In Gee Chun and Ha Na Jang will be paired together for the first time since an escalator mishap in Singapore three months ago set off a tempest in their native South Korea.
Chun and Jang are scheduled to go off together next week in the first and second rounds of the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship at Sahalee Country Club in suburban Seattle.
Back in March, Jang’s father lost control of a 15-pound travel bag that crashed down an airport escalator and hit Chun in the tailbone, knocking the reigning U.S. Women’s Open champion out of the HSBC Women’s Champions just a few days before that event began. Chun reported needing treatment for injuries to her lumbar muscles, sacroiliac joint and pelvis. Jang ended up winning the tournament that week and bumping Chun out of the Korean Olympic team mix at the time. The events set off a firestorm in South Korea with Chun missing three LPGA events while recuperating.
At the Founders Cup in Phoenix two weeks after the mishap, Jang said backlash from the incident left her struggling emotionally. She left an interview with two reporters in Phoenix in tears. Two weeks after that, Jang and Chun both played their way into early contention at the ANA Inspiration and said there that they had settled any differences. It was the first tournament they appeared in together since the mishap.
“There’s no problem,” Jang said there.
“It’s bygones be bygones,” Chun said.
But Jang hasn’t played a full found of an LPGA event since tying for 36th at the ANA Inspiration. She withdrew in her next start at the Swinging Skirts Classic, with South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency reporting Jang was suffering from insomnia and anemia. The news agency also quoted her management company saying that she was seeking medical treatment for blurred vision and dizziness.
“She was treated at a U.S. hospital but made no progress,” a Jang spokesman told the news agency in April.
Jang, who won twice in the first two months of the season, will be making her first start since that withdrawal at the Swinging Skirts Classic. Chun currently sits third in the Korean Olympic women’s golf rankings and Jang fourth, both within the team qualifying mix.
Chun and Jang are scheduled to go off together with Melissa Reid at 4:30 p.m. ET on Thursday and 11:20 a.m. ET on Friday.
In other marquee pairings (all times are ET), Rolex world No. 1 Lydia Ko is scheduled to go off with Stacy Lewis and Lexi Thompson at 11:30 a.m. on Thursday and 4:40 p.m. on Friday. Ko is trying to win a third consecutive major championship. Inbee Park is scheduled to go off with Ariya Jutanugarn and Paula Creamer at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday and 11:20 a.m. on Friday. Park will be trying to become the first woman to win the same major four years in a row and Jutanugarn will be trying to win her fourth consecutive start this year.