Dominance on the world golf stage is a five-letter word now……….T-S-E-N-G. Yani Tseng has transcended her sport winning her fifth major at age 22-she has won four of the last eight majors on the women’s circuit. There is little doubt that she has the Vardon Grip on the number one player in the world spot and she is not giving it up any time soon.
To look at her numbers this year there is only one person whose name comes to mind and it is not Annika. 13 tournaments on the LPGA Tour-4 wins-9 top tens and another 3 wins worldwide as well. In 2011 she ranks first in birdies, first in rounds in the 60s, first in scoring average, second in driving distance, second in rounds under par, and third in greens hit (which is all the more remarkable because she is 102nd in fairways hit).
When Yani bought Annika’s old house in Orlando a few years ago it seemed her goal was to fill up those built-ins with trophies over a career-at the rate she is going she may have to build a Yani commemorative addition before she is 25.
All the things they say about her are true-she is a gifted athlete, sweet kid, and determined to break that stereotype of the dispassionate Asian star. But more than anything she is a focused competitor who when she gets a sniff of the lead can be very intimidating to the rest of the field. Sound familiar?
The only thing she is not at this point is a household name in the U.S. market-but she is getting there. She has worked hard to improve her English and to listen to her in an interview now you can see this is an intelligent young woman with aspirations of greatness and just enough humility to make her someone you just have to root for. In the world market of golf she is fast becoming a Michael Jordan-like figure-the sponsorships and endorsements are going to have to que up at her door.
There are mentors of little girls all over the world looking at Yani’s athletic swagger and confidence realizing that the bar has been raised-to be dominant in the world of women’s golf is going to take an entirely new level of skill and confidence. For the next 20 years they are going to have to beat Yani and that will be no small task.
Annika’s 10 majors looks like a cake walk-I am thinking Patty Berg’s record of 15 could be seeing some company if Yani can stay motivated.