Monday, January 16, 2017

My Top 40 Player of the Year Predictions for 2017

We are just about a week away from the beginning of the 2017 season.

With 35 tournaments on the schedule (including the Solheim Cup), this year promises to to be one of the most exciting ever.

With the LPGA getting more and more talented each and every year, it is very difficult to narrow this down to just 40 players.

I  am going strictly by where I think they will finish on the 2017 money list.

Here are by top 40 picks for the 2017 season: (last year's actual money list finish is in parenthesis)

1- Ariya Jutanugarn (1) - Some people I have spoken to think that 2016 was a fluke. I don't. Her earlier struggles were mostly the result of a very erratic driver, which she hardly even takes out of the bag anymore. She outdrives almost everyone on tour using her 3-wood or a 2-iron. How is that for a big advantage over her competition? Her new swing coach, Gary Gilchrist, seems to have made all the difference in the world, and has brought her a newly found confidence. I don't only think she will be as good as 2016, I think she will be better.

2- Lydia Ko (2) - Lydia struggled a bit in the second half of the season. Though her "struggle" would be most golfers' paradise. Lydia is a great player. No questioning that! One of the greatest women golfers ever, and she doesn't turn 20 until April. That said, I think that if both her and Ariya are playing at the top of their games, Ariya is the more dominant player. Watching these two go head to head in 2017, is worth the admission to any tournament.


3- In Gee Chun (4) - We have a bit of a gap here between numbers 2 and 3. In my opionion, any of the next 5 or 6 players can grab this position. I am going to give the edge to In Gee because she missed a number of tournaments last year (due to a flying suitcase) and still finished #4 on the year's money list.

4- Sung Hyun Park (Rookie) - The first of four rookies that made my list this year. She has made 8 starts on the LPGA tour as a non member, and has four top five finishes, five top tens, and seven top twenties. She won seven times on the KLPGA tour in 2016. She can start to prepare her acceptance speech for the Rolex Rookie of the Year award. Only question is, is she good enough to challenge the top two?

Image result for Sung Hyun Park
They can start engraving Sung Hyun Park's name on the 2017  Louise Suggs Rookie of the Year trophy now.

5- Brooke Henderson (3) - Expect Brooke to be right there in the mix battling for that #3 spot that she finished in last year. She just recently turned 19 years of age, and has already won 3 times (including a major championship). I would like to see her rest a bit more in the first part of the season, as she seemed tired down the home stretch last year.

6- Shanshan Feng (5) - This one is easy. Just plug her into this spot every year and you can never go wrong.

7- Ha Na Jang (8) - Like I said earlier, any one of my top 8 or 9 players can finish as high as the #3 spot. They are all very close in talent and it might take a lucky bounce or an injury to separate them. Only question here is can she win her first major championship?

8- Lexi Thompson (18) - Nagging injuries caused her to play in only 19 of 33 tournaments in 2016. If healthy (and all indications are she is) she can finish in this area even with her continued horrific putting. If she can improve and become just an average putter, she will finish much higher than this. She is still just 21 years old, and her win last year was her seventh on the LPGA tour.

Image result for lexi thompson
In spite of putting problems throughout her career, Lexi has 7 LPGA wins and still is only 21 years old.

9- Sei Young Kim (6) - The fact that I think that Sei Young will have as good a year as 2016 (if not better) and I am dropping her 3 spots, is an indication of just how many great players there are on the LPGA tour. She is the last of the players that I feel can finish as high as #3.

10- Carlota Ciganda (14) - For a number of years people have been saying "Carlota is the best of the girls from Spain on the LPGA tour." She has finally lived up to those expectations, by winning two of the last 5 LPGA tournaments on the 2016 schedule. I will have to see her do it again, before I can rank her in what I consider "the big nine."

11- Charley Hull (15) - If everyone played the game of golf as rapidly as Charley, we would have 3 hour rounds instead of  5 hour marathons. She is one of a kind. She goes about her business as if she does not have a care in the world. Never seems to really feel any pressure. At 20 years old, she won her first LPGA tournament at the CME Tour Championship last season. Takes too many weeks off to rank her much higher than this, as she needs time to "party with her mates." If she ever made golf her top priority, she would be amongst the elite players on the LPGA tour!

Image result for charley hull wins cme
Chances are Charley Hull was on the green with putter in hand before those glasses hit the ground.

12- Stacey Lewis (16) - The former #1 player in the world has been going downhill for two years now. No real reason to think that trend won't continue, except for a gut feeling that she will win again.

13- Minjee Lee (12) - At the age of 20, Minjee has already developed into one of the most consistent players on tour. A two time winner in 2016, it will be interesting if she can break out of the pack of very good players and get to the next level which I call the "elite." Don't bet against her doing it soon.

14- Amy Yang (13) - Can someone who plays the game of golf as well as Amy does, still be called an underachiever? I can't help but think so. At age 27, she is no longer considered young by current LPGA standards. She will be entering her 10th year on the LPGA tour, but in spite of 51 top ten finishes, she has just 2 wins.

15- Haru Nomura (11) - If it wasn't for Ariya Jutanugarn, we would be talking about this young lady as the surprise player of 2016. She finished #66 on the money list in 2015, and improved to #11 this past year. She picked up her first two victories on the LPGA tour early in the year, and faded some in the second half of the season. I expect another solid year, but no higher than this position.

16- So Yeon Ryu (10) - Is there a nicer LPGA player on tour? Is there a more consistent LPGA player on tour? IMO the answer to both those questions is no. Unfortunately, I also have to ask if there is another player on tour that has as much trouble as she does finishing on Sundays. Sixty-three seems to be her number. She is a model of consistency as attested by her current streak of 63 consecutive cuts made. In her 5 years on tour she has 63 top ten finishes, but only 3 wins (I was fortunate enough to be at all three). She hasn't won in almost 3 years, and needs to break that spell before more players on this list pass her by.

So Yeon Ryu speaks to the media at the International Crown.

17- Anna Nordqvist (7) - She will not three-peat at the ShopRite Classic this year.

18- Brittany Lang - (9) - She will not win that huge U.S. Open check again this year.

19- Suzann Pettersen (22) - She will be turning 36 soon, and has struggled with back problems for a number of years now. There is no reason to believe that she will reverse her downward spiral, but don't tell her that.

20- Jessica Korda (24) - Jessica, Jessica, Jessica, the U.S. players need to win more, and you are one of those players that must step up and get us some. You know how to win, you have done it 4 times. You are still only 23. I can only hope that your sister being on tour with you this year will bring you greater motivation.

21- Mirim Lee (17) - Won twice in 2014 (her rookie season), but hasn't won since.

22- Hyo Joo Kim (20) - She definitely took a few steps backward in 2016, when comparing it to her wonderful rookie season the year before. This tour is now loaded with so much talent that if you don't play well week in and week out, you will fall out of the top 20 very quickly.

23- Gerina Piller - (19) - Gerina, Gerina Gerina, the U.S. players need to win more and you are one........  Can we count on you for just one win in 2017?

24- Alison Lee - (38) - Ali, Ali, Ali, the U.S. players need to win more.........................
I believe you are the real deal and are expecting big things from you this year.

Image result for alison lee
We are all hoping Alison Lee will bring a smile to all our faces this year with her first victory.

