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May 25, 2021

Inbee Park

Las Vegas, Nevada, USA

Shadow Creek

Press Conference

THE MODERATOR: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome back. We are here with Inbee Park. Inbee makes her home here in Las Vegas when she's in the States. Inbee, it's not too often you get to stay at home for a tournament. What's it like to be playing much closer to home this week?

INBEE PARK: You know what, it just feels really weird sleeping in my own bed and playing this beautiful golf course. The course is in such a nice shape. Just really can't complain about the venue here. I love the match play and I love this golf course. Staying at home, I mean, there is nothing that -- there is no reason really that I shouldn't be playing well.

But I heard a news yesterday that my grandfather passed away yesterday, and obviously he is the one, I mean, that really got me into this game, and he would probably want me to be playing this week, so that's why I am playing this week.

Want to make him proud, so really want to play well this week and enjoy while I'm here in Las Vegas.

THE MODERATOR: So sorry to hear this news. We'll keep you and your family in our hearts. But that gives you more to play for to be able to play for your grandfather, right?

INBEE PARK: Yeah, I mean, he really loved me and he really loved me playing golf. He's the one who got me into this game, so he always meant so much in my heart. Luckily I got to go back to Korea last week and the doctor said, You should say good-bye to him last week, so I was able to see him last week.

Yeah, it was really probably the saddest thing I ever had to done, but send him to a good place and my family back home, friends and everybody, just wished him well.

So, yeah, I think he's going to a good place. He'll be watching me from the sky, from heaven.

THE MODERATOR: Did you mind sharing his name with us?


THE MODERATOR: BJ Park. We'll be keeping you and your family and BJ's family in our hearts. We are really glad to have you with us this week as you go out to play in BJ's honor. You mentioned what an amazing course Shadow Creek is. Have you played here before living here, and what are your thoughts on this course?

INBEE PARK: Yeah, I played here probably like four to five times and I always thought this golf course is probably beyond the major golf courses that we play all year.

Really excited to play this week. The course is firm and fast and going to play very difficult, and at the same time going to be very, very fun. It's a true match play type of a golf course. And I think I'm really going to enjoy myself.

THE MODERATOR: Aza was in here and mentioned the same thing, this is a match play golf course. What does that mean to you? What makes this a match play golf course?

INBEE PARK: Think it's very risk-reward golf course. When you take something at the pin and then if you hit the shot that you really need to hit, really rewards you.

But once you miss it, it's such an easy golf course to make a bogey around the greens. If you short-side yourself or if you leave yourself a downhill putt it's going to be really tough.

Just got to watch out where you're going to put your second shot, and you got to hit a lot of good iron shots around this golf course.

THE MODERATOR: And you've had a lot of success at match play going back to your amateur career, girls junior winner, multiple runner-up; you've won a match play on the KLPGA, played in the UL Crown. What is it about match play that seems to agree with you so well?

INBEE PARK: You know, I think match play is just really a true test of you and the competitor. You are playing under exactly the same conditions.

And obviously we don't get this kind of format often. I think that's kind of why I really missed the match play, because in the junior and amateur years we get to play the match play events so we don't miss it as much. We don't get the opportunity as we turn professional.

I just think it's just a lot more fun and I think it's just -- just really suits Las Vegas.

THE MODERATOR: It does, exactly. The game of chance, right?



Q. So sorry hear about the loss of your grandfather. What memories with him in golf stand out most to you?

INBEE PARK: Well, I mean, the last tournament that he watched was 2017 HSBC Singapore tournament which I won. Right after Singapore he went back to Korea, and since then he has been in the hospital for four years.

So the last tournament he watched me playing golf is obviously me winning, so I at least give him some good memories to remember. Yeah, his dream was to play golf with me and my father, three generations. That's how I got into the game. He really want to take me to the golf, and I was probably 10 when I start playing golf. He was a really good golfer and he loved playing with me.

You know, I mean, I'm here because of him so I think that's why it just means so much more.

Q. What had him in the hospital for the last four years?

INBEE PARK: I'm trying to figure out that medical word but, cerebral...

THE MODERATOR: Cerebral palsy?

INBEE PARK: With the brain? Yes, it is, yeah. So four years he has been hospitalized.

Q. And this morning the LPGA announced their new commissioner with Mollie Marcoux Samaan. Where were you when you heard and how did you react?

INBEE PARK: I just heard it this morning from the caddie, from Brad, and, I mean, I didn't do much of a study yet, so not really exactly sure -- I don't have too much information right now.

So I'll soon have some more information, so...

THE MODERATOR: I think Mollie is going to be an exciting edition. She has a great golf background. Comes from herself and collegiate athlete, and then many years on the business side of things. Currently at Princeton University, so quite smart, too.

INBEE PARK: Okay, okay.

THE MODERATOR: It will be good you have to a new face out there.

