Se-ri Pak, right, hugs compatriot So-yeon Ryu after her win in the US Women’s Open on Monday.
Se-ri Pak, right, hugs compatriot So-yeon Ryu after her win in the US Women’s Open on Monday.

South Korea's golfing generation of transformation

It aired in the wee hours, in the dead of summer of 1998, 14 time zones from the live events it transmitted.


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It would not seem primed to become anybody's phenomenon. It would not seem a candidate to cause audacious statements 13 long years after it signed off from some impossibly distant golf tournament on an opposite edge of a planet.

It would not seem - here goes the audacity - surely one of the most influential sport programmes in the brief history of television.

In the top 10, certainly. In the top five, probably.

While we speak often of television and its enormous monetary impact on sport, we speak less often about its effects on parents and on children who saw programmes and got big ideas.

Surely few remember the 1978 French Open tennis tournament, but supposedly, when a Richard Williams with zilch of a tennis background saw the champion Virginia Ruzici win US$40,000 (Dh146,920), he determined that if he had future daughters, he might steer them into tennis.

Well, take Venus Williams and Serena Williams and their collective 20 grand slam singles titles and, in terms of width of effect, multiply them by multitudes in the case of that golf tournament from 1998, and the television show that keeps yielding fruit even 13 years after it aired, its most recent major effect coming just this week.

On Monday in Colorado, the South Korean golfers So-yeon Ryu and Hee-kyung Seo went into a three-hole play-off for the US Women's Open title, which the 21-year-old Ryu won masterfully in order to receive traditional congratulations from Se-ri Pak.

Thirteen years before that in Wisconsin, Pak and the American Jenny Chausiriporn went into an 18-hole play-off for the US Women's Open title that turned into a sudden-death, 20-hole play-off, which the 20-year-old rookie Pak won grittily in order to …

Well, in order to win a second straight major and become the youngest US Open title-holder at the time.

And in order to thrill the millions of groggy South Koreans watching in the wee hours during a horrendous economic period that cried out for some good news.

And in order, as it happened, to alter the entire landscape of a sport.

When Pak won the LPGA Championship in May 1998 and then the US Open in July to more galvanised noise back home — plus a government-issued medal — the number of South Korean professionals and South Koreans who had won major tournaments totalled one (Pak). Well, look now.

As of Monday, Ryu became the seventh different South Korean player to win a major since Pak, counting Eun-hee Ji in the 2009 US Open, Inbee Park in the 2008 US Open, Ji-yai Shin in the 2008 British Open, Birdie Kim in the 2005 US Open, Jeong Jang in the 2005 British Open and Grace Park in the 2004 Kraft Nabisco.

In the rankings of Monday, July 11, four South Koreans grace the top 10, seven dot the top 20, 11 occupy the top 30, 16 the top 40, 19 the top 50 and 36 the top 100.

Those statistics would qualify as astounding if they had not grown routine. It is a continuation of one of the most profound - and, so often, charming - takeovers ever. It's stunning when you think about it even if nobody much thinks about it anymore.

That 1998 Pak-Chausiriporn play-off proved compelling even to some American men who never bothered much with women's golf.

Pak trailed by four shots after five holes but won.

She had to remove her shoes and hit out of the water on No 18 but won.

Her opponent, Chausiriporn, was an amateur who won admirers with her decency after her runner-up finish.

The whole thing in the dregs of summer compelled the galleries watching in Wisconsin beside Lake Michigan, and watching on television in smallish numbers in sensible hours.

It just did not compel them nearly so voluminously as the sleep-deprived sorts back in Seoul and thereabout.

As a Washington Post article of the time detailed, a golf craze hit South Korea right that summer.

Department store sales of golf gear shot upwards. Parents and children watched both live and on replays, and by a decade on, it became almost funny, this player and that player and the other player citing Pak as a hero and that show as an inspiration.

Shin has said it. Park has said it. And when did this latest champion, Ryu, begin playing golf?

Oh, that week in 1998. Now she plays her final rugged holes of a major title with Pak, still just 33 and finished with her round, following.

Pak is an exceedingly rare woman who dwells smack amid the phenomenon she unwittingly but skilfully created.

She appeared on television in 1998, and pretty soon the earth moved. Considerably.

Understand What Black Is

The Last Poets

(Studio Rockers)


Director: Nikhil Nagesh Bhat

Starring: Lakshya, Tanya Maniktala, Ashish Vidyarthi, Harsh Chhaya, Raghav Juyal

Rating: 4.5/5

The specs

Engine: 3.0 twin-turbo inline six-cylinder
Transmission: eight-speed
Power: 503hp
Torque: 600Nm
Price: from Dh450,000
On sale: now


Display: Main – 6.7" FHD+ Dynamic Amoled 2X, 2640 x 1080, 22:9, 425ppi, HDR10+, up to 120Hz; cover – 3/4" Super Amoled, 720 x 748, 306ppi

Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, 4nm, octa-core; Adreno 740 GPU

Memory: 8GB

Capacity: 256/512GB

Platform: Android 13, One UI 5.1.1

Main camera: Dual 12MP ultra-wide (f/2.2) + 12MP wide (f/1.8), OIS

Video: 4K@30/60fps, full-HD@60/240fps, HD@960fps

Front camera: 10MP (f/2.2)

Battery: 3700mAh, 25W fast charging, 15W wireless, 4.5W reverse wireless

Connectivity: 5G; Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.3, NFC (Samsung Pay)


