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Who’s the best S. Korean golfer between Pak Se-ri and Park In-bee?

Who’s the best S. Korean golfer between Pak Se-ri and Park In-bee?

Posted February. 19, 2020 07:59,   

Updated February. 19, 2020 08:48


Park In-bee has collected her 20th career victory by winning the Australian Open on Feb. 16 and become the second South Korean golfer after Pak Se-ri to earn 20 LPGA titles. Pak Se-ri, the head coach of the South Korean women’s Olympic golf team, claimed 25 victories total on the LPGA Tour before retiring in 2016.

The golfchannel.com took the opportunity to compare Park In-bee to Pak Se-ri, the two best South Korean golfer of all time.

The article wrote that choosing the best golfer in South Korea is like choosing “the best marathon runner from Kenya, the best speed skater from the Netherlands, the best alpine skier from Austria or the best squash player from Egypt.”

Pak Se-ri’s position is atop the sport’s holy order in South Korea and she remains as revered even after retirement, the article wrote. It went on to say that her U.S. Women’s Open victory in 1998 made her “a source of immense nationalistic pride” when South Korea was suffering through a financial crisis. The article said Pak “transcended the game as a symbol of what was possible” for Koreans.

By winning the Olympic gold medal in Rio de Janeiro in 2016, Park In-bee is about to “mount a run that will finally elevate her to Pak’s equal,” according to the article.

Pak Se-ri claimed five major titles out of her 25 LPGA victories while Park In-bee captured seven major titles out of her 20 career victories. In particular, Park In-bee completed a career Grand Slam while Pak Se-ri never won the ANA Inspiration during her career. This is why some say Park In-bee has already overtook Pak Se-ri although Park In-bee has six more victories to go to break Pak Se-ri’s record.

Pak Se-ri served as a pioneer, building a path for other South Korean golfers while Park In-bee took over the LPGA Tour as a front-runner among the “Pak Se-ri Kids.”

The article quoted an insider in the Korean golf sector as saying, “It’s not really fair to compare Park and Pak, because they’re both so vital to the country’s golf success in such different ways.” The insider added it is like comparing George Washington to Abraham Lincoln in trying to name the greatest American statesman.

Hong-Gu Kang windup@donga.com