In a world where we’ve seen a new generation of talent rise on the PGA Tour, with guys like Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and Bubba Watson leading the charge, the Tour has since grown in popularity. However, another Tour that has shined bright is the LPGA Tour thanks to the unbelievable job done by commissioner Mike Whan and the talent that has risen.
Who’s leading the pack on the LPGA Tour? None other than Inbee Park who once again won the Women’s PGA Championship for the third straight year (YES, third straight year). She also won the Women’s British Open at the legendary Turnberry golf course in Scotland, to complete the career grand slam at the young age of 27.
I’m going to come out right now and say “my bad” after I had wrote a piece a while back, stating that Stacy Lewis is the best golfer in the world. Although Stacy is terrific in her own right and got the LPGA’s triple crown in 2014 (She won the Player of the Year, Vare Trophy and was the money leader on Tour. This has never happened before), it’s fair to say that Inbee has been the best player so far.
I think Inbee and Stacy have quietly put together one of the best rivalries in sports, although it’s not considered one, they’re both always towards the top of the leaderboard it seems. It was Stacy who held off Inbee at the 2013 Women’s Open Championship as Inbee was on her way to becoming to first golfer ever to win four majors in a season.
At one point, Yani Tseng was a dominant force in golf and she has five majors to her credit. Even she can’t match what Inbee has done so far and Yani was an absolute monster and is still good.
What’s amazing about Inbee Park is that she doesn’t have a massive amount of skills. She relies simply on a hot putter and igniting at the right time.
In just a five year span from 2010 to 2015, she has won an incredible seven major championships. One of them, the Women’s PGA Championship were won three years in a row by her as mentioned.
She’s a deadly ball striker, ranking fifth in the world in that category. Combine that with her deadeye putting and you have the best golfer on the planet.
She’s better than any player on any tour right now (Again, I said this about Stacy Lewis and again, “my bad”). And with the skill set that she has, makes it that much more impressive.
She’s not going to “wow” you with big drives like Michelle Wie or Lexi Thompson or hit laser straight drives like Lydia Ko. But what she brings to the table is consistency and knowing how to attack a golf course.
Course management may be one of the most important things in the sport. She’ll read greens like books and then drop putts at an alarming rate.
I think for most of her competitors, their hopes is that she doesn’t make all the greens in regulation. If she does, you’re simply screwed.
She’ll likely one putt each time. Only Stacy is a better putter at the moment.
Another thing that stands out is her competition. She has to go out there against players like Lydia, Stacy, Brittany Lincicome (Two-time ANA Inspiration champion, or basically the Ladies Masters), Suzanne Petterson, among others and still dominates.
Not to mention all of the young talent that keeps coming up. We just saw a 21-year old In Gee Chun win the U.S. Women’s Open and we obviously have the aforementioned Lydia Ko who is an accurate driving machine and just won the Canadian Women’s Open for the third time.
Who did Lydia beat? None other than Stacy Lewis.
So please don’t use talent as an excuse for Inbee Park’s terrorizing of the world. She has dangerous competition on her tail each week.
She also won the Women’s British Open at Turnberry, a course that has hosted many Open Championships on the men’s tour including the famous “Duel in the Sun” between Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson. So the courses she plays on are as tough as the men’s tour.
There’s nothing that tells me that she isn’t the best golfer on the planet right now. Rory is the nearest competitor and he’s not even close to what she’s done.
And it’s a fair comparison:
Rory – Age 26
Inbee – Age 27
Rory – 18 wins globally
Inbee – 24 wins globally
Rory – 11 wins on PGA Tour
Inbee – 16 wins on LPGA Tour
Rory – 4 majors
Inbee – 7 majors
Rory – won 2 majors in a row in 2014
Inbee – won 3 majors in a row in 2013 and was very close to winning 4 in a row.
Rory – All-around talent. Can use any shot in the bag.
Inbee – Simply relies on her ball striking and putting.
I know, I know it may seem like an unfair comparison due to two different tours. But, I think it’s also unfair when the number one player on the PGA Tour is automatically the “best player in the world” when clearly the best player in the world is a woman.
You can definitely make a case for Jordan Spieth who is the current world number one on the PGA Tour. He’s extremely consistent but he’s only 22 so that’s where things may get a little unfair.
It’s kinda hard to compare a 22-year old to a 27-year old with the experience Inbee has. We don’t know where Jordan will be at by the time he turns 27 although it’s easy to take some guesses.
Inbee has led a charging LPGA Tour and I think three of the best five players in the world are ladies (Inbee, Stacy and Lydia). And Inbee is leading that by a mile so think about that.
She’s a quietly electrifying player too. A player who can shut the door on a tournament when that putter is en fuego (If it’s a double door, she’ll shut those too) and I honestly think she’s the best closer in golf, simply the way that she’s put away majors.
No noise. No ice. No pressure. Just pure heat.
And that’s one of the reasons why we love golf.
Sure, I think a girl like Lydia is definitely the future of the LPGA Tour. She already has built an outstanding resume for herself and hits putts in the clutch and almost never misses fairways.
But in the meantime, it’s Queen Bee’s show. She just needs the credit she deserves.
Be sure to follow me on Twitter @ChiGolfRadio for no apparent reason other than the fact that I’m a pirate (At a mini golf course?)!