Monday, November 24, 2014

Lydia Ko's Really Big Payday

- Lydia Ko is used to breaking records, usually for her age. This week, however, she broke a completely different record that has nothing to do with how young she is. Lydia Ko won the CME Tour Championship, and in doing so, also won the CME Globe race. That means Ko won a grand total of $1.5 million, a record for one player on the LPGA in one day. Ko did it in style, too, firing a bogey free 68 in tough conditions and out dueling Carlota Ciganda and Julieta Granada in the playoff. An incredible year topped off with an incredibly finish, and for the LPGA, they have to be feeling really good knowing that Lydia Ko is their future (as well as their present.)

- Between Lydia Ko and Lorde, it has been a great year for teenagers from New Zealand.

- While Lydia Ko was putting the finishing touches on the CME Globe race, Stacy Lewis was being informed that she won every other major LPGA award. After Lewis' strong weekend and Inbee Park's struggles all weekend, Lewis locked up the Player Of The Year award and the Vare Trophy. The race became much closer at the end of the year than expected, and all credit in the world goes to Inbee for putting on the pressure, but Lewis was so consistent throughout the middle part of the year that she was almost a lock for a top 10 every week. I have a feeling, however, that this won't be the last time we see these two duel it out for these prestigious awards.

- It seems like a long time ago since we've seen Morgan Pressel at the top of the leaderboard on a consistent basis. The last three tournaments she has played, however, she has finished T4, T11, and solo 4th. If the season was just a little bit longer, Pressel looked like she may be on track for her first victory since 2008. This new confidence, which she contributes to Taylor Swift's album "1989", should translate over into next year. And yes, I mentioned both Lorde and Taylor Swift. Find another golf blog that's willing to go deep into pop culture.

- Not all top 10's are created equal. For So Yeon Ryu, her T7 finish should feel somewhat disappointing. At one point on Sunday she was one shot back of the leaders, but three bogies in four holes to end the front nine derailed her chances to win the tournament. For I.K. Kim, her T9 finish should feel like a massive success. Kim has struggled all season. In fact, this was only her second top 10 of the season. To end a frustrating season on a high note should be a relief for Kim, who can now put 2014 behind her.

- Since returning from injury, Michelle Wie notched 3 top 10 finishes in five tournaments, ending with two victories and 13 top 10's this season, easily the best season of her career. With added confidence and a few months to be completely healthy, it will be interesting to see how Wie performs next season for an encore performance,

- I fell like Henrik Stenson is the forgotten man when talking about the best players in the world. Perhaps it is because his major record isn't as good as some of the others, but there is no doubt that Henrik can beat anyone anywhere given the chance. This week, he successfully defended his title in Dubai against the best the European Tour had to offer. His Sunday round of 70 was the first time in twelve rounds that he shot 70 or worse. The man is one fire, and the only thing missing from his resume is a major.

- After not playing for a month and after already capturing the Race To Dubai title, the world would have forgiven Rory McIlroy if he played poorly last week. Instead, he came within two shots of Stenson, and this after he already admitted he was not playing his best golf. If this is Rory's C game, I feel sorry for everyone else.

- There are a lot of people, myself included, who are waiting to see how good Victor Dubuisson really is. He has played primarily on the European Tour so we only get to see him in majors and other big tournaments. Still, he always seems to show up when people forget about him. His final round 68 was good enough to tie him with McIlroy and Justin Rose, which is really good company, and at only 24, we have yet to see Dubuisson's best.

- When people talk about Hideki Matsuyama, they say how good he can be, mostly in comparison to other great Asian golfers. I think we are seeing history in the making - Hideki is likely to become the greatest Asian golfer of all time, and one of the top players in the world. He already has two top 10's on the PGA Tour this year, and just won a big event on the Japan Tour. Is it impossible to think that Hideki could win a major next year? Absolutely not. I for one am excited about the possibility of one of the top players in the world being from Asia. That will truly show how the globalization of golf.

- Hiroshi Iwata did not make it easy on Hideki, as he fired a final round 63 to get into a playoff. Iwata is fresh off his top five performance at the WGC-HSBC Champions event, and has been one of the best players on the Japan Tour this season. I am curious as to whether or not we will be seeing him a few times on the PGA Tour next season. The Sony Open in Hawaii always offers exemptions for the best Japanese players, and with a top finish there, you never know what may happen.

- I am encouraged by Jordan Spieth's T3 finish at the Dunlop Phoenix event. In a completely different country and completely different atmosphere, Speith was still able to make his way into contention and nearly walk away with the tournament. To me, that is an encouraging sign going forward.


  1. I was so pleased for Stacy in winning the major trophies. Lyds has plenty of time to collect them. Be nice to see her now win her first major next year. Time Anthony to review your 2014 predictions and all in all you did well but maybe be a little more generous to our Lyds in your 2015 ones...

    1. Yeah, that's one of my next posts. I did better than expected, but I assumed there would be more parity this year than there actually was.
      ....and I like Lorde. :(

  2. Oh and to me Lorde is more of a manufactured product Ko is the real deal...