Cards: Nano-SIM + eSIM; no microSD slot

Colours: Cream, graphite, lavender, mint; exclusives – blue, grey, green, yellow

In the box: Flip 4, USB-C-to-USB-C cable

Price: Dh3,899 / Dh4,349


Developer: Luminous Productions
Publisher: Square Enix
Console: PC, PS5
Release date: January

Company of Heroes 3

Developer: Relic Entertainment
Publisher: SEGA
Console: PC, PS5, XSX
Release date: February

Star Wars Jedi: Survivor

Developer: Respawn Entertainment
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Console: PC, PS5, XSX
Release date: March

Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League

Developer: Rocksteady Studios
Publisher: Warner Bros
Console: PC, PS5, XSX
Release date: May

Final Fantasy XVI

Developer: Square Enix
Publisher: Square Enix
Console: PS5
Release date: June

Street Fighter 6

Developer: Capcom
Publisher: Capcom
Console: PS5, XSX, PC
Release date: June

Diablo IV

Developer: Blizzard Entertainment
Publisher: Blizzard Entertainment
Console: PC, PS5, XSX
Release date: June

Baldur's Gate 3

Developer: Larian Studios
Publisher: Larian Studios
Console: PC
Release date: August

The Legend of Zelda: Tears of The Kingdom

Developer: Nintendo
Publisher: Nintendo
Console: Nintendo Switch
Release date: September

Marvel's Spider-Man 2

Developer: Insomniac Games
Publisher: PlayStation
Console: PS5
Release date: Fall

Assassin's Creed Mirage

Developer: Ubisoft
Publisher: Ubisoft
Console: PC, PS5, XSX, Amazon Luna
Release date: 2023


Developer: Bethesda Game Studios
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
Console: PC, Xbox
Release date: 2023

The specs: Macan Turbo

Engine: Dual synchronous electric motors
Power: 639hp
Torque: 1,130Nm
Transmission: Single-speed automatic
Touring range: 591km
Price: From Dh412,500
On sale: Deliveries start in October

Company Profile

Company name: Namara
Started: June 2022
Founder: Mohammed Alnamara
Based: Dubai
Sector: Microfinance
Current number of staff: 16
Investment stage: Series A
Investors: Family offices


December 28
Stan Wawrinka v Pablo Carreno Busta, 5pm
Milos Raonic v Dominic Thiem, no earlier then 7pm

December 29 - semi-finals
Rafael Nadal v Stan Wawrinka / Pablo Carreno Busta, 5pm
Novak Djokovic v Milos Raonic / Dominic Thiem, no earlier then 7pm

December 30
3rd/4th place play-off, 5pm
Final, 7pm

Our Time Has Come
Alyssa Ayres, Oxford University Press


Round 1: Beat Leolia Jeanjean 6-1, 6-2
Round 2: Beat Naomi Osaka 7-6, 1-6, 7-5
Round 3: Beat Marie Bouzkova 6-4, 6-2
Round 4: Beat Anastasia Potapova 6-0, 6-0
Quarter-final: Beat Marketa Vondrousova 6-0, 6-2
Semi-final: Beat Coco Gauff 6-2, 6-4
Final: Beat Jasmine Paolini 6-2, 6-2

Most F1 world titles

7 — Michael Schumacher (1994, ’95, 2000, ’01 ’02, ’03, ’04)

7 — Lewis Hamilton (2008, ’14,’15, ’17, ’18, ’19, ’20)

5 — Juan Manuel Fangio (1951, ’54, ’55, ’56, ’57)

4 — Alain Prost (1985, ’86, ’89, ’93)

4 — Sebastian Vettel (2010, ’11, ’12, ’13)

ICC Awards for 2021+


Cricketer of the Year+– Shaheen Afridi+(Pakistan)

T20 Cricketer of the Year+– Mohammad Rizwan+(Pakistan)

ODI Cricketer of the Year+– Babar Azam+(Pakistan)

Test Cricketer of the Year+– Joe Root+(England)


Cricketer of the Year+– Smriti Mandhana+(India)

ODI Cricketer of the Year+– Lizelle Lee+(South Africa)

T20 Cricketer of the Year+– Tammy Beaumont+(England)

Women’s Asia Cup

UAE fixtures
Sun Oct 2, v Sri Lanka
Tue Oct 4, v India
Wed Oct 5, v Malaysia
Fri Oct 7, v Thailand
Sun Oct 9, v Pakistan
Tue Oct 11, v Bangladesh

UAE squad
Chaya Mughal (captain), Esha Oza, Kavisha Kumari, Khushi Sharma, Theertha Satish, Lavanya Keny, Priyanjali Jain, Suraksha Kotte, Natasha Cherriath, Indhuja Nandakumar, Rishitha Rajith, Vaishnave Mahesh, Siya Gokhale, Samaira Dharnidharka, Mahika Gaur

The biog

Name: Dhabia Khalifa AlQubaisi

Age: 23

How she spends spare time: Playing with cats at the clinic and feeding them

Inspiration: My father. He’s a hard working man who has been through a lot to provide us with everything we need

Favourite book: Attitude, emotions and the psychology of cats by Dr Nicholes Dodman

Favourit film: 101 Dalmatians - it remind me of my childhood and began my love of dogs 

Word of advice: By being patient, good things will come and by staying positive you’ll have the will to continue to love what you're doing

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