SINGAPORE — Taiwanese golfer Yani Tseng is not worried about the chances of losing her top ranking on the LPGA Tour, believing it may even turn her disappointing results around.
The five-time major winner has been No. 1 for more than two years, but South Korean Na Yeon Choi and American Stacy Lewis, who captured the HSBC Women’s Champions on Sunday, are rapidly closing the gap.
In the new rankings released Monday, Tseng had 9.53 average world-ranking points, while Choi had 8.85 and Lewis was just behind with 8.84, jumping from fourth to third.
Choi and Lewis have made up serious ground recently. At this time last year, Tseng topped the rankings with 16.69 average points, with Choi far back at 9.03 in second and Lewis at 6.23 in the eighth spot.
Tseng said Sunday the pressure of being No. 1 for so long had taken a toll on her, contributing to her mid-season slump last year. She hasn’t won a tournament since the Kia Classic last March.
“It’s tough and it’s very lonely,” she said. “No one knows how you feel. Everybody wants to be in your shoes, but no one knows how tough is that.”
“The first year, when I was world No. 1, I feel good,” she added. “But every month, everybody keeps building the expectations on me and that’s a lot of pressure.”
The Taiwanese golfer started to find her form again at the beginning of this season, with two top-3 finishes at her first two tournaments in Australia and Thailand.
But she was clearly annoyed after finishing with a final-round 74 in Singapore on Sunday, flicking her ball in the water as she walked off the 18th green.
She’ll take next week off to work on her swing, then return to defend her title at the RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup in Phoenix in mid-March.
“World No. 1, I know it’s good and people like it, but I want to care about myself more,” she said. “If I lose (it), I’ll get back one day, too.”
THIS WEEK IN GOLF
WORLD GOLF CHAMPIONSHIP - CADILLAC CHAMPIONSHIP
COURSE: TPC Blue Monster at Doral (7,334 yards, par 72).
PURSE: $8.75 million. Winner’s share: $1,575,000.
TELEVISION: Golf Channel (Thursday-Friday, 2-6 p.m., 8:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m.; Saturday, noon-5 p.m., 9:30 p.m.-1:30 a.m.; Sunday, 1-6 p.m., 10:30 p.m.-2:30 a.m.) and NBC (Saturday, 2-6 p.m.; Sunday, 3-7 p.m.).
NOTES: England’s Justin Rose won his first World Golf Championships title last year, beating Bubba Watson by a stroke. Tiger Woods withdrew after 11 holes in the final round because of soreness in his left Achilles tendon. Woods has won the event six times — the last time was 2007 at Doral. He also won regular tour events at Doral in 2004 and 2006. ... Top-ranked Rory McIlroy walked off the course in the middle of his second round at the Honda Classic last week. In his only other events this year, he missed the cut in Abu Dhabi and lost in the first round of the Match Play Championship. He is guaranteed of playing four rounds this week as there is no cut. ... Phil Mickelson won in 2009. He won the Phoenix Open last month for his 41st PGA Tour title. ... Matt Kuchar won the first WGC event of the season, beating Hunter Mahan two weeks ago in the final of the Match Play Championship. ...The only top-50 player missing from the field is Brandt Snedeker, still recovering from sore ribs suffered during the West Coast Swing.
PGA TOUR - PUERTO RICO OPEN
COURSE: Trump International Golf Club-Puerto Rico (7,506 yards, par 72).
PURSE: $3.5 million. Winner’s share: $630,000.
TELEVISION: Golf Channel (Thursday, 6:30-8:30 p.m.; Friday, 1:30-3:30 a.m., 6:30-8:30 p.m.; Saturday, 1:30-3:30 a.m., 6:30-9:30 p.m.; Sunday, 3-5 a.m., 7:30-10:30 p.m.; Monday, 3-5 a.m.).
