It’s that time of year! The start of the 2013 LPGA season is quickly approaching and as we count down the days until the year’s first event, our eyes are focused on “What to Watch” for the upcoming season. So over the next two weeks on LPGA.com, we will take a glimpse at some of the top storylines on the LPGA Tour for 2013. Today’s storyline… Holding onto the No. 1 Spot
It was around this time last year that the golf world had all eyes on Yani Tseng to see if she could rally on her success from the previous two years. She seemed to have a tight grip on Rolex Rankings No. 1 position coming into 2012, rolling off a seven-victory season with Player of the Year honors and record-breaking stats.
At 22 years old Tseng became the youngest player ever, male or female, to win 5 majors after claiming the 2011 RICOH Women's British Open and the youngest LPGA player to win four majors after her victory at the Wegmans LPGA Championship. She was also the youngest player to win consecutive Rolex Player of the Year awards.
She continued to wow LPGA fans with spectacular play at the beginning of the 2012 season as she notched three victories in the first five events. It seemed to be in the cards for the Taiwanese star to have yet another successful season. But after such a hot start, things seemed to quickly stall in Tseng’s golf career, grabbing her lowest finish in 26 events with a T59 at the Wegmans LPGA Championship. Eleven weeks went by before she would tally another top-10 finish.
With the media and fans hounding on the brutally long stretch of poor play, Tseng managed to remain optimistic and put a positive spin on her slump.
"When I look back now, I feel that was kind of my best time,” Tseng said. “You always learn something from mistakes. You learn something when you don't play well, and I figure that helping people, it makes me very, very happy.
"I want to be best golfer in the world. But I feel like golf is not everything in my life, but I want to keep doing it, keep working hard, do the best I can on the tour and give back to the tour."
She rose above the negativity and managed to find a way to bounce back in the final four events of the year, recording three top 5 finishes in the Asia swing. Even through the ups and downs of the year, she still managed to have yet another record-breaking season in 2012, becoming the second-youngest player in LPGA history to record 15 victories at 23 with her win at the Kia Classic and the fastest player to reach the $8 million mark in career earnings when she won the Founders Cup.
Players like Na Yeon Choi and Stacy Lewis saw Tseng’s downfall as an opportunity to close the sizable gap between the No. 1 and No. 2 positions in the Rolex Rankings. Clinching multiple victories in 2012, both enter the 2013 season as a threat to steal the title as the world’s best women’s golfer. Although it is now a narrow lead, Tseng still holds the coveted No. 1 spot which she transcended to on February 14, 2011 and has now held for 103 consecutive weeks.
“I'm still World Number 1,” said Tseng, “so don't forget about that.”
With Tseng’s optimistic momentum heading into the 2013 season, the big question is this: Who will be Yani Tseng’s challenger this year?