Sports Outside the Beltway

Will Mark Purdy of The Mercury-Times please pick up the white courtesy phone

He writes today-

Lately, our favorite sports have dialed up a bunch of international area codes. And this is a good thing. Right?

In basketball, three of the past four NBA Most Valuable Player awards have gone to non-Americans. People cheered. In baseball, four of the past seven American League MVPs have been foreign-born. People applauded.

It is puzzling, then, why the recent flood of talented South Korean players onto the women’s pro golf tour has wound up raising such a ruckus. The trend is on full display at the Samsung World Championship that ends today in Half Moon Bay, where nine competitors in the elite 20-woman field are South Koreans.

Lets count the South Koreans in the Samsung field.

Na Yeon Choi
Seon Hwa Lee Inbee Park Ji-Yai Shin
Hee-Won Han
Jeong Jang
Eun-Hee Ji Song-Hee Kim

I count eight. Who is Purdy mistakenly counting? Angela Park. Will golf writers finally get the memo that Angela is a Naturalized US citizen of Korean heritage but born in Brazil. She’s only been to South Korea to compete on the LPGA Tour and for vacation.

If that qualifies Park as South Korean, I’m Polish because I got a tiny bit of Polish ancestry and my wife and I went there on vacation in 2000. Let me note also that NBC put the total at 8 during Sunday’s broadcast.

Mick Elliott of the Tampa Tribune made the same mistake last summer. I’ll be nice to Mark and not give him my Knucklehead award.(Elliott won it)

All nine players earned their invitations the hard way — through their 2008 performances. Two of them, Song-Hee Kim and Ji-Yai Shin, are in the top six entering today’s final round, within three shots of the lead. Kim and Shin did that the right way, too — by playing good golf in the weird and changeable, wet and windy coastal conditions.

At least 18 of the 20 women in the Samsung, not just the South Koreans, qualified ‘the hard way’ through their 2008 performance. Defending champ Lorena Ochoa is one possible exemption, though shows her qualifying through her 2008 play. Juli Inkster got a special invite.

The last sentence is dumb sounding also. I mean, all players try playing good golf. Don’t they?

Maybe I should give Purdy a Knucklehead award.

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