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About Tontj5

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  1. A big congratulations goes out to Ha Na Jang for winning the ISPS Handa Women's Australian Open. Her eagle on the 17th hole, and bidie on the 18th, enabled her to blow past the rest of the field and go on to win by 3 strokes. This week the LPGA moves to Thailand for the playing of the Honda LPGA Thailand. Last season brought us close finishes in almost every tournament.....but this was not one of them. Lexi Thompson's twenty under par total of 268 blew away the field, and was 6 strokes better than runner-up In Gee Chun and 7 strokes better than 3rd place finishers Jessica Korda and Amy Yang. It was Lexi's 7th win on the LPGA tour. Lexi Thompson raises her arms in victory at last year's Honda LPGA Thailand event. This will tournament #3 of 34 on the this year's LPGA schedule. Here are the key details: Course: Siam Country Club, Pattaya Old Course Location: Chonburi, Thailand Defending Champion: Lexi Thompson Winning Score: 64-72-64-68 = 268 (-20) Final Field: 69 Players Par: 36/36 = 72 Yardage: 6,642 Purse: $1,600,000 My strength of field rating is a very solid 77.5 % ( down from 78.5 last year). Forty-nine of the top 50 players from the LPGA Priority List will be teeing it up, with only I.K. Kim missing from that list. Thirty-six of the top 50 players will be teeing it up from the Rolex World Rankings. The reason my field rating isn't even higher than it is, is because the limited field lacks depth. Players such as Sung Hyun Park, Paula Creamer, Michelle Wie, Nelly Korda, and Ilhee Lee (to name a few), will not be teeing it up because of the small field. In fact, Inbee Park, Sandra Gal, Yani Tseng, and Ai Miyazato are only playing because they are sponsor invitees, and any prize money they will earn will not count as official earnings. Here are the television times: GC Thursday February 23 - 1:00 a.m. - 5:00 a.m. ET GC Friday February 24 - 1:00 a.m. - 5:00 a.m. ET GC Saturday February 25 - 1:00 a.m. - 5:00 a.m. ET GC Sunday February 26 - 1:00 a.m. - 5:00 a.m. ET I believe the time difference between East Coast and Thailand is 12 hours.
  2. ISPS Handa Women's Australian Open Preview & Pairings After a two week break the LPGA heads to Australia for the playing of the ISPS Handa Women's Australian Open. This tournament has a history of very close and very exciting finishes. Who could ever forget 2012, when Jessica Korda won in a 6 player playoff. Or the following year when Jiyai Shin battled it out with Yani Tseng for 72 holes, with Jiyai winning by 2 strokes. In 2014, nine players finished within 3 strokes of the lead with Karrie Webb becoming the eventual winner. In 2015, Lydia Ko brought home the trophy with a two stroke win over runner up Amy Yang. Last year Haru Nomura shot a final round 65, to come out three shots ahead of Lydia Ko. This will be tournament #2 of 34 on this year's LPGA schedule. Here are the key details: Course: The Royal Adelaide Golf Club Location: Grange, South Australia Defending Champion: Haru Nomura Winning Score: 69-68-70-65 = 272 (-16) Final Field: 132 players Par: 73 Yardage: 6,681 Purse: $1,300,000 My strength of field rating is 44% (up from 31.50% last year). Twenty-five of the top 50 players from the LPGA priority list, and 14 of the top 50 players from the current Rolex Rankings will be teeing it up. The field will be led by World #1 Lydia Ko and #2 Ariya Jutanugarn. Other big names teeing it up this week include: Ha Na Jang, Brooke Henderson, Charley Hull, Minjee Lee, Carlota Ciganda, and defending champion Haru Nomura. Most of the American players are sitting this one out, with #31 Mo Martin the highest ranked American in the field. Here are the first round pairings: Here are the television times: (16 hour time differential between East Coast and Australia) Feb 15 - GC 9:00 PM - 2:00 AM ET Feb 16 - GC 11:00 PM - 2:00 AM ET Feb 17 - GC 11:00 PM - 2:00 AM ET Feb 18 - GC 9:00 PM - 2:00 AM ET Players most likely to win: (Top players in the field) Lydia Ko Ariya Jutanugarn Ha Na Jang Brooke Henderson Players to watch out for: (I'm feeling it this week) Carlota Ciganda Charley Hull Jenny Shin Longshot Picks: (Not likely, but not impossible) Megan Khang Nelly Korda Mo Martin In the last tournament (The Pure Silk Bahamas Classic), winner Brittany Lincicome was my longshot pick. Other Tidbits: Stacy Lewis announced that she will be cutting down on her schedule this year to concentrate on "family." Among the tournaments she will be skipping will be the Evian Championship. 2017 will be the final year for Manulife as title sponsor of the Manulife LPGA Classic. “We thank Manulife for being such a wonderful title sponsor and partner to the LPGA for the past six years,” said LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan. “The Waterloo Region is full of tremendous golf fans and the support shown by the community has helped to make this a very successful event both on and off the golf course. We look forward to another great Manulife LPGA Classic this June and will continue to work to bring an LPGA tournament back to this area in the future.”
