Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Los Angeles Times on Koreans and kyopo presence in golf (redux)

Nearly three years ago I put up a post that I had hoped to blog more fully — but never had the time — about the presence of Korean and ethnic Korean golfers in the LPGA. It's a perennial favorite of the LAT, and in Tuesday's edition they have come up with another version.

This one focuses on Inbee Park (박인비; above), who clinched the US Open title last year at the age of nineteen. Congenial and photogenic Michelle Wie is the household name associated with Koreans and golf, but Wunderkind Wie is not always the best performer. The truth is there are loads more young Korean women in golf, and many of them are more consistent in their performance, even if they don't get the big-ticket endorsements that Michelle Wie does.

(And I'm not knocking Miss Wie, who an absolute media darling here in Hawaii where she grew up and took up the sport; I dare say locals love her even more than Koreans do. She is still young and has accomplished a lot, and will probably accomplish even more in her still young career.)

The LAT article starts off with an explanation familiar to many who have even a passing interest in Korea's increasing dominance of women's golf: how a virtual unknown named Pak Seri a decade ago came from nowhere to become the youngest to win the US Women's Open.

And just like Kim Yuna is inspiring untold numbers of girls across Korea today to take to the ice — or inspiring their parents to put them on the ice — Pak Seri's warm-hearted and no-nonsense approach led thousands to pick up a set of clubs and see what they could do with them.

The article goes on to list some of the more prominent players, providing background information and a little filler for each. If you're interested in figuring out who's who among Korean golfers, this might be a good place to start.

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