For All Your LPGA News

This website has not been active for some time now. I don’t know when or if the Constructivist will be posting here again.


You can get all all your LPGA information, including:
1- All tournament previews
2- Up to date statistics
3- Breaking News
4- Much much more

At the following link:

http://www.tonyslpgareport.com/


LPGA Q-School Results

As most of you already know, the LPGA is holding its final phase of Q-School this week.

With the Constructivist up to his neck in snow and work, I would like to reprint this from Tony’s LPGA Report.

Update – Monday 12/8/14

Karlin Beck made a 75 foot chip shot on the 5th playoff hole of the day and the 11th in total, dating back to Sunday night, to earn the final Category 12 LPGA Card. Casey Grice was eliminated on the 10th playoff hole, and Stephanie Meadow was eliminated by Beck’s chip shot on the 11th playoff hole.

Both Meadow and Grice have earned Category 17 LPGA Cards. Grice was the first round leader. Meadow, who finished third in the 2014 U.S. Open, figures to get a number of sponsor exemptions. She will have ample opportunities to improve her status during the LPGA reshuffles. 

Update – Sunday 12/7/14

Believe it or not, they have finished 5 rounds and 90 holes and it is still not over!
When 90 holes were completed there were 7 players tied for the 18th spot. Only 3 players of those 7 can get a fully exempt category 12 playing card, so they went to a 3 hole playoff. After that playoff only one player was eliminated, so on and on they went. After a few more playoff holes 2 more players got in, leaving 3 players fighting for one spot. Of course it got dark. They will continue tomorrow morning.

Here is the list of the 19 players that have earned full time playing privileges in 2015:
1- Allison Lee -10
1- Mingee Lee -10
3- Ariya Jutanugarn – 9
3- Maria Hernandez – 9
5- Ryann O’Toole -8
6- Simin Feng – 7
6- Ha Na Jang -7 (Incredibly, she shot an 80 today and still got in)
9- Kelly Shon – 6
9- Nanette Hill -6
11- Cheyenne Woods – -5
11- Therese Koelbaek -5
11- Perrine Delacour -5
11- So Be Kim -5
11- Sakura Yokomine -5
11- Sofia Poppv -5
11- Ju Young Park -5
18- Laetitea -4 (Got in via playoff)
18- Garrett Philips -4 (got in via playoff)

Here are the 3 players that will be fighting it out for the last spot tomorrow:
18- Karlin Beck -4
18- Stephanie Meadow -4
18- Casey Grice -4

Here are the players that have earned a category 17 LPGA card. They will have limited opportunities to get into playing fields next year. The players at the top of this list should get a few opportunities to get into the playing fields and will have to make the most of them to get reshuffled into a better position (like Kim Kaufman did in 2014). The players at the end of this list will have little or no opportunities to play this year on the LPGA Tour, and will probably be playing mostly Symetra Tour events.

21- Loser of the above playoff
22- Loser of the above playoff
23- Julie Yang (a) – Lost playoff
24- Jacqui Concolino – Lost playoff
25- Nontaya Srisawang -3
25- Daniella Iacobelli -3
25- Louise Stahle -3
28- ***Charlie Hull -2
28- Natalie Sheary -2
28- Jeong Eun Lee -2
28- Rebecca Lee Bentham -2
28- Jean Reynolds -2
28- Lindy Duncan -2
34- Jing Yan (a) -1
35- Paolo Morena -Even
35- Victoria Elizabeth -Even
35- Celine Herbin -Even
35- Emma de Groot -Even
35- Jennifer Gleason -Even
35- Sophie Giquel -Even
35- Elizabeth Nagel -Even
35- Caroline Westrup -Even
43- Katy Harris +1
43- Marta Sanz Barrio +1
43- Julia Molinaro +1

*** Charley Hull is the exception to my above explanation of category 17 playing opportunities.
Because of her “bigger than life” persona, and her status on the Ladies European Tour, Charley will get into quite a few tournaments this year. In addition to the normal amount of events she would get into because of her placement, expect her to get 6 more sponsor exemptions. In addition she has already qualified for several events based on her 2014 play.
 With all these opportunities, expect her to reshuffle into full time status very quickly.

Other notables that failed to earn there cards today, in addition to the players I listed yesterday.

52- Veronica Felibert +3
52- Kathleen Ekey +3
58- Emily Talley +4
64- Maude-Aimee Leblanc +5
64- Birdie Kim +5


Update – Saturday 12/6/14 (Completion of round 4 of 5)

Ha Na Jang shot a 68 today to take a 3 stroke lead after the fourth round. She finished at 15 under par. Maria Hernandez is in second place at -12.

Other Notable scores:
Mingee Lee -11 (3rd place)
Alison Lee, Ju Young Park -10 (4th place)
Sei Young Kim, Sakura Yokomine – (9th place)
Stephanie Meadow – 7 (14th place)
Ryann O’Toole -6 (17th)
Jean Reynolds -4 (25th)
Cheyenne Woods, Rebecca Lee Bentham -3 (32nd place)
Emily Talley -2 (38th place)
Kathleen Ekey -1 (44th place)
Victoria Elizabeth -Even (54th place)
Veronica Felibert +1 (58th place)
Charley Hull, Maude-Aimee Leblanc +2 (68th place)

The following players were among the bigger named players that missed the 72 hole cut and will not be receiving a 2015 LPGA playing card.

Lori Kane +8
Sylvia Cavalleri +9
Valentine Derrey, Vicky Hurst +10
Chie Arimura +13
Madison Pressel, CindyLaCrosse +15

Update – Friday 12/5/14 (Completion of round 3 of 5)

Ha Na Jang shot a 66 today to take a 3 stroke lead after the third round. She finished at 11 under par. Ju Young Park and Alison Lee finished at -8 and on tied for 2nd place.

Other Notable scores:
Sei Young Kim, Sakura Yokomine, Stephanie Meadow -6 (7th place)
Mingee LeeRyann O’Toole -5 (11th place)
Emily Talley -4 (19th place)
Ariya Jutanugarn -3 (24th place)
Cheyenne Woods -2 (31st place)
Rebecca Lee Bentham -1 (34th place)
Charley Hull, Kathleen Ekey Even Par (40th place)
Valantine Derrey, Jean Reynolds +1 (48th place)
Veronica Felibert +2 (60th place)
Birdie Kim, Victoria Elizabeth +3 (72nd place)
Maude-Aimee Leblanc +4 (78th place)
Sylvia Cavalieri, Jennifer Kirby +5 (92nd place)
Cindy LaCrosse +6 (102nd place)
Vicky Hurst +8 (119th place)
Lori Kane, Madison Pressel +11 (134th place)
Chie Arimura +12 (138th place)

Thursday 12/4/14 (Completion of round 2 of 5)

Ju Young Park, sister of LPGA veteran Hee Young Park is now tied for the lead at -9.
Also at that number is first round leader Casey Grice.
The trio of Samantha Richdale, Sophia Popov, and Elizabeth Nagel are 2 strokes back at -7.

