Sunday, September 30, 2007

Super Soph Top 20: September 2007 Edition

With the Navistar Classic over, I have a little time left this month to update my May, June, July, and August Super Soph rankings. The main purpose of these rankings remains to determine who among the Rookie Class of 2006 has had the best career to date, with consistency and improvement the key criteria. Feel free to disagree in comments!

Top Super Sophs

1. Seon Hwa Lee: The Rookie of the Year regains her top spot. I really should have made this call last month, come to think of it. An uncharacteristic weak finish at the Navistar Classic kept her from matching Pressel's top 10 at the State Farm in early September, but the fact is Lee has been playing better than Pressel for quite some time now.
2. Morgan Pressel: She was lucky to make the cut at the Navistar, got a top 10 at the State Farm, and salvaged her Solheim Cup by beating Annika Sorenstam in singles. So all in all, not bad. But not good enough to keep the top spot.
3. Jee Young Lee: Looks like she's back from her shoulder injury. Pressel had better watch out--in my book, this Lee is the most likely to win down the stretch of all the Super Sophs.
4. Ai Miyazato: Blame the Mostly Harmless jinx. Or her hairdresser. She's in "whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger" territory now.
5. Julieta Granada: I take back what I said last month about having a chance to pass Miyazato this year--well, her only chance is to win a tournament. If she qualifies this year for the ADT Championship that she won last year, it'll be a miracle.

Certified Super Sophs

6. Brittany Lang: Better watch her back, as both Bae and Francella look to be getting their games back.
7. Kyeong Bae: Only question is if she can rack up enough top 10s to pass Lang this year. She missed a great chance at the Navistar.
8. Meaghan Francella: At least she came close to a top 10 at the Navistar, but close isn't good enough to even pass Bae.

Super Sophs in Waiting

9. Hye Jung Choi: Looks to be getting her game back--most likely to jump a category, in my opinion, if she could just figure out how to get more top 10s, top 3s, or win. The top 10 at the Navistar was a good start.
10. Karin Sjodin: Gutty 69 got her in on the cut line at the Navistar, but her lead on Yoo is shrinking.
11. Sun Young Yoo: Picking up her game at the end of the season well enough to guarantee her card for 2008, but a weak weekend at the Navistar kept her behind Sjodin.
12. Linda Wessberg: Great Solheim Cup showing, despite not getting much play, verifies my faith in her talent. T30 at the Navistar is nothing to write home about, but at least she got to play in it--she's an alternate at the Longs Drugs Challenge.
13. Teresa Lu: Getting healthy again and notched her 2nd career top 10 at the Navistar--enough to put her back in the "in waiting" category, with a good shot at passing Wessberg at the end of the season (assuming she's doing the Asian swing and Wessberg isn't).

Super Potential

14. Katie Futcher: Fighting to keep her card. Missing the cut at the Navistar did not help, but she is in the field at the Longs Drugs.
15. Kim Hall: Guaranteed to earn her card for 2008. Still needs to work on making cuts.
16. Nina Reis: One of many LET-bound players who will fall off or down the charts next year (especially if Blomqvist gets her card).
17. Minea Blomqvist: She's on the bubble for getting her card in 2008. Her T30 at the Navistar will help her cause, but not guarantee it--she's not in the field for the Longs Drugs and she's 90th on the money list after the Navistar. [Update 10/3/07: Whoops, she is in the field--good for her!]
18. Veronica Zorzi: May end the season with a career cut rate better than Ai-chan's, but given how badly she finishes in the few events she plays on the LPGA, she's LET-bound for 2008.
19. Virada Nirapathpongporn: Putting on a late charge but likely to be too little, too late to keep her card. Her heartbreaking Sunday at the Navistar won't make it any easier--in fact, she needs a top 5 finish at the Longs Drugs.
20. Na Ri Kim: Looks like Hoagland is going to be seeking some kind of medical exemption for the 2008 season, so Kim's position is safe this year, despite her continuing troubles on the course. However, she's practically guaranteed to lose her card, unless she can eke out a top 5 finish at the Longs Drugs.

For your reference--and mine--are the stats on which I'm basing the September ranking.

2007 LPGA Money List (rank), stroke average (compared to last year's), birdies per round average (compared to last year's), greens in regulation (compared to last year's): I'm going to focus on four key indicators of how well someone is playing this season--how much money they've made, how they're scoring, how many birdies they're averaging per round, and average greens in regulation per round. (I figure I can figure out how well they're hitting their irons and putting by comparing the last three figures, so I won't include putts per green in regulation here. And by comparing this year's and last's results on those same three figures, I can see who's improving and who's backsliding.) Some of the figures Hound Dog thinks are most important I'm looking at in the career stats (below), where I think they belong. These stats are all about the present and future, although this week they don't include the Navistar Classic's results.