25- Pornanong Phatlum (30) - She no longer has the pressure on her to become the first player from Thailand to win on the LPGA tour. If she becomes the second player, she will finish higher than where I am placing her.

26- I.K. Kim (29) - I.K. disappears for too many stretches during the LPGA season. I don't mean her game disappears, I mean she disappears. Her game, when she shows up, is still solid. But how can I rank her higher than this when she plays in just 50% of the tournaments she qualifies for?

27- Madelene Sagstrom (Rookie) - Broke every conceivable record on the Symetra tour last year. She also won Q-School in Europe (so she qualifies for the L.E.T also). Played two tournaments on the LPGA tour last season (The U.S. Open, and the Canadian Open), and made the cut easily in both.
Experts that I have talked to swear that she is the real deal. We will find out soon enough. Extremely approachable, look for her to become a fan favorite.

Image result for madelene sagstrom
Look for Madelene Sagstrom to make an impact on the LPGA in her rookie season.

28- Candie Kung (35) - Like a fine wine, Candie seems to get better with age. She will turn 36 during the upcoming season, but shows no signs of slowing down.

29- Jodi Ewart Shadoff (32) - Possessing one of the most beautiful swings on the LPGA tour, Jodi finally lived up to many of our expectations in 2016. After finishing 98th on the money list in 2015, she improved to #32 last year. I look for continued improvement in the coming year.

30- M.J. Hur (21) - She seems to follow the same pattern every year. Sleepwalk through the first 25 tournaments of the year, and then turn it on when the tour moves to Asia. Can't rely on that working every year.

31- Mel Reid (Rookie) - Like Sung Hyun Park, she is a rookie in name only. At 30 years old she is a very experienced player who has 5 wins and 49 top tens on the L.E.T.

32- Mo Martin (23) - I leave her off this list every year, and she makes me look foolish. I don't know how she does it. Every time you see her she is taking her approach shot 35 yards behind everyone else. She has made a believer out of me.

33- Jenny Shin (27) - Jenny broke through for her first LPGA win in 2016. She will have to win again or fall back a few spots.

34- Beth Allen (N/A) - She is not a rookie as she played on the LPGA tour way back in 2006. I don't know that much about her, though she did win the Order of Merit (#1 on the money list) on the L.E.T. tour last year. She has 3 wins and 36 top tens on that tour. Success on the L.E.T. doesn't always translate into similar numbers on the LPGA tour (in fact it seldom does).

35- Karine Icher (28) - Had a career year in 2016. I expect she will fall back some.

36- Chella Choi (31) - Had a very quiet year in 2016. Like I said before, if you are not consistent throughout the entire year, you will fall down this chart very quickly. This tour is just that good.

37- Danielle Kang (36) -  We saw flashes last year of the player that won back to back amateur championships a few years back. But not enough flashes.

38- Su Oh (50) - She has played well in stretches. Those stretches will have to be longer to make this pick look good.

39- Kim Kaufman (53) - She works too hard not to make this list soon. Don't bet against it being this year.

Image result for kim kaufman
It's time for Kim Kaufman to step up onto this list.


40- Nasa Hatoaka (Rookie) - My fourth and final rookie on this list. This is a longshot pick, but if some of the things I have read about this teenage sensation is true, she could finish higher on this list.

Player most likely to make me look foolish for leaving her off this list:
Mi Hyang Lee.


This Week's Trivia Question:

What player will be starting the 2017 season with a streak of seven consecutive top ten finishes. 


For the the answer to this week's trivia question press here.


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Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Ten Question for the 2017 Season

As we approach the beginning of the 2017 LPGA season, there are a number of questions that I am looking forward to getting the answers to. In reverse order, here are my top ten:

10- Can veteran USA players Michelle Wie, Paula Creamer, Brittany Lincicome, and Morgan Pressel bounce back from very disappointing 2016 seasons?

9- Can Nelly Korda join her sister and become a major player on the LPGA tour?
Image result for nelly and jessica korda
Nelly (L) and Jessica (R) Korda
8- Will Gerina Piller (who has 31 career top ten finishes), finally break through for her first LPGA victory?

7- Was Na Yeon Choi's disastrous second half of the season the beginning of the end for her, or does she still have some good golf left?

6- Is Nasa Hatoaka, the 17 year old  sensation from Japan (she will be 18 in 2 days) who was the first amateur to win a major championship on the JLPGA tour, the next Lydia Ko?

Image result for nasa hataoka
Nasa Hatoaka

5- Now that Lydia Ko is hearing footsteps from Ariya Jutanugarn, will she be able to maintain her #1 spot in the Rolex Rankings throughout the year?

4- Have we seen the last of Inbee Park? If not, will she resemble the great player we have watched for so many years?

3- Can anyone challenge Sung Hyun Park for the Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year award?

Image result for sung hyun park
Sung Hyun Park

2- Can the USA retain the Solheim Cup that they won with a record breaking comeback in 2015, and continue to have both the Solheim and International Crown trophies in their possession?

1- Can Ariya Jutanugarn duplicate or better her 2016 season in which she won 5 times, won her first major championship, won the 1 million dollar CME bonus, won the player of the year award, and won more money than anyone else on tour?

Feel free to answer the above questions or add some of your own.


This week's Trivia question (for those who haven't  already answered it earlier in the week):

What LPGA player from England missed the cut in her first tournament of 2016, and then did not miss another all year (making her last 25).

A- Jodi Ewart Shadoff
B- Charley Hull
C- Holly Clyburn


For the answer to this week's trivia question press here.

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Sunday, January 8, 2017

Most Popular Photos of the Year - 2016



As many of my readers know, my wife and I go to quite a few LPGA tournaments each year. Since 2010 we have gone to over 45 events, including two in Scotland (St. Andrews being our favorite), and the last 7 Canadian Opens.

I do all the writing on here (my wife who is a teacher, is my proofreader), while my wife Cindy does most of the picture taking. Neither of us are professional photographers, but once in a while we get lucky and capture a moment that is very popular with my viewers.

Below I have reposted the most popular pictures of 2016. I based this on the number of website hits, and the number of comments each photo received. Some came as quite a surprise to me, as when they were taken I was not expecting such a reaction.

#18
Haru Nomura (Calgary)

#17
Azahara Munoz at the Canadian Open (Calgary)

#16
Brooke Henderson spoke to a packed media center in Calgary

#15
Madelene Sagstrom will be a rookie in 2017, but she is already very popular with both the fans and the press (Calgary)

#14
Maude Aimee Leblanc (U.S. Open)

#13
Azahara Munoz (l) Carlota Ciganda (r)  (U.S Open)

#12
In Gee Chun (Maybe this made the list because I pressed it so many times) at U.S. Open


#11
Mi Hyang Lee (ShopRite)

#10
Kim Kaufman was feeling the heat (U.S. Open)

#9
Danielle Kang (Calgary)

#8
Was Ha Na Jang doing a line dance? (Calgary)

#7
Mariajo Uribe (ShopRite)

#6
Hee Young Park (Calgary)

#5
Minjee Lee (Calgary)
#4
Jaye Marie Green (ShopRite)

#3
Brooke Henderson (Calgary)

#2
Belen Mozo (ShopRite)

The 2015 champion (Muni He) was unable to defend her title in 2016. We have a new champion. The following photo(s) were by far the most popular photos of 2016. Because of their popularity I will post them all again.

