SPORTS

Hall of Famer, PGA Tour veteran to coach S. Korea at Olympics

By KH디지털2
  • Published : Jan 25, 2016 - 13:29
  • Updated : Jan 25, 2016 - 13:29

Pak Se-ri, an LPGA great and the lone South Korean in the World Golf Hall of Fame, and Choi Kyoung-ju, veteran of eight PGA Tour wins, will be leading the national women's and men's teams at this year's Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

The Korea Golf Association (KGA) on Monday announced Pak and Choi as the coaches for South Korea when golf makes its return to the Olympics after a 112-year absence.

Pak, 38, leads all South Koreans with 25 career LPGA Tour victories, a total that includes five majors. The 1998 LPGA Tour Rookie of the Year is a pioneer who has inspired a whole generation of youngsters to take up the sport.

And Pak will likely be coaching key members of that young generation, including world No. 2 Park In-bee, who, at 27, has surpassed Pak's major championship totals with seven of her own.

Choi, 45, is the first South Korean to win on the PGA Tour and reached No. 5 in the world rankings in early 2008. He served as the vice captain for the International Team at last year's Presidents Cup, held in South Korea.

The field in Rio will be 60 players each for men and women, and the top 15 players will be eligible, with a limit of four players per each nation.

Beyond the top 15, players will qualify for the Olympics based on the world rankings, with a maximum of two eligible players from each country that doesn't already have two or more players among the top 15.

Based on last week's women's rankings, eight of the top 15 players are from South Korea, and only the four highest -- currently Park In-bee (No. 2), Ryu So-yeon (No. 5), Kim Sei-young (No. 7) and Amy Yang (No. 8) -- would get to Rio if the eligibility period ended Monday.

In the men's rankings from last week, An Byeong-hun, a 24-year-old rising star who won a European Tour major last year, is the top South Korean at No. 29, followed by Kim Kyung-tae, the reigning Japanese tour money winner, at No. 60. (Yonhap)