The Jutanugarn family is considering relocating to the US so that sisters Moriya and Ariya, rising stars of Thai golf, would be better able to focus on playing on the LPGA Tour.
Ariya, left, and her sister Moriya.
"We are planning to buy a house there if Ariya earns an LPGA Tour card," said their father, Somboon.
Rookie Moriya, 18, is playing on the LPGA Tour while Ariya, 17, is a member of the Ladies European Tour (LET).
"I don't think Ariya will have a problem getting an LPGA card through the qualifying school at the end of this year," Somboon explained.
LPGA members must be at least 18 years old unless they get a special permission from the tour.
Ariya was too young to compete in the LPGA qualifying school last year when Moriya was a co-medallist.
Ariya then joined the LET qualifying school where she managed to take a five-shot victory.
Both have done well since turning pro earlier this year with Moriya 22nd on the LPGA money list and Ariya money leader on the LET.
With her good start to her professional career, Moriya should keep her card for next year.
Ariya won her maiden LET title in Morocco in March and have fared even better than her elder sister on the LPGA Tour.
Playing on a sponsor's exemption, Ariya has had several top-five finishes on the LPGA Tour including second at the Honda LPGA Thailand in February and tied third at last week's LPGA Kingsmill Championship.
Moriya said last month that she would spend her money wisely because she had to save it as her family may move to the US next year.
"I have my goal. Maybe next year when Ariya is on the LPGA Tour and we have to decide whether to move here [the US]," she said.
Meanwhile, Ariya moved up from 23rd to 18th in the world in the latest rankings published on Monday thanks to her tied-third place at the Kingsmill event.
She has earned more than US$400,000 from four LPGA events this year but it is not counted on the money list because she is not a tour member.
Pornanong Phatlum, who missed the cut at the Kingsmill Championship, is 50th while Moriya is 115th.
First Thai LPGA Masters scheduled
The inaugural Singha-SAT-Thai LPGA Masters will be held at Panya Indra Golf Club from Aug 14-16.
The 1.5 million baht tournament is the most lucrative tournament on the Thai LPGA Tour this year with the other eight events each offering a total purse of 500,000 baht.
"I want to give more chances and more money to our players," said Patinya Khuantrakul, president of the Thai Ladies Professional Golf Association.
"Ladies golf is popular now and more women are coming into the game."
Patinya admitted it was not easy to run the association because huge sums are needed but the situation has become better since she became the Thai LPGA boss last year.
Last week, the association received support from BTS (one million baht) and Samitivej hospital (500,000 baht) to add to its existing sponsors such as Singha, Morseng, 3K Battery and Panya Property.
In the 2013 fiscal year which began late last year, the Sports Authority of Thailand increased its budget for the association to 8.1 million baht.
"We need about 13 million baht each year," she said.
About the author
- Writer: Kittipong Thongsombat