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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Before We Move on to the Open Championship...

We should assess where the women stand after the U.S. Women's Open. First, we look at the new Top 10 -- beside each name is the number of tournaments included in the ranking period, the points average that determines the ranking, and the total points accumulated during the ranking period (obviously, total points divided by number of tournaments gives you the average):
  1. Cristie Kerr, 46, 10.38, 477.59
  2. Ai Miyazato, 56, 10.19, 570.39
  3. Suzann Pettersen, 44, 9.97, 438.60
  4. Jiyai Shin, 60, 9.69, 581.33
  5. Yani Tseng, 56, 8.32, 465.72
  6. Na Yeon Choi, 53, 7.69, 407.68
  7. Paula Creamer, 39, 7.68, 299.66
  8. Anna Nordqvist, 35, 7.46, 260.98
  9. Song-Hee Kim, 52, 7.06, 367.38
  10. Karrie Webb, 43, 6.88, 295.65
The extra numbers should help you understand some of the weird things that happened this week. Bear in mind that some players could have gained or lost extra points, depending on whether they lost a good or bad tournament off the "back end" of the 2-year-long ranking period.

For example, Pettersen gained nearly 1 ranking point with a T2 finish, while Shin only gained .06 points with a T5. This disparity in points is largely about how many tournaments they've played -- Pettersen has only played 44, while Shin has a whopping 60 during the ranking period. In essence, Pettersen's points were worth more -- roughly 33% more -- plus she gained over 3 times as many (44 vs 13), which allowed her to leapfrog over Shin into 3rd place.

Na Yeon Choi also gained just under a point and moved up a couple of places by virtue of her T2 finish (and an awesome -5 last round). This should give you some idea how difficult it is to move up when you play a lot of tournaments; Anna Nordqvist would have picked up over 1.25 points for the same finish.

But while Paula Creamer leaped all the way from 13 to 7 and picked up around 90 total points (92.48 points to be exact -- predictably the largest gain of the week, according to the Rolex site), she's only played 39 tournaments during the ranking period. (Only Nordqvist has fewer, and she missed the cut so she actually lost 3 points from her total.) Paula also benefits by losing a T63 finish at the 2008 P&G Beauty NW Arkansas Championship off the back end of the ranking period, which was far and away her worst finish in the last half of that year. All of this contributed to her improved average from 5.31 last week to 7.68 this week -- nearly 2.5 points.

As for the rookies... well, I don't like to say I told you so (ok -- I do like saying it!) :
  1. Azahara Munoz, 423.00
  2. Amanda Blumenherst, 242.00
  3. Gwladys Nocera, 124.00
  4. Beatriz Recari, 108.00
  5. Mariajo Uribe, 63.00
  6. Misun Cho, 44.00
  7. Marianne Skarpnord, 33.00
  8. Pernilla Lindberg, 32.00
  9. Yoo Kyeong Kim, 25.00
    Mina Harigae, 25.00
Munoz was the only rookie to make the cut, and her T19 finish got her quite a few points (64, to be exact). With only one more major (two if you count Evian) presenting an opportunity to get a lot of points, I just don't see the other rookies playing consistently enough to catch her. Blumenherst is nearly 200 points back; that's a lot of ground to make up, and I don't think she's played well enough so far this year to pull it off. Even if her game improves, she's going to need help from Munoz. (And it's not that she's had a bad rookie year; Munoz has just been that good.)

So that's where the women stand now. We'll come back to them soon enough... but this week we'll be watching the men as they mount their assault on St. Andrews.

3 comments:

  1. Keep in mind, too, that Shin has 6 wins in the Rolex points period, but 3 of them are going to drop out (from her pre-rookie season, starting with the Women's British Open) very soon. So there's quite a bit of pressure on her to start winning again on the LPGA and JLPGA (I suspect we'll see her and Ai Miyazato and the rest of the dual citizens take their show even further on the road in September, perhaps even skipping the 1 LPGA event that month)....

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  2. It was really unfortunate for Jiyai that she had that emergency appendectomy when she did. With the rankings so tight and the competition so fierce, she lost a lot more ground than she would have if it had happened in the off-season.

    But I think that could also work in her favor in August and September, since it gave the other Asian players a better chance to get points and move up in the rankings. You have to figure that her, Ai, Yani, and Na Yeon will all play the JLPGA circuit then (as you pointed out); having 4 of the Top 6 in those events will jack up the available ranking points. Cristie, Suzann, and Paula will certainly play a few of those events (I think they have to, don't you?) so, with the Top 7 in the field, those tournaments will carry as much weight as any LPGA tourney would... and I think you have to figure the Asian players will have the advantage there since it's home for them.

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  3. Hmm - the number system is ok - but I'd probably go with a more traditional pose by height...maybe by the swimming pool or on the beach... :-)

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