Tuesday, November 18, 2014

LPGA Announces 2015 Schedule

The LPGA announced its 2015 LPGA schedule at 3:00PM today, and continued its current trend of upward momentum. 

LPGA Chief Communications Officer Kraig Kann hosted the live stream which took place at the CME Tour Championship in Naples, Florida. Commissioner Michael Whan and Chief Commercial Officer John Podany jointly announced increased prize money, increased television coverage, and another increase in the  total number of tournaments.

Here are the highlights:

1- There will be 33 official tournaments in 2015, up from  32 in 2014. 

2- The 2015 LPGA season will kick off on Jan 28-31 with the Coates Golf Championship, in Ocala Florida. This is a brand new event. It will have a Saturday finish as the next day is the Super Bowl.

3- There will be 33 tournaments televised in 2015 (32 official tournaments and the Solheim Cup). The Mizuno Classic remains the only tournament with no TV coverage.

4- There will be 410+ hours of television coverage, up from 380 hours in 2014. Television ratings for the LPGA were up 15% this past season.

5- Prize money will be a record high $61.6 million. That is up over $4 million from 2014.

6- ANA Airlines will be the new sponsor for the first major championship of the year (Formerly the Kraft Nabisco Championship). All Nippon Airlines (ANA) has signed on through the year 2019.

LPGA Tour 2015 Season By the Numbers:
2014 Schedule   2015 Schedule   
Total Official Money Events 3233
Total Purse$57.55 Million $61.6 Million
Average Purse $1.79 Million$1.81 Million 
Official North American Events2122
Official Asian Events99
Official European Events22
Televised Events3233
Televised Hours380+410+
Unofficial Team Event International CrownSolheim Cup

Once again Commissioner Michael Whan must be commended for the continued growth in the sport that we all love. The Commissioner took over a "sinking ship" 5 years ago that had only 23 tournaments on its schedule. 



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CME Group Tour Championship

This is the one!


 If you are an LPGA fan, and you are not excited about this week's tournament, then maybe you should start watching curling or water polo.

The LPGA's overwhelmingly successful 2014 season comes to an end this week with the playing of the CME Group Tour Championship. With one million dollars and many of the most important awards still undecided, this figures to be the most exciting tournament of the year.

At stake this week are the following prizes and awards:
  1. Nine players will have a chance at the $1 million bonus for winning the 72 hole event. The top 3 players (Stacy Lewis, Inbee Park, and Lydia Ko) have their fate in their own hands. If they win the championship, the $1 million will go to one of them.  
     2. The Rolex Player of the year award will be decided. Stacy Lewis currently leads Inbee Park by a 229-226 count. Player of the Year points are given out in the following way:

1st place - 30 points
2nd place - 12 points
3rd place - 9 points
4th place - 7 points
5th place - 6 points
6th place - 5 points
7th place - 4 points
8th place - 3 points
9th place - 2 points 
10th place - 1 point


          As you can clearly see, Stacy has a very slim advantage. The winner of the Player of the Year award will receive a Hall of Fame point.


      3- The Vare Trophy Award will be decided. Stacy Lewis currently holds a slim advantage (69.476 to 69.571) over Inbee Park. This may very well go down to the final stroke of the final hole. The winner of the Vare Trophy will receive a Hall of Fame point.

     4- The 2014 money list title is also at stake here. Stacy Lewis has earned $2,502,309. Once again it is Inbee Park with $2, 209,460 who is threatening that lead.

How much more excitement can a tournament provide than this?

Here are some more of the key details:

Course:  Tiburon Golf Club
Location:  Naples, Florida
Defending Champion:  Shanshan Feng
Winning Score:  66-74-67-66 = 273 (-15)

Final Field: 72 players qualified. (69 are playing)
Par:  36/36 = 72
Yardage:  Not indicated on LPGA website
Purse:  $2,000,000 

This will be one of the strongest fields of the year. The only player in the top 25 on the LPGA Priority list not in attendance is Amy Yang. 

Here are the first round pairings.