#1
In Gee Chun Charmed us all at the U.S. Women's Open............



Then she did it again at the International Crown



This weeks trivia question:

What LPGA player from England missed the cut in her first tournament of 2016, and then did not miss another all year (making her last 25).

A- Jodi Ewart Shadoff
B- Charley Hull
C- Holly Clyburn

For the answer to this week's trivia question press here.





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Friday, December 30, 2016

Rolex Rankings Movers of the Year 2016 - Final

As we wait for the 2017 season to begin, it gives me time to look back at the players that made the biggest moves in the Rolex Rankings in 2016.

The Rolex Rankings system awards points to players based on an accumulated 104-week "rolling" period, with the points awarded in the most recent 13-week period carrying a stronger value. A player is then ranked according to her average points per tournament, as determined by dividing her total number of points by the number of eligible tournaments played during the 104-week period. A minimum divisor (35) is also used. 

 I have gone back to the first Rolex Rankings of the year and compared them to the current rankings. The only requirements for my list is: (1) A player must have been ranked in the top 100 at the start of the year, or be in the top 100 now. (2) A player must have started the year 2016 with a minimum rating of 0.50 (or else this chart would be filled with unknown names.)


Image result for ariya jutanugarn
Ariya Jutanugarn was the biggest mover in the Rolex Rankings in 2016.


The Year's Biggest Gainers:

1- Ariya Jutanugarn - 1.83 to 7.90 = Gain of 6.07 (moved from #63 to #2)
2- Sung Hyun Park - 2.92 to 5.67 = Gain of 2.75 (move 27-10)
3- In Gee Chun - 5.23 to 7.34 = Gain of 2.11 (move 10-3)
4- Harukya Nomura - 1.46 to 3.46 = Gain of 2.00 (move 79-21)
5- Charley Hull - 2.21 to 4.20 = Gain of 1.99 (move 41-16)
6- Brooke Henderson - 4.03 to 5.93 = Gain of 1.90 (move 17-8)
7- Carlota Ciganda - 2.00 to 3.59 = Gain of 1.59 (move 51-20)
8- Ha Na Jang - 4.50 to 6.01 = Gain of 1.51 (move 13-7)
9- Jodi Ewart Shadoff - 0.53 to 1.83 = Gain of 1.30 (move 206-59)
10- Ritsuki Ryu - 1.09 to 2.35 = Gain of 1.26 (move 106-38)
11- Mi Jung Hur - 1.27 to 2.47 = Gain of 1.20 (move 91-35)
12- Brittany Lang - 2.18 to 3.34 = Gain of 1.16 (move 44-22)
13- Shanshan Feng - 5.89 to 7.03 = Gain of 1.14 (move 6-4)
14- Seung Hyun Lee - 0.95 to 2.05 = Gain of 1.10 (move 128-49)
15- Su Oh - 0.52 to 1.56 = Gain of 1.04 (move 209-70)
16- Ha Neul Kim - 1.46 to 2.43 = Gain of 0.97 (move 78-36)
17- Gerina Piller - 2.80 to 3.75 = Gain of 0.95 (move 28-19)
18- Jeongmin Cho - 0.68 to 1.54 = Gain of 0.86 (move 167-73)
19- Jiyai Shin - 2.56 to 3.33 = Gain of 0.77 (move 33-23)
20- I.K. Kim - 2.10 to 2.86 = Gain of 0.76 (move 46-28)
20- Beth Allen - 1.05 to 1.81 = Gain of 0.76 (move 111-60)

Image result for Inbee Park
It was a see-saw injury plagued year for Inbee Park. She won Olympic gold, but took the biggest tumble in the Rolex Rankings.

The Year's Biggest Decliner

1- Inbee Park - 11.34 to 5.52 = Loss of 5.82 (moved from #2 to #11)
2- Stacy Lewis - 7.88 to 4.69 = Loss of 3.19 (move 3-13)
3- Cristie Kerr - 5.05 to 2.84 = Loss of 2.21 (move 11-30)
4- Michelle Wie - 2.79 to 0.69 = Loss of 2.10 (move 29-173)
5- Hyo Joo Kim - 5.24 to 3.24 = Loss of 2.00 (move 9-25)
6- Brittany Lincicome - 4.13 to 2.15 = Loss of 1.98 (move 16-43)
7- Na Yeon Choi - 3.72 to 2.00 = Loss of 1.72 (move 19-54)
8- Jung Min Lee - 2.68 to 1.21 = Loss of 1.47 (move 32-95)
9- Julieta Granada - 1.88 to 0.43 = Loss of 1.45 (move 59-247)
10- Q-Baek - 1.98 to 0.70 = Loss of 1.28 (move 53-170)
11- Ilhee Lee - 2.26 to 0.99 = Loss 1.27 (move 39-117)
12- Yani Tseng - 2.34 to 1.10 = Loss of 1.24 (move 37-102)
13- Morgan Pressel - 3.14 to 1.95 = Loss of 1.19 (move 24-55)
14- Suzann Pettersen - 4.86 to 3.89 = Loss of 0.97 (move 12-18)
15- Karrie Webb - 2.71 to 1.77 = Loss of  0.94 (move 31-63)
16- Mika Miyazato - 2.34 to 1.46 = Loss of 0.88 (move 38-79)
17- Momoko Ueda - 1.94 to 1.07 = Loss of 0.87 (move 55-109)
18- Teresa Lu - 3.70 to 2.88 = Loss of 0.82 (move 20-27)
19- Sakura Yokomine - 1.78 to 0.98 = Loss of 0.80 (move 65-118)
20- Gwladys Nocera - 1.42 to 0.65 = Loss of 0.77 (move 80-187)

There you have it. The biggest gainers and decliners of 2016. Who do you think will rebound in 2017? Who will be the next Ariya Jutanugarn and completely surprise us all?

I will be back soon with the most popular photos of 2016.

This Week's Trivia Question:

What LPGA player will be starting the 2017 season with a streak of 63 consecutive cuts made?

For the Answer to this week's trivia question press here.



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Monday, December 26, 2016

Top LPGA Highlights of 2016 Season


As we wait for the start of the 2017 season, which is only three weeks away, I would like to look back at what I consider to be the top stories of 2016.

It was a very interesting and exciting past year. There were multiple teenage winners, exciting playoffs, miraculous comebacks, engagements, marriages, and a number of first time winners.

I have narrowed it down to ten, although I know there were many more. This list is very subjective, depending on who your favorite golfers are. A top story for me may be one that someone else might want to forget.

So in reverse order, here we go:

10- Inbee Park's Induction into Hall of Fame.
In a way it was anti-climatic since she had the 27 points needed for induction for quite some time now. But the LPGA rules state that you have to be on tour for ten years. I think it is a terrible rule as it prevents players like Lorena Ochoa, who has the points but not the time, from being inducted. Why punish her for doing it in a shorter span? Isn't that even more impressive? Okay, that's a topic for another time. Getting back to Inbee, what is so impressive about her (aside from the obvious) is what an impressive speaker she has become. Every sentence is so well thought out and she has become one of the best interviews on tour.

