Se Ri Pak Ends Hall of Fame Golf Career


Published on October 13 2016 6:27 am
Last Updated on October 13 2016 6:27 am


Se Ri Pak ended her Hall of Fame career in tears Thursday in front of her adoring home fans in the LPGA KEB Hana Bank Championship.

Overcome at the end of the sunny afternoon at Sky 72, Pak cried nearly throughout a retirement ceremony on the 18th hole. The Little Angels children's choir sang, players wore "SE RI" hats, and farewell messages were played in a video montage.

"A lot of emotion going on through my mind," Pak said.

It mattered little to the fans and players, many of them drawn to golf by Pak, that she shot an 8-over 80 and was tied for last -- 15 strokes behind leader Alison Lee -- before withdrawing.

Hampered by left shoulder problems, the 39-year-old Pak said in Phoenix in March that this season would be her last, and she stepped away as planned after the first round of the tour's lone South Korean event.

"It wasn't a sudden decision to retire, but I think it will take time for me to absorb the fact that I will no longer be competing," Pak said. "Today I was really happy and grateful to see so many fans out there. It really moved me. I really wanted to show them my appreciation. I couldn't figure out how during the competition, but I was very moved by the open retirement ceremony. I was very, very extremely happy."

She won 25 LPGA Tour titles -- the last in 2010 -- and five majors, two of them during a rookie season in 1998 that gave women's golf its biggest boost since Nancy Lopez. The youngest player to be inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame when she was enshrined in 2007 at age 30, Pak won 14 times on the Korean LPGA Tour and captained South Korea's Olympic team, with Inbee Park winning the gold medal, in Rio de Janeiro.

Mickelson Keen On Playing On Ryder Cup Next Year

Still relishing an emphatic U.S. Ryder Cup victory 10 days ago, Phil Mickelson is keen on playing on the 2018 team, even though he will be 48 when the matches are played in France.

"It's been 22 years since there have been 10 Americans that have been able to beat me [out to make the team], so I don't know why it would stop now,'' Mickelson said Wednesday at Silverado Resort, where he will play in the Safeway Open. "I plan on being on the team in France and absolutely one of my goals is to play in France because I've never been on a winning Ryder Cup team over in Europe. I want to win a Ryder Cup over there, and I want to be part of that as a player.''

Mickelson, 46, was 2-1-1 at Hazeltine, including a half-point against Sergio Garcia in which he made 10 birdies during their Sunday singles match. Over the past three Ryder Cups, Mickelson has gone 7-3-2, and he played a big role in helping reshape the U.S. approach after the loss two years ago at Gleneagles in Scotland.

As a member of the U.S. Ryder Cup committee (along with Tiger Woods, the captain who replaces Davis Love III and three PGA of America officials), Mickelson will have a role regardless. He has made every U.S. Ryder Cup team -- never needing a captain's pick -- dating to 1995.

The last time the U.S. won in Europe was in 1993. The 17-11 victory this year at Hazeltine was just the third victory in Mickelson's 11 appearances.