rory faces criticism

Article: Rory: Round with Trump about respect for presidency

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President at the Presidents Cup


Video: President Trump makes the rounds at Liberty National

Article: President Trump presents trophy to U.S. team

Article: Stricker: 'Great thrill' to get trophy from Trump


Purported round of 73 with Lindsey Graham

Article: Senator tweets Trump shot 73 in windy, wet conditions

Article: Graham offers details on Trump's round of 73


Cart on the green


Article: Trump appears to drive cart on Bedminster green


Presence and protests at U.S. Women's Open


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Article: UltraViolet takes protest inside Trump National


Photo gallery: President Trump at the U.S. Women's Open


Trump golf properties

Vandalism

Article: Environmental group vandalizes Trump golf course

Article: Man accused of vandalizing four Trump courses

Finances


Article: Two Trump courses in Scotland losing millions

Article: Eric Trump denies Russia helped fund golf courses

Article: Trump company ordered to pay $5.77M in dues dispute

Reportedly fake TIME covers


Article: Trump clubs display fake Time magazine cover


Trump apologizes for voter-fraud story

Report: Trump's voter fraud claim tied to Langer

Langer: Trump 'apologized' for story mix-up


Pros comment on the president

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Getty Images

Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 12:30 pm

Spieth, Thomas headline winter break trip to Cabo

By Grill Room TeamDecember 15, 2017, 1:05 am

Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth. Really good at golf. Really good at vacationing.

With #SB2K18 still months away, Thomas and Spieth headlined a vacation to Cabo San Lucas, and this will shock you but it looks like they had a great time.

Spring break veteran Smylie Kaufman joined the party, as did Thomas' roommate, Tom Lovelady, who continued his shirtless trend.

The gang played all the hits, including shoeless golf in baketball jerseys and late nights with Casamigos tequila.

Image via tom.lovelady on Instagram.

In conclusion, it's still good to be these guys.