9- Five First Time Winners.
I am such a sucker for first time winners. I could be rooting for another player other than that first time winner, but when that last putt drops you completely forget that it didn't go your way, and it gets very emotional. We certainly had plenty of that this year with Ha Na Jang, Jenny Shin, Ariya Jutanugarn, Carlota Ciganda, and Charley Hull, all winning for the first time.

8- In Gee Chun Wins Evian Championship.
I am not a big fan of this tournament being a major championship. I think that there are other events that deserve it more, like the Canadian Open whose names I won't mention. That said, it is a major and I will have to treat it as such. We all know that In Gee won the U.S. Open as a non LPGA member. I have always felt that it is that second major championship win that validates the first one. In Gee certainly did that by winning this one by four strokes.

7- Brittany Lang Wins The U.S. Open.
Since this is my very favorite tournament of the year, it is always going to be on this list no matter who the winner. The fact that it was won by Brittany, one of the most approachable players on tour, just made it that much more satisfying. The controversial ending (Anna Nordqvist receiving a two stroke penalty), doesn't change the fact of how well Brittany played.

6- The CME Group Tour Championship.
How can you possibly plan for anything to be this exciting? If this was a boxing match, I would have said it was fixed. I know that the way they reset the points before the beginning of this event, that the race for the 1 million dollars is going to go down to the very end. That didn't surprise me. But how after thousands of strokes, does the Vare Trophy go down to the very last putt on the very last hole? This was golf at its best. You could not have scripted this.

5- Se Ri Pak Retires.
Stating what Se Ri Pak meant to the people of her country, and how she changed the face of the LPGA, would only be repetitive. Seeing players of every age (even retired ones) and from every country, line up on the 18th green at the Hana Bank Championship, is something we will not forget for a very long time.

Image result for Se Ri Pak retires
I am sure that Se Ri Pak's retiremnet will be on the top of many 2016 lists.

4- Golf Returns to the 2016 Olympics.
I was a bit nervous before this one played out. As it turned out I had nothing to worry about. It was a very big success. Inbee Park. Lydia Ko and Shanshan Feng all won medals. Stacy Lewis missed by one stroke, Brooke Henderson and Minjee Lee by two. It was exciting to watch. While golf's future in the Olympics is still uncertain, we have Tokyo to look forward to in 2020.

3- Brooke Henderson Wins KPMG Women's PGA Championship.
It will be remembered for a long time as the showdown at Sahalle. After being tied at the end of regulation, Brooke and Lydia Ko went into a playoff. Brooke made what was in my opinion the shot of the year (considering the circumstances). She left her approach shot to the 18th green (the first playoff hole) just 28 inches from the cup. When she made the putt, she had her first major championship (Kudos to Lydia for being the first player to run up and congratulate her).

Image result for brooke henderson wins kpmg
Brooke Henderson Wins Her First Major Championship.

2- The United States Wins the International Crown. 
Lets face it, it was a lousy year in 2016 for American players. Maybe that is part of the reason that I rate this so high (Spain's win in 2014 was #8 on my list). The fact that this is not an official tournament (neither was the Olympics), doesn't make it any less exciting. I was there, It was highly competetitive, the players were really into it, the team press conferences were classic. Team USA played great golf.

1- Ariya Jutanugarn's Month of May.
We have not seen anything like this in quite some time. It is quite fitting that her nickname is May, since she won three times in that month. It was a dominant display of golf where she certainly put her name in the conversation of who is the tour's best player. She went on to win 2 more times, including her first major championship at the Ricoh British Open. She would also win the Player of the Year award, the 1 million dollar CME bonus, and finish on top of the year's money list.

Image result for ariya jutanugarn
Ariya Jutanugarn dominated the LPGA tour in 2016 with her 5 victories.


Please feel free to add your own favorite moments in the comments section. I would like to hear your opinions.

This Week's Trivia Question:

The LPGA released its Priority List for the 2017 season this past week. Who is the highest ranked player on that list, that has never won an LPGA tournament?

For the answer to this week's trivia question press here.

I want to thank all my readers for making 2016 a record breaking year. The LPGA has been gaining fans, and this blog has shown a 15% increase over last year.

I want to wish everyone a very Happy Holiday Season, and a let's make 2017 the greatest year ever!

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Wednesday, December 21, 2016

LPGA 2017 Priority List

I have been asked many times how the LPGA constructs their field lists for tournaments.

Below is the 2017 priority list taken directly from the LPGA website:

The following priority with regards to a Member’s playing status will be used for Standard Tournament fields and other tournaments as applicable:

      1. Top 80: Members in the top 80 on the previous year’s season-ending Money List. Priority is based on the order of the list.

Ties will be broken by the Members’ positions on the Career Money List as of the end of the previous year.

1. Ariya Jutanugarn     
2. Lydia Ko 
3. Brooke M. Henderson
4. In Gee Chun
5. Shanshan Feng
6. Sei Young Kim
7. Anna Nordqvist 
8. Ha Na Jang
9. Brittany Lang 
10. So Yeon Ryu 
11. Haru Nomura    
12. Minjee Lee
13. Amy Yang 
14. Carlota Ciganda 
15. Charley Hull
16. Stacy Lewis
17. Mirim Lee 
18. Lexi Thompson
19. Gerina Piller
20. Hyo Joo Kim 
21. Mi Jung Hur 
22. Suzann Pettersen 
23. Mo Martin 
24. Jessica Korda 
25. Candie Kung 
26. Caroline Masson 
27. Jenny Shin 
28. Karine Icher 
29. In-Kyung Kim 
30. Pornanong Phatlum 
31. Chella Choi 
32. Jodi Ewart Shadoff 
33. Eun-Hee Ji 
34. Hee Young Park 
35. Lee-Anne Pace
36. Danielle Kang 
37. Angela Stanford 
38. Alison Lee 
39. Cristie Kerr 
40. Moriya Jutanugarn 
41. Alena Sharp 
42. Mi Hyang Lee 
43. Azahara Munoz 
44. Catriona Matthew 
45. Christina Kim
46. Jennifer Song 
47. Brittany Lincicome 
48. Morgan Pressel 
49. Beatriz Recari 
50. Su Oh 
51. Austin Ernst 
52. Karrie Webb 
53. Kim Kaufman 
54. Ryann O’Toole 
55. Na Yeon Choi 
56. Sarah Jane Smith 
57. Megan Khang 
58. Lizette Salas 
59. Pernilla Lindberg 
60. Gaby Lopez 
61. Xi Yu Lin
62. Sandra Gal 
63. Mariajo Uribe 
64. Nicole Castrale **
65. Jacqui Concolino 
66. Marina Alex 
67. Paula Creamer 
68. Ai Miyazato 
69. Mika Miyazato 
70. Inbee Park 
71. Kris Tamulis 
72. Sakura Yokomine 
73. Jing Yan 
74. Katie Burnett 
75. Paula Reto 
76. Kelly Shon 
77. Lee Lopez 
78. Nontaya Srisawang 
79. Ayako Uehara 
80. Simin Feng
81. Sydnee Michaels

          ** Medical


      2. Career Top 20: Members in the top 20 on the Career Money List as of the end of the last Official Tournament of the previous year. Priority is based on the order of the list. To be included in this category (a) the Member must notify the LPGA that she wants to be included in the Career Top 20 Category by December 15 of the previous year, (b) if a Member elects to be included in the Career Top 20 Category, she will be in this Category for one year, (c) a Member may be included in this category only two times in her career, and (d) a Member may only be in the Career Top 20 Category or the Career Top 40 Category (but not both) in her career.

