Friday, December 21, 2007

Paging Ron Sirak...

[This one's for your "he gets paid to write, I get paid to grade and comment" files.]

Nice piece on Tiger and Annika's recent wins, but I think someone needs to give your copy editors and fact checkers a holiday bonus, b/c they're letting you down when it comes to the LPGA.

Meanwhile, Morgan Pressel, Paula Creamer, Natalie Gulbis, Brittany Lincicome, Meaghan Francella and Nicole Castrale all won this year, indicating the United States has produced a twenty-something pool of talent to replace the disappointing the thirty-something group of Americans.

Good point, but did you know that Stacy Prammanasudh is American--maybe the #4 American right now? And Cristie Kerr ain't exactly chopped liver, although I suppose it's fair to assume you're talking about other 30-somethings.

Throw in the plethora of talent from Asia--Jee Young Lee, Ji-AiYai Shin, Ai Miyazato and others--and the LPGA has its best depth since the heyday of Betsy King, Patty Sheehan, Amy Alcott, Beth Daniel, Dottie Pepper, Nancy Lopez, Meg Mallon and Juli Inkster, who remains one of the 10 best players in the women's game. Add the crafty veterans like Karrie Webb, Se Ri Pak, Sherrie Steinhauer and Pat Hurst and it will be much more difficult for Sorenstam to dominate than it was when she won 43 of 104 LPGA starts from 2001 through 2005.

Again, a nice point, and a nice smack-down of Doug Ferguson, but the devil's in the details, like adding Laura Davies and Catriona Matthew onto the "crafty veterans" list, putting Inkster, Webb, and Pak into a Hall of Famers list of their own, realizing that Ji-Yai Shin plans to join the LPGA in 2009, that Ai Miyazato is in a post-HSBC slump, and that any list of non-HOF Asian contenders therefore has to start with Mi Hyun Kim and include Jeong Jang, Seon Hwa Lee, Angela Park, and new mom Hee-Won Han.

Fairways and greens has always been the strategy employed by Sorenstam. We will see more of that from her in 2008, but we might also see something new. The talent on the LPGA might provoke Sorenstam to play a little more aggressively. "I used to be able to shoot 68 and win," she said this year at the British Open. "Now so many players are going low." That realization could very well mean we will see Sorenstam attack a lot more pins next year.

Nice quote. Of course Annika is exaggerating--regularly going -12 or -16 in 3- or 4-round events respectively would have gotten her 15 wins and 2 playoffs in 2007, and given her a great shot at winning the match-play HSBC--but if you rephrase her point into something like "cruising along for the most part around 70 and hoping to pass people just by going a little more under for a round or two won't cut it anymore on the LPGA," you have a decent way of framing her overstatement.

Looking for improvement in your LPGA writing in '08. I'm sure you have it in you! Have a great break and a happy holidays!

[Back to grading!]

[Update 1/7/08: The Florida Masochist caught a few more mistakes in Sirak's piece!]


The Constructivist said...

Waggle Roomed this!

spyder said...

Of course Annika is exaggerating--regularly going -12 or -16 in 3- or 4-round events respectively would have gotten her 15 wins and 2 playoffs in 2007,

Well other than the fact it was kind of hard for her to play any quality golf in most of 2007. Now if she was making her comment (most likely) regarding the period of time between 2001 and 2005, then her near casual swagger would have lent credence to it all; a rounds or two of 68 each week would have translated to some fine paychecks.

One can only hope that your promotion of Ji-Yai Shin for 2009 is better grounded in some prognosticated reality than all those who were so sure Michelle would be the dominate player of her era!

The Constructivist said...

Let's see, Michelle won one amateur tournament years ago. Shin won 10 on the KLPGA this year alone and will break the career victory mark next year. That said, she could have more of an Ai-chan start to her LPGA career than a Se Ri Pak-style kickoff. Only time will tell!

And don't count Michelle out. Just read she's planning to concentrate on the LPGA in '08 (as many events as she can get in, that is). Sure, she has a long way to go to even become competitive again, much less dominant.