Tuesday, October 21, 2008

LPGA Break Points, 2000-2008

Between the end of the LPGA's regular season this past weekend and their new eligibility criteria for next season, I've been curious whether we can quantify an increase in competition on tour and look ahead to what the 2009 rookies will need to shoot for. Drawing on the history of total annual purses and the official money lists this decade, here are some stats to consider.

2000 ($38.5M, 41 events)
1. Karrie Webb $1.88M
2. Annika Sorenstam $1.40M
5. Lorie Kane $929.2K
10. Michele Redman $585.7K
20. Charlotta Sorenstam $421.7K
30. Wendy Doolan $295.3K
50. Maria Hjorth $181.9K (.472% of the total purse)
80. Karen Weiss $105.7K (.275%)
100. Helen Dobson $78.1K
125. Suzanne Strudwick $53.0K

2001 ($43.5M, 40 events)
1. Annika Sorenstam $2.11M
2. Se Ri Pak $1.62M
5. Maria Hjorth $848.2K
10. Catriona Matthew $728.0K
20. Kelly Robbins $483.7K
30. Betsy King $358.8K
50. Kate Golden $223.9K (.515% of the total purse)
80. Kristal Parker $109.7K (.252%)
100. Terry-Jo Myers $64.4K
125. Johanna Head $36.2K

2002 ($38.9M, 35 events)
1. Annika Sorenstam $2.86M
2. Se Ri Pak $1.72M
5. Karrie Webb $1.01M
10. Rosie Jones $722.4K
20. Meg Mallon $463.7K
30. Jennifer Rosales $342.9K
50. Jackie Gallagher-Smith $187.2K (.481% of the total purse)
80. Becky Morgan $102.3K (.263%)
100. Jenny Lidback $61.6K
125. Mitzi Edge $37.3K

2003 ($40.5M, 34 events)
1. Annika Sorenstam $2.03M
2. Se Ri Pak $1.61M
5. Juli Inkster $1.03M
10. Rosie Jones $808.8K
20. Mi Hyun Kim $511.2K
30. Heather Bowie $398.7K
50. Donna Andrews $211.2K (.521% of the total purse)
80. Deb Richard $86.8K (.214%)
100. Terry-Jo Myers $64.5K
125. Mardi Lunn $36.2K

2004 ($42.9M, 33 events)
1. Annika Sorenstam $2.54M
2. Grace Park $1.53M
5. Cristie Kerr $1.19M
10. Jennifer Rosales $693.6K
20. Carin Koch $568.4K
30. Beth Daniel $419.6K
50. Jill McGill $238.2K (.555% of the total purse)
80. Silvia Cavalleri $123.7K (.288%)
100. Beth Bauer $78.6K
125. Danielle Ammaccapane $42.6K

2005 ($45.1M, 33 events)
1. Annika Sorenstam $2.59M
2. Paula Creamer $1.53M
5. Jeong Jang $1.13M
10. Catriona Matthew $776.9K
20. Rosie Jones $615.5K
30. Karine Icher $452.0K
50. Joo Mi Kim $246.3K (.546% of the total purse)
80. Dawn Coe-Jones $102.4K (.227%)
100. Lee Ann Walker-Cooper $64.8K
125. Shani Waugh $37.9K

2006 ($51.9M, 35 events)
1. Lorena Ochoa $2.59M
2. Karrie Webb $2.09K
5. Cristie Kerr $1.58M
10. Pat Hurst $1.13M
20. Jee Young Lee $575.1K
30. Karine Icher $392.8K
50. Nancy Scranton $274.3K (.529% of the total purse)
80. Soo Young Moon $116.5K (.224%)
100. Yu Ping Ling $74.6K
125. Meredith Duncan $42.8K

2007 ($54.8M, 35 events)
1. Lorena Ochoa $4.36M
2. Suzann Pettersen $1.80M
5. Seon Hwa Lee $1.10M
10. Jee Young Lee $966.3K
20. Sarah Lee $713.1K
30. Sophie Gustafson $469.7K
50. Mhairi McKay $265.1K (.484% of the total purse)
80. Young Jo $117.1K (.214%)
100. Johanna Head $74.2K
125. Na Ri Kim $44.0K

2008 ($60.3M, 29 of 34 events played thus far)
1. Lorena Ochoa $2.74M
2. Paula Creamer $1.76M
5. Helen Alfredsson $1.13M
10. Na Yeon Choi $1.02M
20. In-Kyung Kim $680.1K
30. Sophie Gustafson $545.9K
50. Jin Joo Hong $306.5K
80. Wendy Doolan $137.5K (.228% of the total purse)
100. Julieta Granada $101.1K
125. Young-A Yang $68.8K

While Wendy Doolan has made significantly more than her predecessors, her percentage of the total purse remains fairly low compared to the peak years early in the decade. This suggests that the top 50 players are eating up more of the pie and that less is left over for the rest of the membership. It's too soon to tell for this season, as everyone in it has more opportunites to make significantly more money on the Asian Swing, in Lorena's invitational, and perhaps even in the ADT Championship, but Jin Joo Hong is not only the 1st player to break the $300K barrier, but also is on pace to consume close to the peak portions of the LPGA pie for a player at #50 on the money list this decade (.508% already).

I'll update the 2008 figures at the end of the season to get a better sense of how the top 30, 20, 10, and 5 breakpoints have changed over the course of the decade. Anything that jumps out at you about these numbers?


Hound Dog said...

The percentages-of-total-purse method works pretty good but at least one outside factor comes to mind. The increase in limited-field events over the last few years certainly limits the amount of cash players in the 50 or 80 range can earn. Not sure how to adjust for that.

The Constructivist said...

So we should then see the percentage of winnings from the top 30 go up the last few years, relative to top 50 and below, eh?

We'll see! If it's not going up as much we'd expect, we ought to conclude that the talent pool is getting deeper on the LPGA, right?