Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Can You Imagine Any Scenario in Which Inbee Park Should Not Win Player of the Year?

There's an interesting debate going on over in PGA Tour-land over who should be their Player of the Year.  There are a couple of main reasons why the LPGA Tour does not tend to engender similar debates.  First of all, the LPGA uses a points system, so even when the race has been close close (as when Lorena Ochoa beat Ji-Yai Shin out by a single point in 2009 or when Ya Ni Tseng had only 6 points of separation on Cristie Kerr, 8 on Na Yeon Choi, 9 on Ai Miyazato, and 18 on Ji-Yai Shin the following year), the winner was clear.  Second, in most years a dominant player emerges and often repeats (as evidenced by the number of times Annika Sorenstam, Lorena Ochoa, and Ya Ni Tseng have been POY in the 2000s--every year but 2000 [Karrie Webb] and 2012 [Stacy Lewis]), thus making debate pointless.

It seemed like this year was going to be another walk in the park for the eventual winner.  Stacy Lewis picked up where she left off last season.  But then Inbee Park started winning...and winning...and winning...and winning one major after another.  With 6 wins, 3 of them majors, it seems pretty obvious that Inbee would succeed Stacy as the 2013 POY.  But then Stacy won the Women's British Open and Suzann Pettersen brought her victory and major totals even with Stacy with 2 wins in the last 2 LPGA events, including the newly-majorized Evian Championship.  So now Inbee has 281 POY points, Suzann has 204, and Stacy has 183.  In a system where a win earns you 30 points, a runner-up gets you 12, 3rd 9, 4th 7, 5th 6, 6th 5, and so on down to 10th (1 point), Inbee has not clinched POY.

But should she have?  Can you imagine any scenario where someone who wins 3 majors and 3 other tournaments in a single season should not be POY?  I can't.

[Update 1 (11:47 pm):  Ward Clayton over at LPGA.com agrees with me that the POY race is not over, although he sounds a little more sanguine about the possibility of Suzanne or Stacy stealing it on a technicality from Inbee than I'm feeling.]

4 comments:

William Collins said...

based on POY Points, In - bee Park WINS EASILY !
THREE MAJORS ! DUH ! NO DEBATE AT ALL !

The Constructivist said...

I agree with your CAPs, but based on POY points, Inbee could lose--by a lot--if Suzann or Stacy runs the table and Inbee keeps finishing outside the top 10. But if, say, Suzann wins 7 times with 1 major, I don't care if she finishes with more POY points than Inbee--I still think Inbee should be POY.

Mike said...

It's kinda funny, isn't it? The men are arguing that 1 major and another big win (or in Phil's case, a major and 2 worldwide wins) might be worth more than a TPC, 2 WGCs, and two big tournaments...

while the women are looking at maybe 3 majors and 3 other wins can't beat 1 major and a number of regular wins. Only in golf...

The Constructivist said...

If Inbee does somehow lose the POY race, I think the LPGA needs to take a long, hard look at their formula. Maybe doubling majors doesn't value them enough. Maybe points for wins need to be modified by a strength of field factor, as Hound Dog used to keep track of and Tony Jesselli now does. Shouldn't a win be worth 3x as much as a 2nd-place finish? Etc.

The thing is, there is no debate over who should be POY on the LPGA because of their formula, which is generally a good thing, I think. But in this case I think a debate over the formula might be in order.