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?)!
Posted in Opinions and tagged Golf, Inbee Park, LPGA Tour by Colin GP Mieczkowski with no comments yet.
With the new professional golf season starting and the sunset of the 2014 season behind us, it’s time for another exciting of professional golf. The PGA Tour is now in full swing (See what I did there?), Web.com Tour looks to have another great season of rising stars and challenging golf courses and the Champions Tour looks to capitalize on its phenomenal 2014 season.
However, one tour stands out from the rest. The LPGA Tour just absolutely dismantled the odds in 2014 and was by far the best tour of the year.
The majors proved exciting which resulted in wins by Lexi Thompson, Inbee Park, Michelle Wie, Mo Martin and the 19-year old Kim Hyo-joo. Inbee just added to her already dominate resume, Michelle broke through and got a great win and Mo won the Women’s British Open with an unbelievable shot.
Only the LPGA Tour provided us with these moments. As great as the other tours were, the LPGA conquered professional golf in 2014.
It seemed like in almost every tournament, the top players on the tour were towards the top of the leaderboard whether it was Inbee, Stacy Lewis, Lydia Ko, Jessica Korda, Lexi or anyone else, all of the tops were at the top. This while also seeing some fresh faces hanging in there as well and that’s always exciting when you see an unfamiliar player give a star a battle.
Another amazing thing, and this is my opinion, is that 2 of the top 3 players on any tour are on the LPGA Tour. I believe Inbee is the best player in the world right now on any tour and I’ve been guilty of putting Stacy Lewis over her but within the past 2 or 3 years, Inbee is the best player in the world on any tour.
Rory Mcilroy is definitely the second best on any tour but Stacy Lewis is right behind him despite being behind him in majors. If I were to throw a fourth player in there, it would no doubt have to be Bernhard Langer. He’s just made a mockery of the Champions Tour.
But Inbee is the best player to me. She has more majors than Rory, she’s won three straight majors in a year (2013) and they’re both practically the same age. Rory’s only a year younger.
Rory and Henrik Stenson are the top two players in the Official World Golf Rankings. I’d take Inbee and Stacy over them any day of the week. The only thing is, the dudes will likely hit the ball further.
However, they wouldn’t have a prayer in the accuracy category against these ladies. Not just Stacy and Inbee, but a good majority of the women on the LPGA Tour are just dead on accurate off the tee. This is where Rory and Henrik would get destroyed against dangerous players like Inbee and Stacy.
Not saying that the two men aren’t accurate. Henrik alone is arguably the most accurate player on the PGA Tour but the women will practically nail every fairway.
Now if this was 3-on-3 then it would be Rory, Henrik and Adam Scott vs Inbee, Stacy and Lydia Ko. Lydia, the world number one player on the LPGA, is an accuracy machine and would give Adam a run for his dough if she was able to hit it as far as he does.
That’s how good these ladies are and I think golf fans everywhere are starting to notice. What to expect this year on the LPGA Tour?
It’s anybody’s guess but I think it’s going to be a phenomenal season once again and commissioner Mike Whan has just done an unbelievable job with the tour. I’ve personally always been a fan of the LPGA Tour and the class they show and they deserved 2014 and I think they’ll catch 2015 and beyond.
Another awesome thing? Christina Kim looks to be back in the form she was some years ago after her memorable Lorena Ochoa Invitational victory.
I absolutely freakin’ love Christina Kim. One of the fun, cool people in golf and she’s so good for golf it’s not even funny (Well, maybe to her it might be). There’s a lot of great, fun players on all of the tours today and it’s wonderful but Christina was in my opinion one of the first major personalities in golf in the early 2000’s to now.
Before Keegan, Billy Ho, Rickie and others, Christina was that big bundle of energy and was very talented and still is. To this day, she’s still one of the most popular players in the world to fans and is quite a follow on Twitter as well.
So to have Christina back is just the icing on the cake for the LPGA at this point. The fun thing about Christina is that she can be a microwave on the course. When she’s on, she can be hard to beat and she proved that with her Lorena Ochoa Invitational victory.
