Swinging Skirts Golf Foundation chairman Johnson Wang (center), Wei-Ling Hsu of Taiwan (far right), Hinako Shibuno of Japan (second from right), defending champion Nelly Korda of U.S. (third from right), Rolex Rankings No. 1 player Jin-young Ko of South Korea (second from left) and Aussie Hannah Green (far left) give a collective thumbs-up for the 2019 Taiwan Swinging Skirts LPGA. (Photo Credit: Taiwan Swinging Skirts LPGA)
(October 29, 2019; New Taipei City) The 2019 Taiwan Swinging Skirts LPGA, which features all four major championships winners this year, is slated to tee off at the Miramar Golf & Country Club this Thursday. At the pre-tournament media event today, golfers from three different continents couldn't resist the charm of Taiwan's world-renowned bubble tea, as Johnson Wang, chairman of the Swinging Skirts Golf Foundation, announced that Swinging Skirts would renew its title sponsorship contract with the LPGA for another three years, as part of the effort to shape this prestigious golf tournament into "Taiwan's most attractive sporting event".
Defending champion Nelly Korda of the U.S. admitted she was a bit nervous heading into this week in face of a strong field. However, Korda said Taiwan is a special place for her because she was able to break into the winner's circle last year at this tournament. "In my rookie year, I played with Jessica (Korda) at Kingsmill and then we played together twice in Blue Bay. It was a lot of fun, actually, playing with her. I was just hoping I wasn't going to get on her nerves," revealed Korda after teaming up successively with her older sister at the Solheim Cup this year.
Defending champion Nelly Korda of the U.S. admits she is a bit nervous heading into this week in face of a strong field. (Photo Credit: Taiwan Swinging Skirts LPGA)
Local favorite Wei-Ling Hsu, who tied for sixth at the tournament last year, said she was very happy to come home, thanking local fans for their high expectation of her. "But I will not get too hung up on that. I will focus on my game and hopefully I can lift that trophy on Sunday," said the Taiwanese ace. Hsu has been playing on the LPGA tour for five seasons, having recorded two top-5 finishes so far this season.
Wei-Ling Hsu of Taiwan says she is very happy to come home and appreciative of local fans' expectations. (Photo Credit: Taiwan Swinging Skirts LPGA)
On the other hand, Rolex Rankings No. 1 player Jin-young Ko of South Korea has not only won the ANA Inspiration and Evian Champion to become a two-time majors winner this year, she has recently secured the LPGA "Player of the Year" award. "It's a really great honor to get the Player of the Year because that means really great play of the year. So I'm really thankful everyone," said Ko. When asked about her goal for this week, Ko turned playful and quipped: "I want to drink at least one oolong bubble tea every day!"
Rolex Rankings No. 1 player Jin-young Ko of South Korea has recently secured the LPGA Player of the Year award on top of her other remarkable achievements this season. (Photo Credit: Taiwan Swinging Skirts LPGA)
Ko later got down to business and said that she would try to enjoy the game this week, "First of all, enjoy. Like happy, always to be happy on the golf course. And second one, like hit straight, driver, iron, everything. And then make 1-putt. I will try," said the Korean.
On the other hand, Japanese Hinako Shibuno said her life has completely changed after she won the British Open this year to become just the second lady Japanese golfer to win a major championship since Hisako Higuchi triumphed at the LPGA Championship in 1977. "People would recognize me on the street and there are many reporters following me around. Actually, my life has become a bit nerve-wrecking," said the 20-year-old.
At the tender age of 20, Hinako Shibuno has achieved near-rock star status in her native Japan after winning the 2019 British Open. (Photo Credit: Taiwan Swinging Skirts LPGA)
Even though Shibuno plays mainly on the Japanese tour and has not become a member of the LPGA, she still opted to make the trip to Taiwan this week, thanks to outstanding word-of-mouth this tournament has amassed over the past nine years. Shibuno was a promising left-handed softball player when she was young, but decided to take up golf at age 8 and swing right-handed at the advice of her coach, who wanted her to "reach a better physical balance".
2019 LPGA Championship winner Australian Hannah Green said she was able to make a breakthrough this season because "I traveled back to Australia. I felt like I spent a lot of time back home seeing my coaches and just seeing my family and my friends. So I think that definitely made me a lot happier when I was on the golf course, and also in contention." Green, who has been dating fellow Aussie pro golfer Jarryd Felton for seven years, said it is difficult to maintain a long-term relationship, but "we've always been traveling away from each other. It's definitely difficult, but I think it makes it a lot easier that we are both trying to achieve our dream and both play on the major tours around the world."
2019 LPGA Championship winner Australian Hannah Green shares her tips on maintaining a long-range marathon relationship with her fellow Aussie pro golfer boyfriend at a pre-tournament press event. (Photo Credit: Taiwan Swinging)
LPGA Stars To Hold Clinic for Local Junior Golfers
The 2019 Taiwan Swinging Skirts LPGA, featuring a purse of US$2.2 million, will kick off with a pro-am tournament tomorrow at the Miramar Golf & Country Club, where Korean sensation Na YeonChoi and American player Cheyenne Knight will hold a golf clinic for local elementary school pupils at 11:00. Korean golfing legend Se-RiPak will also be on hand to share her tips with these junior golfers.
Star players Wei-Ling Hsu of Taiwan (far right), Hinako Shibuno of Japan (second from right), defending champion Nelly Korda of U.S. (center), Rolex Rankings No. 1 player Jin-young Ko of South Korea (second from left) and Aussie Hannah Green (far left) cheer themselves up in high spirits by chanting in mandarin Chinese. (Photo Credit: Taiwan Swinging Skirts LPGA)
In order to achieve the goal of attracting 50,000 fans to come to the golf course this Sunday, organizers have gone to great lengths to plan a wide variety of events, including a near-pin fan competition, fun putting games on the practice green, as well as a lucky draw on Sunday featuring prizes ranging from Gogoro electric scooters to iPhone 11 Pro.
Tickets for the 2019 Taiwan Swinging Skirts LPGA can be booked via ibon or at http://www.sslpgataiwan.com/pages/tickets Admission tickets for each of the first two rounds start from NT$300, and NT$500 for each of the final two rounds. Four-day tournament passes are available at only NT$1,350. For more information, please visit: http://www.sslpgataiwan.com/