Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Looking Back At My 2014 Predictions. Did I Get It Right?

The 2014 LPGA season was full of surprises. We had 21 different winners. We had 8 multiple winners. Two winners were non LPGA members. We also had winners that came from 7 different countries. We had seven first time winners. It was a year that was almost impossible to predict, although I did give it a try.

Way back in January, before the season began, I made my predictions of who I thought would be the top players of 2014. I put it out there for the whole world to see. Let's see how I did:

  1. Stacy Lewis - She won every major award possible. She was the top money winner of 2014. She won the Rolex Player of the Year, and won the Vare trophy. Needless to say, I got this one correct.
  2. Suzann Pettersen - Suzann finished the 2013 season very strongly and figured to have a big 2014.  Back problems slowed her down for a part of the year, and she never seemed to get on track. She did not have a win, but did finish #11 on the money list.
  3. Lydia Ko - Predicting a rookie to finish #3 is usually not the thing to do. But this rookie was a really special one. She easily won the  Rolex Rookie of the Year Award, and made me look great by finishing #3 on the money list.
  4. Inbee Park - Inbee had a terrific year winning three times. She missed out on all the major awards on the last day of the season, finishing #2 on the money list.
  5. Lexi Thompson - After finishing #7 in 2013, I figured a step up was in the making. She started quick when she won the first Major Championship of the year, and the first of her career. She had an up & down second half, which resulted in her finishing #12 on the money list.
  6. Shanshan Feng - Shanshan seemed to be in contention all year long, but managed just one win. You can high five me on this one as she did finish #6.
  7. Na Yeon Choi - Never seemed to be the threat to win that she was in past years. She wound up finishing #13 on the money list, leaving us wondering about next year.
  8. So Yeon Ryu - Always dangerous, and almost always in contention in 2014, she finished #5.
  9. Jessica Korda - Jessica won twice in 2014, so why do I feel like she didn't have that great a year? It was because she contended very few times. Her 16th place finish on the money list, although the best of her young career, is not that impressive for a multiple winner.
  10. Paula Creamer - Just four top tens?  She usually has that many by March. That 75 foot putt she sank to win in Singapore, which gave her win #10, sure saved her season. Has she fully healed from her hand injury? Has all those years on tour started to take its toll? Has she been distracted because of her impending marriage? Still one of the most popular players in the history of the women's game, we will have to wait until next year to see if her #22 money list finish was just a fluke. 
  11. I.K. Kim - She just never seemed to show up all year, and I mean that both literally and figuratively. She only showed up for 18 tournaments, and wasn't much of a factor when she did tee it up, finishing #48 on the money list.
  12. Chella Choi -  How could it possibly be that Chella has not yet won an LPGA event? She had 10 top ten finishes and 20 top twenties. It will come soon and when it does she will improve on her 10th place money list finish.
  13. Beatriz Recari - I was way off on this one. After finishing #6 on the money list in 2013, I figured she would take a dip. I didn't think she would fall all the way to #53.
  14. Amy Yang - Amy didn't contend nearly as much as I would have thought she would. She finished in the #25 spot.
  15. Hee Young Park - With her sister on tour with her this year, maybe she can better her #40.
  16. Pornanong Phatlum - Another player who seems to contend weekly but never win. I was close though, as she finished #20.
  17. Caroline Hedwall - I seem to rate her much too high every year. Maybe she is not as good as I think she is. She finished in the #46 spot.
  18. Gerina Piller - Still looking for that first victory, she took a step back this year finishing #39.
  19. Lizette Salas - She did get her first win this year, but didn't contend enough. I was close to her actual finish at #24.
  20. Carlotta Ciganda - Has as much talent as anyone on tour, but never seems to be able to put it all together. She finished at #44.
  21. Karrie Webb - Karrie does this to me every year. She finished #8.
  22. Ai Miyazato - I don't feel too bad about this one because nobody could have predicted such a complete meltdown. You thought her #40 finish in 2013 was a bad year? She finished the year without a top ten, and wound up #86 on the money list.
  23. Anna Nordqvist - She started out real strong with two quick wins, then cooled off the rest of the season. Those wins were good enough for a 7th place finish on the money list.
  24. Angela Stanford - It was a typical Angela season as she finished in the #19 spot.
  25. Cristie Kerr - Christie didn't win in 2014, but her #15 finish was higher than Korda who won twice. She still has something left in the tank.
  26. Jodi Ewert-Shadoff -  Took 2 steps backward this past season as shown by her #52 finish.
  27. Karine Icher - Was close on this one as she finished in the #33 spot.
  28. Michelle Wie - Every year I predicted her to break out and she always disappointed me and made me look foolish. This year I gave in, and gave up on my high expectations of her. Of course she made me look foolish, finishing in the #4 spot.
  29. Morgan Pressel - Came on strong the last part of the season and finished in the #35 spot.
  30. Azahara Munoz - It was a big bounce back year for Azahara as she earned over 1 million dollars. Even though she is still looking for that first stroke play win, she was solid enough to finish at #9.
There you have it. Although it wasn't a complete disaster, I have had better years. I will be posting my predictions for the 2015 season very shortly.

Other Tidbits:
Now that the results of the Final Phase of Qualifying Tournament are known, it is going to be one hell of race for rookie of the year in 2015.

You have heard me say that the 2014 rookie crop was the best in quite sometime. The 2015 rookies might be the best ever! It will include 8 players that already ranked in the top 100 in the world.
Here they are listed according to their world ranking:

Hyo Joo Kim - Rolex Ranked #9 (Winner on LPGA Tour in 2014)
Kyu Ju Baek - #11 (Winner on LPGA Tour in 2014)
Ha Na Jang - #25
Charley Hull - #37
Sei Young Kim #40
Sakura Yokomine #44
Minjee Lee - #82
Ariya Jutanugarn - 91
Although there will be quite a number of American rookies in 2015, none of them are on the above list.

Laetitia Beck is the first Israeli to earn an LPGA playing card. 

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