RANCHO MIRAGE, CALIFORNIA | At a villa on the grounds at Mission Hills on Tuesday night, defending ANA Inspiration champion So Yeon Ryu caught a bite of dinner with her best friend, LPGA Hall of Famer Inbee Park.
“Yeah, I’ve got to go into the media center for an interview tomorrow,” Park said. “I don’t really want to but since I won (in my last start) in Phoenix, I have to.”
To which Ryu said: “You’re complaining about winning the golf tournament? Really?”
While one of the best and most thoughtful quotes in the game, Park isn’t a spotlight-seeker. She would much rather nod, smile, win and go home. She’s not standoffish, and heaven forbid anyone think she’s unfriendly. Few members of the Hall are more accommodating. But you won’t find Park checking out the television cameras to get the best angles.
“This is the first time this year that I did (a pre-tournament) press conference,” Park said. “But over the years I’ve been in the media center every week. So, it has been little bit different for me this year but I’ve really enjoyed it. Being a little bit under the radar, and having a little of the pressure off, it’s been nice just trying to just play golf.”
Park’s continued come-back stories – winning the Gold Medal in Rio after an extended break due to an injured thumb, winning the HSBC Women’s Champions after another long break after a bad back, and then, after carrying the Olympic torch into the stadium during the Opening Ceremonies at the Pyeongchang Winter Games (surely she would retire after that), winning a couple of weeks ago in Phoenix – defy logic and reason. It seems that the only mistakes anyone makes about Park involve underestimating her.
“I think I have been pretty good in balancing golf life and life life,” Park said. “I got married a little bit earlier than other girls on tour and I started traveling with my husband. I sometimes took time away from golf but everything has worked really well. I’ve been able to enjoy some things other than just tour golf.”
Balance between work and home life. What a concept.
“Yeah, it has been a good experience,” Park said. “Something that I never really have experienced over the 20 years that I started playing golf, just enjoyed time with family, just ordinary life. I think I can do (family life) and I can do tour life as well.
“Yes, it’s really hard to find balance between those two. But I somehow found a way to do it. And I have really enjoyed it.”