Yu Liu: My Journey—Respect
Learn how LPGA Tour pro Yu Liu acclimated to life in the U.S. after growing up in China, and what it means to her to be welcomed by U.S. fans and players.
Imagine having a passion that few people around you share, at the tender age of nine. That’s precisely where Yu Liu was, growing up obsessed with golf in Beijing, China. But with her parents’ patient support she was able to focus a lot of time on this relatively unusual sport among her peers, and she excelled at it. As she reached her late teens, she jumped on the opportunity to move across the world to play for the Duke University women’s golf team in Durham, N.C. “Playing for Duke was one of my biggest goals growing up,” Liu says now, adding that once she arrived, ”It really helped me adjust to life in the United States. China and the U.S. are two very different countries, and it takes a lot to adjust to mentally.”
Despite the culture shock, Liu didn’t miss a beat, earning several honors and awards in her time at Duke—including Women’s Golf Coaches Association and Golfweek Second Team All-American; Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Rookie of the Year; All-ACC selection; and ACC Golfer of the Month. In 2013-14, she posted top-10 finishes in each of her first eight college tournaments. Plus, she captured the Darius Rucker Intercollegiate, and her 72.36 stroke average was the third lowest for a freshman in Duke history. Needless to say, she was destined for stardom.
In 2017, Liu finished fifth on the Symetra Tour money list to earn LPGA membership for the 2018 season. Along the way, she became only the third player from China to win on the Symetra Tour, and she finished in the top 15 in 10 of her last 11 events. Since joining the LPGA Tour in 2018, Liu has pocketed $1.8 million in earnings, and she made 47 of 55 cuts in her first two years on Tour, with three top-10 finishes her first year and seven the second. “I came to the United States to compete against the best players in the world,” she says, marveling over how she’s been accepted. “The golf world has really done a tremendous job breaking all of the stereotypes that people used to think about the sport. Golf is not just for one group of people, but rather for all groups of people. It’s a great honor to be able to be a part of Aon and the LPGA Tour—they’ve both been working so hard to support and celebrate women, and really value the importance of the women’s game.” One exemplary act of gender equality: Aon’s season-long Risk Reward Challenge awards a $1 million prize to the winner from both the PGA and LPGA Tours.