  3. Yes. That is where it is going to be played. I had a link to the story, but your great and powerful leader removed it.
  4. The LPGA will announce today a new tournament to be added to the 2017 LPGA schedule. It will be held in Indianapolis, Indiana and played around the famed oval racetrack.
  5. Michelle Wie Wins U.S. Open for her First Major Championship Michelle Wie Wins Her First Major Championship We have all waited for this for such a very long time. Michelle Wie won her first major championship today, by winning the U.S. Open by two strokes over Stacy Lewis. Michelle started the day in a tie for first place with Amy Yang. At the start it did not appear that this was going to be Michelle's day as she and her playing partner (Yang), both bogeyed the first hole. At that point in the tournament there were 6 players within 3 strokes of the lead. When So Yeon Ryu birdied 1, 2, and 4, she pulled within 2 strokes of the leaders. Yang then made double Bogey on two, followed by bogeys on 4, 7, 12, and 14, ending any chance she had to win. Meanwhile Michelle would keep her very slim lead by making pars on 8 consecutive holes (2 through 9). When Michelle eagled the par 5 tenth hole she increased her lead to three strokes. One by one all the players chasing her would fall out of contention with the exception of a charging Stacy Lewis, and Stephanie Meadow who was making her professional debut. When Stacy bogeyed the 16th it looked like her chances were over, but birdies on both 17 and 18 got her into the clubhouse at even par, 3 strokes behind Wie. When Michelle double bogeyed the 16th hole her lead shrunk to just one shot. Meanwhile Meadow, who was playing incredibly consistent golf, was still in contention if she could birdie 17 and 18 and tie Stacy for the clubhouse lead. She only managed a par on 17, and when she birdied 18 (to finish 3 under on the back 9) she had 3rd place all to herself. Now it came down to Michelle having to par 17 and 18 to win the championship. She put her approach shot to within 25 feet of the 17th hole and drilled her birdie putt in the center of the hole for a 2 stroke lead. When she sank her par putt on the 18th hole it was all over and she had the 4th victory of her career and first major championship. It was Michelle's second victory of the season, and 9th victory for U.S. players this year. It also made the U.S. 2 for 2 in major championships this year as Lexi Thompson won the Kraft earlier this year.
