Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Paging Steve Elling...Yet Again

My old buddy Steve Elling is at it again in his Up & Down column this week. Sure, he makes some good points about Carolyn Bivens's good points and accurately identifies Ji-Yai Shin as the front-runner for both Rookie of the Year and Player of the Year, but then he takes a swipe at both Ai Miyazato and Na Yeon Choi:

Aye, aye, Ai
Just when it appeared that Ai Miyazato was poised for the breakout season that everybody was expecting, oh, about four seasons ago, she went for a swim along the Pacific Coast. Miyazato, a mega-hyped Japanese star who finally won her first LPGA title earlier this year in France, had a one-shot lead at Torrey Pines on Sunday when she dunked her approach shot from 200 yards into the greenside pond, handing the victory to unheralded Na Yeon Choi, who had spit up a seven-shot lead. By the way, an American player hasn't won in the past 13 LPGA starts dating to May 10, extending the tour record for foreign dominance. And yes, I am counting.


Look, Choi is "unheralded" only to lazy American golf writers. She was a star in Korea before this win, came in 2nd to Ya Ni Tseng in the Rookie of the Year race last year (making over $1M in the process), has never missed a cut in her LPGA career (48 events and counting), and was at the head of the prestigious Mostly Harmless best w/o a win list. Let's get our Koreans straight, Steve: Eunjung Yi was a real long-shot, M.J. Hur was a surprise because of her trouble closing the deal the year before on the Futures Tour, but Na Yeon Choi is a bona fide world-class player. She was #17 on the Rolex Rankings last week and is #12 now.

As for Ai-sama, I'm sick of the insinuations that she's all hype. She's been one of the best players on tour since the middle of last season, when she finally put the previous season's mid-summer injury and subsequent swing meltdown behind her. Here's a secret: it's hard to win on the LPGA. Just ask Lorena Ochoa. Or Michelle Wie. Ai-sama's had half a dozen good chances to close the deal this season and has only done it once. And even though she may only be playing 3 more LPGA events this season, she could still steal the POY from Shin.

6 comments:

courtgolf said...

I wonder if the Korean media outlets covered the US LPGA before so many of their nationals started having so much success over here.

I have to agree with you that these writers are professionals and SHOULD do a little more studying before launching into an article they know very little about.

By the way - ran into Elling in the media tent at East Lake a couple of hours ago. He really is a nice guy...LPGA laziness aside. :-)

The Constructivist said...

I think a lot of what he writes is a little bit of a pose for effect--he knows a lot more than he lets on, but won't pass up the chance to use a good line that obscures it. At least I want to believe that he's a good guy caught in the ratings business.

Pyoung said...

Ai Miyazato definitely has game. There really hasn't been any as consistent over the last 10 tournament than her. That second shot at the 18th makes me scratch my head a little but you can't be a genius every time. Beside, if the shot hadn't gone into the drink, people would have said, "ah what s genius she is... forcing Choi to go for an eagle to get into a playoff."

As for Choi, I suppose only an eagle-eyed LPGA observer like the Constructivist has noticed how well she has been playing since she's been in the LPGA and even before. As for Steve, he's probably like many US golf writers... not to interested in keeping up with foreign (i.e. read: Asian, i.e. read: anonymous robotic soul-less Korean gals.) And he figured he could slid in a quip "unheralded" since he figured his readership wouldn't know any better. Oy vey.

The Constructivist said...

I guess the question is who counts as a herald. Given the associations with royalty and heraldry, it's the high-status media that counts, not lowly bloggers.

The Florida Masochist said...

Don't be so humble. You and Hound Dog do a better job of covering the LPGA than anyone working in the mainstream media.

The Constructivist said...

Thanks, man! I hope my sarcasm was coming through, though....