Bienvenue! My name is Jamie and I like golf. I grew up playing tennis in eastern Massachusetts, but fell in love with the game after watching Se Ri Pak defeat Jenny Chausiriporn at the 1998 U.S. Womens Open. I studied Hospitality & Tourism Management (with a focus on Event, Tourism, and Convention Management) at the Isenberg School of Management, University of Massachusetts Amherst. Tennis is my first love, but golf is a very close second. I believe style should equal substance, and the latter is nothing without the former.
As you may have noticed I haven’t updated in a while, but I have good reasons!
If you haven’t already heard, I have accepted a position to blog about the LPGA at SB Nation. Hopefully I’ll be able to reach out to a wider audience, then my dog and pony show here!
I just finished signing all the paperwork, and I hope the new site will be up very, very shortly.
All tennis posts + personal posts will be transitioned to Jamie Broke my Racket.
So, until the new site launches, please stay tuned!
World #1 Lorena Ochoa made sure to shut my mouth after my sharp critiques of her weekend play at her last two events by gutting out a four shot win over Michelle Wie at the 2009 Navistar LPGA Classic.
Ochoa steadied herself after a double bogey at the par 5, 5th with four birdies coming in. Although Wie’s 6-under effort was able to snag her another runner-up finish Ochoa was never really in danger. Sandra Gal, paired with Ochoa in the final group, struggled and finished with a 3-over 75, dropping her out of the top 10.
In fact none of the players in the immediate chase pack could put any pressure on the world #1, as only Wie and Beth Bader were the only players finishing in the top 10 to break 70 on Sunday.
Lorena joins Jiyai Shin as the only players this year to win multiple times this year. The win also moved Ochoa to second place in the Rolex Player of the Year standings, only 5 points behind Jiyai. Ochoa also moved to 5th on the money list, but sits a fairly hefty $400,000 behind the South Korean.
With many of the world’s top players sitting the last full field domestic event out, this week’s event could be a big breakthrough for one of the many talented ladies on tour. Some notable names not in the field include #1 on the money list Jiyai Shin, the owner of the longest top 10 streak on tour Ai Miyazato, and Suzann Pettersen who has decided to rest her foot after withdrawing from the final round last week in Danville. So, which player is likely to break through this week?
Could it be world #1 and defending champion Lorena Ochoa who with every winless week is losing grip to Shin as the LPGA’s top performer? Ochoa has been in contention the last two weeks, but has been unable to close the deal on the weekend. On the flip side, she has had top 10s in her last 3 events, and should find herself a 4th straight top 10. Can she get it done is the clutch is the bigger question, which is a strange one to be asking a world #1 and two-time winner in 2009.
Can Michelle Wie finally cash in and take home her first LPGA title. She’s had many strong finishes this year, but hasn’t been in the thick of things late on Sunday. Many expect Wie to become the face of the tour, and getting a win this week could go a long way in that. Wie who will be skipping the mini Asian circuit to continue classes at Stanford is running out of chances to join Shin, Anna Nordqvist, and M.J. Hur as rookie winners in 2009.
Sun Young Yoo is another player seeking her first title, and has a T2 and T3 in her last two events. Yoo looks poised to become another South Korean winner on tour. Yoo showed in her playoff loss to Shin at Arkansas that she can make birdies on the closing holes, but was unable to string them together on the front nine last week at the CVS. Can she prove that she can get the deal done on this week?
With the 2009 Tour Championship qualifying criteria unannounced as of yet, it’s going to be a go big or go home week for many players sitting outside the top 80 and top 100 on the money list. The Tour Championship does feature a field of 120, so perhaps we should be looking at the top 120 on the money list as a cut off point as well.
Time for my weekly picks, and after doing pretty well last week, the pressure is certainly on once again:
18 year old Taiwan native Kai-Chen Chang is ascending the WTA ranks quickly as she continues her first season out of juniors. Chang overshadowed by other juniors like Junior Wimbledon champion Noppwan Lertcheewakarn, KCC has begun to find her form, culminating in a 2R upset of World #1 Dinara Safina this week at the Toray Pan Pacific Open. After her 7-6(5), 4-6, 7-5 victory Chang has become the first player from Chinese Taipei to defeat a world #1.
Chang has a strong baseline game, hitting out and aggressively like many players coming up in her generation. She appears to have one key ingredient many of her Asian comrades lack, a fearless killer instinct. In her 2R match against Safina she was on the ropes on many occasions, but never stopped playing her game. She was down a couple set points in the opening set, but fought them off to tough out a tiebreak victory against a struggling Dinara Safina. Then after losing the second, and going down a break in the third she continued her strong fight.
