So if you're wondering how big she is in Japan here's a neat little fact. In November Tiger Woods played in the Dunlop Phoenix Open in Japan. He led every round in his win, but on Sunday the telecast of Ai Miyazato winning the Elleair Ladies open outdrew him. Not too bad.
I'm really hoping that she has a fabulous year on the LPGA tour. I'd predict top 30 on the money list and 4 second and third place finishes. Depending how many tournaments she plays I think she will win one. If she plays more than 15 tournaments I think she'll have a victory but if she spends too much time traveling between Japan and America trying to play both tours I think it will be difficult. But I've got my fingers crossed. Her playing partner speaks highly of her and she seems like a nice gal, so I'm hoping for the best.
Now lost in the shadow of Ms. Miyazato is this little lady. This is Shinobu Moromizato. Until recently she was Japan's leading amateur golfer. She had a very good amateur career and is expected by most Japanese golf fans to be a very good professional. I don't think people expected her to try the LPGA tour school though. So I expect there are some very happy fans out there because she too has gained full playing privileges on the LPGA tour for next season.
I do have a particular interest because I have one of her putters. Well kind of. Gauge Design Japan makes the putter she uses and personalized one for her. I believe they made 5, one of which found its way into my hands. It's pretty cool, it has her name on the back and a little piggy face on the front. you can just make it out in the photo.
Regardless, I really hope she too does well on the LPGA tour though she doesn't have the resume of Ai Miyazato a number of people do have high expectations for her.
Me? I don't think she'll be in any danger of losing her playing privileges (by finishing higher than 100 on the money list) but I don't really know enough about her to say more. She'll do okay, somewhere between 50-75 on the money list. Safe but not creating a firestorm, though I do hope I'm wrong.
So congratulations to all the women who secured their playing privileges for next year and best of luck!