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Oct 27

Pettersen Defends in Taiwan

 

Suzann Pettersen Wins Again

 
 

Did you hear the latest? Suzann Pettersen has won another tournament this week (yawn). She won it by five strokes, going away (uh-huh). That’s her fourth win this year on the LPGA, isn’t it – or is it her fifth? (So, what did you expect?)

pett 2 Oh, c’mon, I know that even Suzann Pettersen can’t win’em all. On this tour, nobody can, but it sure is starting to feel that way once in a while. I’ve become so accustomed to watching Suzann Pettersen hoisting trophies on Sundays that I wonder if she was either born with one attached to her hands, or makes them in her basement and auctions them off every weekend.
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I have a family member who swam in the Olympics a few games ago, and did very well. She sort of looks like Suzann Pettersen, but she was supposed to, competing in a sport where you’re supposed to be in that sort of condition – in-shape and then some, a warrior. I’ve still never seen a golfer get herself into that kind of condition, and it’s paying off big-time for Pettersen. She never seems to lag, tire out, or get brain fatigue, because her mind is in the same shape as the rest of her, and just showing up at the range gives her a presence that I feel certain is felt throughout the field and muttered under the breath (“Oh, no, the Norwegian’s here again.”)

Suzann PettersenPettersen is on her way to being 33, and she’s had a very good career. This is her 14th win on the LPGA Tour, and apparently not her last. But did we see her coming when she finished 10th in Q school (which is not easy – applause for that, but hey)? Did we know when she turned pro in 2000 what she was going to unleash on the women’s golf world years later? From 10th in Q school to 7th in the Career Money List is quite a statistic, because I’m almost sure that means Career Money List for all time – forever – since wooden shafts and feathered hats.
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Now Pettersen is the LPGA Taiwan Champion, again. She won it last year, and how’s that for a defense? Five strokes, pulling away on the final nine from a charging Azahara Munoz, with the two of them leaving everyone else in the far distance.

And the scream is! She’s number 2! How do you like that? Four wins in 2013, and she’s number 2, with the glacial reflexes of golf’s rating systems. Pettersen has spent a lot of time at number 2, first with Annika Sorenstam, then behind Lorena Ochoa, and finally Yani Tseng – and now it’s Inbee Park, who is just around 100,000 richer than Suzann this year. With these purses, that’s not much, and things could change soon, even though there are only a small handful of events left.
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pett 3 When you’re ranked No. 124, you can jump up and down, screaming “I’m no. 2! I’m no. 2!” But, when you’re the real number 2, and especially if you’re Pettersen, it just doesn’t work. As she herself said in an interview after the tournament, “Yeah, being number 2 is pretty much the first loser.” Spoken like a competitor who’s going to be number one soon.

Other successes followed in the Taiwan Championship. Three players, Munoz Mina Harigae and Mi Jung Hur qualified for the season’s final event, open to qualifiers from every LPGA tournament during the year. Their goal, of course, will be to keep Suzann Pettersen at number 2, but it isn’t going to be easy. Half of my LPGA photo library lately is filled with Pettersen holding up trophies, and she’s not selling them – she’s winning them.

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About the author

G.F. Skipworth

has spent every available moment playing golf or studying the greats since the 60s, in between world tours as a classical musician, Harvard studies in Government or as the author of a dozen novels. Nicklaus and Snead may be the statistical greats, but Skipworth is a life-long devotee of Gary Player, and considers meeting the South African at the Jeld-Wen to be an unforgettable milestone. His driving passion in golf these days is to raise viewer interest in the LPGA.