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Sunday, November 7, 2010

Well, the Women's World Rankings Are About to Change Again

I doubt any of the fortune cookies in Japan had this message in them...

"The Rolex World Rankings are about to take a decidedly nasty turn for players who choose to skip the Mizuno Classic to get acclimated in Mexico for the Ochoa Invitational this coming week."

Ok, that would have taken a really big fortune cookie...

Anyway, here's the situation. Last week I mentioned that 6 ladies had point averages above 10. They were:
  1. Jiyai Shin, 10.89
  2. Cristie Kerr, 10.64
  3. Suzann Pettersen, 10.52
  4. Ai Miyazato, 10.50
  5. Na Yeon Choi, 10.38
  6. Yani Tseng, 10.14
You can see how close those points are. Kerr and Pettersen left Korea last week to focus on Mexico. I can't say that I blame them; if you know anything about that tournament, you know it's an extremely hilly layout. Jet lag could certainly cause more problems there than at other tournaments. The other 4 players headed to Japan for the Mizuno Classic.

Well, the worst possible scenario for Kerr and Pettersen has happened:
  • Shin won the tournament.
  • Tseng came in second.
  • Choi tied for fifth.
And things also went really bad for Miyazato, who tied for 69th. Which means that either Pettersen or Miyazato is about to drop to #6... but the change is that someone is finally about to pull away from the pack. Jiyai Shin is going to increase her lead over everybody this week, and we could be watching her start a run to be the first dominant woman player since Annika and Lorena.

But it gets even more interesting. As you know, the women don't get voted into the World Golf Hall of Fame; they have to earn their way in. They do this by getting points for wins and awards.

The award races just went crazy! These 6 ladies lead the money list and the Player of the Year races (Song-Hee Kim managed to slip into the Scoring Average race, so that's a Top 7 race), and those races are razor close.

I believe the term to describe what just happened to Kerr, Pettersen, and Miyazato is "submarined." Unless they play really well next week and in the LPGA Tour Championship next month, Shin could very well pull off a coup. She was in 5th place in both the Scoring Average (the Vare Trophy) and Rolex Player of the Year races when the week started... I suspect she'll be in 2nd in both races now. (Tseng leads the POY and Choi leads the Scoring race.)

Like I said, we could be seeing the start of Jiyai Shin's run as the next dominant woman player. She isn't playing in the Ochoa Invitational but the other five are, so we'll have to see how they respond. But unless they do something impressive, and if Jiyai plays well in the Tour Championship...

The message in my fortune cookie was written in Korean.

11 comments:

  1. Isn't the LPGA boring? I mean there is no player winning every week by 5-10 shots and leading the money list by 50-100% more money than the closest trailing player. Somebody shoot write another column about it!

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  2. Somehow I doubt that Pettersen or Kerr or Miyazato will get their panties in a bunch over a one week swing when they either weren't playing or weren't playing well.

    Kerr and Pettersen will be chomping at the bit with a week of rest and a lot fewer miles under their belt to recover from.

    Miyazato may have her knee socks in a twist, however, for her performance and be determined to get things back together in Mexico.

    It's all in how you look at it - but one week isn't going to ruin anybody's disposition.

    TFM - what tour is it that has someone winning by 5-10 shots every week, or leading the money list by 50-100% over the closest trailing player ?

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  3. Court, it isn't the world rankings that I think will bother them, but having only two weeks left to lock down the Vare Trophy or POY. I double-checked the standings tonight:

    In the Scoring race:
    -- Na Yeon Choi, 69.82
    -- Cristie Kerr, 69.94
    -- Jiyai Shin, 69.95
    -- Suzann Pettersen, 70.05
    -- Song-Hee Kim, 70.10

    Unless Cristie and Suzann play really well and both Choi and Shin stumble, they're going to have trouble getting that point.

    To give you an idea of what kind of jump you can make, Shin jumped from 70.16 to 69.95 -- a .21 gain -- by shooting -18 in three rounds. We're talking some seriously low scores to make a run at Choi.

    POY is much tighter. It looks like this:
    -- Yani Tseng, 188.00
    -- Ai Miyazato, 174.00
    -- Jiyai Shin, 170.00
    -- Na Yeon Choi, 170.00
    -- Cristie Kerr, 166.00

    Both Kerr and Miyazato are in trouble here.
    All three of those players put themselves in position, with Tseng increasing her lead.

    Barring two wins, Pettersen has pretty much become a long shot in both races.

    If one player could manage to snag both points, that's like adding a major to your point total. Yeah, I think this will "get their panties in a bunch." (Man, that sounds unpleasant!)

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  4. Talk about bait and switch ! GEEZ ! (lol) Start off with the rankings, then switch gears to the Vare and PoY ?

    It's going to take some spectacular golf to affect the Vare outside the top three. PoY will be fun to watch.

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  5. In my defense, nearly half of the original post was about the points races. ;-)

    My point was that I think Jiyai Shin may be about to become the next dominant female golfer, and the rankings and points races are just indicative of that. Given how much pain she must have had coming back from that appendectomy, I think "Final Round Queen" is an understatement. I'd call her the "Iron Maiden."

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  6. "Iron Maiden" eh...

    Given her active interest and participation in Christian music and her other nickname of "Chalk Line", might "Stryper" be more appropriate?

    Just kidding

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  7. Well, she does stripe it quite frequently... however, I just can't see her in yellow and black spandex. ;-)

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  8. I concur. Forgot about the black and yellow spandex till I googled it. While her off-season fitness program this year was very successful in giving her a much stronger finish to this season as compared to last year, it hasn't put her in the "people who can pull off spandex in public" set.

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  9. To be honest, I'm not sure anybody can pull off black and yellow spandex in public... not even Stryper ;-)

    Besides, while I'm all for women getting in shape, I don't think being able to wear spandex should be considered part of "being fit." There isn't just one look to being healthy, and I'm sure you'd agree.

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  10. Agreed. While I was the oldest person in my unit and had the largest body mass, After giving them a sizable lead the first mile or so I left them in the dust in the Camp Victory half-marathon in Iraq. They kept waiting for me to fade. Never happened. Still had to fight the battle of the tape-test every six months.

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