Inbee Park came into this week’s RICOH Women’s British Open with high hopes of making history by becoming the first golfer – male or female – to win four professional majors in a season. That feat was not to be this week, as Park struggled over her final 32 holes on Sunday. The No. 1 player in the Rolex Rankings shot rounds of 74-78 to finish in a tie for 42nd at 6-over-par.
“The fourth round, I really got off to a bad start,” Park said. “I four-putted the first hole, really slow start. Really tough to get your day going after that kind of a hole, but, you know, just glad that this tournament is over, and I've gone through four rounds under pressure.
“It's something that I've never experienced before, and I just had a great experience. I might not have won this week, but I've learned.”
Known as one of the best putters currently in the game, Park struggled with her flat stick through the week. That was particularly true in her final round on Sunday when she tallied 40 putts in the round.
Park will have another opportunity to become the first player to win four professional majors in a season when she competes next month in The Evian Championship, which becomes the LPGA’s fifth major for the first time this year. The 25-year-old South Korean doesn’t expect to have nearly the amount of attention focused on her that week as she did in St. Andrews.
But while her streak of consecutive majors won came to an end at three, Park was able to reflect positively upon the opportunity that she had at making history this week.
“I've done something amazing this season, winning three in a row,” Park said. “I don't even know if I can do that again. That's going to be really tough. It might take a long time to beat that record."
INBEE PARK, Rolex Rankings No. 1
INBEE PARK: It was a tough day today, so I'm just glad that the 18th hole, that's the toughest hole, playing all the tough holes on the back nine, 18 holes feels like a relief. Feels like almost there.
Q. Walking off the 18th hole, is there a feeling of disappointment?
INBEE PARK: I mean, fourth round, I really got off to a bad start. I 4-putted the first hole, really slow start. Really tough to get your day going after that kind of a hole, but, you know, just glad that this tournament is over, and I've gone through four rounds of under pressure.
So it's something that I've never experienced before, and I just had a great experience. I might not have won this week, but I've learned.
Q. Saying you're glad it's over, did you not enjoy the week --
INBEE PARK: I enjoyed it but 36 holes in the final round under the pressure was very tough. I feel like I have a relief now, and I'm really relieved that -- I really enjoyed this week, every moment that I was here.
Yeah, but it is tough to be in the center of everything for a week, and I feel exhausted a little bit.
Q. You were 6-under par through ten holes in the opening round, do you look back at a moment during the week where things really changed for you; if so, where would that be?
INBEE PARK: It would have been probably the back nine for the first round. Yeah, I mean, it's just a couple bad drives, and I was really having trouble on the greens after that.
Especially around 3 and 4, there's a lot of 3-putts and 4-putts, so I left a lot of shots on the greens, but the greens were just really tough to judge the speed; they were great one minute, and one minute they were slow. It was a tough tournament, tough greens to read, tough greens to judge, but this has been a great experience for me.
I still have a lot to learn and a lot of room to improve.
Q. Apart from the fact that the media can be very annoying, what else did you learn this week?
INBEE PARK: Obviously this week playing under the pressure, that's one thing that I've learned. You know, everything I think, my play -- just I would never experience some kind of things like that where I go for four Majors in a row and everybody watching me. Felt a little bit weird. I get to do interview even if I shot a 6-over today. Just everything about this tournament is new for me.
Q. Now what, now what are you going to do, are you going to go home and drive your Ferrari around Korea?
INBEE PARK: Yeah, sounds nice. I want to relax for two or three days just doing nothing, get my energy back up and just get ready to go again.
Q. What was going through your mind walking up the 18th?
INBEE PARK: It was a tough day today, so I'm just glad that the 18th hole is not the toughest hole. Playing all the tough holes on the back nine, just 18th hole feels like a relief and feels like almost there.
Like I said, just glad it's over, and you know, this great experience that I had, I will never forget.
Q. Was it hard to motivate yourself?
INBEE PARK: Yeah, when you're so far from the lead, it is hard to get your motivation going and get your inspiration going for something. Especially I got off to a really bad start off No. 1. I really tried to push myself to play as good as I can, but the course was playing quite tough. It didn't really quite putt well out there today.
Q. The weather problems hanging around yesterday kind of helped?
INBEE PARK: Yeah, five-hour layover wasn't the easiest thing, but everybody, most of the people had to deal with that.
Q. What do you think it will be like at Evian?
INBEE PARK: I think it will be much less than this -- well, I think. But I have done something like this already, so, you know, I could do anything from now on.
Q. Having come so close, do you think it can be done in the future?
INBEE PARK: Well, I don't really know. I mean, I've done something amazing this season, winning three in a row. I don't even know if I can do that again. That's going to be really tough. It might take a long time to beat that record.
Q. You still have a chance to become the first person and win four Majors, that's not over?
INBEE PARK: I'm trying to get my game back on a good level when I was playing in the U.S. Open. It's been mostly putting this week that I had trouble with, a lot of 3-putts, and even a 4-putt.
Q. What's been your favourite part of the week?
INBEE PARK: Favourite part is I never had this many people rooting for me and wanting me to play good. Never had those feelings before, so that has been nice.
Q. Yesterday, what was that like, waiting and waiting and waiting; did you get back out or --
INBEE PARK: I really wanted to play yesterday. I was ready to play in the wind. I played four holes in really windy conditions, and you know, I was handling myself really good out there and felt really good about my game. We really didn't get to play anymore golf after that, so, yeah, too bad.
Q. That would have helped yesterday to keep --
INBEE PARK: Because I see the results, you might say that, but you just never know. I think I could have been better than this maybe.
Q. You kind of got some bad breaks in the weather all around, and you said that's just kind of the way it goes?
INBEE PARK: The weather and the mother of nature has to be on your side in the British Open if you're going to win this week. Yeah, it didn't happen for me this year, but I have a lot more years to go.
Q. Where do you go -- do you go back to the United States now?
INBEE PARK: I go back to Korea tomorrow.
Q. Do you get a chance then to relax a little bit? I know you were there.
INBEE PARK: Yeah, I think so. I have two weeks there so probably get some time to rest.
Q. When you go back home tomorrow, will they be talking more about you've won three majors, or that you didn't win this major?
INBEE PARK: I don't really know. I mean, I don't really know what they are going to talk about.
Q. Did you put any money on yourself before you left Las Vegas?
INBEE PARK: No (laughing).
Q. Did you buy a house in Vegas?
INBEE PARK: I put an offer on a couple of houses so might get good news, but not something confirmed yet.
Q. Do you watch the Solheim Cup at all? Do you pay any attention, or do you take a break away from golf?
INBEE PARK: I watch, but I don't watch it right on TV for five hours. I watch when I get time. I think this one will be fun, so I'll definitely watch.
Q. If you can't win this, who would you like to see win this today?
INBEE PARK: Well, I mean, Na Yeon Choi is a very good friend of mine, so I would really love her to win, so she's a great friend of mine, so rooting for her.
Q. You're still only 25, so you've got a lot more years left; do you think you'll always look back on this week and say, hey, you know, I faced something --
INBEE PARK: Yeah, of course, I think so. Unless I win four Majors in a row, I think I'll always remember this moment. You know, something like this, not many people get to experience and I was the lucky one to experience this stuff.