No place like home away from home for Inbee Park | LPGA

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There’s no place like home, unless it’s the right thing to do. Inbee Park was all smiles after his longer than normal pro-am at Wilshire Country Club ahead of the first round of the DIO Implant LA Open. It’s because the Hall of Famer feels like they have the best of all worlds in the shadow of the Hollywood sign.

“Yeah, that’s definitely one of my favorite courses of the year,” Park said. “I think this golf course really suits my game very well.”

But rather than jumping into Wilshire’s architecture or conditioning – both of which suit Park’s precise ball-striking and magical putting – she went straight for the off-the-ropes vibe that makes the area a favorite. for Korean players. .

“We’re really close to Koreatown,” Park said. “It’s like we’re playing at home. It’s very comfortable. The weather is superb. Yeah, I’m really used to the west country, I’m so happy to be here.

“Close” is an understatement. Koreatown is, literally, across from the entrance to the club. Players of all nationalities enjoy Korea’s food, shopping and cultural immersion without having their passport stamped and with better weather. Seoul is still cool at this time of year. Some of the mountainous areas near the DMZ could even experience a spring snowstorm. Los Angeles in April is 70 degrees and sunny. Every day.

“This (place) is, I think, really a real Koreatown,” Park said. “So many things really remind me of Seoul. I stay in K-Town. which is really in the middle of everything. It reminds me of where I live (in Korea). I was really surprised that we had this type of ant termination (an exterminator) and was expecting a non-Korean guy for this job. But he was a Korean and he recognized me, so I was really surprised.

Even with his Hall of Fame career, Park can go to dinner in most American cities without being noticed. But when you step off a plane at Incheon International Airport, his face is one of the first you see on large posters welcoming you to Korea. Having a place in the United States where even the bug exterminators know you is a treat.

“I’m definitely going to eat probably the best (this week) of all the weeks on tour,” Park said. “I just think about the atmosphere. And we have a Korean sponsor this week. Played in the pro-am with all Koreans from Seoul and Busan. So yeah, I don’t know how you know we’re in America. It’s a bit confusing.

She laughed at her own joke, something not unusual for Park, but also showing how comfortable she is here.

“I really like this area,” she said. “I mean, it mostly reminds me a lot of home. The food more like the drive. You know, driving from where I’m staying to here is like pretty crazy driving with hard left turns and hard parking. It’s like Korea.

“So, yes, everyone parks on the sidewalk, like in Korea. I’m used to it. My husband and I used to joke that it’s hard to drive around town. We were like, Yeah, but we’re Seoul drivers. It’s nothing. So things like that.

Things like that can make all the difference. Being comfortable off the ropes is important to your performance indoors. For Park and many other Korean players, a home away from home might be just what they need.

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