Park calls costly 2-shot penalty for slow play 'unfair'
By Bill Kwon
Special to The Advertiser
By Bill Kwon
KAHUKU — How much is a two-stroke penalty worth in golf?
Well, to Angela Park, the 2007 LPGA Rookie of the Year, it cost her a solo second-place finish and an extra $59,586 after being called for slow play at the 10th hole in the SBS Open at Turtle Bay.
Park was only one stroke behind winner Annika Sorenstam at one time, but a triple-bogey 7 at 10 gave her a final-round 69 — 209 and a tie for fifth with Japan's Momoko Ueda. They finished one shot behind Russy Gulyanamitta, Laura Diaz and Jane Park, who shared second at 208.
So instead of getting $100,458 for being second alone, Park got $40,872.
"I didn't think it was fair at all," said Park, the only one in her threesome to be penalized after being put on the clock at the 10th tee.
"It was kinda really unfair for penalizing me on that one hole when I was playing quick throughout the whole day," she said.
"It's especially unfair for the last four, five groups of the day. I've seen many, many occasions last year when the last group was a hole behind, but I respected that because they're trying to play to win. When he (rules official Doug Brecht) came up to me and penalized me, I was like, you know where I am on this leaderboard? You have any idea?
"I have nothing against him, I have nothing mean to say about him. He said he was going by the rules, which I understand, which is his job. But then I told him, if it was Paula (Creamer), if it was Annika, would you have penalized them? He didn't say anything. I was crying my eyes out, I couldn't help it. It was an embarrassing thing to say, but I was almost bawling.
"I told him, well, that's for TV isn't it? It would have looked bad for you on TV if you penalized Paula or Annika. He didn't say anything. I was, like, I would have respect (for) you if you would have penalized them, too. Then I would have been OK, that's fine. That's your job. I respect you for that. But he didn't say anything.
"I was, like, you know, that's just not fair. That's how life is and I've just got to move on from it."
Brecht told Park on the 10th tee that she was on the clock. "She violated our pace-of-play policy and was penalized two shots," he said.
As for Park asking if he would do the same to Creamer and Sorenstam in that same situation, Brecht said, "She never asked me that question. If she did, I didn't hear her ask me that question."
Who knows? It's a classic case of she said/he said.
"I was really mad, very frustrated for probably the next five holes," Park said. "I kept thinking to myself, I'm only 4-under. I need to make up for that triple. I played well."
That she did, birdieing 11 and 12 to go on to post her second consecutive 8-birdie round.
"That is a lot of birdies, to think about it now, and I only finished at 7-under," she said. "Well, I guess I got two extra bogeys."
Park, a 19-year-old who was born in Brazil of South Korean parents, is excited about this year's rookie crop, including Ueda, Thailand's Gulyanamitta and Yani Tseng of Taiwan.
"I think it's really awesome for the tour to have a variety of players," Park said. "They always had a lot of Koreans come in. Now other international countries are coming in and it's really good for the tour. I'm really hoping that more girls pick up the game and, hopefully, we have more rookies come out."
Park is looking forward to this week's Fields Open in Hawai'i at the Ko Olina Resort.
"It's a course I feel comfortable with," she said. "I played well there. It's a year ago. I've grown as a player and as a person. Hopefully, next week will be a better week or a faster week."