With both Cristie Kerr and Suzann Pettersen falling short in their bids to cash in on year end awards, the Asian Wave on the LPGA Tour was clearly defined Sunday as four major awards went to players from South Korea and Taiwan. Grabbing the biggest prize of all was Yani Tseng as she captured the 2010 LPGA Player of the Year title.
Na Yeon Choi was a double winner this weekend, taking home the 2010 Vare Trophy and the LPGA Money Title. Look out for Na Yeon Choi in 2011. Mark my words. She is doing just what Ai Miyazato did at the end of 2009 before exploding for five wins in 2010. Will NYC win 5 times in 2011? I don’t know, but 3-4 seems a possibility and 5 not out of the question. In fact, if I had to give a favorite for Player of the Year in 2011 right now, it would be Na Yeon Choi.
And despite missing the third round cut, Jiyai Shin finishes the LPGA season as the world’s #1 ranked player. A model of consistency, it was unfortunate that she had one of her least successful outings on one of the biggest stages of the year, with so much hype around the battle for the year end awards. We’ll have to see if the LET event in Dubai has the potential to change this, but as for the end of the LPGA season today, Shin is sitting on top of the world.
And as if the Asian sweep were not definitive enough, don’t forget about Ai Miyazato, who led the LPGA in 2010 with 5 victories. There is a valid argument, outside of the points system, that Miyazato is the real Player of the Year. I think you can’t go wrong with Tseng or Miyazato. For those who are ok with the points system or who see the two Majors won, Tseng is their pick. For those who say Miyazato led the tour in wins and was two wins ahead of her nearest competitor, she is the POY pick.
I would also be remiss if I didn’t mention Ayako Okamoto, who won the LPGA Player of the Year and Money Title in 1987. American Betsy King won the Vare Trophy.
More to come on the year-end titles and the Tour Championship following the Golf Channel broadcast. All I can say now is that Amy Yang…oh my, that snowman…one hole changed the entire championship…
…but for now…congratulations to the year-end winners!