In Gee Chun has withdrawn from next week’s JTBC Founders Cup in Phoenix with injuries sustained when a 15-pound travel bag that Ha Na Jang’s father dropped went crashing down an escalator and hit Chun in the lower back at Changi Airport in Singapore before the HSBC Women’s Champions last week.
The mishap also led Chun to withdraw from the Singapore event.
Jang went on to win the HSBC Women’s Champions, vaulting up into the South Korean Olympic golf team’s four-player mix, knocking Chun back to the fifth position.
Amid a growing tempest in South Korea over the bizarre circumstances of the mishap, Chun issued a statement through her management team to address “excessive speculations” and “criticism” that Chun said she does not want to go any further.
“Ha Na Jang and her father are two of the players and players’ fathers who have the most respect from a lot of people in golf, and who are loved by them,” Chun said in the statement translated from Korean to English. “Regardless of the shortcomings in delivering apologies, and consolations directly to me and my family, I still believe the excessive speculations and the provoked criticism from current issues should not result in their mental wound and stresses.
“I hope to meet them soon and would like to have an opportunity to share with them my thought on how my family and I were hurt. At the same time, I would like to show my sympathy and console their heart and soul sincerely if I could. Many fans of Ha Na Jang's must have felt greatly hurt and low. I would also like to express my sincere consolation wholeheartedly to them, and I would like to ask them to continue to support Ha Na Jang for her continued top performance at the tournaments to come. I will do my best to rebuild the relationship with her and her family in a very positive direction and meet the expectations from everyone who loves golf.”
Chun is the reigning U.S. Women’s Open champion and favorite to win the LPGA Rookie of the Year Award. Jang has won two of the five LPGA events staged this year.
Chun’s management team said an orthopedic specialist’s MRI and ultrasound tests revealed injuries to Chun’s lumbar muscles, sacroiliac joint and pelvis. Doctors told Chun she would need two weeks to recover. Chun’s team says she has been undergoing heat-acupuncture therapy and other treatment.
“I’m really sorry for what happened to Chun,” Jang told reporters Monday after arriving back at South Korea’s Incheon Airport. “I hope to see her at the next tournament.”
Jang is still scheduled to play the Founders Cup.
Reuters reported that Chun’s father, Chang Ho, lost control of the travel bag in Singapore while watching his daughter tie her shoes. According to the news organization, Korean media reported that Jang’s father apologized to Chun immediately after the incident occurred but Chun later wrote on her web site that she and her family had not received the “apology that they claim to have made.”