11 July 2024

Thailand’s talented golf siblings Moriya and Ariya Jutanugarn have one simple piece of advice for anyone aspiring to be as successful as they are: Work hard and aim high.

The two sisters shared their experience as young girls devoted to years of grueling daily training and how they dealt with pressure on their way to becoming the world’s top golfers during a function on Thursday night to receive Thailand’s Public Diplomacy Award 2023.

Moriya recalled how she and her sister were denied the life of ordinary kids as their parents subjected them to hours of daily golf training.

“The training was torturous. We trained and we trained before and after school. We hated Saturdays and Sundays because it meant more training,” she said in a speech after she and Ariya were presented the award by Thailand Foundation Chairman Chirayu Isarangkun na Ayuthaya in a ceremony held at the Foreign Ministry.

Moriya said because of the demand of the training sometimes they even had to change clothes and have breakfast while being driven to school.  But all the efforts paid off handsomely as their successes of the two sisters have testified.

Ariya, meanwhile, said after her initial success, she was under constant pressure to become the world’s number one female golfer.  But she said her motivation was not only getting to the top, but her desire to serve as an inspiration for other young golfers.

“To be number one means that people will pay more attention to what you say. And more importantly, I would be in a position to inspire the new generation of golfers,” she said.

The sisters were chosen by Thailand Foundation as dual recipients of the Public Diplomacy Award 2023 for their continuous contributions in the promotion of Thailand through their outstanding achievements in the international ladies’ golf arena.

Both were presented with a trophy with their names engraved. Moriya and Ariya also received a replica trophy along with an honorary plaque and a prize of 300,000 baht.

Moriya entered the Ladies Professional Golf Association Tour (LPGA Tour), the world’s foremost golf tournament for women, in 2013.

Ariya followed shortly in 2015, setting record as the first Thai female golfer to rank top of the LPGA in only 2 years after joining the association.

The story of the Jutanugarn sisters became the basis of the documentary film “Tee Shot: Ariya Jutanugarn,” with the central message of diligence and working hard to follow one’s dreams. The documentary has been screened in many countries and is also available on the international streaming service Netflix.

In its citation, Thailand Foundation said as individuals, the sisters have also represented an image of Thai characteristics through their appearances to worldwide followers. Furthermore, Moriya and Ariya are role models in promoting environmental awareness and social development.

The Public Diplomacy Award was established by the Foreign Ministry and Thailand Foundation to honor individuals, groups, or organizations who have contributed significant works in promoting goodwill and friendship between Thailand and the rest of the world, on a people-to-people level.  The two sisters were chosen by a committee from a list of nominees.

Thailand Foundation is under the Foreign Ministry whose mission is to conduct Thailand’s public diplomacy to promote better understanding about Thailand and Thai people through Thai studies and Thai culture.