Other Notable scores:
Ryann O”Toole, Stephanie Meadow -6 (6th place)
Ha Na Jang -5 (8th place)
Sei Young Kim -4 (9th place)
Alison Lee (a), Kathleen Ekey -3 (13th place)
Emily Talley, Ariya Jutanugarn -2 (23rd place)
Mingee Lee -1 (30th place)
Sakura Yokomine, Charley Hull, Rebecca Lee Bentham – Even (39th place)
Veronica Felibert, Jean Reynolds +1 (48th place)
Valentine Derrey, Victoria Elizabeth +2 (65th place)
Cheyenne Woods, Sylvia Cavalleri +3 (80th place)
Madison Pressel, Maude-Aimee Leblanc, Birdie Kim, Jennifer Kirby +5 (103rd place)
Vicky Hurst +6 (116th place)
Chie Arimura, Lori Kane +10 (144th place)

The field of 154, will be cut to the top 70 and ties after the 4th round.

LPGA Announces 2015 Schedule

Mizuno Classic Preview & Pairings

With the Constructivist swamped at work, I thought I would keep things moving here with a copy of my Preview of the Mizuno Classic.

_________________________________________________________________________________

After another exciting finish in Taiwan, the LPGA moves to Japan for the playing of the Mizuno Classic. This will be the 6th and final leg of the Asian swing. This is one of the longest running tournaments on the LPGA. It was first won in 1976 by Donna Caponi. It is also one of the few 54 hole events that remain on the LPGA schedule.

2013 Mizuno Classic Winner Teresa LU

This will be tournament #30 of 32 on the LPGA 2014 schedule.

Here are the Key details:

Course:  Kintetsu Kashikojima Country Club
Location:  Shima-Shi, Mie, Japan
Defending Champion:  Teresa Lu (non-LPGA member)
Winning Score:  70-68-64 = 202 (-14)

Final Field:  78 players
Par:  36/36 = 72
Yardage:  6,506
Purse:  $1,200,000

My strength of field rating is just 36.5%, making it the weakest field of the year. The field will include Stacy Lewis, who will be attempting to take back the #1 spot. There will also be several top players from the JLPGA tour teeing it up.

I will post the pairings as soon as they become available.

There is no television coverage of this event.

Here are my Pak Picker Picks for this tournament:
1- Stacy Lewis
2- Chella Choi
3- Na Yeon Choi
4- Sun Ju Ahn
5- Teresa Lu
6- Karrie Webb
7- Mirim Lee
8- Jessica Korda
9- Jiyai Shin
10- Ilhee Lee
11- Ayaka Uehara
12- Bo-Mee Lee
With the 3 weeks left I am currently in 3rd place, but still have an outside chance of coming out on top of our field of 21 players.

Other Tidbits:
Danielle Kang may not have won an LPGA tournament yet in her young career, but she sure is getting good at winning cars. For the second consecutive week she has aced the hole that had an automobile as the prize for doing so. I wonder what the Vegas odds would be for her doing it for a third consecutive time.

Azahara Munoz has become the 9th player this year to pass the 1 million dollar mark in 2014 LPGA earnings.

Stacy Lewis now has six second place finishes this year to go along with her 3 wins.

Since I had pointed out several times earlier in the season how the American players were dominating the first half of the schedule, it is only fair that I now point out that players from South Korea have now won 8 of the last 11 tournaments. They now have nine wins this year, but will need to win the remaining 3 events to tie the Americans.

Rolex Rankings Movers of the Week:
Amy Yang moves up from #24 to #19, while Pernilla Lindberg jumps up from #108 to #97.

Race to the CME Globe:
Stacy Lewis continues to have a huge lead with 4,783 points. She is followed by Inbee Park with 3,912 and Lydia Ko with 3,313.

Who’s Red Hot:
Inbee Park has now finished in the top ten, eight consecutive tournaments.
Mariajo Uribe very quietly has six top thirteen finishes in her last 8 starts.

Who’s Ice Cold:
I.K. Kim has only 1 top ten finish in her 17 starts this year.
Ai Miyazato has now failed to register a top ten in her last 37 tournaments.

If You’re Looking for Tony Jesselli’s Founders Cup Preview….

…you can find it over at his new blog, Tony’s LPGA Report, at http://www.tonyslpgareport.com/2013/03/rr-donnelly-founders-cup-preview.html.  You can always find the link to his most recent post in the “Mostly Harmless Golfarama” section over on the left sidebar.

I want to thank Tony for everything he did here at Mostly Harmless, but particularly for keeping MH alive while I took a long sabbatical from golf blogging for most of the last five months.  For awhile there when he and I were both contributing regularly to MH–and for some time after I took off–it was the #1 golf blog according to Technorati (and was consistently in their top 5 for virtually his entire tenure).  Tony’s relentless search for new readers and eagerness to reach out to new audiences on discussion forums and fan sites around the world no doubt played a huge role in MH’s rise in Technorati’s rankings.  But I’m sure I’m not alone when I say that it’s Tony’s ability to capture the big picture concisely and zoom in to focus on significant details and emerging trends that’s the true source of his appeal as a golf writer.  He always calls it like he sees it, even when it means pointing out that a golfer he likes a lot isn’t playing very good golf.  These qualities served him well at MH and will serve him well at Tony’s LPGA Report.

Tony, I can’t wait to see what you do in and with your new digs!  Here’s hoping that every single Mostly Harmless regular becomes a regular at your place and that you continue to bring new fans and better coverage to women’s golf!  Best of luck, and don’t be a stranger–feel free to cross-post here any time!

Thanks For Two Great Years

I just want to inform my readers that I have started my own blog.

I have spent the last 2 years writing for Mostly Harmless and have made many friends, but it is time for me to move on and try my own thing.

I want to thank the Constructivist for giving me the opportunity to write for this website. It is greatly appreciated.

Women’s golf is such an underated sport, and in my opinion, just doesn’t get enough coverage. I am hoping with adding another site, I can make a small difference. Keeping women’s golf in the news has always been my inspiration to write.

You can find me at:

http://www.tonyslpgareport.com/

I hope you will all give me a look, and support your love for women’s golf, by keeping up with both of our websites. I have linked my new website to this location.

Thanks for continued support,

Tony Jesselli

Thanks For a Great 2 Years

I just want to inform my readers, that I have started my own blog.
I have spent the last 2 years writing for mostly Harmless and have made many friends, but it is time for me to move on and try my own thing.
I want to thank the Contructivist for giving me the opportunity to write for this website. It is greatly appreciated.

Women’s golf is such an underated sport, and in my opinion, just doesn’t get enough coverage. I am hoping with adding another site, I can make a small difference. Keeping Women’s golf in the news has always been my inspiration to write.

You can find me at :

http://www.tonyslpgareport.com/

I hope you will all give me a look, and support your love for women’s golf, by keeping up with both of our websites. I have linked my new website to this location.

Thanks for continued support,

Tony Jesselli

Stats & Facts – Volume 12

Let me start off by congratulating Stacy Lewis for winning the HSBC Women’s Champions. Stacy, the defending LPGA Player of the Year, came out on top with a one-stroke victory over Na Yeon Choi. Paula Creamer finished two strokes back. See the Constructivist’s review for the full details.

