Walmart Northwest Arkansas Championship A Quality of Life Showcase


Walmart Northwest Arkansas defending champion Ai Miyazato and Gisel Ruiz, chief operations officer, Walmart U.S., visited the Walmart Dallas office earlier this week and spoke with members of the media through a video conference held at the Walmart Home Office.

Miyazato is competing this week at the North Texas LPGA Shootout as the LPGA Tour makes its return to Dallas for the first time in 20 years. Both Miyazato and Ruiz spoke to the excitement of the LPGA to the Northwest Arkansas region in June and its positive impact in the community.

“We have watched the Northwest Arkansas Championship grow since the beginning, taking more of an active role the last two years, and we all look forward to this time of year,” said Ruiz.  “Northwest Arkansas is where Walmart associates live, work and play. This is our home and the tournament makes a real difference for our community.”

The official LPGA Tour event will return to Pinnacle Country Club in Rogers, June 17- June 23 and tickets are now on sale.

Jay Allen, chairman of the Walmart Northwest Arkansas Championship, said more than 700 volunteers were ready again to host the tournament, which has become something of a tune-up for the LPGA U.S. Open, drawing 144 LPGA tour golfers.

“The Northwest Arkansas Championship offers a total purse of $2 million and $300,000 to the winner,” he said. “It’s not the top purse on the LPGA tour, but it is in the upper echelon.”

He added, that while many of the top women golfers on tour, such as Miyazato and Stacy Lewis, play the Walmart Northwest Arkansas Championship, “it’s not just for golf fans.” As in past years, there will many activities for families and children beyond the action on the course.

To continue the growing tradition of a family-friendly atmosphere, ticket prices for this year have been reduced, and children 17 and under will continue to be admitted free with a ticketed adult.

Highlighting the nature of the tournament as a family-friendly event, several students from the First Tee of Northwest Arkansas were on hand and given a chance to participate in the press conference. Questions from the girls from the First Tee who came ranged from seeking guidance and advice from Miyazato on their own golf games to her efforts to raise money for post-earthquake and tsunami rebuilding in her home of Japan.

“Japan is in our hearts,” Miyazato said, explaining that she continues to help raise funds for rebuilding.

Miyazato described the Walmart Northwest Arkansas Championship as a fun tournament requiring aggressive play. “Every year it seems like a different course,” she said. “You must manage your game well, focus shots and use your head. It is a big challenge.”

Despite the challenge of the course and the aggressiveness required to win on the course in Rogers, Miyazato said it is tournament where she always has fun. Don’t be surprised to hear her try her hand at calling the Hogs this year, with a few lessons from Lewis, the former Razorback golfer, and last year’s LPGA Player of the Year.

The first time I heard it [at the 17th green playing with Lewis] I didn’t know what they were saying,” Miyazato said, “but I liked it. I would love to [try calling the calling Hogs] this time.”

On Lewis’ game on the tour, Miyazato said: “If I go to the gym, she is there. On the putting greens? She’s there. She’s always there, working. She works very hard.”

Daily tickets are available for $15, valid any one day Friday, June 21 – Sunday, June 23. Weekly ground passes, valid all week, can be purchased for $30. Tickets are on-sale now at or (479) 715-6100 ext. 7. Admission is free to the public Monday, June 17 – Thursday, June 20. Children 17 and under are admitted free with a ticketed adult.

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