Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The Best in LPGA Majors Since 2000, April 2014 Edition

With the 1st LPGA major of 2014 fast approaching, it's time I unveiled my updated ranking of the top performers in LPGA majors since the start of the 2000 season (excepting the du Maurier, which last counted as an LPGA major that season).  What's different than the January 2014 edition?  I added in the top players who joined the LPGA before 2000, but only counted their results in this century/millennium.  Here's the spreadsheet, which is basically a modification of my career ranking system of the LPGA's rookie classes from 2005 to 2014.  Its core idea is to reward both consistency and peak performances, with a special bonus for being able to win more than one major and an even bigger bonus for winning the same major more than once (it's kind of like Yahtzee that way!).

Here's how my major ranking formula works.  As in my career ranking formula, I determine how often players win, finish in the top 3, top 10, and top 20, and avoid WDs, DQs, and MCs in LPGA majors, and I turn those rates into points as follows:  each percentage point in winning rate is worth 32 points, each in top-3 rate is worth 16, each in top-10 rate is worth 8, each in top-20 rate is worth 4, and each in finish rate is worth 1.  Instead of keeping track of career winnings and winnings per start and finish, however, I instead assign points to career best finishes in each of the LPGA's 5 majors:  whereas a player earns 100 points each time she wins a major, the maximum points she can earn for non-winning high water marks are 50 for a silver medal, 40 for a bronze, 30 for 4th place, 25 for 5th place, 20 for 6th- through 10th-place finishes, and 10 for 11th- through 20th-place finishes.  The other big difference from my career ranking formula is that players can earn points in this one for every LPGA major they competed in, whether or not they were members of the LPGA at the time (only non-member wins are counted in my other system, which, after all, focuses on LPGA careers).

This results in the following ranking:

Simply the Best

1. Annika Sorenstam (3034)
2. Ya Ni Tseng (2201)
3. Karrie Webb (2010)
4. Inbee Park (1922)

The Contenders

5. Lorena Ochoa (1569)
6. So Yeon Ryu (1530)
7. Stacy Lewis (1502)
8. Ji-Yai Shin (1490)

The Next Best

9. Suzann Pettersen (1367)
10. Se Ri Pak (1357)
11. Cristie Kerr (1325)
12. Na Yeon Choi (1213)
13. Paula Creamer (1169)
14. In-Kyung Kim (1047)
15. Morgan Pressel (1019)

Quantum Leap Candidates

16. Catriona Matthew (813)
17. Grace Park (795)
18. Eun-Hee Ji (788)
19. Anna Nordqvist (772)
20. Amy Yang (731)
21. Michelle Wie (728)
22. Ai Miyazato (723)
23. Brittany Lincicome (703)

The Best of the Rest

24. Lydia Ko (684)
25. Angela Park (664)
26. Song-Hee Kim (621)
27. Angela Stanford (585)
28. Shanshan Feng (573)
29. Hee Kyung Seo (546)
30. Brittany Lang (542)
31. Jeong Jang (533)
32. Sun Young Yoo (518)
33. Natalie Gulbis (502)
34. Candie Kung (496)
35. Mika Miyazato (488)
36. Hee Young Park (473)
37. Lexi Thompson (446)
38. Kristy McPherson (427)
39. Jee Young Lee (421)
40. Lindsey Wright (388)
42. Christina Kim (370)
42. Chella Choi (366)
43. Lizette Salas (360)
44. Hee-Won Han (357)
45. Caroline Masson (334)
46. Caroline Hedwall (329)
47. Katherine Hull-Kirk (304)
48. Jodi Ewart Shadoff (303)
49. Azahara Munoz (297)
50. Meaghan Francella (296)

It's interesting to see who performs better in majors than regular events and vice versa.  More in this vein tomorrow, with a focus on those who haven't yet won a LPGA major!

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