EL CAJON, Calif. (AP) — Miroku Suto of Japan appears like a experienced golfer with logos of 11 sponsors splashed throughout her polo shirt, cap, bag and even her belt. Her mom and dad say the discounts are worthy of in the mid-6 figures on a yearly basis, with some contracts for 10 years. A 12th sponsorship is waiting around when she returns to her home three hours outdoors of Tokyo.

The sponsors are so vital that Suto’s mom and caddie, former determine skater Miyuki Suto, experienced her daughter transform into a sponsor’s belt before she sat for a video clip interview and carefully arranged her hat in her fingers so the logos could be noticed.

Miroku Suto has extraordinary self-confidence, indicating by way of an interpreter she needs to come to be “a legend.”

She has a means to go.

She’s only 10.

While Suto gained consecutive titles in the 6-and-less than age team at the Junior Planet Golf Championships in 2017-18 on a par-3 training course, she has not performed as perfectly as she’s moved up in age.

She struggled this calendar year in the 9-10 age group and tied for 17th, 18 shots driving the winner on a par-74, 4,201-garden structure at Sycuan Resort Willow Glen Class. It’s the 3rd straight time she has left San Diego devoid of a title (the 2020 tournament was canceled because of the pandemic).

When other ladies and boys in the 9-10 age group goofed close to on the putting green waiting around for the awards ceremony, Suto did interviews on the fringe of a close by environmentally friendly, including a person with a Tokyo Tv set crew that had adopted her around for three times on a suburban class. She did display some playfulness when she briefly laid on her back and did the equal of a snow angel on the shaded grass.

Usually, it’s all small business. She and her mom were dressed alike, which include carrying coral-coloured seersucker shorts.

Suto is well-acknowledged in Japan, a golf-crazed region that has made two key champions in modern yr — Hinako Shibuno in the 2019 Women’s British Open and Hideki Matsuyama at the 2021 Masters. It is not unheard of for Tv set rankings in Japan to be better for girls than adult males.

Even at her age, Suto’s golfing exploits are routinely featured on Television set, but not so a lot in the rest in the globe — at the very least not nevertheless.

She is not the very first boy or girl star. Michelle Wie was 10 when she shot 64 on her household study course in Honolulu and turned the youngest player to qualify for the U.S. Women’s Beginner Community Back links. At age 13, she won that tournament and continues to be the USGA’s youngest winner. She almost received an LPGA major at 16 and at some point received a U.S. Women’s Open in 2014.

That same year, 11-calendar year-aged Lucy Li grew to become the youngest player to qualify for the U.S. Women’s Open. The sixth-grader missed the slice at Pinehurst No. 2. Earlier this thirty day period, now a professional, Li won her next Epson Tour function and is all but assured an LPGA card for up coming 12 months.

For sponsorships, Suto arrived along at the suitable time.

Li ran into issues with the USGA three a long time back when she appeared in an Apple advertisement. The policies back then prohibited novice golfers from applying their names or likeness for own acquire in promotions or ads for products and solutions. The USGA gave her a just one-time warning.

But the USGA and R&A — Japan falls less than the jurisdiction of the latter — have modernized guidelines. Beginning this calendar year, the regulations for beginner status removed all advertising, expenditure-associated and sponsorship constraints. The rule transform was aimed at elite amateurs who could want funding to attain their entire opportunity.

The kid continue to has a prolonged way to go to fulfill that.

Golf’s most well known prodigy was a young Californian named Tiger Woods. He won his age division in the Junior World, a tournament that has captivated the very best from all over the planet due to the fact 1968, 6 times in eight many years.

Sponsorship income wasn’t out there for Woods, who appeared on the “Mike Douglas Show” when he was 2. For the duration of his Entire world Golfing Hall of Fame induction speech in March, Woods spoke passionately about his mothers and fathers getting out a second home loan on their dwelling to pay out for his enhancement through nationwide junior applications.

Lorena Ochoa of Mexico, a further Corridor of Famer, gained five consecutive Junior Worlds in her age division.

Suto has gained other intercontinental junior titles, this kind of as the US Young children Championship final calendar year, along with titles in Malaysia and Europe.

Acknowledging by way of giggles that it is “very difficult” to earn these tournaments, she mentioned her placing wasn’t excellent at the Junior Earth. She also broke her driver all through a apply spherical and a new 1 was rush-requested and brought above by the Tokyo Tv crew.

Suto, who is residence-schooled, mentioned she would like to match Woods’ six Junior Entire world titles. She has loads of time, given the prime stop is the 15-18 age team.

Does Suto feel any stress?

“No strain,” she stated.

And there is no deficiency of awareness or sponsorship as she chases her targets.


Extra AP golf: https://apnews.com/hub/golfing and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

By AKDSEO