82. Yani Tseng 

     3. Major Winner: Members who have won an LPGA Major Championship while a Member during the previous five (5) calendar years or during the current year. Priority is based on the number of such wins during the previous five (5) years. Ties are broken by the Members’ positions on the Career Money List as of the end of the previous year. 

83. Michelle Wie 

    4. Winner: Members who have won an Official Tournament while a Member within the last two (2) calendar years or during the current year. Priority is based on the number of Official Tournament wins during the previous two (2) years. Ties are broken by the Members’ positions on the Career Money List as of the end of the previous year. 

    5. Multiple Wins: Members who have won at least two (2) Official Tournaments while a Member in the same calendar year in any of the previous three (3) calendar years. Priority is based on the number of wins during all of the previous three years. Ties are broken by the Members’ positions on the Career Money List as of the end of the previous year.

    6. Three Wins in the Same Season: Members who have won three (3) or more Official Tournaments while a Member during the same calendar year in any of the previous four (4) years. Priority is based on the number of wins during all of the previous four (4) years. Ties are broken by the Members’ positions on the Career Money List as of the end of the previous year. 

    7. Non-Member Win: Players who have won at least one (1) Official Tournament as a Non-member within the previous calendar year or during the current calendar year. Priority is based on the earliest date of such wins. A Player must be eligible for and accept LPGA membership to be included in this category. 

    8. Current Year Top-80: Members in the Top-80 of the current year’s Money List after the Volunteers of America Texas Shootout Presented by JTBC with priority based on the order of the list. For the remaining Official Tournaments of the year, Members in the Top-80 on the current year’s Money List after Walmart NW Arkansas Championship Presented by P&G. Priority is based on the order of the list. Ties are broken by the Members’ positions on the 2016 Priority List as of the commitment deadline for each respective reshuffle tournament.

    9. Top 10 LPGA Symetra Tour: Top 10 on the previous year’s season-ending Symetra Tour Money List. Priority is based on their position on the list.  

84. Madelene Sagstrom 
85. Ally McDonald 
86. Jackie Stoelting 
87. Wichanee Meechai 
88. Laura Gonzalez Escallon 
89. Sherman Santiwiwatthanaphong 
90. Dana Finkelstein 
91. Marissa Steen 
92. Nelly Korda 
93. Peiyun Chien

    10. Non-Member Top 40: Non-Members who, as of the conclusion of the last Official Tournament of the previous year, won an amount of money during such year in Official Tournaments with a cut, that is equal to or greater than the amount of official money won by the Member who was in 40th place on the Money List at that time. Priority based on the amount of money won in such tournaments. Ties will be broken by the earliest time at which the Non-Member achieved the amount of money necessary to be included in the category. A player must be eligible for and accept LPGA membership to be included in this category.

94. Sung Hyun Park

    11. Nos. 81-100: Members finishing Nos. 81-100 on the previous year’s season-ending Money List. Priority is based on the order of the list. Ties will be broken by the Members’ positions on the Career Money List as of the end of the previous year.

95. Maude-Aimee Leblanc 
96. Annie Park 
97. Tiffany Joh 
98. Jane Park 
99. Brittany Altomare 
100. Ilhee Lee 
101. Kelly Tan 
102. P.K. Kongkraphan 
103. Lindy Duncan 
104. Q Baek 
105. Perrine Delacour **
106. Sun Young Yoo 
107. Min Seo Kwak 
108. Julie Yang 
109. Min Lee 
110. Thidapa Suwannapura **
111. Joanna Klatten 
112. Cheyenne Woods 
113. Juli Inkster 
114. Cydney Clanton 
115. Caroline Hedwall 
116. Celine Herbin 
117. Jennifer Johnson ** 

               ** Medical 

   12. Top 20 Q-School: Players finishing Nos. 1-20 at the previous year’s LPGA Qualifying Tournament. Ties are broken on the basis of the lowest, most recent round in Stage III of the Qualifying Tournament, and if necessary by a match of cards starting with the 18th hole of the final round and working backward. In the event of a tie for 20th place, the 20th place shall be determined through a play-off held at the Qualifying Tournament.

118. Jaye Marie Green 
119. Olafia Kristinsdottir 
120. Angel Yin 
121. Sadena Parks 
122. Jeong Eun Lee 
123. Ssu Chia Cheng 
124. Beth Allen 
125. Therese O’Hara 
126. Jennifer Ha 
127. Mel Reid 
128. Maria Parra 
129. Amy Anderson 
130. Laetitia Beck 
131. Katherine Perry 
132. Dani Holmqvist 
133. Regan De Guzman 
134. Dori Carter 
135. Nasa Hataoka 
136. Pavarisa Yoktuan 
137. Karen Chung

    13. Three-Time LPGA Symetra Tour Current-Year Win Category: Winners of three (3) official LPGA Symetra Tour tournaments during the current year. (A player does not gain LPGA membership by winning three times on the LPGA Symetra Tour. If the player entering through this category is a Non-Member, any prize money she wins will be unofficial. If the player is a Member, any prize money she wins will be official.) 

    14. Career Top 40 Category: Members in the top 40 on the Career Money List as of the end of the previous year. Priority is based on the order of the list. To be included in this category (a) the Member must notify the LPGA that she wants to be included in the Career Top 40 Category by December 15 of the previous year, and (b) if a Member elects to be included in the Career Top 40 Category she will be in this category for one year, (c) a Member may be included in this category only one time in her career, (d) a Member may only be in the Career Top 40 Category or the Career Top 20 Category (but not both) in her career. 

    15. Current-Year Reshuffle – After the Volunteers of America Texas Shootout Presented by JTBC, Members in categories 16 through 21 who have earned official money will be re-seeded into Category 15. Members placed into Category 15 will be ranked in the order of their position on the current year’s Money List through the Volunteers of America Texas Shootout Presented by JTBC. Members will remain in this category until the next reshuffle. After the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship Presented by P&G, Members in categories 15, and 16 through 21, who have earned official money will be re-seeded into Category 15. Members placed into Category 15 will be ranked in the order of their position on the current year’s Money List through Walmart NW Arkansas Championship Presented by P&G. Members will remain in this category for the remainder of the calendar year. For all reshuffles, ties are broken by the Members’ positions on the 2016 Priority List as of the commitment deadline for each respective reshuffle tournament. 

16. Nos. 101-125 Category: Members finishing Nos. 101-125 on the previous year’s season-ending Money List. Priority is based on the order of the list. Ties will be broken by the Members’ positions on the Career Money List as of the end of the previous year.

138. Vicky Hurst 
139. Becky Morgan 
140. Wei-Ling Hsu 
141. Belen Mozo 
142. Amelia Lewis 
143. Ashleigh Simon 
144. Maria Hernandez ** 
145. Giulia Molinaro 
146. Katherine Kirk 
147. Christel Boeljon 
148. Stephanie Meadow 
149. Casey Grice 
150. Sandra Changkija 
151. Mina Harigae 
152. Brooke Pancake ** 
153. Pannarat Thanapolboonyaras 
154. Demi Runas 
155. Holly Clyburn

         ** Medical 

    17. Nos. 21- 45 Q-school Category: Players finishing Nos. 21-45 and those players tied at the 45th position at the previous year’s LPGA Qualifying Tournament. Priority is based on the order of their finish at the Qualifying Tournament. Ties are broken on the basis of the lowest most recent round in the Final Qualifying Tournament, and if necessary by a match of cards starting with the 18th hole of the final round and working backward.

