Hideki Matsuyama has donned the coveted Masters green jacket after becoming the first male player from Japan to capture one of golf’s major championships.
She’s been described as golf’s version of Anna Kournikova. This week, she’ll tee off at the Dubai Ladies Masters.
Sponsors of the tournament will welcome her with open arms. Despite not having officially qualified for the LPGA or Ladies European Tours, the 23-year-old American has over a million social media followers on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter combined. She also posts trick shot videos to YouTube, with the most popular of those getting hundreds of thousands of views.
Spiranac took up golf after a fractured kneecap at age 12 put paid to her dreams of one day becoming an Olympic gymnast. She took to the game quickly enough to earn a golf scholarship at San Diego State University, where she also completed a Bachelor of Communications.
This year, she won her first professional event on the Cactus Tour, which is a secondary tour in the US for up and coming golfers. She beat world number one amateur Hannah O’Sullivan in a playoff at a tournament in Arizona, after both had finished in a tie at three under.
She also made the cut at at the Ladies Scottish Open in 2016, finishing 58th out of 80, at 9 over.
This week’s appearance at the Dubai Ladies Masters will be her second at the event. Last year, she missed the cut there, finishing 101st out of a field of 107, at 12 over. It was the first time she had ever competed in a professional tournament.
While she is not expected to be a serious challenger to the likes of China’s world number four and Olympic bronze medallist Shanshan Feng in Dubai this week, the tournament marks another step in her pro journey. Her appearance is also likely to generate significant worldwide publicity for the event. Feng is the defending champion.
In the YouTube clip below, you can see that Spiranac has more ability than most golf critics are likely to give her credit for, and there is no doubt that she knows how to market herself.
She is already a brand ambassador for Callaway, one of the largest golf equipment companies in the world.