Sorenstam’s Dominance One For The Ages?

After her dominating victory at the Kraft Nabisco over the weekend, the golf pundits are falling over themselves to declare Annika Sorenstam the greatest female golfer—if not the greatest overall golfer—ever.

It’s a thread you find at The New York Times, at ESPN, and the LA Times, as well as dozens of other papers and websites.

In the Kraft-Nabisco coverage over the weekend, announcers and color commentators were comparing Sorenstam to the greats of the LPGA’s past—Mickey Wright, Patty Berg and Babe Zaharias.

I do not disagree that she is a dominating—even the dominating player of her time. But I always get nervous when people start comparing sports figures and statistics from different generations.

Baseball is a good example. Joe Dimaggio’s 56 consecutive game hitting streak is incredible, but he wasn’t facing middle relievers and two pitch closers; the strike zone has changed and the talent pool of the day was much smaller, since minorities weren’t allowed to play.

That doesn’t diminish his achievement. But the differences do prevent us from fairly comparing the record to today’s streaks.

I think that the same situation prevents us from comparing Annika Sorenstam (or even Tiger Woods) to the greats of the past. What was the level of competition back then?; do we have to factor in equipment, training and conditioning? What about course conditions?

I think that the best we can do is to say that they are the best of their time.

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1 thought on “Sorenstam’s Dominance One For The Ages?”

  1. Have to agree.  The womens pool of talent is at an all-time low.  There a very few talented female American golfers on the LPGA between the ages of 25-35.  Name three quality Americans in that group.  Cristie Kerr……ummmmm can’t think of anyone else.  Let’s look on the money list.  There’s Reilley Rankin I guess, but she’s just and up-and-comer.

    I mean think about it!!  The US pumps out the highest number of quality Men’s chokers, I mean Golfers.  And yes, they choke a lot, but at least they’re quality players….lots and lots of them.

    The Womens side has NOBODY!  HELLO (echo)!

    How can anyone say Annika is so great when she has no competition.  Not her fault of course, but look at the way Lorena Ochoa choked on the first hole of her playoff with Annika.  Her drive may have been the ugliest swing ever made in a playoff.  It looked like she had Turrets Syndrome she flinched so bad in her downswing.

    Annika is way good, but a lot of those 59 tourneys were just handed-over.

    Reply

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