KCC has a killer forehand, and that’s definitely her best asset. She’s a great mover, and a lot taller then the other Asian players on tour. Her serve could use some work, and her net game is atrocious. These are two things she can certainly work on, and should be in the top 100 very, very soon.
KCC has won once on the ITF tour, in 2008 in Kurume a $50K event. She has had her most success in the last few months. In July she made a semifinal of another 50K event in Lexington, then a few weeks later she qualified for her first grand slam main draw at the U.S. Open. In the opening round she beat 25th seed Kaia Kanepi for her then biggest win in her career, before falling in three sets to Magdalena Rybarikova.
She’s followed that up for qualifying in her next three WTA events in Guangzhou, Seoul, and this week in Tokyo. She takes on Iveta Benesova in the 3R.
There is no doubt that web media and web content is a very important thing, and when it comes to the LPGA, there’s skills are a bit lacking. Although their website design and layout are simple, and it’s relatively easy to navigate, there are so many things wrong and inconsistent, that it’s really an embarrassment. 5-6 years ago when they had the atrocious purple website I may have given them a pass, but right now in 2010, it’s time to step it up.
When Na Ri Kim got herself into contention last week, I noticed one big gaffe. She was listed as Priority List Category: R, aka retired! There are a lot of oddities within the player profiles, plus there’s not a lot of information on these particular pages anyway. Questions like why is Angie Oberholser still listed (as non-exempt too, how archaic), is really just one of many you’ll have if you peruse these profiles.
There stat pages could really be overhauled, and I would love to see cooler stats included. It was much talked about earlier in the year how the stats from the international events were not included, and how it skewed all the overall stats. In this day and age, that is really uncalled for!
Mistakes within live scoring happen every week. I already harped on about that, so I’ll move on. Was finally fixed though!
I’d also love to see better stats, like Golf Observer’s weekly tournament stats, or something like how many time’s players have started the final round in the lead, and their result. Things like that.
Let’s go LPGA, let’s step our games up.
This time last year, if you were in a final group paired with world #1 Lorena Ochoa you would be shaking in your boots. The media, fans, and perhaps even yourself would’ve pegged you as a severe underdog, no matter who you were. Ochoa’s rather tepid response to being in the hunt the past two weekends is certainly puzzling, and if the streak continues this week as she defends the Navistar, the aura of Ochoa may be wearing off quicker then I imagined.
The intimidation factor of playing with a top female, or even just being in the final group can be game changing. If you were a young player looking to win, and you were paired in the final group with Annika Sorenstam, the pressure alone may get the best of you.
This is why Ochoa needs to win, and needs to win quick. Yes, three top 10s in a row are great, and back to back top 5 finishes are better. Mustering rounds in the 70s when you’re in contention are not good. With a bunch of players all contending for the top of the money list, and Jiyai Shin looking poised to become the new face of the LPGA tour, Sunday’s round at the CVS and last weekend’s play at the Samsung are potentially diminishing Lorena’s shine.
Where is the #1’s killer instinct? Hopefully we’ll see it this week.
Wow! Kimiko Date Krumm made the final step in her comeback by securing her first WTA title in 13 years when she defeated 2nd seed Anabel Medina-Garrigues 6-3, 6-3 in the final of the Hansol Korea Open. Date Krumm, who had been unsuccessful in playing in a main draw of WTA events all year, capped off a successful week where she secured her first main draw win since her comeback against Korean wildcard Ye-Ra Lee, and continued the run defeating #30 Alisa Kleybanova, #21 Daniela Hantuchova, #54 Maria Kirilenko, and #23 Anabel Medina-Garrigues. Medina-Garrigues had defeated Date Krumm in the opening round in China last week.
Date Krumm turns 39 tomorrow, and has proven that she is still as fit and ready to compete as she was when she reached world #4 in the early 90s. I always thought when she retired at 26 in 1996 that she did it before her peak, and she’s shown that the 12 years off she has had, has done wonders for her.
She’ll need to show just how fit she is, as there is no rest for the player who has just become the 2nd oldest player to ever win a WTA tour title. She’ll battle Aleksandra Wozniak of Canada in the 1st round of the Toray Pan Pacific on Monday. Wozniak defeated Date Krumm 6-1, 6-1 in the final round of qualifying of this event last year.
In a sad juxtaposition, Date Krumm’s compatriot Ai Sugiyama had her retirement ceremony on the same day as her victory. Sugiyama a former top 10 player herself (and formally #1 in the world in doubles) has announced that the Toray Pan Pacific will be her last tournament of her career. Since Date Krumm’s retirement Sugiyama has been the top player in Japan and she’ll be sorely missed on tour.