Now two weeks from the start of the LPGA season at the Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic on Paradise Island, and most players are easing back into the groove. The 2017 campaign gave us unprecedented movement at the top and a boatload of drama. What will 2018 bring?
Here are a dozen things on my LPGA wish list:
- Lexi Thompson ascends to No. 1. And while we’re aiming high, what if she took a dip into Poppie’s Pond this spring? That would keep folks buzzing about the women’s game early Masters week.
- Juli Inkster is named U.S. Solheim Cup captain for an unprecedented third time. We can’t get enough of Inkster at the helm.
- Lorena Ochoa tees it up in competition this year. Since Ochoa isn’t hosting a tournament on the LPGA in 2018, it seems an ideal time for the World Golf Hall of Famer to make an appearance outside of Mexico.
- At no point during 2018 do I say out loud to the television, “Why are we switching to the PGA Tour during this playoff?”
- Victories for Michelle Wie (winless since June 2014) and Lydia Ko (winless since July 2016). Don’t care where, don’t care how.
- Someone shoots a 59. After listening to Annika Sorenstam recount the details of her 59 to a roomful of college players last October I thought, “How has this not happened again?” In the 16 years since Annika shot 59, five players on the PGA Tour have done it (including two last January). Plus, Jim Furyk shot 58.
- The U.S. and South Korea throw down Sunday at the UL International Crown near Seoul in front of the largest crowd in women’s golf history.
- A young charismatic American college grad hoists a trophy and gets people talking (looking at you Mariah Stackhouse and Emma Talley).
- Sister-act showdowns on the weekend from both the Kordas and the Jutanugarns. Moriya is long overdue, and together the Kordas could transcend the sport.
- The LPGA and PGA Tour announce a mixed team event that will take place on the U.S. mainland and allow players to choose their own partners. Also welcome: an event that involves two fields competing simultaneously at one resort with equal purses.
- Stacy Lewis wins the U.S. Women’s Open at Shoal Creek. It’s the title she wants the most, and her story would seem unfinished if she didn’t etch her name on that trophy. Storybook would be if she won at Champions Golf Club in her hometown of Houston in 2020, but the sooner the better probably.
- More Americans in the winner’s circle. The LPGA is a U.S.-based tour, and while many of its most endearing stars hail from all corners of the globe, it truly matters how often Americans triumph. To that end, what if Americans claimed a dozen events in 2018? Hasn’t been done since ’14.