As Michelle Wie fever spreads, don't forget LPGA's Grace Park
I will admit to having a thing for Grace Park. Go ahead and accuse me of having an Asian fetish if you want to, and maybe that’s true. I didn’t land in Bangkok for no reason at all. But if Grace Park isn’t the classiest looking and most desirable woman on the LPGA Tour, I’d like to know who is.
Seems like we don’t hear much about Grace Park these days. Michelle Wie soaks up most of the attention, and Annika Sorenstam wins most of the tournaments, and Grace gets very little ink. Maybe that’s because she isn’t much of a self-promoter. She just goes out there quietly, looking stylish and sexy on the course, and hits them a mile.
I’ve got a friend who is part of the team that covers golf for NBC. He tells me Grace is “the most erotic golfer in ladies’ golf.” The guys who do the broadcasts talk about her among themselves.
A lot of people have forgotten that when Grace was 17, she was invited to take part in a long-drive contest with Laura Davies, who was then the longest hitter on the LPGA Tour. Davies won, but not by much, and Grace was still in high school. And while still an amateur, she led the field in driving distance at the U.S. Open. She was the youngest woman ever to make the cut at the Open until Wie came along.
Remember when Jan Stephenson made that tasteless remark about the women’s tour being ruined by all those Asians? I have to think jealousy played a role in that, and I’ll go even further and say I think it was Grace Park that Stephenson was really jealous over – and with good reason. In 2004, the LPGA conducted a survey in which fans were asked which female golfer they’d like to have over for dinner. Park won easily with 44 percent of the votes, doubling the total amassed by Sorenstam.
At $5 million, she’s currently ranked No. 19 on the career money list. She had a poor year in 2005, a result of recurrent back problems that are reflected in declining distance numbers. But at 26, assuming those injuries heal, she should have plenty of good years left. So while we’re all obsessing about Michelle Wie, let’s not forget that there isn’t a more watchable and talented player on the LPGA tour than Grace Park. Whether you’ve got an Asian fixation or not, you have to admit that’s true.
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I persoanlly observed her temper tendrum on the field up clsoe and personal couple of years on LPGA Championship. She has two split personality when things going her way and not. And you really don't want to be around when thing go south. SHe is total you-know-what.
Of all fellow Korean ladies on the tour, she is my least favorite player. Maybe it's just me. Btu I know a lot of people who think just likewise.
According to some of the Seoul Sisters Grace is a truly cold beech.
Soo-yun won her first LPGA tournament last season and is coming off a win in Korea this year. She is also the most popular lady among the other Korean players on the tour. Just ask them.
If Soo-yun was playing with Michelle at the Samsung, she would have watched her drop and told her it was bad, unlike Grace who only thinks of herself.
Grace Park is definetely the best looking lpga member in my opinion."
I've read many of your opinions Norman and there is a credibility problem here. Have you ever seen her with her makeup off?
"Comment from: Ashlyn [Visitor]
Well, Grace is the best looking Asian lpga member, IMO. Not the cutest Asian, tho (that goes to J-Ro hehe)."
I guess you're a lesbian attracted to J-Ro, the Dykish one.
I have no problem with credibility and Park is the best looking, but no I haven't met her, although I almost did. So I don't know what she looks like without her make up because I am guessing she would always have it on, when she is on tv.
And as for whether her fellow Korean pros like her, the answer is a definite yes. In fact, Soo-Yun Kang is one of her best friends on tour, and she is also quite close with Se Ri Pak and Hee-Won Han (whom she's known since childhood). Grace was one of the golfers who sprayed Soo-Yun with champagne when Kang won her first event last August. In addition, I've seen her have very friendly conversations with Cristie Kerr, Paula Creamer, Laura Diaz, JRO, Annika and many other golfers. The LPGA even picked her as an unofficial board member to help bridge the gap between the Koreans and the Americans on tour. Would they have done that if they perceived her as hated by her fellow Asian players?
Take the word of someone who *became* a Grace fan because of her friendliness (I was put off at first by her tantrums, too): she is a great lady.
But I think she's the most important Asian player, in terms of connecting with the average American golf fan. Her looks make her marketable. Until last year, when she was injured, she was on a streak of winning at least one tournament per year. In 2004 she won two, including a Major. So she's far from in danger of being just another pretty face. Her English is perfect. And while some might be put off by "Hurricane Grace" she wears her emotions for all to see. Grace is, dare I say, extremely "gracious" with the fans. She is the exact opposite of everything Jan Stephenson complained about.
It makes perfect sense that the LPGA would coose Grace to be the bridge between the tour and the Asian players. She was the perfect pick to Captain the Asian team at the Lexus Cup.
When she turned pro, it was mid-season and she went onto the FUTURES tour (LPGA's developmental tour), then not only was number one on the money list, player of the year, but also one of the first 3 players from the FUTURES tour to get an automatic Full Exemption onto the LPGA - due to her play during a half-season!!!
Once she gets her injuries under control, there is no doubt that Grace Park will be one of the best golfers on the LPGA tour. Past performance is a perfect indicator of future performance...
The classiest and most desirable woman on the LPGA Tour and who has the best smile is SeRi Pak.
Give the woman a break. In my opinion she embodies everything one can admire in a woman. That fact that she's also one of the best golfers on the planet, despite chronic back problems for over a decade, leaves me in awe.
Grace Park in 1998 won the women's amateur Grand Slam in one season; no golfer had managed that feat in 60 years (and none has done it since to my knowledge). Even before that, she had won some 60 junior and amateur tournaments.
Grace got attention because she was dominating her competition on the golf course and winning just about every important event out there, not just because she finished second to Laura Davies at a demonstration event (which is really just a footnote to her career).
Her temper hurts her but she appears to be the full package
But she is one a many hot ladies on tour now.......
Don't kid yourself...off the tee, she still bombs it. She'll never be as long as Michelle Wie, but she can still put it out there 280+. I think the driving distance stats are misleading...she had a lot of problems with her driver this season and likely took out the 3-wood a lot. I believe"drives" with the 3-wood still will count in her stats.
As far as looks go, I think her and Kangsy are in a different category. Soo-Yun has the sweet, wholesome beauty. Grace is just flat out HOT. If you've never seen her in person, she actually looks even better. And she's pretty ripped. (Watch her wrists/hands and calves when she sets up)
Everything I've seen or heard indicates she's a strong "sister" figure for the other koreans, much like Se Ri. And her temper is focused on herself, not others. I follwed her and watched her explode several times, but she was still very nice to people who talked to her or asked for an autograph. I've marshalled at PGA events and watched some of the "boys" having a bad day scream at spectators for breathing too hard. Grace is not that type of person. Still, I imagine it does wear on her playing partners and I could see some being put-off when they are paired with her.
That hono(u)r would go to Soo-Yun Kang.
Sex Appeal to sell Asian LPGA? It's true, men like watching beautiful girls, and it's unfortunate 50 year olds cannot compete with 20 somethings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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