No one in professional golf had a bigger week than Inbee Park.
Not only did she become just the third woman in LPGA history – along with Annika Sorenstam and Patty Berg – to complete a major trifecta and win the same major championship three consecutive years, but she wrestled away the world’s No. 1 ranking from Lydia Ko in the process. Park’s five-stroke triumph at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship in Harrison, N.Y., also put her atop the 2015 LPGA money list and into the top spot in the Rolex Player of the Year points standings.
Park now has 15 career Tour victories and six majors at the ripe age of 26, and she also became the LPGA’s first three-time winner of the season. Many consider Park a no-brainer for the LPGA Tour and World Golf Halls of Fame, and she is certainly well on her way to reaching those heights the way she is playing.
She will have a week to reflect and bask in the glow of another victory as the Tour takes another break, and there’s no doubt she will enjoy her immense achievement. Perhaps she will buy something nice with the $525,000 first-place prize.
The $3.5 million tournament closed out a great three-week stretch for the LPGA that also included victories by Europeans Anna Nordqvist and Suzann Pettersen and brought the association to the 15-event mark of the season. Park and runner-up Sei Young Kim each crossed the $1 million mark in season earnings, and Park is now 13-for-13 on cuts made.
Some players will use this week to work on their games, while others will play in charity events, enjoy some R&R time or simply take a few days to catch their breath in the comfort of their own homes. Tour life is a constant grind, so weeks off like this can be crucial for a player’s physical and mental stamina going forward.
Next week, the LPGA returns to action at the Walmart NW Arkansas Presented by P&G in Rogers, Ark., where Stacy Lewis is the defending champion. Park won the event in 2013, and Yani Tseng has won it twice in the past at Pinnacle Country Club, so they should be players to watch in the $2 million event.
First though, it’s time for a pause, to regroup and game plan for the coming weeks as the train that is the LPGA chugs along. Considering Park’s unwavering dedication to her craft, chances are she won’t dwell too long on her triumph before turning her eyes to the next opportunity to shine.