The LPGA will now take a one-week break while it makes its way to the United States for the playing of the RR Donnelley Founders Cup. This is a good time to look at some statistics and notes covering the first three tournaments of the year:

Rolex Player of the Year Standings  (Winner receives a Hall of Fame point)
1-  Stacy Lewis – 39 points
2-  Jiyai Shin – 30
3-  Inbee Park – 30
4-  Yani Tseng – 21
5-  Beatriz Recari – 16
5-  Na Yeon Choi – 16
7-  Paula Creamer – 9
7-  So Yeon Ryu – 9
9-  Moriya Jutanugarn – 7
10-Jessica Korda, Danielle Kang – 6

Vare Trophy  (Winner receives a Hall of Fame point)
1-  Na Yeon Choi – 69.125 strokes per round
2-  Stacy Lewis – 69.583
3-  Carlota Ciganda – 70.00
3-  Yani Tseng – 70.00
5-  Jiyai Shin – 70.083
6-  Beatriz Recari – 70.167
7-  Thidapa Suwannapura – 70.250
7-  Mariajo Uribe – 70.250
9-  Catriona Matthew – 70.417
10-Paula Creamer – 70.500

Official Money Leaders ($100,00.00 minimum)
1-  Stacy Lewis –  $301,364.00
2-  Inbee Park – $232,517.00
3-  Jiyai Shin – $218,358.00
4-  Yani Tseng – $195,451.00
5-  Na Yeon Choi – $177,517.00
6-  Beatriz Recari – $158,159.00
7-  Paula Creamer – $107,554.00

Rookie of the Year Standings
1- Moriya Jutanugarn – 117 points
2- Ayako Uehara – 27
3- Austin Ernst – 22
3- Chie Arimura – 22
5- Brooke Pancake – 5

Most Consecutive Tournaments Without a Missed Cut
1- Karrie Webb – 47
2- Paula Creamer – 46
3- Jiyai Shin – 39
4- Na Yeon Choi – 36
5- Beatriz Recari – 35

Most Top Fives This Year
1- Stacy Lewis – 2
1- Beatriz Recari – 2
1- Yani Tseng – 2

Players Who Finished in Top 20 in all Three Tournaments Played:
Stacy Lewis
Jiyai Shin
Catriona Matthew
Jessica Korda

Other Tidbits:
Morgan Pressel’s top-ten finish this week was her first since the Sybase Match Play Championship last year.

Titleholders Update:
The power trio of Stacy Lewis, Na Yeon Choi, and Paula Creamer are the latest to qualify.

Rolex Rankings Movers of the Week:
Stacy Lewis moves from #4 to #3. Both Stacy and Na Yeon Choi could overtake Yani Tseng as the world’s #1 player with a victory next week.
Paula Creamer moves from #13 to #11, Lexi Thompson #23 to #20, Ariya Jutanugarn from #57 to #40, and Jessica Korda from #61 to #53.

HSBC Women’s Championship Preview & Pairings

Before I get to this week’s topic, let me say that if you missed this past weekend’s tournament, you missed one of the strangest finishes I have ever seen. I don’t think that I have ever seen a player on the final hole needing a six to win, taking an eight. The fact that it happened to a 17 year old, certainly made it harder to watch. Last year when I.K. Kim missed that 12-18 inch putt to blow the Kraft Nabisco, that terrible feeling we had watching her bury her face in her caddy’s chest won’t be forgotten for a long time. I didn’t think we would have to see something that heart wrenching again so soon. Seeing Moriya wiping the tears from her younger sister’s eyes by the 18th green, is another picture that will not be forgotten for some time. I hope she can shake this off, and it will not cause any long term career problems.

The LPGA Tour moves to Singapore this week, for the playing of the HSBC Women’s Championship. The tour will then come home to the United States, after a one week break.

This will be tournament #3 of 28 this year.

Just like last week’s tournament, in spite of the limited field (just 63 players), it will be one of the strongest fields of the year. Fifty-six of the top 60 on the LPGA Priority List, and 18 of the top 20 ladies on this week’s Rolex Rankings, will be teeing it up. The only star player missing will be So Yeon Ryu. My strength of field rating is 78.5%.
Here are the key details:

Course:  Sentosa Golf Club, The Serapong
Location:  Singapore
Defending Champion:  Angela Stanford
Winning Score: 66-70-71-71 = 278 (-10)

Final Field:  63 Players
Par:  36/36 = 72
Yardage:  6,600 Yards
Purse:  $1,400,000

This week’s sponsor exemptions are Michelle Wie & Ariya Jutanugarn.

Here are the pairings for the first round.
Here are the television times:

Feb 28 – GC 12:30 PM-2:30 PM EST
Mar 1 – GC 12:30 PM-2:30 PM EST
Mar 2 – GC 6:30 PM-9:30 PM EST
Mar 3 – GC 7:00 PM-9:30 PM EST
For the last time I will remind everyone planning on watching the telecast, that because of the time difference each round will be long over before it is televised. Be careful not to visit websites that will post results or other spoilers. No spoilers will be posted here. As stated before the tour will be in the United States starting next week eliminating this problem in the future.
Titleholders Update:
Inbee Park, So Yeon Ryu, and Beatriz Recari are the latest additions.
Rolex Movers of the week:
Some nice moves this week: Beatriz Recari moves from #53 to #40, Ariya Jutanugarn from #171 to #57, Lizette Salas from #82 to #63, and Gerina Piller from #91 to #79.
Other Tidbits:
On the Semetra Tour, Jaclyn Sweeney won the VisitMesa.com Gateway Classic by 2 strokes over current LPGA member Alena Sharp. Future LPGA star Jaye Marie Greene made her professional debut with a very impressive 5th place finish. Emily Talley made her successful debut a 12th place finish.

Almost going unnoticed, Beatriz Recari has finished T4th and T3rd in her 2 tournaments this year.

My picks for this week’s tournament:
1- Na Yeon Choi
2- Yani Tseng
3- Inbee Park
4- Stacy Lewis
5- Ariya Jutanugarn
6- I.K. Kim
7- Danielle Kang
8- Lexi Thompson
9- Jessica Korda
10-Paula Creamer
11-Jiyai Shin
12-Shanshan Feng

Honda LPGA Thailand Preview & Pairings

Congratulations goes out to Jiyai Shin for winning the first tournament of the 2013 season. Jiyai held off a charging Yani Tseng to capture the ISPS Women’s Australian Open. The Constructivist’s full recap can be found here.

The tour moves to Thailand this week for the playing of the Honda LPGA Thailand.

This will be tournament #2 of 28 this year.

Don’t be fooled by the fact that this is a limited field event. This will be one of the strongest fields you will see all year for a non-major event, 18 of the top 20 ladies on this week’s Rolex Rankings will be teeing it up. Even more impressive than that, 56 of the top 60 ladies on the LPGA Priority List will be in attendance. My strength of field rating is 80%. Way up from last week’s 49.5%.

Here are the key details:

Course:  Siam Country Club, Pattaya Old Course
Location:  Chonburi, Thailand
Defending 2X Champion: Yani Tseng
Winning 2012 Score:  73-65-65-66 = 269 (-19)

Final Field:  70 players
Par:  36/36=72
Yardage:  6,469 Yards
Purse:  $1,500,000

Here are the television times:
Feb 21 – GC 9:00 AM-12:30 PM EST
Feb 22 – GC 9:00 AM-1:30 PM EST
Feb 23 – GC 2:00 PM-6:00 PM EST
Feb 24 – GC 1:30 PM-6:00 PM EST

Included among this week’s sponsors exemptions will be: Michelle Wie, Cheyenne Woods, Lydia Ko, and both Jutanugarn sisters.

