They have played five tournaments since my last rankings, and the major championships for ’06 are done. I recently devised a point system to rank players’ performances over the season but despite my satisfaction with the overall results, I’ll still be tweaking the rankings with a subjective eye. For example, even though my numbers show that Karrie Webb has had the best 2006 of any player by a small margin, she is not the #1 player. Previous rankings are in parentheses.
#1 Annika Sorenstam (1)
My point system shows her a close third behind Webb and Lorena Ochoa, but she’s a long way from falling out of this spot. If she misses the next 2-3 cuts, I’ll think about it.
#2 Karrie Webb (3)
Won the Evian Masters for her third victory of the season, and that puts her ahead of Ochoa. The Player Of The Year will be one of these top four.
#3 Lorena Ochoa (2)
The most consistent of the top three, and it was really tough for me to drop her to third. A strange word “consistent”. From round-to-round Lorena’s scores jump around as much as anybody’s, but she’s “consistent” is that she finishes in the Top 10 four weeks out of five.
#4 Cristie Kerr (8)
I said I probably had her ranked too low last time, and I’ll make up for it here. The last three tournaments she’s entered she finished 10th, tied for 2nd, and won.
#5 Juli Inkster (4)
Her British Open performance (even though she didn’t hold on to win) and Top 10 at Safeway keeps her ahead of Peanut.
#6 Mi Hyun Kim (5)
Her fourth-place finish at Evian was her third straight Top 10 and I was ready to move her up to #4. But her first missed cut of the year and a T34 keep her below Inkster, despite rebounding to finish T7 at Safeway.
#7 Jeong Jang (10)
On fire. 3 Top 10s in the last 4 events and T26 at British. Just a couple of putts not dropping at Safeway keeps her from challenging the two ladies ahead of her.
#8 Paula Creamer (9)
7th at Evian, T22 at British, T18 at Safeway. Creamer, Han and Seon Hwa Lee were all solidly in my Top Ten a month ago, but all three seem to be slipping (Paula less so than the other two).
#9 Hee Won Han (6)
Starting to turn it around a little bit (T10 at British and T14 at Safeway) but still only 2 Top Tens in her last 9 events.
#10 Seon Hwa Lee (7)
I’d say she “hit the wall” when the second half of the season started. Still hasn’t missed a cut yet, but T18 at Safeway was her best finish over the last four weeks.
#11 Michelle Wie (11)
Still #11 for the same reasons as before. I might have moved her to #10 if Seon Hwa Lee had missed a cut or two, or if Michelle had kept her perfect record of Top 10s in every event (she’s now 5-6 this year after finishing T26 in the British).
#12 Se Ri Pak (14)
I’m giving her a little bump because I should have given her more credit before for winning the major. She’s fighting a neck/back problem which caused her to withdraw from the British Open, but she played great at Evian and pretty good (T20) in Canada.
#13 Pat Hurst (13)
Exorcised a couple of demons by holding on to win the Safeway. In my stats, she’s virtually even with Pak, but in four of the five categories they vary greatly. Since Se Ri’s win was a major, Pat stays at #13.
#14 Natalie Gulbis (12)
Hurst’s win relegates Natalie to this spot. Since losing the playoff to Peanut at the Jamie Farr, Gulbis’ best finish was T16 at the British.
#15 Shi Hyun Ahn (15)
The lowest ranked player to have made every cut this year (Ochoa, Kerr, Inkster, Creamer, SW Lee, and Wie are the others). She’s about even with Lincicome and Steinhauer, but that cut stat and her advantage in scoring average put her here.
#16 Sherri Steinhauer (NR)
Without the British Open win would probably come in at around #25, but I don’t count that high (yet). Will need a couple more Top 10s and another good payday or two to maintain this ranking.
#17 Brittany Lincicome (18)
Has done nothing in the last four weeks to really warrant moving up a spot. I’ll chalk that up to underrating her Match Play win and the money that came with it the last time I did this exercise.
#18 Meena Lee (20)
Finished 4th in Canada and T7 at Safeway. Might see her win again in the next couple of weeks.
#19 Ai Miyazato (NR)
A Top 10 at the British and the ability to keep making the cut moves her onto the list. There is still time for her and the other rookies to catch Seon Hwa Lee for Rookie Of The Year honors, but it will take a least one victory and a couple more Top 10s for one of them to get there.
#20 Julieta Granada (17)
8th at the British Open, but missed the cut in Canada and finished 72nd in a 77-player field at Evian. I almost pushed her out in favor of Morgan Pressel or Jee Young Lee, but I allowed the British performance to sway me.
Dropped Out: Sung Ah Yim (16), Stacy Prammanasudh (19)