I've been arguing that many women golfers are going to be frontloading their schedules in 2010, loading up on early-season LET and JLPGA events whenever possible. Well, lo and behold, the LET's overview of who has committed to the ANZ Ladies Masters supports my point nicely. Sophie Gustafson will be playing for the 1st time in 6 years in the event that moved this year to follow right after the LPGA's HSBC Women's Champions.
Others confirmed to be heading Down Under the 1st week of March include Anna Nordqvist and Laura Davies, with further international commitment announcements coming soon. They'll be joining Hall of Famer Karrie Webb, defending champion Katherine Hull, last year's runner-up Tamie Durdin, the JLPGA's Nikki Campbell, and the rest of the international Australian contingent, many of whom are starting their 2010 seasons at the end of the month in the Royal Canberra Ladies Classic on the ALPG. However, with the JLPGA's kickoff event scheduled for the same week as the ANZ Ladies Masters and its 2nd event going against the Australian Women's Open the next week, I don't expect to see any non-Aussies among the tour's top players in Australia this year, except for perhaps Ji-Yai Shin, who's been training there once again during the off-season.
Speaking of Korean golfers, the KLPGA gets 15 spots, by contrast with the JLPGA's 4. Already confirmed by the Korean press are Ha Neul Kim, 2009 Rookie of the Year Shin Ae Ahn, and 3rd-year player Hye Youn Kim. More on this as I find out more!
[Update 1 (9:45 am): Randall Mell reports that Juli Inkster has committed to the 1st 4 LPGA events of the season and is optimistic about her putting from work she's been doing with Dave Stockton, but no word on whether she'll try to get a sponsor's exemption into any of the Australian LET events. If she's not playing Down Under, I'm pretty skeptical that she'll play a full LPGA schedule in 2010. Let's see how she plays--and putts--in thse 4 events, though.]
[Update 2 (9:07 pm): Happy Fan over at Seoul Sisters.com notes that Hee Kyung Seo and So Yeon Ryu, the top 2 golfers on the KLPGA in 2009, have been quoted in the Korean press as saying they plan to play in Australia. Be sure to check out the progress of the "Seoulies," his year-end awards, at the Seoul Sisters blog.]
[Update 3 (1/20/10, 11:06 am): The next wave of international commitments was announced yesterday. It makes me wonder if Ji-Yai Shin won't be playing there this year, as the headliners in the press release are the new major winners to have committed: Eun-Hee Ji and Brittany Lincicome. The other new names mentioned are Suzann Pettersen, Ya Ni Tseng, Na Yeon Choi, Song-Hee Kim, Hee Young Park, M.J. Hur, Stacy Lewis, and Christina Kim from the LPGA and Hee Kyung Seo from the KLPGA. Still haven't seen a preliminary field list, so it's not definite Shin will be resting, training, or playing on the JLPGA instead. It's just odd that she hasn't committed yet when so many others have....]