In 2016, Ariya Jutanugarn made history at the AIG Women’s Open. Then only 20 years old, Jutanugarn became the first Thai golfer to win a major championship title and inspired a nation. Four years later, Jutanugarn is just as hungry for another major win, and raring to go after spending the Tour’s hiatus back home in Thailand.
On her final practice day before the AIG Women’s Open, Ariya Jutanugarn spoke to the media:
“Sometimes when we play lots of golf, we felt like, I want to take a break. You know, for like three, four months more than the offseason, but as soon as I have that much break, I feel like, oh, I want to get back on Tour. I want to get back and play,” said Jutanugarn, who is coming off a T39 finish at last week’s ASI Ladies Scottish Open.
“I felt grateful last week because I felt like actually when I say I want to take a break, it’s not true. I still want to play. I still want to practice, and last week, I feel great. I feel I don’t want to be home anymore.”
Jutanugarn said she’s focused on her strength and fitness over the last five months, which has only made her more confident in her play and herself.
“I would say I didn’t work out much before. I know it’s important but sometimes I’m lazy. I felt like play golf, four rounds, golf is enough, and I’m tired enough, so I’m not going to do anything different,” said Jutanugarn.
“But in the last five months, I find that I feel much better and I want to get fitter and I want to be stronger and I want to see my career in the future last longer, so I came back and looked at myself and said, okay, I have to take care of myself and I started to work out, I started to run and started to eat better and actually, I feel much better.”
Jutanugarn said it’s special to be returning to the AIG Women’s Open, and despite no crowds, the set-up continues to have a major-like feel to it. She’s learned a lot about this course through her caddie Pete Godfrey and knows that Royal Troon will be quite the challenge in a few short days.
“I think the first thing I learn to play on the links is patient. You really need to be patient because especially the weather, you can’t control the weather. It can be windy. It can be raining. Anything can happen in one round,” said Jutanugarn.
“So, we never know what’s going to happen. Also, you have to do so much shot that it’s rarely creative but sometimes you have to hit a low, high one, draw, fade. It’s just more fun than other courses I play.”
Ariya’s sister Moriya, Jasmine Suwannapura, and Patty Tavatanakit will all be there representing Thailand.