Defending champion and former world No. 1 Yani Tseng of Taiwan was dropped from the Kia Classic after missing her 9:10am pro-am tee time on Wednesday.
“I’m embarrassed to admit that I wasn’t feeling well last night and accidentally overslept and missed my tee time for the pro-am this morning,” Tseng said in a statement released by the US LPGA Tour.
“I was extremely excited to compete this week to defend my title at the Kia Classic and to try to regain the No. 1 spot. This was an unfortunate mistake and I want to apologize to Kia, my sponsors and all of the fans,” she said.
On Sunday, Stacy Lewis won the Founders Cup in Phoenix to end Tseng’s 109-week run at No. 1.
Tseng is winless in 23 events since her Kia Classic victory last year. The 15-time tour winner tied for 59th last week in Phoenix. She opened the season with a second-place finish in the Women’s Australian Open, tied for third in the LPGA Thailand and completed the Asian swing with a tie for 28th in Singapore in the HSBC Women’s Champions.
The Taiwanese star will return to play from April 4 to April 7 in the Kraft Nabisco Championship, the first major championship of the year, at Mission Hills in Rancho Mirage.
“I am really sad,” Tseng wrote on her Facebook page about missing the Kia tournament. “My alarm didn’t go off ... My caddy tried to call me, but my phone was dead.”
Tseng remained upbeat despite the setback.
“Now I will work hard and prepare for the Kraft [Nabisco Championship]. And I am going to buy a few alarm clocks for next week to make sure I wake up on time,” she wrote.
Her message quickly drew warm responses from her fans, many of whom cheered her up and encouraged her to keep going and reclaim her world No. 1 title in the near future.