Grace Park, who has battled injuries in recent years, decided to hang up her clubs and announced her retirement at the LPGA Championship, making it the last event of her professional career. The 33-year-old from South Korea was one of the pioneers from her country in the women’s golf circuit, turning pro two years after Se Ri Pak in 1999.
Park won six times on the LPGA, along with capturing the 2004 Kraft Nabisco Championship, the first major of the season for the ladies.
She was probably my favorite player, who I respected and looked up to. She had it all: talent, beauty, fashionable (her clothing sponsor was Prada!), English-speaking, and pardon the pun, grace.
On Friday evening, after the second round of this weekend’s LPGA Championship and before she was even sure she had made the cut to continue in the final two rounds, Ms. Park stood before reporters and announced her retirement.
“I had been thinking about it for a while,” she said. “But after getting my health back and playing every event last year, I wanted to give it one last chance at becoming one of the top golfers again. I worked really hard to get here today. Especially this past winter in trying to improve my game, improve my strength again, and I thought I could do it again. But the truth was, the reality was, that my game just wasn’t there.”
Ms. Park added that it wasn’t fun playing anymore. “I know my work ethics,” she said. “My heart is still there, but not seeing the results was really painful, hard to deal with. So, yes, I made the decision.”
She said she’s unsure what she’ll do now. She’s planning to wed her long-time boyfriend this fall. And she’s considering playing on the tour in Korea, but she may just take some time off from the game and come back as a coach or mentor in the future.
Thanks for everything you’ve done for the game. You’ve truly been a role model — and definitely one of mine growing up. Best of luck!