Sports Outside the Beltway

2010 LPGA Tour preview

After a 3-month layoff, The American Women’s Professional Golf circuit will begin the new year with its first tournament. The Honda PTT LPGA Thailand which will begin Thursday. Lorena Ochoa is the defending champion.

This will mark the first time in almost 2 decades that the LPGA began a new year overseas. Much has been made about the tour’s international flavor. I remark to those critics- Would you rather just have a 14 tournament schedule. That’s what would be left if you just had the American stops and the British Open.

Due to the tour’s new Commissioner Michael Whan the LPGA’s overall picture looks much brighter than it did as little as six months ago. He has brought back several old sponsors to the tour that former Commissioner Carolyn Bivens drove away and it looks like he may one or two more up his sleeve yet. I haven’t been this optimistic about the LPGA in about five years. Yes work has be done, but I haven’t seen anything but positive news coming out of Daytona Beach for at least three months.

My predictions for the upcoming year-

Player of the Year- Ji Yai Shin. She was last year’s leading winner but Lorena Ochoa won Player of the Year. I expect Ochoa to drop further this year from her glory days in 2006 and 2007.

Most likely player to beat out Shin- Na Yeon Choi. Choi has never missed a cut on tour and won two tournaments late in 2009. She has found her groove. Pardon the golf pun.

Sleeper for Player of the Year- Anna Nordqvist. She only won the LPGA Championship and Tour Championship as a rookie in 2009.

Rookie of the Year- Mina Harigae, last year’s Duramed Futures Tour player of the year, edges out the more heralded Blumenhurst.

How many rookies win in 2010?- One.

How many tournaments will Michelle Wie- Two. See more below.

Comeback Player of the Year- Jeong Jang. She returns to form from wrist surgery. My 2009 Comeback of the Year selection did pretty good last year.

Major Champions for 2010- Shin, Michelle Wie, Choi, and Paula Creamer

We’ll end this post with my top 30 players for 2010

1 Shin

2 Choi

3 Wie

4 Nordqvist

5 A Miyazato

6 Creamer

7 Tseng

8 IK Kim

9 Ochoa

10 Pettersen

11 Yoo

12 SH Kim

13 Kerr

14 Jang

15 V Hurst

16 Webb

17 Stanford

18 Harigae

19 McPherson

20 EH Ji

21 JY Oh

22 SH Lee

23 Lincicome

24 MH Kim

25 Han

26 Pressel

27 Wright

28 HY Park

29 Blumenhurst

30 Lang

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