Notes: Park continues 'scary' streak with USWO win
One lasting impression from Inbee Park’s historic victory at Sebonack: Korean hand fans. These blue, red and yellow swirling fans were everywhere on Sunday, stuffed into pockets and handbags and waved for all the world to see as Park marched toward her third consecutive major title at the U.S. Women’s Open.
In the final pairing, tony Southampton felt more like downtown Seoul.
Koreans love our national championship, to the point that they have won the last three. The two Koreans who showered Park with champagne on the 18th happened to be the last two to win the U.S. Women’s Open: So Yeon Ryu and Na Yeon Choi.
At Sebonack, Koreans swept the top three spots. They were the only players in the field to shoot under par. Koreans have won five out of the last six U.S. Women’s Opens.
That leads us to to a couple obvious questions: Do Americans need to work harder? Why don’t we have an American superstar?
Angela Stanford, for one, is tired of this line of questioning.
“I’ve just heard it so much and it just makes me so mad because it’s not like the Americans aren’t trying,” Stanford said. “I mean, we’re working our tails off.”
Stanford said that once the PGA Tour gets the influx of Asian talent the LPGA has experienced, perhaps the media and golf fans will be more accepting of where Americans stand in relation to global talent.
Five Americans finished in the top 10 at Sebonack. None, however, made it to the podium, so to speak.
Hard to believe American fans will ever be satisfied with that kind of showing.
• • •
St. Park: Park’s record at the Ricoh Women’s British Open certainly bolsters the belief that she’ll do well four weeks from now in St. Andrews. Her last three British Open showings: T-9, T-7 and second. She tied for 11th at the Old Course in 2007.
In Park’s last 15 starts at major championships, she has 12 top-10 finishes.
• • •
Money matters: With her victory at the USWO, Park crossed the $2 million mark in season earnings. No one else on the LPGA has even banked $1 million.
• • •
Hot streaks: Inbee Park now has won six titles in 13 starts this season. There are 13 LPGA events left in 2013.
To put Park’s run in perspective, let’s look at other players who have dominated a season in recent years:
- 2011: Yani Tseng, 7 wins
- 2008: Lorena Ochoa, 7 wins
- 2007: Lorena Ochoa, 8 wins
- 2006: Lorena Ochoa, 6 wins
- 2005: Annika Sorenstam, 10 wins
- 2004: Annika Sorenstam, 8 wins
- 2003: Annika Sorenstam, 6 wins
- 2002: Annika Sorenstam, 11 wins
- 2001 : Annika Sorenstam, 8 wins
Mickey Wright holds the record for most official wins in one season with 13 in 1963. She also happened to win 11 times in 1964.
• • •
Big ups: Park’s lead in the Rolex Rankings over Stacy Lewis is starting to look Yani-like. She has won four times since overtaking Lewis in the rankings last April. Lewis’ last victory came at the RR Donnelley Founders Cup on March 17, when she ended Tseng’s two-year reign at No. 1.
Park now has a 4.98 advantage over Lewis.
• • •
Perfection cut short: Fifty years ago, Ben Hogan won the first three major championships of 1953. His epic lineup included victories at Augusta National, Oakmont and Carnoustie. Unfortunately, Hogan couldn’t play in the PGA Championship that year as the dates overlapped with the British.
• • •
Final thoughts: Park made only 10 bogeys (and no doubles) in 72 holes at Sebonack. Given that the course played to an average of 76.029 for the week, that shows remarkable control of the golf ball. She played the par 4s in 6 under.
Park has established herself as the best putter in the world right now. But the rest of her game is working quite nicely, too.
“It’s scary to think what I’m capable of doing,” Park said at the trophy ceremony last Sunday.