Grace doesnt do any of this. She marches in and grabs a chair. She answers with exactly what comes to her mind. And if what comes to mind is self-deprecating, well, what of it?
Shes in Florida this week at the ADT Championship, the tournament for the ladies crme de la crme. And as always, she didnt put her answers through the mental filter before they came out into words. She said at the Samsung World Championships exactly what she felt like at the time ' a loser after stumbling to Annika Sorenstam when she led going into the final round.. And, no, she isnt going to start filtering now.
No, no, no, she protested. Thats me, you know. Im open to you, to everyone else. I did really feel like a loser.
She, too, has watched the answers of a person who has finished second and wondered how they could say they were happy with the outcome, regardless of whether they won or not. She firmly believes, with all her Korean heritage, in being polite. But she doesnt think that is what the runner-up finisher honestly believes.
You know theyre lying, she says emphatically, a smile crossing her lips. You know theyre disappointed. If theyre happy they finished second after having the lead for 65 holes ' theyre lying.
Park has plenty of experience ' she has either finished second or tied for second seven times ' and thats this year alone. And each one was a bitter disappointment, she says. Its like a slap in the face, especially to someone who had won the first major of the year ' the Nabisco ' at the end of March.
When you win so quickly, you think you can win everything, Park said. But then, the seconds started piling up and it was all because of a certain Swede whose first name begins with A and last begins with S.
You know, when Annikas is the field, everybodys aware of it. We know the competition will be that much tougher.
But I feel Im closer (to Sorenstam) than I was last year. Im taking it step by step, taking it slowly. I want to get there. I WILL get there.
It was Sorenstam who beat Park in a playoff at a major last year ' the McDonalds Championship. And it was Sorenstam, again, who nipped Park from behind at the Samsung in a tournament which Park led for 68 holes.
It was Park, though, that finally prevailed with a big exclamation point over Sorenstam in the CJ Nine Bridges Classic last month. Entering the final round, Park was ahead of Annika by three, and she steadily pulled ahead the final day to eventually win by five.
Some might say that, Shes jinxed, stuck in second place, said Grace. But it only shows that Ive improved that much.
If you look at the results last year ' I had a bunch of second places last year, too, but I was never close to winning the tournament. This year, I was in contention many more times than I had been in the past nine years.
Park has really put on the afterburners the past two months, though. Starting with the Safeway Classic, she either won, finished second or finished third in five straight events. That is until last week, when she sizzled on opening day with a 66, then steadily tailed off to finish tied for 18th. That, she says, was the result of seven straight weeks when she was either playing or traveling between continents.
I just in the last couple of months got better at taking it hole by hole, shot by shot, Park said. I dont get ahead of myself and I dont get stuck in the past. And that shows on the results.
Oh ' at the end of the chat, she said she likes cute guys ' whatever. See ' I told you she doesnt know anything about being interviewed.
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