Se Ri Pak Speaker Profile
Se Ri Pak Biography
Se Ri Pak was born September 28, 1977 and is a South Korean professional golfer on the LPGA Tour. She was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in November 2007.
Pak turned professional in 1996, a year before she moved to the United States as a 20-year-old. In 1996 and 1997, she won six tournaments on the LPGA of Korea Tour. Pak joined the LPGA Tour full-time for the year 1998, crowning her rookie season with victories in two majors: the McDonald's LPGA Championship and U.S. Women's Open. At just 20 years of age, she became the youngest-ever winner of the U.S. Women's Open. About.com writes that Pak won a 20-hole playoff for that victory, making that tournament - at 92 holes in length - the longest tournament ever in women's professional golf. Four days after the U.S. Women's Open win, Pak shot a then-LPGA record 61 during the second round of the Jamie Farr Kroger Classic. She won the Rolex Rookie of the Year award for that season.
Since 1998, she has gone on to win 21 more events on the Tour, including three more majors. In June 2007, at age 29, she qualified for the World Golf Hall of Fame, surpassing Karrie Webb as the youngest living entrant ever. (Tom Morris, Jr., who died in 1875 at the age of 24, had been elected in 1975.)
Pak has also competed in a professional men's event, at the 2003 SBS Super Tournament on the Korean Tour. The Korean Tour is a feeder tour for the Asian Tour and does not offer world ranking points. She finished 10th in the event, according to the World Golf Hall of Fame becoming the first woman to make the cut in a professional men's tournament since Babe Zaharias did so in 1945.
At the 2005 McDonald's LPGA Championship, she missed the cut for the first time in 29 majors. In an interview quoted on the PGA Tour's website, she commented that she was searching for a balance between her golf and her personal life: I've been a little bit unhappy about everything, my game, big game. I'm not really enjoying it at all, and I'm not doing anything with my ability. I know what I needed, a much better balance. I'm always putting a lot of pressure on myself. Eventually, she was found to have a finger injury. In 2006, she rediscovered her best form by winning the McDonald's LPGA Championship for the third time to claim her fifth major title overall.
In 2007, she won the Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic for the fifth time, making her the fourth player in LPGA history to win the same tournament five or more times (Annika Srenstam accomplished this feat at two tournaments).
Perhaps the greatest tribute to her career to date came in a column by Golf World writer Eric Adelson in 2008, who called Pak a pioneer... who changed the face of golf even more than Tiger Woods. When Pak came to the LPGA in 1998, she was the only Korean player. Ten years later, she was one of 45 Koreans on tour, and the single largest source of revenue for the LPGA was the sale of TV rights in South Korea.
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