Column: LPGA has everything but a dominant player

From FOX Sports - November 14, 2017

NAPLES, Fla. (AP)Even with five of the biggest prizes still up for grabs at the final LPGA Tour event of the year, So Yeon Ryu has set an ambitious goal.

I want to be a rock star for the future, Ryu said.

Her smile and infectious laugh kept it all in context Tuesday.

The LPGA Tour has no shortage of star players this year.

Shanshan Feng set a record last week without even knowing it when she won the Blue Bay LPGA in China and moved to No. 1 in the world, making her the fifth player to be No. 1 this year. Thats the highest number of players to reach the top of the ranking in a calendar year, male or female.

Parity in womens golf doesnt end there.

The CME Group Tour Championship will decide who wins the LPGA money title between Ryu and Sung Hyun Park. It will decide who wins the Vare Trophy for the lowest adjust scoring average among Park, Lexi Thompson and In Gee Chun. The points-based award for LPGA player of the year comes down to Ryu, Feng, Park and Thompson. Those four players, along with Brooke Henderson, only have to win at Tiburon Golf Club to claim the $1 million bonus for winning the CME Race to the Globe.

Its one thing to have star players.

But a rock star?

Thats about the only thing the LPGA is lacking after a dynamic season that still has one final act.

The tour had the potential for a dominant figure with Lydia Ko, who won her first LPGA Tour title at age 15 and reached No. 1 in the world for the first time at age 17. Ko won her second LPGA major when she was 18, and she stayed No. 1 in the world for 20 consecutive months.

And then she stopped winning.

Ko changed her equipment, her coach and her caddie this year, and she hasnt been the same. She lost her No. 1 ranking in June, and that paved the way for a stream of players who have taken their turns at the topAriya Jutanugarn, Ryu, Park and Feng. Jutanugarn lasted two weeks at No. 1. Park was there only for a week.

Is one star greater than five?

Thats a tough question, because it could be really great to see a lot of players have the opportunity being No. 1, Ryu said. Because every single player just really loves this game and they do their best to be No. 1. But at the same time, it could be like we might need a rock star, win the tournament more than five times in the year, being in contention pretty much every tournament.


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