This is my first attempt at a subjective ranking of the Top Twenty LPGA players. I’m attempting to rank them purely by their golfing ability, leaving out other important factors such as personal preference or carnal desire. Those I’ll cover in other lists, of course. I plan on posting an updated ranking every 4-6 weeks.
#1 Annika Sorenstam
There are about 125 Tour regulars who would like to have a US Open victory and 10 Top Tens this season and have the golfing community tell them every week that they are in a “slump”. Tiger Woods wishes he could dominate his game like Annika does hers.
#2 Lorena Ochoa
Leading money winner for 2006. Two wins and SEVEN other Top Fives! 11 Top Tens overall with no cuts. #1 in scoring average. If she can maintain this pace thru this time next year, I’ll rank her ahead of Annika. Maybe.
#3 Karrie Webb
Two wins – one of them a major – with seven Top Tens and no cuts. Just an outstanding season, but Ochoa has been unreal and Annika is Annika. The player you’d least like to have one shot back of you on Sunday.
#4 Juli Inkster
Just amazing. The only player older than yours truly to make this list and she’s in contention almost every week. 8 Top Tens and a win in March at the Safeway. 4th in scoring average, 5th on the money list and hasn’t missed a cut. Oh yeah, she’s in the Hall Of Fame too.
#5 Mi Hyun Kim
Got her second win of the year last weekend in Toledo; 9 Top Tens and no cuts. Just a tad less consistent than Inkster or she’d be #4. Se Ri Pak is the bigger name and yes she won the LPGA Championship, but Mi Hyun Kim is the best Korean player right now.
#6 Hee-Won Han
Meet the #2 Korean player. 6th on the money list and 7th in scoring. Won the Corning Classic in May, 7 Top Tens, and only one missed cut (at the US Open). Struggling a bit lately – only one Top Ten over the six events since she won – so this ranking is a bit iffy.
#7 Seon Hwa Lee
A virtual lock for Rookie Of The Year. 8th on the money list and 8th (tied) in scoring with no cuts. Won the ShopRite Classic in June. “Only” 5 Top Tens, but she’s finished 2nd three times in addition to the win. If she keeps making the cut every week and gets another couple of Top Tens, she could be up to #5 the next time I rank ‘em. Of course #6 thru 12 here are pretty evenly matched so she could just as easily fall back.
#8 Cristie Kerr
5th in scoring, 11th in money. 8 Top Tens including a win in Nashville. No cuts missed. I probably have her rated too low.
#9 Paula Creamer
Last year’s ROY, she really hasn’t fallen off too much. The wrist injury hasn’t helped, but she’s still a favorite to win even though it hasn’t happened yet this year. She’s 10th in scoring, 12th in money, no missed cuts, and 8 Top Tens. If she actually gets some rest this off-week, she could jump in a hurry.
#10 Jeong Jang
Last year’s British Open champ got back in the winner’s circle with a win at the Wegman’s. She’s 10th on the money list, 12th in scoring with 7 Top Tens and missed her first cut last week in Toledo.
#11 Michelle Wie
Did you think I was going to leave her out? Each player I’ve listed 1-10 has at least one career victory, and a couple of them have done it in a comparable number of LPGA starts. Once Michelle wins, I’ll move her up a little closer to where the Rolex people already have her ridiculously ranked.
#12 Natalie Gulbis
6th in scoring, 14th in money, 6 Top Tens (5 Top Fives) with one missed cut. Needs to get that first win or this is as high as she’ll go.
#13 Pat Hurst
9th in money, 11th in scoring, but only 5 Top Tens and 3 missed cuts. She did win once last year and made the Solheim Cup team. When she’s on, look out – but too inconsistent to rate any higher. Being ranked 112th in driving accuracy probably explains that.
#14 Se Ri Pak
Your McDonald’s LPGA Champion. 13th on the money list, 16th in scoring with 5 Top Tens. Her first five events of ’06 included two missed cuts and a withdrawal at Atlanta (that sounds pretty serious!), but has really kicked into gear since the end of April. I’m almost sold on her comeback.
#15 Shi Hyun Ahn
14th in scoring, 19th in money and 4 Top Tens (can’t find her cut stat). Ranks second in putting,
#16 Sung Ah Yim
Won at Atlanta and has 4 Top Tens overall. 18th in money, but 36th in scoring with three missed cuts and a DQ in Richmond. You would assume there is a reason for this Jekyll/Hyde act – sounds like an in-depth study coming on.
#17 Julieta Granada
15th in scoring, 16th in money with 4 Top Tens and 2 missed cuts. Like S.H. Lee, a rookie who’s played better than either Morgan Pressel or Ai Miyazato.
#18 Brittany Lincicome
She won the Match Play Championship, which vaulted her to 7th on the money list. She has 4 Top Tens but is only 26th in scoring and has missed the cut twice. Along with Ochoa, the only Top Ten Long-Bombers in my Top 20.
#19 Stacy Prammanasudh
Tougher to spell than ANY of the Koreans. 13th in scoring, 17th in money, but only 2 Top Tens and 2 missed cuts. Won last year at Nashville.
#20 Meena Lee
15th in money with a win in Hawaii, but 25th in scoring with two missed cuts and only one other Top Ten besides the victory.