So Yeon Ryu has declared her biggest objective for the year will be to regain her position as World No.1.
The South Korean topped the rankings for 19 consecutive weeks throughout 2017 before having to play through a shoulder injury – not that she used that as an excuse.
In fact, Ryu openly stated that she didn’t like the way she played once she became No.1 and felt she wasn’t worthy of such an illustrious title.
“Since becoming No.1, I haven’t won any tournaments,” Ryu said last year. “I feel like I no longer deserve the No.1 spot.”
But now the reigning Rolex Player of the Year is ready and eager to regain the position and hold onto it for as long as possible – an objective that will continue this week at the ISPS HANDA Women’s Australian Open.
“I cannot wait to get back to that position (No.1) again,” said Ryu, who is currently World No.3.
“One thing I can tell you is as long as I do my best for each shot, each hole, each tournament … I think that’s the best way to get back to number one – and that’s definitely my goal for this year,” she added.
The 27-year-old is visiting Adelaide for the first time since 2006 – when she played a Queen Sirikit Cup at Royal Adelaide – and is seeing the layout at Kooyonga Golf Club for the first time this week.
“I think Kooyonga is a fantastic golf course,” Ryu said. “You have to have all sorts of shots to play really well – you have to know how to draw and how to fade.
“I played on Monday and Tuesday … I can definitely say low scores are really hard to make.”
Ryu, who is coached by Australia’s Cameron McCormick and employs an Australian osteopath, has also seemingly embraced many aspects of Australian lifestyle and feels comfortable heading into round one.
“I’m good friends with Sarah Jane Smith and she always carries Vegemite,” Ryu said. “Every morning when I meet her in the dining room, I ask, ‘Can I borrow your vegemite?’ She said, ‘If you eat Vegemite, you’re definitely an honorary Aussie.’”
Her Australian connections go deeper, too. Once worried about her putting, Ryu and her team sought out another Australian for his assistance.
“I was able to work with Ian Baker-Finch and he always tells me to just enjoy the practice and he’s the one who has really helped me out.”
Meanwhile, Karrie Webb – who will play alongside Ryu tomorrow – has said there isn’t an end in sight for her career, despite reducing her playing schedule considerably in what she has described as a “transition” period.
The World Golf Hall-of-Famer is entering her 23rd year on the LPGA Tour where she has collected a staggering 41 victories – a career that has left her feeling more than satisfied.
“For the last few years I felt like I had something to prove to myself and I don’t feel like that’s where I am anymore,” Webb said. “I’m not somebody that’s going to play LPGA events just so people can say it’s great to see me – I want to feel competitive.”
The Queenslander continues to speak about the game as passionately as ever and can see herself playing for years to come.
“I don’t know if you’ll ever hear me tell you that I’m retired,” Webb said. “I can play golf until I’m 85. The US Legends Tour is growing and I’m only a couple of years away from that actually.”
Webb and Ryu will tee off together at 12:30PM tomorrow for round one of the ISPS HANDA Women’s Australian Open at Kooyonga Golf Club.