Women's British Open: Inbee Park is ready for St Andrews
Inbee Park will head to St Andrews for the Ricoh British Open with weight of history bearing down on her shoulders. With three majors already safely won, the Korean has now set her sights on winning a historic fourth consecutive major in a single year and becoming the first player from either gender to do so.
Here, the 25-year-old shares her thoughts ahead of the tournament.
Q: The Ricoh Women’s British Open is coming up in two weeks at St Andrews. You’ve won the first three majors this year, and now you’re going for four in a row. How are you feeling with the event only two weeks away?
A: I can’t wait to go there. I’m really looking forward to going there and playing for a fourth major win. Not many people get that kind of opportunity, winning three majors and going for a calendar grand slam in the British Open over such a historic course. I think I’m just very lucky to have that kind of opportunity.
Q: How is the British Open different to other tournaments?
A: I’ve always loved playing in British Opens. It is such a challenge, especially with the weather. You can’t predict what kind of golf course you’re going to get until you tee off on the first day. I love playing links courses, and my fall flight is low so I love to play in the wind.
Q: The whole of Korea will be watching you in the British Open. Do you feel the pressure or is it something that motivates you?
A: I try to look at the positive side of it, but pressure is not the easiest thing to handle on the golf course. It’s not just from Korea, I feel like the whole world is watching me! It feels very awkward at the moment. I’m trying to get used to the attention and the pressure, and I think I had good practice with it at the U.S. Women’s Open. I felt a little bit of pressure there, but I handled it very well, and that gives me a lot of confidence coming into the British Open
I think I’m just happy with where I am, and even if I don’t win that week, I’m just very happy with how I’ve played this year Q: Looking back to 2007, how testing do you think the Old Course was in comparison to other links courses you’ve played, and where does it rank among your favorites?
A: I remember St. Andrews like I played it this year. We had very bad weather in 2007, it got really windy and we had some rain. But the golf course, setup‑wise, I love. It’s a very unique golf course and a very unique experience. Like the 17th hole, when you hit it over the hotel, it’s something you never usually do. Everything about the course is very special.
Q. You mentioned the low flight of your ball. Is that something that has come naturally with you? Or have you honed your golf swing that you are able to be pretty successful even when the weather is bad?
A: Well, especially with long clubs, I always like to have a little lower and stronger ball flight. That’s been something I’ve been working on over the last couple years to make my drive go a little stronger into the wind to avoid losing distance. So my ball flight has gotten stronger and lower, and I play much better in the wind than before, which is good for the British Open.
Q: You’ve been to Scotland before, are there any particular delicacies you’ve enjoyed? Have you tried Haggis?
A: No, but I love British breakfasts when there are sausages and bacon. I love sausage rolls and I love going to the U.K. Scotland is a nice place to be. I love St Andrews for its views and wonderful courses. As a golfer, you definitely want to be there!
Q. What would it mean for you to win at St. Andrews?
A: I didn’t really think about doing a calendar grand slam in my career. I think I’m just happy with where I am, and even if I don’t win that week, I’m just very happy with how I’ve played this year.