Ending months of speculation about her status, Jiyai Shin confirmed this week that she has given up her LPGA membership and will compete almost exclusively on the Japan LPGA Tour.
The two-time major champion and former Rolex world No.1 player, told The Korea Times, “I want to compete and succeed on the JLPGA tour. I was hoping to split my time 6-to-4 or 7-to-3 between the U.S. and Japan.”
But globetrotting doesn’t seem to suit the 2009 LPGA Rookie of the Year, and the LPGA restricts members from competing in conflicting events. Offseason tours of Asia are fine, but once the LPGA season gets under way, the tour expects players to support its events and sponsors.
Shin also has other interests. She graduated with a physical therapy degree Monday from Yonsei University, a school she has attended off and on since 2007.
After attending the graduation ceremony she said, “It’s true that I was mentally and physically tired while competing in the U.S. I love golf and I want to play golf for as long as I can.”
The 25-year-old won 11 times on the LPGA Tour, including the 2008 and 2012 Ricoh Women’s British Opens. In May 2010, she replaced Lorena Ochoa at the top of the Rolex rankings and in 2012 she defeated Paula Creamer in an epic playoff at the Kingsmill Championship. Her most recent victory was the 2013 ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open.
Shin also won five times on the JLPGA in 2008 and 2009 and won 21 times on the LPGA of Korea.
While a member of the LPGA, Shin lived in Atlanta with her father, brother and stepmother. Her mother was killed a car accident when Shin was 16.