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Ai Miyazato’s Top 5 Golf Memories

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After turning professional in late 2003, Miyazato went on to win five Japan L.P.G.A. events in 2004, and six tournaments in 2005, becoming its second-ranked player. Also in 2005, at age 20, she became the tour’s youngest player to win a major title, the Japan Women’s Open Championship.

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As a senior in high school, Miyazato won the Dunlop Ladies Open on the L.P.G.A. of Japan Tour in 2003.

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Kyodo News, via Getty Images

Making Friends on Tour

Miyazato’s peers easily rank her as No. 1 among players who embrace the public aspect of their job. Always quick to smile, Miyazato includes “players, caddies, coaches, tournament staff, volunteers, spectators and L.P.G.A. staff” as those she will miss when she retires. She has even described those individuals to the news media as a “part of my big family.” And when it comes to regularly speaking with the ever-present Asian news media, Miyazato is pragmatic, saying, “I have so many golf fans back home in my country that this is the only way I can talk to them, through the Japanese media.”

Traveling the World

Some players struggle with the travel required of touring pros, but Miyazato said the L.P.G.A.’s global tournament schedule “enriched my life as a person.”

Growing up in a small Okinawa village, Miyazato showed a willingness to embrace Western culture as soon as she arrived in the United States. Unlike her superstar predecessor, Ayako Okamoto, who spoke English sparingly and rarely to news media, Miyazato thrived whether she was in Michigan or Malaysia. Her global vision allowed her to easily reach out to golf fans around the world and, in turn, they often reached back.

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