1. Seon Hwa Lee, $913.7K (#6), 71.72 (+.42), 3.00 (-.46), 65.9% (-1.9%)
2. Morgan Pressel, $899.8K (#7), 71.06 (-.45), 3.47 (-.14), 68.1% (-2.9%)
3. Jee Young Lee, $862.3K (#8), 71.60 (+.14), 3.42 (-.47), 67.6% (-.5%)
4. Ai Miyazato, $753.7K (#12), 72.36 (+1.14), 2.98 (-.73), 57.5% (-10.8%)
5. Meaghan Francella, $449.8K (#27), 73.00 (-.75), 2.64 (?), 62.2% (?)
6. Julieta Granada, $376.5K (#33), 72.71 (+1.38), 2.50 (-.70), 62.1% (-5.9%)
7. Brittany Lang, $293.4K (#37), 73.19 (+1.84), 2.71 (-1.17), 64.4% (-5.0%)
8. Kyeong Bae, $275.0K (#40), 72.75 (+.42), 3.22 (+.18), 58.5% (-9.0%)
9. Hye Jung Choi, $224.6K (#47), 73.07 (+.17), 2.67 (?), 60.6% (?)
10. Karin Sjodin, $167.8K (#58), 73.53 (+.72), 2.72 (-.77), 61.8% (-6.3%)
11. Kim Hall, $127.9K (#69), 73.47 (-.27), 2.42 (-.10), 57.3% (-8.0%)
12. Linda Wessberg, $127.9K (#70), 73.16 (-4.34), 3.00 (?), 51.2% (?)
13. Teresa Lu, $108.6K (#77), 73.22 (+.33), 2.65 (-.26), 64.0% (-2.7%)
14. Sun Young Yoo, $103.2K (#80), 73.17 (+.64), 2.55 (-.41), 62.7% (-6.3%)
15. Katie Futcher, $78.9K (#89), 73.90 (+1.07), 2.58 (-.33), 60.7% (-7.1%)
16. Minea Blomqvist, $76.1K (#92), 74.11 (+1.07), 2.68 (+.01), 56.1% (-4.5%)
17. Nina Reis, $47.3K (#116), 73.71 (+.80), 2.81 (+.04), 58.6% (-7.4%)
18. Na Ri Kim, $44.0K (#119), 74.15 (-2.80), 2.46 (?), 62.0% (?)
19. Virada Nirapathpongporn, $34.7K (#129), 73.66 (+.22), 2.84 (+.47), 59.6% (-1.7%)
20. Ashley Hoagland, $31.2K (#130), 73.78 (+.90), 2.11 (?), 57.5% (?)

Career LPGA Money List (rank), LPGA Majors/Wins/Top 3s/Top 10s/Made/Missed Cuts Percentage (and totals): About the only thing these stats are useful for is comparing people who entered the LPGA in the same year. Between inflation, changing purses, and length/timing of careers, it's very hard to compare and contrast winnings across generations of LPGA greats. Fortunately the Super Sophs have not even been at this for two years, so the career money list is a decent stat for comparing their short careers, even if it's a bit unfair to people who were not exempt in either or both years. What would really be great is if we had a world money list in inflation-adjusted dollars, with inflation- and exchange-adjusted other cash denominations added in (or just totalled up separately to avoid comparing dollars and yen), which included all each golfer earned as a professional on any tour. But even the guys don't have that, so that'll have to remain a dream for now. I include these other ways of seeing how the Super Sophs finished relative to their competition in the tournaments they entered because they reveal a lot about how well someone is able to compete at every level, from just making cuts to getting top 10s, top 3s, and victories. So here's how they stand (with everything except money updated as of the Navistar Classic):

1. Julieta Granada, $2.01M (#78), 0/1/5/10/.745 (38/51)
2. Seon Hwa Lee, $1.83M (#88), 0/2/6/12/.960 (48/50)
3. Jee Young Lee, $1.44M (#111), 0/0/4/14/.953 (41/43)
4. Morgan Pressel, $1.36M (#116), 1/1/4/17/.909 (40/44)
5. Ai Miyazato, $1.29M (#123), 0/0/4/13/.825 (33/40)
6. Brittany Lang, $.83M (#183), 0/0/2/9/.673 (33/49)
7. Kyeong Bae, $.56M (#227), 0/0/2/6/.727 (32/44)
8. Meaghan Francella $.46M (#252), 0/1/1/4/.609 (14/23)
9. Sun Young Yoo, $.33M (#283), 0/0/0/2/.723 (34/47)
10. Karin Sjodin, $.29M (#302), 0/0/0/3/.615 (24/39)
11. Hye Jung Choi, $.24M (#335), 0/0/0/2/.652 (15/23)
12. Katie Futcher, $.20M (#350), 0/0/0/3/.590 (23/39)
13. Nina Reis, $.19M (#354), 0/0/0/2/.605 (26/43)
14. Teresa Lu, $.18M (#361), 0/0/0/2/.595 (22/37)
15. Virada Nirapathpongporn, $.18M (#369), 0/0/0/1/.514 (19/37)
16. Kim Hall, $.16M (#380), 0/0/0/1/.400 (12/30)
17. Minea Blomqvist, $.15M (#388), 0/0/0/0/.548 (17/31)
18. Linda Wessberg, $.13M (#406), 0/0/0/3/.583 (7/12)
19. Veronica Zorzi, $.09M (#450), 0/0/0/0/.813 (13/16)
20. Na Ri Kim, $.05M (#501), 0/0/0/0/.391 (9/23)
21. Ashley Hoagland, $.05M (#508), 0/0/0/0/.462 (6/13)

Other Career Measures: Rolex Ranking (as of 9/24/07) and rank, Golfweek/Sagarin Performance Index (as of 9/23/07) and rank, International (as of the end of the 2006 season) and Non-Member LPGA Wins: This is a way of seeing how those Super Sophs who sometimes or regularly or always compete on other tours stack up over the course of their careers to date (the RR includes results over the past 104 weeks on the LPGA, LET, JLPGA, KLPGA, and Futures Tour; the GSPI includes results over the past 52 weeks on all these tours except the KLPGA).

