by Jeff Skinner
Since the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings stated six years ago no American golfer had held the top spot. For the past years Cristie Kerr had stated over and over again her goal was to be the best in the world and be the number one women’s golfer. Kerr has made her dream come true as she dusted the field at the LPGA Championship with an historic 12 stroke victory.
Kerr’s fourteenth LPGA win and second major title ranks up there with the most dominating victories in professional golf. He twelve stroke margin of victory broke the previous tournament record and it is the biggest margin in a major since Louise Suggs won the 1949 US Women’s Open by fourteen shots. Her win calls to mind Tiger’s 15 stroke win at the 2000 US Open. Kerr was that dominant as she shared a piece of the lead after the first round and then held the lead by herself for the rest of the tournament.
Kerr’s game was in top form all week as she carded only four bogeys while holing 23 birdies. This is the type of performance that Kerr demands of herself. In the past few years she has taken measures to improve her game physically and mentally. She always speaks in terms of process goals and trying to control her on course emotions. She was successful all week and played such good golf that Sunday was more of a coronation than a battle for the win.
When Lorena Ochoa retired the number one slot in the world was claimed by Jiyai Shin and then after four wins this season, Ai Miyazato was able to make it to the top. Her reign lasted only one week as Kerr’s win gives her the title as the world’s number one women’s golfer and one of her most cherished career goals.
Kerr is by far the most successful American golfer on the tour today. While Michelle Wie may get the headlines and television ratings, it is Cristie Kerr that has been the best American golfer on the course. The LPGA has been dominated by foreign players in recent years and it is Kerr that has done the best to keep some trophies here in the states. In the past 30 LPGA events, Americans have won only four of them with Kerr winning three. In the past fourteen major championships, Americans have won only four and this win gives Kerr two of those wins.
The fans may love Michele Wie but it is Kerr that is the standard bearer for American Women’s golf. Kerr’s performance was more dominating than any seen on the course recently and her determination to stay on top will keep her and American golf in good form on the LPGA. Afterward an emotional Kerr said this was an almost perfect performance.
“I’m a pretty emotional person, and to be able to kind of harness that in a way, and channel it to playing well is amazing,” Kerr said. “I didn’t limit myself. I wanted to see how far I could take it. And I took it pretty far. … I don’t think I could’ve played better.”
Kerr realizes that attaining the number one spot isn’t an end, but just a beginning.
“It means a tremendous amount. It’s something that I’ve wanted my whole life, I worked for my whole life. But I said earlier in the week it’s great to be No. 1, but I just got there. To be No. 1 I feel in my heart you really have to keep proving it. So I got a lot of work ahead of me.”