Updated: Jan, 2016
The Facts
Name: Ji Eun Park
It's pronounced: Jee Un Park
English Name: Grace
Birthday: March 6, 1979
Home City: Seoul, South Korea (a real Seoul Sister!)
American Home City: Phoenix, AZ
Rookie Year on LPGA: 2000
LPGA Wins: 6
LPGA Majors: 1 (2004 Kraft Nabisco Championship)
Rookie of the year finish: 2nd; edged at the end of the year by Dorothy Delasin
Height: 5' 6"
Weight: 125 lbs.
Family: one brother, one older sister, husband, daughter
Best score: 61 (Welch's/Fry's Championship, 2004)
Best Scoring Average for a year: 69.99 (2004)
Best Season money total: $1,525,471 (2004)
Best Season Money Position: 2nd (2004)
Most Top Tens/Season: 19 (2003)
2016 LPGA Status: Category 18 (Retired)
Post-season awards: 2004 Vare Trophy
Strong Statistics: Birdies; Driving Distance, putts/green in regulation
Nicknames: Major Queen, Birdie Queen
Other Sports: Speed Skating
Hobbies: Shopping, Listening to Music
Sponsor: ELord
Why is she a Seoul Sister: She's got tons of style, and her classy looks, incredible power and dominating play have made her one of the elite players on tour.
How's her English?: Fluent; she's lived here since she was in her early teens.
Best part of her game: Grace is one of the longest women in the game. When her driving is on she can easily top 280 and gets it out there around 300+ on occasion. And few women hit the ball higher, even with long irons.
Needs to work on: Driving accuracy is still lower than it ought to be. When she's in the fairway, she's deadly.
Distinguishing physical characteristic: her looks.
What's cool about her: Grace is the most fiery of the Seoul Sisters. Although she sometimes loses her temper, she also generates a lot of excitement with her go-for-it style. She dresses very well and has a goofy, sly attitude that is a lot of fun. She is quite a looker, too!
Cool possible headlines: 'Amazing Grace'; 'Grace Under Pressure', 'Grace Under Fire'.
If she were a Rat Packer, she'd be: Dean Martin - the slick, good looking one
Exclusive Interview!
Click HERE to read an exclusive interview with Grace Park conducted by Seoul Sisters.com at the 2003 Safeway Classic in Portland, Oregon!.
Video Greeting
Grace 'Living on Tulsa Time'
Bio

Grace Park was born Ji Eun, the daughter of successful restaurateurs in Seoul. She is therefore the truest 'Seoul Sister', having grown up in Seoul! As a youngster she went to a private school rated the best in the city, and known for its tough academic standards and for a special focus on athletics. At the time, Ji Eun focused on speed skating, which she had a talent for, and which is something of a national obsession in Korea. Indeed, when young, she captured the national championship in this sport. At the age of 10, her parents, both golfers, introduced her to golf. Within just a few months her scoring average plummeted to the low 90s. Her parents realized she had a gift, and that she would not learn much in the big city. So they sent her to live with relatives in Hawaii, where she received special training from a former LPGA pro.

Within just a few years, Grace, as she now was known, was the top rated junior girls' player in the U.S. But it was such a hassle flying to events from Hawaii that her parents decided Grace should move to the mainland. They bought a house in Phoenix, and Grace moved there. She did not like it; there were few Asians or Koreans around, unlike Hawaii, and she still was not fluent in English or comfortable with the customs. She lived with a guardian, although her parents visited when they could. But eventually she grew used to the area, and ended up not only going to college there, but moving there after college.

Grace enrolled at Arizona State University, where her success continued. She became a dominant amateur, the best in the country, winning tournaments hand over fist. In 1998, she became the first amateur since 1938 to win all the major amateur tournaments in one year. Included in that was a relentless destruction of Jenny Chuasiriporn (7 and 6) at the U.S. Women's Amateur Championships. This was only a few months after Jenny nearly won the U.S. Open against Se Ri Pak.

