Monday, March 03, 2008

HSBC Women’s Champions – Epilogue

Lorena Ochoa Hall of Fame Watch – 23 Hall of Fame points (18 victories, one major, two Player of the Year awards and two Vare Trophies), four more needed to clinch. With seven scheduled events left prior to Cinco de Mayo, she needs four wins or only three if one of them is the Kraft Nabisco. Would you bet against her making it?

The last time a player won a tournament by double digits was the Mitchell TOC in November 2006. You guessed it - Ochoa beat Juli Inkster and Paula Creamer by ten. Annika Sorenstam won the 2005 Chick-fil-A Championship by ten and you have to go back to June 2002 to find another eleven-shot win, by Annika at the Kellogg-Keebler Classic.

Se Ri Pak withdrew from the event after her grandmother passed away. My condolences go out to her entire family.

In my tournament preview, I wondered how a first or second alternate in this far-away event might decide to deal with it. Larry at Life on Tour has Carin Koch’s answer: Guess and get lucky!
Good call: Carin Koch was first alternate for the HSBC but was between a rock and a hard place. With Joo Mi Kim withdrawing after only three holes in Ko Olina, it looked as if Carin may have been able to take her place but she would have to eat the travel expenses if she didn’t get in. Well, she decided not to go and after Joo Mi teed it up and withdrew once more, Carin saved a good bit of change by that decision.

The average score at HSBC was 73.5 so Ochoa beat that by 6.5 shots per round.

The two sponsor’s exemptions finished T59 and 72 – where are you, Hee-Won Han!!

Last time I checked, the only group with the authority to call an event “a major” is the governing body of the tour which conducts the event. Until the LPGA decides to remove major status from the British Open (very unlikely) or the Kraft Nabisco (ain’t gonna happen), the HSBC isn’t going to gain that status. Golf’s traditional limit of four majors is the primary obstacle. Personally, I don’t have a problem with calling five or even six events “majors” as long as that structure is then left alone for a few years so those events can get universally accepted. For a few years in the 70s there were only two LPGA majors, so the number four isn’t written in stone. I like the idea of establishing an “Asian major” but the notion of dropping a brand new tournament onto the schedule and giving it major status after the first go-round doesn’t appeal to me. Let ‘em play it a couple of more years and if the enthusiasm is still there, make it the fifth major. They might want to jack up the prize money a bit – the big deal over a $2 million purse confused me. Evian pays a million dollars more and it’s virtually the same event.

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