A top teaching pro assesses the fast-rising stars in women's golf
THE WOMEN'S GAME is enjoying a resurgence thanks to a new wave of amateurs and pros. Which of the young players will have the greatest long-term impact? Jim Suttie, a Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher from Naples, Fla., evaluates their skills and ranks them based on potential.
PAULA CREAMER, 19, pro. CREDENTIALS: Two wins as an LPGA rookie in '05; youngest to earn $1 million on tour. TEACHER'S TAKE: Excellent ball striker and iron player who hits it laser-straight; channels emotional energy in positive way; working on releasing her putter to avoid blocking putts to the right.
MICHELLE WIE, 15, amateur. CREDENTIALS: Three second-place LPGA finishes in '05; quarterfinalist in U.S. Amateur Public Links in July. TEACHER'S TAKE: Rare athleticism among women--she can turn the ball and hit it high or low; powerful from tee to green; average at pitching and lag putting.
MORGAN PRESSEL, 17, amateur. CREDENTIALS: Tied for second at U.S. Women's Open in July; won U.S. junior girls' grand slam. TEACHER'S TAKE: Has a complete game; aggressive putter and terrific reader of greens; sometimes gets too pumped up, leading to poor judgment; could use more length.
AREE SONG, 19, pro. CREDENTIALS: Second in Kraft Nabisco Championship as a rookie in '04; won 15 U.S. junior titles. TEACHER'S TAKE: Wealth of experience; solid off tee and good mid-range putter; under intense pressure from those around her, so not as happy on the course as she used to be.
BRITTANY LANG, 19, pro. CREDENTIALS: Tied for second at '05 U.S. Women's Open; two-time All-America at Duke, leading Blue Devils to '05 NCAA title. TEACHER'S TAKE: Long and straight with driver; great feel around the greens but too aggressive with lag putts; needs to work on club selection.
IN-BEE PARK, 17, amateur. CREDENTIALS: Beat Wie one up in '04 U.S. Women's Amateur; won U.S. Girls' Junior in '02. TEACHER'S TAKE: Accurate with woods and irons, but rhythm of putting stroke is sometimes off; her LPGA sponsor's invitations may be limited because she doesn't speak English well.