Number one and staying there for good?
She hits the ball as crisp as Annika Sorestam ever did and putts even better. She even bought her idol’s million dollar home in Orlando, Florida, such were her grand plans for replicating greatness.
But comparisons between 22-year-old Taiwanese sensation Yani Tseng and the retired Swedish superstar won’t be drawn for some time, by which time it could be comparing chalk and cheese, such is Tseng’s frightening potential for world domination.
The new world No.1 has officially conquered women’s golf, just three years after joining the LPGA Tour, following a whirlwind trip Down Under last month where she defended her Australian Open crown in emphatic fashion before marching on to an even easier win in a record-scoring ANZ RACV Ladies Masters.
It was a double that had some of the game’s greats talking up Tseng as future Hall Of Famer and a seemingly unstoppable force for the next decade. And you’ll struggle to find any flaws in their argument.
At her best, Tseng is a class above any other player in the world, even our very own Karrie Webb and South Korean star Ji-Yai Shin.
Tseng compliments her raw power and accuracy off the tee with subtle touch around the greens and a steely determination on the greens that leaves her rivals marvelled when she’s locked in the zone.
Dare I say it – many of Tseng’s traits are Tigeresque. Woods at his absolute best had an aura that made him invincible to most. Tseng is now the most feared female player in the world and she’s so young.
And what about her resume? The word ‘glowing’ just doesn’t do it justice.
The youngest woman ever to chalk up three Major Championship victories (British Open, PGA and Kraft Nabisco), Tseng is also the fastest player in LPGA history to cross the $2 million mark in career earnings.
On top of that, Tseng last year reportedly knocked back a five-year sponsorship deal from a Chinese company worth US$25 million with access to a luxury villa and private jets because one of the requirements of the deal was that she change her citizenship to People’s Republic of China. It seems you can’t put a price on loyalty, much like Tiger refused those repeated offers of Thai citizenship.
In another freaky comparison, Tseng is the youngest world No.1 since the official world rankings were introduced when, her hero again, Sorenstam ruled roost.
There are many chapters to be written in the history books of ladies golf, but rest assured, the ink is wet and ready to carve Tseng’s name on those blank pages.
If her passion for the game remains with her for her entire career, unlike Sorenstam and the recently retired world No.1 Lorena Ochoa, there’s simply no telling what sort of records she could set.
If nothing else, hard-working Yani Tseng is a remarkable story and an unbelievable role model for golfers everywhere, let along those aspiring to be the next big thing in Asia.
Let’s sit back and watch history unfold.