Once again I will remind everyone planning to watch the telecast that Thailand is 12 hours ahead of U.S. Eastern Time, so be careful of spoilers on other websites. The tournament will be long over, and the results posted before the telecast is shown. I will not post any spoilers here.

Here are the pairings for \round one..
Getting Married Hasn’t Helped
Apparently marriage hasn’t helped Amanda Blumenherst’s game. Amanda, who had an awful second half last season, missed the cut this week by 12 strokes.
The Pancake Mix
Former University of Alabama star Brooke Pancake made her debut as a LPGA member this past week with mixed results. The good news is that she made the cut and finished in red figures. The bad news was she faded down the stretch and finished at 3 under par, good for 55th place.
Hard to Believe Fact of the Week:
Maude-Aimee Leblanc, was disqualified after the first round for signing an incorrect scorecard. She signed for a 3 on the 9th hole, when in fact she took a 4. 
Titleholders Update:
Jiyai Shin, Yani Tseng, and Moriya Jutanugarn, were the first three players to qualify.
Rolex Movers of the Week:
Jiyai Shin moved from #8 to #6. Beatriz Recari’s 4th place finish was good enough to move her from #58 to #53. Carlotta Ciganda moved from #48 to #42.

ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open Preview & Pairings

The wait is over. After a  three month break the LPGA season will kick off this week with the playing of the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open.

The long layoff it seems, wasn’t long enough for most of the LPGA stars. Either that or Commissioner Michael Whan forgot to inform his players that there is a tournament this week.The following players will not be playing in this event:

Inbee Park, Na Yeon Choi, Ai Miyazato, Suzann Pettersen, Shanshan Feng, Mika Miyazato, Amy Yang, Cristie Kerr, Paula Creamer, Sun Young Yoo, Hee Kyung Seo, Sandra Gal, I.K. Kim, Candie Kung, Se Ri Pak, Hee Young Park, Julie Inkster, Meena Lee, Natalie Gulbis, Morgan Pressel, and Momoko Ueda.

This will be good news for the players who are way down on the Priority List, as they will be able to get into a tournament very early in the season. Cheyenne Woods and Lydia Ko, are two of this week’s sponsor exemptions.

This is the first of 28 tournaments this season. Here are some of the key details:

Course:  Royal Canberra Golf Club
Location:  Yarralumla, Australia
Defending Champion:  Jessica Korda (won a 6 player playoff)
Winning Score:  72-70-73-74=289 (-3)

Final Field: 156 players
Par 36/37=73 (Yes this is a par 73)
Yardage:  6,679 yards
Purse:  $1,200,000

Here are the television times:

Feb 14 – GC 12:30 PM-2:30 PM EST
Feb 15 – GC 12:30 PM-2:30 PM EST
Feb 16 – GC 3:00 PM-6:00 PM EST
Feb 17 – GC 3:00 PM-6:30 PM EST

For anyone planning on watching the telecast, I would advise you not to visit the LPGA website. Australia is 16 hours ahead of U.S. Eastern Time, and the results will be posted long before we get to watch the telecast. I will not post any spoilers on my blog until after the completion of the final telecast.

Here are the Pairings for the first 2 rounds:

My strength of field rating (which is based on the participation of top players on both the LPGA Priority List and the Rolex Rankings), is just 49.5%. This could very well remain the weakest field the entire season. Only 20 of the top 50 players on the Rolex Rankings, and 6 of the top 15 players on the LPGA Priority list will be teeing it up.

Other Tidbits:
Fifteen year old Lydia Ko has done it again. It seems that she wins every time she tees it up. Lydia who won last year on the LPGA tour, now adds an L.E.T. trophy to her collection. She also has a win on the ALPG. Lydia won the ISPS Handa NZ Women’s Open (with a score of -10), by one shot over Amelia Lewis. This was even more impressive when you consider Angela Stanford (+7), Anna Nordqvist (+5), and Sophie Gustufson (+4) all missed the cut.

Rolex Movers of the week:
Lydia Ko moves from #38 to #30 in the world rankings.

My Top 30 Predictions of 2013

We are just a week or so away from the first LPGA tournament of the year.
Here are my top 30 picks for player of the year:

1-   Inbee Park – If she putts like the second half of last season, it could be a runaway win.
2-   Seo Yeon Ryu – How did she get this high on my list in just one year?
3-   Stacy Lewis – Last year’s winner will be in the mix again this year.
4-   Yani Tseng – Don’t count her out just yet, especially if she plays well early.
5-   Jiyai Shin – If she stays healthy watch out.
6-   Na Yeon Choi – Needs to have better final rounds to compete for this title.
7-   Suzann Pettersen – Needs to show us much more consistency.
8-   Ai Miyazato – Needs to win her first major to get enough points to threaten.
9-   Shanshan Feng – Has streaks where she is one of the best in the game, but not enough of them.
10- Paula Creamer – I see another major victory in 2013. Don’t count her out.
11- Azahara Munoz – Time for her to step up to the next level.
12- Mika Miyazato – I think she has hit her ceiling.
13- Lexi Thompson – Won’t be an elite player yet, but getting closer.
14- Amy Yang – Is this the year she finally wins?
15- Karrie Webb – Showing no signs of slowing down.
16- Cristie Kerr – On the decline.
17- Chella Choi – Moved up a level last year. I expect a similar season.
18- Angela Stanford – Usually finds a way to win one every year.
19- Brittany Lincicome – A sleeping giant, with the emphasis on sleeping.
20- Sun Young Yoo – Has the potential to finish much higher than this.
21- I.K. Kim – Still hasn’t recovered from the Kraft disaster. Could finish anywhere from 8-40.
22- Sandra Gal – I think she will stay at her current level for many years. Her game is solid but limited.
23- Anna Nordqvist – Was better two years ago than she is today.
24- Chie Arimura – She will probably win Rookie of the Year, but she is playing in the big leagues now.
25- Hee Kyung Seo – Has to prove to me she can play well under pressure before I rate her higher.
26- Brittany Lang –  I needed another American!
27- Carlota Ciganda – If she plays this tour, she could be dangerous.
28- Se Ri Pak – Still plays real well when she is healthy.
29- Danielle Kang – Will be playing full time this year. Her potential is unlimited.
30- Sydnee Michaels – After a real good second half in 2012, look for her to continue to improve.

All right it is only 1:30AM my time, how about some bonus material? Here are my top picks for Rookie of the Year:

1-   Chie Arimura – Wouldn’t you expect someone already ranked number 20 in the world to win?
2-   Caroline Masson – Ranked number 48 in the world, she will be there if Ms. Arimura fails.
3-   Ayaka Uhehara – Like Chie Arimura above, she is a JLPGA star. Could contend for this title.
4-   Moira Jutanugarn – Could be a pretty good player, she just isn’t anywhere near as good as her younger sister who will win this award on the L.E.T.
5-   Esther Choe – The Symetra Tour Player of the Year is the best of the rest.
6-   Brooke Pancake – Straight out of college, she lacks the experience of the above players. A future top player, but she will have to fight hard to finish in the top 80 on the Money List this year.
7-   Victoria Elizabeth – Had a breakthrough year on the Symetra tour in 2012. As a category nine player, she will get plenty of opportunities. She is only 20 years old.
8-   Felicity Johnson – Has two wins on the L.E.T.
9-   Austin Ernst – This LSU standout could be a sleeper.
10- Lisa McClosky – A four time All-American at USC and Pepperdine, she has all the tools.

