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Se Ri Pak said yesterday that she was “uncomfortable'' about a meeting held last week between LPGA Tour officials and Korean golfers regarding reported rules violations.
Tour commissioner Ty Votaw, who visited Highland Meadows Golf Club yesterday, confirmed the meeting took place during the Wendy's Championship in Dublin, Ohio, and that 13 Korean players out of the nearly 20 on tour were in attendance.
“It took place and there was a dialogue,'' Votaw said. “Beyond that, there's not much I can talk about.''
GolfWorld reported that the meeting was called by the LPGA mostly to address concerns that parents, particularly fathers, of Korean players who travel on tour with their daughters have been guilty of improper coaching and communication during tournament rounds.
Golf rules stipulate that a player can receive assistance only from a caddie.
Reportedly, there was also an allegation that the father of an unnamed Korean player moved his daughter's ball after an errant shot during the Canadian Women's Open last month.
Privately, the reaction among tour players varies from eye-rolling over the perception of Little League-type parenting on the pro tour level to outright charges of cheating.
The latter especially disturbs Pak, who will open her bid for a fourth Jamie Farr Kroger Classic title today.
“It really bothered me because, I mean, I'm a Korean player,'' Pak said. “After one situation, just one mistake [involving] only one player a couple weeks ago, there had to be a meeting.
“To make it [out to be] a problem with all Koreans hurts all of us,'' she said. “It's why I'm not comfortable, not happy about that meeting. It seems like there's nothing I can do about it [other than] to try and make it better. We're just trying to figure out what we can do.''
Pak did not play in the Wendy's Championship and was not at the meeting. Votaw said the Korean players who were not present will be approached individually.
“Maybe it will be a good thing in the long run for younger players and their parents,'' Pak said. “Hopefully, it will mean things don't happen again and there will be no more problems in the future.
“But it's too bad. We have a very strong group [of Korean players] and we're all working hard and many are doing very well. It's not fair for this [to reflect on the entire group.]''
PRO-AM: Teams headed by pros Jeong Jang and Cristie Kerr took top honors in yesterday's Owens Corning Celebrity Pro-Am at Highland Meadows.
Jang and her amateur partners - Kevin Crawford, Fred Barnard, Rich Jun and Drew Ragan - won low net with a handicap-adjusted score of 50.08.
Second low net went to pro Giulia Sergas and partners Doug Goare, Larry Moore, Ron Enser and Merril Dean at 50.18. In third place was pro Dorothy Delasin and partners Steve Saddemi, Tom Hopkins, Mike Gibbons and Gary Geiger at 50.83. Fourth place went to the team headed by pro Joanne Morley (Michael Bolton, Richard Walinski, Dennis Johnson, Dale Tolson] at 50.84.
Kerr's team posted a low gross score of 17-under 54. Her amateur partners were Denise Knaebel, Ric Peth, Jim Drew and David Fishbein.
IN AND OUT: Val Skinner and Kim Williams were late withdrawals from the Farr yesterday and will be replaced in the field by Leigh Ann Mills and Kim Freeman, respectively.
AUGUST, AGAIN: Ty Votaw, the LPGA's commissioner, verified yesterday that the 2004 Farr Classic will be staged on Aug. 5-8 and will follow the Weetabix Women's Open on the tour schedule.
- DAVE HACKENBERG