Yani Tseng gets it. Much like her predecessors Annika and Lorena as the most dominant force in women’s golf and unlike previous #1’s on the male side of professional golf, Yani seems to get the fact that nurturing a relationship with her fan base and the media who serve as a conduit to them will serve to enhance her popularity and her fortunes as a result.
She has worked diligently on her English so she can handle those interviews and press conferences that come with winning TV golf tournaments. To those of us who watch her on TV, she smiles all the time, even in the heat of competition, so you actually believe she is enjoying herself. At the events, she connects with her fans and the tournament sponsors as if it were a pleasure and not just an occupational duty.
This past week she went above and beyond the call by hosting a dinner for the LPGA Communications staff and the national print and broadcast media folks. This was not some staged sit down affair at a local Marriott but an intimate backyard barbeque at her Lake Nona home. Holding court for the media in the rec room of your house is probably unprecedented but feeding and entertaining them is off the charts. By the way, this was held the night before the season ending $1.5 million CME Group Titleholder’s event, a gathering of this year’s tournament winners. First prize is $500K, so it is not like Yani did not have anything else on her mind at the time.
As the attached article by Beth Ann Baldy attests, those in attendance found out what they already know about Yani, she is engaging, self-deprecating, and just fun to be around. She doesn’t take herself too seriously or put herself on a pedestal above her peers.
Witness this photo of her “Angry Bird in Kraft-Nabisco Still Life”-she was not pleased with letting a two-peat slip away, shooting 74 in the last round of this year’s Kraft-Nabisco. She even regaled the crowd with an impromptu Harry Potter costume when the evening’s conversation got to theme parks.
In an age where dominant sports figures seem determined to build black box walls around their personal lives, it is refreshing to see the number one player in lady’s golf so graciously connect with the people who help communicate her image to those of us who watch and support her success. The LPGA is fortunate to have another grounded ambassador to lead their sport.
Beth Ann Baldy