124th U.S. Open

Pinehurst No. 2

The Loop

A benefit of a weakened economy

June 07, 2009

It would not be the preferable way to ensure strong fields, but a byproduct of an economy that has seen the LPGA schedule reduced to 29 tournaments is that every one of its tournaments virtually has a field representative of a major championship.

Of the top 10 returning money winners from 2008 (discounting Annika Sorenstam, who retired), four (Na Yeon Choi, Suzann Pettersen, Cristie Kerr and Yani Tseng) have played in each of the 11 events this year and another three have played in 10 of 11. Two have played in nine of 11, while Lorena Ochoa has played in eight of the 11.

The LPGA State Farm Classic, won on Sunday by In-Kyung Kim, was representative of how fields have received a boost from those attempting to play full schedules and choosing tournaments they might otherwise have skipped. Forty-nine of the top 50 money winners from 2009 were entered (only Ochoa was absent).

-- John Strege