CANADIAN CONTENT: Stephen Ames, Graham DeLaet, Brad Fritsch, David Hearn
NOTES: This is the first opposite field event of the season on the PGA Tour. ...Defending champion George McNeill and two-time winner Michael Bradley head a lineup of players from outside the world’s top 50 and not otherwise qualified for the WGC event at Doral. K.J. Choi (65th) and Charlie Beljan (67th) are the highest ranked entrants. ...South Korea’s Si Woo Kim is playing on a sponsor exemption. The 17-year-old Kim earned a tour card at the qualifying tournament, but won’t become a full tour member until he turns 18 in June. He missed the cut at Pebble Beach in his lone start of the year. ... Two-time major champion Angel Cabrera is entered along with son Angel Jr., while Camilo Villegas is joined by brother Manuel for just the second time on the PGA TOUR. Camilo, a three-time Tour winner who has limited status on the PGA Tour this year, is making his first appearance in the event. ...Former U.S. Amateur winner Peter Uihlein, two-time U.S. Junior champion Jordan Spieth and former No. 1 amateur Patrick Cantlay all playing on sponsor exemptions. ... All four previous winners live within 130 miles of each other on Florida's Gulf Coast: McNeill and Lamely (Fort Myers), Bradley (Valrico) and inaugural winner Greg Kraft (Clearwater).
WEB.COM TOUR - CHILE CLASSIC
COURSE: Prince of Wales Country Club (6,903 yards, par 72).
PURSE: $650,000. Winner’s share: $117,000.
CANADIAN CONTENT: Adam Hadwin, Richard Scott, Roger Sloan, Ryan Yip, Mitch Evanecz (alternate)
NOTES: The Web.com Tour concludes its three-week Latin America kickoff with its second visit to Chile, where Paul Haley won last year’s inaugural crown by three shots over Joseph Bramlett. ...The Prince of Wales Country Club is the shortest layout on the Tour schedule. All four par-5s ranked among the 35 easiest on last year’s schedule, combining for 44 eagles and 794 birdies over four days.
ASIAN TOUR - SAIL-SBI Open
COURSE: Delhi Golf Club, New Delhi (6,963 yards, par 72)
CANADIAN CONTENT: Richard T. Lee
NOTES: Indian star Shiv Kapur will seek a first professional victory at his home course. The 31-year-old is presently in fine form, winning twice at home over the past three months. ...Kapur will face a strong field which includes title holder Anirban Lahiri of India, 2009 champion Chapchai Nirat of Thailand, home favourites Gaganjeet Bhullar and Jyoti Randhawa, American Jonathan Moore and DGC specialist Rikard Karlberg of Sweden, who won twice in India in 2010.
eGOLF PROFESSIONAL TOUR - IRISH CREEK CLASSIC
COURSE: The Club at Irish Creek, Kannapolis, N.C. (7,099 yards, par 71)
CANADIAN CONTENT: Daniel Bowling, Cam Burke, Robbie Greenwell, Mackenzie Hughes
NOTES: Cam Burke coming off a tie for eighth at the last event, the Oldfield Open while Mackenzie Hughes finished tie for 41st. ...Through two events, Burke is 11th on the money list
ALL-AMERICAN PROFESSIONAL GOLF TOUR - TOUR CHAMPIONSHIP
COURSE: Alta Mesa Country Club, Mesa, AZ
CANADIAN CONTENT: Cory Renfrew, Kent Eger
NOTES: 32 man matchplay format features the top 25 members from the money list with the next 7 spots filled by an 18-Hole qualifier. ...Renfrew is seeded ninth while Eger is seeded 12th. ...Based on their seedings, the two could potentially meet in the semi-final.
CACTUS TOUR - EVENT No. 5
COURSE: Wildfire Golf Club at Desert Ridge, Phoenix, AZ
CANADIAN CONTENT: Alena Sharp, Jessica Wallace, Melissa Mabanta, Jessica Payne
NOTES: Alena Sharp going for her second straight win after winning a playoff last month. ...Field is peppered with a number of LPGA players as they prepare for the Tour's North American debut in two weeks time in Arizona
SUNCOAST LADIES SERIES
COURSE: West Orange Country Club, Winter Garden, FL
CANADIAN CONTENT: Stephanie Sherlock, Brogan McKinnon (a), Sue Kim, Danielle Mills, Natalie Gleadall, Sara-Maude Juneau, Ellen O'Brien, Chelcia Petersen (a)
THE LEGENDS TOUR - FRY'S DESERT GOLF CLASSIC
COURSE: Ventana Canyon Golf & Racquet Club, Tucson, Ariz
CANADIAN CONTENT: Gail Graham, Dawn Coe-Jones, Lori Kane