Here are the television times:
Nov 20 - GC 1:30 PM-4:00 PM ET
Nov 21 - GC 1:30 PM-4:00 PM ET
Nov 22 - GC 1:30 PM-4:00 PM ET
Nov 23 - GC 1:30 PM-4:00 PM ET

Here are my picks for this week's tournament:
1- Inbee Park
2- Shanshan Feng
3- So Yeon Ryu
4- Lydia Ko
5- Stacy Lewis
6- Michelle Wie
7- Brittany Lincicome
8- Pornanong Phatlum
9- Chella Choi
10- Azahara Munoz
11- Suzanne Pettersen
12- Cristie Kerr
I am currently in 3rd place among the 22 Pak Picker players. I still have an outside chance to win it all.

Other Tidbits:
Christina Kim's victory at the Lorena Ochoa Invitational was the 13th win by an American player this year, clinching the 2014 title for the U.S.A. Late charging South Korea has 10.

Rolex Rankings Mover of the Week:
Christina Kim catapults up from #76 to #49.

Race to the CME Globe: 
This is all explained above.

Who's Red Hot:
Inbee Park has 5 consecutive top 5 finishes, and nine consecutive top tens.

Who's Ice Cold:
Hee Young Park has failed to register a top 25 finish in her last 6 starts. She has only one top ten in 28 starts this year.

Here are the first round leaders:
1Julieta Granada-6F
2Sandra Gal-4F
3Belen Mozo-3F
3Stacy Lewis-3F
3Caroline Hedwall-3F
6Hee Young Park-2F
6Carlota Ciganda-2F
6Haeji Kang-2F
6Sarah Jane Smith-2F
6Marina Alex-2F
6Angela Stanford-2F
6So Yeon Ryu-2F

Be sure to check back here for any tournament updates. Results will be posted here after every round. Links to live scoreboards are always available at the top of this page.


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Monday, November 10, 2014

Lorena Ochoa Invitational Preview & Pairings

First let me say congratulations to Mi Hyang Lee for winning the Mizuno Classic. Lee won on the 5th hole of a three player playoff. It has been quite an exciting year for the LPGA with almost every tournament going down to the final hole, or going to a playoff.

With the Asian swing of the tour completed, the LPGA moves to Mexico this week for the playing of the Lorena Ochoa Invitational. With a field of just 36 players, this will be the smallest field of the year.

Defending Champion Lexi Thompson holds up her trophy

This will be tournament # 31 of 32 on this year's LPGA schedule.

Here are the key details:

Course:  Club de Golf Mexico
Location:  Mexico City, Mexico
Defending Champion:  Lexi Thompson
Winning Score:  72-64-67-69  = 272 (-16)

Final Field:  36 players
Par: 36/36 = 72
Yardage:  6,684 
Purse: $1,000,000

My strength of field rating is just 44.5%, but in this case that is a bit misleading. The low rating is because the field lacks depth with only 36 players, but the top 7 players in the world will be teeing it up. Players skipping the event this week, although they would have qualified, include: Karrie Webb, Chella Choi, Jessica Korda, and Na Yeon Choi.

Here are the pairings for round 1:

Here are the television times:
Nov 13 - GC 5:00 PM-7:00 PM ET
Nov 14 - GC 5:00 PM-7:00 PM ET
Nov 15 - GC 5:00 PM-7:00 PM ET
Nov 16 - GC 5:00 PM-7:00 PM ET

Here are my Pak Picker picks for this week's tournament:
1- Stacy Lewis
2- Inbee Park
3- Lexi Thompson
4- So Yeon Ryu
5- Shanshan Feng
6- Lydia Ko
7- Michelle Wie
8- Suzann Pettersen
9- Cristie Kerr
10- Azahara Munoz
11- Anna Nordqvist
12- Mi Hyang Lee
My accurate picking last week moved me up to 2nd place among the 22 contestants that have played this year.

OtherTidbits:
Chella Choi will be taking the week off. This will break her streak of  playing in 106 consecutive tournaments. Every LPGA player has now taken at least one week off this year.

Ayaka Uehara's top ten finish at the Mizuno Classic was her first in her last 36 starts. Morgan Pressel's top ten finish broke a drought of 22 tournaments without one. 

Rolex Rankings Movers of the week:
Mi Hyang Lee vaults up from #75 to #50, while Jessica Korda moves up 2 spots to #22.

Race to the CME Globe:
Stacy Lewis increases her lead this week and now has 4,823 points. She is followed by Inbee Park with 3,912 and Lydia Ko with 3,313.

