Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Yes! More LPGA Blogging: Revisiting Predictions Edition

Here are the newly updated LPGA money list and Rolex Rankings.

While the world rankings are looking close to what I expected at the beginning of the season, the money list is not. Back at the end of January, I predicted that Lorena Ochoa, Ai Miyazato, Karrie Webb, Cristie Kerr, Mi Hyun Kim, Se Ri Pak, Jeong Jang, Natalie Gulbis, and Meena Lee would have the best chance to match or surpass Annika Sorenstam this season (and at the end of February I added Seon Hwa Lee to my top 11). Now, far enough into the season to start approaching statistical significance, Lorena's #1, Mi Hyun's #8, and Ai-chan's #11, but Se Ri's #19, Karrie's #20, Annika's injured and #24, Seon Hwa's #25, Jeong's #27, Meena's #31, Cristie's #34, and Natalie's #36. All except Natalie have already passed the $100K mark (and she's right there), so they're all either within or within striking distance of the top 10 (roughly the $300K mark). With 4 Super Sophs in the top 6 and 5 in the top 10 that I didn't expect to have quite such fantastic seasons, rookie-of-the-year front-runner Angela Park at #23, Paula Creamer and Juli Inkster playing well, a host of relatively unheralded Americans and Europeans off to a great start, and plenty of very good golfers between #36 and #54, it's not like my picks have done terribly this year--they've just been outplayed (except for Lorena, of course)--and could easily be outplayed worse if they don't pick up their game (even Lorena). With only 6 of my predicted top 11 in the top 30 for scoring average, total birdies, sub-par holes, and percentage of rounds under par at this point in the season, it's clear the level of competition on the LPGA is excellent.

The world rankings, of course, change more slowly, but even there you haven't seen many of my picks make moves in the right direction. Karrie is as close to Annika as she's ever been since Annika passed her years ago (but she's playing better off the LPGA than on it) and of course Lorena recently passed Annika. But Ai-chan, Cristie, Jeong, Se Ri, and Mi Hyun are camped out between #7 and #11, and Seon-Hwa (#25), Natalie (#31), and Meena (#38) have actually moved backwards since the start of the season (even with her fine play in recent weeks, Ai-chan had a better weighted average at the start of the season).

So mid-May finds me saying about the same thing as I was saying in the final update to this early-April post. Ai-chan, Mi Hyun, and Se Ri have made moves in the right direction since then, and Lorena and Karrie continue to exceed my expectations, but the rest need to get hot as the weather heats up.


Anonymous said...

(roughly the $300K mark
Now if this doesn't illuminate the problem of the LPGA to attract attention. Sean O'Hair on one whole (the infamous 17th at Sawgrass) made a silly stupid mistake and lost $752,000) in prize money on that one shot (okay two, no,okay seven strokes to get it in the cup). He dropped from second to sixth on a single hole and lost more money than the women get for a year. This is so not right!!!!

The Constructivist said...

Well, Ochoa's made about that much so far and is on track to break the $2M mark for the second year in a row--but when Tiger and Phil and Vijay can each legitimately think about breaking the $10M mark this season, you know there's a huge imbalance there! This guy at Business Golf breaks down this chicken-and-egg problem, and seems to come to the same solution as me--blog about what too many people are missing. But seriously, I would love to see the feminists who rallied behind Martha Burks' quixotic quest to pressure Augusta into admitting a female member work to promote women's golf and pressure sponsors to pony up the prize money and networks to cover the LPGA! (And watch, enjoy, play, etc.)