World No.1 Yani Tseng won the Suzhou Taihu Ladies Open in China yesterday. The event, sanctioned by the Ladies European Tour (LET), marked her 11th title of the season, making her the most successful golfer, male or female, of 2011.
Taiwan's golfer leads Suzann Pettersen in the Rolex Rankings by 7.47 points—Tseng currently has an average of 14.40 points. Back in January, she sat at the fifth position with 9.75, but after winning five tournaments in a row, she grabbed the first place with 10.34 and hasn't let it go ever since.
After showing she's the next big gun in women's golf, the question surrounding Tseng is if she needs to take on the men to prove she's the real deal.
Tseng could take the opportunity if it presents. "I would like to play in a PGA tournament to learn more from male golfers," she said during a press conference following the third round of the Suzhou Taihu Ladies Open.
If this actually happens, Tseng would join Annika Sörenstam, Babe Zaharias and Suzy Whaley as the only LPGA Tour members to have played a PGA tourney. Michelle Wie did so before getting her LPGA card.
In 1945, Zaharias made three cuts on the PGA, while Sörenstam, Whaley and Wie missed the cut in all the attempts, which may well be Nini's first goal.
Also, this could attract more fans and sponsors to the LPGA, the same way Sörenstam did after she played the Bank of America Colonial in 2003.
"You cannot have any conversation about 2003 without starting off with the contributions and accomplishments and awareness that have been generated as a result of Annika Sörenstam and what she has done this year," said former LPGA Commissioner Ty Votaw at the season-ending ADT Championship in 2003.
Does Yani need to face the men to prove herself?
After her performance in the Bank of America Colonial, Sörenstam won 29 LPGA titles, including six majors, and nine from the LET.
Tseng doesn't need to prove anything to anyone for a simple reason: she has already done it. If she happens to play with the men, she will only become even better and more dominant—the same way Annika did eight years ago.
The LPGA is looking for a figure since Annika and Lorena Ochoa retired to focus on their families. Tseng is not only filling those shoes, she's just 22-years-old so she's not going anywhere.
For now, the best way to show she can compete head-to-head with the guys is being the only female considered for Golf Magazine's Player of the Year Award, which will be announced in the December issue. The other contenders are: Luke Donald, Rory McIlroy and Keegan Bradley.