Tuesday, April 24, 2007

1999 Player Rankings

Of all the historical player rankings I’ve posted to date, the 1999 Player Of The Year race was the closest. Karrie Webb was the Rolex POY, as she won six times including the du Maurier Classic. Juli Inkster had good reason to claim that honor for herself as she won five times with two of those victories being majors – the US Open and the LPGA Championship. My stat system gives the edge to Webb, 95 to 94, but let’s don’t call it for Karrie just yet. When I’m playing “Who’s Better”, I like to line players’ numbers up side-by-side:
Webb – 25 starts, 23 cuts made, 6 wins, 1 major, 22 Top 10s, 1st in money, 69.43 scoring average (Vare Trophy winner)
Inkster – 24 starts, 23 cuts made, 5 wins, 2 majors, 18 Top 10s, 2nd in money, 70.04 scoring average

If you place great stock in winning majors, Juli’s your girl. Karrie edges her out in every other category besides cuts missed, plus she finished second six times (Juli had none) and third four times (Juli did that three times). One more thing – they were 1-2 on the money list, but Karrie out-earned Juli by $254,000 (about 19% more).

I’m going to agree with Rolex on this one. The Top 30 Players of 1999 are:

1. Karrie Webb
2. Juli Inkster
3. Se Ri Pak
4. Annika Sorenstam
5. Dottie Pepper
6. Meg Mallon
7. Lorie Kane
8. Mi Hyun Kim
9. Sherri Steinhauer
10. Rosie Jones
11. Maria Hjorth
12. Kelly Robbins
13. Laura Davies
14. Akiko Fukushima
15. Rachel Hetherington
16. Janice Moodie
17. Mardi Lunn
18. Kelli Kuehne
19. Michele Redman
20. Helen Alfredsson
21. Beth Daniel
22. Tina Barrett
23. Jenny Lidback
24. Liselotte Neumann
25. Catriona Matthew
26. Tammie Green
27. Emilee Klein
28. Jane Crafter
29. Nancy Scranton
30. Kris Tschetter

Retro Hound Dog Awards:
Player Of The Year – Karrie Webb
Rookie Of The Year – Mi Hyun Kim
Fluke Victory Of The Year – none

No fluke award this year – I almost gave it to Catrin Nilsmark (captain of Team Europe at the 2005 Solheim Cup), but she had a couple of years prior to ’99 where she ranked in the 30s despite playing only about 20 events. Being such a negative award, I should have no doubts before bestowing it.

Other tidbits about 1999 – Dottie Pepper won the Kraft Nabisco. Mi Hyun Kim was the last rookie to rank in the Top 10 prior to Paula Creamer in 2005. You’ll see even better rookie results in two of the next three installments of this series. Finally, I wanted to point out that ‘99 was the only season out of the last 12 that Annika Sorenstam finished out of the POY running, and she still ranked fourth. Amazing.

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