SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. – Hall of Famer Carol Mann respects the growing global nature of the women’s game and hopes American audiences appreciate what Inbee Park did winning the U.S. Women’s Open Sunday to claim the year’s first three major championships.
Mann has her doubts, though, and she isn’t afraid to voice them.
Park joins Babe Zaharias (1950), Mickey Wright (1961) and Pat Bradley (1986) as the only women to win three major championships in a single season. Mann believes the combination of Park as an international player and the global nature of today’s media should make Park’s achievement the most celebrated.
“I would say what Inbee is doing is going to be the biggest deal of all because she is an international player,” Mann said. “That’s never been done. Only Americans have won three majors in a year.
“But I think this is going to be a bigger deal for the rest of the world than it is in the United States, and I don’t like that.”
South Koreans are proud of the achievements of their women in golf. The country has now won the U.S. Women’s Open five of the last six years. The country has won the last five women’s majors overall.
While South Korean players have bridged the language gap with English audiences over the last decade, with players like Park, Na Yeon Choi, Jiyai Shin and I.K. Kim becoming so fluent in English, Mann says she still detects a bigotry within golf’s audience that disturbs her. She sees it in how stories are received in web comments and social media.
“I pay attention to the media’s positioning of women’s golf,” Mann said. “I pay attention a lot, and I pay attention to the comments. I find there is an incredible lack of acceptance, especially of Korean players, and I really don’t like it. I’m going to call it on people. The prejudice, bigotry and lack of appreciation, to me is intolerable.
“I’m an athlete, and of all people who might have some resentment, it’s the athletes, but they have no resentment. They have great appreciation of the accomplishment. It’s not like golf is our game, like football or basketball or baseball are. It’s not a home game. We don’t have rights to be homers.”