1. Morgan Pressel, 6.64 (#9), 70.38 (#6), 0
2. Jee Young Lee, 5.49 (#14), 70.33 (#5), 2
3. Ai Miyazato, 5.46 (#15), 71.05 (#23), 14
4. Seon Hwa Lee, 4.71 (#17), 70.94 (#21), 3
5. Julieta Granada, 3.63 (#32), 72.24 (#51), 0
6. Brittany Lang, 2.45 (#45), 72.97 (#81), 0
7. Meaghan Francella, 2.45 (#46), 72.46 (#57), 0
8. Linda Wessberg, 1.95 (#64), 72.74 (#68), 5
9. Kyeong Bae, 1.60 (#78), 72.54 (#61), 3
10. Karin Sjodin, 1.19 (#107), 73.22 (#99), 1
11. Veronica Zorzi, 1.05 (#123), 73.56 (#115), 2
12. Hye Jung Choi, 1.02 (#126), 72.76 (#69), 0
13. Sun Young Yoo, .93 (#140), 72.79 (#72), 0
14. Teresa Lu, .84 (#153), 73.74 (#139), 0
15. Minea Blomqvist, .83 (#156), 73.98 (#156), 5
16. Kim Hall, .77 (#165), 74.02 (#160), 0
17. Nina Reis, .66 (#193), 73.90 (#151), 5
18. Katie Futcher, .55 (#221), 73.74 (#140), 0
19. Virada Nirapathpongporn, .50 (#233), 74.54 (#210), 0
20. Na Ri Kim, .23 (#351), 74.47 (#201), 0

Heartbreak at Navistar Classic

No, I'm not talking about Lorena Ochoa falling short in her bid to win her fourth consecutive tournament at the Navistar Classic, or Stacy Prammanasudh failing to capitalize on her opportunity to win her second tournament of the year. They had their chances to win, but as Hound Dog describes the final-round action, they opened the door on the front and Maria Hjorth went out and closed it in their faces on the back. Disappointing, but not heartbreaking, especially given how good their years have been overall. Nor am I talking about people who had difficult weekends and plunged down the leaderboard, like Moira Dunn (78-78, +10, T72, $2,453), Kyeong Bae (77-76, +3, T47, $4,588), Christina Kim (75-74, E, T30, $11,277), or Sun Young Yoo (74-73, E, T30, $11,277). Frustrating, maddening, annoying, but not heartbreaking.

What I'm talking about is Virada Nirapathpongporn's Sunday. She was -9 at the start of the day and in a great position to snag a top 5 that would put her in great position to keep her card for 2008. So she starts with 7 straight bogeys and ends with 2 bogeys and a double bogey over her final 5 holes for an 82 that dropped her all the way back to +1 for the tournament (T30). Instead of making $50,000 or more, she had to settle for $8,713, which means she's going to have to double her winnings for the year over her last few events to have a chance to avoid Q-School. The good news for her is she'll likely be playing the entire Asian swing, so it's still possible for her to do it. But how do you bounce back from playing such a bad round just when it mattered most?

Nap Time

nap time.jpg

Saturday, September 29, 2007

bzzzzzz yum

matisse colors.jpg

Let Me Get This Straight

According to, the organizers of the Samsung World Championship have just changed their selection criteria to allow Annika Sorenstam to enter the tournament's elite 20-player field this year. Even though this solves a problem Mulligan Stu pointed out in early September, it opens up a new can of worms. Here's the money quote from the ESPN article:

In an effort to upgrade the event, tournament organizers decided to eliminate a criteria that has not been used in nine years--the option to offer an exemption to the U.S. Women's Amateur champion--and replace it with a spot for an active Hall of Famer.

Right now, there are 4 active Hall of Famers: Juli Inkster, Annika Sorenstam, Karrie Webb, and Se Ri Pak. I can see why this year they'd give Sorenstam the nod. In any case, there's a big problem for the future: the tournament organizers need to develop selection criteria for whom to invite if more than one active Hall of Famer fails to qualify by other means in a given year. Do you want to be the one to tell Juli Inkster why she wasn't selected?

Friday, September 28, 2007

Ouch. Just Ouch.

