Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Surprises & Disappointments - Final 2015

With the 2015 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 2015 season. You won't see names like Inbee Park or Lydia Ko on here, as we certainly expected them to have big years. You won't see names like Hyo Joo Kim or Minjee Lee here because we knew they were going to have big rookie seasons. Some of these players aren't household names, but had unexpected results this season.

Biggest Surprises:

Nobody predicted Sei Young Kim would be a 3 time winner.

1- Sei Young Kim - We knew that this year's rookies were going to be among the best ever. Many people wrote in their choices for Rolex Rookie of the Year, but this lady was hardly even mentioned. All she did was win 3 times, have 8 top 5 finishes, and 13 top tens.

Brooke Henderson
2- Brooke Henderson - Did not become  an official LPGA member until she won in Portland in August, but it was a dream 2015 season nonetheless. Teeing it up just 14 times, she had that victory in Portland, 4 top fives, and 11 top twenty-five finishes. Her earnings would have placed her #18 on the money list. Makes you wonder what she can do in a full season. We will find out soon enough.

3- Alison Lee - When the season started American fans were hopeful that they may have a new star. She did not disappoint. In fact, she exceeded our expectations with three top 5 finishes, 6 top tens, and 11 top twenties.

4- Yani Tseng - Maybe we wrote her off a bit too quickly. It was a big comeback season for Yani who registered four top 5 finishes. Still not the Yani of old, but she jumped from #57 to #21 on the money list.
Alena Sharp 

5- Alena Sharp - This veteran deserves to be acknowledged for her 2015 season. A real fighter, over the years she has had to battle her way back onto the LPGA through Q-School, and again through the Symetra Tour. With the influx of all these "super teenage rookies," many veterans are finding surviving on the LPGA Tour getting tougher and tougher each year. Alena has showed us that she's tough too. Finishing #65 on the money list shows she still has something left in the tank.

6- Jaye Marie Green - After a very disappointing rookie season in which she barely retained her LPGA membership, it was a big bounce back year in 2015. Jaye really found it in the last third of the season when she had 3 top tens, and 5 top twenties in her last 9 starts.

7- Xi Yu Lin - Another player who barely held on to their card in 2014. This year was another story. With 4 top tens and 9 top twenties, she improved from # 93 to #38 in 2015.

Biggest Disappointments:

1- Michelle Wie - What a difference a year makes. Last year she was my biggest surprise. There are going to be some that will point to her injuries, and yes she did have enough of them. But the fact remains that she did play in 24 tournaments without registering a single top ten. She was only able to hit 61% of her fairways, which ranked #136 on the LPGA Tour. Wie, normally one of the real monster drivers on tour, finished 26th in driving distance. That tells us she is either sacrificing distance by not using her driver, or she is hitting lots of trees.

2- Beatriz Recari - The fall here has been very far and very fast. Two years ago she finished # 8 on the money list. Last year she fell to #53, and this year to #75. She had just one top ten all year. She is going to have to pick it up quickly, or the defending champion Spanish Team will not qualify for the 2016 International Crown. They currently rank 9th (eight teams qualify).

Beatriz must improve quickly if she wants a chance to defend the International Crown title

3- Meena Lee - After a solid 2014 campaign where she finished #26 on the money list, she dropped all the way down to #93 this year. She managed just three top 30 finishes all season.

4- Julieta Granada - After her most solid LPGA season in 2014 when she finished #18 on the money list, many expected a solid follow up. What they didn't expect was a 17 week drought without a top ten, and a 51st place finish on this year's money list.

5- M.J. Hur - M.J. really came into her own the second half of 2014, leading us to believe this was going to be a stellar year. What happened in 2015 is hard to explain. Not only did she fall from #30 to #72 on the money list, but she failed to register a single top ten finish.

6- Caroline Hedwall - Her career has been a very puzzling one so far. Once considered a future star, her stock has dropped significantly in the past couple of years. She finished #14 on the money list in 2013, 46th in 2014, and fell all the way to #93 this year. She did not have a top 20 finish in any of her 18 LPGA starts.

7- Christina Kim -  The comeback player of the year in 2014, Christina gave it all back in 2015. She managed just 2 top 20 finishes in 28 starts, and fell from #27 to #69 on the money list.

8- Jodi Ewart Shadoff - Once considered an up and coming star, Jodi had to fight to keep her card this year. Finishing in the top 25 on the money list just 2 years ago, she fell all the way to #98 this year. In 21 starts, she failed to register a single top 20 finish.

9- Moriya Jutanugarn - Moriya was the Rookie of the Year just 2 years ago. She has struggled with her game since. She finished the 2015 season #64 on the money list, but things got worse as the season progressed. She did not have a top 20 finish in her last 17 starts.

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  1. MJ Hur pulled out of a few tournaments at the end of 2015.
    Was she injured ?? Hope to see her playing again.

  2. Spain is now ranked 10th this week for International Crown (437). China is few points ahead and ranked 9th (429).
    Still many weeks to go. Points will change and we will see.

  3. Couple other players that made suprising moves this year:
    Amy Yang - OM #25 > #6, Rolex #23 > #8.
    Mika Miyazato - OM #91 > #28, Rolex #81 > #37.

    Also, cheers to Jaye Marie and Alena but I thought Xi Yu Lin was even more of a surprise down the stretch:
    Xi Yu Lin - OM #83 > #39, Rolex #84 > #54.
    Jaye Marie Green - OM #93 > #58, Rolex #239 > #97.
    Alena Sharp - OM #94 > #65, Rolex #259 > #133.

    And cheers to you Tony! Looking forward to more surprises!

    1. I will be doing my Rolex Rankings Movers of the year 2015 in a couple of weeks.

    2. I will be doing my Rolex Rankings Movers of the year 2015 in a couple of weeks.