Volume 1, Number 1 March 12, 2003

The Maruhan Cup 2002

Pages 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7
How the Korean Dream Team went to Japan to capture this team championship

On December 7 and 8th, 2002, a team of Korean women golf superstars descended upon Osaka Country Club to take on a team of Japan's top women. The competition, a tradition since the late nineties, was once known as the Pinx Cup, but has a new sponsor and is now called the Maruhan Cup.

National pride was on the line, and the Koreans wanted to make sure they did their best to take the trophy. You see, the Japanese had won the Pinx Cup each time it had been contested in the past. The Korean teams those years had some but not all of the top Korean stars playing, and it was definitely a burr in the side of the Korean fans that they had not been able to win before.

The Lineup
In 2002, they took no chances. With Korean golf being at its highest point in history, they made sure to assemble a Dream Team (they even used that term) that would have no chance of coming back from Japan empty handed. Topping the team were the six top Korean players on the LPGA tour. Led by the inimitable Se Ri Pak, 5-time winner in 2002 on the LPGA and #2 player in the world, the team also included Seoul Sisters Mi Hyun Kim and Grace Park, the #4 and #6 players on the LPGA; Hee-Won Han, the 2001 LPGA Rookie of the Year; Sybase Big Apple Classic winner Gloria Park; and Jeong Jang, 4th at the 2002 British Open. Added to that assemblage were the top three players on the Korean LPGA: rookie sensation Mi Na Lee, Korean Open winner Il Mi Chung; and perennial KLPGA star Soo Yun Kang. Not content with just those players, they added two seasoned veterans, Woo Soon Ko and Ok Hee Ku (herself a former winner on the LPGA). These two players currently played on the JLPGA, where in 2002 they swept the Japanese tour's Majors between them.

On paper an awesome assemblage like that would seem unbeatable, but golf tournaments are played on golf courses, not on paper. And indeed, there were a few dark clouds hovering over the team before it arrived in Osaka. Notably, Se Ri Pak was still suffering from an impacted tooth and a severe cold that definitely weakened her, and Mi Hyun Kim had been in a long slump since September. Could the team still win if their two top players could not deliver? Or would those two old pros step up to the plate? Time would tell.

It so happens that, a loyal SeoulSisters.com fan who calls himself 'happyfanrooter' (and how flattering is that?) sent this writer a videotape of the entire competition, as it was shown on Korean TV when it happened. In gratitude for this generous gift, I'll present below a recap of the exciting matches that will give you a glimpse not only into how the competition went, but also how they are covered in their homeland. I hope you enjoy it!

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