For the past two years I have counted down the top 30 (2013) and top 25 (2014) players on the WTA and LPGA money lists as my year-end wrap-up. This year I am reducing the list to the top 15. However, I am adding the LPGA of Japan (JLPGA) to the countdown. For the WTA, singles, doubles and mixed doubles are added to the total money earnings. For the JLPGA, I will approximate the US Dollar totals based on the day I look up the exchange rate. Here are the #10 players for 2015: Roberta Vinci (WTA), Misuzu Narita (JLPGA) and Anna Nordqvist (LPGA).
ROBERTA VINCI (WTA)
2015 Prize Money: $2,309,821
Titles: ASB Classic
Ok, I could post about Roberta Vinci’s doubles title at the ASB Classic, the last before her long time partnership with Sara Errani dissolved. I could also post about her reaching the final at the Nuremberg Cup in singles. But why delay talking about the big one? And that was one of the greatest, some argue the absolute greatest, upsets in tennis history. With Serena Williams looking like nothing was going to stop her from achieving the calendar year Grand Slam in singles, something not accomplished since Steffi Graf’s Golden Slam in 1988, Roberta stood up and did the seemingly inconceivable, even to herself. Inconceivable. Apparently, that word did not mean what we thought it meant. Not only did Vinci end Serena’s Grand Slam march, she did so with a style of play that harkened back to another era. She didn’t defeat Williams with power and pop. Instead it was an array of slices, spins, net rushes and volleys that carved out a victory over the dominant world #1. Roberta would go on to lose against fellow Italian Flavia Pennetta in the women’s final. But for the time between the semis and final, Vinci was the talk of the sports world for her performance against one of the greatest players in tennis history.
MISUZU NARITA (JLPGA)
2015 Prize Money: $588,077 USD (¥70,718,130)
Titles: Suntory Ladies Open Golf Tournament, Studio Alice Women’s Open
Awards: Best Comment of the Year
Coming off a 2014 season that saw her win 3 times, Misuzu Narita continued her impressive play again in 2015. The 23-year old looks like a player to be reckoned with for years to come with at least 1 win in each of the past four years, including as a non-member in 2012. This season, Misuzu won twice, at Studio Alice and Suntory Ladies. Her impressive putting has helped make her a birdie machine, carrying her to 7 career JLPGA victories in a short period of time, including back to back multiple win seasons. Narita also finished 2nd at the Golf 5 Ladies and had 12 top 10s. As if all of that were not enough, her sparkling personality went a long way in winning her Best Comment of the Year from the JLPGA.
2015 Prize Money: $977,743
Titles: ShopRite LPGA Classic
It’s been a joy to see how Anna Nordqvist has turned herself around these past two seasons after a handful of seasons set adrift. Following last year’s multiple wins she notched another victory in 2015 at the ShopRite LPGA Classic. The ShopRite win came on Mother’s Day in Sweden, with her mom in the crowd to see her win. It was the first time anyone from her family saw her win in person on the LPGA tour. In 2014, she set her money list personal best. This year, it was her personal best scoring average (70.31) on her way to 10 top 10s, 3 of them in Majors. She also earned 2 points for the European Solheim Cup team as they came up a bit short this time. She’s change her fitness regime. At 28, she should have many good years ahead of her. Certainly, taking great care of her body will only help in preserving her ability for as long as possible. She has 5 career LPGA wins. If she can stay healthy and mentally focused, I think she can reach double digit LPGA career wins if she continues to play as she has the past 24 months.
ALL PICS CLICK TO ENLARGE