Tuesday, September 13, 2011

As the World Turns V

Here's the latest edition of my long-delayed (but probably not long-awaited) series in which I look at developments around the world of women's golf.

Things Are Tough All Over Files. It's probably just the tip of the iceberg, but consider the injury news that has come out already in September:  Ji-Yai Shin will be out all month (at least) with a back injury that sounds pretty severe; Chie Arimura has missed the last 2 JLPGA events due to a wrist injury; Suzann Pettersen's knees are bothering her in the run-up to the Solheim Cup.  And now I've just seen reports that the LPGA has been forced to cancel its Imperial Springs LPGA event in China, which they had moved from early August to late September to accommodate tournament organizers.  It's unclear from the stories I've read whether this was due to the Chinese government squashing the event or the organizers' ineptitude, but whatever the reason, this adds up to one big ouch for women's golf.  At least Arimura is on the field list for this week's Munsingwear Ladies Tokai Classic.  Let's hope she's not rushing her return.

You Can't Stop Globalization Files.  As I noted way back in March, the JLPGA restructured its Q-School in part to help turn the tour into a platform for developing Japanese golfers in the run-up to the 2016 Olympics.  But when you look at the leaderboards of the 3 sites that hosted its 1st stage, you'll see they were dominated by Chinese golfers.  On the other side of the Pacific, due to an unexpected flood of entries, the LPGA recently announced it will expand the field at the 2nd stage of their Q-School in late September from 216 to 240 golfers.  And the 16 September entry deadline is still days away....

Down to the Wire Files.  With Hee Young Park joining current or former LPGA members Shinobu Moromizato, Teresa Lu, Young Kim, Soo-Yun Kang, Na-Ri Kim, Onnarin Sattayabanphot, and Tamie Durdin on the the JLPGA this week alongside Japanese dual LPGA-JLPGA members Momoko Ueda and Shiho Oyama, the fight for membership in 2012 on the JLPGA is on just as surely as the LPGA's is.  Sure, at #8 on the JLPGA money list, Shanshan Feng is guaranteed to keep her card, which requires a top-50 finish at the end of the season and entry into at least 7 events in 2011.  So are #18 Inbee Park and #20 Na-Ri Kim.  But Lu is stuck at #31, Ueda #35, Kang #37, Young Kim #38, Oyama #41, Shin #45, Durdin #54, Sattayabanphot #63, Ai Miyazato #91, and Hee Young Park #92.  The good news is these players are probably only 1 top 5 and a couple of top 10s away from securing their cards or at least getting into the mix of players trying to avoid having to go to Q-School, but Ai-sama and the Rocket will need to be sure to play in enough JLPGA events to have their winnings count. 

As for the LPGA, Hound Dog is doing a great job of tracking attempts by struggling LPGAers to break into the top 80, top 100, and top 125 of their money list.  Look for another post on this quest for the card from him in advance of this week's Navistar Classic.  But I'd also point out that given all the limited-field events on the LPGA calendar, the only way to guarantee yourself anything close to a full schedule in any given year is to get into the top 50 in time for the fall and following winter/spring's Asian swings.  Right now, with 1 event to go, Jimin Kang is sitting pretty at #50 with almost $123K in winnings to her name.  She's over $8K up on the struggling Katherine Hull, who is seeking to find her game in time to defend her title.  #52 Momoko Ueda is teeing it up in Japan this week, so there are great opportunities for #53 Mi Hyun Kim ($106.6K), #54 Pornanong Phatlum ($106.2K), #55 Mina Harigae ($103.8K), #56 Cindy LaCrosse ($102.3K), #57 Tiffany Joh ($101.4K), and #58 Amanda Blumenherst ($99.4K) to at least move up the limited-field events' alternate lists over the next several months in this season and next.  Me, I'm curious to see if #95 Harukyo Nomura ($43.5K) can bounce back from her disastrous finish at Pinnacle Country Club last Sunday, where as Hound Dog points out, she went +6 over her final 5 holes.  Nomura's won on the the Futures Tour and JLPGA already this year, but she can find herself without a major home tour if she fails to stay in the top 100 on the LPGA money list and bombs out in LPGA Q-School.  So the pressure is definitely on these players this week!

No comments: