Taiwan’s Yani Tseng, the world’s No. 2-ranked female golfer, said on Friday that she was saddened and disappointed by unfounded speculation about her after she failed to show up on time for a pro-am event ahead of the LPGA Kia Classic tournament.
In the wake of the missed tee time on March 20, a local weekly speculated in its latest issue that the 24-year-old took to late night partying after gaining fame, which has hurt her game and disrupted her regular routine.
The report also cited Hsu Tien-ya, president of the Golf Association of the Republic of China, as saying that Tseng missing the pro-am tee time showed her support team were not up to the task.
“I’m disheartened by the report,” Tseng wrote on her Facebook page on Friday.
Tseng, who is currently in California to prepare for the Kraft Nabisco Championship that begins on Thursday, said she has been practicing hard.
“I work very hard every day in hopes of playing better. I trust my support team. I trust those who love me and support me. I don’t know why some people often find fault with me behind my back,” Tseng wrote.
Despite all the criticism, Tseng said she would continue to work hard and play golf for those who like and support her. Tseng dominated women’s golf in 2011 with 12 tournament victories worldwide, but she has been winless in 23 events since her Kia Classic victory last year, leading some to wonder where the magic has gone.
Those questions only grew louder when she missed her pro-am tee time and was dropped from the Kia Classic, losing the opportunity to defend her title. Tseng later issued a statement apologizing for her failure to appear at the event on time.
“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 the statement.
Hsu said in an interview with Next Magazine that Tseng should make changes in her support team, even suggesting that she replace her manager Hsu Naya. He repeated a previous criticism that Tseng’s team is arranging too many non-golfing activities for her prior to big tournaments, causing her to lose focus.
Moreover, Hsu said Tseng should say “no” when her friends in the entertainment world invite her to night clubs.
Tseng’s father reacted angrily to Hsu Tien-ya’s comments, calling them sheer speculation.
“What Hsu said was not true. Yani was not likely to have frequented night clubs to the extent that she missed a tournament,” Tseng Mao-hsin was quoted as saying in a report yesterday in the Liberty Times (the Taipei Times’ sister newspaper).
He insisted that his daughter missed the Kia pro-am mainly because she overslept and her cellphone alarm did not go off.
“As her phone was dead, her caddy also couldn’t get through to her,” Tseng Mao-hsin said.
The Liberty Times said Yani Tseng’s mother and manager arrived in Los Angeles on Friday to cheer her up ahead of the Kraft Nabisco tournament, the first major of the year on the LPGA Tour.