THERE ARE SIX LADIES vying for the Rolex Player of the Year, Vare Trophy (lowest scoring average) and the LPGA money title: Yani Tseng, Ai Miyazato, Cristie Kerr, Jiyai Shin, Suzanne Pettersen and Na Yeon Choi. The post-Annika, post-Lorena LPGA has a new and very crowded look at the top. That’s why I was thinking we could start calling it the Ladies Parity Golf Association. We know they’re pros, so why not use the “P” for something that fits today’s LPGA?
They’ll settle POY, the money title and other season-ending issues at the LPGA Tour Championship in two weeks at the Grand Cypress Golf Club in Orlando, Florida.
(Photo: Yani Tseng / Keith Allison, Flickr)
It’s been crazy since Lorena Ochoa retired in May. The top spot in the Rolex Rankings (women’s world No. 1, not to be confused with Rolex Player of the Year) has turned over nine times among three players—Miyazato, Shin and Kerr. Shin is the current No. 1 and holds a slim .49 edge over Pettersen. Kerr is third and Tseng fourth.
The money title has come down to Shin and Choi. In addition, Choi, with a 69.77 scoring average, has a .09 lead over Kerr in the Vare Trophy race.
If I counted correctly, there have been 15 winners in 25 events thus far. Miyazato, Tseng, Kerr, Shin and Choi have multiple wins this season. The LPGA is an extremely competitive tour these days. That’s a positive.
But is parity a good thing? Mega stars like Sorenstam, Ochoa and, for the men, Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, have brought more exposure to professional golf, a minor sport that struggles for attention—and always will.
Parity can be good for core fans. I’m in favor of it. For me, dominance gets boring. But does parity make the LPGA a harder sell when it comes to attracting a larger following? Mike Whan might not say so, but I think it does.
−The Armchair Golfer