Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Will the Rookie of the Year Race Finally Get Interesting?

Ji-Yai Shin leads Michelle Wie by almost a 2-1 ratio in the LPGA's Rookie of the Year race. But Wie is making more birdies (4.08 per round to 3.84) and averaging more top 10s (.385 to .313) than Shin. What she really needs to do is cut into that 2-0 deficit in wins. Can she do it? Can she make the ROY race interesting?

[Update 1 (8/26/09, 3:31 am): Oh, yeah. Classes start at Stanford September 21st. Wonder if Wie can sign up for a special independent study/travel abroad course of study so she can make the Asian swing!]

12 comments:

Matt Spence said...

I was surprised to see that Ji-Yai Shin is a rookie despite having won three tournaments, including a major and the ADT last year. What's impressive is that she did all that damage in just 10 starts in '08.

Still not sure I would classify her as a rookie, but it's not my call.

I would guess Michelle Wie will win an event before the end of the year, but don't know if that will be enough to close the gap.

The Constructivist said...

If the LPGA defined a rookie as someone who had never played an LPGA event before, then Shin, Wie, Stacy Lewis, and many others over the years would not have been eligible for any ROY races (as they played very limited schedules when they got sponsors invites or qualified for majors). The LPGA has well-defined criteria for membership; the 1st time a player meets them, that's her rookie season. Any other definition is senseless. You can rack up plenty of wins on other tours, but it takes a really special player like Shin to win on the LPGA as a non-member.

LPGA Fan said...

Remembering the 2007 ROY, Angela Park. "Happy Birthday". I miss you and anxious to see you return. Hope it's very, very soon.

courtgolf said...

If Michelle Wie gets the RotY award, there is something seriously wrong with the process. Questions would have to be asked about earning the award vs giving it to the media darling.

Unless Wie tears off a few wins between now and the end of the year, Shin is the RotY.

Jamie R. Saengsawang said...

No one is saying Wie should be handed the Rookie of Year, TC was just pondering if Wie had it in her to make it interesting. All he even said was can he cut the deficit, or make it interesting.

I was one of the naysayers saying that Jiyai shouldn't be classified as a rookie at the beginning of the year, but the more I thought about it, ROY is a pretty big honor, and I think it would've been a travesty for her not to have an opportunity to win it.

She probably should've been ROY last year over Yani Tseng though;

courtgolf said...

I see what you're saying, James, but the ONLY reason Wie is in the conversation RIGHT NOW is the hype.

The definition in the book is definitely convoluted. A Tour Rookie should be defined as a player who is playing with her card for the first time. It doesn't matter what she did without it.

I'm just surprised that she (Shin) wasn't given a card with full status when she won for the first time last year.

Rjay said...

I think Wie will get a win. She had a great start this year in Hawaii. Since then she has settled into life on the tour. She has shown steady improvement the last few months and her Solheim performance was top notch. It is just a matter of when for Wie.

She will not get ROY but she promises to be fun to watch for years to come.

Media darling? In the States she seems to be. But as Wie knows that is a double edge sword; she has felt both edges.

Any sport, that is not top tier, needs personalities and "media darlings" to grow the sport. The true fan sees the realities, let the hype attract the new fans.

Bottom line, Wie is a talent, she will provide many highlight reel moments. Shin will provide more of them, but we in North America won't see them as often.

The Constructivist said...

Dude, it's not the hype. I wouldn't be raising the question if I didn't think she could do it. Wie convinced me well before the Solheim Cup that she's got her head and game on track. Remember when she blew up on the back 9 in U.S. Women's Open qualifying? Well, she didn't panic and played very well on short, tight courses on tour the next few weeks. I thought Rich Harvest Farms would give her more trouble, so once again she exceeded my expectations. Her stats and results put her among the game's elite, and she hasn't even fully hit her stride yet (check out my rankings in the left sidebar).

I had a feeling about Miyazato at the start of this season and I was right. I'm getting the same feeling about Wie now.

Rjay said...

I agree with TC. Wie has the talent and there is enough play left for her to win ROY, or at to least make it interesting. I just think there is too much other talent that could come on at any time. Look at the amazing run Tseng had without winning. You can play incredibly well on this tour and keep coming in second or third against different golfers.

The Constructivist said...

If you're going to be one of the greats, you have to rise above that huge obstacle. Lorena is, and she hasn't been able to get over it for most of this season. Cristie Kerr might still become one, but she had 2 majors taken away from her. Paula Creamer is a better bet than Kerr in the long run, but she hasn't won yet this year. Seon Hwa Lee was averaging more than 1 win per year (which is rare), but still hasn't won this year, either. Check out my list of players who haven't won yet on the LPGA as members. That's a very impressive bunch. And the Class of 2011 may be truly scary. The bar is being raised for greatness by the minute on the LPGA.

courtgolf said...

You're still ignoring the facts of all but one tournament she has played this year.

She has started slow - blown up - then played hard on Sunday to climb up the leaderboard...but from so far back that she had no chance to win. No chance to win, but a solid finish. Everybody thinks she's wunnerful - and she doesn't have to answer questions about why she didn't win.

Until she figures out how to break through that pattern - or even if she wants to - she's going to be a top tenner and nothing more - except for her really big bank account.

I haven't said she CAN'T win - I just don't see it happening any time soon.

The Constructivist said...

You're copying and pasting old comments at other sites now, CG. I specifically referred to more recent tournaments than the lead she blew in Hawaii. Try harder!