Thursday, January 03, 2008

1993 Player Rankings

Evidently the system for determining the Rolex Player of the Year back in the early 1990s needed a complete overhaul. The page at which lists the POYs shows a significant difference in point totals after the 1995 season, so the problem apparently didn’t go unnoticed. I bring this up because in two consecutive seasons, the player recognized as the Rolex Player of the Year was likely only the third-best player on Tour.

While only Laura Davies got totally ripped off in 1994, both Brandie Burton and Patty Sheehan had reason to complain the year before. Betsy King won the award despite winning only one event, the Toray Japan Queens Cup. She did win the Vare Trophy and led the money list. Burton won three times including the du Maurier Classic (in a sudden-death playoff against King) while Sheehan won twice with the LPGA Championship to her credit. All three players finished in the Top 10 50-60% of the time but both Burton and Sheehan missed only one cut while King missed two. I’ll concede that King finished second five times (Burton-Sheehan had only one between them) and two of those were in majors but I thought a POY should always win more than once, and when you add in the fact that Betsy’s only win came in Asia versus a smaller and weaker field…

The Top 30 Players of 1993 are:

1. Brandie Burton
2. Patty Sheehan
3. Betsy King
4. Helen Alfredsson
5. Trish Johnson
6. Dottie Pepper
7. Tammie Green
8. Nancy Lopez
9. Donna Andrews
10. Hiromi Kobayashi
11. Lauri Merten
12. Meg Mallon
13. Michelle McGann
14. Rosie Jones
15. Sherri Steinhauer
16. Laura Davies
17. Dawn Coe-Jones
18. Danielle Ammaccapane
19. Hollis Stacy
20. Kelly Robbins
21. Jane Geddes
22. Judy Dickinson
23. Jane Crafter
24. Tina Barrett
25. Pat Bradley
26. Beth Daniel
27. Kris Monaghan
28. Kristi Albers
29. Dana Dormann
30. Amy Benz

Player of the Year – Brandie Burton
Rookie of the Year – Suzanne Strudwick
Fluke Victory of the Year – Cindy Schreyer

My system awarded Suzanne Strudwick only five points for her 1993 season but that was enough to lead all rookies. Amy Fruhwirth was the only other rookie to even register on my chart. Strudwick actually did win the Rolex ROY. 1993-95 was a bad time for rookies – none finished in my Top 30 and Annika in ’94 was the only rookie to crack my Top 40.

She hasn’t played very well in the last few seasons, but Brandie Burton was one of the best players of the 1990s. Starting with her Rookie of the Year award in 1991, Brandie was a Top 30 player each of the first eight years of her career. Five victories, two du Maurier championships and three Top 10 seasons (’92, ’93 and ’98) are the highlights of those years. Burton received a medical extension to remain exempt for the 2008 season.

If you’ve watched the last few Solheim Cups you know who Trish Johnson is. Despite starting at least 14 LPGA events every year from 1988 through 2000, 1993 was the only season that Trish made my Top 30. She made the most out of that good season, finishing fifth with two victories and a Top 10 money list standing. Those victories came back-to-back in April, at Las Vegas and Atlanta. Johnson is an LET regular these days, starting 20 events in 2007 with one win and a fourth-place finish on the Order of Merit. Coincidentally, 2007 European Solheim Cup Captain Helen Alfredsson had her best LPGA season in 1993 also. Her victory at the Kraft Nabisco spear-headed her #4 ranking.


firstbase31 said...

At last.....its a great day to be a Brandie Burton fan!! Been waiting for you to do the '93 player rankings. For her to still be out there making a living after all the injuries and surgery she's had is truly amazing to me. The woman definately has heart. I would love to see her win one more time before she hangs up her spikes. By the way-- Brandie also played on 5 Solheim Cup teams. Great work, HD!!

Hound Dog said...

Thanks! If I'd known you were waiting, I'd have run 1993 a lot sooner!

I noticed that Brandie's streak of good seasons was snapped in '99 when because of injury, she wasn't able to play a single tournament. Hopefully whatever was ailing her in '07 has passed and she'll at least make the money list Top 90 (which she has done every year except for '99 and '07).

After I post 1990-92, I'll do another composite chart so we can see exactly how Burton ranks for the entire decade.

firstbase31 said...

In '99 she had surgery on her right shoulder...for the third time, and missed the entire season. She came back in '00 and won the Heather Farr award for comeback player of the year and played on her last Solheim team. Last year she fell walking down some steps at the US Open and reinjured her left ankle (which has also been surgically repaired three times). Not sure if she had to go under the knife again, but I did notice she had a missed cut at the Safeway in late August. Here's hoping for a healthy '08 for Brandie!!

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