SAITAMA, Japan, Aug. 7 (Yonhap) – World Golf Hall of Famer Pak Se-ri coached the South Korean women’s national team for the second consecutive Olympic Games.
But unlike last time, the team goes home without a medal. Defending champion Park In-bee finished the race way outside of the medal ranks, and Ko Jin-young, Kim Sei-young and Kim Hyo-joo also fell short of a medal.
“The girls all wanted to be good and did their best,” said Pak at Kasumigaseki Country Club in Saitama, north of Tokyo. “At least they all finished their tournament without injury or illness.”
The four players, all among the top 10 in the world rankings, had to endure intense heat in the first rounds. They didn’t make any noise on the third lap either, when the conditions were right.
“I wanted to do my best to take the pressure off her shoulders,” said Pak. “I’m sure they felt the weight of expectations with so much media coverage. They didn’t always say things out loud, but they all wanted to do well here.”
There were moments when Pak, with 25 LPGA victories as the country’s all-time leaders, felt utterly helpless.
“The players leaned against each other a lot,” she said. “I understood all of the challenges they were facing and I was frustrated that I couldn’t help them (on the pitch). I’ve been head coach twice now and I’m exhausted.”
But what if Pak were to train South Korea again at the 2024 Olympics in Paris?
“It would be great for me if I could get this chance,” she said.