Lamkin Grips

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As promised THP is here to review the 2009 LPGA Tour season, everything from Michelle Wie breaking onto the scene full time to the girls calling for the resignation of their commissioner and the subsequent announcement of a new one, a Solheim Cup like nothing you’ve never seen before and everything in between. 2009 was certainly an interesting year on the ladies circuit; it wasn’t all negative even as the tour was losing events and sponsorships. Through all the ups and downs of 09, everyone who is a fan of women’s golf should be just as excited as ever for what lies ahead. Try to keep up as we retrace who did what and look at what happened where on what might be the most exciting and emotional professional golf organization anywhere on the planet.
michelle_wie
After all the fanfare surrounding her golfing life it ended up being that Michelle Wie earned her way onto the fairways of the LPGA Tour the old fashioned way….she earned it! Last December Wie made it through the LPGA Tour qualifying tournament to earn her 2009 playing privileges and she has barely looked back since. She finished 2nd in her very first event as a real deal professional golfer and went on to a solid season, while she never found the winner’s circle she did earn herself just under $700,000 in winnings, good enough 17th on the money list as of this article. One other thing that Wie earned in 09 was the respect of her fellow tour players and the fans that follow the sport. Her play earned her a captain’s selection for the Solheim Cup team and if you remember, she was nothing less than spectacular as she rolled to an overall record of 3-0-1 helping the U.S. team hold off Europe and win another Solheim Cup. I don’t think I’m Nostradamus here, but I’m going to go out on a limb and say that we’ll see Wie win soon and once she does it’ll happen A LOT. She’s clearly the future face of the LPGA Tour, who knows, maybe she’ll be that Tiger of the LPGA Tour after all.
lorena-ochoa2
World’s #1 Lorena Ochoa carded 3 wins on the LPGA Tour in 2009, all in all a pretty good showing right? Well consider this, she didn’t win a major and before her recent win at the Navistar LPGA Classic she hadn’t hit pay dirt since April when she won the Corona Championship in her native Mexico. What’s going on with Ms. Ochoa? Maybe we all just got used to her winning every other week and in some cases even more often than that, the fact that she still sits 6th on the money list with over $1.2 mil in winnings tells me that she’s just fine. Before we start coming up with a list of what’s wrong with Lorena Ochoa let’s consider that the fields are deep on the LPGA Tour….very deep. Of the 25 events in 2009 we’ve seen 18 different winners with nobody winning more than Ochoa and Jiyai Shin of Korea who both have 3 wins and just so happen to be ranked #1 and #2 in the world respectively. Make no mistake, these girls are good, a lot of them. The days of seeing a player win every week like we saw in the recent past with Ochoa are a thing of the past.
Solheim 07
When I recall ladies golf in 2009 the first thing that comes to mind is the 2009 Solheim Cup. You might remember the 3 part Solheim Cup piece THP did a little while back, this was the epitome of team spirit and patriotism at its finest. As mentioned above this was a coming out party for Michelle Wie but she wasn’t the only one who would enjoy a stellar week to help the girls of the USA notch yet another victory over their European rivals in the biannual team competition. The girls from both sides of the pond came to play in 2009 and it wasn’t until the American’s somehow stole momentum during single play on Sunday that the eventual outcome would be clear. 2011 will be a different looking team for both sides I’m sure and with the event taking its turn in Europe I’m positive we’ll be in for another awesome Solheim Cup next time around.
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The LPGA Tour has certainly dealt with its share of difficult times in 2009, it seems not much more than a few weeks pass without word of another lost event surfaces. Right now there are less than 20 events on the schedule for next year, but with some recent sponsorship renewals I don’t think we’ll be seeing the LPGA go the way of the Dodo Bird anytime soon. New LPGA commissioner Michael Whan will start his job in January and rest assured that he’ll hit the ground running to shore up what might look like an uncertain future right now. Described as a seasoned marketing executive Whan might be just what the LPGA Tour needs right now to get the ship back on track for 2010 and beyond. If Whan needs any assistance in sealing the deal with potential sponsors all he’ll have to do pop in a tape of Michelle Wie and company at this year’s Solheim Cup, I know that event captivated me and millions of other people around the world. The product that the LPGA Tour puts on TV and live in person around the world is simply too exciting not to prosper. 2009 will go down as the year Michelle Wie finally earned her place in golf and in the process will help to build a very successful LPGA Tour future for all of us to enjoy.

Here is to keeping in the short grass

Jason K.

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Category: Golf For Women, The Tour Spot

About the Author ()

Jason is a busy husband and father of 2 daughters who are both just starting to take up the game that he has loved for years. Golf is his passion, when Jason is not playing golf and testing equipment he's hanging out with all his friends on the THP forum discussing every aspect of this great game.

Comments (6)

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  1. Golfer Gal says:

    Another great article Jason!

  2. Dave Andrews says:

    Nice summary. I am very encouraged by what I read about Michael Whan and am optimistic that 2010 will be a nice building year for the LPGA.
    I’ll be heading down to the Q School finals in December to see some of the new young talent that will be making their move onto the tour.

  3. TheDue says:

    Good job Jason, (or Nostradamus lol). I may be a minority here, but this was the first year I ever really “tuned in” to the LPGA. Between the controversies and the extremely exciting Solheim cup, (exuberant might be a better word), this year found me watching the womens leaderboards for once.

    Great stuff Jason, Thanks.
    Due

  4. bonknhead says:

    Good summary of the LPGA’s year. I too, agree that the LPGA is too exciting to not do well in the future.

    I like what I’ve read thus far about Whan, and I hope he can overcome whatever Bivens and the economy had done to result in only 20 LPGA events for 2010.

  5. HardcoreLooper says:

    Great article, great new site design. Have to admit, I haven’t been around lately, so you may have had this design up for a while. Kudos!

  6. Diamante says:

    The Diamante Dunes Course was named was named the #1 New International Golf Course in 2010 by Golf Magazine. Developed by Ken Jowdy and designed by Davis Love III, the Dunes course is located in Cabo San Lucas at the tip of the Baja Peninsula. Check out a course description and pictures here: http://www.diamantecabosanlucas.com.

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