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Jeffrey WhiteThis Week at Oct. 24, 2007

2007 was the year of Lorena Ochoa as she finally knocks aside Annika Sorenstam

It might be a little early to say this definitively, but one could at least argue that 2007 confirmed the end of the Annika Sorenstam era on the LPGA Tour.

Sorenstam's 2007 record: Ten starts, four top-10s, no wins.

Of course, injury had everything to do with that record: In April, Sorenstam ruptured a disc in her lower back and as a result announced that she would alter her 2007 schedule, play fewer events and instead concentrate on the majors (though her best result in those was 15th at the McDonald's LPGA Championship in June).

But that's usually all it takes, an injury. A fact of pro sports is that you're only as good as you are healthy. Elite athletes demand so much from their bodies, push their bodies to such extremes (yes, even pro golfers) that when injury surfaces it's doubly hard for them to get back to full form, let alone maintain their grip on a particular sport.

In the case of Sorenstam, her back injury gave the full spotlight in women's golf this year - finally - to Lorena Ochoa.

There is no more dominant golfer on the planet right now than Ochoa. She's won seven times this year on the LPGA Tour, including a string of three in a row and her first major, finally shaking the only monkey that was on her back by winning the Women's British Open. She passed Sorenstam as world No. 1 this spring.

This is a story that has been unfolding on the LPGA Tour for some time.

Last year, Ochoa captured the LPGA Tour's Player of the Year award after recording six victories. But 2007 has really been the first time she's had the stage completely clear of Sorenstam, who at least was lurking in 2006. With Sorenstam not a factor, we were finally able to see just how good Ochoa is.

What we're seeing right now on the LPGA Tour is a changing of the guard that, for some reason, seems years away from happening over on the PGA Tour. Dominance deteriorates, except in the case of Tiger Woods, who still can't find a rival to push him, let alone surpass him.

We're going to be talking a lot about Ochoa in the years to come. But as dominating as Ochoa seems to be right now, Sorenstam's incredible 69 career LPGA Tour victories suggests the work that still lies ahead for Ochoa.

As always, welcomes your comments.

Nick SQ ranks the top drivers of '07

We test and review a veritable pro shop of equipment every year, from balls to practice aids to the king of golf gear, the driver. Here are our Best Of picks of the drivers we've played this year.

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