Well, Ai-chan finished the Navistar Classic 27 shots behind Stacy Prammanasudh and 12 or 13 shots outside the cut line (if it does go up to +2 again, a lot of struggling Super Sophs will make it), in probably her worst tournament as a professional. 'Nuff said.*

*That said, there are interesting story lines galore to follow this weekend. Can Prammanasudh snap Lorena Ochoa's 3-tournament winning streak, despite Ochoa's furious charge over her last few holes which kept her only 3 back? Will Christina Kim pass Nicole Castrale (who shot a 30 on the front today)? Can the 6 long-time or recently struggling Super Sophs playing great so far this week--Nirapathpongporn (-7), Bae (-6), Choi (-6), Francella (-5), Lu (-5 with four to play), and Yoo (-3)--stay ahead of their superstar peers Jee Young Lee (-3) and Seon Hwa Lee (-3)? Can Rookie of the Year-to-be Angela Park catch Jin Young Pak, the only rookie ahead of her in the tournament after the first two rounds?

Family Friday with the Ducks and Drakes

family outing.jpg

FYI: Family Friday at CitizenSE

Recently I've reimagined Citizen of Somewhere Else to make it possible to keep the blog going while I'm not on leave and to better represent the range of roles I play on and off the job. One of my favorite features is Family Friday. For those jonesing for onechan and imoto stories, the Dramatis Personae tag includes them all. They'll still be showing up here, of course. If I can ever keep from breaking the digital cameras we buy, I'll even be able to post some of Sparkychan and Gojochan's Adventures in ToddlerLand. But they'll also be there.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Ah, Well, Glad We Cleared That Up, Then

Apparently, the bangs-power guarantee had some fine print. I blame Ai-chan's hairdresser for her 79 today--3 fairways, 208 yards off the tee, 9 greens in regulation, and still 34 putts--is this girl hurt or something? Yikes! It'll take a Prammanasudh-like 63 tomorrow for her to even think about making the cut at the Navistar Classic. Good to see that the Mostly Harmless jinx remains in full effect. So I won't mention that Moira Dunn is in the top 10. But it is good to see that Jee Young Lee, Meaghan Francella, and Teresa Lu seem to be recovering well from their injuries, that Virada Nirapathpongporn got a hole in one on the way to a 67 (her low round of the year) and is only 1 shot behind Ochoa and 4 behind Prammanasudh, and that plenty of other people I like managed not to shoot themselves out of the tournament on its first day.

our infrastructure

how bush supports the troops he sent to iraq.jpg

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

New Haircut, New Attitude for Ai-chan!

You heard it here first: Ai Miyazato's new haircut will propel her to victory in the Navistar LPGA Classic this weekend, breaking Lorena Ochoa's winning streak and her recent slump in the same stroke! She's got a great starting time tomorrow, so look for her to rock the course despite its length. Do not question the power of the bangs.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Poetic Justice

So, speaking purely hypothetically, if a student on your campus were to have phoned in a bomb threat which turned out to be fake, and if you had the authority to offer the most fitting punishment (besides prosaic things like probable expulsion and felony), what would it be? I've been thinking putting him in charge of the campus committee devoted to evaluating emergency preparedness is too minor league. How about head of homeland security? We want something really really bad here, something that would deter aspiring Mad Bombers What Bomb at Midnight from calling in any fake bomb threats ever again.

Friday, September 21, 2007

pre-historic golf

For all you golfers and WAAGNFNP loyalists here's proof that prehistoric man played golf long before he watched TV:

hit it-square.jpg

And here he is, doin' the Tiger under the watchful eye of the ultimate ur-golfer:


Hardcore! Hardcore!

Why do I have Cartman's voice going through my head? It just occurred to me that I'm exactly the kind of golf fan all the golfy media are making fun of as the PGA heads into its Fall Series, the LPGA runs its last two full-field events, and pros everywhere are struggling to earn their exemptions for the 2008 season, either by money list or by Q-School. Mulligan Stu, clearly smarting from his runner-up finish in the first-ever Mostly Harmless Solheim Cup Blogger of the Year Award (or whatever I called it), is vying for Best-Ever LPGA Q-School Blogger.

Me, I'll stick to LPGA blogging--next week at the inaugural Navistar LPGA Classic, Ai-chan makes her no doubt soon-to-be-triumphant return to tournament golf (along with 14 other Super Sophs, Moira, half the U.S. Solheim Cup team and a few of the Europeans, and Lorena)! Until then, go Shigeki, go!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

What's the Opposite of "Ducky"?

OK, I may have finished the Harry Potter series before my dad, but he's going to to see the Turning Stone Championship with my mom tomorrow and maybe the next day, so I couldn't even gloat properly on the phone tonight. At least I got them to promise they'd follow Shigeki Maruyama for awhile, who's having the worst year of his professional career so far, in danger of losing his card, and fighting to make the cut or even break par on a course most everyone else seem to be tearing up. These guys really are quite good. Not that I've played Atunyote--it was built too recently and its green fees are too steep for me to even consider trying it until I've got my game back and my dad is in a mood for treating me--but considering that I used to struggle to break 80 on the easiest of the 3 Turning Stone courses and haven't yet broken 80 on the Peek'n'Peak Upper Course that's hosted a Nationwide Tour event the past several years, I think it's fair to say they play an entirely different game than me (or, rather, than I used to). Even Shigeki, still. I still remember being surprised at how short he was when I told him "Nice putt" after he birdied the 9th hole in the final round of the PGA Championship at Oak Hill. Of course, my mom got in a conversation with his wife at a different event, so all in all I'm feeling anything but ducky tonight.

