It’s been rendered a mere footnote now, of course, Rory McIlroy’s early-summer swoon.
But Yani Tseng is hoping for a similar outcome.
The five-time major champion will defend her title this week at the Ricoh Women’s British Open, the LPGA’s final major of the year, and attempt to salvage what’s been a disappointing 2012 campaign, at least by her enormous standards. This season, Tseng has earned more than $1 million and won three titles, but none since March.
During the summer, the 23-year-old missed three cuts in a five-tournament stretch, and her finishes in the majors (Wegmans, T-59; Women’s Open, T-50) left many wondering what had happened to one of the LPGA’s high-wattage stars.
But now, on the eve of the first round at Royal Liverpool, Tseng said she’s taken comfort in the fact that slumps can happen to anyone – even McIlroy, who is now all the rage in the sport.
“I think Rory is very good for me to look at,” Tseng said during her pre-tournament news conference Wednesday. “He was a little down, but after he won the PGA Championship he won another two. So I’m like, OK, it’s my turn to win again.
“I watched his interviews, and he was saying he loves this game and there’s nothing that can get him too stressful because this is his dream. I feel like I’m living the dream too. I’m very hard on myself this year, and I’m never like that before. So now I want to get back and enjoy the game again and smile on the golf course as I used to do.”
Tseng admitted to being stung by recent criticism about her poor performance. In 2011, she won 11 times worldwide and became the youngest player to win back-to-back Player of the Year awards.
“I’m a personality that really cares what people talk about me,” she said. “I should not look – it’s all negative things and sometimes it really breaks my heart. Maybe they really don’t know how tough golf is. It’s hard to always be on top. I feel like I’m learning a lot, and I feel like if I can win again it will probably be my best trophy ever.”