DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., Nov. 16, 2009 - With one event remaining in the 2009 LPGA Tour season, the Rolex Player of the Year award is still up for grabs among three players - 2009 Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year Jiyai Shin, top-ranked Lorena Ochoa, and 12-time Tour winner Cristie Kerr. Shin remains the leader in the points race with 156 total points, however Ochoa (148) is only eight points back and Kerr (127) is 29 points from Shin. This week's season-ending LPGA Tour Championship Presented by Rolex will be the final deciding factor of this prestigious honor.
With Shin's tie for third finish at last week's Lorena Ochoa Invitational Presented by Banamex and Corona Light, the South Korean rookie remains the favorite to win the Rolex Player of the Year award. Should the 21-year-old hold off Ochoa and Kerr, then Shin would become the first player since Nancy Lopez in 1978 to win the Rolex Player of the Year and Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year awards in the same season.
Heading into the LPGA Tour Championship Presented by Rolex at The Houstonian Golf and Country Club, Shin is hoping to make history, but has some competition. For Ochoa to become a four-time Rolex Player of the Year, she would need to win this week or register at least a third-place finish and have Shin earn zero points. For Kerr to become the first American player since 1994 when Beth Daniel was named Rolex Player of the Year, she would need to win the season-ending event, have Shin earn no points and have Ochoa finish no better than fourth. The 1994 season is also the last time it came down to the season-ending event to decide the year-end award.
"We are ready for what should be a very exciting finish to the 2009 LPGA Tour season, especially with the Rolex Player of the Year showdown," said LPGA Acting Commissioner Marty Evans. "The anticipation to see if Jiyai Shin can make history or if three-time Player of the Year Lorena Ochoa can make it four will make this week in Houston a memorable one."
The chart below provides scenarios for the three players to win the Rolex Player of the Year, assuming Jiyai Shin does not score a point in this week's final event of the year.
|Pos.||Player||Current points||To overtake Shin's 156 points|
|2||Lorena Ochoa||148||needs a 3rd place finish|
|3||Cristie Kerr||127||needs a win|
Rolex Player of the Year points breakdown