Golf: Park Inbee admits burnout on eve of Women's British Open

Park (above) was once the dominant force in women’s golf, winning six of her seven Majors between 2013 and 2015
Park (above) was once the dominant force in women’s golf, winning six of her seven Majors between 2013 and 2015PHOTO: AFP

WOBURN, United Kingdom (AFP) - Park Inbee says she suffered from burnout and confessed she has doubts over whether she will be defending her Olympic title in Tokyo on the eve of the Women's British Open.

The 31-year-old South Korean was once the dominant force in women's golf, winning six of her seven Majors between 2013 and 2015, but she has now slipped to number five in the world rankings and has cut her schedule back.

Despite her struggles Park, who finished in a tie for eighth place at last week's Evian Championship, is hoping to find form at the final Major of the season in Woburn, starting on Thursday (Aug 1).

"I did suffer a bit of burnout and I have reduced my schedule, dropping 10 events from the 30 on the rota," she said on Wednesday.

"I take more time now to go home and have fun. When you don't play, you realise how much you miss it. I might not be as good as before but it's a case of enjoying it and getting my confidence back."

The last time the Open was at Woburn was in 2016, when Thailand's Ariya Jutanugarn claimed the trophy. Park missed the event to protect an injury in the run-up to the Rio Olympics.

"But the British is always one of my favourite tournaments," said the winner of the 2015 version at Turnberry.

"Playing in England or Scotland is always so different - the wind, the rain."

And is Tokyo 2020 a goal?

"Yes and no," she said.

"There are so many good Korean players that it will be very hard to make the team."

Lexi Thompson is the leading American but comes into the British Open after an unsettling succession of events.

The 24-year-old missed the cut at the Evian Championship, another of the five women's Majors, and then upset her colleagues by mislaying her passport.

In the subsequent confusion the van driver taking the clubs across the Channel missed his connection and, as a result, many players did not have their clubs for an early practice round.

"I have apologised and I wish it had never happened," said Thompson. "I was freaking out when I discovered what I had done and didn't realise I was going to cause such a delay. I am sorry for that."

For England's Charley Hull, the aim is to follow in the footsteps of Georgia Hall and make it back-to-back home winners.

"Georgia's win at Lytham last year definitely spurred me on," said the player who grew up playing golf at Woburn.

"It's a goal to win a Major, especially one on home turf. But I don't want to put too much pressure on myself. I did quite well in 2016 (tied 17th) and I think this time the course suits me better. It is playing a lot longer."

Next year's Women's British Open heads for Royal Troon in Scotland and it was announced on Wednesday that Royal Porthcawl in Wales will be the venue in 2021.