Tseng's success at the early age of 23

March 22 2012, Ward Clayton

Yani Tseng may be the most successful 23-year-old golfer ever … after being the best 21- and 22-year-old. The Taiwanese sensation continues to climb the historical charts with her play, particularly her record over the past year when she has become a dominant force in golf.

Tseng took over the No. 1 spot in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings on Feb. 14, 2011 and has been in that spot ever since (58 consecutive weeks). Her points margin over No. 2 Na Yeon Choi this week is nearly double (17.27-9.11) after she won last week’s RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup for her second win this season in four starts. In the six-year history of the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings, the largest differential between first and second occurred on April 2, 2008 when Lorena Ochoa held a 9.87-point lead over second-place Annika Sorenstam.

In her career, Tseng has won 14 times on the LPGA, 34 times worldwide and is the fastest to reach the $8-million mark in career earnings.

In a historical comparison, LPGA career wins leader Kathy Whitworth (88 wins) won twice by age 23, Mickey Wright six times by 23 and Sorenstam didn't win for the first time until she was 24. Tiger Woods won 15 times before he turned 24.

There have been links made recently to the rise of Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy in the men’s game because of their similarity in age and performance over the past year. McIlroy held the No. 1 spot for two weeks in early March before England’s Luke Donald reclaimed the top spot earlier this week.

Here’s a look at their past 12 months, with totals for all professional Tours (since mid-April 2011):

Category Tseng McIlroy
Age (Birthday) 23 (Jan. 23) 22 (May 4)
Starts 23 25
Wins 10 4
Majors 2 1
Top-10s 16 17
Streaks 7 wins in last 12 starts 12 of last 13 in top 5

Topics: Player Feature, Tseng, Yani

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