PHOENIX – In Gee Chun withdrew Wednesday night from next week’s Kia Classic.
That’s three straight WDs now from Chun since she was injured two weeks ago in a mishap before the HSBC Women’s Champions at the Singapore airport, where Ha Na Jang’s father dropped a 15-pound carry-on bag that crashed down an escalator and struck Chun’s lower back. The incident created a media tempest in South Korea, where the competition to make the Olympic women’s golf team is intense.
Chun, the reigning U.S. Women’s Open champion, also withdrew from the HSBC Women’s Champions and this week’s JTBC Founders Cup.
Per LPGA rules pertaining to WDs before an event begins, Chun wasn’t required to give a reason for her withdrawal. Her agent couldn’t immediately be reached for comment. In a statement last week, Chun’s management team said Chun was being treated for a sacroiliac sprain and spasms in the lumbar muscles of her lower back and a right pelvis issue. She was originally expected to need two weeks of therapy before returning. The year’s first major championship, the ANA Inspiration, is in two weeks.
The top four South Koreans within the top 15 in the Rolex world rankings will earn spots into the Olympics this summer. With Jang’s victory at the HSBC Women’s Champions, she moved into the Olympic team mix, knocking Chun out and into the fifth spot. The South Korean Olympic golf team competition is intensely covered by Korean media, with updated weekly Olympic rankings getting a lot of attention. The competition is among the most intense in the women’s game, with Koreans holding seven of the top 12 in the world rankings.