Instead of a year in review focusing on overall achievements, I thought this time I’d do a countdown of the top 30 money list leaders from the WTA and LPGA. For the WTA, singles, doubles and mixed are combined for this top 30. Number 18 on the money list from each tour are Simona Halep (WTA) and Amy Yang (LPGA).
SIMONA HALEP (Romania)
Singles: $1,195,747 Doubles: $26,699 Mixed: $0
2013 Official WTA Prizemoney: $1,222,446
Best Finishes: Following tournaments all WON, Nurnberger Verischerungscup, Topshelf Open, Budapest Grand Prix, New Haven Open at Yale, Kremlin Cup, WTA Tournament of Champions
Awards: WTA Most Improved Player of the Year
This year’s WTA award for the Most Improved Player of the Year was really no contest. All one needed to know was that Simona Halep came into 2013 with zero WTA level wins. At the close of the season, she owns 6 WTA titles. In fact, early in the year she was still searching for her first WTA trophy. It wasn’t until June that she broke through in Nurnberg. Then she went on a tear, winning again in June and adding one title every month until November, save for September. Sometimes when a player hasn’t won an event but shows promise, the cliché of the “titles coming in quick succession if only they can the first one” gets thrown around. It usually doesn’t actually work that way. However, it did with Simona.
The goal for Simona in 2014 should be to take her winning ways to higher tier events. 6 wins would normally get a player higher than 18th on the money list, but some of those wins were smaller purse wins. However, don’t be fooled into thinking that diminishes what she did in 2013. She’s beaten Agnieszka Radwanska, Petra Kvitova, Jelena Jankovic, Roberta Vinci, Samantha Stosur, Marion Bartoli, Caroline Wozniacki, Maria Kirilenko and Ana Ivanovic this season, among others. Simona is legit. She has the game to compete in the bigger events. By raising her ranking from #47 in the world to a season ending #11, she will have much more favorable early draws in higher tiered events, including the Majors. At 22-years old, Simona looks poised to crack the top 10 in 2014 and be a great player for years to come.
AMY YANG (South Korea)
2013 Official LPGA Prizemoney: $719,481
Best Finishes: WON KEB HanaBank Championship, T5 Wegmans LPGA Championship, 5th Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia, T6 Manulife Financial LPGA Classic, T7 Lorena Ochoa Invitational
Instagram: amyyanglpga (click)
Twitter: amyyanglpga (click)
Nobody in sports wants to be the best player without a win, championship, etc. It’s like saying that for all of your talent and greatness, you haven’t done what really counts. Thankfully, Amy Yang shed that title this year. After exhibiting great promise on the LPGA Tour for many years, and winning on other tours (LET and KLPGA), Amy became an LPGA Rolex first time winner when she captured the KEB HanaBank Championship in her native South Korea by besting Hee Kyung Seo with a birdie on the first hole of a playoff.
It was so sweet to see Amy get the reward she richly deserves for her sustained high level of play through the years. I expect to see more wins from her sooner rather than later. Beyond her win, she also added a top 5 at the Wegmans LPGA Championship. Amy has at least 0ne top 5 finish in a Major in each of the last four years. She possesses the game to be a Major champion. At the beginning of 2013, she was arguably the best player without an LPGA victory. Maybe now she’s the best player without an LPGA Major. She took care of getting her first LPGA win in 2013. Maybe she’ll take care of getting her first LPGA Major in 2014.
SELECTED 2013 PICS OF SIMONA HALEP and AMY YANG
ALL PICS CLICK TO ENLARGE