For a while this season, Mi Hyun had the longest active streak of
cuts made on tour. Eventually she missed a cut at the British Open
to end that streak.
Despite struggling much of the season with her putting, she was
still one of the top players in the league in driving accuracy,
greens in regulation and rounds in the 60s.
This was the second season in her career where she did not manage
a win, and the first season where she did not finish in the top
ten on the money list.
At times this year, Mi Hyun used a 'stubby' putter, a tiny faced
putter primarily meant to be used in practice. It helped a bit,
but not enough.
Mi Hyun Kim had a very weak season in 2003 by her standards. 2002
was her best season, with two wins and a finish of fourth place
on the money list. At the end of the year, despite inroads made
by Grace Park and Hee-Won Han, Peanut was still clearly the second
best Korean player on tour.
However, this year, Grace passed her, and possibly Hee-Won did
as well. Her main problem all year was putting, normally one of
her strongest suits. She was still hitting a fair number of greens
(though down a bit as well from 2002), and her accuracy off the
tee was first rate. But she plunged in the putting stats from her
2002 standard of 29.3 (which was 17th in the league) to her 2003
mark of 29.86, which was only 60th. That's more than a half stroke
difference per round.
Furthermore, she has never had a season with so few top tens. Mi
Hyun can usually be counted on to have 10 - 12 top tens in a season,
and to contend most of the time in that stretch. This year, however,
she had only 5 top tens, a career low by a wide margin. Even in
her winless 2001 season, she managed a dozen top tens to finish
8th on the money list, and had several great chances to collect
a trophy. This year, she had only one really good chance to win,
at the Tournament of Champions.
As a result, she had her worst finish on the money list, 20th.
Never before had she finished worse than 8th, and last year she
was 4th. Definitely not the results she was hoping for at the start
of the year.
Her year in the Majors was pretty weak as well. She did not manage
better than 30th at any of them this year. Majors have rarely been
her strongest events (though she has had a few great ones), but
this is a pretty bad result for her nonetheless.
What she should work on:
Peanut's greatest weakness is her driving distance, but there is
not much she can do to improve that I think (although she does seems
to be getting shorter, possibly as a result of work to shorten her
swing to make it more consistent). But her main goal has to be to
get her confidence back on the greens. If she can do that, she can
perhaps rise again to the levels of greatness she is capable of.