  6. Her name is Inbee Park and she is still (just barely), #1. Your points though are well taken.
  7. First let me congratulate Jessica Korda for winning the Airbus LPGA Classic. Jessica defeated Anna Nordqvist by 1 stroke in another incredibly exciting LPGA finish. At one point on the back nine, six players were tied for 1st place. Jessica birdied the 18th hole to secure her victory. Jessica Korda wins 2014 Airbus LPGA Classic I have been critical at times the past couple of years, voicing my disappointment at the results of the American players' finishes at the Solheim Cup, and especially major championships. Going into the British Open last season, Asian players had won 11 consecutive major championships. American players won only 7 times last year in 28 tournaments. There was really no reason coming into the 2014 season to think that things would dramatically change. My reasoning was the following: Stacy Lewis - Sure she has been getting her wins, but she seems to let many more get away. Look at all those second and 3rd place finishes. Paula Creamer - She may break a record before she is finished for the most top 20 finishes, but I was really starting to doubt she would ever win again. Lizette Salas - Contended often for 54 holes, but didn't always break 80 on Sunday. Jessica Korda - So much potential but hadn't won since the first tournament of 2012. Cristie Kerr - Well into her thirties now, her famous putter wasn't as magical as often as it used to be. Michelle Wie - I gave up on her. Lexi Thompson - Won twice late in the 2013 season and was my biggest hope. The Brittany's - Solid players that seemed to be going in the wrong direction. Gerina Piller - Getting better results every year, but can she win? My wife and I might be the biggest LPGA fans on the planet. We attend many LPGA tournaments during the year, including long distance flights to Carnoustie and St. Andrews. We started the 2014 season hopeful, but weren't holding our breaths. The results this year have been a dramatic turn around from the past few years. No one could have possibly expected this. Jessica Korda opens up the season winning the Pure Silk LPGA Classic. Paula Creamer sinks a miracle 75 foot eagle putt in a sudden death playoff to win in Singapore. Lexi Thompson wins the Kraft Nabisco Championship, the first major of the year. Michelle Wie wins the LPGA Lotte Championship in her home state. Stacy Lewis trounces the field in winning the North Texas LPGA Shootout. Lizette Salas makes amends for her previous 4th round collapses, winning the Kingsmill Championship Jessica Korda becomes the first American 2 time winner by winning the Airbus LPGA Classic. WOW! Seven wins by six different players. No other country has had more than one player win this year. The Americans have now matched their entire win total of 2013. They have now also won two of the last three major championships. The LPGA has so many great players that could win on any given week (Lydia Ko, Anna Nordqvist, and Karrie Webb have also won this year), that dominance by any one country I believe will be rare, and should be enjoyed while it lasts. With great players like Suzann Pettersen, Inbee Park, So Yeon Ryu, Ai Miyazato, Shanshan Feng, etc., fans from all over the world will get their chance to smile soon. That is what has always been Commissioner Michael Whan's vision, and what makes the LPGA such an exciting tour. That said, with four of the next eleven LPGA events being major championships, the American fans have to be smiling from ear to ear.
  8. I have been writing about the LPGA for quite some time now, but never has it been more enjoyable for me than it is now. What has made this more enjoyable with each passing week, is that things have finally begun to change. There is no doubt that the LPGA in 2014 has reached new heights in popularity that hasn't been seen in many years. Attendance has been up both internationally and here at home. Television ratings have increased dramatically. Media coverage (newspapers, magazines) has increased. Why this sudden turnaround? Here are what I think are the main reasons: First and foremost the LPGA now has a commissioner that has made a commitment to giving its fans the best product he could possibly put out there. He also seems to have a knack of hiring the right people for the right jobs, and because of this he has gotten the results that have led to this turnaround. With 32 tournaments now on the schedule (there were just 23 a few short years ago), fans don't have to wait through long breaks that potentially decreases interest. Television coverage has increased to where over 350 hours will be broadcasted in 2014. The "Race to the CME Globe", and its 1 million dollar first prize has generated interest similar to what the FedEx cup is for the PGA. With 21 tournaments in North America, and tournaments in Asia, Europe, Australia, and Mexico, the LPGA now has fans all around the world. This may be my favorite reason for the big surge in 2014. In recent weeks we have seen victories by hugely popular players such as Paula Creamer, Lydia Ko, Michelle Wie, Stacy Lewis, and Lexi Thompson. I was very satisfied with my above reasoning until I got an e-mail from a dear friend who wrote "I do feel the media has focused on the women more because Tiger is not in the equation." Hmmm. I never really thought about that. Has Tiger's absence from the PGA brought more fans over to the LPGA? The e-mail went on to say (referring to the media), " I hope their mind set will continue with women's golf when he is back playing. Time will tell." Well that is certainly food for thought, so I went on some of the golf forums around the world. I asked people who were new fans of the LPGA to tell my why. I went to forums in the US, Canada, Singapore, Thailand, Korea, and mainland China. I was surprised that the most popular answer I got was that the PGA is suddenly very boring and the LPGA has been a pleasantly surprising alternative. Most elaborated even further saying that they were surprised at the high quality of the women's game. So what conclusions can we draw from the above? I still think that all my reasons listed above are very valid and have contributed to the LPGA's resurgence. Those reasons will continue to draw more and more people to the LPGA. Will things change when Tiger returns? I think only to a certain extent. Yes, people will still want to see what Tiger is doing whether they love him or hate him. But the key here is that the "Tiger effect" was a positive one. The new fans that came over in Tiger's absence enjoyed what they have seen and are not just going to abandon the LPGA. Tiger or no Tiger, the LPGA is here to stay. I see it growing more and more in the coming years.
  9. Now that we have completed about 1/3 of the LPGA season, I would like to look at the players that have made the biggest leaps, and taken the biggest falls in the Rolex Rankings this year. The Rolex Rankings system awards points to players based on an accumulated 104-week "rolling" period, with the points awarded in the most recent 13-week period carrying a stronger value. A player is then ranked according to her average points per tournament, as determined by dividing her total number of points by the number of eligible tournaments played during the 104-week period. A minimum divisor (35) is also used. I have gone back to the first Rolex Rankings of the year and compared them to the current rankings. The only requirements for my list is: (1) A player must have been ranked in the top 100 at the start of the year, or be in the top 100 now. (2) A player must have started the year 2014 with a minimum rating of 0.50 (or else this chart would be filled with unknown names.) The Year's Biggest Gainers: 1- Michelle Wie - 1.77 to 4.48 = Gain of 2.71 (moved from #61-#12) 2- Karrie Webb - 5.06 to 7.15 = Gain of 2.09 (move 8 to 5) 3- Lydia Ko - 7.38 to 9.31 = Gain of 1.93 (move 4 to 3) 4- Lexi Thompson - 4.86 to 6.71 = Gain of 1.85 (move 9 to 6) 5- Anna Nordqvist - 3.04 to 4.56 = Gain of 1.62 (move 26 to 11) 6- Stacy Lewis - 8.98 to 9.78 = Gain of 0.80 (move 3 to 2) 7- Charley Hull - 1.13 to 1.87 = Gain of 0.76 (move 103 to 48) 8- Azahara Munoz - 2.73 to 3.48 = Gain of 0.75 (move 31 to 20) 9- Jenny Shin - 1.51 to 2.17 = Gain of 0.66 (move 73 to 39) 10- Se Ri Pak - 2.75 to 3.28 = Gain of 0.53 (move 30 to 22) 11- Kyu-Jung Baek - 0.53 to 1.03 = Gain of 0.50 (move 205 to 100) The Year's Biggest Decliners: 1- Suzann Pettersen - 10.25 to 8.71 = Loss of 1.54 (move 2 to 4) 2- Ai Miyazato - 3.56 to 2.22 = Loss of 1.34 (move from 21 to 38) 3- Mika Miyazato - 3.54 to 2.43 = Loss of 1.11 (move 22 to 34) 4- Na Yeon Choi - 5.36 to 4.31 = Loss of 1.05 (move from 7 to 13) 5- I.K. Kim - 4.55 to 3.57 = Loss of 0.98 (move 10 to 18) 6- So Yeon Ryu - 6.56 to 5.62 = Loss of 0.94 (move 5 to 7) 7- Beatriz Recari - 3.72 to 2.79 = Loss of 0.93 (move 19 to 29) 8- Shanshan Feng - 6.36 to 5.49 = Loss of 0.87 (move 6 to 8) 9- Yani Tseng - 2.62 to 1.79 = Loss of 0.83 (move 35 to 54) 10- Carlotta Ciganda - 2.51 to 1.75 = Loss of 0.76 (move 39 to 56) 11- Inbee Park - 10.72 to 9.99 = Loss of 0.73 (move 1 to 1) 12- Chie Arimura - 1.65 to 0.95 = Loss of 0.70 (move 66 to 110) 12- Jiyai Shin - 3.96 to 3.26 = Loss of 0.70 (move 16 to 23) 14- Ihlee Lee - 2.69 to 2.02 = Loss of 0.67 (move 32 to 44) 15- Miki Saiki - 2.32 to 1.67 = Loss of 0.65 (move 44 to 62) Note : It is interesting to point out that there is not one American player on the above list. Brittany Lincicome is currently #18 on the list. I will revisit this again at the 2/3 mark of the season, and again at season's end. Priority List Reshuffle : The first of two LPGA Priority List reshuffles were done today. The Priority List is what is used to fill the required amount of spots for any given tournament. Without me getting into the categories, which is potentially confusing, here is a brief explanation. Most full field events have a field of 144 players. Usually 140 of the players come from the Priority List ranking. Two players are Monday qualifiers, and 2 more are sponsor exemptions. So to keep it simple, if your Priority Rating is #150, you have to hope that 10 players decide not to play, or you are probably not getting into the field. The biggest gainers were: Mirim Lee 118- 84 Line Vedel 127-86 Hara Nomura 137-87 Mi Hyang Lee 108-88 Tiffany Joh 119-89 Amy Anderson 120-92 Brooke Pancake 114-94 Katie Burnett 115-95 Ashleigh Simon 138-102 Although the above gains are quite impressive, it does not change those players' playing status all that much. Those players were already playing in full field events. The most important gainers were : These players should be playing regularly now. Kim Kaufman 164 - 93 Amelia Lewis 