The golf world has always known that Inbee Park is a good putter. Anyone who watches golf can see that she is an absolute master with the flatstick. Now with the addition of the KPMG Performance Insights program, we can finally put statistical data behind the anecdotal stories.
Since data tracking began in June 2021, Park has made 49.4% of her putts from 10 to 15 feet. To put that in context, the LPGA Tour's overall average in that same period is 29.8%, and the PGA Tour averages 30.5% this season.
So the question is, what makes Inbee Park such a great putter? For the player known as the Queen Bee, that is difficult to answer. She ultimately feels that it has more to do with her mental game than any putter you put in her hands.
“It is tough to put into words because I was surprised with the stats as well. I kind of see why it's happening because I actually feel more confident when I stand over a 10- to 15-footer than when I stand over a 3- to 6-footer,” said Park ahead of the HSBC Women’s World Championship, where she is the tournament’s only multiple winner. “Maybe that kind of mindset made me be good within 15 feet. I kind of think 10 to 15-footer, you have nothing to lose. You just said, there's less than 30% for the best players in the world.
“When I stand over it, when I feel confident with the line, I feel like even if this misses, it's probably very obvious that everyone misses this length of putt. That kind of mindset, no pressure mindset has been helping with me for that length of putting.”
While she’s still undoubtedly one of the world’s best putters, the 33-year-old Park says this new generation of LPGA Tour players have made it very difficult for her to add more victories to her resume. When she was at the top of the game in the mid-2010s, she didn’t have to be perfect to find the winner’s circle. “Before, my mistakes were forgiven but now my mistakes are not forgiven,” she said. “I think it's tougher, getting tougher and tougher. The girls are hitting so much far to me and the golf course is so much easier to them than to me.”
As long as Park knows she can compete, she will play on the LPGA Tour. Call it the perspective of the grown-up golfer.
“At first I think it was just tougher for me to take what the truth is, but now when I look back and think about it, I think that's just a natural thing. I think many of the older generations than me felt the same when I played good,” said Park. “I think that's just a natural thing and I'm really happy to see all these girls playing well and demonstrating great women's golf.”