Olympic champion Park ready for LPGA return
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[February 07, 2017]
SEOUL (Reuters) - Olympic
champion and seven-times major winner Park In-bee has a relatively
modest goal this season -- stay healthy.
The South Korean endured a woeful 2016 due to a nagging thumb
injury, the only bright spot being her stunning triumph in Rio where
she became the first woman to win golfing gold in 116 years.
The former world number one has slipped down the rankings to 11th
and while Park conceded she would one day like to wear that crown
once again, she said on Tuesday she had to take it one step at a
"The main goal for me this year is to get through the entire season
injury-free," Yonhap News quoted her as saying at a sports event in
Seoul. "If I can stay healthy throughout the season then everything
else will follow.
"I'm in no rush."
Park's decision to play in Rio raised eyebrows in South Korea, with
local media going as far as to suggest that she should withdraw from
the team due to her injury problems and let another player take her
But Park, who at 27 became the youngest player to be inducted into
the LPGA's Hall of Fame last year, proved her doubters wrong by
cruising to a five-shot win over an elite field in Brazil.
Park said she would scale down her schedule this season to about 20
events from around 25 in previous years in a bid to stay healthy but
expected to make several appearances early on to shake off the rust.
"It might be difficult to hit top form quickly but I think Iíll be
able to find it if I play as many tournaments as I can," she added.
Park's mental toughness has long been hailed as one of the most
important pillars of her game but she conceded that the pressure to
keep being successful had told on her last year.
[to top of second column]
Park In-bee of South Korea hits off the sixth tee during the first
round of the LPGA Canadian Women's Open golf tournament in
Coquitlam, British Columbia August 23, 2012. REUTERS/Andy Clark
"I started to develop a real fear of failure last year," the
28-year-old added. "I was worried what would happen if I didn't play
"The pressure on me kept growing the more I achieved, the more
famous I became. So now I want to just try to enjoy myself when I
Park is set to tee-off at the Honda LPGA Thailand event at the end
of the month.
(Reporting by Chae Yun Hwan; Writing by Peter Rutherford; Editing by
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