ESPN, a global sports media, recently predicted the winner of this year’s major tournament with the start of the new season of the LPGA tour. There was not a single Korean player on the list of candidates to win the five major tournaments. A Korean player who swept 11 victories in the “garden of victory” US Women’s Open was nominated for “long hitter” Lexi Thompson (28, USA).
In fact, last year’s performance was also unchanged. Jeon In-ji (29) of the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship was the only Korean female golfer to lift the trophy at a major tournament. Even in non-majors, the number of times he won was only four. Can Korean female professional golfers, the world’s strongest ‘champions corps’, revive? Men, on the other hand, are thriving on American soil.
There were no Korean players in the Hilton Grand Vacations Tournament of Champions, the opening day of the LPGA Tour 2023 season, which opened on the 20th (Korean time). In this tournament, only players who have won the LPGA Tour tournament over the past two years are eligible to participate, but all eligible Korean golfers have decided not to participate. In 2019, Ji Eun-hee (37) became the first champion, and this is the first time that Korean players ‘not participating’.
There are two reasons why no Korean players can be found. It was because the number of players who could participate decreased, and there were no players who wanted to participate. The first invited players were Park In-bi (35), Kim Hyo-joo (28), Ko Jin-young (28), Jeon In-ji, and Ji Eun-hee. It is the lowest ever in this competition. It means that Korean players have not been active for the past two years and the player base has become thinner.
The only Korean winners in the 2021 season were Jinyoung Ko, who won 5 wins alone, and Inbi Park, Hyojoo Kim. Last year, only four Korean players won the championship. On the other hand, in 2019, 11 Korean players were eligible to compete in the event, and 6 of them competed.
With no Korean players showing up, the record for consecutive LPGA tournaments unrelated has increased to 17. This is the highest record since the 17 consecutive events that lasted from October 2013 to June 2014.
The reason for the sluggish performance is that, like in the 2010s, the ‘big newcomers’ who were pouring in like fire and water disappeared, and existing strong players such as Ko Jin-young suffered from various injuries. There is also an analysis that the corona effect was great. An official from Korean golfer management said, “As the movement was restricted due to corona, the players had difficulty adjusting their condition.”
Some believe that if Yoo Hae-ran (22) joins the LPGA tour starting this year, it will help him to quench his thirst for victory. Yoo Hae-ran, who won 5 wins on the Korean Women’s Professional Golf (KLPGA) Tour, made her LPGA Tour debut this season by “passing the top” at the Qualifying School last year. ESPN also picked Yoo Hae-ran as this year’s ‘newcomer to watch’ and put him up as a candidate for the rookie award. 바카라사이트
The status of ‘K Brothers’ is quite different from that of ‘K Sisters’. Korean male players are listed as ‘regular customers’ in the winning candidates announced by the American media at every tournament. U.S. Golf Week included Kim Si-woo (28), Kim Joo-hyung (21), and Lim Seong-jae (25) on the list while looking for 10 candidates to win the American Express, which opened in La Quinta, California on the 20th.
PGA Tour star player Jordan Spieth (30, USA) said, “The strength of Korean players on the LPGA Tour since the 2010s is moving to the PGA Tour as well.” ” he said. This year, Kim Seong-hyeon (25) and An Byeong-hun (32) will join the PGA Tour.
Lim Seong-jae, who has consistently stood out in the U.S., swept 7 birdies in the first round at the PGA West Nicklaus Tournament Course, increasing the chances of a Korean player winning the championship for two consecutive weeks following Kim Si-woo last week. In this tournament, rounds 1 to 3 are held at the PGA West Nicklaus Tournament Course, La Quinta CC, and the PGA West Stadium Course, and the final 4 rounds at the PGA West Stadium Course determine the winner. Im Seong-jae is aiming for his first win this season and his third win in the tour.