Inbee Park's secret to 2013 success, she says, was finding her happiness

Inbee Park
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Inbee Park, when she discussed her goals for 2013, said her primary aim was simply to be happier than she was last year.
By
Doug Ferguson
Associated Press

Series: LPGA Tour

NAPLES, Fla. – LPGA Tour Commissioner Mike Whan said last Saturday’s annual awards celebration was by far his favorite time of the year. Inbee Park made it special for everyone there with a speech that explained who she is and what she tried to achieve this year. 

Park had six wins and three straight majors with just more than three months left in the season, and she still didn't wrap up the points-based award for LPGA player of the year until the next-to-last tournament. She jokingly said that kept her from having more time to work on her speech. 

She delivered one of her best moments of the year. 

"Many people say I look effortless. They also say I'm emotionless. Some people started called me the `Silent Assassin,'" Park said. "However, just because I'm short of feelings doesn't mean I don't feel anything." 

She conceded that the pressure around her amazing run in the majors was almost too much to bear, even though no one around might have imagined that. 

"I remember there were days when the thought of addressing the media overwhelmed me," she said. "Imagine yourself in China, standing before a crowd full of Chinese people who are staring at you, and you had to make a speech in Chinese. That's how I felt." 

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's Most intriguing, though, was when she talked about her goals for the year. It was simply to be happier than she was last year. 

"Don't we all want to be happy? Aren't we all doing whatever we do in order to be happy?" she said. "Unexpectedly, as soon as happiness became my goal, I achieved more things than ever. ... But a funny thing happened. I started to want more. 

“That's when I really started to struggle. A lot came into my mind. I started to think too much. I started to think about scores, statistics – not only of mine, but others as well. I found it especially challenging to deal with others' expectations for me." 

She said her family kept her grounded, and then paid tribute to her parents, her fans and sponsors, her caddie and her fiance, speaking a short message in Korean to each of them after explaining in English the role they played. 

Park closed her speech with this: 

"I am especially proud to be the first player from South Korea to win this award," she said. "My hope is that my achievement will inspire a new generation of young girls ... to pick up a set of golf clubs and follow their dreams. More than anything, though, I – the `Silent Assassin' – am most proud that I kept my eye on the higher goal – happiness. I found it."