After being a good girl on the golf course all year long, Yani Tseng might just be rewarded with a very special Christmas gift — she has been nominated for the US Sports Academy’s Female Athlete of the Year award, the winners of which will be announced on Dec. 25.
Tseng, who this year became the youngest golfer ever to win five major championships, is one of 24 women and men nominated for the academy’s Athlete of the Year awards. The 27th consecutive male and female athletes of the year will be selected through online balloting hosted by the academy in Daphne, Alabama, in conjunction with USA Today and NBC Sports.
Tseng, a 22-year-old from Taoyuan County’s Gueishan Township (龜山), has now spent 42 straight weeks at the top of the women’s world golf rankings. She was named the academy’s Female Athlete of the Month twice this year, following stellar performances in July and September.
The other female nominees are: women’s World Figure Skating Championship gold medalist Miki Ando, WNBA Championship Series MVP Seimone Augustus, Russian heptathalon sensation Tatyana Chernova, No. 1 tennis player Kim Clijsters, US Pacific-12 Conference 100m champion English Gardner, US sprinter Carmelita Jeter, No. 5 tennis player Li Na, 200m and 400m swimming world record holder Federica Pellegrini, US alpine ski racer Lindsey Vonn, US gymnast Jordyn Wieber and Ironman Triathlon world champion Chrissie Wellington of England.
The men competing for the annual honor are: English soccer star David Beckham, Canadian figure skater Patrick Chan, No. 1 tennis player Novak Djokovic of Serbia, Grenadian track and field star Kirani James, US swimmer Ryan Lochte, Irish golfer Rory McIlroy, Kenyan marathon runner Geoffrey Mutai, German basketball player Dirk Nowitzki, Philippine boxer Manny Pacquiao, US football player Aaron Rodgers, Japanese gymnast Kohei Uchimura and Cy Young Award winner Justin Verlander.
Online voting opened on Thursday and runs through midnight on Dec. 24. To cast a vote, visit http://ussa.edu/ballots/athlete-of-the-year#.
Last year’s athletes of the year were Spanish soccer star David Villa and South Korea’s No. 1 figure skater Kim Yu-na.
Tseng returned home from Los Angeles last night to play in an invitational game in Linkou (林口), New Taipei City (新北市), next week.
The LPGA Player of the Year will play in the Swinging Skirts TLPGA Invitational from Thursday next week to Saturday with Paula Creamer, Cristie Kerr and other top LPGA pros. A pro-am event will take place on Wednesday, the organizers said.
This might be Tseng’s last tournament this year, because she has recently complained of fatigue on her Facebook page, saying that she “will not touch a club for two weeks after the tournament.”
She has competed in 22 LPGA events this year.
Additional reporting by CNA