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“Even Their Caddies Come to Me For Help”

Posted March. 01, 2005 22:52,   


“I’m not even the eldest, but they all come to me.”

“Koala” Park Hee-jeong (Gloria Park, 25, CJ) recounted her role as an advisor for the Korean rookies that enter the U.S. LPGA tour each year. With her generosity both inside and out on display, even the caddies of the Korean rookies come to Park when faced with the language barrier.

Her busy schedule may not permit her to respond to “cell phone SOSs,” which tend to arrive at all hours. But Park Hee-jeong remembers the time she herself was a rookie, and attempts to reach out to those in need.

“When I was a rookie, I wasn’t helped much by my seniors. Maybe they thought I was competition (laughs). But I help out my juniors who are having difficulties adjusting to a foreign environment.”

Park Hee-jeong arrived at Mexico City on February 28 for the Master Card Classic, her second competition after the SBS Open (eighth place), in order to shake off her two-year slump. She arrived with her long-time caddy Robert Carliolo (47, US), who helped her win the 2002 Sybase LPGA Big Apple Classic, her second win.

“Carliolo is the caddy that Meg Mallon took after my win two years ago. In contrast with the younger caddies, he is responsible and works well with me. His personality is great, which is why our family calls him ‘uncle.’”

Park pays Carliolo at a weekly rate of 950 dollars. This is 200 dollars more than the average caddy rate.

Young-Sik Ahn ysahn@donga.com