Song should chat with Korda, Thompson

KEVIN CURRIE, Sports Network

, Last Updated: 2:40 PM ET

PHILADELPHIA -- One-time teen prodigy Aree Song will be back where she wants to be in 2011, as a full-time member of the LPGA Tour.

Back in 2003, Song and her sister, Naree, were the "Can't miss Kids." After turning pro as a teenager, Aree finished fifth at Q School that year to earn her tour card for 2004. She appealed to then commissioner Ty Votaw for the right to play on tour as a 17-year-old.

Tour rules state you must be 18 to play full-time.

Song won her appeal, and went on to top-five finishes in two of her first three starts. That included a runner-up finish at the season's first major, the Kraft Nabisco Championship.

Fast-forward to 2008.

Song had lost her card and made just two starts. She made money both times, but tied for 67th and finished alone in 68th. In 2009-10, Song played just 17 total events, with a tie for 24th at the Canadian Women's Open easily being her best finish.

The now 24-year-old won the LPGA Tour's Qualifying tournament on Sunday giving her full-time tour status, again. But what about those early years?

"I was the only one out there that young when I did it," said Song after Saturday's round. "Now, I like seeing the young players. And that's the way I used to play, except that I'm more patient now than I used to be."

Song's quote was notable in that she played the fourth round with 17-year-old Jessica Korda.

The daughter of former Australian tennis player Petr Korda, Jessica has been a rising star in the golf world. She has played on the U.S. Junior Solheim Cup team, the U.S. Curtis Cup team and entered Q School as the No. 1 player in the Women's Amateur Rankings.

After finishing second to Song at Q School, Korda immediately announced she had turned pro.

"I knew I always wanted to turn pro, but I never thought I'd do it this year," stated Korda, who was the runner-up at this year's U.S. Women's Amateur. "I've had a really good year and I'm so glad I get to finish it out here, turning pro at LPGA Q School."

She joins the professional ranks alongside her 2010 Curtis Cup teammate, Alexis Thompson.

Thompson, who doesn't turn 16 years old until the end of February 2011, went a stout 4-0-1 at the Curtis Cup. A few days later, she turned pro.

Like Song, her early results have been solid. Thompson tied for 10th at the U.S. Women's Open, then closed with back-to-back 67s to share second place at the Evian Masters. She finished one shot behind winner Jiyai Shin.

Korda, who turns 18 in February, won't need special permission from now commissioner Michael Whan to join the tour full-time.

Thompson, however, can only use six sponsors invitations and qualify for the U.S. Women's and Women's British Opens. So unless Thompson appeals and wins the right to play on tour next year as a 16-year-old, she can play no more than eight LPGA Tour events in 2011. And that might be a good thing.

Thompson and Korda can learn something from Song.

They need to read, and re-read, Song's quote, "except that I'm more patient now than I used to be."

These teenagers can be world beaters, but patience will be a key.

If the two have a chance, they should talk with Song about what potholes may lie ahead. Song has been a tour regular for a few years, missed time due to injury and lost her card.

At 24, Song can be a perfect sounding board for these two young, rising stars.

TIGER'S TOURNEY A CATALYST

There are plenty of Silly Season tournaments around the world. Who knew that Tiger Woods' tournament would be the catalyst for great seasons.

Confused?

Check out these numbers - of the eight players that won or finished in second place from 2006-09 at the Chevron World Challenge, that group combined for 19 PGA Tour wins the following season.

The best example of this group - Graeme McDowell. He got into the 2009 tournament when Woods withdrew after his car accident.

McDowell finished second to Jim Furyk at the Chevron last year, then won three times worldwide in 2010, including the U.S. Open. He also holed the winning putt at the Ryder Cup.

Furyk, well, he also won three times, earned the top prize in the season-long FedEx Cup race and was voted by his peers as PGA Tour Player of the Year.

Woods won his own event in 2006 and 2007. He went on to win seven times in 2007 and claimed four more titles in 2008. Among those 11 victories, Woods collected two major championships titles and three World Golf Championship wins.

As for the other runners-up, Steve Stricker followed his second-place finish in 2008 with three PGA Tour titles in 2009. Zach Johnson picked up a win in 2008 after taking second at the 2007 Chevron.

The only players that didn't follow their top-two finish with a victory the following year were Vijay Singh and Geoff Ogilvy.

Singh, the 2008 winner, had three top-10s in '09. Ogilvy, the '06 runner-up, posted seven top-10s in 2007. Among Ogilvy's top finishes were top-10s at the PGA Championship, two at WGC events and two more in the FedEx Cup playoffs.

What am I getting at?

My gut tells me McDowell has another big year in 2011 and Woods follows suit.

MINI-TIDBITS

- Petr Korda might not be the only former tennis star cheering his daughter at future LPGA Tour events. Two of Ivan Lendl's daughters compete on the University of Florida Women's golf team. Maybe one day, they'll play with Korda on the LPGA Tour.

- To all my friends and co-workers that ask, isn't the golf season over with yet? I can finally say yes, and no. The 2010 season is over, except for a few foreign tours, but the European Tour has already started its 2011 campaign.


Photos