November 25, 2009
It's almost the end of the 2000s, and Devil Ball is looking back on the best (and worst) figures, matches and storylines of the decade. Today, the best LPGA players of the 2000s.
1. Annika Sorenstam. Simply the best of the modern era, and one of the best ever to play the game. She ranked #1 every year from 2001 to 2005, and notched 54 wins over the decade.
2. Lorena Ochoa. Picked up literally where Annika left off, ranking No. 1 on the money list from 2006 to 2008. She's won 27 tournaments in her career and remains the unparalleled top player in the game, though she's now getting a serious challenge from Jiyai Shin.
3. Karrie Webb. The top player at the turn of the millennium, she's slipped a touch, but still authored one of the best tournaments of the decade at the 2006 Kraft Nabisco. Won 20 tournaments over the 2000s, but that includes some lean years indeed--other than 2006, when she won 5, she only won three tournaments from 2003 through this year.
4. Se Ri Pak. Dominant in the early part of the decade, when she won 13 tournaments over three seasons from 2001-2003. She took 16 tournaments in the 2000s, including three majors, and spent much of the decade ranked second only to Sorenstam.
5. Cristie Kerr. She's labored under the shadow of more dominant players, but she's finished in the top 10 every season after 2003. Over the 2000s, she's won 12 tournaments, including the 2007 U.S. Women's Open, and has been in the mix in almost every major.
6. Paula Creamer. She's been in the top 10 every year of her career except 2006, when she was ranked #11. She's won eight tournaments, but is still chasing that elusive first major.
7. Jiyai Shin. Highly successful in the KLPGA, with 20 wins, before making the jump to the LPGA, she's nonetheless won six tournaments in the last two years, and ended her very first LPGA season ranked #1. Would be much higher on this list with a little bit more playing time in her past.
8. Suzann Pettersen. Has come on strong late in the decade, finishing in the top seven the last three year. She's won six tournaments over that span, five of which came in 2007, including the LPGA Championship.
9. Juli Inkster. A consistent top-10 finisher around the turn of the millennium, she's nonetheless recorded four top-10 seasonal finishes and won nine tournaments in the 2000s.
10. Meg Mallon. Another golfer whose best years came before the 2000s, but she still won two majors in the decade and recorded two top-10 seasonal finishes.
Also receiving consideration: Angela Stanford, Yani Tseng, Seon Hwa Lee. And now it's your turn. Who did we miss? Who should be ranked higher/lower? Have at it!