Saving Grace

May 10, 2009

There are times when life gives us a speed bump, but slowing down for that moment allows us to jump into the fast lane once we get going again. I believe that's what's going to happen for Grace Park, who last week announced she had undergone successful arthroscopic surgery for a torn labrum in her hip. Grace has battled neck and back issues since her college days at Arizona State, where she dominated for two years before moving on to the LPGA in 2000. A six-time winner, she began to suffer burnout in 2004, not long after she won that year's Kraft Nabisco. She started spending more time in South Korea—seemingly trying to find out who she really was after being sent as a child to live with a nanny in the U.S. so she could develop her golf skills. Her recovery is expected to take four months, and I encourage Grace not to push it. After August there simply aren't that many events remaining on the schedule. She should come back when the healing is complete, both physically and emotionally, when her heart wants it. I made the mistake of returning too soon after my first shoulder surgery in '02. I set a calendar date that my mind and body weren't even close to being on the same page with and ultimately paid the price with more extensive rehab and a major blow to my motivation and confidence. The LPGA needs the personality, wit, beauty and talent of Grace Park. I hope she uses this surgery as a means to restart her promising career.

Dottie Pepper is a 17-year LPGA veteran and an on-course analyst for NBC and Golf Channel.

ILLUSTRATIONILLUSTRATION BY KAGAN MCLEOD (PEPPER) PHOTOROBERT BECK (PARK)

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)