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Yani Tseng: Young Superstar

by Jeff Skinner

It isn’t that often that history is made on the golf course.  Thanks to Tiger Woods, today’s golf fans are a generation that has come to expect historic performances at every turn.  We saw it last week at the U.S. Open as Rory McIlroy set or tied twelve Open records.  And we had watched Tiger shatter record after record for a dozen years.  Maybe we have become a bit jaded when it comes to the golf records.

Yesterday, at the Wegman’s LPGA Championship Yani Tseng took another turn at making history.  Tseng won the LPGA Championship with a closing 66 to dust the field by ten strokes.  A ten stroke win in a major is unheard of unless your name is Tiger.  Her score tied the LPGA’s record at a major but this win is much more than that.

Tseng became the youngest player ever to win four majors.  That’s just not on the LPGA, that’s in all of golf.  At 22 years old she beats all comers.  Patty Berg was the LPGA’s youngest to four majors at 23.  Tiger Woods is the PGA Tour’s youngest and he was 24 when he won his fourth in 2000. (Disclaimer: in 1872 Young Tom Morris, 21, won his fourth British Opens, we’re talking modern golf here.)

If this occurred on the PGA Tour that player would be heralded as the greatest player ever.  But for Tseng and the other ladies that toil in relative obscurity of the LPGA, most of the sports world will hardly take notice.  That’s a shame because this is a remarkable accomplishment and Tseng is a very likable player.

Tseng broke her own record as she was the first to three major wins last year.  She just missed her fourth earlier this season when she let Stacy Lewis come from behind at the Kraft Nabisco Championship.  Tseng is dominating like few golfers have in recent memory.  This title gives her three of the last six majors and brings her LPGA total to eight wins.

She was asked how she tried to deal with the pressure of trying to close out the win. “Yes, I feel very excited.  I’ve been very patient all day.  I had bogey on the first hole, but I tell myself it’s only first hole I can get more birdies, get it back.  I feel very appreciative of all of the fans here.  I walk on 18 hole, I almost cry because so emotional and all of the fans were crying so bad.  I’m from Taiwan.  It’s a little country and the people here are very, very supportive of me.  I feel really good about that.”

For my money Tseng is the best player in golf right now.  Rory, also 22, wins his first major and they compare him to Jack and Tiger.  That’s a joke.  Yani Tseng is the most dominating player in golf today.  It’s sad that she won’t get the accolades she deserves.  Maybe she’ll get some press when she wins the U.S. Women’s Open next month and completes the career grand slam.  She’ll still be only 22.  She’s the youngest superstar nobody knows.

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