WASHINGTON: World No.10 Jang Ha-Na has dropped her LPGA Tour membership and returned home to South Korea, a decision she said Tuesday (Wednesday in Manila) was motivated only to be nearer her family.
The 25-year-old from Seoul won $2.6 million and four titles since joining the LPGA in 2015.
She plans to return next month to the LPGA of Korea Tour, where she won eight times and topped the money list in 2013.
“The reason I’ve decided to come back is that I’ve found something more precious than golf,” Jang said.
“I thought being world number one was the only goal in my life and that was where my happiness comes from, but I realized there are many more important things than that.”
Jang won three LPGA events last year, winning her only US title at the now-defunct Coates Championship in Ocala, Florida, and following by taking the HSBC Women’s Champions event in Singapore in March 2016 and celebrating with “Beyonce-style” dance moves that irked some fans.
A bag carried by Jang’s father tumbled down an escalator at the Singapore airport last year and struck current world number five Chun In-Gee, a long-time Jang rival dating to their Korean tour days who missed the Singapore event after the incident.
Jang won the LPGA Taiwan Championship last October and this past February captured the Women’s Australian Open.
“Even though I won four times, I still felt empty inside,” Jang said of her LPGA days. “I made this decision because being with my family is more important to me than being the world’s top golfer.”
Jang’s best finish in a major tournament was a share of third at the 2014 Evian Championship. She shared fifth in last year’s Women’s British Open.
After winning in Australia, Jang shared fourth in Singapore and fifth at the LPGA Founders Cup, but only cracked 70 once in three events since then, sharing 64th at the Kia Classic, 21st at the year’s first major, the ANA Inspiration, and missing the cut at last month’s LPGA Texas Shootout.