Seoul sisters: Can American women golfers challenge Koreans in professional golf?

    I write this as I watch the televised women's tennis finals from Wimbledon.  It is a proud day for the Williams family and for American tennis fans who may have begun to wonder if the country's competitiveness in the sport was gone forever.  Quick, name the last men's tennis player from the U.S. whose name isn't Sampras to have won Wimbledon*.
    American's women's golf is in an even more precarious competitive position.  Mexico's Lorena Ochoa owned the first half of the ladies professional golf tour.  Now
American women's professional golf is in a precarious competitive position.

Asian players are dominating the second half.  Last week, South Korean Inbee Park won the U.S. Women's Open Championship at Interlachen in Minnesota a few weeks before her 20th birthday.  In the three tournaments immediately preceding the Open, the winners' names were Lee, Tseng and Li.  And as I scanned this morning's leader board at the Northwest Arkansas Open, I noted that eight of the top 10 have Asian surnames.  University of South Carolina graduate Kristy McPherson, in second place, is the sole American in the top 10.  I am pulling for her to win, not because she's American but because I have read her columns for the Myrtle Beach Sun News.  Personal connections, even flimsy ones like that, evolve into rooting interests.
    In the near term, perhaps Paula Creamer (she of the perfectly color coordinated outfits and golf gear) or Kristie Kerr or some other American player will emerge from the pack and reenergize American women's golf.  But to this observer, they don't appear as relentlessly focused as the Parks and Kims who are in contention every tournament.  In a couple of weeks, the U.S. Junior Girls Championship will be played at the Hartford Golf Club, about 15 minutes from my Connecticut home.  Maybe a female Tiger Woods is lurking in the under 18 crowd.  I'll be watching.

*  Andre Agassi, 1992

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