By Ward Clayton
Tseng back in the spotlight
Yani Tseng is back in familiar, winning territory this week at Royal Liverpool in the Ricoh Women's British Open. Two years ago, Tseng repeated a song in her head as she won the title at Royal Birkdale. Last year in winning at Carnoustie, Tseng had a message written in her yardage book: Have good posture, keep my chin up and smile.
The memories could quickly erase a dry spell in Tseng's short, illustrious career and extend her professional record even further. Only two women have won an LPGA major championship three consecutive times: Patty Berg as an amateur at the Titleholders in Augusta, Ga., from 1937-39 and Annika Sorenstam at the LPGA Championship from 2003-05.
Tseng, the world's No. 1-ranked player, has gone 11 consecutive events without a win, her longest victory drought since 2009-2010 when she went 20 events (17 to end 2009 and three to begin 2010) without a victory.
"I have been struggling a little the last few months, but I think it's a good time to be back here and I think it's my turn to start playing well again," Tseng said on Wednesday. "I have been watching Rory McIlroy and I think I can learn from him. He was a little down for a couple of months then he won the PGA Championship and since then he's won another two (titles).
"I think I have been a bit hard on myself and I have never been like that before."
At last year's Ricoh Women's British Open, Tseng became the youngest player, man or woman, to reach five career major titles. She was tied with Tom Morris Jr. at four major titles; he was age 21 when he captured his fourth consecutive British Open in 1872. Tseng accomplished the five majors feat at age 22 years, 6 months. Tiger Woods reached five career majors in 2000 at 24 years, 7 months.
Tseng has nearly three more years to become the youngest woman to win six major championships. Mickey Wright, the current record holder for youngest to six majors, won the 1961 U.S. Women's Open, her sixth of 13 career major championships, at age 26 years, 4 months and 17 days.
Tseng's success on the links courses of the United Kingdom will also be a factor this week as she plays the first two rounds with Paula Creamer and Ai Miyazato. Tseng failed to qualify for the 2007 tournament at St. Andrews, but has played in the event since with the following results: