Describe your feelings returning to the Safeway Classic.
Ai Miyazato: I’m really excited about returning to the Safeway Classic as the defending champion. I became the No.1 player in the world after winning this event last year and have many great memories. I’m playing better and I hope to keep it going. I also had my media day last month and learned that the tournament is not just about us playing golf. I hope to meet the kids I saw at the Boys and Girls club as well as the sponsors and media personnel again.
Why is the Safeway Classic special?
Ai Miyazato: It is one of the oldest events on tour, the fans are very supportive, and the tournament is always organized superbly. There’s really not many negative things you can say about the tournament.
What are you most looking forward to about the event?
Ai Miyazato: Just returning to the course and the area I was fortunate to win at. We also don’t get to come to the northwest very often so I’m looking forward to my visit to Portland again.
What are your hopes and expectations for the tournament?
Ai Miyazato: Every year is different and last year I came into the event having won four times, this year I just recently won my first. So it’s definitely a good feeling knowing I can win on this course but at the same time, I’m not going to have high expectations because anything can happen and just take it one shot at a time.
What is the easiest hole on the course?
Ai Miyazato: I’m not sure if there is one easy hole but there are many birdie opportunities out there I think. I like the par 5’s that are reachable in two but still can be tricky.
Hardest hole on the course?
Ai Miyazato: I heard that the 9th hole is now a par 4. I think that would be a very challenging hole.
What part of your game are you working on in particular?
Ai Miyazato: There isn’t anything I’m working on technically but every week I work on my tempo, rhythm, and tension. These are very essential parts of my game.
How do you assess your season so far?
Ai Miyazato: I realized how difficult it is to win on this Tour after Evian and keep winning for consecutive years. I wasn’t able to focus 100% on golf after the earthquake/tsunami in Japan earlier this year but I’m clear about what I need to do now. Evian has given me confidence and I hope to use it as a stepping stone for the second half of the season.
What do you eat on the course?
Ai Miyazato: I don’t eat anything too heavy. I’ll eat bananas or snack bars but when my mother is at a tournament, she makes me rice balls so I’ll eat those too!!
Who are your golfing heroes?
Ai Miyazato: Annika. I think she changed women’s golf and I’ve learned so many things by watching and playing with her.