First, let's congratulate the winner of the last event of the season -- Charley Hull, who finally broke through to get her first LPGA victory. The Tour Championship is always a nice "first" to have. But I do think she deserves a bigger trophy for winning. After all, it's the Tour Championship!
The other winners were:
- Ariya Jutanugarn, who won the Race to the CME Globe, the money title AND the Rolex Player of the Year
- In Gee Chun, who won the Vare Trophy and the Rolex Rookie of the Year (she locked that one up six weeks back)
So Yeon Ryu feels exactly the opposite after all her swing tweaks and practice have started paying off. She might have even taken Charley to the wire if it hadn't been for that horrible break on the 17th, where her ball settled at the base of a new sidewall in the bunker instead of bouncing away. But she's in a good frame of mind so she could be one of the players to come out hot in 2017.
However, picking the hot players starting next season may not be as easy as some think. Ariya won her first five LPGA events this year... but Lydia won four and it didn't help her at the end.
Brooke Henderson told LPGA.com (same article as Lydia, above) that her sister was going to stay on her bag for another year. But we all know she's probably going to trim back her schedule next year, given that she seemed to run out of gas over the last few months... and yet that's no guarantee that she'll play better as the year wears on.
You could safely bet that the "cream" of the Tour -- players like Shanshan Feng, HaNa Jang, Haru Nomura, Sei Young Kim, Lexi Thompson and all the others who didn't grab the limelight this past week -- will have their games ready when the Tour restarts in January, as will the usual suspects like Lydia, Ariya, In Gee, Brooke and the rest. But consider how dramatically things changed on the PGA Tour from January till now, with only Jason Day holding serve at #1 in the OWGR. The other positions have changed in a big way.
The only thing certain in life is change. Make ten predictions now, you'll probably get at least one or two correct... if you're lucky. Players who seemed "washed up" this year may re-emerge next year, and this year's "Hot List" may cool off considerably. I bet we'll see some names step up next year that we either haven't heard from before or just haven't heard from in a while.
But I am willing to bet that Lydia won't come up empty next year. I suspect that's the safest bet of all.