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Ha Na Jang embroiled in Olympic-style fracas ahead of LPGA Founders Cup

Ha Na Jang’s Beyonce dance moves brought out the critics in South Korea, many of whom are still fuming about an incident involving Jang’s father and her Olympic rival In Gee Chung that left Chung inured.

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Remember that wonderful victory celebration Ha Na Jang debuted after winning the HSBC Women’s Champions in Singapore almost two weeks ago? Well, should the ebullient 23-year-old earn her third victory in her last five starts at this week’s JTBC Founders Cup, expect a far less exuberant observance after some South Koreans took umbrage at her dancing chops.

Randall Mell reported that channeling Beyonce in Singapore did not go over nearly so well in her home country as it did with LPGA Tour fans in the US. With two of the country’s star golfers locked in a close race for an Olympic berth, Jang’s jubilation after her latest triumph reignited anger among backers of In Gee Chun who were already fuming over an accident involving Jang’s father that knocked their player out of the Singapore event.

"Jang wiped away tears Tuesday at the Founders Cup after explaining how she didn’t intend to offend anyone with the dance and that she is remorseful over circumstances that have pitted her against Chun in a Korean media firestorm," Mell wrote.

The accident involved Jang’s father losing the grip on a 15-pound piece of luggage that plunged down an escalator and into Chun’s back. With Chun out of the tournament, Jang’s win not only elevated her into contention with four other South Koreans for a spot in Rio, but it also knocked Chun out, Mell said.

Chun, the 2015 US Women’s Open champion, is not present for the Founders Cup after sustaining multiple back injuries, according to Chun’s representatives, who Mell said cited MRIs and ultrasound tests performed by orthopedic specialists. She will require two weeks of recovery time, during which her treatment has included heat and acupuncture, said Mell.

Meanwhile, the drama continues, with Chun issuing a statement that both suggested she had not received a sincere apology from Team Jang and somewhat clumsily attempted to smooth over the ill will between the two camps.

"Regardless of the shortcomings in delivering apologies, and consolations directly to me and my family, I still believe the excessive speculations and the provoked criticism from current issues should not result in their mental wound and stresses," Chun said in a statement, according to Mell. "I hope to meet them soon and would like to have an opportunity to share with them my thought on how my family and I were hurt. At the same time, I would like to show my sympathy and console their heart and soul sincerely if I could.

"Many fans of Ha Na Jang's must have felt greatly hurt and low," Chun continued. "I would also like to express my sincere consolation wholeheartedly to them, and I would like to ask them to continue to support Ha Na Jang for her continued top performance at the tournaments to come. I will do my best to rebuild the relationship with her and her family in a very positive direction and meet the expectations from everyone who loves golf."

Rio, baby!