Hinako Shibuno’s future on the LPGA Tour largely hinges on the outcome of the next two weeks.
This week, Shibuno is making just her second start on the LPGA Tour at the Taiwan Swinging Skirts LPGA. Next week, she’ll compete in her native Japan at the TOTO JAPAN CLASSIC. Tuesday, Shibuno indicated she doesn’t plan to take up LPGA Membership in 2020, but that hasn’t been made official just yet. Shibuno’s camp says that her ultimate decision will depend on her performance over the next two weeks.
“I don't think I have enough skills to play on the U.S. LPGA, and only my first year on the Japan Tour, so I think I need to play a few more years on the Japan Tour before going to the U.S,” Shibuno explained, but also said she’s open to reconsidering.
Nicknamed Smiling Cinderella, Shibuno won the 2019 AIG Women’s British Open in her first start on the LPGA Tour with a dramatic birdie on the 72nd hole to capture her first major title. It was a lifechanging experience for the rookie on the Japan LPGA.
“It was nothing like I experienced before,” Shibuno said through a translator. “I can’t walk outside. Even people that don’t know golf or don’t know about golf notice me. I am enjoying it.”
With her victory, Shibuno became eligible to take Membership on the LPGA Tour. She has until Monday, Nov. 18 at 5 p.m. to notify the Tour of her decision.