Japanese athletes have made strides on the world stage in a number of sports, including the Mao Asada-led Japanese dominance of the figure skating circuit, but Japanese golfers have yet to find any real consistent success internationally on the links.
Hisako Higuchi, who is in the World Golf Hall of Fame, did win the 1977 LPGA Championship and two other tour titles some 30 years ago, but achieved her status primarily based upon her 69 titles in Japan. She only played part-time on the LPGA Tour.
Isao Aoki, best known abroad for his runnerup finish to Jack Nicklaus in the 1980 U.S. Open, won one PGA Tour tournament, and is also enshrined in golf’s hall. He won 51 JPGA titles.
While South Korea, led by Hall of Famer Pak Se Ri and 2006 LPGA Rookie of the Year Lee Seon Hwa, has prospered in the women’s game, Japan has yet to produce any true crossover stars of its own.
Momoko Ueda, winner of five JLPGA tournaments in 2007, became the tour’s youngest money-title winner ever this year at just 21.
Just a few years ago the hopes of the nation were placed upon Miyazato, a 14-time champion on the JLPGA. After a dominating showing in the LPGA Q-School, Miyazato was pegged by many to become Japan’s first international golf sensation.
However, Miyazato has struggled at times and is winless in 54 tournaments
Lets see who Jason is forgetting.
She was born in 1951 in Hiroshima Japan
She won her first professional golf tournament in 1975. Ironically named The Mizuno tournament.
She won the JLPGA Championship in 1979 and won 8 JLPGA events in 1981 while topping the money list.
In 1982 this player won the first of her 17 LPGA Tour triumphs at The Arizona Copper Classic. Between 1983 and 1991 she finished in the top 10 LPGA money winners eight times.
She was 1987 LPGA leading money winner and won player of the year honors.
By the way she was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2005.
A person being paid to write about the history of Japanese professional golfers playing in the United States should have the name Ayako Okamoto roll off their tongue in two seconds flat. Forgetting Okamoto when talking Japan golf is like a baseball writer not mentioning Babe Ruth when talking all-time homerun hitters.
Jason Coskrey is a clueless idiot. If the Japan Times has any credibility, they’d fire him.
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