Sat, Mar 14, 2009 - Page 4 News List

Golf ace Tseng says she was misunderstood

TEED OFFYani Tseng left for the US yesterday, saying she filed a request that the nation host an LPGA tournament in order to give golf a boost in Taiwan

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  STAFF REPORTER

Golfer Yani Tseng (曾雅妮) yesterday said she felt sad that she had been misunderstood by local media outlets, which reported that she threatened to switch her allegiance to another nation if the government would not meet her request to hold a Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) tournament in Taiwan.

US LPGA Championship winner Tseng, the world No. 2 behind Lorena Ochoa, left for the US yesterday to play in an upcoming tournament.

When approached by reporters at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport prior to her departure, Tseng said that she filed a request to hold an LPGA tournament in Taiwan because she thought hosting such a tournament would be the most effective boost for golf in the nation, adding that she did not make the suggestion for her own benefit.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, Tseng accused the government of being indifferent toward hosting an LPGA tournament this year, saying she received no response after sending an e-mail to President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) on Jan. 19.

Tseng’s statement came a day after the Chinese-language United Daily News reported that China had been trying to win Tseng over.

The Chinese-language China Times published a feature on Thursday lashing out at Tseng for her lack of sportsmanship, alleging that she threatened the government with renouncing her citizenship.

Tseng yesterday said that the whole affair had been blown out of proportion and that all she wanted to do was concentrate on her next tournament.

At a separate setting yesterday, Premier Liu Chao-shiuan (劉兆玄) broke his silence on the LPGA request proposed by Tseng, but it appeared that he did not know much about it.

During a question-and-answer session at the legislature, Liu was asked about the affair by Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator John Wu (吳志揚). Liu said that the e-mail sent by Tseng was forwarded to the Sports Affairs Council (SAC), which sent her a reply.

“At least [she should not] say that she received no response, as the e-mail was answered by the SAC, which [rejected her request] because of concerns over the size of the budget, among other reasons,” Liu said. “For more details, I need to get the SAC minister to speak to you, but she is not here today.”

SAC Minister Tai Hsia-ling (戴遐齡) was not required to attend the session yesterday.

Tseng’s father, Tseng Mao-hsin (曾茂炘), on Wednesday confirmed that Chinese officials got in touch with his daughter.

He added that when his daughter asked Ma whether the government could bid to host one of the LPGA tour tournaments, “the president then asked her how much that would cost and we said it would cost about US$6 million. He responded by saying that US$6 million could be spent on holding more than 10 marathons.”

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