Awards season: Who will win LPGA hardware?

By Randall MellOctober 17, 2017, 8:44 pm

Important prizes hang in the balance with the LPGA’s season in its home stretch.

This week’s Swinging Skirts Taiwan Championship is the first of five events that will test the finishing kicks of the world’s best women.

Rolex world No. 1 So Yeon Ryu and No. 2 Sung Hyun Park will continue their tight battle for the top world ranking in Taiwan while also jockeying for position to claim other coveted awards and honors. No. 3 Lexi Thompson isn’t in this week’s field.

Ryu’s reign as world No. 1 extends to 17 consecutive weeks, but Park is just .24 points behind her in average world ranking points.

The season-ending CME Group Tour Championship will decide who wins the Race to the CME Globe’s $1 million jackpot and likely a lot of other coveted awards.

Park is best positioned to try to sweep all the major awards left to be won. Here’s a look at how those award races are playing out:


Rolex Player of the Year

Unlike the PGA Tour, the LPGA’s POY isn’t decided by a player vote. If it were, this year’s race would be a tough choice.

The LPGA decides this award in a points-based race, and here are the standings:

1. So Yeon Ryu, 153
2. Lexi Thompson, 147
3. Sung Hyun Park, 142
4. In-Kyung Kim, 124
5. Anna Nordqvist, 114

There are 30 points awarded to the winner in regular tour events, including the season-ending CME Group Tour Championship, with 12 for second place, nine for third and on down to a single point for 10th place.

Ryu and Park are each committed to playing in four of the final five events. So far, Thompson is listed on the published field lists of just two of them.

Here’s a summary of the seasons for these top five players:

Ryu – Two victories, including a major (ANA Inspiration, Walmart NW Arkansas Championship), 11 top-10 finishes, six top-five finishes. Leads in Rolex Player of the Year points.

Thompson – Two victories (Kingsmill Championship, Indy Women in Tech Championship), nine top-10 finishes, eight top-five finishes. Thompson was runner up five times, three of them playoff losses. Leads Race to the CME Globe standings.

Park – Two victories, one of them a major (U.S. Women’s Open, Canadian Pacific Women’s Open), eight top-10 finishes, seven top-five finishes. Leads the money-winning list and leads the tour in low scoring average.

Kim –Three victories, one of them a major (Shoprite Classic, Marathon Classic, Ricoh Women’s British Open), five top-10 finishes, three top-five finishes.

Nordqvist – Two victories, one of them a major (Bank of Hope Founders Cup, Evian Championship), five top-10 finishes, three top-five finishes.



Vare Trophy

Park overtook Thompson at last weekend’s KEB Hana Bank Championship as the leader in tour scoring average.

1. Sung Hyun Park, 69.014
2. Lexi Thompson, 69.125
3. In Gee Chun, 69.366
4. Stacy Lewis, 69.545
5. So Yeon Ryu, 69.657


Money-winning title

Park topped the $2 million earnings mark this season with her second-place finish at the KEB Hana Bank Championship on Sunday.

1. Sung Hyun Park, $2,092,623
2. So Yeon Ryu, $1,829,596
3. Lexi Thompson, $1,681,686
4. Brooke Henderson, $1,399,905
5. Anna Nordqvist, $1,192,428


Race to the CME Globe

The top 12 in points going to Naples in the season-ending CME Group Tour Championship will have a shot at the $1 million jackpot in the season-long points race. Anyone among the top five is guaranteed to win the big payday with a victory in Naples.

A victory is worth 500 points, with second place earning 300, third earning 190, with points awarded among the top 70 or top 40, depending if there’s a cut in the event.

1. Lexi Thompson, 3,266
2. Sung Hyun Park, 2,919
3. So Yeon Ryu, 2,776
4. Brooke Henderson, 2,631
5. In Gee Chun, 2,475
6. Ariya Jutanugarn, 2,242
7. Moriya Jutanugarn, 2,071
8. Stacy Lewis, 2,045
9. In-Kyung Kim, 2,031
10. Anna Nordqvist, 2,024
11. Cristie Kerr, 1,998
12. Sei Young Kim, 1,890
13. Minjee Lee, 1,789
14. Lydia Ko, 1,707
15. Amy Yang, 1,683


Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year

Park is in position to join Nancy Lopez as the only players in LPGA history to win the Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year awards in the same season.

Park has already clinched the Rookie of the Year points-based award. There is 150 points awarded for a first-place finish, and no rookie can catch Park, even by winning every remaining event.

1. Sung Hyun Park, 1,413
2. Angel Yin, 615
3. Nelly Korda, 422

Ogilvy urges distance rollback of ball

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 8:49 pm

Add Geoff Ogilvy to the chorus of voices calling for a distance rollback of the golf ball.

