Monday, December 17, 2007

Shin 10, Sorenstam 1; JLPGA 38, LPGA 33

OK, one more golf post for 2007.

Congrats to Ji-Yai Shin, who won her 10th KLPGA event in 2007 this weekend, and to Annika Sorenstam, who won her 1st LET event, a title defense in Dubai. The big question for me is, who will have a better 2008? Even though Shin is staying on the KLPGA to add the career victory record to her single-season mark, she'll be playing in all the majors and events in Asia, as will Sorenstam, so we'll be able to make some head-to-head comparisons. Given how the Rolex Rankings have been tweaked to reflect the greater strength of field in LPGA events, it'll be tough for Shin to pass a healthy Sorenstam there, but still possible. Come 2009, when Shin will be playing the LPGA full-time--either by winning an LPGA event in 2008 or by winning Q-School--we'll finally be able to see how good she really is.

Oh, and JLPGA star Mi-Jeong Jeon has posted the 2008 JLPGA schedule over at the Seoul Sisters discussion forum. I count 38 non-team events--5 more than on the LPGA's 2008 schedule! This adds some perspective to Mulligan Stu's reflections on the future of the LPGA and Futures Tours. What kind of perspective? That will have to wait for 2008!

[Update 2/9/08: Eric reports in the (sob) last-ever issue of Seoul Sisters that this win for Shin will count as her first of 2008.]


spyder said...

The big question for me is, who will have a better 2008?

After watching Tiger over the weekend, and thinking back to when he had knee surgery, his own hip problems, then his father dying; that would have made even most Pros tend to pull back and not push further ahead. Tiger is now perhaps better than ever, especially with the mental game. And therein lies the advantage for Annika. She is mentally tough, and has proven that to herself, and to the other pros on tour, for several years. Until Shin is on the LPGA regularly, one can't really begin to compare the two (same courses, same general conditions, same competitive field strengths) for many years. I would think that Lorena would still have a tough time with a healthy and revitalized Annika on tour week after week. The men sure can't handle Tiger.

The Constructivist said...

There's no doubt in my mind Annika will be back in contention regularly in '08, but I don't think she's going to attain a Tiger-esque dominance on the LPGA ever again. It's not just Ochoa, it's anyone in the top 20 or so who can step up every week (and everyone in the top 50 who might step up any given week). What is likely to distinguish Ochoa and Sorenstam is their consistency--even when their games are slightly off, they'll still be within reach of the lead week in and week out. Whether Creamer, Pettersen, MH Kim, JY Lee, SH Lee, Pressel, Kerr, and the other top players will be able to play at that level for the majority of the season is an interesting question. But they don't have to to make it hard for Ochoa and Sorenstam to stay ahead of the pack....

spyder said...

I constantly marvel at those like Ochoa and Sorenstam (and Tiger) who can take their sports to that next level of mastery and greatness. You watch so many around them who have the skills and the talent, but somehow they just can't put it together into package that has consistency and longevity as well as the brilliance.

I see it in the music business all the time. There are all sorts of acts and players that are extremely talented and popular, and yet they can tell you who they revere as the real masters and true legends. The separation is palpable and clear once you experience it. In some ways i think that is what makes it hard for the LPGA "pack;" they too know that Lorena and Annika are masters and legends, and that fixes in their minds (like nearly all of the PGA players feel about Tiger).

I got to see Tiger play one round at Pebble Beach and it was stunning. I would love to be able to have the same experience with Lorena and Annika; watching their concentration, their patience, their course management.