“We are rivals, we are each other’s teachers…we are here for Seri”

October 11, 2023 | by

“Annika Sorenstam and Carrie Webb are two of the best teachers I’ve ever had because they always remind me that I’m not good enough. They made me work harder when I was playing, and they make me work harder now for the future of golf.”

This was not the “Rich Sister” Park Se-ri (46), whose witty banter on various entertainment programs has made her a household name, humbling herself as much as possible as she looked at Sorenstam (53-Sweden) and Webb (49-Australia) with a look that seemed to have “respect” written all over it. “We really look up to her because she’s the first South Korean to win the U.S. Women’s Open and she’s a pioneer in women’s golf, giving Asian players more confidence,” Sorenstam and Webb said. “It’s the only country in the world where women’s golf is more popular than men’s,” he laughs.

Sorenstam, the “Empress of Golf” with 72 career victories on the U.S. Women’s Professional Golf (LPGA) Tour, Webb, dubbed the “Great White Shark,” with 41 victories, and Park, the “Pioneer of Korean Golf,” with 25 victories, are all members of the World Golf Hall of Fame.

Sorenstam, Webb and Park, who together won 138 tournaments in the 1990s and 2000s to usher in the “troika era” of women’s golf, gathered at Stonegate Country Club in Gijang-gun, Busan, on July 7. It was for the Maum Park Se-ri World Match, a charity event now in its second year. Maum Capital Group (MCG) is an American Silicon Valley investment company founded by LS Group Chairman Jang Son Koo Bon-woong. As part of its investment in Hallyu content, it will sponsor a new LPGA Tour tournament named after Park Se-ri in March next year.

In addition to the big three, the Park Se-ri World Match will feature international stars such as Laura Davies (60-England), Michelle Wie (34-U.S.), Susan Pettersen (42-Norway), Amy Alcott (67-U.S.), and Chung Yani (34-Taiwan), as well as Park Ji-eun (44) and Han Hee-won (45), Kim Joo-yeon (42), Choi Na-yeon (36), Kim Ha-neul (35), and domestic sports stars Lee Hyung-taek (47), Jin Jong-oh (44), Park Tae-hwan (34), Hyun Jung-hwa (54), Lee Dong-guk (44), Kim Taek-soo (53), Mo Tae-beom (34), Yoon Seok-min (37), Kim Seung-hyun (45), Yoon Sung-bin (29), and Shin Soo-ji (32). ‘Rich Sister’ Park Se-ri’s domestic and international connections were mobilized. Players were paired in foursomes of two and alternated shots, with Choi Na-yeon and tennis star Lee Hyung-taek winning the tournament with an even-par 72. The winners, Choi Na-yeon and Lee Hyung-taek, donated 100 million won to the donation center for the value of sports, culture, and art coexistence.

Sorenstam has played LPGA Tour tournaments in South Korea since her playing days and has also competed in Park Se Ri events in the country. This year, Sorenstam reached out in March and organized the Park Se Ri & Annika Invitational Asia, a junior golf tournament, last week. “Golf has been a love/hate relationship that has brought me joy and pain throughout my life,” Sorenstam said, “and we have a mission to work together to improve the game of golf in the world.” 메이저사이트

Webb hasn’t been back to Korea since his playing days. He doesn’t talk about it, but Park said he had an uncomfortable experience using the restroom when he visited Korea a long time ago. Webb said she decided to come to Korea at the U.S. Women’s Open in Pebble Beach, California, in July. Paired with Park and Julie Inkster (63-USA) in an event featuring past US Women’s Open champions, Webb said that when Park offered to play in her charity tournament during a round, she immediately accepted, saying, “If it’s something she’s doing, I’ll go.” Webb arrived in Korea a few days early and was taken on a tour of Seoul by Choi Nayeon, with whom she stays in touch, and enjoyed Korean short ribs with Park. “I got to see what a great country Korea is,” Webb laughs.

During their careers, the three were fierce players with different personalities and charisma. Sorenstam was a perfectionist who worked on his weaknesses in college by entering every shot into a computer. With a “Vision 54” goal of shooting a 54 in a round, she did 1,000 sit-ups a day and lifted tons of weights to build her muscular frame. She shot a dream 59, the only woman to do so, and challenged the men to a tournament. Webb is said to have the best ball-striking ability in LPGA history. Australian legend Greg Norman, 68, said the first time he saw Webb’s swing, “the only word that comes to mind is beautiful.” Park was an intensely focused player who seized opportunities when they came her way, as evidenced by her six overtime wins.

Sorenstam officially retired in 2008 and Park in 2016. Webb isn’t done yet. “I’ve been playing very little lately, but I don’t want to walk away from the game, which is everything to me,” Webb said, “and I’ll be doing more to get more kids into the game in Australia.” Australian-born professional golfers Minjee Lee, Soo Hyun Oh and Grace Kim were among the recipients of the Carrie Webb Scholarship, which gives junior players the opportunity to play on the world stage. “Coming from a small rural town with a population of 8500, I want to give more players the opportunity to see the world through the window of golf,” Webb said. In Busan, the trio declared, “The three of us will work together to improve the game of golf in the world.” While they were still active, one foreign media outlet said, “You can’t talk about the future of the LPGA Tour without mentioning Park, Sorenstam and Webb,” a prophecy that has stuck.


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