Her long-time trusted adviser said Thursday night that she’s in no position to accept or reject an offer because she hasn’t actually been offered anything yet.
“It’s a little odd that this came through the media without Yani being contacted first about her interest,” said Ernie Huang, who is part of Tseng’s management team. “The Puerto Rico Open still hasn’t contacted anyone from Yani’s team. This is all coming to her indirectly through the media.”
When Tseng left her Taiwanese homeland Wednesday to return to the United States, she didn’t know anything about the Puerto Rico Open offer. When she stepped off a plane Thursday, she and her manager, Naya Hsu, were inundated with cell-phone messages.
Huang said Tseng is interested in testing herself against PGA Tour pros, but her team has some concerns about how it should be executed and about how people will interpret her interest.
“She hasn’t rejected the idea,” Huang said. “If the Puerto Rico Open offer comes to her team, we will talk about it, about whether the timing is right, whether the opportunity is right, and we’ll give Yani advice, but what’s most important is what Yani wants. She will evaluate it. She’s 22, and there’s no rush to do this. She isn’t going to jump into anything.”
Sidney Wolf, general chairman of the Puerto Rico Open, told GolfChannel.com on Thursday that he was preparing an elaborate pitch to Tseng in hopes of convincing her that her appearance would help grow the game of golf for women and junior girls in Puerto Rico.
Huang said he didn’t know what Tseng would decide if offered a spot, but she is not interested in “competing” against men. She’s interested in learning from them, elevating her game by testing herself against them.
If Tseng plays a PGA Tour event, Huang said, she would like to do it similarly to the way her idol, Annika Sorenstam, did it at Colonial in 2003, for the limited experience. He said the Tseng camp has warily watched how Michelle Wie’s stated goal of competing regularly against men affected her.
“I think Michelle has a lot of scars from it,” Huang said.
Tseng, 22, has won 11 times around the world this year. Sorenstam told Golf Channel’s 'Morning Drive' on Thursday that she believes Tseng will be accepted trying a men’s event because she’s earned the chance. Sorenstam said Wie was up against the sense that she hadn’t earned the opportunity.
“Yani has high goals,” Huang said. “And her goals aren’t to compete against men. Her goals are to win the career Grand Slam, to be the youngest player ever to qualify for the Hall of Fame, to be the best female player ever. She doesn’t want anything to sidetrack that.”
That’s how Tseng will evaluate whether she plays a PGA Tour event, based on whether it helps or hinders her journey.