156. Madeleine Sheils 
157. Mariah Stackhouse 
158. Dottie Ardina 
159. Bronte Law 
160. Aditi Ashok 
161. Nicole Broch Larsen 
162. Emily Pedersen 
163. Jenny Coleman 
164. Emily Tubert 
165. Brittany Benvenuto 
166. Daniela Darquea 
167. Lauren Kim 
168. Britney Yada 
169. Jessy Tang 
170. Prima Thammaraks 
171. Min-G Kim 
172. Justine Dreher 
173. Budsabakorn Sukapan 
174. Cindy LaCrosse 
175. Ji Young Oh 
176. Augusta James 
177. Emily Collins 
178. Caroline Inglis 
179. Allyssa Ferrell 
180. Brianna Do 
181. Haeji Kang 
182. Benyapa Niphatsophon 
183. Alejandra Llaneza 
184. Hannah Burke 
185. Celine Boutier 
186. Krista Puisite

    18. Tournament Winners: Members who won an Official Tournament while a Member within the previous twenty (20) calendar years. Priority is based on the number of wins. Ties are broken by the Members’ positions on the Career Money List as of the end of the previous year.

    Players listed below have eight (8) wins or more In the previous twenty (20) years

187. Annika Sorenstam 188. Nancy Lopez 189. Patty Sheehan 190. Betsy King 191. Beth Daniel 192. Pat Bradley 193. Lorena Ochoa 194. Se Ri Pak 195. Laura Davies 196. Meg Mallon 197. Dottie Pepper 198. Rosie Jones 199. Liselotte Neumann 200. Kelly Robbins 201. Sherri Steinhauer 202. Mi Hyun Kim 203. Rachel Hetherington 204. Christa Johnson.

    Players listed below have seven (7) wins or less In the previous twenty (20) years

205. Helen Alfredsson 206. Michelle McGann 207. Hee Won Han 208. Pat Hurst 209. Grace Park 210. Donna Andrews 211. Maria McBride 212. Brandie Burton 213. Deb Richard 214. Barb Mucha 215. Lorie Kane 216. Wendy Ward 217. Meena Lee 218. Seon Hwa Lee 219. Dorothy Delasin 220. Penny Hammel 221. Mary Beth Zimmerman 222. Nancy Scranton 223. Emilee Klein 224. Wendy Doolan 225. Vicki Fergon 226. Laura Diaz** 227. Jeong Jang 228. Michele Redman 229. Karen Stupples 230. Janice Moodie 231. Stacy Prammanasudh 232. Jimin Kang 233. Patricia Meunier-Lebouc 234. Ji Young Oh 235. Gail Graham 236. Heather Daly-Donofrio 237. Terry-Jo Myers 238. Natalie Gulbis 239. Jee Young Lee 240. Leta Lindley 241. Jennifer Rosales 242. Julieta Granada 243. Heather Bowie Young 244. Moira Dunn 245. Kim-Saiki-Maloney 246. Kelli Kuehne 247. Marisa Baena 248. Cindy Figg-Currier 249. Silvia Cavalleri 250. Charlotta Sorenstam 251. Kate Golden 252. Amy Fruhwirth 253. Jackie Gallagher-Smith 254. Birdie Kim 255. Nanci Bowen 256. Laurel Kean 257. Carolyn Hill 258. Louise Friberg 259. Eunjung Yi 260. Tina Fischer.

    
    19. Tournament Winners: Members who won an Official Tournament while a Member more than twenty (20) years prior. Priority is based on the number of wins. Ties are broken by the Members’ positions on the Career Money List as of the end of the previous year. 

261. Kathy Whitworth 262. Mickey Wright 263. Amy Alcott 264. Betsy Rawls 265. JoAnne Carner 266. Sandra Haynie 267. Carol Mann 268. Ayako Okamoto 269. Jane Blalock 270. Judy Rankin 271. Marlene Hagge 272. Donna Caponi 273. Marilynn Smith 274. Sandra Palmer 275. Hollis Stacy 276. Jan Stephenson 277. Sally Little 278. Susie Berning 279. Clifford Ann Creed 280. Shirley Englehorn 281. Tammie Green 282. Mary Mills 283. Alice Miller 284. Val Skinner 285. Sandra Post-McDermid 286. Danielle Ammaccapane 287. Judy Dickinson 288. Jane Geddes 289. Debbie Austin 290. JoAnn Prentice 291. Kathy Cornelius 292. Cindy Rarick 293. Kathy Postlewait 294. Betty Burfeindt 295. Murle Breer 296. Sue Roberts 297. Sherri Turner 298. Elaine Crosby 299. Debbie Massey 300. Martha Nause 301. Maggie Will 302. Laurie Merten 303. Marta Figueras-Dotti 304. Missie McGeorge 305. Missie Berteotti 306. Muffin Spencer-Devlin 307. Shelley Hamlin 308. Donna White 309. Cathy Gerring 310. JoAnne Washam 311. Lisa D’Amore 312. Pam Higgins 313. Betsy Cullen 314. Laurie Rinker 315. Jody Anschutz 316. Anne-Marie Palli 317. Janet Coles 318. Jerilyn Britz 319. Kathy Guadagnino 320. Penny Pulz 321. Bonnie Lauer 322. Cindy Hill 323. Gloria Ehret 324. Jan Ferraris 325. Tina Barrett 326. Kris Tschetter 327. Michelle Estill 328. Jane Crafter 329. Jenny Lidback 330. Becky Iverson 331. Joan Pitcock 332. Cindy Schreyer 333. Dana Dormann 334. Allison Finney. 335. Cathy Johnston-Forbes 336. Kathryn Imrie 337. Julie Piers 338. Barb Whitehead 339. Tracy Kerdyk 340. Cathy Morse 341. Janet Anderson 342. Shirley Furlong 343. Lynn Adams 344. Becky Pearson 345. Dorothy Germain 346. Pat Meyers 347. Jennifer Wyatt 348. Sally Quinlan 349. Susie McAllister-Morton 350. Patty Hayes 351. Tina Tombs 352. Lauren Howe 353. Sharon Barrett 354. Patty Jordan-Smith 355. Kathy Hite-James 356. Barbara Barrow 357. Danah Bordner ** 358. Bonnie Bryant 359. Margie Masters 360. Pam Barnett 361. Jocelyne Bourassa  

    20. Nos. 126-150 Category: Members finishing Nos. 126-150 on the previous year’s season-ending Money List. Priority is based on the order of the list. Ties will be broken by the Members’ positions on the Career Money List as of the end of the previous year.

