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Sports by Bruce Penton
Since Annika Sorenstam walked away from professional golf in 2008 to live a normal life — getting married, raising children, developing her business empire — the Ladies Professional Golf Association has been playing hot potato with declaring who’s No. 1 in the world rankings.
For a few years, it was Mexico’s Lorena Ochoa but she quit at age 28 to get married and have kids. Since then, no Tiger Woods-style dominant figure has emerged from a number of solid contenders.
The women’s game gets scant attention from sports fans around the world, but real fans of golf know the names of the better players. Canadians know all about Brooke Henderson, the pride of Smiths Falls, Ont., who is among the top 10 players in the world, but could the average sports fan name 10 other female golfers?
Perhaps the best known woman golfer among Americans is Michelle Wie, who is so far down the world rankings that you’d need a few minutes of scrolling to find her name. Wie burst on the world scene 14 or 15 years ago, when she was a 13-year-old playing in the PGA Tour’s Hawaiian Open, nearly making the cut. Since then, Wie has shown a few bursts of greatness, winning the 2014 U.S. Open for example, but her potential has always far outdistanced her success.
More recently, Lydia Ko of New Zealand appeared poised to take over dominance of the women’s game, vaulting to No. 1 in the world rankings two years ago at the age of 17. But then her game stalled, as Inbee Park of South Korea and Ariya Jutanugarn of Thailand have recently joined her as two of the game’s more dominant players.
Currently, Ha Na Jang of South Korea, one of a multitude of Asian stars, is No. 1 on the CME Globe points list, the LPGA equivalent to the Fed-Ex Cup standings.
The season’s first major for the women — the ANA Inspiration — comes up in Palm Springs next week, where Ko is the defending champion. She will certainly be one of the favourites, and Canadians will hold out hope that Henderson can win her second major, but LPGA commissioner Michael Whan would be over the moon thrilled if a Woods-like dominant player — preferably non-Asian, for U.S. marketing purposes — emerged from the pack.
It likely won’t be Wie. It could be an American like Lexi Thompson, or even Henderson. Most likely, however, the Asian connection will continue to dominate. For true golf fans, that’s OK. Golf is a global game and there’s no better example of it than on the LPGA Tour.
• RJ Currie of sportsdeke.com: “Cavaliers forward Kyrie Irving doubts the world is round. Ironically, he’s heard snickers from all four corners of the Earth.”
• Steve Simmons of Postmedia: “My life has been sufficiently enhanced now that baseball has removed the pitches from the intentional walk. Now to decide: How to celebrate 20 additional seconds in my life.”
• Blogger Chad Picasner, on MLB’s move to shorten games by eliminating the four pitches to constitute an intentional walk: “This is like solving world hunger by giving everyone one oyster cracker.”
• Sports columnist Dave Kindred, about covering the talkative Joe Theismann while working for the Washington Post:”If you didn’t ask to interview him, he’d pick up your tape recorder and interview himself for you.”
• Bob Molinaro of pilotonline.com (Hampton, Va.): “Anybody following the World Baseball Classic? I’ll accept as an answer, ‘The what?’”
• TC in BC: “The World Cup (soccer) will be expanding to 48 teams. “Yay” said Liechtenschtien, The Vatican and Manitoba.”
• Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times: “Who says pro sports aren’t show business? Andrew Bogut broke a leg in his Cavaliers debut.”
• Perry again: “Food stands at the Royals’ spring-training ballpark in Surprise, Ariz., are selling a hot dog — wrapped in bacon, which is then wrapped in a cheeseburger — called the Triple Play Dog. What, was “Triple Bypass” already taken?”
• Headline at TheKicker.com: “Romo seen leaving AT&T Stadium with box full of casts.”
• Mike Bianchi of the Orlando (Fla.) Sentinel, after Kyle Busch blamed Goodyear tires for causing his crash in the Daytona 500: “This is a case of biting the hand that speeds you.”
• Currie again: “Washington acquired highly coveted defenceman Kevin Shatternkirk before the NHL trade deadline. It’s nice to see the Capitals adding some depth for their playoff collapse.”

Care to comment? Email brucepenton2003@yahoo.ca
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