Walk In The Park? Woman Golfer's Pursuit Of Four Majors Gets Surprisingly Little Coverage
Golfer Inbee Park attempting to win her fourth straight major of the year at this week's Ricoh Women's British Open is as "compelling a storyline as golf has had since Tiger Woods was in his pomp," or at "least it should be," according to Robert Lusetich of FOXSPORTS.com. The reality is there is "more buzz about Hunter Mahan bailing on the lead at the Canadian Open last weekend to be with his wife for the birth of their first child." A reporter at Tuesday’s press conference for Park "tweeted a photograph of too many empty chairs." Golfer Stacey Lewis said, "I think for what Inbee is doing right now, she's not getting the credit that she deserves." Part of the reason for Park’s relative anonymity "lies in the fact that women’s golf ... gets no respect." The other "stumbling block lies with Park herself." She is the "anti-Babe Zaharias." Park is "shy, humble and a tad portly, friendly by everyone’s description but not a player who stands out in the crowd." Her victories "aren’t built on daredevil brilliance but on a metronomic consistency" (FOXSPORTS.com, 7/31). USA TODAY's Christine Brennan writes under the header, "Park Deserves Better." Golf HOFer Annika Sorenstam said, "This hasn't been discussed enough and covered enough. It's mind-boggling why it hasn't caught on." Brennan: "How is it possible in our sports-crazed, record-obsessed culture that a quest of this magnitude could fly so under the radar, even if it is women's golf, not men's, and a South Korean athlete, not an American?" For an American audience, it "doesn't help that the athlete in question isn't an American." It would be "wonderful if this weren't so, but nationalism is a powerful force in sports, and likely always will be" (USA TODAY, 8/1).
ATTENTION-GETTER: In DC, Barry Svrluga writes Park’s pursuit could help "draw attention to a tour that has struggled to support a full schedule in recent years." Park is just 25, and following her win at the U.S. Women’s Open on Long Island, she did a "full-fledged media tour of New York, something not afforded LPGA stars in recent years" (WASHINGTON POST, 8/1). YAHOO SPORTS' Shane Bacon wrote the LPGA has done an "incredible job at rebranding what they do, and most of that can be attributed" to Commissioner Mike Whan. But it "still seems that the tour doesn't get the respect it deserves" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 7/31). Whan said of what Park's run this year means for the Tour, "Attention is probably the first word. What she's doing is so historic that it's impossible to ignore whether you're a fan of the tour or not. It's making even the casual fan want to watch" (GOLFWEEK, 8/2 issue).
DEFINING A SLAM: In N.Y., Karen Crouse writes what "constitutes a Grand Slam in women’s golf is unclear at the moment." The LPGA announced two years ago that the September event in Évian-les-Bains, France, "would be elevated from a regular tour stop to become the fifth major beginning in 2013." At the time, Whan said that the "motivation was to give the women’s game added exposure." But instead, it has "put a wrinkle in an otherwise potentially historic moment for the sport." Whan said, “I find it strange that we are struggling not to call this a Grand Slam if Inbee Park wins this week. If a player had won all four global majors in 2011, we would have declared her the Grand Slam winner and she would be posing with all four trophies. If Inbee wins four majors this season, why wouldn’t we call it the same thing?" (N.Y. TIMES, 8/1). In S.F., Ron Kroichick writes Whan is "spinning his way out of this self-made predicament by suggesting Park could accomplish the 'Super Slam' by winning all five majors." Kroichick: "That sounds suspiciously like another blatant and misguided marketing ploy, but we'll let it slide" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 8/1). Park in a special to SI writes, "Officially the LPGA says there are five majors: the four we've been talking about plus, this year for the first time, the Evian Championship, to be played in France next month. If I don't win the British but do win the Evian, I'm going to count that as the Grand Slam." Life is "hard, and I think you have to be nice to yourself where and when you can" (SI, 8/5 issue). Park carded a 3-under-par 69 in the opening round today, three shots behind leader Morgan Pressel (THE DAILY).