Her win came after she suffered depression issues so if that isn’t just pure mental skill then I don’t know what is. It wouldn’t shock me if she got another win in 2015.
Overall, the LPGA is looking to have another milestone year. And with the slew of rising talents and some more golf being played on great golf course designs, it’s looking nothing but up for Mike Whan and the LPGA Tour.
Hit me up on Twitter @ChiGolfRadio! I’m weird and I like tweeting about hitting balls with sticks.
Posted in Golf Opinions and tagged Christina Kim, Inbee Park, LPGA Tour, Lydia Ko, Michelle Wie, Mike Whan, Stacy Lewis by Colin GP Mieczkowski with no comments yet.
The latest Golf Digest cover stirred some controversy with Dustin Johnson’s fiance Paulina Gretzky rocking the cover posing with a golf club in yoga pants. Gretzky is also the daughter of hockey legend Wayne Gretzky and came to fame when she started taking selfies of herself on Twitter although she was apparently already doing some modeling. There were angered LPGA Tour players that showed their disgust about the cover.
two time major winner and former world no.1 Stacy Lewis on the cover according to Karen Krause of the New York times: “It’s frustrating for female golfers. It’s kind of the state of where we’ve always been. We don’t get respect for being the golfers that we are. Obviously, Golf Digest is trying to sell magazines. But at the same time you’d like to see a little respect for the women’s game.”
Hall of fame Juli Inkster on the cover also according to Karen Krause: “It’s frustrating because it’s Golf Digest; it’s not Sports Illustrated’s swimsuit issue,” Inkster said, adding: “I think they should maybe recognize some of the great women golfers that we have. It’s like, What do you have to do to get a little respect? I’m guaranteeing you right now, it was not a woman editor who chose that cover.”
Even Inbee Park who I have mad respect for and is one of my favorite players now after she absolutely terrorized, destroyed and back-handed the golf world last season after nearly becoming the first golf ever to win all four majors in a year. She ended up with three. She simply said when asked about the cover, “Who’s that”? according to Karen Krause. “That’s just been the way it is for over 20, 30 years.” Inbee said shrugging.
And now, even the LPGA Commisoner stepped up and made a statement about the cover. This, from LPGA.com:
“Obviously we’re disappointed and frustrated by the editorial direction (and timing) Golf Digest has chosen with the announcement of its most recent magazine cover.
If a magazine called Golf Digest is interested in showcasing females in the game, yet consistently steers away from the true superstars who’ve made history over the last few years, something is clearly wrong.
Inbee Park wins 3-straight major championships in 2013. Stacy Lewis, in 2012, becomes the first American to win Rolex Player of the Year since 1994. Lexi Thompson and Lydia Ko set historical benchmarks while blossoming as the Tour’s youngest ever champions. And evidently, not one has been “cover worthy” for Golf Digest. “Growing the game” means a need for more role models and in these exciting times for women’s golf, the LPGA is overflowing with them.
At this point, I’m done talking about it and I hope the attention of the media and fans will shift in the proper direction. The true stars representing women’s golf have a grand stage this weekend at the Kraft Nabisco Championship. I’m confident that the year’s first major championship will result in another compelling champion and the traditional Sunday leap into Poppie’s Pond will grab the media spotlight it so deserves.”
Those were the words of LPGA Tour commissioner Mike Whan.
So, what’s your thoughts on the commish’ statement? Do you agree? Disagree? In my opinion, I could agree with it but at the same time, Kate Upton was on a recent cover of Golf Digest too (She fine yo) although she was with Arnold Palmer. Also, like Inbee said, stuff like this has been going for years so why complain about it now? It can go either way at this point but in general, I definitely think the LPGA needs some more love because it’s a great tour with great players but that’s just a general statement. Leave your thoughts on this controversial story below! This should be fun.
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Posted in News, Rumors and tagged Golf Digest, Inbee Park, Juli Inkster, Karen Krause, Mike Whan LPGA, New York Times, Paulina Gretzky, Paulina Gretzky Golf Digest, Stacy Lewis by Colin GP Mieczkowski with 5 comments.