It sure doesn’t look like Yani Tseng had a bad year, even though it might feel that way.
She has won three times on the LPGA Tour, the most of any player except for Stacy Lewis. She is closing in on US$1.5 million in prize money, putting her fourth on the money list. She also comes into the final tournament, the LPGA Titleholders, having finished no worse than fourth in her previous three events. Compared with almost anyone else, it has been a great year.
Compared with what Tseng did a year ago, it qualifies as a slump.
“So maybe I can win this tournament, you never know,” Tseng said on Wednesday at TwinEagles. “It doesn’t matter the results of this week. I feel I still have had a successful year. I’m still No. 1, so don’t forget about that. So I still can have a happy ending.”
Tseng is assured of remaining atop the women’s world rankings, mainly because she started the season with an enormous lead, and built upon that by winning three times in four events leading into the first major of the year.
Then, mysteriously, she did not win again.
She squandered a chance at contending in the Kraft Nabisco and did not come remotely close at the other three majors. Along the way, she fired her caddie and tried to hire him back, only to discover he had another job with Choi Na-yeon.
Tseng is not quite sure what happened, except that she was buried under expectations that followed someone who had won 12 times around the world last year.
“The last three or four months, I was really trying too hard and putting myself [under] too much pressure, and I second-guessed myself if I can still win a tournament,” she said.
“I was just struggling, but I wasn’t very happy ... People e-mail me on Facebook and say: ‘I don’t see your smile anymore.’ I feel bad about that,” Tseng said.
The results are starting to come around, and Tseng now looks forward to next year.
Lewis has wrapped up the Tour Player of the Year, but Tseng still has that No. 1 ranking.
“It’s good to see her win,” Tseng said of Lewis. “Kind of disappointed, too, but it’s already the last tournament, I have no chance to get it back, but I was trying really hard, that’s why I was playing six in a row. But she was playing good, and I’m happy to see that. Hopefully, next year, I can get it back.”