362. Karlin Beck 
363. Briana Mao 
364. Daniela Iacobelli 
365. Sarah Kemp 
366. Bertine Strauss 
367. Rachel Rohanna 
368. Giulia Sergas 
369. Samantha Richdale 
370. Nannette Hill 
371. Felicity Johnson
372. Stephanie Kono 
373. Marion Ricordeau
374. Christine Song 
375. Anne Catherine Tanguay

    21. Class A/Veteran International Members Category: Class A Members; and International Members who have been active LPGA members in good standing for ten (10) or more consecutive years. Priority will be based on the Members’ positions on the Career Money List as of the end of the previous years.

376. Jill McGill 377. Kristy McPherson 378. Mhairi McKay 379. Vicki Goetze-Ackerman 380. Tracy Hanson 381. Amy Benz 382. Katie Futcher 383. Reilley Rankin 384. Diana D’Alessio 385. Amy Hung 386. Dina Ammaccapane 387. Susie Redman 388. Michelle Ellis 389. Karin Sjodin 390. Aree Song 391. Beth Bader 392. A.J. Eathorne 393. Kim Williams 394. Eva Dahllof 395. Yu Ping Lin 396. Marianne Morris 397. Jean Bartholomew 398. Robin Walton 399. Mitzi Edge 400. Jamie Hullett 401. Marcy Hart 402. Suzanne Strudwick 403. Alison Walshe 404. Denise Killeen 405. Kristal Parker-Manzo 406. Nancy Harvey 407. Beth Bauer 408. Pamela Wright 409. Stephanie Louden 410. Irene Coe 411. Na On Min 412. Ashli Bunch 413. Caroline Keggi 414. Laura Baugh 415. Dewi Claire Schreefel 416. Young A Yang 417. Paige Mackenzie 418. Myra Blackwelder 419. Leslie Spalding 420. Mindy Kim 421. Jill Briles-Hinton 422. Amanda Blumenherst 423. Allison Duncan 424. Vickie Odegard 425. Audra Burks 426. Siew-Ai Lim 427. Carri Wood 428. Luciana Bemvenuti 429. Stephanie Farwig 430. Anna Acker-Macosko 431. Candy Hannemann 432. Lori West 433. Lynn Connelly 434. Leigh Ann Mills 435. Kim Shipman 436. Marilyn Lovander 437. Cathy Marino 438. Allison Hanna 439. Sara Sanders 440. Deedee Lasker 441. Laurie Brower 442. Ellie Gibson 443. Kim Hall 444. Amy Read 445. Susan Sanders 446. Jenna Daniels 447. Nina Foust 448. Lee Ann Walker 449. Sue Ertl 450. Angie Ridgeway 451. Marlene Floyd 452. Marci Bozarth 453. Janice Gibson 454. Kathryn Young-Robyn 455. Annette DeLuca 456. Patricia Baxter-Johnson 457. Meredith Duncan 458. Barb Moxness 459. Jennifer Feldott-Hall 460. Heather Drew 461. Anna Grzebien 462. Kathy McMullen 463. Nicole Jeray 464. M.J. Smith 465. Karen Noble 466. Sue Ginter 467. Mindy Moore 468. Pamela Kerrigan 469. Mary Dwyer 470. Beverly Klass 471. Sue Thomas 472. Kay Cockerill 473. Angela Jerman 474. Erika Wicoff 475. Beth Stone 476. Jen Hanna 477. Sarah McGuire 478. Nicky Le Roux 479. Sherrin Smyers 480. Kate Rogerson 481. Kim Bauer 482. Gina Hull 483. Nancy White 484. Dianne Dailey 485. Therese Hession 486. Barbra Mizrahie 487. Carole Charbonnier 488. LeAnn Cassaday 489. Judy Sams 490. Michelle Dobek 491. Mary Murphy 492. Nancy Taylor-Capps 493. Noelle Daghe 494. Cathy Mant 495. Cathy Mockett 496. Cathy Sherk 497. Gerda Boykin 498. Debbie Steinback-Keller 499. Mardell Wilkins 500. Joan Joyce 501. Laura Hurlbut 502. Jeannette Kohlhass 503. Linda Hunt 504. Donna Wilkins 505. Cathy Duggan 506. Loretta Alderete 507. Joan Delk 508. Shirley Spork 509. Marty Dickerson 510. Sue Fogleman 511. Jackie Bertsch 512. Pamela Allen 513. Amelia Rorer 514. Terri Hancock 515. Kelly Leadbetter 516. Sue Daniels 517. Connie Ross 518. Kathy Farrer 519. Adele Peterson 520. Debbie Skinner 521. Renee Powell 522. Sharron Moran 523. Janet Le Pera 524. Brenda Hocott 525. Cindy Ferro 526. Carla Glasgow 527. H.B. Duntz MacArthur 528. Cynthia Anzolut 529. Joyce Benson 530. Susan Johnson 531. Mary Bryan 532. Linda Galloway 533. Becky Larson.

This weeks Trivia Question:    (For those who haven't tried it already)

What LPGA player hit 78.8% of her greens in regulation in 2016, which was the best mark on tour in the past 12 years? 

For the answer to this week's trivia question press here.



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Monday, December 19, 2016

How Well Were My Pre-Season Questions Answered?

Way back in January, before the 2016 LPGA season began, I listed 10 questions that I was looking forward to getting the answers to.

Below I have shown those questions again. Let's see how well they were answered.

10- Was Michelle Wie's 2015 season an aberration mainly caused by her injuries?

Her poor 2015 season may have been, at least in part, caused by a variety of injuries. That does not explain her complete collapse in 2016. Some might say that she is still not 100% healthy. I say such is the case for most players on tour. She finished 155th on tour in driving accuracy (only 158 were rated), 76th in putting, and 105th on the 2016 money list. I think the question was answered quite clearly.

9- Will the inclusion of golf in the 2016 Olympics be a success, or will it be dropped by the IOC?

Since we know it will be played in 2020, the key part of the question is its success. No thanks to the top 3 rated men at the time (Jason Day, Jordan Spieth, and Rory Mcllroy) who all stayed home, it appears as though it was a huge success. 


Image result for Inbee park wins olympic gold
Inbee Park won Olympic gold in 2016.

8-  With rookies Budsabakorn Sukapan, Pannarat Thanapolboonyaras, Benyapa Niphatsophon, Wichanee Meechai, Sherman Santiwiwatthanaphong, Prima Thammaraks, and Pavarisa Yoktuan, is Thailand the new South Korea?

No. Definetly not. It was a tough year for all the above players who struggled mightily on the LPGA tour in 2016. Though that does not mean that Thailand isn't going to be a major player in the near future. Keep in mind that Ariya Jutanugarn won five times last year and was the player of the year.

7- Can International Crown defending champion Spain, who as of this writing does not qualify, get it together and make the final eight?

They did not get it together and did not make the final eight. I for one would like to see a change made here that would give the defending champions an automatic entry that would allow them to defend their title.

6- Can Lydia Ko win the CME Group Championship and its 1 million dollar bonus for the third consecutive year?

The opportunity was there, but she did not three-peat. Ariya Jutanugarn won the 1 million dollar bonus.

5- Can one or more of the following players: Gerina Piller, Carlota Ciganda, Ha Na Jang, or Alison Lee, break through and get that first LPGA championship?

Carlotta Ciganda and Ha Na Jang both broke through in a big way. Ha Na Jang won three times, while Carlota Ciganda won twice.