146 - 91 Dori Carter - 142 - 90 Jenny Suh - 160 -100 Laura Davies 154 - 143 Stacey Keating - 175 - 145 Lori Kane - 155- 146 Megan McChrystal 159 - 147 Alejandra Llaneza 162-149 Lee-Anne Pace - 169 - 152 The players that got hurt the most : These players will find it much harder to qualify for tournaments now. Kris Tamulis - 144 -159 Karen Stupples - 147- 158 Maude-Aimee Leblanc - 148 - 161 (chose to play Symetra Tour this year) Mi Hyun Kim - was #58 is now off list. Amanda Blumenherst - Was #140, is now off list. Other Tidbits : Stacy Lewis is now #1 on the money list, leader for the Vare Trophy, leads the Rolex Player of the Year Award and the CME Race to the Globe. Several players had their consecutive cuts made streak snapped. Hee Young Park (21), Eun-Hee Ji (19), Morgan Pressel (16), and Se Ri Pak (15), all missed the cut. Rolex Movers of the Week : Stacy Lewis moves from #3 to #2, and is now within a whisker of taking over the #1 position. Meena Lee leaps up from #70 to #51, while outside the top 100 rookie Kim Kaufman's 4th place finish has vaulted her past 143 players. She soars from #336 to 193. Race to the CME Globe : (1 million dollars) Stacy Lewis has taken a commanding lead with 1,979 points. She is followed by Michelle Wie (1,540), and Karrie Webb (1,417). Who's Hot : Stacy Lewis has finished in the top 10 in 19 of her last 20 tournaments. Although Cristie Kerr has not won this year, she might be playing some of the finest golf of her career. She has six consecutive top 10 finishes. Michelle Wie remains the only LPGA player to finish in the top 20 in every start this year. She has not finished out of the top 16. Who's Not : Ihlee Lee has not yet finished in the top 20 this year in 9 tries. She has also missed 3 cuts. Moriya Jutanugarn has failed to register a top 20 in any of her 10 starts this year. Her best finish was a T28. Louise Friberg has missed 16 consecutive cuts. Reilly Rankin has missed her last 10. Consistently Mediocre : Very strangely, Jodi Ewart Shadoff has made the cut in all 8 of her starts this year but has never finished better than 23rd or worse than 45th.
  10. This is the LPGA at its best. It doesn't get better than this. Wie & Lexi in the final group with a Hall of Famer and a future star playing ahead of them. For those people who think the LPGA is a joke, tune in tomorrow you might learn something.
  11. An interesting side note: Paula Creamer tied Tiger Woods for the all time record for consecutive cuts made in major championships with 37. Tiger did it, I believe, between 1997 and 2006. Paula has never missed a major cut in her career. She also has made her last 73 cuts on the LPGA tour.
  12. Suzann Pettersen is not in the field. She has missed the last few week's with back problems.
  13. Paula Creamer sank a 75 foot eagle putt on the second playoff hole to defeat Azahara Munoz and win the HSBC Champions on Sunday for her 10th career victory. Creamer and Munoz finished 72 holes tied at 10-under 278, one stroke ahead of Karrie Webb, who led after every round but bogeyed three of her last six holes to give up a three-shot lead and finish third.
  14. Yes she has played well so far this year. She also finished 3rd, 24th 7th, and 11th in her last 4 tournaments last year. As strange and unusual that putting stance is, it is working. Michelle finished #113 on the LPGA in Putts per greens in regulation in 2012. She improved to 25th last year. As far as the people here that say she does not want it bad enough, I disagree. Michelle has finally found a peaceful place. She no longer has the pressure of having to live up to that 13 year girl she was. She now is comfortable just being a very good player that will contend most weeks and win once in a while.
  15. The blonde wearing the black dress is Carly Booth....she is a member of the Ladies European Tour. I was lucky enough to get an interview with her during the British Open in St. Andrews last year.
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