US Reality Check


LPGA Tour _newThe Solheim Cup party is officially over.
Somebody get the aspirin and an ice pack, because the Safeway Classic brought one doozy of a hangover Sunday night in Oregon.
It took just seven days to go from being reminded whats so right with American womens golf to being reminded whats wrong with it.
M.J. Hurs playoff victory was a reality check.
Americans were giddy over their victory against the Europeans at Rich Harvest Farms last week, but Sundays finish reminded us who really rules womens golf on this planet.
MJ Hurr Safeway Classic
M. J. Hur was all smiles taking home the hardware Sunday of the Safeway Classic. (Getty Images)
Hurs victory marked the continued domination of Asians.
Eight of the last 10 LPGA events have been won by players from the Far East, six of them South Koreans.
The Safeway Classic also marked the 10th consecutive LPGA event that an American has failed to win.
That equals the United States longest drought within any season since the LPGA was founded 59 years ago.
With Annika Sorenstam at the height of her powers, international players won the last 10 events of the 2002 season.
If an international player wins the CN Canadian Womens Open this coming week, it will establish a new low in American womens golf.
The Americans looked poised to gain some bounce in Oregon with their Solheim Cup victory, but they got bounced instead. Its been 16 weeks since an American has won an LPGA event. Cristie Kerr was the last when she won the Michelob Ultra Open in early May.
Americans have won just four events this season. They won six in 2002, the fewest theyve ever won in any season.
Hurs victory showed the remarkable depth of the South Korean contingent, and forwarded the notion that were probably just seeing the tip of the countrys formidable iceberg.
Hur, 19, an LPGA rookie, entered the Safeway Classic ranked 150th in the world after having missed six of her last 10 cuts with no finish this season better than a tie for 13th. She was 85th on the LPGA money list, 106th on tour in scoring, 133rd in greens in regulation and 146th in fairways hit.
Who saw this coming? Only golf fans who keep close tabs on South Koreas deep well of talent.
Have you checked out the LPGA money list lately? Four of the top five are Asians. Theres likely to be more unheralded but gifted South Koreans just like Hur in the next wave coming through this winters LPGA Qualifying Tournament.
South Koreas gaining terrific momentum in the sport on the mens and womens side with Byeong-Hun An following up Y.E. Yangs PGA Championship title by winning the U.S. Amateur on Sunday. An, 17, is the youngest winner in the history of the U.S. Amateur.
The American effort at the Safeway Classic wasnt helped by the fact that Paula Creamers ailing and had to withdraw due to illness. Michelle Wie made a spirited run with a 66 on Sunday, and she looks poised for something big, but it was left to an aging veteran to try to end the American victory drought.
Michele Redman, a two-time LPGA winner who hasnt won in nine seasons, got into the playoff with Hur and Norway s Suzann Pettersen before being eliminated after missing a 3-foot putt on the first playoff hole. Redman is 44.
It isnt all gloom and doom this week for the Americans, though.
Cristie Kerr managed to hold down the top spot on the LPGA money list.
Shes bidding to become the first American to win the money title since Betsy King won it in 1993.
The Solheim Cup might not be the only American triumph to celebrate at years end.
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - Safeway Classic