Tseng On Target

By Randall MellMarch 31, 2011, 3:15 am

2007 Kraft Nabisco ChampionshipRANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. – Yani Tseng faced a formidable test before she even teed off at the Kia Classic last week.

Her swing coach saw the challenge when he first spotted Tseng’s caddie at Industry Hills.

The caddie couldn’t have stood out more if he were wearing a bulls-eye.

“They threw this green bib on him that identifies Yani as the Rolex Women’s No. 1-ranked player,” Gary Gilchrist said. “I think that’s the biggest difference for her this year. It’s that now she’s the No. 1 player in the world, so there are a lot more expectations on her. My biggest goal is for her to feel comfortable and confident with her game in that role.”

Yani Tseng
Yani Tseng is seeking her fourth career major championship title. (Getty Images)
Last week marked the first time the LPGA used a special caddie bib to identify the Rolex No. 1. It’s the LPGA’s version of the Tour de France’s yellow jersey. It’s a good idea, accentuating the focus on the battle for No. 1 in women’s golf, but it can look like a bulls-eye to the rest of the field.

Tseng’s caddie, Jason Hamilton, won’t wear the Rolex No. 1 bib this week. Nobody will. The Kraft Nabisco caddies all wear white bibs, but it doesn’t matter. Players know Tseng’s the player to beat.

The Dinah Shore Tournament Course marks the grandest stage Tseng’s taken since she claimed the No. 1 ranking seven weeks ago.

“I’m feeling more relaxed about it,” said Tseng, who is Taiwanese but makes her home in Orlando, Fla. “I’m enjoying this and having fun with it and not putting too much pressure on myself.”

Tseng plays with a disarming smile. She isn’t an intimidating figure.

At 5 feet 6, she’s sturdy and strong, but she doesn’t look like she could overpower a golf course.

Well, until you see her launch one of her rockets.

Few women who hit the ball as long as Tseng play out of the fairway as consistently as she has this season.

The combination of power and control is a large factor in why Tseng’s already won four times around the world this season and is favored to successfully defend her Kraft Nabisco title.

“Yani is very, very long,” says Karrie Webb, who has won two of the four LPGA events staged this year. “I’ve played with her quite a few rounds already this year, and I think one of the reasons she’s playing so well early is she’s hitting it long and straight. She’s really not hitting too many wild tee shots, which is setting up relatively simple irons shots.

“When she gets her putter going, those are the weeks she really dominates.”

Tseng is becoming a dominant player on the game’s most important stages. She’s won two of the last four majors in women’s golf, three of the last 11.

“She’s done some amazing things at a very young age,” 14-time LPGA winner Cristie Kerr said.

Amazing? Well, consider this: Tseng’s won more majors at 22 than Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods or Bobby Jones did at the same age. And she could make it four major championship triumphs this week, which would be more majors than Nancy Lopez won her entire career.

Tseng’s ability to hit fairways will be key this week.

Can she continue to hit her driver with impunity, shrink the course and keep her power advantage? Tseng was the 10th longest driver on the LPGA last year, averaging 262 yards per drive.

Webb’s observation that Tseng is hitting more fairways while continuing to overpower courses is notable. Gilchrist said Tseng’s developed the ability to drive with power or scale back and drive for control.

“It’s the same swing, she just grips down, and it’s more controlled, where you aren’t looking to hit it a long way,” Gilchrist said. “More like a stinger.”

That swing could prove a valuable weapon at the Dinah Shore course, where the rough’s penal and the firm, fast greens make having a short iron from the fairway a huge advantage.

The confidence of having won here also helps Tseng. She relished seeing her plaque on the Walk of Champions along “Poppie’s Pond” at the 18th, where she took the victor’s plunge last year.

“It was so exciting,” Tseng said of her return. “I love this course.

“I feel really confident right now.”


Follow Randall Mell on Twitter @RandallMell
Getty Images

Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.

Getty Images

Rose leads Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose completed the final two holes of his second round early Saturday for a 3-under 69 and a one-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose, who had a first-round 62, was among a quarter of the field forced off the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course after weather delays on Friday.

The Englishman, who bogeyed his last hole, had a two-round total of 13-under 131.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who completed his 64 on Friday, was in second place.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters. He has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season.

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 1:00 pm

Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.

Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.

None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.

Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.

An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.

Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.

Playing with the pros

Tiger, DJ and Faxon

Article: Video, images from Tiger, DJ's round with Trump

Article: After DJ and Tiger, Trump plays golf with Jack

Rory faces criticism

Article: Rory: Round with Trump about respect for presidency

Article: Rory: Round with Trump not a 'political statement'

President at the Presidents Cup

Video: President Trump makes the rounds at Liberty National

Article: President Trump presents trophy to U.S. team

Article: Stricker: 'Great thrill' to get trophy from Trump

Purported round of 73 with Lindsey Graham

Article: Senator tweets Trump shot 73 in windy, wet conditions

Article: Graham offers details on Trump's round of 73

Cart on the green

Article: Trump appears to drive cart on Bedminster green

Presence and protests at U.S. Women's Open

Article: Trump makes presidential history at Women's Open

Article: Trump supporters, protesters clash near Women's Open

Article: UltraViolet takes protest inside Trump National

Photo gallery: President Trump at the U.S. Women's Open

Trump golf properties


Article: Environmental group vandalizes Trump golf course

Article: Man accused of vandalizing four Trump courses


Article: Two Trump courses in Scotland losing millions

Article: Eric Trump denies Russia helped fund golf courses

Article: Trump company ordered to pay $5.77M in dues dispute

Reportedly fake TIME covers

Article: Trump clubs display fake Time magazine cover

Trump apologizes for voter-fraud story

Report: Trump's voter fraud claim tied to Langer

Langer: Trump 'apologized' for story mix-up

Pros comment on the president

Article: Players defend Trump at Senior PGA Championship

Article: Trump congratulates Daly; Daly congratulates Trump

Getty Images

Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 12:30 pm