At least I can do this. Top that, Tiger!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

"Sucks" rhymes with "ducks"

Quack quack quack quack:

3 ducks, only one in focus.jpg

PGA Event in My Old Backyard...

...and I'm too busy to go to it! Oh, and the only thing that's actually ironic about that is that I gave this post an irony label. Basically it just sucks.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Post-Solheim Cup Wrap-Up

The Mostly Harmless Award for best Solheim Cup Blogging has to go to Hound Dog. While Mulligan Stu gave us interesting and concise reports on results and occasional controversies (with looks back and ahead to bookend the series), Hound Dog gave those of us without the Golf Channel or the time to not-quite-live-blog every day's matches (surely there are a couple dozen people in the world in my shoes?) a great sense of how those matches played out in real-time, especially on the crucial final day, plus his preview and epilogue were most excellent. Honorable mentions go to Brigitte Nacos for pointing out what every LPGA fan has known for years to those who aren't LPGA fans, The Florida Masochist for raising a thornier question, and Golfgal for bringing her own unique perspective to Solheim Cup blogging.

Among the pros, Stina Sternberg was miles ahead of her competition. When you consider that her competition included The Golf Channel, which was covering the event on TV, that's saying something. Nice job, Stina!

Although I blogged over at Waggle Room on what turned out to be 7 ways of improving the Cup and discussed the idea over at Seoul Sisters back in August, the idea I now favor is actually quite simple: modify the annual Korea-Japan Kyoraku Cup in both format and timing to track the Solheim Cup; then, have the winning teams and losing teams of the two cups face off in the "off-year." Sure, the Europeans were scrappy in 2007, but I couldn't help wondering over the weekend how the USA would measure up against a Team Korea made up of Se Ri Pak, Mi Hyun Kim, Jeong Jang, Seon Hwa Lee, Jee Young Lee, Ji-Yai Shin, Hee-Won Han, Shi Hyun Ahn, Jimin Kang, Eun-Hee Ji, Sun-Ju Ahn, and Mi-Jeong Jeon, or against a Team Japan consisting of Ai Miyazato, Yuri Fudoh, Shiho Oyama, Momoko Ueda, Sakura Yokomine, Akiko Fukushima, Shinobu Moromizato, Akane Iijima, Miki Saiki, Miho Koga, Yui Kawahara, and Mie Nakata. My guess is not that well, particularly against the Koreans, whom I'd expect to beat the Japanese. In that case, I'd favor eventually turning the American team into an Americas team, opening the door for Lorena Ochoa, Angela Park, Julieta Granada, and others who don't happen to be eligible for even my proposed modified event to take part. (Although maybe starting an Americas vs. Pacific Solheim Cup-modelled event and figuring out how to incorporate them into the mix down the road is the way to go.)

My reasoning is that even the relatively short traditions of the Solheim and Kyoraku (formerly Pinx) Cups have lead to great matches and a big sense of anticipation among the players eligible to compete in them, so it would be a fairly big loss to do away with them or modify them in a significant way. In my model, earning your spot on a team in the odd-numbered years would make you eligible to play for two years in a row. Captain's picks would be much easier if we had the even-numbered years to help settle the question of who's a great match play competitor. Sure, at first, the even-numbered-year event might not draw as much attention from the players or the media, but I think it would catch on quickly. After all, playing for world bragging rights and getting the four teams together every other year would make for great drama.

So in my perfect world the Kyoraku Cup would join the Solheim Cup in odd-numbered years, and the (say) HSBC Cup (to join their match- and stroke-play world events) would be created for the even-numbered years. The earliest this could begin is 2010, so let's get cracking on it, people! Gambare!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Take Your Blog to the Course III: Solheim Cup Edition

The Solheim Cup is the Ryder Cup of women's professional golf, a team match-play showdown between the top American and European players over the previous two years. Even though I'm surprised and disappointed Christina Kim was not a captain's pick for the U.S. side, and even though I think there are many ways of improving the event, the third Mostly Harmless Take Your Blog to the Course Event must go on. After all, our first was the U.S. Women's Open and second was the LPGA's European swing, so it's only fitting our third combines aspects of both. As before, I'll post here the no doubt vast number of submissions I'll be receiving at the[underscore]constructivist18[at]yahoo[dot]com between today and September 16th.

September 16
I thought it would be down to the wire, but the U.S. team rumbled to a 16-12 win over Europe, despite being down by a point heading into the singles matches.

September 15
Lots going on today--only time enough for a link-fest and look ahead.

September 14
Some first-day not-quite-live-blogging.

September 12
A little Solheim Cup link-fest for ya. And a preview from Hound Dog's LPGA Blog.



Solheim Cup 2007: Down to the Wire

The only nice thing about Saturday's four-ball matches finishing out this morning is that it gives you a good sense of how well people are playing on Sunday.

Paula Creamer is carrying Brittany Lincicome on the back, just as Lincicome carried her on the front--even though they're -4 through 17, their bogey on the 17th allowed Maria Hjorth and Linda Wessberg to pull all square heading into a final hole that has not treated the Americans kindly. This match has turned into a preview of the upcoming Hjorth-Creamer showdown, as Hjorth has been carrying Wessberg (not that she's been playing badly--quite the contrary) on the back.

