Punch Shot: Who is the LPGA Player of the Year?

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 24, 2014, 10:00 pm

Stacy Lewis won the LPGA's Player of the Year award based on points. But would she have prevailed over Inbee Park, Lydia Ko and Michelle Wie in a vote? GolfChannel.com writers weigh in with who they would have choosen as the 2014 LPGA POY.


If the Rolex Player of the Year Award were decided in a vote by players, this year’s choice might be one of the toughest decisions in the history of such balloting.

Stacy Lewis swept the LPGA awards historically considered the most important in the women’s game. Her near omnipresence on leaderboards is testament to her all-around skills and unrelenting tenacity. Nobody logged more top-10 finishes (18) than Lewis did this year.

This becomes a hair pulling exercise when you dissect the year because Inbee Park and Lydia Ko matched Lewis for most victories this season (3). Park actually led the way the tour measures top-10 finishes. She led the statistical category with 74 percent top-10 finishes. She had one less top-10 than Lewis but also had five fewer starts. Ko won the CME Globe, another measure of season-long excellence.

Yet when this dissection comes down to the category that carries the heaviest weight in measuring a great year, the scales tip to Park. She’s the only player among this trio who won a major championship. While majors haven’t been the same weighty measurement of greatness that they have in the men’s game over the years – because the events designated as majors in the women’s game have changed so often – majors are becoming just as highly coveted on the women’s side. That’s why as painful as it is choosing among these players, Lewis’ own words decide the vote for me.

“I’m not saying it was a great year,” Lewis said. “I would have liked to have won a major. That would have made it a great year. This makes it almost a great year.”

Park gets my vote in this gut wrenching exercise because her LPGA Championship title separates her from Lewis and Ko.


The truth is, you could take the quartet of Stacy Lewis, Inbee Park, Michelle Wie and Lydia Ko, put their names in a hat and pick one - and you'd get a deserving winner.

Not to ride the fence or the LPGA company line, but there's no wrong answer here. Lewis was the tour's most consistent player; Park continued her reign as a ruthless champion; Wie earned style points with her maiden major; and Ko continued to impress as a 17-year-old world-beater.

Force me to pick only one and I suppose I'll echo the LPGA's own points system and go with Lewis. She put together another superb season worthy of all the accolades.

Really, though, you can't go wrong with any of 'em. Which is a major reason why the LPGA was so entertaining this year.


Can you really go wrong with any of these candidates: Lewis, Park, Ko? They each had three wins. They each cleared $2 million in earnings. They each factored in a handful of majors.

Unlike Inbee Park, Stacy Lewis was major-less. Unlike Lydia Ko, Lewis didn’t win the season-long race. But that doesn’t mean she didn’t have the best season. She had more top finishes, earned more prize money (by more than $300,000) and had more consistent play in the majors, with top-20s in all five Grand Slam events, including three in the top 6. There was the runner-up at the Kraft. There was the solo third at the U.S. Women’s Open.

Park won the Wegmans LPGA, but she also finished outside the top 35 in a pair of majors. Ko was third at the Wegmans, but she also had forgettable weeks at the Kraft and Women’s British, and finished fifth in scoring.

This is nitpicking, we know, but that’s how close this race has been. Lewis won the Vare Trophy for lowest scoring average and won Player of the Year honors based on the points system, which is good enough for us. In a year defined by three stars – OK, four, if you include Michelle Wie’s resurgent year – Lewis was just a tiny bit better. 


Lydia Ko was 2014’s Rookie of Everything and the newest member of the millionaire’s club. Inbee Park collected her fifth major championship, is the game’s top-ranked woman and a three-time LPGA winner this year.

Despite those impressive resumes, however, it’s Stacy Lewis who is the LPGA’s player of the year.

Lewis traded the top spot in the Rolex rankings with Park throughout the season and took the season-long money title following what was by any definition a dominant year.

Where Lewis edges Park is in her consistency. Like Park, Lewis had three victories in 2014 and although she didn’t collect her third major, it wasn’t from a lack of effort.

Lewis finished third at the Kraft Nabisco Championship, second at the U.S. Women’s Open and sixth at the Wegmans LPGA Championship. She also remained consistent throughout the season, finishing inside the top 10 in 18 of her 28 starts.

But perhaps most impressive is how Lewis finished her year. Despite two of her worst tournaments of the season coming down the stretch, she opened with a 3-under 69 at the season finale on her way to a tie for ninth to claim the money title and the Vare Trophy, closing out an unmistakable player of the year campaign.

Getty Images

Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.

Getty Images

Rose leads halted Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters when bad weather stopped play Friday during the second round.

The Englishman, who shot a 10-under 62 on Thursday, had completed 13 holes and was 5 under on the day at the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat (64) was in second place.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew wit on the 11th hole at 2 under for the day after shooting an opening 72.

There was no reason given for his withdrawal, but the American has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 1:00 pm

Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.

Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.

None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.

Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.

An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.

Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.

Playing with the pros

Tiger, DJ and Faxon

Article: Video, images from Tiger, DJ's round with Trump

Article: After DJ and Tiger, Trump plays golf with Jack

Rory faces criticism

Article: Rory: Round with Trump about respect for presidency

Article: Rory: Round with Trump not a 'political statement'

President at the Presidents Cup

Video: President Trump makes the rounds at Liberty National

Article: President Trump presents trophy to U.S. team

Article: Stricker: 'Great thrill' to get trophy from Trump

Purported round of 73 with Lindsey Graham

Article: Senator tweets Trump shot 73 in windy, wet conditions

Article: Graham offers details on Trump's round of 73

Cart on the green

Article: Trump appears to drive cart on Bedminster green

Presence and protests at U.S. Women's Open

Article: Trump makes presidential history at Women's Open

Article: Trump supporters, protesters clash near Women's Open

Article: UltraViolet takes protest inside Trump National

Photo gallery: President Trump at the U.S. Women's Open

Trump golf properties


Article: Environmental group vandalizes Trump golf course

Article: Man accused of vandalizing four Trump courses


Article: Two Trump courses in Scotland losing millions

Article: Eric Trump denies Russia helped fund golf courses

Article: Trump company ordered to pay $5.77M in dues dispute

Reportedly fake TIME covers

Article: Trump clubs display fake Time magazine cover

Trump apologizes for voter-fraud story

Report: Trump's voter fraud claim tied to Langer

Langer: Trump 'apologized' for story mix-up

Pros comment on the president

Article: Players defend Trump at Senior PGA Championship

Article: Trump congratulates Daly; Daly congratulates Trump

Getty Images

Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 12:30 pm