OK, I'm back in Fukuoka for a few days, having spent most of the last two weeks sick in Chiba and all day yesterday on a day trip to Nagasaki. I left my brain in the Fukuoka building, my heart in the Nagasaki hypocenter, and my health in baba and gigi's place in Chiba. Hopefully they'll catch up with me before we leave for my talk in Sendai this coming Saturday. So what I'm trying to say is, expect about as much blogging from me this week as from the last two.... Still, a few notes worth jotting down come to fingers, if not mind.
WAAGNFNP faithful will no doubt have realized already that it is no coincidence Party wannabe Dick Cheney was hanging around Japan and Australia around the time an inimitable Party leader was in an undisclosed location in the latter and I was in the southwestern corner of the former giving my long-awaited Star Wars talk. His efforts to impress us were pitiful, as usual, and I didn't have to change a word of my talk last Saturday.
But why talk politics when we can talk golf? I mean, when the results of the first two events on the LPGA Tour show that week in and week out you're going to have to grind it out and stay at or under par just to make the cut in most tournaments this year, be able to offset one or two off rounds with two good ones or a great one just to get in the top 20, and shoot the lights out to have a chance to win, there's so much more to follow in the golf world than, say, Tiger Woods forgetting to fix a ball mark this weekend. Karrie Webb came into Hawaii blazing hot but forgot how to go low and had to settle for a third place and T14 finish the last two weeks that together put her right behind Julieta Granada on the money list, who missed the cut this week after finishing alone in second last week. Like Julieta, Ai-chan was inconsistent in Hawaii, missing the cut the first week but bouncing back with the second-best round of the last day of this week's tournament to get a third place finish (1 ahead of Cristie Kerr, who also missed the cut last week and was the only player to beat her last Saturday). So basically there's a great mix of veterans and young stars gunning for Annika on the LPGA this year.
From the veterans I predicted would do well this year--Karrie Webb, Jeong Jang, Mi Hyun Kim, and Se Ri Pak--we've seen some pretty good grinding, but nothing all that special, besides Karrie's third-place finish last week. From the young guns I picked--Lorena Ochoa, Ai Miyazato, Cristie Kerr, Natalie Gulbis, Meena Lee--we've seen a lot of early inconsistency, but only Meena has failed to make a cut and besides her only Natalie has failed to get a top ten so far this year. Seon Hwa Lee, who I kicked myself for leaving out of my predicted top 10, has played at least as well as my young guns, so I'm glad I added her in to my predicted top 11. Morgan Pressel, and especially Paula Creamer and Stacy Prammanasudh have played much better than the people I picked to finish the end of the year ahead of them. But it's a long season, with 20 people each week having a better-than-average chance of winning, so I don't think there's going to be a big gap between the #1 and the #15 on the money list this year. Which means that Annika's going to need to come out blazing when she finally gets around to playing an event this year. And Michelle Wie will have to really rock the relatively few tournaments she'll play in this year to even get in the top 20, IMHO. Hopefully the competition on the LPGA will entice her into something close to a full-time season on the tour once she's old enough for a full membership.
Wondering when golf writers will start advocating for "purse equity" between the men's and women's tours, as the tennis writers started doing a few years back....
Anyway, check back here in early March for more LPGA blogging and something maybe even more, uh, explosive!
[Update: Oaktown Girl will no doubt need to read more LPGA blogging after this little piece, so without further ado, I link to The Florida Masochist.]
[Update 3/6/07: And here's a link to Seoul Sisters, another LPGA blog/ezine worth reading, despite not having as punny a name as the Korean restaurant that opened in my grandparents' increasingly Orthodox Jewish neighborhood, Cho-sen. I agree with their recent critiques of the Rolex Rankings and the terrible coverage of Seon Hwa Lee in 2006 wholeheartedly. With sites like this, we'll get Oaktown Girl LPGA-literate yet!]