One of the wildest, most eventful LPGA Tour seasons has come to a close, and unlike the men, there will be no wrap around schedule, meaning the ladies will have a few months to sit back and relax before having to hit the grind again.
To put the final feather into the cap of the 2015 LPGA season, let's take a look at the VAVEL Year End Awards, chosen by only one writer and based on nothing but subjective evidence.
Player Of The Year: Inbee Park
The official LPGA Player Of The Year was Lydia Ko based on a points system that the LPGA developed. With all due respect to the LPGA, they need to scrap that system immediately, as they have gotten the Player Of The Year wrong for two straight seasons. Lydia Ko had a wonderful season. There is no doubt about it. Under any other circumstances, she would be the POY, but Inbee Park's season was just better. She has as many wins as Lydia (5), but two of them are majors, compared to Lydia's one. The fact that Lydia has two more top 10's than Inbee should mean nothing when majors are supposed to be the greatest measuring stick in professional golf. On top of that, Inbee completed the Career Grand Slam and secured a spot in the Hall of Fame in the same season. Hats off to Lydia and her extraordinary season, but the LPGA got this one wrong.
Comeback Player Of The Year: Na Yeon Choi
This was close between Na Yeon Choi and Jessica Korda, but the fact that Choi won twice this season after going winless for two and a half seasons deserves a special recognition. Choi looked poised to make a run at becoming number one in the Rolex Rankings after her amazing 2012 season where she won the US Women's Open and Titleholders Championship, but Choi soon lost her form and dropped dramatically in the rankings. To see her rally and win twice this season was encouraging, though injuries sidelined her in the middle of the season. Hopefully there will be no lasting effects and Choi will be back to the top next season.
Biggest Leap: Sei Young Kim
The 2015 Rookie Of The Year had to navigate one of the best rookie classes in LPGA history in order to walk away with the award, and yet, despite rookies playing well every week, the end result wasn't that close. Sei Young Kim won three times and finished inside the top 10 another eight times, including top five finishes in her first two majors. Kim not only won, but she did so in very dramatic ways - winning in a playoff twice, including a hole out against Inbee Park, and by one shot over Stacy Lewis. She has stood toe to toe with the best in the world and did not flinch, and she became one of the top ranked players in the world in the process. Kim is going to be a force to reckon with for years to come.
Biggest Disappointment: Michelle Wie
Several players were in contention for this dubious award, including Stacy Lewis, who went winless for the first time since 2010, and Paula Creamer, whose continual slide into obscurity baffles everyone, but in the end, Michelle Wie gets the nod here. After several disappointing seasons, Wie won twice last year, including the US Women's Open, and rose inside the top 10 in the Rolex Rankings. It appeared as if Wie was ready to finally take control of the LPGA Tour like many assumed she would, but injuries forced her out of several tournaments late in the season, and it seemed to have effected her performances this year. Wie failed to crack the top 10 once this season, a far slide from the promise she showed in 2014. She has shown she has the talent to compete and win at the highest stages, but she will need to get those injuries taken care of before she is able to return to that level.
Major Of The Year: US Women's Open
The LPGA had the perfect tournament for the flagship event on the schedule. They had a golf course that rewarded pars, but also allowed players to pick up a few birdies if they played well. Easier conditions on Sunday allowed for players to make a change. Established stars like Morgan Pressel and Michelle Wie found themselves in contention, with young Brooke Henderson making a Sunday charge to wow the fans. Inbee Park and Stacy Lewis, two of the best in the world, looked to be poised to take home the trophy, while Amy Yang, in the middle of her best season as a professional, had every opportunity to win her first major. In the end, however, it was a Sunday round of 66 that introduced American audiences to In Gee Chun, the best player on the KLPGA Tour. Chun will be an overwhelming favorite to win the LPGA Rookie Of The Year Award next season.