It’s been a long, tough grind for one golfer on the LPGA Tour. How long and how tough? Three years after shoulder surgery, Ariya Jutanugarn did the remarkable—nearly 10,000 miles from her native homeland.
Born in Thailand, it happened to be right here in Naples, where Jutanugarn finished in a tie for 4th at the CME Group Tour Championship. No, she didn’t win the event, but her finish was good enough for a whole lot more. Jutanugarn walked off the 18th green as this season’s Rolex Player of the Year. If that wasn’t enough, she won the Race to the CME Globe Title, pocketing a cool $1 million bonus with the points title.
On a fast track to the LPGA Tour, Jutanugarn was derailed with a shoulder injury in 2013 that forced her to rethink and reshape her game. The young lady whose smile lights up the room, was talented enough to overcome the operation, and made it onto the tour in 2015. Now, in just her second season as an LPGA pro, a strong run began in May by the player ironically nicknamed “May.” She won the Yokohama Tire LPGA Classic, becoming the first woman from Thailand to win on the LPGA Tour. It was a string of three straight tournaments. She put together another run of three wins in a row, including the RICOH Women’s British Open. It meant that she is the first player, male or female, to capture a major title in golf.
What does this mean for you? You may not be from Thailand. You may not have the natural gift Jutanugarn has. And dreams of playing on the LPGA may be unrealistic. All that doesn’t matter. What matters is you. You can overcome any surgery. You can reshape your mind and body. You can add a fitness component to your regimen that’s comfortable to you. And you can enjoy playing as good, if not better, than you ever have before. It’s all about a mindset. Stay positive. Don’t give in. Keep teeing it up. And finish your round with a feeling of accomplishment.
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