Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Comparing Inbee Park & Yani Tseng

First let me once again say congratulations to Inbee Park for not only making history in winning her third consecutive major championship, but also winning three consecutive LPGA tournaments. Inbee has now won 6 tournaments already this year. No one else has won more than two.

Inbee has become,without a doubt, the most dominant player on the LPGA tour. People are already calling her a future Hall of Famer, and the next great player to follow in the footsteps of Annika Sorenstam and Lorena Ochoa. Where have we heard that before? Oh yes, it was about this time last year when we were all writing about Yani Tseng.

What Inbee has accomplished this year is bound to draw comparisons to what Yani was doing until the middle of last year, when she went into a slump that she is still yet to recover from.

The truth of the matter is that they are two completely different kinds of players. Yani, with her huge drives and very confident personality (at that time), was extremely exciting to watch. Inbee on the other hand, can almost put you to sleep. She doesn't wow you with her driving ability, and has a very laid back personality.
What Inbee does have though is the hottest putter that I have ever seen on any tour. She seems to always be on top of the leader board, even though many times she doesn't appear to be playing all that well. Her ability to drop long putts at crucial times is uncanny.

Comparing Inbee's 2013 season to Yani's 2011 season:

Towards the end of the 2011 season I did a blog showing how dominant Yani was that year. Here are some of those numbers:

Money Leaders:
1- Yani Tseng - $2,396,838.00
2- Cristie Kerr - $1,359,093
3- Stacy Lewis - $1,218,443

Scoring Average:
1- Yani Tseng - 69.59
2- Cristie Kerr - 70.53
3- Stacy Lewis - 70.77

Greens In Regulation:
1- Yani Tseng - 76%
2- Paula Creamer - 75.5%
3- Suzann Pettersen 75.3%

Driving Distance:
1- Yani Tseng - 268.6 yards
2- Maria Hjorth - 266.7
3- Michelle Wie - 266.1

Putts per greens in regulation:
1- Cristie Kerr - 1.75
T2- Yani Tseng - 1.76
T2- I.K. Kim 1.76

As you can see Yani was dominating every facet of the game.

Now let us look at the current year's stats:

Money Leaders:
1- Inbee Park - $2,106, 827
2- I.K. Kim - $877,964
3- Stacy Lewis - $854,098

Scoring Average:
1- Inbee Park - 69.67
2- Stacy Lewis - 70.093
3- Na Yeon Choi - 70.435

Greens In Regulation:
1- Suzanne Pettersen 74.4%
2- Jodi Ewart Shadoff - 73.8%
3- Paula Creamer - 73.7%
15 - Inbee Park - 71.4%

Driving Distance:
1- Brittany Lincicome - 271.875
2- Maude-Aimee Leblanc - 270.045
3- Lexi Thompson - 270.043
82- Inbee Park - 246.935

Driving Accuracy: (percentage of drives in the fairway)
1- Jiyai Shin - 85%
2- Mo Martin - 84.4%
3- I.K. Kim - 82.4%
45- Inbee Park - 73.6%

Putts per greens in regulation:
1- Inbee Park - 1.702
2- Stacy Lewis - 1.749
3- Jiyai Shin - 1.760

The above figures show me two things:
1) Inbee has not been dominant in all facets of the game the way Yani was in 2011.
2) It sure is true that "Driving is for show, and putting is for dough."

Time will tell us if Inbee is going to be that great next player. We don't know yet how she will handle all the pressures she is about to face. Will she still be able to win when the putter cools off?
I do know one thing, I am not going to bet against her winning the British Open.

Other Tidbits:
Lost in all the Inbee talk this week was the fact that two of the longest cut streaks in recent years came to an end. Jiyai Shin (48 straight cuts made), and Beatriz Recari (46), both missed the cut. Paula Creamer and Karrie Webb continued their amazing streaks, increasing their total to 56.

In spite of playing well, she tied for 11th, Ai Miyazato is now 0 for 35 in major championships.

Asian players have now won 10 consecutive major championships.

Paula Creamer's 4th place finish at the U.S. open was her 11th top 20 finish this year. That leads the tour.

Titleholders Update:
Jodi Ewart Shadoff, Brittany Lincicome, and Lexi Thompson are the latest players to qualify. Azahara Munoz remains the highest ranked player not yet to qualify.

Rolex Movers of the Week:
I.K. Kim jumps into the top 10, moving up 5 places from #15 to #10. Jessica Korda leaps up from #38 to #31, and Jodi Ewart Shadoff  leapfrogs over 24 players and lands in the #57 position. Yani Tseng drops a spot for the 4th week in a row, and now is ranked #8.

Who's Hot:
It's Inbee, Inbee, Inbee. No one else deserves to share the headlines this week.

Who's Not:
Katherine Hull-Kirk has missed 4 consecutive cuts, and 8 of her last 11. Vicky Hurst has not finished better than 38th in her last 8 tournaments.

Inbee's Quest:
Since there are 5 major championships this year we can not call it the Grand Slam. So I suggest we call Inbee's quest to win them all, "The Drive For Five."


  1. We shall see how long this run goes for Inbee. Maybe by not being as gregarious as Yani is her advantage here. as long as that putter is on simmer, don't bet against her. And I think it should be the Penta-Slam

  2. Jimbo (from SS forum)July 2, 2013 at 2:34 AM

    I’d also been looking at the latest stats for Inbee Park, the combination of stats I found particularly impressive was:

    • Driving distance – 82
    • Driving accuracy – 45
    • Putting average – 1

    Having the best putting average with those driving statistics, when coming from further back and from being in sand or longer grass, is something rather special.

    1. if you look at putting average, inbee is not that far ahead of the other top players. you people try to say that's all that she does well.

  3. This year the stats are not the story. Inbee is on the brink of setting a record not just for LPGA, but for all of golf, 4 professional major wins in a single season, never been done before. And the setting, St Andrews...what drama...can you imagine the worldwide television audience for this event? Now as far as Inbee's chances for pulling it off, I think they are very good. If she plays just like she did this past week, I say she wins easily. Her game with those controlled approach shots that take all the green undulations out of the play should work wonders at St Andrews. I can't wait to watch this!

  4. It doesn't matter how the ball gets into the hole, so long as it does in the lowest number of strokes. In some ways, Inbee's "no different" than Tiger. He still can't drive a golf ball to save his life, but he holds 14 majors. It really is "putt for dough".

  5. Yeah! Personality wise, Yani's much alluring than Inbee, and like as stated above, two are completely different players! Though Inbee has a shy type personality, it doesn't hinder her to become popular and famous! I can't see anything wrong on her, I just see her being humble and being a good player brings her on top!