In the Juli Inkster-Stacy Prammanasudh vs. Trish Johnson-Iben Tinning match, it's been Stacy vs. Iben, which should give both of the relative youngsters confidence heading into their singles matches against Pettersen and Inkster. At the moment, though, what matters is that this is the only match the Americans are leading--1-up through 16.

The lack of fireworks from Natalie Gulbis and Nicole Castrale has to be a concern for captain Betsy King--Gulbis has lost her two matches thus far, and is in danger of losing a third, as they are 1-down to Laura Davies and Becky Brewerton with the same two holes left to play on which the Englishwomen collapsed on Friday. Will history repeat, or will they redeem themselves?

The battle of the big names is looking very bad for the Americans--Annika Sorenstam and Suzann Pettersen are 3-up on Cristie Kerr and Morgan Pressel with three holes to go. Can Kerr help fashion another unexpected comeback, or will she fall short again, just as she did with Castrale on Saturday?

Stay tuned!

[Update 1 (4:09 am): Well, the first match ended at all square. Heading into it, with Creamer and Hjorth playing well and Wessberg and Lincicome x-factors, I would have called it a toss-up, and that's what it turned out to be. USA 7, Europe 6. Match 2 is all square, too, headed into 18. Blame Tinning's birdie on 17.]

[Update 2 (4:13 am): Sorenstam and Pettersen just closed out their 3 & 2 victory over Kerr and Pressel. The #1 Super Soph's only hope of keeping her first Solheim Cup from being a nightmare will be taking down Sorenstam in singles. Meanwhile, Kerr will be fighting for her reputation as a leader among the Americans as she'll face Wessberg, who played well in her first Solheim Cup match. USA 7, Europe 7.]

[Update 3 (4:20 am): Gulbis and Castrale will need a great 18th to even halve their match with Davies and Brewerton, who are showing no signs of collapsing. Match 2 is taking a long time to finish the 18th--must be dramatic. In the end it was matching pars for Tinning and Inkster to deny the U.S. that point they really needed. Preview of the late morning? USA 7.5, Europe 7.5.]

[Update 4 (4:32 am): It's been Brewerton vs. Castrale in the last match on the course, which should give the former some confidence in her showdown with Steinhauer and the latter confidence against fellow Solheim Cup rookie Bettina Hauert. With Lincicome playing well in her four-ball match, Davies might be in for a bigger fight than I anticipated last night. And if the Solheim Cup comes down to the final Gulbis-Nocera match, well, Natalie has just as big a shot for redemption as does Morgan. Wow, Davies just sent a message with her birdie on 18 for the 2-up win. Europe 8.5, USA 7.5. Is it too early to start calling friends about borrowing their Golf Channel feed this morning?]

[Update 5 (4:44 am): As this is Mostly Harmless's 300th post, I'll keep it going rather than start a new one for the singles matches....]

[Update 6 (11:24 am): USA 16, Europe 12. Click on the names for the hole-by-hole results. I don't have time to now, but will later today or tonight. I'll tell you one thing: I didn't expect it to be this much of a blowout!]

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Solheim Cup Saturday Link-Fest and Commentary

For the most comprehensive and spiciest Solheim Cup Saturday article, head over to Golfweek and check out Eddie Pells' piece--certainly better than the other AP article floating around the golfy media. Stina Sternberg's blogging for Golf for Women certainly outdoes Kelli Anderson's reporting for Sports Illustrated/ Hound Dog had more bite in his morning post than his afternoon one. Mulligan Stu uncharacteristically missed the release of the singles match-ups in his afternoon post--it's a rare day when the AP scoops him, but then it's a rare day when the wind delays play for two hours. He shouldn't feel too bad, though--the AP only listed the first 10 matches! Typical: too lazy to check

So, with the U.S. up 6.5-5.5 after the morning matches but down by 1 hole in 3 of the 4 afternoon matches that will finish their last 5-9 holes beginning at 7:35 am Swedish time, here's what the Sunday singles showdown matches will look like (with my assessments, based on how people have been playing coming into and during the event):

Laura Diaz vs. Catriona Matthew (slight advantage: Europe)
Pat Hurst vs. Sophie Gustafson (big advantage: Europe)
Stacy Prammanasudh vs. Suzann Pettersen (big advantage: Europe)
Juli Inkster vs. Iben Tinning (big advantage: USA)
Sherri Steinhauer vs. Becky Brewerton (big advantage: USA)
Angela Stanford vs. Trish Johnson (big advantage: USA)
Morgan Pressel vs. Annika Sorenstam (slight advantage: Europe)
Brittany Lincicome vs. Laura Davies (slight advantage: Europe)
Nicole Castrale vs. Bettina Hauert (toss-up)
Paula Creamer vs. Maria Hjorth (toss-up)
Cristie Kerr vs. Linda Wessberg (slight advantage: USA)
Natalie Gulbis vs. Gwladys Nocera (toss-up)

In short, it could well come down to the last four matches of the event, which would make for some dramatic tv. Now to figure out who among my friends gets the Golf Channel and will let me take over their tv on an NFL Sunday.

