THINK YOU canname the best player in women's golf? You probably want to pick Lorena Ochoa,No. 1 in the world and winner of 22 LPGA events since the start of the 2006season. But Ochoa has won only twice since last May. Dating back to September'sBell Micro Classic, Angela Stanford has played nine times, won three and hasyet to finish outside the top seven. Then there's Jiyai Shin, a 20-year-oldrookie from South Korea who got her first official LPGA win at last week's HSBCWomen's Champions in Singapore (11-under 277). Last year, as a nonmember, Shinplayed 10 LPGA events, won three, including a major (the British Open) and theseason-ending Tour Championship, and had three other top 10s. When she wasn'tmoonlighting among Carolyn Bivens's gals, Shin played 15 events on the KoreanLPGA and never finished out of the top eight. She won seven of those 15 startsand became the first person to win that tour's grand slam, which is made up ofthree "majors." She also set the KLPGA's career earnings record(achieved in only 33 starts) and its lowest season scoring average (69.72 in'06).Shin, now ranked fourth in the world, shot back-to-back 66s in Singaporeto come from behind, a pattern that's repeated itself so often in Korea thather nickname there is Queen of the Final Round. After tying for sixth, Ochoawas asked about Shin. She said, "We need to keep an eye on her." Wantto take another run at who's the best woman golfer in the world right now?Ochoa is still the smart answer, but you had to think about it, didn't you?
• WHILE SHE wasplaying, Annika Sorenstam let her sticks do the talking, but now that she's"stepped away" from the game, she's running her mouth, sort of.Appearing as a guest speaker at the SMU Athletic Forum in Dallas last Thursday,Sorenstam challenged her buddy Tiger Woods to a one-on-one, handicap-adjusted,televised showdown. "If it's for a good cause, a good charity and it's goodfor golf, then I'm in," she said. "I haven't been playing much and he'sprobably in peak shape, so I would need a couple of months to get ready. ThenI'd love to play him." But she didn't leave it at that, saying that Woodshas dodged her challenges before, including one for a pull-up throwdown. Sofar, Woods has not responded, but since both players are represented by IMG'sMark Steinberg, if there's any real interest in a match, it should be easy toset up. Other than that, Sorenstam's enjoying her retirement, although shehasn't totally gotten away from the game. "I'm surprised," she said,"at how much I've watched on TV."
• AFTER MISSINGthe Masters last year for the first time since 1990, Davis Love III looks as ifhe'll make it back down Magnolia Lane. His 13th-place finish at the HondaClassic moved him to 50th in the World Ranking and got him into this week's WGCevent, which guarantees him ranking points. If he can hang on to those pointsthrough the Arnold Palmer Invitational, he'll be in at Augusta.
Follow TigerWoods and the CA Championship at GOLF.com.
"Consider the case for the nine-holer."
—MY SHOT, PAGE G14
KEY STAT 1
Top 15 finish in 46 PGA Tour starts for Y.E. Yang before the Honda Classic.
HE SAID | HE SAID
Has Tiger Woods changed the way golfers approachfitness?
"You see the younger generation coming through,and they have all got the arms and the pecs and the six-packs and all ofthat."
"I don't feel as if I need to work out for two orthree hours every day. I simply have to keep myself in good shape and getmyself a little bit stronger."
WONG MAYE-E/AP (SHIN)
FOUR! With her victory in Singapore, Shin moved up a notch in the world ranking.
DAVID WALBERG (ELS)
ROBERT BECK (MCILROY)