The LPGA talent is unquestionably at its highest level ever. With so many great players, it seemed we had a different winner every week. In fact the 27 tournaments played, brought us seventeen different winners. We had winners from eight different countries. The LPGA has truly become the international tour that Commissioner Michael Whan predicted it would be when he took the commissioner's job a few years back.
The number of tournaments has grown from 23, when Mr. Whan took the reigns, to 27 this year. In about 6 weeks the 2013 schedule will be released, and rumor has it that we could have 30 tournaments. In these troubled times for our economy, the LPGA is heading in the right direction.
Back in January, I released my top 30 predictions for the 2012 Rolex Player of the Year. It was a very strange year with the "sure shot" Yani Tseng crumbling the second half of the season, and players like Inbee Park and So Yeon Ryu reaching levels we didn't think were possible. On the down side Morgan Pressel, Michelle Wie, and Song-Hee Kim, forgot what it was like to be on the leader board.
Let's take a look at how well my predictions went:
1- Yani Tseng - Everyone predicted this, and everyone was wrong. After winning 3 of the first 5 tournaments of the year, Yani failed to win again the rest of the season. With the exception of a brief period during the Asian swing, she wasn't even competitive the final two thirds of the season. Not many will be predicting her to be #1 in 2013.
2- Suzann Pettersen - After playing poorly most of the season, Suzann won twice to finish 10th and make my prediction look a little better.
3- Paula Creamer - Losing a nine hole playoff at the Kingsmill Classic was her high point of the year. Seven top tens would be a great season for most players, but not up to Paula's standards. Finishing 17th, made me look bad.
4- Stacy Lewis - I picked her higher than anyone I know. It just wasn't high enough. Four wins, 12 top fives, and 16 top tens, resulted in Stacy becoming the first American Player of the Year since 1994.
5- Na Yeon Choi - I was right on with this pick as Na Yeon finished 3rd.
6- Cristie Kerr - Even with her late win at the Lorena Ochoa Classic, she only finished 14th.
7- Brittany Lincicome - After winning twice in 2011, Brittany was shut out this year. She finished 19th.
8- I.K. Kim - If she could only have sunk that 18 inch putt, my prediction would have looked a whole lot better. As it turned out she missed it and never seemed to recover. She finished 21st in the Player of the Year race.
9- Ai Miyazato - Ai made me look good by finishing seventh.
10- Jiyai Shin - Not a bad prediction here, Jiyai finished 6th.
11- Angela Stanford - My streak continues with another good pick, Angela finished 13th.
12- Morgan Pressel - All good things must come to and end as this was amongst my worst picks. After her controversial 3rd place finish at the Sybase Match Play Championship, her year just completely fell apart. She finished 49th.
13- Lexi Thompson - Lexi had a fine rookie year, just not as good as I predicted. She finished at the #23 spot.
14- So Yeon Ryu - I knew she was good, that's why I picked this rookie this high. I just didn't think she would be this good this fast. She finished #5.
15- Amy Yang - She watched as Mika Miyazato, Jessica Korda, Lydia Ko, Brittany Lang, Shanshan Feng, and Azahara Munoz all won for the first time. Finishing in 18th place, Amy is still without a victory.
16- Michelle Wie - I have been a big defender of this girl for a long time. I now think she would lose to the thirteen year old version of herself. She finished an embarrassing 68th.
17 - Mika Miyazato - Won her first tournament, and finished 9th in Player of the Year rankings.
18- Brittany Lang - She also won her first tournament in 2012. I was pretty much on this one as she finished 22nd.
19- Maria Hjorth - Did anyone see the real Maria Hjorth in 2012? I didn't. She never earned a single player of the year point.
20- Catriana Matthew - Made me look good with her 23rd place finish.
21- Anna Nordqvist - Made me look even better with her 20th place finish.
22- Karrie Webb - I underestimate her every year. She finished 15th.
23- Sun Young Yoo - I.K's missed putt made me look bad here also. Sun Young wound up winning that major championship and finished 12th in the rankings.
24- Sandra Gal - Sandra had an up and down year, finishing 32nd.
25- Hee Kyung Seo - After a hot start she cooled off some, still finishing a solid 15th.
26- Azahara Munoz - Took it to another level in 2012 with her first victory. She finished a better than expected 11th.
27- Caroline Hedwall - After a hot start she just plain disappeared, leaving her at #47.
28- Numa Gulyanamitta - Every year I try to pick one rookie I think will be a surprise. Every year I pick the wrong rookie. I could have picked Sydnee Michaels or Lizette Salas, who scored some Player of the Year points, but of course my pick here didn't earn a single point.
29- Inbee Park - What can I say? Until this year she was just a good player. The people at the Seoul Sisters website must be laughing at me for this pick. Did I mention she finished 2nd?
30- Song-Hee Kim - How bad was she? She will be going back to Q-School this week to try to get her playing card back.
I admit it, I am not the world's best prognosticator. But I do try to keep everyone entertained. Stay tuned, I do not give up, and will give you my 2013 picks soon.