Turnarounds are an everyday thing in golf. One week you miss the cut; another week you are leading the tournament with a realistic chance to take the win. Ariya Jutanugarn went through this during 2015 season when she missed the cut in ten consecutive tournaments. Jutanugarn then had an upsetting loss at the 2016 ANA Inspiration where she had a two shot lead but ended bogeying her final three holes. After the disappointing defeat Ariya turned to her coaches Lynn Marriott and Pia Nilsson, who helped her on taking a different approach to the mental side of her game. The minor change consisted in seeing the game as a joy and not as a routine chore. This quickly brought results and after just four starts Jutanugarn managed to win for the first time at the 2016 Yokohama Tire Classic.
The win in Prattville, Alabama, marked a pivotal turn in Ariya’s season and gave her the confidence she was seeking for. Following her first career win the Thai player went on to win in her two consecutive starts at the Kingsmill Championship Presented by JTBC and the inaugural LPGA Volvik Championship in Ann Arbor, Michigan. This would only be the be the begging of her superb 2016 season, with the Ricoh British Women’s Open victory in in July being the highlight of her year.
Jutanugarn won a fifth time in Canada and was then able to close the gap between her and Lydia Ko in the Race to de CME Globe during the last Asian Swing of the tour. Ariya topped off the season by winning the Race to the CME Globe, as well as the Rolex Player of the Year trophy.
“I really like want to have fun and enjoy in the course and just like make sure I do focus on like what’s under my control,” Jutanugarn said. “Not worry about the result.”
A smile before every shot is now part of Ariya’s pre-shot routine. She has learned to enjoy the game even more and to have fun on the course despite the outcome of the round.