Golf star feeling effects of slump“I don’t even know what’s happened to me. I want to drop my golf clubs, go away somewhere and just rest for a month.”
Se-ri Park is tired. On the evening of July 23, after the third round of the Evian Masters Tournament, Pak sat glumly at a restaurant in the French city of Evian, close to the border with Switzerland.
Despite her smile, Pak seemed to be trying hard not to cry. Earlier in the day, Pak shot a nine-over-par 81. It was the first time she shot in the 80s since the fourth round of the U.S. Women’s Open last July, when she recorded an 82.
“I can’t believe it. I want to start all over again. My driver shots were going here and there. ... There were shots even I couldn’t make sense of,” lamented Pak as she picked away at the steak in front of her.
Pak hasn’t stepped out of her hotel since she arrived in France on July 19, except to visit the driving range. “I have no appetite. There’s nothing that I especially want to eat. Plus, I’m not in the mood for touring the city like the other players ...”
Pak has been in a slump for over two months. It started after she won the Michelob Ultra Open on May 10, which qualified her for induction into the LPGA Hall of Fame. The only thing preventing her immediate entry is a rule that states one must be a tour member for 10 years; Pak has seven under her belt.
But in early June, Pak did not even make the cutoff at the Kellogg-Keebler Classic. Since then, she has shot in the 60s only four times in 24 rounds. At the Evian Masters, she came in 68th out of 77 players.
In Korea, nasty gossip has been spreading about Pak, that she cares more about her looks now than her golf and that she slacked off during her winter training.
In response to such rumors, Pak defended herself, saying that such statements are simply “gossip that springs up whenever my records aren’t stellar.”
Pak has decided to take a vacation after the tournament, a hiatus she had no choice but to take.
“I don’t know how long it’s been since I had a vacation. Being out after a long while is actually not that bad,” she said.
Pak admits to having lived a life dominated by golf. She can’t imagine thinking of anything else. Even after wins, she celebrated by attending press conferences.
Why is it that Pak, who managed to topple Swedish star Annika Sorenstam, is slipping? Her English caddy of four years, Colin Cann, says it’s a matter of confidence.
“Mentality is 80 percent while swings are 20 percent. Her swing hasn’t fluctuated that much, but she’s lost confidence and that sways her driver shots. Consequently, she only loses more confidence. However, Se-ri has a stern grasp on the basics and a strong body. I believe she’ll recover her swing soon.”
by Chung Jeh-won