Q. I was wondering how you feel about having a match play tournament right before the U.S. Open? Jessica and Nelly and Lexi are taking the week off because of that.

INBEE PARK: Well, I think there is obviously a chance that you will be playing a lot of rounds before going into the major tournament. I think that's what maybe players were kind of concerned about.

But I just think this golf course is just the golf course that I just can't miss. And obviously it's playing from my hometown, and the match play event is -- I take it if I make it through it's great. If I don't, I just go to the U.S. Open next week.

So I try to take it everything really positive, and, yeah, I think this golf course is perfect, perfect preparation for next week.

Q. Is it just a matter of you're here this week so that's your focus, and then Monday you start thinking about the U.S. Open?

INBEE PARK: Yeah, I'm here this week, I want to play really well this week, and next week thinking starts next week, of course, yes.

Q. How much thinking of the Olympics is driving your play right now?

INBEE PARK: Well, I think everything really starts to kick in, because we were so unsure of how the Olympics was going to go earlier in the year. But probably starting couple months ago I started thinking about -- or thinking that probably we're going to be playing in the Olympics and I might be playing in the Olympics, so, yeah, the thoughts have been definitely coming in.

I'm trying to do some good preparations before that so I'm going to Olympics in good condition.

Q. Where did winning the Olympics rate among your accomplishments?

INBEE PARK: Well, I think Olympics is definitely the top of accomplishment that I have in my career for sure. It's just very unique. I mean, I have seven major wins but only one Olympic gold medal. That really just makes the difference.

THE MODERATOR: Inbee, how do you define excellence?

INBEE PARK: Excellence, I think it's excellence is the, you know, something you can define when you performed the best of your ability. Could be very different by individuals. Could be very different to everybody.

But I think it's when you did the best that you could do and best that you can do is what it's called excellence, I think.

THE MODERATOR: Interesting. I like that thought. Then one more. How long have you lived here in Las Vegas, and tell us about your connections here.

INBEE PARK: I don't think anybody really knows that I'm from Las Vegas. I went to Bishop Gorman High School here, so since the 9th grade I was here. What was it, I was like 15, yeah, so 18 years, yeah.

THE MODERATOR: What was it like growing up and going to high school here in Las Vegas? I think it's something not a lot of us think about. We think about this as a vacation spot.

INBEE PARK: Yeah, first that's what I thought, but when I was -- I was too young. I didn't know what Las Vegas city really meant, you know. My parents decided to move over here and went to Butch Harmon Golf School for a little bit when I was younger and went to high school here. It was a great city to be living in.

THE MODERATOR: And you chose to make this your home base. I know you go back and forth between here and your home in Korea. What is it about Las Vegas that has kept you here?

INBEE PARK: I think last Vegas is a small city so the travel is easy. From the airport and home it's not far at all. You can pretty much go to every place probably within 45 minutes. So, I mean, I like that.

Obviously when you come home from maybe the tournament and when you are having a week off you feel like you're in a vacation every week.

Yeah, I think -- I really love living here.

Q. We have admired your game for quite sometime. Thank you for taking the time. With all the new technology out there, we would like to know the core, the heart, and the soul of who you are as a player. Do you lean on old school habits or use the new school technology, or is there a balance of the two?

INBEE PARK: Well, I think it is definitely the balance of the two. Sometimes some stuff, the old school stuff is good and some of the new stuff you have to -- you know, you have to get used to, too. I mean, it definitely helps having some good technologies. Just for example, having a TrackMan, it really gives me -- gives you a lot of numbers that you need to know. It's a good practice tool to have. You just got to have those.

And some old school stuff is just the experience that you have over the years is nothing that you can really exchange with, so just mixture of both.

Q. PGA Junior League Girls, we always like to share with them keys to being successful at golf or whatever they chose to do in their lives.

INBEE PARK: Uh-huh. You know, the most important thing is whatever they do they have to enjoy what they are doing, and another important thing for them is having some good inspiration of whatever they are doing.

I think it's just reason -- the reason that you're playing golf or a reason that you're studying this, I think just got to have the great inspiration that keeps you driving on.

THE MODERATOR: You speak to that well. Your inspiration, your grandfather certainly, and who else inspired you along with your grandfather to play the game?

INBEE PARK: For me the most likely for me was -- the biggest inspiration for me was my family. That's why this time it's so much tougher than the other times, because you have your loved ones around you that really keeps inspiring me every day and ever month and every tournament and just pretty much every day.

So I think it's just something that everybody should keep in mind that -- and be very -- I'm really lucky that I have so many people that really gives me so much love, so much support around me. I don't want to take that for granted. I really want to take this opportunity to thank a lot of people.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you so much. Quick thing, do you mind sharing how old your grandfather was?


THE MODERATOR: He lived a wonderful life and I'm sure he was very proud of you. Thank you so much. Go out and play well for him this week.

INBEE PARK: Thank you.

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