SAN MARTIN, Calif. – Se Ri Pak isn’t just playing her final U.S. Women’s Open this week.
She says this will probably be her last tournament appearance in the United States.
“After the Olympics, I think I’m pretty much done,” Pak said Wednesday at CordeValle Golf Club.
Pak, who inspired a nation of young South Korean girls to become a dominant force in golf during her Hall of Fame career, will captain the Korean women in the Olympics next month. After that, she may play events here and there overseas, but she plans to focus her life on building a sports academy in South Korea, where she intends to train young athletes beyond athletic skill. She wants to train hearts, minds and souls, too. She wants to teach athletes to avoid the mistakes she made in becoming too obsessed with training, at the expense of developing as a total person. She says she also hopes this helps her fill some holes in her life.
“It’s not too difficult to find happiness in mentoring,” Pak said.
Pak, 38, is playing her 20th U.S. Women’s Open on a special exemption. She won the U.S. Women’s Open at Blackwolf Run in ’98, becoming the first South Korean to win a major. She is looking forward to embracing American audiences for the final time.
“I know some fans who are out there always, every week,” Pak said. “They said they are going to miss me. I am going to miss them, too.”