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Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The LPGA POY Debate

GC's Golf Central had an interesting segment Tuesday night concerning the LPGA's Player of the Year race. Karen Stupples and Randall Mell debated whether Suzann Petterson should get POY instead of Inbee Park -- a very real possibility since, unlike the PGA Tour's vote, the LPGA POY is determined by points.

Suzann and Inbee at 2013 US Women's Open

In case you don't know, here's how it works: You get 30 points for a win, 12 points for second, nine points for third, seven points for fourth, six points for fifth, five points for sixth, four points for seventh, three points for eighth, two points for ninth, and one point for tenth. If you heard the debate, Stupples made it sound as if majors count the same as regular events, but -- unless things have been changed -- they're actually worth double points. (The Tour Championship -- now called the CME Group Titleholders -- is also worth double points.)

Inbee Park has 290 points, Suzann Petterson has 252 points -- a difference of 38 points. There are two events left -- this week's Lorena Ochoa Invitational, a regular event, and next week's Titleholders. That means there are 90 points still up for grabs.

Mell argued that winning three majors in a row -- something not done since Babe Didrikson back in 1950 -- should be enough to lock POY. Stupples argued that Inbee wasn't Player of the Year but rather Player of the Half Year; Suzann had been far more consistent.

And each had a valid point.

When a player makes history, it certainly seems that should count for something. And even if Suzann wins both events -- tying her and Inbee with 6 wins apiece -- Inbee will have 3 majors versus Suzann's single major and Titleholders. Close, but you'd think Inbee had the edge.

However, Inbee has virtually vanished since her win at the US Women's Open, posting a single Top10 since then (a third in early October). Suzann posted 6 Top10s during Inbee's dominant half-year. In all, Suzann has 14 Top10s versus Inbee's 9. Suzann was clearly the most consistent over the entire year.

Stupples doesn't believe the points system should be tweaked, and even Mell conceded that it has worked almost flawlessly over the years. The big question is a simple one: Should a historical performance be a factor in choosing the POY? As it stands, the LPGA says no and I suspect many fans (like Mell) have a problem with that.

But there's another factor that neither Stupples nor Mell considered... if Suzann does manage to play well enough to grab the POY trophy, she'll likely play well enough to win the Vare Trophy (for scoring; she's a mere .05 of a stroke behind leader Stacy Lewis) as well as becoming the new Rolex #1. That was INCONCEIVABLE back in June when Inbee snagged her third major in a row!

Sounds like a historical accomplishment to me.

Perhaps the folks who designed the LPGA's point system knew something we don't...

The photo is from


  1. If Suzann can overcome her deficit and wins (which is still highly unlikely), she deserves the player of the year award. She has had 7 straight top 7 finishes. She has 11 top fives, Inbee has 8. Suzann has 17 top tens, Inbee has 9. Winning three majors is quite an accomplishment, but where has she been the 2nd part of the year?
    Stacy Lewis and Suzann will be battling for the Vare trophy and that Hall of Fame point, Inbee will be looking on. They have both had great years....I just think Suzanne has been much more consistant.

  2. Suzann's had two wins and two T3s in her last 4 tournaments. If I understood correctly, all she needs is a Top3 this week to take #1 in the Rolex Rankings... and there are two tournaments left. If her putter continues to work for her, I think she just may take POY as well.