SAN MARTIN, Calif. – Sung Hyun Park has managed to give herself a chance to win the U.S. Women’s Open this week despite a language barrier with her American caddie.
Park just might join some impressive company despite the challenge.
Park is attempting to become the fourth Korean player over the last five years to win a major championship before joining the American-based LPGA.
In Gee Chun did it winning the U.S. Women’s Open last year.
Hyo Joo Kim did it winning the Evian Championship two years ago.
So Yeon Ryu did it winning the U.S. Women’s Open in 2011.
After posting a 2-over-par 74 Saturday, Park slipped into a tie for second, one shot behind Lydia Ko. Park is already a seven-time winner on the Korean tour.
“I felt comfortable, and I wasn’t as nervous as I thought I would be,” Park said through a translator when asked how she felt playing with the 36-hole lead in Saturday’s final pairing. “I’ve done my best, and there’s still one more round. It’s a great experience.”
Park has been navigating her way around this week with American Jeff King as her caddie. He’s a PGA Tour caddie who picked up Park’s bag just for her American events.
“When we met, she told me her English wasn’t very good,” King said. “I told her that’s OK, my Korean is no good at all.”
King said Park understands certain key words, but they’ve done just fine using their hands and signals to communicate.
“If she doesn’t understand me, I just draw a picture,” King said.
He’s literally drawing pictures in a notebook that he carries to help explain himself to Park.
“It’s worked just fine,” King said.
King said there’s another issue with yardages that they’ve figured out how to fix. Park uses meters to determine what club to hit. King doesn’t work in meters, so he found a yardage/meter chart.
“I point to the yardage, and she sees the meter conversion,” King said. “That’s working just fine, too.”