So who's playing in the SBS Open to kick off the 2009 LPGA season instead of continuing the ALPG/LET's Down Under swing? Let's put it this way: with #230 on the priority list Haeji Kang the 1st alternate, only 15 players won't have a chance to tee it up next Thursday (unless we get some late WDs).
I wonder if Kang and 2nd alternate Tania Elosegui will decide to stay in Australia like Karrie Webb, Laura Davies, Katherine Hull, Sarah Kemp, Diana D'Alessio, and Smriti Mehra, or if they'll join Ji-Yai Shin, Ya Ni Tseng, Ai Miyazato, Wendy Doolan, Lorie Kane, Linda Wessberg, Anna Rawson, Sarah Jane Smith (formerly Kenyon), Beth Bader, Mollie Fankhauser, and sponsor exemption Hee Kyung Seo (Ha Neul Kim is the other--SBS is a Korean company, after all) on the flight to Hawaii. (Actually, Fankhauser is registered for both events, so she'll have a choice to make, too. Hope she lets Kang know her plans soon!) I guess Ashleigh Simon's back problems are pretty serious--she WDed from both the ANZ Ladies Masters and Women's Australian Open and isn't listed in the SBS field, either. Nor is Inbee Park, who pulled out of the Australian Swing herself.
Everyone else is either coming off the SunCoast Series--including 2-time winner Johanna Mundy (formerly Head)--or starting from scratch. Look for my preview next week!
[Update 1 (5:02 am): Going through my actual and projected top 30s, I noticed that a number of top players are making like Lorena Ochoa and skipping Hawaii, such as Seon Hwa Lee, Mi Hyun Kim, Jeong Jang, Song-Hee Kim, Ji Young Oh, Helen Alfredsson, and Karen Stupples. Would love to hear why!]
[Update 2 (11:49 am): Yes, it's great news about the Phoenix event, but can't the LPGA walk and chew gum at the same time?]