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 7 on this money list for each tour are Eugenie Bouchard (WTA) and Anna Nordqvist (LPGA).
EUGENIE BOUCHARD (Canada)
2014 Official WTA Prize Money: $3,220,929
WTA Awards: Most Improved Player
Best Results: WINNER (1) Nurnberger Versicherungscup; RUNNER-UP (2) Wimbledon, Wuhan Open; SF (3) Australian Open, Roland Garros, Family Circle Cup; QF (2) Abierto Mexicano Telcel, Portugal Open
Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova, Venus Williams and Caroline Wozniacki are still the biggest names in women’s tennis. But just as they took the baton from those before them and ran with it, a group of players (which could still include 24-year old Wozniacki) will come along to take it from them. Many of the powers that be in the sport clearly want 20-year old Eugenie Bouchard to be among that group. Currently the up and coming It Girl on tour, she comes with all the outer packaging that sponsors love and the media highlights. But there have been other comely players in the past who have not had the game to match the hype and promotion. Can Genie live up to expectations?
No need to worry about Genie. She has the substance to go with the style.The 2013 WTA Newcomer of the Year became the 2014 WTA Most Improved Player of the Year. She reached at least the semifinals of the first three Majors of the season, including the final of Wimbledon. Not only did she show her versatility in reaching those semis and a final on three different surfaces, she also reached a total of three finals also on three surfaces. She was runner-up on grass (Wimbledon) and hard court (Wuhan), both times stymied by Petra Kvitova. She broke through for her first WTA title at Nuremberg on clay. If there is any worry going into 2015, it’s her coaching situation. She parted ways with Nick Saviano, who helped guide her to this point. It’s possible she needs a different voice to take her to the next level. I hope the coaching change works out well for her. If she continues to grow as a player, she will be a worthy successor to Serena and Maria.
ANNA NORDQVIST (Sweden)
2014 Official LPGA Prize Money: $1,144,245
Best Results: WINNER (2) Honda LPGA Thailand, Kia Classic; T4 Wegmans LPGA Championship, T10 Evian Championship, 2nd Airbus LPGA Classic, T3 ShopRite LPGA Classic, T7 Canadian Pacific Women’s Open, T10 Manulife Financial LPGA Classic
The only constant in life is change. Sometimes bad, sometimes good. For Anna Nordqvist, change turned out to be extremely good. Despite being a solid player on the LPGA tour, she hadn’t won since 2009. Mentally, she was not in a happy place. So enter a new coach, new equipment, new clothes and a new approach. She admitted to being down on her game and in need of making some hard decisions. She even considered quitting. But she didn’t. She made those tough decisions and implemented changes. It all added up to her best season on the LPGA tour since 2009. Anna won twice, had two top 10s in Majors, 8 top 10s overall and recorded her highest money list total ever. I’m just pleased that she is taking a more positive approach to her game and life. Whether she duplicates her 2014 success next year isn’t as important as having happiness in her life. As long as she keeps her perspective aligned properly, great golf will follow. It did in 2014.
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