DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., Aug. 2, 2010 - The race for the top spot in women's professional golf continues to provide an intriguing storyline with South Korean Jiyai Shin (10.483 points) narrowly maintaining the No. 1 spot by 0.014 points over American Cristie Kerr (10.469 points) in the Rolex Rankings released Monday morning. Following the RICOH Women's British Open, the season's final major championship, four players now are within 0.55 points of Shin, including champion Yani Tseng, who gained an average of 1.58 points with her victory at Royal Birkdale. Tseng remains No. 5 in the Rolex Rankings, but is now poised to make a run at the top spot when the LPGA returns to action at the Safeway Classic Presented by Coca-Cola.
Kerr, who tied for fifth at the RICOH Women's British Open with Hee Kyung Seo and Amy Yang, would likely have regained the No. 1 spot with a solo fifth place finish.
The following is a look at the top-5 players in this week's Rolex Rankings.
Rolex Rankings No. 1 Jiyai Shin (10.483) - Shin had the good fortune to take over as No. 1 following the retirement of Lorena Ochoa, though it was anything but luck that put her in position to stand atop women's professional golf. Shin has held the top spot in the Rolex Rankings for nine of 14 weeks since Ochoa's retirement, but her consistent play over the past two years qualifies her for a much longer run at the top. The 22-year-old has won seven LPGA events with 24 top-10 finishes in the past 24 months including the 2008 RICOH Women's British Open as a non-member. She has also made her mark on the international golf scene, winning tournaments on the Japan LPGA (JLPGA) and Korea LPGA (KLPGA), where she became the first player in history to complete the Career Grand Slam in late 2008.
Rolex Rankings No. 2 Cristie Kerr (10.469) - Kerr's lifelong dream of being the No. 1 player in the world came true following her 12-shot victory at the LPGA Championship Presented by Wegmans on June 27. The 32-year-old American held the top spot for three weeks this summer, but is determined to regain the position and stay there for the foreseeable future. When asked if No. 1 was on her mind during the RICOH Women's British Open, she said, "It always has been, since I was a little girl." Kerr tied for fifth at the season's final major.
Rolex Rankings No. 3 Ai Miyazato (10.33) - Miyazato won back-to-back tournaments to open the 2010 LPGA Tour season, rising from No. 8 to No. 3 in the Rolex Rankings. Two more tournament wins (four total on the season) gave her the momentum to hold the top spot in the Rolex Rankings for one week (June 21-27) before Cristie Kerr won the LPGA Championship Presented by Wegmans to take over as No. 1. The 26-year-old again held the top spot for a week (July 19-25) and has put herself in position to take a shot at the top spot every week.
Rolex Rankings No. 4 Suzann Pettersen (10.23) - She may not have a win on the LPGA Tour this season, but Pettersen has certainly made her mark. The 29-year-old has seven top-5 finishes in 12 events played this year including second at the Kraft Nabisco Championship and tied for second at the U.S. Women's Open. Those who speak to her are left with little doubt that Pettersen has her eyes focused on being No. 1 in the world. If she continues her torrid pace - and history says she will with a tie for second at the 2009 Safeway Classic Presented by Coca-Cola and a victory at the 2009 CN Canadian Women's Open - Pettersen will continue to threaten the No. 1 spot for weeks, and years, to come.
Rolex Rankings No. 5 Yani Tseng (9.93) A four-time winner on Tour with three major championships under her belt at age 21, Tseng's golf game is built for the big stage. With only the U.S. Women's Open left in her pursuit of the Career Grand Slam, Tseng's young career is on the rise, and her next stop may be No. 1 in the Rolex Rankings. The Taiwan native has been ranked as high as No. 2 in the world, but has yet been unable to reach the pinnacle of women's professional golf. Even Tseng can't explain her major success over the past three years, saying, "I like a challenge, and then the majors always make me really focus on everything. I don't know. I can't figure that out."
|Weeks as No. 1 in the Rolex Rankings*|
|Jiyai Shin/South Korea||9|
|*Officially launched on Feb. 21, 2006|
About the Rolex Rankings
The Rolex Rankings is the first-ever world rankings system for women's golf sanctioned by the five major women's professional golf Tours: the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA); Ladies European Tour (LET); Ladies Professional Golfers' Association of Japan (LPGA of Japan); Korea Ladies Professional Golf Association (KLPGA); Australian Ladies Professional Golf (ALPG); as well as the Ladies Golf Union (LGU), which administers the Ricoh Women's British Open. The Rolex Rankings are the only women's world rankings that incorporate player performances from the five major tours and the Duramed Futures Tour, the official developmental tour of the LPGA. R2IT, an independent software development company developed the software for the Rolex Rankings and maintains the Rolex Rankings on a weekly basis.