Who's Hot:
Chella Choi now has 19 top 20 finishes this year. Only Stacy Lewis (21) has more.
Pernilla Lindberg has been flying under the radar but playing the best golf of her career. She has 6 top 20 finishes in her last 12 starts.

Who's Not
P.K. Kongkraphan has not finished better than 49th in her last 16 starts.
Jennifer Johnson has failed to finish in the top 20 in any of her last 10 starts.

Here are the final results:

1x-Christina Kim-15F
2Shanshan Feng-15F
3Inbee Park-11F
4Brittany Lincicome-9F
4So Yeon Ryu-9F
6Pornanong Phatlum-8F
7Jenny Shin-7F
7Azahara Munoz-7F
9Angela Stanford-5F
9Lydia Ko-5F

Be sure to check back here daily for any tournament updates. Tournament results will be posted here at the completion of the round. Links to live scoreboards are always available at the top of this page.

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Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Mizuno Classic Preview & Pairings

After another exciting finish in Taiwan, the LPGA moves to Japan for the playing of the Mizuno Classic. This will be the 6th and final leg of the Asian swing. This is one of the longest running tournaments on the LPGA. It was first won in 1976 by Donna Caponi. It is also one of the few 54 hole events that remain on the LPGA schedule.

2013 Mizuno Classic Winner Teresa LU

This will be tournament #30 of 32 on the LPGA 2014 schedule.

Here are the Key details:

Course:  Kintetsu Kashikojima Country Club
Location:  Shima-Shi, Mie, Japan
Defending Champion:  Teresa Lu (non-LPGA member)
Winning Score:  70-68-64 = 202 (-14)

Final Field:  78 players
Par:  36/36 = 72
Yardage:  6,506
Purse:  $1,200,000

My strength of field rating is just 36.5%, making it the weakest field of the year. The field will include Stacy Lewis, who will be attempting to take back the #1 spot. There will also be several top players from the JLPGA tour teeing it up.

Here are the pairings for round 1:

There is no television coverage of this event.

Here are my Pak Picker Picks for this tournament:
1- Stacy Lewis
2- Chella Choi
3- Na Yeon Choi
4- Sun Ju Ahn
5- Teresa Lu
6- Karrie Webb
7- Mirim Lee
8- Jessica Korda
9- Jiyai Shin
10- Ilhee Lee
11- Ayaka Uehara
12- Bo-Mee Lee
With the 3 weeks left I am currently in 3rd place, but still have an outside chance of coming out on top of our field of 21 players.

Other Tidbits:
Danielle Kang may not have won an LPGA tournament yet in her young career, but she sure is getting good at winning cars. For the second consecutive week she has aced the hole that had an automobile as the prize for doing so. I wonder what the Vegas odds would be for her doing it for a third consecutive time.

Azahara Munoz has become the 9th player this year to pass the 1 million dollar mark in 2014 LPGA earnings.

Stacy Lewis now has six second place finishes this year to go along with her 3 wins.

Since I had pointed out several times earlier in the season how the American players were dominating the first half of the schedule, it is only fair that I now point out that players from South Korea have now won 8 of the last 11 tournaments. They now have nine wins this year, but will need to win the remaining 3 events to tie the Americans.

Rolex Rankings Movers of the Week:
Amy Yang moves up from #24 to #19, while Pernilla Lindberg jumps up from #108 to #97.

Race to the CME Globe:
Stacy Lewis continues to have a huge lead with 4,783 points. She is followed by Inbee Park with 3,912 and Lydia Ko with 3,313.

Who's Red Hot:
Inbee Park has now finished in the top ten, eight consecutive tournaments.
Mariajo Uribe very quietly has six top thirteen finishes in her last 8 starts.

Who's Ice Cold:
I.K. Kim has only 1 top ten finish in her 17 starts this year.
Ai Miyazato has now failed to register a top ten in her last 37 tournaments.

Here are the final results:
1x-Mi Hyang Lee-11F
2Kotono Kozuma-11F
2Ilhee Lee-11F
4Saiki Fujita-10F
4Sakura Yokomine-10F
4Morgan Pressel-10F
4Ayako Uehara-10F
4Jessica Korda-10F
4Karrie Webb-10F
4Na-Ri Lee-10F
4Chella Choi-10F
4Laura Davies-10F

Be sure to check back here periodically for tournament updates and tournament results. Links to all live scoreboards are available at the top of this page.