Grace also tried her hand at playing professional tournaments while still an amateur. Her results were impressive. She finished 8th at the 1999 U.S. Open, destroying Jenny C's record for lowest score for an amateur. Her driving average that year was 8 yards farther than any other player in the field. At the Safeway tournament later that year, she finished 2nd, behind only Juli Inkster, who entered the Hall of Fame with that victory. Fellow Seoul Sister Se Ri finished 4th at the same tournament.

Grace avoided LPGA Q-School by taking advantage of a new rule that said you could get a one year exemption on the LPGA if you finished in the top three on the money list on the Futures Tour, a minor league women's golf tour that the LPGA had recently adopted as a developmental tour. Joining halfway through the season, Grace dominated, winning five of the ten events she entered and easily capturing the top of the money list, the Player of the Year award, and the LPGA exemption.

Everything pointed towards an awesome debut on the LPGA, but things did not go as Grace planned. In 2000, she started terribly, as did Mi Hyun Kim and Se Ri Pak in their rookie years. She missed several cuts and was nowhere near the top of the rookie list. But after a few months she settled in and started to get top tens, finally winning her first tournament in April. She vaulted to the top of the rookie standings, but then got a rib injury that sidelined her for several weeks, and hampered her play for the rest of the season. Dorothy Delasin, meanwhile, won her first tournament and inched in front of Grace in the ROY standings. Despite Grace's efforts, she could not catch Delasin, and Delasin won the Rookie of the Year award, breaking the Korean Seoul Sister streak.

Grace has continued to be up and down after that. She won again in 2001, but only managed six top tens all year. She had more injuries. Her swing suffered from the injuries; she lost a good twenty yards of distance, and overcompensation for her rib has resulted in a tendency to pull the ball way right or left. If Se Ri is the Sister who lived up to her potential, and Mi Hyun the Sister who overachieved, Grace was the underachiever of the three, at least since she joined the LPGA.

Determined to right the ship, Grace began working with new coach Peter Costis in 2002. Costis referred to her as a 'Ferrari with a few loose nuts'. Meaning, she had all the tools to be great, she just needed a little tweaking. Her work with Costis had immediate results. She got off to a great start in 2002, and though she had a mild mid-season slump, won her third LPGA event in October. She finished with her first top ten placing on the money list, her best scoring average ever, and the most top tens she had achieved in her pro career. At last, Grace has risen to the star status that was expected of her.

Things got even better in 2003. Grace roared out of the gate by shooting her career best score, 63, in the first tournament of the year, and very nearly won it. The next week, she lost by one stroke to Se Ri Pak in a thrilling battle of the Sisters. Grace would go on to notch an astounding 19 top tens in 2003, and came within just a few strokes of stealing the Vare Trophy away from Se Ri Pak. Included in those 19 top tens were ten in a row to end the season, a win, a second place finish at the LPGA Championship (almost her first Major win), three other second place finishes, and four third places. She had top tens in three of the four Majors in 2003, scored the most birdies on tour for the second year in a row, and had the best putts per green in regulation average on tour. She also finished third on the money list, behind just Se Ri Pak and Annika Sorenstam. As if that weren't enough, she also signed an enormous endorsement deal with Nike and was named a (nonvoting) member to the LPGA's Board of Directors. At the age of 24, Grace Park had arrived as a superstar at last!

2004 proved to be arguably Grace's best season yet. She started the year off with a bang, scoring top three finishes in her first three starts. The best of these was at the Nabisco Championship, the year's first Major, where she sank a clutch 6 foot birdie try on the final hole to collect her first Major victory. Grace continued to play well after that, but a series of back problems hampered her during the summer and the big money events that happened at that time.

However, once she got over the back trouble, she again performed wonderfully. In September and October, she got on a roll, producing one second place finish after another, before collecting a second victory at the CJ 9 Bridges Classic. It was the biggest win of her career, a five shot triumph, and the first time that she had ever won more than one event in a season.

