Sports Outside the Beltway

2008 LPGA Tour Preview

The US Ladies Professional Golf Tour has their season opener beginning tomorrow at the SBS Open. Paula ‘The Pink Panther’ Creamer is the defending champion.

I was credentialed to online report the 2007 season-ending ADT Championship last November. Lorena Ochoa won by two shots. Coming off two years in a row of being the LPGA’s leading money winner will Lorena be again at the top of the money list when the 2008 season is over?

Will Annika Sorenstam come back from her injury plagued 2007?

Who will be the top American golfer? Paula Creamer, defending US Open Champ Christie Kerr, or will it be someone else?

Are veterans Juli Inkster and Pat Hurst in the decline phase of their careers?

Will Suzann Pettersen have her second big year in a row or was 2007 an anomaly?

How many tournaments will the Korean players win this year?

Who will be rookie of the year?

What will Michelle Wie do in 2008?

My answers

1- Ochoa repeats as the #1 money winner and player of the year.

2- Annika wins again but is far being from the dominant player she was a few years ago.

3- Creamer will be the #1 American money winner for 2007.

4- Juli is 48, Pat has two school age children. Both didn’t play that well in 2007. I think both Pat and Juli have seen their best years already. If one of them were to re-emerge it will be Pat. Juli is 48 years old.

5- Suzann is a good player, but IMHO 2007 was way over her head. I’m predicting a dropoff this year, right out of the top 10. Feel free to remind me how wrong I was if Suzann does otherwise.

6- The South Koreans will win 6 tournaments this year. Good question, how do you classify Angela Park? She is of Korean heritage, but born in Brazil and grew up in the US. Angela is an American in my book.

7- This is a weak rookie class. Momoko Ueda gets the nod because of her victory at last year’s Mizuno.

8- Michelle will have a much improved 2008 and will contend in several tournaments but not win. I also predict Michelle to announce her intention to begin playing professional golf full-time in 2009.

Other predictions-

Karrie Webb wins a tournament after an off 2007.
At least of the Korean players takes home a major. It could well be Ji-Yai Shin.
Ai Miyazato breaks through to win her first LPGA event.

Taking after Golf columnist Ron Sirak, plus bloggers Hound Dog and The Constructivist, I will list my top 30 for 2008. They are under the fold.

1- Ochoa
2- Jee Young Lee
3- Creamer
4- Seon Hwa Lee
5- Sorenstam
6- Hee Won Han
7- Kerr
8- Natalie Gulbis
9- Angela Park
10- Jeong Jang
11- Se Ri Pak
12- Webb
13- Pettersen
14- Morgan Pressel
15- Brittany Lincicome
16- Mi Hyun Kim
17- Catorina Matthew
18- Stacy Prammanasudh
19- Ai Miyazato
20- Sarah Lee
21- Young Kim
22- Nicole Castrale
23- Christina Kim
24- Pat Hurst
25- Angela Stanford
26- Meaghan Francella
27- Momoko Ueda
28- In-Kyung Kim
29- Na On Min
30- Julieta Granada

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