Ai Miyazato officially takes over the LPGA's top spot

Jay Busbee

The era of Lorena Ochoa and Annika Sorenstam is officially over. We've got a new rivalry at the top of the LPGA rankings.

Ai Miyazato, who won the ShopRite LPGA Classic in New Jersey on Sunday, has taken over the No. 1 spot in the LPGA from Jiyai Shin, who was the first post-Ochoa No. 1. (Apparently, fashion sense doesn't factor into the rankings, which is a good thing considering Miyazato's "old guy wandering the Jersey boardwalk" ensemble there at right.)

It's a shame that Miyazato isn't getting more publicity. She's the ladies' golf equivalent of the Nationals' Stephen Strasburg, if Strasburg carried through his early promise for an entire season and then won the Cy Young. Miyazato won her first LPGA event just a year ago.

An NBA or NFL player with this kind of success right off the bat would be hailed as a sports messiah, but Miyazato is all but unknown outside the subset of golf fans interested in women's golf. That's unfortunate, but also not surprising, given the current low profile of women's golf.

Everybody who's missing Miyazato is missing out. In 2010, she's been, in racing parlance, checkers or wreckers — either winning or finishing deep in the field. She's played nine events and won four. In the five she hasn't won, she hasn't finished higher than 17th.

With any luck, she won't be an unknown commodity that much longer.