Friday, September 14, 2007

First-Day Action at the Solheim Cup

Well, they're off! Thanks to the wonders of teh intertubes, you can follow the action from both a European and American webby perspective. In between watching numbers on these screens slowly change, you should definitely be checking out the Solheim Cup pages I link to on the TYBttC III main page--lots of interviews, photo galleries, videos, stats, news feeds, and more.

[Update 1 (5:15 am): With the weather as bad as it is, scores are fairly high in the morning foursomes matches. Playing alternate shots, the first match of Suzann Pettersen and Sophie Gustafson against Pat Hurst and Cristie Kerr has featured only three birdies in the first 12 holes. Each team is +2 through 12, but the Americans have a one-up lead (down from 2-up after 2 holes and from the 8th through the 10th). Sherri Steinhauer and Laura Diaz saw their 2-up lead on Annika Sorenstam and Catriona Matthew after 6 holes diminish to all square after 10, but a birdie on 11 (only their 2nd of the day against 4 bogeys) got them back to 1-up. The third match also has the Americans 1-up through the 11th hole, but Juli Inkster and Paula Creamer have matched Laura Davies and Becky Brewerton birdie for birdie--each team has made 3 thus far. By contrast, nobody has made a birdie in the Gwladys Nocera/Maria Hjorth vs. Natalie Gulbis/Morgan Pressel match; the Europeans are 2-up through 10, thanks to two fewer bogeys than the Americans' 3.]

[Update 2 (5:28 am): Stupid Mostly Harmless jinx! Right after praising Inkster and Creamer for their great play in tough conditions, they go and let Davies and Brewerton win the 12th with a bogey--back to all square. At least Steinhauer and Diaz are 2-up through 13 and Gulbis and Pressel are only 1-down through 11 now....]

[Update 3 (5:35 am): You didn't hear it here that Steinhauer and Diaz have birdied 3 of their last 4 holes.]

[Update 4 (6:05 am): Make that four of their last six. Destroying Sorenstam and Matthew 4 & 2 is a great start for the U.S.! But Hurst-Kerr and Inkster-Creamer giving up 2-up leads is not good. Still, they're all square with one left to play for the former and 3 for the latter. Gulbis and Pressel are 2-down with 4 to play, though....]

[Update 5 (6:30 am): OK, Inkster and Creamer got a great 2-up win in the end, thanks to solid play and a collapse by their English opponents over the final two holes. It's a bit disappointing that Hurst and Kerr could only tie their match, but heading into it they were big-time underdogs to Pettersen and Gustafson (what with Hurst playing terribly and Kerr having putting problems in the preceding month), so I'm not that down about it. Looks like Gulbis and Pressel are going to get waxed about as badly as Sorenstam and Matthew did--they're 3-down with 3 to play, but if they could pull out a half it would be a great start for the Americans. It'll be interesting to see who's playing in the 4-balls in the afternoon. Too bad I won't be able to not-quite-live-blog them.]

[Update 6 (7:12 pm): Here's Hound Dog's reactions to the morning matches and the afternoon pairings. Guess the weather wasn't as bad in the am as I expected--maybe someday I'll be able to afford cable and pay extra for the Golf Channel so I won't have to guess at these things. And here's Mulligan Stu on the morning and afternoon matches. I think it was a great day for the Americans. Although it could have been better (where was Brittany Lincicome's game?)--the Americans ended up with halves after building a few 2-up leads--most of those were in matches they were underdogs in on paper. Although Stanford and Prammanasudh must be disappointed to halve Sorenstam and Hjorth in the afternoon, stopping one of the world's best and one of the world's hottest golfers from getting a full point is a big deal. Same goes for the Hurst-Kerr half in the morning. The only one that really has to hurt is the Creamer-Pressel half with Johnson and Davies--as Mulligan Stu describes it, particularly. Looking ahead to the morning, the Inkster-Creamer vs. Petterson-Gustafson match looks great. If Castrale and Kerr can hold off Sorenstam and Matthew with at least a half, the Americans' chances for an even better Saturday are very high. I strongly disagree with Alfredsson's decision not to play Wessberg yet--as I've argued several times in my Super Soph rankings, she is a star in the making. And while I agree with benching Lincicome, I'm a little puzzled as to why Hurst gets the nod over Pressel in the morning. Against my emotions, I have to agree that Castrale played her way into the morning match. She was spectacular against Gustafson and Nocera in the afternoon.]

[Update 7 (9/15/07, 1:11 am): Only thing I can figure with playing Hurst in the first three in a row (besides proven-veteran syndrome) is that King is hoping to build a big enough lead Saturday morning to rest her in the afternoon. We'll see how the ball bounces.... Well, not me for a while. I probably won't be checking back in until the evening.]

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Solheim Link-Fest

No time to do my own Solheim Cup blogging yet, but that doesn't stop me from linking to the following quality posts:

Happy reading!

[Update 1 (9/14/07, 5:30 am): Looks like the Golf for Women blog finally starting getting in the act after I posted this on Wednesday. And it's worth the wait. Go there now and read Stina Sternberg's posts!]

