Monday, August 06, 2007

Women’s British Open – Epilogue

Lorena Ochoa now has 13 career victories, one major championship, one Rolex Player of the Year award and one Vare Trophy. That adds up to 16 points, which is just over 59% of the total she needs to qualify for the LPGA Hall of Fame. The only question I have now is – Will she reach 27 points before the end of the 2008 season? She’s a lock now for 2007 POY and is very likely to win the Vare again. If she wins a couple more majors next year along with five other events over the next 16 months, she’ll have 27.

The last five majors (going back to Sherri Steinhauer’s British Open win last year) have all been won by players who had never won a major before. The last year that all four majors were won by first-time major winners was 1995 – Annika Sorenstam won the U.S. Open for her first major while Kelly Robbins, Nanci Bowen and Jenny Lidback all won the only majors of their career. For Bowen and Lidback, those were also the only victories of their career.

Beth Daniel made the trip to St. Andrews, finished T50 and announced her retirement. Inducted into the Hall of Fame as its 16th member in 1999, Beth won 33 times in her career including the 1990 LPGA Championship. The 1979 Rookie of the Year, she went on to win three Player of the Year honors (1980, 1990, 1994), three Vare Trophys (1989, 1990, 1994) and has been a member of every U.S. Solheim Cup team since the competition started in 1990 (8 events). I’m sure we’ll be seeing her during telecasts, but I will miss those occasional on-course sightings. She showed this week that she still has that great swing.

During Sunday’s coverage, Jee Young Lee hit her third to the par-5 15th to within two feet. Andy North praised the shot and said that Lee is “going to be a star” in the near future. If she keeps playing the majors like she did this year, Andy will be right. Jelly was T13 at KNC, T10 at the LPGA, seventh at the US Open and tied for second yesterday.

Annika Sorenstam did not win a major championship in 2007, the first time she’s come up empty in the majors since 2000. That six-year streak was one short of the record set from 1958 through 1964 by Mickey Wright.

On an average day of TV coverage, you’ll hear an announcer say something like “they don’t have much green to work with on this shot” at least a couple of times. With the huge greens at St. Andrews, I don’t recall hearing that phrase one time this entire week.

I already awarded the Big Surprise to Eun-Hee Ji and Miki Saiki, but there were several other great finishes I need to mention. Linda Wessberg didn’t close well, but her T7 was her third Top 10 in 10 LPGA events this year. In-Bee Park recovered from her Black Friday to finish T11 along with the very Scottish Mhairi McKay and Na On Min.

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