Friday, April 25, 2008

Time to Bring Lorena Down a Peg

At least, that's what Barker Davis appears to be doing in the Washington Times with his piece on the recent chatter surrounding Ochoa and her bid for the Grand Slam. Don't think, though, that he is wrong. He brings up several good points.

First, this has been done before - somewhat recently:

From the end of the 2004 season through the first two majors of 2005, Annika Sorenstam won 10 times in 14 starts with a scoring average of 68.30. Sorenstam recorded the 10th victory during that streak at the 2005 McDonald's LPGA Championship (her ninth major title and second of that season), setting up the last legit Grand Slam bid by either gender in the sport before she slumped to a tied-for-23rd finish at the U.S. Open.
He also adds that people were wondering last year (myself included) when the major breakthrough would be. I'm by no means advocating that the Grand Slam is within reason, or that what she is doing is unique, but she definitely does deserve the attention she is receiving. A decent amount of the focus in the last 10 days or so probably has to do with Tiger Woods going on the shelf and no clear #2 to focus on for PGA Tour coverage. Ochoa is an easy story to cover - just write her up like one does Woods.

Still, Davis goes on to add a Lee Corso "not so fast, my friend" to that point:
And then there's the madness of Tiger comparisons. Given Woods' runner-up finish in the Masters, some members of the media now claim Ochoa is the sport's most dominant player. Let's see, the major scoreboard reads 13-2 in favor of Tiger. Woods held all four men's major titles when he won the 2001 Masters. And during his career, Woods has compiled three streaks longer than Ochoa's current reign, winning in seven consecutive starts from 2006 to 2007, six consecutive starts between 1999 and 2000 and five straight starts earlier this season.
I don't think that the media, though, is trying to stake the claim that Ochoa is as dominant as Woods when comparing career track records. It is not even close. I think the conversation surrounds 2007-2008 dominance - a different subject and a closer debate.

And almost any hardcore LPGA fan might take exception to this closing line - which I will not make judgment on and leave to any reader who wants to say something about it to do so.
In reality, the fact that two players have dominated the LPGA to such a degree almost concurrently says nearly as much about the lack of depth in the women's game as it does about their individual greatness.


Hound Dog said...

So Mr. Davis, if two players have dominated the LPGA over the last four seasons because there is a lack of depth in the women's game, what does it say about the depth in the men's game when it's been dominated by only one?

Of course both tours are deep and both tours have dominant players. My point is, those are not mutually exclusive qualities.

The Constructivist said...

Thanks for the tip, Ryan. Here's my response. Not as good as Hound Dog's, but it's a start.

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