4- Is Lexi Thompson ready to join the big three (Lydia, Inbee, Stacy) and make it the big four? And can she pass Stacy Lewis and become America's top player?

The big three really changed dramatically in 2016 with the emergence of both Ariya Jutanugarn and In Gee Chun. Though Lexi did have a fine season, she is currently ranked number 5 in the world rankings. She did pass Stacy and become the #1 ranked American player in the world.

3- Can either the USA or South Korea rebound from their disappointing 2014 International Crown result and become the 2016 champion?

They both rebounded well. The United States took home the trophy, and South Korea was in the runner-up position.

Image result for u.s wins international crown
I was glad I made the trip and saw the United Staes team bring home the trophy.

2- With Brooke Henderson passing on her chance to be a rookie in 2016, can anyone else challenge In Gee Chun for Rolex Rookie of the Year?

No. It wasn't even close!

1- Now that Lydia Ko has taken over the #1 spot in the Rolex Rankings, is there anyone who can step up and prevent her from keeping it for a very long time?

Lydia is still #1, but we now have a serious contender for that title. Ariya Jutanugarn started the year 8.73 points behind Ko for the #1 ranking, and finished just 3.72 points behind. Lydia will not be easy to knock out of her position on top of the Rolex Rankings, but if Ariya could repeat her 2016 success.......

I will be back next week with the top highlights of the 2016 season, and will have 10 new questions for the 2017 season shortly thereafter.

This weeks Trivia Question:

What LPGA player hit 78.8% of her greens in regulation in 2016, which was the best mark on tour in the past 12 years? 

For the answer to this week's trivia question press here.


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Monday, December 12, 2016

Surprises & Disappointments - Final 2016

With the 2016 season in the books, I would like to look back at the players that I thought gave us the most surprising seasons, and those who disappointed. This is based purely on my expectations of these players coming into the 2016 season. You won't see names like Shanshan Feng or Lydia Ko on here, as we certainly expected them to have big years. Some of these players aren't household names, but had unexpected results this season.

Biggest Surprises:

Image result for ariya jutanugarn
No one could have guessed that Ariya Jutanugarn would lead the tour in wins in 2016.

1- Ariya Jutanugarn - How bad was Ariya Jutanugarn in 2015? At one point she missed 10 consecutive cuts. She started to straighten out her game towards the end of that year, but nobody could have possibly seen this coming. Ariya led the tour in victories with five, and after missing the cut in the first event of the season, made all of her next 27. She won the Player of the Year award and topped the 2016 money list.
Image result for haru nomura

2- Haru Nomura - Haru won her first LPGA tournament in 2016 and then won her second shortly after that. When she finished the 2015 season #66 on the year's money list, we had no reason to expect this kind of improvement. She saw the weekend in 27 of her 28 events, had 6 top tens, 16 top twenties, and finished #11 on this year's money list. It will be interesting to see if she can repeat in 2017.

3- Brooke Henderson - Though technically not a rookie, this was her first full season on the LPGA tour. As the best Canadian golfer to come along in many a year, expectations were cautiously high. She did not let her many fans down as she beat all expectations by finishing #3 on the LPGA's season ending money list and 3rd place for Player of the Year. She not only won twice, but one was a major championship. Her 15 top tens were second on the tour (Ariya Jutanugarn had 16). Amazingly, she has only missed one cut in 35 starts since becoming an LPGA member.

4- In Gee Chun - Some will say that she does not belong on this list, as they knew she would have the season she had. I don't agree. You never know for sure how good a player will be in their rookie season. There are so many adjustments to make, even if you were a star on another tour (see Q-Baek, or Sakura Yokomine). We expected her to win the Rookie of the Year award, but certainly no one expected a Vare Trophy win. A major championship win, 8 top fives, and 11 top tens, were even more impressive when you consider that an injury cut her season to just 19 events.

5- Carlotta Ciganda - Thought of by many as being an under-achiever, she really broke out and shut up her critics in 2016. After finishing #42 in 2015, she was #14 on this year's money list. She not only got her maiden win on the LPGA tour, but had seven top tens, and 15 top twenties. She finished the year by winning 2 of the last 5 LPGA events.

6- Brittany Lang - This veteran had her finest LPGA season to date in 2016. Always a pretty solid player (she finished 25th in 2015), she broke into the top ten this year with a 9th place money list finish. Besides winning the U.S. Women's Open, she had 6 top tens and 12 top 20 finishes.

7- Charley Hull - Another player who broke through for her first victory in 2016, when she won the CME Group Championship. Her 15th place finish on the money list could have been much higher if she had not skipped 11 events. She finished with that win, 3 top fives, 5 top tens, and 12 top twenty finishes, in just 22 starts. She also made 20 cuts. At just 20 years old, she could be a top five player if she played more tournaments on this tour (but don't hold your breath waiting for that to happen).

Honorable Mentions: M.J. Hur, Ryann O'Toole, Candie Kung, Alena Sharp, Jodi Ewart-Shadoff.

Biggest Disappointments:

Image result for Yani Tseng
Yani had this look for most of the 2016 season.

1- Yani Tseng - We have a tie for first place this year. Let's start with Yani Tseng. After finishing #57 in 2014, she made a big comeback in 2015 when she finished #21. Many thought she was on her way back. Many couldn't have been more wrong. She did not have a top ten finish, and finished #109 on the year's money list, leaving her future on the LPGA tour much in doubt.

1- Michelle Wie - She made this list last year, so it was improbable that she would make it again. Expectations had been lowered, but not this low! We thought she may have hit rock bottom last year with her 49th place finish. After all, she was injured a good part of the season. The train wreck that was her 2016 season was hard to imagine. She finished #105 on the year end money list. It wasn't just one phase of her game. If you think her 76th place finish in putting was bad, you don't want to hear she finished 155th (only 158 are rated) in driving accuracy.

3- Julieta Granada - Always a solid player on the LPGA tour, her 2016 season is hard to explain. We saw a drop off in 2015 when she fell from #14 to #51, but who could have predicted a 130th place finish in 2016? She didn't have a single top 10 finish, and missed 14 cuts in her 22 starts.

4- Na Yeon Choi - One of the top players on the LPGA tour for several years, she was without a doubt the worst player on the LPGA tour the second half of the season. In her last 12 tournaments she missed 9 cuts. In the other three there was no cut and she finished on the bottom of the standings. Her scoring average over that period was almost eighty strokes per round (she withdrew after shooting 88 once, which eliminated that score). This is a story worth following in 2017.

5- Ilhee Lee - Always a very consistent player on the LPGA tour. Her dramatic fall in 2016 was quite unexpected. After finishing 24th in 2015, she fell all the way to #86. She also missed an uncharacteristically high 12 cuts.

Other Disappointments: Morgan Pressel, Mika Miyazato, Brittany Lincicome, Sun Young Yoo.

Other Tidbits:
Shanshan Feng continued her red hot play this past week winning the Omega Dubai Ladies Masters (on the L.E.T) for the fourth time. She came from 5 strokes back with a final round 64. She finished 2 strokes better than runner-up Charley Hull.

This week's Trivia Question:

Who are the only 3 active LPGA members on the LPGA tour who are members of the Hall of Fame.

Bonus:

How many points do each of them have (twenty-seven are needed for induction).

For the answer to this week's trivia question press here.





                                                                       

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