Park fighting through thumb pain to make Hall of Fame


Inbee Park’s Hall of Fame qualification is becoming a painful trip.

Park, still battling inflammation of the ligament in her left thumb, needs to make two more starts to officially qualify for induction into the LPGA Hall of Fame. She released a statement Tuesday saying she plans to tee it up this week at the Volvik Championship at Travis Pointe Country Club in Ann Arbor, Mich., despite lingering pain.

While Park met the 27-point LPGA Hall of Fame requirement with the one point she earned claiming the Vare Trophy for low scoring average at the end of last season, she still needed to make 10 starts this year to meet the 10-year tour membership requirement for induction. Park made her eighth start of the season last week at the Kingsmill Championship but ended up withdrawing after six holes in the second round, citing the thumb injury. If Park makes this week’s start, the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship at Sahalee Country Club in Seattle (June 9-12), she will officially qualify for the LPGA Hall of Fame. Park only needs to finish one round to make an official start.

“Due to the pain still stemming from my left thumb, certain movements in my swing are currently restricted,” Park said in a statement on Tuesday. “Even though my physio has assured that playing will not cause any further damage, I know my body is naturally trying to protect that area when I make certain swing movements. My plan right now is to do my best to get through this week and the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship in two weeks before I start seeking further medical advice.”

Park, 27, is fighting through a tough start to this year. She shot an 80 in the first round of the season-opening Pure Silk Bahamas Classic in January and withdrew before the second round with back pain. She took a month off before returning to the Honda LPGA Thailand. It was the first of six starts before she withdrew a couple days before the Swinging Skirts Classic in April with a thumb injury. She missed a little more than a month again before teeing it up in Kingsmill last week. In eight starts this year, she has two top-10 finishes.