Is 23 too young to be a Hall of Famer?
We might be asking that question soon at the pace Yani Tseng, 22, is going. She’s on track to become the youngest player to qualify for the LPGA Hall of Fame.
Tseng won her sixth LPGA title this season Sunday at the LPGA HanaBank Championship in South Korea. The total is especially impressive when you consider Tseng is playing a shoestring schedule. The LPGA has played just 18 events so far this year. So Tseng has won one of every three LPGA tournaments she has played this season.
Look at the only players who’ve won more in an LPGA season, and you’ll see what kind of historic company Tseng’s already keeping. Only Babe Zaharias, Louise Suggs, Betsy Rawls, Mickey Wright, Kathy Whitworth, Marlene Hagge, Carol Mann, Nancy Lopez, Beth Daniel, Karrie Webb, Annika Sorenstam and Lorena Ochoa have won more than Tseng in a single season. They’re all Hall of Famers.
And Tseng might not be done this year. There are five more LPGA tournaments in 2011.
Tseng, who celebrates her “golden birthday” turning 23 on Jan. 23, needs 27 points to qualify for the LPGA Hall of Fame. She has already logged 17 points. If she wins the Vare Trophy and Rolex Player of the Year this season, which look like locks, she’ll start next year needing just eight more points. If she wins yet again this year, she will need even less than that. Tseng has won three of the last five majors, four of the last eight and five of the last 15.
Karrie Webb was the youngest player to qualify for the Hall of Fame. She was 25 when she met the criteria.
LPGA players earn one point for tour titles, two points for major championships. They also earn one point for winning the Vare Trophy or Rolex Player of the Year. Tour rules do require players to be active LPGA members for 10 years before they can actually be inducted.