Is February 14th ever going to get here? I’m not talking about Valentine’s Day - the first round of the SBS Open will be played that day. Having exhausted most of my off-season ideas for posts, here are some assorted thoughts on the upcoming LPGA season.
Like The Constructivist, I am probably not the most objective judge of other people’s preseason player rankings but I have to weigh in on Ron Sirak’s list. Ron obviously feels that Kerr, Webb, Inkster and Hurst are going to recover from sub-par (or is it plus-par? Using “sub-par” as a negative adjective for a golfer has never felt right) seasons and return to their 2006 form. I’ll hedge on my own predictions a bit and say Kerr has a reasonable chance to be a Top 10 player in 2008 (she did win the US Open last year), but what evidence could Sirak use to include Webb and Inkster in that group? And if Mi Hyun Kim, Jee Young Lee, Seon Hwa Lee and Jeong Jang ALL finish out of the Top 10 this year, I’ll order this $25 cap from lpga.com and eat it smothered in Texas Pete.
An interesting “Preseason Conference Call” with Paula Creamer can be found at lpga.com. Paula mentions that she’s been working out, trying to increase her stamina and distance. I’ve previously discussed she probably doesn’t really need much more distance, as long as she keeps up her great fairway and GIR stats. The most interesting blurb for me was this:
Q. Have you started to think about drug testing and what you're eating yet?
PAULA CREAMER: Actually, yeah I have. You're very aware of what you eat now, protein shakes and things like that. It kind of puts a new set of eyes on what you eat and what you can't, but I think it's good for the game of golf. It's influenced by other sports that are doing it and we need to be part of it as well. I have not seen a list of what we can eat and what we cannot eat. We just have the substances that we cannot have.
Q. Have you given that list to a trainer or a dietician?
PAULA CREAMER: We've talked about it. There are certain things you see in things you eat or bars that you eat, but I have not. It's hard enough to get an answer about what you can and cannot eat.
Just days before the start of the season, Creamer still doesn’t know for certain what she can and cannot eat to stay within the boundaries of the drug policy. I imagine she’s not the only player in that boat. Somebody is going to test positive early in the season.
Annika Sorenstam will open her season at the LPGA’s season opener for the first time since 2002. That year she won the Takefuji Classic in Hawaii. Since then in her opening events, Annika has finished tied for third in 2003, won in 2004, 5 and 6, and lost in a playoff in 2007. With Lorena Ochoa not in the field, put me down for Sorenstam to win the SBS Open.
Ji-Yai Shin will win at least twice in her LPGA rookie season (probably 2009). Do I need to add that she will be Rookie of the Year as well?
If Karrie Webb wins this weekend at the Australian Masters, she will have swept the two LET Australian events for a second straight year. Hopefully that good start will translate into a better season for Karrie this time.
Laura Davies says she wants to make a run at the LPGA money title and the world’s #1 ranking. No mention of coveting the #1 Hound Dog spot. She’ll need to make more LPGA starts than the 21 she’s averaged over the last seven years (23 last year) to have any hope of winning enough money. Closing out an American tournament or two on Sunday would help as well. Davies has the game to contend for these honors but it’s been years since she’s had the consistency to seriously challenge for them.