Other Tidbits:
The Ladies European Tour kicked off their 2013 schedule this past weekend with the playing of the Volvic RACV Ladies Masters. Congratulations goes out to the winner Karrie Webb.

The L.E.T will move to New Zealand this coming weekend. Some of the LPGA players teeing it up in preparation for the LPGA opener the following week include: Sydnee Michaels, Belen Mozo, Angela Stanford, Ryann O’Toole , and Beatriz Recari.

Rolex Movers of the week:
Karrie Webb, coming off her L.E.T. victory moves up from #17 to #12.
Jessica Korda, who finished 5th in the same tournament, moves from # 78 to #72.

Ten Questions for the 2013 Season

As we approach the start of the 2013 season, there are a number of questions I am looking forward to getting the answers to. In reverse order, here are my top ten:

10- Can Morgan Pressel, who had a horrible second half of the season, bounce back and get enough points to make the Solheim Cup team?

 9-  Will Paula Creamer finally get back into the winner’s circle, and hold up a trophy for the first time since winning the U.S. Open in 2010?

 8-  Can Lexi Thompson, who moved up 16 places in 2012 to her current #23 world ranking, take it to the next level and compete week in and week out with the elite players of the LPGA tour?

 7-  Will the trend of established stars from other tours winning the Rookie of the Year award continue (Chie Arimura will certainly be the favorite), or will someone else step up and surprise us?

 6-  Can Moriya Jutanugarn (who finished tied for first in the LPGA Q-School finale), and younger sister Ariya Jutanugarn (who won Q-School on the L.E.T), both win Rookie of the Year on their respective tours?

 5-  Can the United States win back the Solheim Cup?

 4-  Can Yani Tseng, who has seen her lead as the #1 player in the world shrink from 9.47 points to just 1.20 points, hold on to the top position?

 3-  Can Ai Miyazato finally break through and win a Major Championship?

 2-  Can an American finally win a Major Championship after being shut out last year?

 1-  Can Stacy Lewis repeat as Player of the Year?

These are just some of the questions that will be answered this coming season.
If anyone has a question of their own, please feel free to post it.

LPGA Announces International Crown Event For 2014

It has been a big month for announcements for the LPGA. This month they have already announced that new tournaments in Texas, The Bahamas, and China have been added to the 2013 schedule. They have now announced a new one for the 2014 schedule, The International Crown.

Here are some of the key details.

The tournament will make its debut in July of 2014 in Baltimore, Maryland, it will then be moved to Rich Harvest Farms, in Chicago Il. Rich Harvest Farms, as you might well remember, was host to the 2009 Solheim Cup.

Eight teams based on cumulative Rolex Rankings of each country’s top four players at the conclusion of the 2013 CME Group Titleholders will qualify for the event. If teams for the Crown were selected according to the current Rolex Rankings, South Korea, the U.S., Japan, Sweden, Australia, Spain, Taiwan, and England would battle for the inaugural title.

The final field of 32 players will be determined after the Rolex Rankings have been published on the Monday of the 2014 Kraft Nabisco Championship week. At that point the top 4 ranked players’ from each pre-qualified country will make up their country’s team.

This will be a four day competition. It will feature three days of four-ball competition and one day of singles matches on Sunday. There will be a cut after the completion of Saturday’s play, with only 5 teams moving on to Sunday.

Points will be awarded per match based on the following:
2 points for a win
1 point for a tie
0 points for a loss

The eight countries will be seeded #1 through #8, and will be divided into two brackets based on the cumulative team score of the four players Rolex Ranking on the Monday of the Kraft Nabisco Championship week.

Bracket A                 Bracket B
Country #1                 Country #2
Country #3                 Country #4
Country #5                 Country #6
Country #7                 Country #8

At the conclusion of the 3 days of four-ball competition the two teams with the most points from each bracket and one wild card team will advance to Sunday’s singles matches.

My thoughts on this event:
Once again Commissioner Michael Whan’s ability to think “outside the box,” has led to another exciting tournament. This is the event we have all been waiting for. It will be played on even numbered years, as the Solheim cup is played in odd numbered years. Can you imagine a South Korean team made up of I.K. Kim, Na-Yeon Choi, Inbee Park, and So Yeon Ryu? It really scares me, but I will be looking forward to the challenges it will provide to all the other teams, and how they will react to that challenge.

Like everything else, this will have its imperfections. As I look at the Rolex Rankings, Suzann Pettersen will not be eligible because Norway doesn’t have 3 other ranked players.

How Well Is Commissioner Michael Whan Doing?

In just three weeks the LPGA will begin its 2013 season with the playing of the ISPS Honda Women’s Australian Open. It’s about time! Unlike the men, there is a big gap between the end of one season and the beginning of the next. If you are an LPGA fan you had to wait twelve weeks. Twelve long weeks. In my opinion that is much too long. To be perfectly honest, it makes it tough for me to keep coming up with interesting material for this blog. My hope is that someday soon, with the help of our Commissioner Michael Whan, that period of inactivity will be cut in half.

Oh yeah, that brings me to the subject of this week’s blog, Mr. Michael Whan.
Now on the job for three years, are we really satisfied with the job he is doing?
Let us take a look:

What were the circumstances that led to the hiring of Mr. Whan in October of 2009?
Michael Whan was hired on October 28, 2009 (took office January 4, 2010). He took over for the then Commissioner, Carolyn Bivens, who was forced out by several high-profile players. The LPGA was sinking at that point. Sinking very fast. In 2008, the tour had 34 tournaments (24 were domestic events), the 2010 schedule that Mr. Whan inherited only had 23 events on the schedule. It was hard economic times and Mr. Whan would have his work cut out for him.

What did we know about this man when he took over as commissioner? Did he appear qualified for the job?
We knew he was 44 years old, and he and his wife, Meg, and their three children made their residence in Lake Mary, Fl. He was a 1987 graduate of Miami (Ohio), University. He was the Executive VP/General Manager of North America TaylorMade Adidas Golf, from 1995-2000.
His most recent job was President/CEO of something called Mission-Itec Hockey.

I have to admit that I was skeptical at this point. Sure, he had an impressive resume. But was he qualified to take over the job of the sport that I love so much? More importantly, was he capable of turning around a sinking ship, and doing it quickly?

Now that the commissioner has had three years on the job, has he lived up to our expectations?
 In 2011 there were 23 tournaments on the schedule, the 2013 schedule shows 28. A 29th tournament on the west coast of the United States is a strong possibility.
The total prize money was  $40.5 million in 2011, it is $48.8 million in 2013.
Television ratings for  the LPGA has been up dramatically.
Television coverage in 2013 will be over 300 hours, more than ever before.
Most importantly, I have not heard the term “sinking ship” in quite some time. In fact I hear just the opposite.

Judge for yourself, I think the answer to the above question is quite obvious. I would certainly like for the readers of this blog to give their opinions, in the comments section.

Now that I have given you most of the facts regarding Mr.Whan during his time as commissioner, I would like to give you some of my observations and opinions.

