Monday, June 21, 2010

Ai Miyazato is #1

Watching Ai Miyazato as she effortlessly waltzed around the Seaview Resort yesterday in 64 shots, I found myself captivated....and not just because I was staring at a monitor calling the shots for Golf Channel's telecast. I was inspired and uplifted because of the simplicity she displayed in winning her 4th LPGA event of the year (5th overall) and first on US soil. The utimate compliment of any action done is "you made it look so easy!" That's exactly what Ai did. All of us who play golf and have played golf competetively know it wasn't easy at all. She withstood pressure from returning Paula Creamer, charging Suzann Pettersen and newcomer MJ Hur, among others and continued to execute. Only she knows how it truly felt, but to watch her play so brilliantly knowing she'd be the first Japanese player, woman or man, to achieve the #1 Ranking in the World was impressive.

Beyond the flawless technique, dazzling short game and amazing putting, Ai looks like she's having a blast! In this day of angry outbursts, grimacing faces, death stares or even worse--the robotic, trance-like way golfers work their way around the course, it's refreshing to see such simple pure joy from Ai. Watching her makes you want to grab your own clubs and head out to the course. Next time I tee it up, I am going to visualize her slow, beautiful timing and try to emulate it. I'd suggest the same to everyone!

As if attaining the #1 Rolex Ranking weren't enough, Ai is in Rochester to try and win her first Major at the Wegmans Rochester LPGA Championship. Chako Higuchi is the only Japanese woman to capture a major and she won the LPGA Championship in 1977. The great Hall of Fame golfer Ayako Okamoto won 17 times on the LPGA tour but never captured a major. Hiromi Kobayashi who was set to be the next Ayako was Rookie of the Year in 1990 and won 4 times, but no major. Japan follows Miyazato feverishly and to have her win a major would be "Major" indeed. Ai has handled the pressure of a nation admirably, although it took her several years to feel comfortable and find her "style".

I know she has the game to win a major and will win one in the near future. Expecting her to win this week, making it two in a row might be too much to ask. In the meantime, enjoy Ai and all she brings to the game.

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