This has surely been a season to remember for So Yeon Ryu. The 27-year-old from the Republic of Korea captured the ANA Inspiration in April for her second career major championship victory, and followed that with a win at the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship in June. That victory in Arkansas moved her to the top of the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings, a position she has now held for 12 consecutive weeks, but it has not been a wholly easy ride. Ryu admitted to feeling tremendous pressure thanks to all the accolades that come with the World No. 1 title.
“I didn’t realise it until I played at the British Open that after that I would think about it, then actually like being World No. 1 is a lot of pressure,” said Ryu. “I didn’t realise it, but finally I realised how much it is, how tough it is. But another thing I realised is that I don’t want to like give up. I don’t want to just run away. I just want to put on this pressure, and I want to fight through.”
If Ryu can take the victory on Sunday, she will join countrywoman In-Kyung Kim as the season’s only three-time winner. This is already Ryu’s first multiple-win season on the LPGA Tour, and she currently leads the Rolex Player of the Year standings by three points over Lexi Thompson. Ryu also sits atop the standings for Rolex ANNIKA Major Award honours.
“I feel a lot of pressure from the outside, like “Oh, So Yeon, you’re close to Player of the Year, you’re close to winning the Rolex Annika Major Award,” and when people started to talk about it, I felt like I was having a lot of pressure. But I think, I’m most tough on myself. I just have a lot of high expectations. I expect a lot of things of myself, and I never allow myself to make a bogey, I never allow myself to finish outside the top 10 and those sort of things. But right now, it feels like I’m a human being and as long as I did my best, I should let that go, otherwise I feel like I’m going to be like a robot. That’s just huge mindset difference.
“And about the swing change, it’s just it always feels like my body open a little quicker when I started my downswing, so Cameron and I started working on facing my body more like square instead of open. So that’s only one change. But just kind of need to do a lot of practice to get used to it.”
Ryu starts The Evian at 8.18am on Thursday, playing with fellow 2017 Major winner Sung Hyun Park and world number two, Lexi Thompson.