Dream come true for Pak with LPGA event bearing her name

South Korean legend becomes tournament host this week at the LPGA Seri Pak Championship

AFP March 20, 2024


South Korean legend Pak Se-ri, who won five majors and 25 LPGA titles in a 20-year career, becomes a tournament host this week at the LPGA Seri Pak Championship.

The former LA Open, still played at Palos Verdes Golf Club, was renamed in tribute of the star who pioneered a wave of talented South Korean players becoming stars in the global women's golf series.

"It's really a dream come true," Pak said Tuesday. "It's great to come back to the US and have my own tournament, there's no doubt."

Pak, inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2007, retired in 2016 and since then has served as a commentator and businesswoman in her homeland. Her event marks the LPGA's US return this season after events in Thailand, Singapore and China.

"It's a perfect match for this week," Pak said. "Most exciting is I'm seeing a lot of players. Hope to be creating many opportunities for players that dreamed about playing the LPGA."

Her event is near where Tiger Woods stages his PGA event at Riviera.

"I just started. I'm going to be better than Tiger in the future," Pak said with a laugh. "Of course it's not as high as what Tiger does because Tiger is such a great player.

"But at the same time, it's women's side and especially I'm Asian. I'm trying to do my best. I'm trying to work hard. I'm really thankful. I'm a really lucky person."

Asked the secret to South Korea's success in women's golf, Pak said, "They are so strong mentally. That's the biggest of it."

Pak can see her legacy in the LPGA greats who followed her path from South Korea to global success.

"It's very proud to see," Pak said. "Every single year more players come from my country and they play really well. They're really successful.

"I'm really proud to see it happen, not only Koreans but many Asians. It's really great to see that. The past and future here is more players from Asia. It's really great to see that happen from all the countries."

A perfect example is China's fourth-ranked Yin Ruoning, the 21-year-old defending champion who also won last year's Women's PGA Championship.

Yin likes having Pak's name on the event.

"Se-ri is such a legend," Yin said. "It's just amazing to be part of the field. I would love to meet such a legend. That would be my dream."


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