Park Sung-hyun, a star player on the South Korean female golf tour, expressed her desire Thursday to compete in the next Olympics after she signed a major sponsorship deal with a local bank for her LPGA Tour debut this season.
"I started dreaming of competing in the Olympics while watching last year's Rio Olympics," said the 23-year-old who will make her LPGA debut at HSBC Women's Champions in Singapore on March 2.
Park signed a two-year deal with KEB Hana Bank and agreed to wear the lender's logo on the front of her cap. Financial terms were not disclosed, but she said her annual payment almost matches a previous record of two billion won (1.7 million US dollars) as a female Korean golfer.
She said she wants to reach No. 1 in world rankings before the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics but preferred gradual progress. "I'm not in a hurry. Without aiming too high at the beginning, I want to be in the top 15." Initially, she tried to compete in Thailand next week but pushed back her debut.
She said she need more time to get familiar with the US grass. "The US and Korean grass were so different that I traveled through various golf courses to try various grasses, but it's not enough."
At home, Park was last year's money leader with seven victories and a total prize money of more than 1.3 billion won. She was popular for her aggressive style and as a long hitting golfer. She has already won a series of endorsement deals with LG Electronics, Korean Air and others.
Lim Chang-won = email@example.com