Inbee Park's POY speech proves to be inspirational
Inbee Park’s candid and moving Rolex Player of the Year speech, given on Friday night at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort in Naples, Fla. Park, the first South Korean to win the award, won three consecutive major championship titles this season and six tournaments overall.
Here is the speech:
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Thank you! Thank you LPGA, thank you Rolex.
I don’t know where to begin.
Actually, it began watching the great players on TV. They seemed like people from a different world. They felt so far away. I still wonder, how in the world did I get here?
Who would’ve known that I would be standing here making a Player of the Year Award speech.
Not long ago, I was just a girl who was amazed by the fact that I was holding the scorecard of Lorena Ochoa. I clearly remember the day I was paired with Lorena for the first time time. I was so overwhelmed after the round that I bragged about it to my sister. And now I am here, seven years into my professional golf career.
Many people say I look effortless when I play golf. They also say I’m emotionless. Some even started calling me the “Silent Assassin.” I think that’s a great nickname. It means I get my job done without making unnecessary mess. However, just because I don’t show my feelings, doesn’t mean that I don’t feel anything.
I went though the biggest waves of emotions on the tour this season.
What I have gone through this year, what I have experienced, has been the most challenging task I’ve ever had to go through.
The season seemed endless. Every tournament, every round was a constant battle. I felt as if I was chased. There wasn’t a single moment this year where I felt completely relaxed. I felt as if I wasn’t left alone for one second.
There were unforgettable moments ... like winning three major championships in a row, but I wasn’t ready for the attention and expectations that came along with it. I wasn’t prepared to deal with all of that on top of keeping up my performance. I still don’t feel that prepared. I struggled, especially dealing wit the media attention.
I remember where were days when the thought of addressing the media overwhelmed me. Imagine yourself in China, standing in front of a crowd of Chinese people who are staring at you, and you had to make a speech in Chinese. That’s how I felt.
I would repeat over and over again in my head what I had to say even if it was a single sentence, and I still wouldn’t get it right.
Secondly, I just felt so uncomfortable standing in front of a crowd whose eyes were all on me. But now, I also realize it is part of the job, so I want to feel as comfortable standing here as I do on the golf course.
So to answer the media’s question, and yours: Who is the “Silent Assassin?”
Well, I am someone who believes in finding happiness. My goal at the beginning of the year was simple: Let’s be happier than last year; at most, let’s win on more tournament.
Don’t we all want to be happy? Aren’t we all doing whatever we do in order to be happy?
Unexpectedly, as soon as happiness became my goal, I achieved more than ever. This year I had my best season yet, with six wins, including three straight major championships.
I think that makes for a great year, don’t you think?
But a funny thing happened when I realized success; I started to want more. That’s when I really started to struggle. A lot came into my mind. I started to think too much; I started to think about scores, statistics, not only mine, but of others as well.
I found it especially challenging dealing with other’s expectations of me, and with the attention that chasing history brings.
In the midst of this perfect storm, my family kept me grounded. They reminded me of why I play golf. I don’t think I tell my family enough how grateful I am for their voice of reason and for their love. So at this time, I would really like to thank my family, who kept their faith in me though the good and bad. (speaks in Korean)
As well, to my extended family, friends, and fans and my sponsors, especially my agent Su Jung Lee, who made the long trip from Seoul to be here with me today. I am only standing here on behalf of all of these people.
I would also like to thank Suzann and Stacy for pushing me so hard throughout the season. Without them and their outstanding performance, I would not have been able to achieve this award. They made me work harder and made me realize how bad I wanted to stand here. It was tough.
I’m telling you guys with all my heart that it was not easy ... but it sure was worth it.
After the Lorena Ochoa Invitational last week, I could not have felt more relieved. I was really happy.
Of the many people I would like to thank, I cannot forget Brad Beecher. He’s much more than just a caddie for me, he has been one of my best friends throughout the many years I have been on the tour. Brad has been next to me when I had to make tough decisions on the golf course. I cannot count how many times he saved me from taking poor shots.
Whenever doubt creeps in, he’s there and helps me commit to my shots. Without his support, I would not have performed at the level I have this year.
Off the course, I never hear him complain when I ask him to do some tedious task. He gets along with my family and is even more thoughtful towards them than I am.
Brad, I am so grateful for our friendship both on and off the golf course and I look forward to continuing our success next year.
Last but not least, I would be remiss if I did not mention my fiance. He just makes me smile.
He took a tremendous risk when he decided to stand by me and support me on the tour. I don’t think I could thank him enough for the sacrifices he has made. Despite not speaking English, he made a decision to move to a foreign country with only one thing: faith in me.
Some people say he is the lucky one, but they are wrong. I am the lucky one. Because of him, I was able to fall in love again with golf. I began to enjoy my life on tour and that is reflected in my play. (speaks in Korean)
And finally, I am honored to have my name next to the greatest names in women’s golf. It really is unbelievable. I am especially proud to be the first player from South Korea to win this award. My hope is that my achievements will inspire a new generation of young girls to pick up a set of clubs and follow their dreams.
More than anything though, I, the “Silent Assassin,” am most proud that I kept my eye on the higher goal, happiness. I found it.