BEDMINSTER, N.J. – This U.S. Women’s Open looked as if it were going to be pulled apart at the seams at week’s start.
With players caught in the middle of a tug of war between social activists enraged that the championship was being played on a course owned by President Donald Trump and with the USGA committed to defending its turf, the championship practically groaned amid the strain before the first shots were struck.
This U.S. Women’s Open was so divisively configured, but that’s what made Sunday’s ending so surprisingly unifying.
So jarringly harmonious.
With South Korea’s Sung Hyun Park being whisked through a passageway to scoring after virtually sealing her victory, she looked up to see the last extraordinary scene in this surreal week.
Park looked above to see President Trump leap out of his seat in his private box to race to the window above her. She looked up to see the President of the United States in his bright ted “Make America Great Again” cap enthusiastically applaud her and wave to her with a wide, approving smile.
The president may love America, but he loves golf, too.
And as infuriating as that may be to the activists lined up against, him, he loves women’s golf.
So President Trump stood like everyone else, cheered like everyone else, and let Park know how much he admired the way this rising new international star dissected his prized course with her flawless finish.
“Congratulations to Sung Hyun Park on winning the 2017 @USGA #USWomensOpen,” he later tweeted.
Park beamed with the Harton S. Semple Trophy afterward.
“I still cannot believe that it is actually happening,” Park said through a translator. “I almost feel like I’m floating on a cloud in the sky.”
Park was grateful for the way the American galleries at Trump National embraced her.
“I recognize the fans who flew in from Korea to cheer me at this tournament, and also the great Americans who live around here, they were so gracious and hospitable, providing me Korean food day after day so I could nourish myself and gain strength,” Park said through a translator. “I also like to thank my fans here in the United States.”
Park, 23, is already a superstar in South Korea, where she dominated the Korean LPGA Tour before joining the American-based tour this year as a rookie.
Now Park looks poised to challenge for the Rolex world No. 1 ranking with the top of the women’s game looking so wide…