Q&A with Ai Miyazato
Q: How did you pick up golf?
A: I started to play when I was 4. My entire family plays; my two brothers are professional golfers, and my dad is a teaching pro. I'm from a really small village on a small island called Okinawa, and I think we were the only ones who played golf there.
Q: You won a lot of tournaments before joining the LPGA Tour in 2006, but it took you three years to win. Why?
A: I was so young when I came over here, and I couldn't speak any English, so I didn't have a very strong confidence. The environment was so different; it took awhile to get used to. But then I started working with Vision 54 [coaches Lynn Marriott and Pia Nilsson], and they've helped me a lot. My confidence is back.
Q: That's evident; you've won five LPGA events in the past 12 months. Mentally, what has changed?
A: It's like there's another Ai Miyazato inside me that controls me. She keeps me from thinking bad things and allows me to give myself some very good self-talk.
Q: You are extremely famous in Japan. How tough is it for you to walk down the street in Tokyo?
A: When I first turned pro, it was really tough. I had to wear a disguise, or everybody would recognize me, and I really didn't like that. But since I moved to the LPGA Tour, I feel different. I'm outside of Japan now, and I can see my country in a different way. I embrace my fame more. I can finally see that the Japanese people are just cheering for me.
Q: What about you would surprise people?
A: I hate frogs. I don't know why -- I used to be OK around them when I was little, but now I find them very creepy. But Lynn and Pia are teaching me how to deal with encountering frogs on the golf course, so it's becoming less of a problem.