Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Ji-Yai Shin Removed from 2014 LPGA Priority Status List

Back in December, I passed along the news that Ji-Yai Shin plans to focus on the JLPGA this season.  Back then, she was still talking like she'd keep dual membership on the LPGA and JLPGA and simply play the LPGA-required minimum number of events to keep her card for 2015.  In keeping with that plan, Shin showed up at #22 on the 2014 LPGA Priority Status List dated 1/9/14.  Well, the LPGA released a new list on 1/14/14, and guess what?  Shin's name no longer appears on it!  (Hat tip to Tony Jesselli for spotting the change.)  I guess she put 2 and 2 together and realized that playing 12 events on the LPGA would be just as exhausting as playing 20.

Apparently, that extends to not signing up for the ISPS Handa Women's Australian Open, as well (as IceCat pointed out on the same Seoul thread).  This supports the idea of focusing on the JLPGA, as non-JLPGA members Ayako Uehara and Harukyo Nomura are the only Japanese players to appear on the field list and Shanshan Feng, the sole remaining dual LPGA-JLPGA member in the world for 2014, doesn't appear on it.  I guess it's easier to get to Thailand than Australia from Japan (plus Honda sponsors the former event, so you should see plenty of Japanese names there--and Shin is angling for a major Japanese sponsor).

What's weird about Shin's decision to leave the LPGA entirely and skip the Women's Australian Open is that she's the defending champion!  What's even weirder is that she's already been featured in press releases on the tournament.  What's weirdest is that she's also featured in press releases announcing that she'll be playing in Australia the week before in the Volvik RACV Australian Masters.  Is she withdrawing from that event, as well?  She doesn't appear on the LET's field list.

Assuming that Shin's not travelling to Australia to start the season, this certainly shows how serious she is about getting some rest in 2014.  I mean, by removing herself from the LPGA's season-long points race, she's leaving $1M on the table.  I hope she's not hurt....

[Update 1 (9:49 am):  Here's the LET's field list for the Women's Australian Open.  The only Shin there is Jenny, not Ji-Yai....]

[Update 2 (11:28 am):  Here's the LPGA's response to my inquiry.]

[Update 3 (3:16 pm):  it's worth recalling that former dual LPGA-JLPGA members Chie Arimura, Ai Miyazato, Mika Miyazato, Harukyo Nomura, and Ayako Uehara have all chosen the LPGA over the JLPGA for 2014.  And everyone but Chie and Mika will be starting 2014 in the Bahamas!]

[Update 4 (1/18/14, 1:11 am):  Check out Centurion's thoughts on Shin's situation.]


Tony Jesselli (Tonyj5) said...

Baring an injury, this very puzzling. The LPGA has not said a word. Jiyai is way too young to make this kind of a decision.

The Constructivist said...

You said it. My wife's 1st thoughts were pregnancy? boyfriend? family issues?

Dave Andrews said...

Interesting info... surprised by those 3 players' decisions. figured Lu would take advantage of her automatic status. If I remember right, she played on the Symetra (Futures) Tour for a couple years several years ago.

The Constructivist said...

Lu was a member of the rookie class of '06, and a successful one, at that, in her 1st 4 years on tour. She's been on the JLPGA the last 4 seasons and this coming one exclusively.

dave andrews said...

I noticed that with just 104 spots in the Bahamas event (108 minus the 2 sponsor invites and 2 monday qualifiers) they have gone all the way down to #146 on the player priority list so far to fill the field.
That means that 42 higher ranked players have deciaded not to play in the event. It seems strange that so many would want to skip th opening event of the season.

Anonymous said...

From a top players perspective, it is not strange at all to skip the season opening event.
1) Decent purse but not so enticing that it is a "must play".
2) Top players got used to the gaping holes in the LPGA schedule the last few seasons and have gotten used to their time off.
3) If you played Swinging Skirts or Dubai starting your season next week leaves not a lot of time off. Top players need their off season to recharge.
For me, it all comes back to purse. Every tournament that is 1.3 mil or less, no matter where it comes on the schedule, will see plenty of big names skip that week.
Keep up the good work. I really enjoy your blog.
Mr Gee

Anonymous said...

I forgot to mention the enormous cost of being on Paradise Island Bahamas in January. Any caddy not finishing in the top ten this week will have a net loss to open the season.
Minimum $200 per night to stay close to the course.
Mr Gee

The Constructivist said...

I've gotta say, I was kinda surprised so many top players chose to start in the Bahamas and skip the NZ/Australia swing (I'm sure any of them could have wangled a sponsor's invitation into the LET events).