We haven’t heard a lot from Inbee Park lately. She hasn’t played in an LPGA event since the AIG Women’s Open at Muirfield in August and her social-media presence doesn’t give a detailed look into her life. Well, usually it doesn’t. But on Monday, the 21-time LPGA winner announced some big news: she and her husband are expecting their first child.
A seven-time Major winner and the 2016 Olympic gold medallist, Park wrote, “We are thrilled to announce that we will be welcoming new member of our family. Thank you all for so much support and love.”
Park, 34, did not share when she’s due, but the tour’s maternity leave is as good as it’s ever been. Current tour regulations state that players can take up to two years of leave. Once they return, they’ll have the same status that they had when they started their leave. This policy was put into effect in 2019, in part thanks to other LPGA players who had children. Karine Icher worked hard to have the policy changed so that tour pros wouldn’t see their careers harmed by taking time after giving birth.
Similarly, Stacy Lewis worked with the USGA in 2019 to help update the governing body’s maternity policy regarding its championships. That year, Lewis petitioned the USGA to play in the US Women’s Open at the Country Club of Charleston after having given birth to her daughter, Chesnee, in 2018. Because Lewis took time off after having her baby, her world ranking had fallen, which meant she was no longer fully exempt into the championship despite being ranked high enough at the time she took maternity leave to have automatically qualified. The USGA accepted Lewis’ petition and went on to update its maternity leave policy. Now, if a player goes on maternity leave and would have been exempt into the US Women’s Open, she is exempt the next year.