Golf: Yuka Sasu is grateful for the support of Penoise

Filipino golfer Yuka Sasso. Photo courtesy of Pilipinas Golf Tournaments Inc.

MANILA, Philippines – US Open champion Yuka Sasso thanks that she still has the support of Filipinos, even after she chose Japanese citizenship last year.

Born to a Filipino mother and Japanese father, Sasso has represented the Philippines as an amateur, and won two gold medals at the 2018 Asian Games. She also carried the flag in her first year as a professional, including in 2021 at the US Open Women’s Championship where she became the first female golfer from the Philippines to win a major tournament .

But in November 2021, Sasso revealed that she is choosing her Japanese citizenship, according to a Japanese law that requires dual nationals to choose one before their 22nd birthday.

The change took effect this season of the LPGA, with 20-year-old Sasso now competing under the Japanese flag.

“The thing is to choose Japanese nationality (because of) the passport that I use for travel,” Sasso said at a press conference on Monday evening at Soller Resort and Casino.

“Time management is very important for us athletes,” she added. “This (Japanese passport) makes time management easier, because we travel a lot.”

“That’s just for my career, I had to do it.”

The Japanese passport is considered to be one of the most powerful passports in the world, as its holders are allowed visa-free travel to 192 destinations. The Philippine passport provides visa-free travel to 66 destinations, according to the Henley Passport Index.

Sasso, who returned home to the Philippines for the first time in two years, said she is “very proud” of her dual citizenship and does not in any way give up her Filipino citizenship.

“I will forever be a Filipino and a Japanese,” said Sasso, who revealed that she still has a Filipino passport.

She also said, “I am very grateful to the Filipino fans and the Japanese fans who supported me. This is very important to me.” “People understand my situation.”

She added, “Although I represent Japan now… I am very proud of my dual citizenship, being half Japanese and half Filipino.”

Sasso will no longer be eligible to represent the Philippines at the Tokyo Olympics or on the LPGA Tour, but she has vowed that the country will always be at her heart when she competes.

“I hope they won’t forget that even though I represent a different country now, that doesn’t mean I’m not a Filipino anymore,” Sasso said. “And I still have a Philippine passport. So, I hope they can still support us moving forward, and I will do my best to make everyone proud.”

After her brief stay in the Philippines, Sasso will compete in the HSBC Women’s Championship in Singapore from March 2-6, and at the Honda LPGA Thailand from March 10-13.

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