In an interview before the start of the Emirates Australian Open, Ogilvy said a "time-out" is needed for governing bodies to deal with the issue.

"It's complete nonsense," he said, according to an Australian website. "In my career, it’s gone from 300 yards was a massive hit to you’re a shorter hitter on tour now, legitimately short. It’s changed the way we play great golf courses and that is the crime. It isn’t that the ball goes 400, that’s neither here nor there. It’s the fact the ball going 400 doesn’t makes Augusta work properly, it functions completely wrong.’’


Full-field scores from the Emirates Australian Open


Ogilvy used an example from American baseball to help get his point across to an Australian audience.

“Major League Baseball in America, they use wooden bats, and everywhere else in baseball they use aluminium bats,’’ he said. “And when the major leaguers use aluminium bats they don’t even have to touch it and it completely destroys their stadiums. It’s just comedy.

“That’s kind of what’s happened to us at least with the drivers of these big hitters; We’ve completely outgrown the stadiums. So do you rebuild every stadium in the world? That’s expensive. Or make the ball go shorter? It seems relatively simple from that perspective.’’

Ogilvy, an Australian who won the 2006 U.S. Open, said he believes there will be a rollback, but admitted it would be a "challenge" for manufacturers to produce a ball that flies shorter for pros but does not lose distance when struck by recreational players.

The golf world celebrates Thanksgiving

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 6:01 pm

Here's a look, through social media, at how the golf world celebrates Thanksgiving.

Lexi Thompson:

Baking time!!

A post shared by Lexi Thompson (@lexi) on

David Feherty:

Jack Nicklaus:

GC Tiger Tracker:

Steve Stricker:

Golf Channel:

Frank Nobilo:

Ian Poulter:

Tyrone Van Aswegen:

Happy Thanksgiving: Biggest turkeys of 2017

By Grill Room TeamNovember 23, 2017, 3:00 pm

Thanksgiving brings us golf's biggest turkeys of the year. Donald Trump, Grayson Murray and a certain (now-former) tournament director headline the list. Click here or on the image below to check out all the turkeys.

Tributes pour in for legendary caddie Sheridan

By Randall MellNovember 23, 2017, 2:54 pm

Tributes are pouring in as golf celebrates the life of Greg Sheridan after receiving news of his passing.

Sheridan, a long-time LPGA caddie who worked for some of the game’s all-time greats, including Kathy Whitworth and Beth Daniel, died Wednesday in Indian Rocks Beach, Fla., at 63. He was diagnosed in July 2016 with brain and lung cancer.

Sheridan worked the last dozen years or so with Natalie Gulbis, who expressed her grief in an Instagram post on Wednesday:

“Greg…I miss you so much already and it hasn’t even been a day. 15+ seasons traveling the world you carried me & my bag through the highs and lows of golf and life. You were so much more than my teammate on the course…Thank you.”

Sheridan was on Whitworth’s bag for the last of her LPGA-record 88 titles.

“When I first came on tour, I would try to find out how many times Greg won,” Gulbis told Golfweek. “It’s a crazy number, like 50.”

Matthew Galloway, a caddie and friend to Sheridan, summed up Sheridan’s impressive reach after caddying with him one year at the LPGA Founders Cup, where the game’s pioneers are honored.

“Best Greg story,” Galloway tweeted on Thanksgiving morning, “coming up 18 at PHX all the founders were in their chairs. Greg goes, `Yep, caddied for her, her and her.’ Legend.”

In a first-person column for Golf Magazine last year, Gulbis focused on Sheridan while writing about the special bond between players and caddies. She wrote that she won the “looper lottery” when she first hired Sheridan in ’04.

“Greg and I have traveled the world, and today he is like family,” Gulbis wrote. “Sometimes, he’s a psychologist. Last year, my mom got sick and it was a distraction, but he was great. When I used to have boyfriend issues and breakup issues, he was my confidant. In a world where caddies sometimes spill secrets, Greg has kept a respectful silence, and I can’t thank him enough for that. He’s an extension of me.”

Four months after Gulbis wrote the column, Sheridan was diagnosed with cancer.

“The LPGA family is saddened to hear of the loss of long-time tour caddie, Greg Sheridan,” the LPGA tweeted. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and players he walked with down the fairways. #RIP.”

Dean Herden was among the legion of caddies saddened by the news.

“Greg was a great guy who I respected a lot and taught me some great things over the years,” Herden texted to GolfChannel.com.

Here are some of heartfelt messages that are rolling across Twitter:

Retired LPGA great Annika Sorenstam:

LPGA commissioner Mike Whan in a retweet of Gulbis:

Golf Channel reporter and former tour player Jerry Foltz:

Christina Kim:

LPGA caddie Shaun Clews:

LPGA caddie Jonny Scott:

LPGA caddie Kevin Casas:

LPGA pro Jennie Lee: