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Saturday, July 24, 2010

After the Cut

Perhaps it's just me, but the Senior Open Championship doesn't seem all that interesting. Perhaps it's because Tom Watson missed the cut; although I'm interested in how the other guys are playing, Tom's is the score I always check first. As it stands, Corey Pavin and Bernhard Langer are tied for the lead at the halfway point -- an interesting pair, but "a little young" to be legends yet.

More interesting to me is the European Tour. Can Louis Oosthuizen become the first man ever to win the Open Championship and the European tournament the following week? After a disappointing 70 on Friday -- don't you wish your disappointing scores were 70s? -- Shrek sits in a tie for 3rd, 2 strokes behind K.J. Choi. After a (thankfully) brief dalliance with Sam Snead's sidesaddle putting technique, Choi is back to his old putting style and playing pretty well. I understand that putting woes are frustrating, but if I was having problems with a segment of my game I don't think I'd copy the techniques of someone who never really figured that segment out. While Snead is a great model from tee to green, I'd look to someone like Crenshaw for a putting model!

But the most interesting tournament to me this week is the ladies event at Evian, simply because all of the Top 10 players are playing and the world rankings are so tight. Let me bring you up-to-date with where the current Top 11 stand in the tournament after the cut (forgive my poor excuse for a table -- it's my first attempt in this new template):

---------- Player ------------- Ranking -------- Position ----
Ai Miyazato10.27-3 (T16)
Cristie Kerr10.27+1 (T46)
Suzann Pettersen9.86-5 (T8)
Jiyai Shin9.56-5 (T8)
Yani Tseng8.32-3 (T16)
Na Yeon Choi7.74-6 (T4)
Paula Creamer7.59E (T38)
Anna Nordqvist7.37-1 (T25)
Song-Hee Kim6.99-2 (T21
Karrie Webb6.79+2 (T54)
In-Kyung Kim6.52E (T38)

Na Yeon Choi's been highlighted because she's doing the best so far.

How many points could a player expect to make up this week? Although this is an LET major, I'm not expecting it to get the same points as an LPGA major. To get an idea of what a player could conceivably expect, I looked back a few weeks to Choi's victory at the Jamie Farr on July 4, to see how many points she picked up. (You many remember that she jumped from #11 to #8 with that win.) Choi has had a consistent 52 tournaments counted during the ranking period for the last few weeks, and her ranking average jumped .86 points with the Farr win. When it's all said and done, that works out to around 45 extra points -- roughly half what Kerr got for her major. Here are the extremes of likely points: If Nordqvist won (only 35 tournaments), she could get roughly 1.25 points; and Shin (with 60) could expect around .75 points.

As things stand, there will be some serious shake-ups in the rankings this week! Cristie Kerr will drop, perhaps several spots. Both Suzann Pettersen and Jiyai Shin, less than .5 and .75 points behind Miyazato, could conceivably jump to #1 and #2. (Because she has fewer tournaments during the ranking period -- only 44 -- Suzann has the best chance to make up ground with a good finish.) Na Yeon Choi's continued good play could leap her into the Top 5, as she's only about .5 point out and my rough figures give her .85 extra points for the win. Creamer could drop to #9, and I added #11 In-Kyung Kim because, at only .28 points behind Webb, she could knock Karrie out of the Top 10 this week.

And remember -- the last major of the year, the Women's British Open, is next week. You don't want to be dropping points this week.

So this looks to be the most interesting tournament of the week to me. Of course, the cut doesn't determine who wins the tournament -- only who doesn't. But with leader Mika Miyazato (yes, I have to say it -- no relation to Ai) leading at -9 and showing no signs of backing up, it looks like Cristie Kerr has the most to lose and Suzann Pettersen the most to gain.

8 comments:

  1. Better check your leaderboard again. Watson didn't miss the cut. He finished the second round at +3 and is currently T26, still +3 through 12.

    Not interesting ? Corey Pavin, Ian Woosnam, Calc, Larry Mize, Fred Funk...all within four shots behind Bernhard Langer at -5.

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  2. Oh - and yes - they are too young to be "legends" - that's the over 70 bracket. :-)

    Looking forward to watching the third round coverage of the Evian. Looks like Shin and Pressel will be together on Sunday with Alexis Thompson a group in front with your girl Na Yeon Choi (what a great swing).

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  3. Thanks for the update, Court. I missed seeing Watson play Friday and thought I heard them say he missed the cut. Maybe I'll get to see a little today.

    Maybe "young" was the wrong word, but it sure seems like most of the players you mentioned have had one shining moment that comes to mind when I hear their names mentioned... and then there's "Old Tom," who conjures images of several such moments. Hasn't Tom been around forever? (Jack might even say "too long"!)

    I guess I just miss the ongoing high-profile rivalries.

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  4. I don't watch the Champions Tour expecting to see great shots like the PGA Tour guys. But these older guys still have a lot of game and most have more heart than an awful lot of the PGA Tour guys. That's worth a lot...to me at least.

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  5. How about that second shot at 18 from Thompson ? Kid has a lot of game. I was impressed that she could explain how she adjusted to her swing being off (hitting a fade instead of a draw)...and not a single "like - y'know" in her interview after the round. :-)

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  6. Don't get me wrong, Court -- I do enjoy watching the Champions Tour. It's just that it isn't the most interesting tour to me this week.

    I'm not surprised at how good Lexi is or sounds. Bear in mind, she's not only a good (and experienced) player for her age, but her big brother Nicholas is playing the Tour. I suspect she's got a tremendous headstart on most of the other players.

    But the person I'm most impressed with today is Morgan Pressel. She's picked up nearly 15 yards in the last year-and-a-half. She eagled the 18th, and I don't even know if she could have reached it a year ago!

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  7. Lexi and Nicholas both use Blue Giraffe as their management company. (I think Goydos and Appleby are with them, too) One of the guys there is a friend who really enjoys working with the Thompson family. They are a sharp, level headed family with no intention of rushing Lexi or trying to force the LPGA's hand. She's going to play her 6 LPGA exemptions and pick up another 8-10 other spots on other tours around the world - but she's a high school student first.

    Ooooo - four way tie for the lead with Shin and Pressel playing 18 !

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  8. Isn't it nice to hear good stories about young players on tour?

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