Monday, June 10, 2013

It's Time For the U.S. Ladies to Step it Up.

I started writing about the LPGA a couple of years back. The fact that this blog has been as successful as it is (it has spent many weeks as the #1 golf blog on the Internet), is a tribute to the loyalty of the hard core LPGA fans. I am of the opinion that the LPGA is the best kept secret in the world of sports. All the girls are so incredibly cooperative with the fans. There is no other sport that you can go to where you are practically guaranteed of getting your favorite player's signature on any hat, ball, or whatever item you would like signed. The girls are always very fan friendly. I always urge everyone to go to a tournament. I feel that if they do, they will want to go back again and again.  My wife and I still have Ohio, St. Andrews, Scotland, and Edmonton to look forward to attending on this year's schedule. As you all can see, I never advertise on my blog, or make a single penny. My main objective here is to promote the LPGA, the game I truly love.

The problem I am having now is that love is turning into frustration. I can't understand why an American roster that includes such outstanding players as: Stacy Lewis, Paula Creamer, Cristie Kerr, Brittany Lincicome, Brittany Lang, Lexi Thompson, Jessica Korda, Angela Stanford, etc., can come up so small during the biggest of tournaments.

Inbee Park's win at the Wegman's LPGA Championship this past weekend was the ninth consecutive major championship won by an Asian player. Yes, read that again, that is 0 for 9 for the Americans in major championships. In fact Americans have won only 4 of the last 23 majors. That is completely unacceptable. They haven't done that well in total events this year either, winning only 4 of the first 13 tournaments on the schedule.

Here are the winners of the last 9 major tournaments:
2011 Wegmans LPGA Championship - Yani Tseng
2011 U.S. Open - So Yeon Ryu
2011 British Open - Yani Tseng
2012 Kraft Nabisco - Sun-Young Yoo
2012 Wegmans LPGA Championship - Shanshan Feng
2012 U.S. Open - Na Yeon Choi
2012 British Open - Jiyai Shin
2013 Kraft Nabisco - Inbee Park
2013 Wegmans LPGA Championship - Inbee Park

Where are the Americans?

Stacy Lewis - You are the last American to win a major but you haven't been  much of a factor since. As the highest ranked American player it is time for you to play that way in major championships.

Paula Creamer - I followed you at Oakmont for all 72 holes in 95 degree heat (31 holes on one sweltering hot day, because of rain the previous morning). It is time you gave me reason to do that again!

Lexi Thompson and Jessica Korda - Age is no longer an excuse. You are no longer the kids on the tour. That title now goes to Lydia Ko and Ariya Jutanugarn. Sure you are playing some pretty good golf out there this year (especially Jessica). Pretty good isn't good enough. You are our two best young players, it is time to get to the next level and win us a major championship!

Morgan Pressel - You played well this past weekend, it seems the wrist is finally healed, but the fact remains that Inbee tried to hand you the championship and you couldn't take it. Close is only good when throwing hand grenades or playing horseshoes.

Cristie, Angela, the Brittany's - You are all capable of winning the next major championship. Get out there and bring one home for us!

It is getting so that when watching television during a major championship there is hardly ever an American  on the leader board. In fact when I close my eyes at night I keep seeing South Korea's flag.

I know I have many Asian readers who follow this blog. You should be very proud of the way your ladies are performing. They handle themselves with grace and they are winning major championships. It sure must be fun for you to watch the LPGA these days. I must say I am extremely jealous.

That said, this is still an American based tour. If the LPGA is to continue to grow in the states, and television ratings are to continue to rise, it is important for the U.S. ladies to start winning. Stop complaining about the lack of tournaments here, and give your Commissioner a stronger product to sell here in the United States.
When Nancy Lopez was winning regularly a couple of decades ago, television ratings soared and the tour was very strong. Winning is what it is all about.

Some of the above words may seem harsh, but they are coming from probably the biggest LPGA fan on the planet. It is time for each and every one of you to take a step back and look in the mirror, and then ask yourself,  "Can I play better?" I am sure the answer is going to be a resounding yes!

Next week marks the halfway point in the season (tournament #14 of 28). There are still 3 major championships to be played, and of course the Solheim Cup. There is still time to turn this season around, but you must start now.

Other Tidbits:
Ai Miyazato is now 0-34 in major championships. Fortunately for her she will only have to wait a couple  more weeks for another chance.

Caroline Masson's strong finish at the Wegman's LPGA Championship has now put her right on the tail of Moriya Jutanugarn for the Rolex Rookie of the Year Award.

Titleholders Update:
Catriona Matthew, Morgan Pressel, and Amy Yang are the latest to qualify. Azahara Munoz remains the highest ranked player on the LPGA Priority List yet to qualify.

Rolex Rankings Movers of the Week:
Suzann Pettersen jumps over Na Yeon Choi and moves from #4 to #3. Catriona Matthew leapfrogs from the #16 position to #12. Morgan Pressel made what could be the most important move of the week as her jump from # 68 to #46 would now qualify her for the Solheim Cup team via these rankings. Jennifer Johnson has been knocked out for now.




6 comments:

  1. The words may be harsh, but they are truth, Tony. I know how big a fan you are and I know you are frustrated. But it is up to the girls, nobody else.

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  2. Agree with Glen June, Just like you, I am also a big fan, but we have no control over the game. It's still up wiht the girls and yet Inbee Park who wins. No wonder,she's also good..

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  3. I understand how you feel. I felt exactly the same when Yani Tseng dropped so quickly since 2012. Also I felt pretty bad in one of your blogs when you mentioned she was "who's not hot." Well, this time she managed to get back to top 20 after so many months, also she got the most birdies in this tournament. (Although many bogeys too.)

    Totally agree. If US ladies don't step up, the others will take over.
    I was surprised how badly Stacy Lewis played.

    Thanks for listing the winners of the last 9 major tournaments.
    I think this year is between Inbee Park, and Suzanne Pettersen.

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  4. Tony - Always appreciate your enthusiasm and thoughtful coverage of the LPGA tour. So how do you call out teenager Lexi Thompson and 20 year-old Jessica Korda and give a pass to 23 year-old Michelle Wie, who has been promoted in the media more than any golfer the past ten years? One top-ten in majors this year, none last year, and another in 2011 isn't meeting America's expectations either.

    sports medic

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    1. Sports Medic - I also appreciate your comments as they are always well thought out.

      To answer your question, in spite of Michell's two consecutive top tens, I don't hold out any expectations that she is ready to win a major championship anytime soon. The people I singled out are all people I think are capable of winning one right now.

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