Grace would go on to collect the Vare Trophy for low scoring average of the season, becoming only the fourth player in history to post a scoring average for the year below 70, and the second Korean player, after Se Ri Pak, to win the coveted award. All signs pointed to a mammoth 2005 for Grace, providing she could keep healthy!

Unfortunately, her health proved to be her Achilles heel all through 2005. She especially struggled with her back, which was injured so much of the season that she found it difficult to practice. As a result, she was perpetually rusty all year, so that even when her back would be OK, she would not be at her best. And it seemed like she would get injured repeatedly, sometimes in ridiculous ways: once, she even hurt her shoulder when one of her pro-am partners gave her a too vigorous high five following a good putt. As a result, she suffered through her worst season as a pro in 2005. Not only did she not win a tournament in a season for the first time since joining the LPGA, she also finished outside the top 30 on the money list for the first time.

In the first part of the 2006 season, she was healthier by and large, but the months of inactivity due to injury took their toll. She was still capable of lighting it up, as she did the very first round of the year at the SBS Open, where she shot a 66 and took the first round lead. But she was also very inconsistent and missed a lot of cuts for a player of her caliber. Just when it looked like things might turn around, she got a serious neck injury that forced her to miss a lot of weeks right in the middle of the year. For the first time in her career, she was forced to bow out of the US Women's Open. She never really returned to form the rest of the year, and finished outside the top ninety on the money list.

Late in 2006, she did return to play in a few events. More importantly, she led the Asian team at the Lexus Cup to a narrow victory over the International team captained by Annika Sorenstam. They thus avenged the trouncing the Internationals had given them the previous year. In 2007, Grace continued to struggle to return to form, but at least her injuries were under control for the moment. She improved slightly from the year before, finishing 87th on the money list, but she is still far from the player she was a few years ago.

Grace continued her lackluster results in 2008, although she did flirt with the top 20 a few times during the year and produced the occasional great round. She seemed to be slowly coming around, although she was far away from the form that made her a superstar only a few years earlier. At the start of the 2009 season, she very nearly notched her first top ten since 2005 when she finished 12th in Mexico. But she withdrew with back problems at the next event, and after missing the cut at the Nabisco, missed the rest of the season due to injuries. During this period she had an operation on her back, with the hope that she will come back from this latest round of injuries stronger than ever.

2010 saw more struggling for Grace, however. She did manage one golden return to form: a tie for 10th at the Nabisco, her first top ten in four and a half years. Otherwise, she only made two other cuts all year and did not play at all after July.

Grace had more trouble in 2011. She was relatively healthy, but the good results just didn't come. She did not even make the field of the US Women's Open, and missed the cut at two of the other three Majors. Her best finish was a tie for 13th at the Safeway Classic. Her money list position was 81st, meaning she just missed out on category 1 status. But she still has category 11 status, which would qualify her for most tournaments.

Grace had been planning on playing the LPGA at the start of 2012, then focusing on the KLPGA in the latter half of the year. However, she felt that, despite being healthy, her game was no longer where she wanted it to be, and so she made a surprise announcement of her retirement at the LPGA Championship. She did make the cut there, extending her career two more days, then called it a career and moved back to Korea. Late in the year she married her boyfriend. It looks likely that she is done with golf, although she has not ruled out the possibility of returning at some point.

Grace finished her career with 6 LPGA wins, but there were times when it looked like she could have been so much more were it not for all the injuries. No doubt whatever she does from here on out, she will continue to be a smashing success. Good luck to her!

Grace did play one LPGA event in 2013, the Hana Bank tournament in Korea. She came out of retirement to give her fans one last show. She was paired with old friend Se Ri Pak in the first round, and nostalgia was in the air. She also acquired a new sponsorship with ELord, showing she still has appeal even in retirement! Grace also did some commentating work for JGolf, and might be looking to expand that in the future.

In early 2015, Grace had her first child, a daughter, and named her Hayden.