Here's why Hinako Shibuno is called 'Smiling Cinderella' as a nickname
LPGA Tour

Here’s why Hinako Shibuno is called ‘Smiling Cinderella’ as a nickname

WOBURN, ENGLAND - AUGUST 04: Hinako Shibuno of Japan celebrates with the trophy after the final round of the AIG Women's British Open at Woburn Golf Club on August 04, 2019 in Woburn, England. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)


Hinako Shibuno won her first LPGA major championship at the 2019 AIG Women's Open in what was her first professional tournament played outside her native Japan.

A year later, Shibuno is seeking out a second major championship in as many years at the 2020 US Women's Open at Champions Golf Club in Houston, Texas. As you're watching that unfold, you may have heard announcers refer to Hinako Shibuno as the "Smiling Cinderella." Why is Hinako Shibuno called the Smiling Cinderella?

Shibuno got the Smiling Cinderella nickname from the Japanese media after she won the Salonpas Cup, the Japanese LPGA's first major of the year in 2019. She was 20 years old at the time, and the win was considered her breakthrough victory on a big stage. All the while, Shibuno was smiling and looking like someone who was enjoying what they were doing -- hence the smiling part. Maybe the Cinderella part is lost in translation, but it's probably the idea that Shibuno is now young golf royalty in the country.

That nickname has been brought to the LPGA, when Shibuno plays, since she seems to maintain a cheery attitude, even in difficult situations.

However, this week at Champions Golf Club has been difficult, and we've seen less smiling and more concentration on each and every shot in Houston. She has found moments of levity, but it's tough to be happy in these conditions.

Curiously, fame may have made Shibuno a little less happy. After winning the AIG Women's Open, she said the inevitable fame that would come with her victory at Woburn would upend her life.

“I know there was a big reaction after the first day, so I can't imagine what it will be like after today,” she said. “Now that I've won, I think a lot of the Japanese people will know me. In actuality, I just wanted to live a quiet life.”

About the author

Avatar

Golf News Net

We use the Golf News Net byline sometimes just to change things up. But, it's one of us humans writing the story, we promise.

Sometimes we post sponsored content from this account, and it is labeled as such.

We also occasionally include links to products and services from merchants of our choice. GNN may earn a commission from sales generated by those links. See more in GNN's affiliate disclosure.