|Ariya had her hand prints cast during last year's World Ladies Championship for the Walk of Fame at Mission Hills Resort Haikou in Hainan, China.
Ariya Jutanugarn made a sensational star to her LET career in 2013. She won the Lalla Aicha Tour School, finished tied for second on her rookie debut at the Volvik RACV Ladies Masters in Australia and then in March, earned her first professional victory at the Lalla Meryem Cup in Morocco in only her fourth start on Tour. However, during a practice round at the 2013 US Women’s Open in April, Ariya injured her shoulder by tumbling down an incline while chasing her sister Moriya with a water bottle. The injury required surgery and put her out for the rest of the year. Eight months later, the prodigiously talented 18-year-old from Bangkok made her comeback at the ISPS HANDA Women’s Australian Open and will be one of the star players in next week’s World Ladies Championship at Mission Hills Resort Haikou, where she tied for 12th place last year.
You have played at Mission Hills Haikou before. How excited are you to be going back for the World Ladies Championship?
Yes I’ve played there before. I’m so excited and looking forward to going back to the tournament. It’s one of my favourite places to play.
What are your impressions of Mission Hills Resort Haikou?
Top class facilities and service. I had a great time there last year. The accommodation was awesome so I was very relaxed even when I was at the tournament.
What do you think of the Chinese food?
I like Chinese food a lot, especially Dim Sum.
What are your personal goals for the tournament?
Of course I would like to do better than last year; that’s my goal.
Do you feel your game is good enough to win?
Yes, I believe so. You’ve got to have that confidence in order to win the tournament and I always have it.
It was a shame about your injury last year. Can you describe the injury and how and when it happened?
It happened during the practice round between me and my sister Moriya. We were running and playing around the tee-off spot then I slipped and fell down.
For how long did you stop playing golf?
Probably eight months.
How much did you miss it?
I live and breathe the game. I’ve been waiting for the time to come back. I always caught the golf tournaments on TV whenever I could.
What did you do to occupy yourself?
I’ve been in rehab sessions for long so my schedule was pretty much between home and the hospital. I made a lot of friends from the hospital who took care of me very well. All the staff and the doctor were nice to me so that was a great time.
Do you have any new hobbies as a result? If not, have you done anything special over the off-season?
Yes, I’ve learned the make-up skills....cosmetics and stuff.
You made your return in Australia but unfortunately missed the cut. How do you feel about your game now? Is it as good as before?
I didn’t try to feel too much of the pressure there since that’s the first event after a big while. It will get better and better I’m not worried.
Are you back to 100% fitness?
What are your general plans and schedule for this year?
I’ll play both LET and LPGA on exemptions and qualifiers.
How have you been preparing for the WLC at Mission Hills?
Nothing special except I did what should I do as a normal routine. Keep things simple and that’s how it will be effective.
How do you feel about returning to Morocco as the defending champion?
I’m very excited to get back to the place where I had a very special memory. My first win there was huge to me and it’s inspiring.
Do you have any other special plans?
Getting back to Morocco is the special plan!