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Meet Carrie Mi

Yet another immortal addition to the pantheon of imaginary people in onechan's and my lives. Her origin story? Basically, she's my strategy for dealing with onechan's desire to be picked up and carried, which manifests itself all too often with cries of "Carry me!" Instead of ignoring her, telling her no for the millionth time, or getting frustrated that she's asking me again, I simply reply, "Carrie Mi? Where is she?! I want to get her autograph!" Usually onechan gets the joke and plays along, as in "Over there, inside that building!" For cases when she doesn't, the tsuma invented Karrie Yoo and Keri Hu. Now onechan has a trio of friends, one Taiwanese, one Korean, and one mainland Chinese, to distract her from wanting to be carried. And for me to use for other purposes. Right now, the three are really good kid golfers, but they could become good artists, or math students, or whatever I need at the right time....

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Onechan on Time, Rain, Teasing, and Joking

Somehow when I blog about the family at Citizen of Somewhere Else it's been very dark and tortured (for the me that is now, at least). But it's not like there hasn't been cuteness in Dunkirk. Here are some of the things onechan's been saying lately that have cracked the tsuma and I up.

  • "I was teasing you, dad!" [Where did she learn that verb? We never taught it to her!]
  • "I'm joking, dad!" [Not always after an attempt at humor, but still....]
  • "I can't go to sleep! I'm afraid of the rain!" [This after seeing a weather forecast with thunderstorms in our immediate future. This actually wasn't that funny, as it's probably residue of typhoon trauma, but hearing me trying to explain 40% probability probably was.]
  • What was it like when you first met dad, mom?" [This inspired by a trip to my barbershop; while we were waiting for my turn on the chair, she saw a very old photo of downtown Fredonia and pictures of the current barber cutting the hair of a toddler nephew in the same pose as an older photo as his dad cutting his hair. Somehow the discussion we've had many times before--"before Maya was born? before I was born? before you were born? before grandpa was born?"--sunk in this time. Quite a jump from "I want to be a baby again!" and "I want a big sister!"

Thursday, September 6, 2007

R.I.P. Luciano Pavarotti

The man could sang:

"Listen" to him "sing" into the silence at the end.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Value (Meals)

At a diner on the rez to the north of us on Labor Day, the tsuma, onechan, imoto, and I were able to finish exactly half of the two pancake meals we ordered (one with ham and eggs on the side, one without), knowing how huge and heavy the pancakes at that place were. We spent just under $9 and still haven't finished the leftovers.

At a cheap bento place across the street from us in Fukuoka, we used to spend about the same amount of money to feed all four of us at lunchtime. Rather than just three kinds of foods, we usually got 3-5 different kinds of meats/fish, 5-7 different kinds of vegetables, and 2-4 different kinds of carb-laden things. So the volume of food was much less, but the variety of tastes and nutrients was much higher.

Perhaps this explains why we felt heavy in Japan and feel thin in the U.S.?

Monday, September 3, 2007

Now, That's a Jinx

From the State Farm Classic final interview page: "Japan's Ai Miyazato withdrew during Sunday's final round, and a reason was not cited." Mi Hyun Kim just missed the top 10. Moira Dunn did make the top 30 and about $11.1K, putting her over the $100K mark on the season, but that's probably not enough to guarantee she'll get her card for 2008. Oh, and Christina Kim's late charge was not enough to beat Sherri Steinhauer, who matched her miracle putt for miracle putt. Reads like a fantastic finish, maybe the best of the season--too bad I missed it.

On the bright side, onechan recovered quickly from her stomach woes and her first flower girl experience was a blast! So far the Mostly Harmless jinx seems limited to golf.

[Update 1 (am): When you have Hound Dog giving you the final-round key play-by-play better than any of the lazy AP golf writers who get assigned to LPGA events, it's pretty clear the jinx doesn't extend to blogging, either.]

[Update 2 (pm): What can I say? At least Phil beat Tiger on a Monday? Why does the PGA's best finish of the year have to happen the same week as the LPGA's, though?]

[Update 3 (pm): Mulligan Stu reports at Waggle Room on the reason for Ai-chan's WD--now he's got me wondering if it's possible for her to have caught a stomach bug from us over the computer....]

Saturday, September 1, 2007

No Comment

That Mostly Harmless jinx is pretty powerful. Not only is it hurting my three favorite golfers at the State Farm Classic, it's also given everyone in the Constructivist household (except imoto, thankfully) a bad stomach bug--or maybe just food poisoning. Either that, or my posts on imoto and onechan over at CitizenSE this week have literally worried us sick....

The state of the union

By order of King George:

by decree of king george.jpg

The Bush Rules:

Bush Rules.jpg

Hi! Onechan

My name's Geoffrey, Geoffrey Gee Hogg, at'cher service.

I used to teach Sparkychan and Gojochan about art and adventure and tunnels and stuff. I sure miss them, they were such good students.

gallery owner.jpg

So how are they doing? And you? What about Imoto?

Gotta' go now. Gotta retrieve some golf balls. Tell you dad that The Golden Groundhog has secret tunnels into every golf course in the world and has been um err appropriating golf balls since the beginning of time. Why the core of the earth is just one big golf ball.