According to swing coach Tom Creavy, who says the timing of Se Ri Pak's shoulder injury "couldn't have been worse," it is unlikely the LPGA Hall of Famer will be able to play in the U.S. Women's Open at Blackwolf Run in Kohler, Wis., the site of her most memorable victory as a professional.
Creavy estimates that there's a 20 percent chance Pak could play at Blackwolf, where in 1998 she won a 20-hole playoff over Jenny Chuasiriporn. It was the second of Pak's 25 career wins and also the second of her five majors -- both tops among Koreans, who have become dominant on tour since Pak's breakout season 14 years ago.
Pak slipped on a stairway prior to the Mobile Bay LPGA Classic at the Magnolia Grove Crossings course at Alabama's Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail and suffered a slight tear in her labrum when she braced herself against a railing.
In an effort to avoid surgery, Pak will rest and rehab the arm. "The best-case scenario is that she'll be hitting balls the week before the U.S. Women's Open," Creavy said. "But the doctors told her the longer she takes to let it heal and not try to push it, the better off she'll be. They're saying to wait until the Asian swing in September-October, making sure [she's] 100 percent."
Pak hasn't won since 2010, but had been playing well recently with top-10 finishes at the Kia Classic and the Kraft Nabisco Championship. "Se Ri had gone through a phase where she was trying too hard, putting too much pressure on herself," said Creavy. "But now she's more relaxed. She's passed the phase of wondering what she's playing for. She was enjoying herself."
Now the 34-year-old faces the grueling task of rehabilitation. "Right now, there is no timeline for my return to the LPGA, but I know the next two months of rehab will be important for my recovery," she said in a release issued by the tour. "I have a positive outlook and I fully expect to return to the LPGA as soon as the time is right."
-- John Antonini
(Photo: Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)