As most of my readers know, my wife and I go to many of these tournaments every year. In fact we have attended approximately 30 tournaments in the last 5 years.
During this time we have made friends with many of the players. I can honestly say that I have never heard any player criticize the job that the commissioner is doing. The long worried faces we had observed 4 and 5 years ago, have been replaced with smiles of hope. Those smiles are contagious, and make for a much more fan friendly environment. There is no other sport like it. Not the PGA, the NFL, or MLB. If I told you I went to a New York Mets game and left my seat after the 9th inning to go down to speak to David Wright and company, you know I’d be telling a fib. But I am telling the complete truth by saying if you go to an LPGA event you have a pretty good chance that you will get to speak to stars like Paula Creamer, Stacy Lewis, and Yani Tseng, either before or after they played their 18 holes. Your kids will have an experience that they won’t soon forget.

I also think that many people tend to look at the schedule and say, “Well we only gained one tournament this year so far.” I can’t tell you how many times I have heard that in the last week. What everyone who is saying that should realize is, that where it is true three new tournaments have been announced while losing two, I believe about 10 other contracts had expired and had to be renegotiated. So I think a big plus should go into the commissioner’s column for retaining such a high percentage in these tough economic times.

Two things I would like to see more improvement on:
1) Media coverage in the local newspapers outside of where the tournament is being held, is almost non-existent. Living in the New York area, I read the New York Daily News and New York Post, two of the papers with the largest circulation in the country. On Monday morning I have to read 4 columns of a PGA story, 3 columns of a Seniors Tours results story, and a column of a men’s European story to get to a six line story on the LPGA. That is if there is one there at all. I am not sure what advice to give the commissioner on this problem, but I would certainly like to hear what, if any, ideas he has on improving this situation.

2) More tournaments in the United States. Yes, Mr. Whan has made it clear that an international schedule benefits all. I agree, and there are so many reasons, too many to list. What I don’t like are the percentages.
On the 2013 calendar 15 tournaments are in the U.S., 7 in Asia, 2 in Europe, 2 in Canada, 1 in the Bahamas, 1 in Mexico, and 1 in Australia. This is a U.S. based tour. Fifteen of 28 is a number that has to be improved upon. I don’t want to lose any of those events outside the United States, I just want to see more here. Once again I know Mr. Whan is doing his absolute best in this dreadful economy, but improvement in this area is something I would want to see in the next several years.

To sum up my opinion on the job Mr. Whan has done to date, I will give him a rating of A-.
The reason I don’t go higher, is that in the smallest chance he may read this article, I don’t want to give him a big head. I like a commissioner that thinks outside the box, and Michael Whan does that.  Five majors? Many people are still scratching their heads over that one. They may change their minds when the tournament is being played to more TV time and more press coverage. Maybe there were other reasons also. Could he have been afraid of losing the Kraft or Wegman’s and having only 3 majors left? I’ll trust and support him on this one.
He was criticized when he added the RR Founders Cup a couple of years back. Many were critical that the girls had to play for charity but no prize money. Well that is now a full field event with a $1.5 million purse.

Michael Whan has improved the LPGA in every conceivable way that I could think of. I look forward to what he will do in his next three years.

2013 LPGA Schedule

Is this the week the LPGA will finally announce its 2013 tournament  schedule? Yes it is, but apparently they will tease us by doing it in stages.

The LPGA, and Commissioner Michael Whan announced today that the LPGA will be making its first ever official appearance in the Bahamas in 2013 with the playing of the Pure Silk Bahamas LPGA Classic.

This tournament will take place May 23-26. It will be a full field event that will include four tournament rounds and 72 holes of stroke play. The purse will be $1.3 million, with coverage provided by Golf Channel.

The tournament will be played at the Tom Weiskopf designed Ocean Club Golf Course at The Atlantis in Paradise Island, Bahamas and will be supported by Pure Silk and The Islands of The Bahamas. Recently recognized as the #8 Resort Course in North America and the Caribbean by Golf Digest Magazine, the course has played host to several nationally-televised events, including the Michael Jordan Celebrity Invitational. 

Pure Silk also sponsors several players on the LPGA Tour including 2012 Rolex Player of the Year Stacy Lewis, Brittany Lincicome, Natalie Gulbis, Katherine Hull, Jeong Jang, and Brittany Lang.

Since Michael Whan took over the Commissioner’s job, the LPGA has seen the number of tournaments grow from 23 in 2010 to 27 in 2012.

This announcement is the first in a series of new 2013 tournaments to be announced in the coming week.

I would recommend to readers of this blog to check back here daily this week, as I will be adding new information to this post as it becomes available.

Update #1 – 1/8/13 … The LPGA announced today that Acer has been added as a Sponsor to the Shoprite Classic in Galloway, N.J. It will now be called The ShopRite LPGA Classic Presented by Acer.

Update #2 – 1/9/13 ….  Marathon Petroleum Corporation joins the LPGA family as title sponser of the Toledo, Ohio tournament. It will now be called The Marathon Classic presented by Owens Corning & O-I. It will now be televised around the world via Golf Channel and the LPGA’s international television partners. It was not televised last year. Stay tuned to this blog, as the LPGA has promised big news in the next few days. .

Update #3 – 1/10/13….. This is a big one. The LPGA today announced its return to a region rich in golf history with the announcement of the North Texas LPGA Shootout, to be held April 25 to 28, 2013 at Las Colinas Country Club in Irving, Texas. The $1.3 million North Texas LPGA Shootout will host a full-field of 144 players playing 72 holes of stroke play over four days of competition

Update #4 – 1/15/13……The LPGA 2013 schedule has finally been released!
Here are the Highlights:

1- Three new tournaments added. Tournaments in China, Texas, and The Bahamas have been added to the schedule. As of now, The Navistar Classic and The Sybase Match Play Championship have been eliminated.

2- The number of tournaments has increased to 28 (does not include the Solheim Cup), 27 of them will be televised.

3- The CME Group Titleholders Championship contract has been extended through 2016.

4- The 2013 prize money will be increased to $49 million.

5- Golf Channel will televise more than 300 hours of tournament coverage, the most in the tour’s history.

6- 2013 will be the first year where 5 majors will be played. The Evian Championship has become the 5th major.

Here is the link to the complete story:
http://www.lpga.com/golf/news/2013/1/2013-schedule-announcement.aspx

Update #5 – Commissioner Michael Whan has just stated on the Golf Channel, that he hopes to add another tournament to the 2013 schedule in the next 30 days.

Top LPGA Stories of 2012

As I patiently wait for the LPGA to announce its 2013 schedule, I would like to look back at what I consider the top stories of 2012.

I have narrowed my list to ten, although I know there were many more. Of course this list is very subjective, depending on who your favorite golfers are. A top story for me may be a story someone else would want to forget.

Feel free to add your own top stories in the comments section if you feel that I missed one.

So in reverse order, here we go:

10- Rules Official Doug Brecht passes away.
Following a three month battle with the West Nile Virus, LPGA Rules Official Doug Brecht passed away at the age of 62. Doug may be the only person who hated slow play more than me. Doug became the center of controversy at the Sybase Match Play Championship in 2012, when Morgan Pressel after winning the 12th hole was informed she would lose that hole instead because of slow play. Doug was known for being tough but fair, and truly loved the LPGA. He will be missed.

9- Yani Tseng’s slump at the age of 23.
Most golfers usually hit slumps sometime in their careers, but usually not at the age of 23.
Yani, at a very early age has already won 15 times with 5 of those wins major championships. She won 3 of the first 5 events of the year and then practically disappeared for the rest of the season. She failed to finish in the top 25 in 11 of the last 15 tournaments she played in. This is certainly worth keeping an eye on in 2013.

