Time for LPGA pros to pounce


If you’re an LPGA fan, the next eight weeks can define the entire season.

With seven events over the next eight weeks, three of them majors, today’s start of the LPGA State Farm Classic marks the time for players to start summoning their best.

That’s what makes Jiyai Shin’s withdrawal Wednesday to undergo emergency appendectomy surgery so difficult for the world’s No. 1. It’s uncertain whether she’ll be able to play the year’s second major, the LPGA Championship, in two weeks. It’s difficult to imagine she’ll be at her best for awhile, which leaves the door open to challenges to her No. 1 spot in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings.

With three majors in this eight-week run, the Rolex Player of the Year race has never felt more wide open.

Almost anything seems possible. Se Ri Pak and Karrie Webb are right there to re-establish their dominance. Michelle Wie’s never had a better opportunity to make a move. Norway’s Suzann Pettersen, out this week while still mending a sore hip, has to be licking her chops at the chance in front of her. Americans Cristie Kerr and Angela Stanford, too. Paula Creamer must be aching to get back in action after her thumb surgery.

Ai Miyazato is the early story in that tour’s limited start, but whoever gets hot this summer will likely define this season and the new direction this tour’s taking with Lorena Ochoa and Annika Sorenstam no longer around to dominate.

With the schedule so erratic, it’s been difficult for LPGA fans to dig in and get a feel for what this tour’s all about now.