Inbee Park Profile
|Born||Jul 12, 1988|
|Birthplace||Seoul, South Korea|
Inbee Park is not only the finest putter in the women's game, many observers consider her to be among the greatest putters golf has ever known and her skills have fueled a magnificent career.
Seven-time major champion Inbee Park may be the best player South Korea has ever produced, with an Olympic gold to back up her incredible record in the LPGA's most prestigious tournaments.
Park fired herself to the top of the Women's Golf Rankings by winning three consecutive Majors in 2013.
She became the seventh woman to secure a career Grand Slam even if that record has an asterisk next to it. This is because although Park has not won the Evian Championship since it was elevated to Major-status, the LPGA declared that she has completed a career Grand Slam by virtue of winning what was then the Evian Masters in 2012.
Park won the first Olympic Games individual golf gold medal awarded in 116 years at Rio 2016.
So keen was she to get her professional career underway that Park appealed to the LPGA to grant her leave to attempt to qualify for the Tour as a 17-years-old. Her request was denied.
Park was just 19 years of age when she won the 2008 Women's US Open, making her the youngest winner of the tournament. The triumph was also her first LPGA Tour victory.
Since 2016, Park has been carefully managing her workload, cutting the number of tournaments she enters in half in a bid to stave off injuries and prolong her career.
Her accurate iron play has given her the game to win every Major Championship, even if she is consistently outdriven by her peers.
Her putter, however, is deadly.
Junior days and amateur career
By the age of 12, Park was on her way to the United States to receive coaching and enter tournaments. There seemed to be no question as to what she wanted to do with her life.
Park won the US Girls' Junior in 2002 and was runner-up in the same competition in 2003 and 2005. She won nine titles on the American Junior Golf Association circuit.
Her first major entry came as an amateur in the 2004 Kraft Nabisco Championship, which she entered on a sponsor's invitation.
Park completed her formative education at Bishop Gorman High School in Las Vegas, Nevada, and wanted to turn professional immediately but couldn't get the LPGA to play ball.
Instead, Park briefly attended the University of Nevada in Las Vegas but wasn't there long before she decided to drop out and join the Futures Tour.
Park's first season as a professional saw her secure 11 top-10 finishes which allowed her to finish third on the Futures Tour money list, earning graduation to the LPGA Tour in 2007.
In her rookie season at the top level, Park's best finish was second place at the Safeway Classic while she also earned a creditable tie for fourth at her first Women's US Open.
In 2008, Park produced an unbelievable performance to win the same tournament by four strokes, doing so before her 20th birthday.
After a difficult 2009 season, Park chose to move to the JLPGA Tour in an attempt to regain her best form.
She returned to the LPGA full-time in 2012, scoring two tournament wins including the Evian Masters, and cracking $2million in prize money as she finished top of the money list for the first time.
Park won the second event of the 2013 LPGA season, the Honda LPGA Thailand and, in April, she shot a 15-under 273 to win her second Major, the 2013 Kraft Nabisco Championship, by four strokes from compatriot So-Yeon Ryu.
Three weeks later, she seized her third title of the season at the North Texas LPGA Shootout.
Park then became the seventh player in Tour history to win the opening two Majors of the year after her LPGA Championship win at Locust Hills in June.
At the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship, Park again got the better of So-Yeon Ryu, defeating her in a playoff to win her fifth championship of the season.
Park then did something that nobody had done for over 50 years when she secured the year's third Major, the Women's US Open.
She held a four stroke lead going into the final round and even though she shot a two-over 74, Park won the championship and claimed the $585,000 top prize.
LPGA hat trick and career Grand Slam
Park's only Major success in 2014 came when she defended her LPGA Championship title at Monroe Golf Club. She also recorded a further two LPGA Tour titles either side of her fifth Major.
In 2015, Park again recorded multiple Major wins, this time completing a hat trick of LPGA Championships and also wrapping up a career Grand Slam with her first Women's British Open title.
She won these final two Majors of the year in dominant fashion and added the Lorena Ochoa Invitational to bring her 2015 tournament tally to five, having also tasted success at two events earlier in the year (the HSBC Women's Champions and the Volunteers of America North Texas Shootout).
She won the LPGA Vare Trophy and the Rolex Annika Major Award in 2015 and carried her excellent form into the Rio Olympics in 2016, where she won her historic gold medal.
Park won single events in 2017 and 2018 as she adapted to a reduced LPGA Tour program, but she didn't win anything in 2019.
She bounced back to win the last LPGA tournament before the extended COVID-19 shutdown, the ISPS Handa Women's Australian Open, in February 2020.
She also came close to claiming a fourth LPGA Championship in 2020, finishing runner-up to Sei Young Kim by five shots. The runner-up's purse ensured that she broke the $1million winnings' mark in a season for the sixth time in her career.
Inbee Park's personal life
Park and her mother moved to Las Vegas when she was 15 to ensure that she could work with coach Butch Harmon.
Her parents have been very supportive of her life goal of being a top professional golfer, going to extreme lengths to ensure she succeeds.
Her return to form in the LPGA has been attributed to the influence of her former swing coach Gi Hyeob Nam, but not just for his work on her game.
The pair became engaged in 2011 and those who know Park well say that he makes her very happy. They were married in 2014.
Inbee Park's net worth
Park's net worth is believed to be around $9million according to estimates released in 2020.
She has invested more than $2million in her father's bottling company KIB, which stands for Kim and Inbee.
Park is sponsored by Srixon and KB Financial Group among others.
Korean Ferrari importers FMK have sponsored Park with a luxury sports car since 2013. The vehicle, a Ferrari FF, is a favorite of Park's.