MANILA, Philippines – Yuka Saso officially announced to Philippine media that her main reason for choosing to represent Japan is ease of travel that the stronger passport brings.
“The main reason [for] choosing Japan is because of the passport,” said Saso in a press conference on Monday, February 21 at Solaire Resort & Casino Manila.
“[It’s] the ease of travel, the time management is very important for us athletes, and as a team, the time management [is] easier because we travel a lot.”
After winning the 2021 US Women’s Open, the Filipino-Japanese golfer earned exemptions from qualifying in the next 10 US Women’s Open, and next five AIG Women’s British Opens, KPMG Women’s PGA Championships, ANA Inspirations, and Amundi Evian Championships.
Though the 20-year-old represented the Philippines in her amateur career and in major international competitions such as the 2018 Asian Games, where she won a double gold, and the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, she made a decision for her professional career.
“I still have my Philippine passport, but for my career, I had to [choose Japan],” added Saso.
Saso already started representing Japan at the Hilton Grand Vacations Tournament of Champions in Orlando, Florida last January 20 to 23. She finished sixth in the year-opening tournament.
Since then, she joined Gainbridge LPGA at Boca Rio, Florida, where she finished third, and the LPGA Drive-On Championship, but she failed to make the cut.
Saso visited her relatives and sponsors in the Philippines before competing in the HSBC Women’s World Championship in Singapore starting March 3 and the Honda LPGA in Chonburi, Thailand on March 10.
The world No. 7 hopes that Filipinos will still continue to support her even if she carries Japan’s colors moving forward.
“I hope they don’t forget that [I’m Filipino]. I represent a different country now, but it doesn’t mean that I’m not Filipino,” said Saso.
“Hope they can support us moving forward and I’ll do my best to make everyone proud.” – Rappler.com