Improbable? I don't think so
Ron Sirak covered the Women's British Open for Golf World magazine. He wrote the following in the most recent issue.
A summer that looked like it might end with Sorrenslam instead produced a second improbable major champion, Jang's triumph following fellow Korean Birdie Kim's win at the US Women's Open.
No question Birdie's win was improbable. I follow the sport heavily and she would have never been considered a potential winner by me.
But Jeong Jang improbable? This just shows how little Ron Sirak knows about the LPGA. Before the British Open, Jang was
1- In the top 20 money winners for the year with approximately 450,000 for the year.(After winning Jeong now ranks 6th)
2- Coming off 12th in the money list the year before. Top 30 the year before that.
3- Finished 4th at Royal Birkdale in the 2002 Women's British Open.
In spite of Mr. Sirak's continual fixation on Annika Sorrenstam, Michelle Wie, and the tour's youth movement, there are other stories on tour and alot of good golfers capable of winning a major any time one is played. Ms. Jang is one of them.
Where would Jeong rated pick wise going into the British Open for any serious student of the LPGA tour. Top 10? Perhaps, probably not. Top 15? Maybe. Top 20 players? Probably. Top 30? Certainly. Lets go down the picks
Absolutes- Annika Sorrenstam, Michelle Wie, Paula Creamer, Lorena Ochoa, Cristie Kerr
Those are the only golfers that DEFINITELY rated ahead of Jeong Jang going into last week. The possible golfers to possibly rank ahead of Jang were
Europeans- They have much more experience playing links golf. Sophie Gustafson, Laura Davies, Carin Koch, Karen Stupples, Lisolette Neumann, Patricia Meunier-Lebouc, Janice Moodie, Becky Morgan, Catorina Matthew, Helen Alfredsson, Maria Hjorth
Former LPGA Major Champions- Grace Park, Karrie Webb, Juli Inkster, Meg Mallon,
Money List(Basically anyone in the top 30 coming in)- Natalie Gulbis, Meena Lee, Candie Kung, Birdie Kim, Jeong Jang, Marisa Baena, Wendy Ward, Heather Bowie, Gloria Park, Rosie Jones, Lorie Kane, Hee Won Han, Christina Kim, Michelle Redman, Mi Hyun Kim, Stacy Prammanasudh, Jennifer Rosales, Jimin Kang
Former LPGA tournament winners- Dorothy Delasin, Leta Lindley, Beth Daniel, Kim Saiki, Sherri Steinhauer, Pat Hurst, Angela Stanford, Shi Hyun Ahn, Rachel Heatherington, Wendy Doolan. All are proven winners, some are playing well, some are playing poor, some indifferently but they all know how to win.
All these golfers had at least a remote chance coming into this week. I may be leaving a few people off the list. Se Ri Pak for one. She's having problems at the moment but you can't easily dismiss a 27 year old Hall of Famer can you?
So after the top six, who would you would definitely put in the top 10? I would have put Gloria Park(picked by Golf World's This week in Golf to win), Carin Koch, Wendy Ward and Karen Stupples. Stupples was the defending champ, Koch the best European not to win a major in my book, Gloria is playing very good and steady this year and Wendy Ward is doing about the same and has played well in the British Open before.
Next five picks? Meena Lee(She is hot right now), Laura Davies(Likes links golf), Catorina Matthew(See Laura Davies), Hee Won Han(For her consistency), and Lorie Kane(Steady golfer without a major). My next five picks would have included Jang, Neumann, Morgan, Grace Park and Rosie Jones.
What I'm trying to say, Jang was far from improbable. Based on current play and ability plus track record, she wasn't a impossible top 10 pick. You had to certainly put her in the top 40. If you're good enough to be in the top 40, you're good enough to win.
This is all a week afterwards but would be still valid for any tournament played in same conditions in the UK. Mr. Sirak really should brush on the LPGA, but I don't see him doing it any time soon.