Thailand’s Ariya Jutanugarn soared from a struggling rookie to a superstar in her sophomore season on the LPGA Tour.
The world No.2 won five times in 2016– three consecutive events in the month of May, the RICOH Women’s British Open for her first major victory and added her fifth title of the year in Canada. At season’s end, Jutanugarn took home the $1 million dollar bonus that came with winning the season long Race to the CME Globe and also earned Rolex Player of the Year honors. This week, Ariya returns home alongside her sister and fellow LPGA professional, Moriya, to compete in front of a hometown crowd.
Below, the pair shares their reaction to Ariya’s growing popularity, how it feels to play at home and what it would mean to win in Thailand.
- What has the reaction been like back home in Thailand to Ariya’s success last season?
Moriya: “Like never before. So many people at the airport when we arrive. Ore people knew who we were”
Ariya: “The reaction was great. There were so many people waiting for me at the airport. Lots of spectators and fans.
2. Ariya, do you feel added pressure this season?
Ariya: “Not really, my goal is the same. I just want to be happy every time I play golf.”
Moriya, what has it been like to see the success Ariya had last year?
Moriya: “I am so happy for Ariya. She works hard and is so talented.”
3.What impact do you think your success has had on growing the game in Thailand?
Ariya: “I believe more people watch golf now and even start playing. More kids are getting into the game. I am glad that I can take part in growing the game.”
Moriya: “I would like to be a part of growing golf in Thailand in a way and I think playing well, acting well will do that for now.”
4.How does it feel to play at home at the Honda LPGA Thailand?
Ariya: “It’s very nice to be playing in front of my family, friends and all the fans. I don’t’ get that opportunity very often, so this is very special.”
Moriya: “Exciting! The experience of having the majority of the crowd rooting for me is something I cannot get at any other tournament. It’s awesome.”
5.What would it mean to you to play well in Thailand?
Moriya: “Winning any tournament is good, but winning in front of my hometown in front of the fans and family would be amazing.”
Ariya: “I don’t get the opportunity to play in front of my friends, family and fans that often. It would be amazing to win in front of them.”