Sorenstam Pak and Webb Pace LPGA


Karrie Webb or Annika Sorenstam, Annika Sorenstam or Karrie Webb. For the last six years they have had a stranglehold of the LPGA, with Se Ri Pak rushing up to join them this season.
Sorenstam has six wins heading into the Asahi Ryokuken International Championship, Pak four and Webb two. Both of Webb's wins, though, are majors. Sorenstam won the first big one, the Nabisco Championships, and Pak the last, the Weetabix British Open. Trying to figure who has had the Player of the Year season is like trying to slide a mat under a closed door. It can be done, but not very easily.
The last six Vare trophies for the lowest stroke average have been won by Sorenstam and Webb. So have the last six money titles. Only Laura Davies' win in 1996 has prevented a sweep by those two of Player of the Year the last six years.
Pak, who will be turn 24 this month, has served notice to the world that she must be reckoned with. Sorenstam at 30 is just beginning to hit her prime years. Webb is 26.
Webb dominated the last two years, coming of age after Sorenstam had been the big winner the previous four. Sorenstam, however, rededicated herself to being No. 1 in the off-season, and her efforts have paid off in a boatload of victories this year.
She erupted for four straight wins, beginning with Welch's/Circle K the second week of March, continuing through the following week with a 59 that shook the golf world in the Standard Register Ping, carried through the first major, the Nabisco, and finally wound up with the Office Depot the second week in April. She won the Chick-fil-A three weeks later in May, then didn't register another victory until she won the Bank of Montreal the third week of August.
Pak has been possibly the most consistent, grabbing the opening tournament of the year, another in April, one in July and the British Open in August. Pak has won $1,329,941, which trails Sorenstam's $1,608,941.
And then there's Webb. She peaked her game two times, both major championships. She won the U.S. Women's Open by a whopping eight strokes, then fought back tears for her recently deceased grandfather to take the LPGA Championship.
'It happens with both Annika and Karrie,' said Helen Alfredsson. 'It's sort of like the Jack Nicklaus syndrome. They are up there, and everybody starts thinking about second place.'
Well, everyone but Pak, who this year has gone on winning and winning and winning. Some will say she got her British Open major because Sorenstam and Webb were tied up with Tiger Woods and David Duval on Monday night of the tournament. But the fact remains, she is the youngest of this trio and she has been the most consistent.
But there is no way for anyone to displace Sorenstam, whose early-season successes have been the most impressive on the LPGA.