From the 15-year-old Lydia Ko winning on the LPGA Tour to Stacy Lewis (pictured) bringing the Player of the Year Award back to the United State to the roller coaster that was Yani Tseng, Golfweek's Beth Ann Baldry takes a look back at a memorable 2012 LPGA Tour season.
Players at the CME Group Titleholders stopped by to sign a customized golf cart for LPGA rules official Doug Brecht on the 17th hole, a touching tribute for a man who always had a seat open. Brecht (pictured ruling on Victoria Tanco's drop in March) died Oct. 12 at age 62 from complications resulting from West Nile Meningitis. He is missed. More golf coverage from Golfweek.
Inbee Park's putting clinic
Inbee Park needed only 22 putts in her final-round triumph at the Evian Masters, as she birdied the last three holes to push ahead of Stacy Lewis. The hefty paycheck ($487,500) helped her win the season-ending money title. Park also topped the tour’s season-long putting stats, averaging 1.72 putts per green in regulation. More golf coverage from Golfweek.
Shanshan Feng wins for China
It’s still too early to tell what Shanshan Feng’s victory at the Wegmans LPGA Championship will mean for the sport, but she lives in a country of 1.3 billion people. Feng, the first Chinese player to win an LPGA event, summed it up in the post-round interview: “I would say if Koreans can, Chinese can.” More golf coverage from Golfweek.
Morgan Pressel's slow play
Slow play is a hot-button issue every year on the LPGA Tour. Morgan Pressel took it front and center with her controversial slow-play penalty at the Sybase Match Play Championship, when there were four players on the course. Pressel wound up losing the match and cried on Golf Channel afterward when answering questions. Her opponent, Azahara Munoz, also cried. More golf coverage from Golfweek.
Na Yeon Choi gave us the perfect bookend with her US Women’s Open victory at Blackwolf Run. Her Saturday 65 certainly was one of the most impressive rounds of the year. Choi and 1998 winner Se Ri Pak crossed paths early Sunday afternoon when their groups shared the double green on Nos. 9 and 18. The torch was passed. More golf coverage from Golfweek.
The never-ending playoff
Jiyai Shin and Paula Creamer played the 18th hole at Kingsmill eight times before darkness fell, suspending their sudden-death playoff. They returned the next morning and finished it on the par-4 16th with a Creamer three-putt. The abrupt ending felt like someone popped a balloon. Shin (pictured left, with Creamer on the right) followed that marathon with a victory at the weather-challenged Ricoh Women’s British Open for an impressive one-two punch. More golf coverage from Golfweek.
I.K. Kim's heartbreak
The most-talked-about shot of the year belonged to I.K. Kim, whose tap-in to win the Kraft Nabisco Championship horseshoed around the cup. It was a cruel finish for Kim, who made light of the episode months later on Golf Channel. Safe to say the gaffe will follow Kim (pictured with caddie John Limanti after the miss) the rest of her days. More golf coverage from Golfweek.
What happened to Yani Tseng?
It was a roller-coaster year for Yani Tseng, the once-dominant player who lost her way over the summer. Tseng was a trooper this year, however, honestly answering questions about her slump without getting cranky with reporters. In fact, she was as gracious with the media at the end of 2012 as she was after a 12-win 2011. More golf coverage from Golfweek.
Stacy Lewis' speech
The Americans’ 18-year drought came to an end when Stacy Lewis got on stage to accept her Rolex Player of the Year trophy. What followed was a 15-minute, heartfelt speech that left many in the room reaching for a tissue. Lewis’ childhood scoliosis makes her an inspiration to countless kids who wear a back brace 20 hours a day. She’s the anti-academy kid. The gritty kid from Texas who defied all odds. More golf coverage from Golfweek.
Lydia Ko's emergence
Hands down, the most impressive moment of the year came at the CN Canadian Women’s Open when Lydia Ko birdied five out of six holes on the back nine Sunday to become the youngest player to win an LPGA Tour title. She was 15 years, 4 months and 2 days. She couldn’t legally drive a golf cart, yet had the chops to win the US Women’s Amateur and an LPGA event in back-to-back weeks. More golf coverage from Golfweek.