Golf’s Global Tour wraps up historic season
2010 LPGA Tour season highlighted by Rolex awards, milestones and charity
DAYTONA BEACH, Florida, December 13, 2010 – The LPGA punctuated its 60th anniversary year Sunday with a riveting LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament in Daytona Beach, Florida, home of the LPGA Headquarters. The 2010 LPGA Tour proved to be a season of wire-to-wire battles for year-ending awards, gripping performances on the course as well as charitable acts away from it, and new records logged in the annals of the LPGA history books.
The LPGA plans to release its 2011 season calendar during the first week in January.
In 2010, LPGA Tour players from 29 different countries competed across 12 countries in one of the most compelling and competitive years in LPGA history. The season witnessed 15 different winners from seven different countries, and five players who won multiple times. Ai Miyazato led the Tour in wins with five, Yani Tseng posted three victories including two Majors, and Cristie Kerr, Na Yeon Choi and Jiyai Shin each posted two wins. Paula Creamer captured her first LPGA major championship with a win at the U.S. Women’s Open at historic Oakmont Country Club, Michelle Wie won her second LPGA event at the CN Canadian Women’s Open, and LPGA and World Golf Halls of Fame member Se Ri Pak won for the 25th time at the Bell Micro LPGA Classic.
Japan’s Miyazato became the first player since Marilynn Smith in 1966 to win the first two tournaments of the season when she captured the season-opening Honda PTT Thailand and the HSBC Women’s Champions. Taiwan’s Tseng became the youngest player in LPGA history to win three LPGA major championships. The 2011 Rolex Player of the Year won both the Kraft Nabisco Championship and the RICOH Women’s British Open. Having won the LPGA Championship as an LPGA rookie in 2008, Tseng is already three-fourths of the way to the LPGA Career Grand Slam, a feat achieved by only six players in LPGA history: Louise Suggs, Mickey Wright, Pat Bradley, Juli Inkster, Karrie Webb and Annika Sorenstam.
The battle for the top spot in the Rolex Rankings heated up when Lorena Ochoa retired from the LPGA in May. While six players from five different countries – Shin (South Korea), Kerr (United States), Suzann Pettersen (Norway), Choi (South Korea), Tseng (Taiwan) and Miyazato (Japan) – were featured weekly with the opportunity to become the Rolex Rankings No. 1, only three players – Shin, Kerr and Miyazato – ascended to the top in 2010. The top spot changed hands nine times amongst the trio, with Shin ending the 2010 LPGA Tour season as the Rolex Rankings No. 1. Shin spent a total of 16 weeks in the top position during the LPGA Tour season (she maintains the top spot this week as well), Miyazato held the crown for 11 weeks, and Kerr took her turn at the head of the class for five weeks.
The races for the Rolex Player of the Year, the Vare Trophy and the LPGA money title all came down to the season-ending LPGA Tour Championship. Five players – Tseng, Miyazato, Kerr, Choi and Shin – entered the season finale with the chance to become the Rolex Player of the Year and earn a point towards entry into the LPGA Hall of Fame. All five players looked to make a mark in LPGA history by capturing the award. Kerr was vying to become the fist American player since Beth Daniel in 1994 to earn the honor, Miyazato was attempting to become the first player from Japan since Ayako Okamoto in 1987 to win the award, and Tseng, Shin and Choi were trying to win the award for their respective countries for the very first time. Come Sunday of the LPGA Tour Championship, Tseng was the one who had earned the right to hold the trophy on her own.
The contest for the Vare Trophy for lowest scoring average also culminated at the LPGA Tour Championship in a two-player battle between Choi and Kerr. Choi entered the week with a slim .09 stroke advantage over Kerr. After three rounds, Kerr had closed the gap to .03 strokes. A clutch final-round two-under-par 70 by Choi over Kerr’s closing 73, clinched the Vare Trophy for Choi, the first player from South Korea to win the prize since Grace Park in 2004. Choi also entered the LPGA Tour Championship in a two-player race for the LPGA Official money title. Heading into the week, she led Shin by $34,790. A tie for fifth by Choi and a missed third-round cut by Shin ensured Choi the money title.
Rookie Azahara Munoz was the only player who earned a season-ending award prior to the season finale. Munoz was named the Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year after the Mizuno Classic in November. Munoz was one of three impressive rookies from Spain vying for the Rolex Rookie of the Year title. Fellow Spaniards Beatriz Recari and Maria Hernandez, Gwladys Nocera (France) and Amanda Blumenherst (United States) all factored into the race. Recari was only 2010 rookie to land an LPGA win when she captured the CVS/pharmacy LPGA Challenge. Recari joined Sun Young Yoo (Sybase Match Play Championship champion) as the only Rolex First-Time Winners of the season.
The 2010 LPGA Tour season was also a remarkable year outside the ropes for the LPGA. Many LPGA Tour players donated time and finds to charitable initiatives. Among the highlights: Morgan Pressel unveiled the state-of-the-art 100% digital, handicapped accessible Kathryn Krickstein Pressel MammoVan; Cristie Kerr cut the ribbon on the Cristie Kerr Women’s Health Center in Jersey City, New Jersey; Na Yeon Choi donated $30,000 to LPGA-USGA Girls Golf; and In-Kyung Kim donated her entire $220,000 first-place check from the Lorena Ochoa Invitational to charity.
“Q School” on Sunday wrapped up the 2010 season, and interest for next season was raised even higher thanks to the performances this past week by several players including medalist Aree Song, looking ready to put past injury struggles behind her; 17-year-old U.S. player Jessica Korda, who finished runner-up and immediately turned pro; and Shasta Averyhardt, only the fourth African-American player (Althea Gibson, Renee Powell and LaRee Sugg) to ever qualify for the LPGA Tour. Korda and Averyhardt will join 2010 KIA CLASSIC champion Hee Kyung Seo and two-time LPGA Futures Tour winner Jennifer Song, among others, as LPGA Tour rookies in 2011.
Topics: Press Release