Inbee Park makes her return to the LPGA Tour this week, ending a six-month absence from the circuit with her first 2017 start at the Honda LPGA Thailand.

Park struggled throughout 2016 with a left thumb injury that forced her to withdraw several times and shoot uncharacteristic high scores when she was able to play. She gutted it out to make it to Rio to represent Korea in the 2016 Olympics, and she won the gold medal, besting Lydia Ko for the honor. The seven-time major winner didn’t make another start the rest of the way, saving her return for this week.


“I took a lot of time off. I didn’t touch a club after the Olympics for about maybe four months,” Park said Wednesday. “I started practicing in December and until now I slowly got now practice time a little longer and longer.”

Park says she’s back into her normal routine, hopefully portending good things for her season, if she can remain confident that her thumb won’t get reinjured.

“The most important thing is that I can’t be scared of my injury,” she said. “If I still have that feeling inside me my swing is going to change. So I am trying to get that fear off me, and that has been working pretty well.”

As Park contemplates starting a family with her husband, she seems focused more on winning the events that can only enhance her place in LPGA history.

“I would like to really add major championship trophy,” she said. “That’s really the only thing I’m worried about right now.” [/restrict]