Who to Watch: LPGA 2012

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There wasn’t a lot of suspense on the LPGA for 2011. You could sum up the season with two words…Yani Tseng. Tseng seemingly kept us all at bay as she dominated the year. She did stumble a time or two…but bounced back with some good performances.

The upcoming season will bring a young face, a possibly renewed confidence, and maybe even a “old” name showing new form.

Well, as we look to 2012, here’s a list of players that I will be watching.

1. Tseng
Can’t have any list of this type without having her on it, can you? 7 LPGA titales and 11 worldwide wins will thrust you into the forefront. And she deserves every bit of the accolades she’s received. That being said, it will interesting to see if she can have a carryover from 2011.

Could 2012 be the year for Wie? Image: Keith Allison via Flickr (Creative Commons: CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

2. Michelle Wie
With graduation from Stanford well within her sights, it will be interesting to see how Wie can transfer the extra time into her training and her game. She still has a lot to give LPGA fans…and I think this could be a year where Wie can (and should) make her detractors eat their words.

3. Cristie Kerr and Paula Creamer
I group Kere and Creamer together for one reason. It’s hard to believe they did not register any wins last year. That should fuel their hunger for at least one win apiece in 2012. Yet without a win, Kerr finished 2nd on the money list to Tseng. Creamer finished 9th.

4. Lexi Thompson
An LPGA title (Navistar LPGA Classic) and an LET win (Dubai Ladies Masters) should propel Lexi among those favored to win any tournament. The teen sensation received an exemption from LPGA Commissioner Michael Whan to join the tour full-time beginning this year. Yes, there will be great expectations on her.

5. Christina Kim
I’ve always been a fan of Christina’s. 2011 was not a good one for the two-time LPGA winner. She failed to make a cut in any of the majors. Her best LPGA finish was a T13 (Avnet LPGA Classic). She did manage a win on the Ladies European Tour by capturing the Sicilian Italian Ladies Open. A momentum builder? We’ll see.

6. Suzann Pettersen
She’s #2 in the world for a reason. She’s got a good game. After finishing 5th on the LPGA money list (along with a pair of wins) and 9th on the LET Order of Merit (one win), Pettersen appears to be the closest rival to Tseng. Considering all the points she’s behind (Tseng’s average is almost double that of Pettersen), it will take a Yani-like performance in 2012 for the Norwegian to claim the top spot on the Rolex Rankings.

7. Karrie Webb
She notched two wins in 2011 and will defend those wins in the 2nd and 3rd tournaments of the 2012 season. Multiple wins is always impressive. Can Karrie keep it up?

I can see every one of these ladies pulling off at least one win in 2012. What may provide the most drama could be the potential for Thompson at a major. Or could it be another major win for Tseng. Or could it be multiple victories for Wie.

I honestly cannot remember a season being so full of storylines prior to its start. The 2012 could prove to be the most exciting in a long time. We’ll see how it all unfolds.

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Tags: Christina Kim Cristie Kerr Golf Lexi Thompson LPGA Michelle Wie Paula Creamer Suzann Pettersen Yani Tseng

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