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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Fubon LPGA Taiwan Championship

Let me start out this week by giving a big congratulations to Lee-Anne Pace for winning the Blue Bay LPGA.  Pace, a nine time winner on the LET, won for the first time on the LPGA.


Lee-Anne Pace holds her trophy for winning the Blue Bay LPGA

This week the LPGA moves to Taiwan for the playing of the Fubon LPGA Taiwan Championship.
This is the 5th of 6 consecutive tournaments to be played in Asia. Next week the tour moves to Japan for the final leg of the Asian swing.

Suzann Pettersen will be trying to win this tournament for the third year in a row. Suzann won in 2013 by 5 strokes over Azahara Munoz, and by won by 3 strokes over Inbee Park in 2012.

This will be tournament #29 of 32 on the LPGA schedule this year.

Here are the key details:

Course:  Miramar Golf Country Club
Location:  Taipei Taiwan
Defending Champion:  Suzann Pettersen (2X)
Winning Score:  68-69-73-69 = 279 (-9)

Final Field:  81 players
Par:  36/36 = 72
Yardage:  6,390
Purse:  $2,000,000

My strength of field rating is 58%. Thirty-six of the top 50 players from the LPGA Priority List will be in action. The top 7 players from the Rolex Rankings will also be teeing it up. Players missing from the field this week include: Lexi Thompson., Paula Creamer, Angela Stanford, Karrie Webb, Cristie Kerr, and Jessica Korda.

Here are the pairings for round 1:

Here are the television times:
Oct 30 - GC 3:00 AM-6:00 AM ET
Oct 31 - GC 3:00 AM-6:00 AM ET
Nov 1 - GC 3:00 AM-6:00 AM ET
Nov 2 - GC 2:00 AM-6:00 AM ET

I am hoping that Golf Channel will actually stay on long enough this week to give us an interview with the winner. Last week there were several rain delays and the tournament was cut to 54 holes. Many loyal LPGA fans stuck with the Golf Channel broadcast into the wee hours of the morning. It would have been nice if the Golf Channel returned some of that loyalty and stayed on 5 minutes longer to bring us the interview with winner Lee-Ann Pace. 

Here are my Pak Picker picks for this week's tournament:
1- Michelle Wie
2- Suzann Pettersen
3- Lydia Ko
4- Inbee Park
5- Stacy Lewis
6- So Yeon Ryu
7- Na Yeon Choi
8- Azahara Munoz
9- Chella Choi
10- Anna Nordqvist
11- Shanshan Feng
12- Ilhee Lee
With just 4 tournaments remaining I am in a tie for 2nd place among the 21 participants.

Other Tidbits:
Lee-Ann Pace became only the 2nd player from South Africa to win an LPGA tournament.
Sally Little won 15 times between 1976 and 1988.

Rolex Movers of the Week:
Inbee Park takes over the #1 spot this week from the idle Stacy Lewis. With both players in action this week, we could see another change. Lee-Ann Pace, who has 2 wins in two weeks on 2 different tours, jumps up from #42 to #29.

Race to the CME Globe: (1 million dollars)
Stacy Lewis continues to have a huge lead with 4,483 points. Inbee Park is in 2nd place with 3,277.

Who's  Red Hot:
Sun Young Yoo has four consecutive top 20 finishes. Brittany Lang has four top twelve finishes in her last 5 starts.

Who's Ice Cold:
Meena Lee has failed to finish higher than 35th in her last 6 tournaments.

UPDATE: Brittany Lincicome has withrawn after shooting an opening round 68.

Here are the final results:
1Inbee Park-22F
2Stacy Lewis-20F
3Lydia Ko-17F
4Azahara Munoz-16F
5Amy Yang-14F
6Shanshan Feng-13F
7Pernilla Lindberg-12F
7So Yeon Ryu-12F
9Sandra Gal-11F
9Eun-Hee Ji-11F
9Brittany Lang-11F
9Mariajo Uribe-11F


Be sure to check back her periodically for any updates. Links to all live scoreboards are available at the top of this page.


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