8- Morgan Pressel’s loss of hole penalty.
After winning the 12th hole in her match with Azahara Munoz and taking a 3 hole lead with 6 to play, Morgan was informed she would be penalized the loss of that hole because of slow play. She was warned previously in the match. She was told that she took 129 seconds to play the twelfth hole, 39 more than allowed. Instead of a 3 hole lead, it was changed to one. She would go on to lose the match and Azahara would win the Championship. Morgan would not play well again the rest of the year.

7- Paula Creamer and Jiyai Shin’s 9 hole playoff.
Was this playoff golf at its best, or golf at its worst,  I am still not sure. I can only tell you that this was golf at its most exciting. After finishing tied at the Kingsmill Championship after 72 holes, they went to a playoff. After 8 playoff holes were played with still no winner, they had to stop because of darkness. The next day while everyone else flew to Europe for the British Open, Jiyai would come out victorious on the ninth playoff hole. While most people thought that arriving a day late would hurt the 2 players at the British Open, Jiyai would win that also, and Paula would finish 3rd.

6- Lydia Ko wins the Canadian Open at age 15.
This one speaks for itself. Lydia became the youngest player ever to win an LPGA event.

5- Two women granted membership to Augusta National.
Former United States Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, and Financier Darla Moore became the first two women ever to be granted membership to Augusta National. Not to take anything away from the great accomplishments of those two women, but wouldn’t this have been a much bigger and more satisfying story if they would have chosen Annika Sorenstam and Nancy Lopez instead?

4- Na-Yeon Choi shoots 65 in third round at the U.S. Open.
Why was this such a big story? It was the hottest and most humid day I have ever spent walking on a golf course. The average score for the day was ten strokes higher than what Na-Yeon shot. Yani Tseng and Suzann Pettersen shot 78. Stacy Lewis shot 80. Karrie Webb and Angela Stanford shot 81. Ms. Choi would go on to win the Championship.

3- Inbee Park’s ten consecutive top 10 finishes.
I don’t know that this has ever been done on the LPGA tour before. I don’t know that it has been done on any tour. This is an accomplishment we may not see again for a very, very long time.

2- Stacy Lewis wins Player of the Year.
If your not an American you probably think that I rated this too high. Maybe I did. But this is still an American based tour, and I have been waiting since 1994 for this to happen.

1- I.K. Kim misses 12 inch putt and loses Kraft Nabisco Championship.
I honestly hate making this the top story of the year. Especially it being about someone as classy as I.K.
Problem is the criteria I used for my rankings here, is what story will I remember the longest. That look on her face. I think the whole country just wanted to hug her. Will any of you forget this anytime soon? I won’t. Every time somebody has a small putt to win a championship, we will think of this.

Top LPGA Stories of 2012

As I patiently wait for the LPGA to announce its 2013 schedule, I would like to look back at what I consider the top stories of 2012.

I have narrowed my list to ten, although I know there were many more. Of course this list is very subjective, depending on who your favorite golfers are. A top story for me may be a story someone else would want to forget.

Feel free to add your own top stories in the comments section if you feel that I missed one.

So in reverse order, here we go:

10- Rules Official Doug Brecht passes away.
Following a three month battle with the West Nile Virus, LPGA Rules Official Doug Brecht passed away at the age of 62. Doug may be the only person who hated slow play more than me. Doug became the center of controversy at the Sybase Match Play Championship in 2012, when Morgan Pressel after winning the 12th hole was informed she would lose that hole instead because of slow play. Doug was known for being tough but fair, and truly loved the LPGA. He will be missed.

9- Yani Tseng’s slump at the age of 23.
Most golfers usually hit slumps sometime in their careers, but usually not at the age of 23.
Yani, at a very early age has already won 15 times with 5 of those wins major championships. She won 3 of the first 5 events of the year and then practically disappeared for the rest of the season. She failed to finish in the top 25 in 11 of the last 15 tournaments she played in. This is certainly worth keeping an eye on in 2013.

8- Morgan Pressel’s loss of hole penalty.
After winning the 12th hole in her match with Azahara Munoz and taking a 3 hole lead with 6 to play, Morgan was informed she would be penalized the loss of that hole because of slow play. She was warned previously in the match. She was told that she took 129 seconds to play the twelfth hole, 39 more than allowed. Instead of a 3 hole lead, it was changed to one. She would go on to lose the match and Azahara would win the Championship. Morgan would not play well again the rest of the year.

7- Paula Creamer and Jiyai Shin’s 9 hole playoff.
Was this playoff golf at its best, or golf at its worst,  I am still not sure. I can only tell you that this was golf at its most exciting. After finishing tied at the Kingsmill Championship after 72 holes, they went to a playoff. After 8 playoff holes were played with still no winner, they had to stop because of darkness. The next day while everyone else flew to Europe for the British Open, Jiyai would come out victorious on the ninth playoff hole. While most people thought that arriving a day late would hurt the 2 players at the British Open, Jiyai would win that also, and Paula would finish 3rd.

6- Lydia Ko wins the Canadian Open at age 15.
This one speaks for itself. Lydia became the youngest player ever to win an LPGA event.

5- Two women granted membership to Augusta National.
Former United States Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, and Financier Darla Moore became the first two women ever to be granted membership to Augusta National. Not to take anything away from the great accomplishments of those two women, but wouldn’t this have been a much bigger and more satisfying story if they would have chosen Annika Sorenstam and Nancy Lopez instead?

4- Na-Yeon Choi shoots 65 in third round at the U.S. Open.
Why was this such a big story? It was the hottest and most humid day I have ever spent walking on a golf course. The average score for the day was ten strokes higher than what Na-Yeon shot. Yani Tseng and Suzann Pettersen shot 78. Stacy Lewis shot 80. Karrie Webb and Angela Stanford shot 81. Ms. Choi would go on to win the Championship.

3- Inbee Park’s ten consecutive top 10 finishes.
I don’t know that this has ever been done on the LPGA tour before. I don’t know that it has been done on any tour. This is an accomplishment we may not see again for a very, very long time.

2- Stacy Lewis wins Player of the Year.
If your not an American you probably think that I rated this too high. Maybe I did. But this is still an American based tour, and I have been waiting since 1994 for this to happen.

1- I.K. Kim misses 12 inch putt and loses Kraft Nabisco Championship.
I honestly hate making this the top story of the year. Especially it being about someone as classy as I.K.
Problem is the criteria I used for my rankings here, is what story will I remember the longest. That look on her face. I think the whole country just wanted to hug her. Will any of you forget this anytime soon? I won’t. Every time somebody has a small putt to win a championship, we will think of this.

Rolex Rankings Movers of the Year – Final Look

It has been 3 months since I last took a look at the biggest gains and losses in the Rolex Rankings for the 2012 season. A lot has changed since then. Rolex ranks the ladies based on average points per tournament, on a rolling 2-year calender. For example, Yani Tseng, the #1 player in the world, has accumulated 561.10 points playing in 50 tournaments over that period, for an average of 11.22 points per tournament. I have gone back to the first published rankings of the year and compared them to the rankings released on 12/17/12. The only requirement for my list is that a player must have been in the top 100 at the start of the year, or be in the top 100 now.

