There is the theory, shared by those who are pro golf experts and those who are casual observers lining the ropes around practice greens and driving ranges, that the ladies from South Korea work harder, practice harder, and devote themselves to their careers at a level exceeding their American counterparts.
That theory -- by definition a theory is neither fact nor fiction, just informed conjecture -- gained some more legs this past weekend as So Yeon Ryu became the fifth different Korean to win the Jamie Farr Toledo Classic for a total of nine times in the last 14 years. To ease that statistical confusion, remember that Se Ri Pak, who started it all in 1998, has won the Farr five times.
Before Ryu blew away the field with a final-round 62, she'd been tied for the 54-hole lead with three other South Koreans. When Na Yeon Choi won a year ago at Highland Meadows, she prevailed in a playoff against three players named Kim -- two of them South Korean and one American born of Korean parents.
Is the Farr Classic typical? Probably not. Neither is it atypical. Choi recently became the fourth South Korean in the last five years to win the U.S. Women's Open. And while Ryu was taking the Farr, a 15-year-old named Lydia Ko was winning the U.S. Women's Amateur a couple hours away in Cleveland. She is a South Korean-born New Zealander.
Asians, including No. 1-ranked Yani Tseng of Taiwan and others, have won 11 LPGA Tour events in 2012. American golfers have won five times.
One of them, Angela Stanford, was the runner-up in the Farr Classic. And, to her credit, she tackled the subject head-on after Sunday's final round. Not all Americans are comfortable doing so.
And she made it clear that she is uncomfortable with the suggestion that the Koreans work harder.
"That does bother me because I know how hard Paula Creamer works. I know how hard Stacy Lewis works. I know how hard Cristie Kerr works. I could go down the line … they're working just as hard. It seems like the Asians are very serious. You see them on Monday practicing and Tuesday practicing and Wednesday. Well, just because you don't see me at the golf tournament doesn't mean I'm not practicing or working out. I practice better at home.
"That does kind of hurt. Just because we don't have the results, it doesn't mean we're not working."
I'll take her at her word. But some of her other words came up a little empty. There are 42 South Koreans and a total of 59 Asians on the LPGA Tour.
Stanford suggested if 42 Americans were playing in Korea there would be weeks when they would dominate the leaderboards similar to how Koreans dominated the Farr Classic.
"It's a numbers game," she said.
Well, not really. There were 26 South Koreans in the Farr's starting field. There were more than 70 American professionals. If it's strictly a numbers game -- and they certainly have changed since '98, when Pak was the sole Seoul Sister on tour -- then it's clear who the numbers should still favor.
Rather, it is depth of talent produced by culture and by work ethic, not just on Tuesdays from 7 to 7 on the range and practice green, but for 52 Tuesdays a year dating back to childhood at sports academies and under the watchful eye of demanding instructors. It is the ever-present parental influence.
Or maybe it's simply what I.K. Kim, one of the co-leaders after 54 holes and part of the playoff at Highland Meadows a year ago, said:
"We all like this golf course."
That's not theory. That's fact.
Contact Blade sports columnist Dave Hackenberg at: email@example.com or 419-724-6398.