WILLIAMSBURG—Together, they have 154 tournament victories, including 25 majors. Their combined career winnings are more than $66 million, and three of them are in the LPGA Hall of Fame.
The past six winners of the Michelob Ultra at Kingsmill have been anything but one-hit wonders.
Annika Sorenstam, arguably the greatest golfer in LPGA history. Karrie Webb, in the top five on the money list eight times in her career. Se Ri Pak and Cristie Kerr — fifth and sixth, respectively, on the all-time money list.
Grace Park, who in the early 2000s was one of the tour's best players. And Suzann Pettersen, whose win here in 2007 was followed by four more tournament titles that year.
There are clear reasons why this tournament is often called "the fifth major." For one, it attracts the best — all but two of the top 60 players are in this year's field. For another, it usually takes a major performance to win. (See Sorenstam, 2008, 19-under).
"When you see the list of past winners," Michelle Wie said, "it's pretty hefty."
Champions must have consistency — not just for four days, but from week to week. When Sorenstam came to Kingsmill in '08, she already had two wins that year, including two weeks earlier. She had six top-10 finishes.
When Pettersen won here in '07, she was coming off four consecutive finishes of 13th or better. Ditto Webb in '06.
No matter the athlete, no matter the sport, consistency is maybe the toughest thing to develop.
"I really haven't figured it out yet," said Brittany Lincicome, the winner of this year's first major, the Kraft Nabisco Championship. "I normally have a win and then the next few weeks don't go as well.
"It's something Annika and Lorena (Ochoa) have really, really mastered the art of. They seem to play great week in and week out. I don't know if it's just practicing more or what, but they really seem to do it. Maybe I need to sit and talk with them and figure out how they do it."
Lincicome remembers well.
In two of her three career victories — including this year's KNC — she followed by missing the cut. After winning the HSBC Women's World Match Play in 2006, she tied for 68th, tied for 56th and tied for 50th in her next three events.
Pat Hurst, a 15-year veteran on the tour, can relate. Seven weeks ago, she put together three solid rounds to win the MasterCard Classic — her first championship since 2006. But her other five events this year include one top-10 but also a tie for 45th and a tie for 73rd.
"Consistency is especially tough in golf," she said. "Every week, we're playing on a different course in different conditions. Different types of grass. There are so many elements we're dealing with.
"It's so hard to be consistent. And when you see players like Lorena and Tiger (Woods), who keep on winning, it's really remarkable."
In her rookie season as an LPGA member, Wie is finding out how hard it is. In her first tournament, in her home state of Hawaii, she was runner-up to Angela Stanford in the SBS Open at Turtle Bay. But in her next two events, she was tied for 57th and tied for 67th.
"Any golfer knows that some days are on and some days are off," she said. "I've been really working hard at it, practicing a lot and playing a lot. Up to a certain point, you just have to let it go and have fun out there."
Ochoa, the 27-year-old face of the LPGA, epitomizes consistency. In her last 51 events, dating back to early 2007, Ochoa has 17 championships and 40 top-10s. Almost as impressive, she's finished outside the top 20 only twice in that span.
Kerr, the 2005 Kingsmill champion, and 20-year-old Yani Tseng have been two of the steadiest golfers in 2009. Each has played all seven events, and each has finished in the top 10 five times. And neither has done worse than 19th.
Stanford has finished in the top 15 in all five of her starts. Webb has three top-10s, and nothing worse than a tie for 19th, in five events. And after a frustrating start, Pettersen has finished in the top 10 in four straight tournaments — including the Corona Championship two weeks ago, when she was runner-up to Ochoa.
Lincicome missed the cut in Mexico City, the tournament that immediately followed her KNC win. And though she is disappointed at a missed opportunity to build on some momentum, she still feels she's on a roll.
"It was a huge mental boost," she said of winning her first major. "To see my hard work paying off, it was great. To know I can do that ... inside, that really made me feel really good."