The Year’s Biggest Gains:

1- Inbee Park – 4.57 to 8.30 = Gain of 3.73 (move 23-4)
2- So Yeon Ryu – 4.15 to 7.02 = Gain of 2.87 (move 27-7)
3- Stacy Lewis – 6.59 to 8.78 = Gain of 2.19 (move 10-3)
4- Shanshan Feng – 5.61 to 7.57 = Gain of 2.16 (move 13-5)
5- Lydia Ko – 0.36 to 2.50 = Gain of 2.14 (move 295-43)
6- Hyo-Joo-Kim – 0.38 to 2.46 = Gain of 2.08 (move 289-44)
7- Azahara Munoz – 3.29 to 5.18 = Gain of 1.89 (move 40-16)
8- Carlotta Ciganda – 0.37 to 2.19 = Gain of 1.82 (move 291-50)
9- Mika Miyazato – 4.37 to 6.06 = Gain of 1.69 (move 24-10)
10- Jee-Yoon Yang – 0.45 to 2.10 = Gain of 1.65 (move 265-53)
11- Karine Icher – 1.71 to 3.16 = Gain of 1.45 (move 85-33)
12- Jessica Korda – 0.31 to 1.68 = Gain of 1.37 (move 314-77)
13- Haeji Kang – 0.95 – 2.31 = Gain of 1.36 (move 162-47)
14- Jenny Shin – 1.07 to 2.37 = Gain of 1.30 (move 147-46)
15- Lizette Salas – 0.23 to 1.51 = Gain of 1.28 (move 353-90)
16- Karen Sjodin – 0.48 to 1.75 = Gain of 1.27 (move 258-72)
17- Sun Young Yoo – 3.06 to 4.29 = Gain of 1.23 (move 44-23)
18- Chella Choi – 2.07 to 2.91 = Gain of 0.84 (move 70-36)
19- Lexi Thompson – 3.38 to 4.21 = Gain of  0.83 (move 39-24)
20 – Gerina Piller – 0.64 to 1.47 = Gain of 0.83 (move from 215-95)

The Year’s Biggest Losses: 

1- Yani Tseng – 17.46 to 11.22 = Loss of 6.24 (move 1-1)
2- Cristie Kerr – 9.74 to 5.83 = Loss of 3.91 (move 4-11)
3- Michelle Wie – 5.08 to 1.98 = Loss of 3.10 (move 17-58)
4- Song-Hee Kim – 4.00 to 0.98 = Loss of 3.02 (move 30-147)
5- Maria Hjorth – 4.65 to 1.79 = Loss of 2.86 (move 22-70)
6- Suzanne Pettersen – 10.12 to 7.33 = Loss of 2.79 (move 2-6)
7- Morgan Pressel – 5.34 to 2.71 = Loss of 2.63 (move 16-38)
8- Paula Creamer – 7.97 to 5.53 = Loss of 2.44 (move 5-12)
9- Su Ju Ahn – 7.83 to 5.43 = Loss of 2.40 (move 6-13)
10- Yukari Baba – 4.29 to 2.07 = Loss of 2.22 (move 26-54)
11- I.K. Kim – 6.60 to 4.51 = Loss 2.09 (move 8-21)
12- Sakura Yokomine – 4.83 to 3.00 = Loss of 1.83 (move 20-34)
13- Brittany Lincicome – 6.57 to 4.84 = Loss of 1.73 (move 11-18)
14- Yuri Fudoh – 4.34 to 2.63 = Loss of 1.71 (move 25-39)
15- Shiho Oyama – 3.61 to 1.96 = Loss of 1.65 (move 34-63)
16- Julie Inkster – 2.52 to 1.02 = Loss of 1.50 (move 55-142)
17- Saiki FuJita – 2.80 to 1.39 = Loss of 1.41 (move 46-105)
18- Jimin Kang – 2.40 to 1.00 = Loss of 1.40 (move 59 to 144)
19- Ji- Hee Lee – 4.00 to 5.36 = Loss of 1.36 (move 15-25)
20-Cristina Kim – 0.58 to 1.74 = Loss of 1.16 (move 82-228)

Were My Pre-Season Questions Answered?

Way back in January, before the LPGA season began, I listed 10 questions that I hoped would be answered this year.

Below I have shown those questions again. Let’s see whether or not they were actually ever answered.

1- We all know that Yani Tseng is the real thing, no question about that. The question here is can she be as dominant in 2012 as she was in 2011, or will someone else step up and challenge her for her crown?

This question was answered very definititively, Yani was nowhere near the player in 2012 that she was in 2011. After winning three of the first five titles of the year, she was hardly a factor. Yani failed to even finish in the top 25 in 11 of her last 15 tournaments, resulting in her almost blowing what was a huge lead in the Rolex rankings. Although still #1 in the world, her lead has shrunk to about one quarter of what it once was.
Stacy Lewis replaced her as player of the year, and Stacy and Inbee Park are going to make it very hard for Yani to remain the game’s #1 ranked player next year.

2- Lexi Thompson will be 17 years old on February 10th. We all expect her to be an elite golfer soon. Is it expecting too much of her to think she can be a top 10 golfer this year?

At seventeen years old she is not a top ten golfer yet. But finishing #21 on the Money list is quite an accomplishment for a teenager. Lexi started the year ranked #39 in the world, and is now ranked #24.
Look for more upward movement in 2014.

3- No American player has won the Player of the Year award in 18 years. Will someone rise to the occasion in 2012?

We all know by now that Stacy Lewis became the first American to win the player of the year award since Beth Daniel in 1994.

4- Can Stacy Lewis and Sandra Gal, the golfers who in my opinion improved the most in 2011, continue to do so in 2012?

The Stacy Lewis part of this question has already been answered. As far as Sandra Gal is concerned, although she didn’t break into the winner’s circle, she had a very similar year to 2011. She finished in the top 25 on the money list both years.

5- Who will win the 2012 Rookie of the Year Award? Will it be one of the favorites (Lexi Thompson & So Yeon Ryu), or will someone else sneak up and pull off an upset?

There were some fine rookie seasons in 2012 (Sydnee Michaels, Lizette Salas, and Danielle Kang come to mind), but Ryu and Thompson were head and shoulders above the rest. You can now make a case for So Yeon Ryu being among the best in the game already.

6- Is Ryann O’Toole the real thing, or just a “flash in the pan”?

Writing unflattering things about my favorite players is probably the most difficult thing I have to do on here. That said, my crystal ball is leaning towards “flash in the pan”.

7- Who is the real Song-Hee Kim? Is it the golfer that had 15 top 10 finishes in 2010, or the golfer who had only two in 2011?

I guess it’s the golfer who had zero top tens in 2012, and lost her playing card.

8- Can Michelle Wie, who graduates from Stanford University this year, now focus on golf and move up to elite status?

Michelle dropped all the way down to #64 on the money list. Maybe a better question for next year will be, can Michelle play well enough to keep her card? This is turning into quite a sad story. It is too bad because
Michelle winning would be great for the LPGA.

9- Can Amy Yang and Brittany Lang, two golfers with so much talent, finally break through and get their first LPGA victory?

Brittany finally got her first victory, so did five other golfers. We are still waiting for Amy to break through.

10- Can Michael Whan, who has done a great job so far, continue adding tournaments and get the number up to 30 by 2013?

Mr. Whan added 3 more tournaments in 2012, bringing the number to 27. Sometime in the next three weeks I would imagine the 2013 schedule will be announced. Will it get to 30? Stay tuned.