Changes at the Top
At the start of the 2013 season, Yani Tseng reigned as the top player in women’s golf and sat comfortably atop the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings with a 1.21 average point lead over Na Yeon Choi. Stacy Lewis and Inbee Park sat in third and fourth respectively and were on the brink of a breakout. Norway’s Suzann Pettersen started the season at No. 7.
After two early wins at the HSBC Women’s Champions and the RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup, Stacy Lewis took over the No. 1 spot from Tseng who held the top nod for 109 weeks.
Then Inbee Park came along. Park clinched her second win of the year and second career major title at the Kraft Nabisco Championship and started her remarkable major run. Park ascended to No. 1 on April 15th, four weeks after Lewis took over.
In the summer of 2013, it looked like Park was untouchable to the rest of her competitors on the LPGA Tour. But the reemergence of two players challenging Park in the second half of the season gave LPGA fans an exciting finish of the year as they watched the “Big 3” battle week in and week out to close out 2013. Suzann Pettersen and Lewis had a second-half resurgence that cut Park’s giant lead in Rolex Rankings points. Pettersen notched three victories in the second half of the season including her second major title at The Evian while Lewis picked up major win No. 2 at the RICOH Women’s British Open.
Tight races for end-of-the-year honors came down to the second-to-last and final events of the season. Park ultimately took home the Rolex Player of the Year awards and Lewis with the Vare Trophy for low scoring average. The competition amongst the three stars created a friendly rivalry that elevated the Tour’s quality of golf and left fans anticipating more exciting play for 2014.
“Of course I think it's always nice to have a competitor behind or in front of you to have a goal or trying to play better than somebody,” Park said of competing with Pettersen and Lewis. “I think it's always nice to have a rival. Especially this year Stacy and Suzann have been very good competitors for me and they really pushed me to play better. I think if it wasn't for them, I don't think I'll be able to achieve what I achieved so far because they made me realize how much I really wanted to stand here.
“But honestly, I don't really want to think about Suzann or Stacy next year anymore because I've been thinking about them so much this year,” Park added. “But it has been happening like that same because last year I thought about Stacy, I mean, like I watched Stacy playing so much and I thought maybe this year I'm not going to think about her as much as last year, but this year has been the same. Hopefully next year I can play good golf and I can be myself.”
Topics: Counting down