For the fourth annual edition of my WTA and LPGA money list countdown I will focus on the dynamic dozen from each tour, the top 12 on the money lists. For the WTA, singles, doubles and mixed are combined for total earnings. Here are the #11 players for 2016: Johanna Konta (WTA) and Haru Nomura (LPGA).
JOHANNA KONTA (WTA)
2016 Prize Money: $2,363,882
Titles: Bank of the West Classic
Awards: WTA Most Improved Player
Ok, I promise this is the last time I rant about this…well, until the next time. I’m still smarting about what happened to Johanna Konta at the 2016 WTA Finals, being part of all the pre-tourney celebrations only to get passed at the last moment by Svetlana Kuznetsova for the 8th and final spot in the event. The WTA needs to know who the qualifiers are before they go through all the pomp and circumstance in Singapore. Anyway…that aside, Jo showed signs of the player she could be in 2015, particularly at the US Open. So in 2016 it was no surprise to see her reach two finals, in Stanford and Beijing, winning the former…the Bank of the West Classic in a tough 3-setter against future Hall of Famer Venus Williams. It was Johanna’s WTA singles title. She came up just short at the China Open, capturing the runner-up trophy to Agnieszka Radwanska. Konta became the first British woman in 30 years to crack the WTA top 10 in singles. She was as high as #9 but finished the year at #10. Jo was named the WTA’s Most Improved Player. Overall, it was a breakthrough season for Johanna Konta…just please no more health scares like her collapse on court at the 2016 US Open.
HARU NOMURA (LPGA)
2016 Prize Money: $1,228,295
Titles: ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open, Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic
One of my favorite moments from Haru Nomura’s fantastic 2016 LPGA season came after she won the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open. Asked whether she thought she was on the same level as world #1 Lydia Ko…and after some hesitation…Haru gave a tongue in cheek answer that she was better! She was just joking…well, at least I think she was joking. Look, she’s not Lydia…but by April, after a victory at the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic, she joined Lydia and Ha Na Jang as early season multiple winners in 2016 before April was over. Those were also the first LPGA tournament victories for Haru Nomura. Riding a strong putter, Haru always finished in the money this season, save for a withdrawal at Volvik before finishing her first round. She was also the first Japanese player to win on the LPGA since Mika Miyazato at the 2012 Safeway Classic. Ai Miyazato also won in 2012…twice in fact (Lotte Championship, Walmart NW Arkansas Championship). While Haru is Japanese (her father) and represents Japan, I do want to add that her mother is Korean. That’s right folks, this Japanese golf star has Seoul!
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