South Korea’s Inbee Park has revealed there are a lot of nerves surrounding the women’s golf event at the Rio Olympics as the players feel the added pressure of representing their country.
The seven-time major winner is one shot behind leader Ariya Jutanugarn of Thailand after the first round of play with a flawless five-under-par 66.
Compatriot Seiyoung Kim also shot a round of 66 and Park admits that she can feel the tension and nerves out on the course.
“I was able to feel a lot of the players’ nerves when I was on the range and when I was playing out there,” Park said. “I haven’t played in a while, but this is not what I usually get all the time. I was able to tell – everybody was quite proud to represent their country and quite excited and quite nervous at the same time.”
Jutanugarn won her first major at the Women’s British Open recently and was happy at how she recovered from her double bogey on the par-3 fourth hole.
“I had one double but I felt OK,” Jutanugarn said. “I want to play my game and not worry about it.”
There is a possibility of South Korea making it a clean sweep of medals in the women’s golf in Rio, with four South Korean’s in the world’s top ten women’s golfers.
“Being a Korean women’s golfer, I think we always have that kind of pressure on our shoulders,” Park continued. “It’s hard, because we play 30 events a year, and there isn’t many weeks where all Korean golfers finish 1, 2, 3. Being able to do it in the Olympics would be something unreal, but obviously it’s going to be something that’s very, very hard to do with all the great competitors around the world.
“At the same time, it is pressure for a lot of us,” she said. “It is a really hard one. But you know, we really can’t help it.”