Like 2013, this year I will do a countdown of the top money list leaders from both the WTA and LPGA. Last year I did the top 30, but this year I will do the top 25. Note that as of this post, the retired Li Na has been removed from the WTA website money list rankings, but I will include her here. Thus, some WTA players will be off by one position on my list compared to the WTA website list. Also, Hyo Joo Kim is not on my LPGA list due to not being a member this year. I’m certain she will be on the list in the future. For the WTA, singles, doubles and mixed are combined for this top 25. Number 22 on this money list for each tour are Garbine Muguruza (WTA) and Paula Creamer (LPGA).
PAULA CREAMER (United States)
2014 Official LPGA Prize Money: $702,691
Best Results: WINNER HSBC Women’s Champions, 7th Evian Championship, T3 ISPA Handa Women’s Australian Open, T3 Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic
For me, the shot of the year for the 2014 LPGA season was Paula Creamer’s 75-foot eagle putt on the 2nd playoff hole at the HSBC Women’s Champions. I realize one can argue that there were more important shots on tour this year. Mo Martin’s eagle on the 72nd hole of the Women’s British Open comes to mind. So does Michelle Wie’s birdie on 17 to give her a two shot cushion to finish off the US Open on the next hole with Stacy Lewis on the range hitting shots in case Wie stumbled coming in. I admit those shots were more important, but for sheer drama and ridiculousness…is that a word…I’ll take Paula’s shot. It was the kind of putt that could easily have turned into a 3 putt if she misjudged the speed or line. Plus, long putts like that allow for the drama to build…ok, she hit the putt…good speed…wait a minute…WAIT a minute…WAIT A FREAKIN’ MINUTE…ARE YOU KIDDING ME!! FOR THE WIN!! If Mo Martin had holed out for an albatross at the British, maybe I’d go with that…but she didn’t. The comeback eagle was a fairly routine putt. Michelle’s putt was tougher than Martin’s but still, I’m going with Paula. It was Paula’s first LPGA victory since winning the US Women’s Open in 2010. It was great to see one of the biggest and brightest stars the LPGA has break back into the winner’s circle. That said, after a quick start that saw two T3s and victory in her first four starts, overall her numbers slipped a bit this year. She had her highest scoring average (in golf that’s the reverse of what you want) since 2004. But let’s keep this in mind, it’s all relative for a player like Paula. Being 22nd on the money list and winning an event…coming close in two others…is an amazing year. The problem is that she has been so amazing for so long, it doesn’t look as good when you consider she’s never been outside the top 20 on the money list since she started playing full seasons, even when she was injured, until 2014. As far as I’m concerned, getting in the winning column again makes this a successful year for Paula.
GARBINE MUGURUZA (Spain)
2014 Official WTA Prize Money: $1,194,824
Best Results: WINNER Hobart International; WINNER (doubles w/Carla Suarez Navarro) Bank of the West Classic, Marrakech Grand Prix; RUNNER-UP Brasil Tennis Cup; RUNNER-UP (doubles w/Carla Suarez Navarro) Mutua Madrid Open, Toray Pan Pacific Open
In 2014, Garbine Muguruza showed why she is one of the players that could figure heavily in the future of the game the next 7 or 8 years. She won her first WTA singles title at the same tournament where she won her first doubles title a year ago, the Hobart International. She also won two titles in doubles with Carla Suarez Navarro, the Bank of the West Classic and Marrakech Grand Prix. But much like Alize Cornet, what a lot of people will mostly remember about Garbi’s year is beating world #1 Serena Williams at a Major. Cornet did it at Wimbledon. Muguruza pulled off the upset one Major before that at Roland Garros. Like a lot of up and coming 21-year old players, Garbi just needs to find consistency. That’s normal. If she can bring at least her B to B+ game on a more consistent basis she can reach the top 10. When she brings her A game, she can hang with anybody in tennis, as she showed against Serena.
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