Now to the controversy. I thought very long and hard about even mentioning this in my blog. My main purpose here is to promote the LPGA. I try to make everyone aware of what tournaments are coming up, and give you statistics that I think are important and interesting to people following the tour. I try not to get too involved in my own personal opinions. I am going to make an exception now. I don't want to take anything away from Munoz's victory, she is an outstanding young lady who played great golf for four days, but Morgan Pressel got robbed. As some of you might know by now, the Munoz, Pressel pairing was put on the clock for slow play. Azahara is known for being the slowest player on the entire tour and was showing why again. Unfortunately both people are warned, even though only one player may be at fault.
On the 12th tee Morgan (who is faster than most players), stepped up to the tee and was ready to hit her drive. Out of nowhere came this very strong gust of wind, and she went back to her bag to change her club.
What should she do, use the wrong club? She would go on to win the hole and go 3 up with just 6 holes to play. She was then notified that she took 29 seconds too long, and the hole was awarded to Munoz. Instead of being up 3 holes, Morgan was now up only one. She was clearly upset, and went on to lose the match.
Let me tell you, slow play is a major problem on both the LPGA and PGA tours. Something has to be done about it to keep play moving and more interesting to watch. Morgan Pressel had never received a penalty for slow play in her entire career. In this case there were only four golfers playing, and no one in back of them. I am all for handing out penalties for slow players, but I don't think any discretion was used in this case. Morgan was penalized, what amounted to 2 holes, for taking 29 seconds too long. The officials held up play at least ten times that long by doing what they did. Plenty has been written about slow play in recent weeks, and I think Morgan became the scapegoat.
Now that I got that off my chest, let me get on to what I came here to write about. The LPGA has now completed the first third of the 2012 season. I would like to look at which players have made the biggest moves in the Rolex Rankings this year.
Rolex ranks the ladies based on average points per event, on a rolling 2 year calendar. For example, Yani Tseng the # 1 player in the world, has accumulated 849.91 points playing in 48 tournaments over that period, for an average 17.71 points per tournament. I have gone back to the first published rankings of the year and compared them to the rankings released today. The only requirement for my list is that a player must have been ranked in the top 100 at the start of the year, or be in the top 100 now.
The Year's Biggest Winners:
1- Sun Young Yoo - 3.06 - 5.31 = Gain of 2.25 (moved from #44 to #14)
2- Jessica Korda - 0.31 to 1.67 = Gain of 1.36 (move 314-76)
3- Azahara Munoz - 3.29 to 4.51 = Gain of 1.22 (move 40 to 19)
4- Jenny Shin - 1.07 to 2.22 = Gain of 1.15 (move 147-52)
5- Ai Miyazato - 6.60 to 7.29 = Gain of 0.69 (move from 9 to 4)
6- Lindsey Wright - 0.92 to 1.49 = Gain of 0.57 (move from 164-89)
7- Haeji Kang - 0.95 to 1.49 = Gain of 0.54 (move from 162-88)
8- Julieta Granada - 1.33 to 1.77 = Gain of 0.44 (move from 121-72)
9- Caroline Hedwall - 3.41 to 3.83 = Gain of 0.42 (move 37-24)
10- So Yeon Ryu - 4.15 to 4.56 = Gain of 0.41 (move 27-18)
11- Lexi Thompson - 3.38 to 3.78 = Gain of 0.40 (move 39-25)
12- Vicky Hurst - 1.65 to 1.97 = Gain of 0.32 (move 91-64)
13- Natalie Gulbis - 1.34 to 1.65 = Gain of 0.31 (move 118-77)
14- Yani Tseng - 17.46 to 17.71 = Gain of 0.25 (move 1-1)
15- Candie Kung - 1.78 to 1.98 = Gain of 0.20 (move 81-63)
The Year's Biggest Losers:
1- Suzann Pettersen - 10.12 to 7.42 = Loss of 2.70 (move 2 to 3)
2- Cristie Kerr - 9.74 - 7.07 = Loss of 2.67 (move 4-5)
3- Paula Creamer - 7.97 to 5.39 = Loss of 2.58 (move from 5-13)
4- Song-Hee Kim - 4.00 to 2.25 = Loss of 1.75 (move 30 to 51)
5- Michelle Wie - 5.08 - 3.41 = Loss of 1.67 (move 17-31)
6- Na Yeon Choi - 9.78 to 8.34 = Loss of 1.44 (move 3 to 2)
7- Maria Hjorth - 5.08 to 3.41 = Loss of 1.24 (move from 22-30)
8- Jiyai Shin - 7.45 to 6.22 = Loss of 1.23 (move 7-9)
9- Yuri Fudoh - 4.34 to 3.15 = Loss of 1.19 ( move 25-39)
10- Sun Ju Ahn - 7.83 to 6.67 = Loss of 1.16 (move 6-7)
11- Brittany Lincicome - 6.57 to 5.42 = Loss of 1.15 (move 11-12)
12- Yukari Baba - 4.29 to 3.16 = Loss of 1.13 (move 26-38)
13- Mika Miyazato - 4.37 to 3.29 = Loss of 1.08 (move 24-36)
14- Sakura Yokomine - 4.83 to 3.85 = Loss of 0.98 (move 20-23)
15- Inbee Park - 4.57 to 3.64 = Loss of 0.93 (move 23-27)
This certainly looks like a breakout year for Yoo, Ryu, and Munoz.
On the other side of the coin, some of Yani Tseng's biggest challengers, Pettersen, kerr, Choi, Jiyai Shin, Creamer, and Lincicome, are all going in the wrong direction. I will review this again after the 18th tournament of the year, and again at the completion of the season.
- With their top-5 finish at the Sybase Match Play Championship, Stacy Lewis and So Yeon Ryu, join Yani Tseng as the only players that have done that 5 times.
- This was the final year of the 3 year Sybase Match Play contract. Let us all hope that it will be renewed.
Candie Kung, Morgan Pressel, and Vicky Hurst are the latest to qualify. Suzann Pettersen remains the highest ranked player not yet to qualify.
Rolex Ranking Mover of the Week:
Azahara Munoz, winner of the Sybase Match Play Championship, moves from #27 to #18.